The Borough of Queens is almost as large as Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island combined, encompassing 37% of New York City’s total area. Its western and northern shorelines follow along the East River and Long Island Sound while its southern shores open on Jamaica Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Two districts of the expansive Gateway National Recreation Area are in Queens:
the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge (shared with Brooklyn) and the Breezy Point District.
The Wildlife Refuge includes saltmarsh, open water, and buffering uplands. The Breezy Point District, on the western end of the Rockaway Peninsula, is a long narrow barrier beach with shoreline on both the Atlantic Ocean and the Rockaway Inlet leading into Jamaica Bay. The District includes Jacob Riis Park, Fort Tilden, and Breezy Point. At a glorious celebratoryevent in the fall of 1997, National Audubon and NYC Audubon designated the entire Jamaica Bay Complex an Important Bird Area of Global Significance. These federally-owned coastal areas, along with city-owned Alley Pond Park and Forest Park, offer extraordinary birding opportunities in Queens.