The Tudor Malls, located in the southernmost section of Queens, are named after Tudor Village, a development of Tudor-style homes built in 1929, which marked the transformation of this area from rural to residential. The Tudor architectural movement grew during the reign of the Tudor monarchy in England during the 16th century.
The term “mall” originates from the game of Pall Mall, in which players used a mallet to hit a wooden ball through an iron ring located at the end of a green. The playing fields, known as malls, were long, narrow strips of grass set off between streets with fences to protect passersby from stray balls. Similar to bowling greens in size and shape, the malls were generally located near military quarters. Because of their location, malls were frequently used for parades but were enjoyed by everyone as strolling promenades. Due to their popularity as multi-use public spaces, malls became commonly built without necessarily functioning as sports fields.
The first malls emerged in Italy and France but soon spread to England. After being brought to the Unites States by English colonists, malls diverged into two different forms. Some malls, such as the one leading to the Capitol in Washington, DC, took on the form of large lawns used as walkways to guide pedestrians to monuments. The others became landscaped areas, such as the Tudor Malls, which are set between two lanes of traffic. The latter style developed because many of the roads on which malls are located became too congested for pedestrians to walk safely down the center. Thus, many malls are no longer pedestrian paths between lanes of quiet residential streets but instead are part of a landscaping technique intended to beautify streets with higher traffic volumes.
The word mall is now most often associated with large enclosed shopping centers. This third type of mall began as a hybrid between shopping arcades, popular during the 19th century, and landscaped pedestrian promenades. These shopping promenades were the first enclosed shopping malls and were usually oriented around a central walkway.
Located between 82nd and 89th Streets, the Tudor Malls are home to a community garden planted by the residents of 133rd Avenue. The malls consist of three islands down the middle of the street that contain trees and numerous plantings. The residents of the homes surrounding Tudor Malls began their garden in celebration of the Independence Day Bicentennial in 1976. The residents of the houses along 133rd Avenue divided up the mall into different segments where residents of the corresponding homes would garden. Parks maintains the grounds on which the residents plant.
The Tudor Malls extend from Tudor Park, one of five separate parcels acquired and mapped as parkland along North Conduit Avenue between the years 1915 and 1974 and given the name Tudor Park by Commissioner Stern in 1987.