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Maspeth: Queens Neighborhood Profile

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Maspeth: Queens Neighborhood Profile

Grand Avenue and 69th Street in Maspeth

John Roleke
Maspeth is old-school Queens at its best, a neighborhood of families, small shops, and restaurants. Residential Maspeth is on the Maspeth Plateau, the last high ground in western Queens, with great views of Manhattan's skyline, but the city feels a world away from homey Grand Avenue's Polish delis and Irish bars.

Until recently, industrial jobs in western Maspeth supported the community, but industry has declined. Yet, the neighborhood is vital and real estate prices have climbed.

Maspeth Boundaries and Main Streets:

Maspeth's western industrial area slopes down to Newtown Creek, which borders Brooklyn. To the north is Woodside (52nd Ave). Elmhurst is northeast (74th St). Middle Village is east (Eliot Ave and 69th St). To the south is Ridgewood (Metropolitan Ave).

Maspeth's main drag is Grand Avenue, and its core is where Grand meets 69th Avenue, just off the LIE. This commercial heart extends several blocks along Grand, north and south of the LIE, which cuts Maspeth in half.

Maspeth Transportation:

Maspeth has no subway lines of its own, but shares the M terminus on its southeast boundary with Middle Village at Metropolitan Avenue.

The QM 24 and 24W Express buses stop on Eliot Avenue before going to Manhattan.

The comparative lack of mass transit has helped keep real estate and especially rental prices a value.

The LIE (Long Island Expressway) runs through Maspeth. A proposed train tunnel terminus for western Maspeth would add to the truck traffic that clogs up Grand Avenue.

Maspeth Real Estate and Apartments:

Two-family and three-family homes (many attached) and row houses are the norm in Maspeth. There are small apartment buildings, condos, and single-family homes, but two-family homes with peaked roofs pack many more streets. Look for older, brick constructions south of Flushing Avenue. Rents get cheaper nearer Newtown Creek and Metropolitan.
  • June 2005
  • Apartments: 1-bedroom, $800-$1100; 2-bedroom, $1000-$1300; 3-bedroom, $1300+
  • Condos, $200k+
  • 2-Family Houses, $400k+
  • 1-Family Houses, $350k+

Crime and Safety in Maspeth:

Maspeth is a safe neighborhood, though the more desolate industrial areas are best avoided at night or when you're alone. For the year-to-date (5/29/05), the 108th Precinct (including Ridgewood, Glendale, and Middle Village) reported: 1 murder (4 in 2004), 8 rapes (8 in 2004), 112 robberies (106 in 2004), 61 felonious assaults (85 in 2004), 176 burglaries (254 in 2004).

Mt. Olivet Cemetery:

As with nearby Middle Village, the best land in Maspeth belongs to the dead. Mt. Olivet Cemetery dominates the area on the highest land. Once a popular weekend destination for 19th-century Manhattan families, it now offers visitors great views of Manhattan.

Mt. Olivet Cemetery's famous residents include cosmetics entrepreneur Helena Rubinstein Courielli and 16 unidentified victims of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.

Mt. Olivet Cemetery's main entrance is 65-40 Grand Avenue (718-326-1777).

Maspeth Restaurants and Bars:

Maspeth's best eating is at the diners. Fame Diner (69-67 Grand Ave) deserves more fame for its breakfasts and prices. ABC Restaurant (66-35 Grand Ave) has the best daily Polish specials. Try the stuffed cabbage. Check out Clinton Diner (56-26 Maspeth Ave, 718-894-1566) in western Maspeth for the vibe and the vittles. You might recognize the Clinton Diner from the movie Goodfellas. Truckers know it as one of the few truck-stop diners in New York City.

O'Neill's Restaurant stands out among the Irish pubs for its brick-oven pizza, steaks, and OTB (64-21 53rd Dr, 718-672-9696).

Landmarks and Green Spaces:

Memorial Square is the heart of Maspeth, at Grand Avenue and 69th Street. A bench and plaques memorialize Maspeth residents and the 19 firefighters from Maspeth's FDNY Hazmat 1/Squad 288 who died on 9/11.

Across the LIE is Frontera Playground and its swings and jungle gyms (at Brown Pl, 69th St, and 58th Ave). Maurice Park is also at the LIE, but greener with baseball fields (Maurice and 54th Aves).

Metropolitan Oval is a premier soccer field in NYC, a gem in the rough (60-58 60th St).

Maspeth History and Fame:

Maspeth was home to, and named for, the Mespeatches tribe of Native Americans. In the 1600s Dutch and English colonists settled along the Newtown Creek, and founded Maspeth village, later absorbed by larger Newtown (Elmhurst).

Maspeth is more famous for its mafia ties. John Gotti's wake was at the Papavero Funeral Home. The connection has brought the movies and TV to Maspeth. The Clinton Diner is literally a scene from Goodfellas, and The Sopranos filmed a car chase around Grand Avenue.

Neighborhood Basics:

  • See Maspeth For Yourself:
  • Maspeth Problems: The biggest neighborhood issue is the proposal to build a freight-train tunnel terminus in Maspeth, which would inundate the area with trucks, already a major source of congestion and air pollution. Another is the environmental impact of heavy industry on Newtown Creek.
  • Saving St. Saviours: Updates on the fight to save historic St. Saviour's Church.
  • Shopping: Small stores (more mom-and-pop than chains) line Grand Avenue. Super Stop & Shop is part of the small Maspeth Center mall (74-17 Grand Ave).
  • Best Italian Butcher: Iavarone Brothers, family-run for three generations, 69-00 Grand Avenue, 718-639-3623
  • Library: Maspeth Branch, 69-70 Grand Avenue, 718-639-5228
  • Parking: Main streets and side streets are tight around Grand Avenue at 69th Street, but parking is easy enough elsewhere.
  • Post Office: 55-02 69th St, Maspeth, NY 11378,
  • Hospital: Elmhurst Hospital Center, 79-01 Broadway, Elmhurst, NY 11373
  • Movies: New Center Cinema, 42-17 Queens Blvd, Sunnyside, NY 11104, 718-361-6869.
  • Police Station: 104th Precinct, 64-02 Catalpa Avenue, Ridgewood, NY 718-386-3004
  • Community Board 5: 61-23 Myrtle Avenue, Glendale, NY 11385, 718-366-1834
  • Catering Hall: Polish National Hall is available for catering (61-60 56th Rd).
  • Senior Center: Selfhelp Maspeth Senior Center, 69-61 Grand Avenue.
  • Community Center: Maspeth Town Hall isn't a town hall, but a place for community events and daycare (53-37 72nd St).
  • Business Organizations: Maspeth Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 780265 Maspeth, NY 11378
  • Banking: Local chain Maspeth Federal Savings is still a Maspeth favorite, though with more competition from regional and national banks. Its main branch is at the Maspeth crossroads of 69th Street and Grand Avenue (56-18 69th St Maspeth, NY 11378).
  • Health Club: Olympia Health Club, 65-06 Fresh Pond Rd, Ridgewood, NY 11385, 718-366-7072
  • Zip Code: 11378
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