Originally Ditmars Avenue, Ditmars Boulevard begins at the intersection with the East River in Astoria at the corner of Shore Boulevard just north of Astoria Park. It continues east until it reaches the western edge of LaGuardia Airport stopping at the intersection of 81st and 82nd Street north of Bowery Bay Boulevard and starts again at 23rd Avenue and 86th Street, running along the southern edge of LaGuardia Airport until it reaches Astoria Boulevard at 111th Street in East Elmhurst.
The street was named after the Ditmarsen family (Dutch) who settled in Dutch Kills in about 1647. The Ditmarsen patriarch, Jan Jansen Ditmarsen, migrated to America from Holstein, Germany. Over time the family name was shortened to Ditmars. One of Jan Ditmarsen’s ancestors was Dr. Douwe “Dow” Ditmars, who lived in a home that sat on the site where Ditmars Boulevard begins in Astoria. The doctor, who was held in high esteem by the community, died in 1860 at 90.
Dow Ditmars was married to Anna Elvira Riker (1785 – 1860), her family owned the island just off the East Elmhurst shore, Riker’s Island. Dow and Anna had three children, Richard Riker Ditmars (1820 – 1850), Samuel Riker Ditmars (1827 – 1828) and Anna Riker Ditmars (1830 – 1848).
Dr. Ditmars and his wife Anna are buried in the East Elmhurst at the Riker-Lent burial grounds, 78-03 19th Road.