Maspeth

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This three-bedroom, two-bath townhouse in Maspeth was built in 1928 but was just recently renovated. The kitchen is large enough to be eat-in, but there is also a separate dining room. The master bedroom has a fireplace, and the master bedroom has his/hers sinks and a jacuzzi tub. The second bedroom looks to be a good size, and the basement is fully finished with nice stone walls.

The ask is $765,000 with an estimated monthly mortgage of $2,877.85. The lot size is 1900, and tax is $5,588.

This area seems to be mostly residential, but there are small shops and dining options within walking distance. The Q18 and Q67 buses are on the same block, and the M and R trains are a 20 minute bus ride away. Click through for more photos.

53-15 64th Street [Better Homes & Gardens R E FH] GMAP

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The Woodside zip code – 11377 – lost more native sons during the Vietnam War than any other area in the United States. Many other neighborhood residents made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of their country over the past centuries, and 34 individuals who lived or worked in Woodside died during the Twin Tower terror attacks on September 11, 2001.

On Monday, members of the John V. Daniels VFW Post 2813 will honor veterans by placing a wreath at the flagpole at John Vincent Daniels Square near Roosevelt Avenue and 52nd Street at 11 am. Also, after a 10 am mass, the St. Sebastian War Veterans group will host a parade that kicks off from the St. Sebastian School parking lot at Woodside Avenue and 57th Street.

That’s only part of it. Queens has about 55,000 veteran residents, more than any other borough in New York City. It also hosts the country’s biggest Memorial Day parade (in Little Neck/Douglaston). Here’s a list of local parades scheduled for this weekend.

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After the long cold winter so recently ended, there’s been a number of things which I’ve been making it a point to check up on, one of these is the focus of today’s post – the Kosciuszko Bridge project. The Kosciuszko Bridge spans my beloved Newtown Creek, carrying the Brooklyn Queens Expressway.

With its approach ramps, the 1939 era bridge is 2.1 miles long and considered one of the most dangerous structures in NYS. Governor Cuomo added the truss bridge to the “Fast Track” program and ordered the NYS DOT to replace it. Construction is well underway at this point, not that you’d really notice it from the roadway.

You need to visit DUKBO, Down Under the Kosciuszko Bridge Onramp, to see what’s going on.

More after the jump.

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Mount Zion, a Jewish cemetery, occupies about 80 acres in Maspeth near New Calvary Cemetery and the BQE. It was opened in the early 1890s under the auspices of Chevra Bani Sholom and later by the Elmwier Cemetery Association (Elmwier Avenue is a former name of 54th Avenue).

A walk in Mount Zion will produce a surprising and poignant reminder of burial practices long forgotten… the faces of the dead are preserved on some of the tombstones.

In a process known as “enameling,” photographs of the deceased are burned into porcelain (in a process described in detail in John Yang’s book, “Mount Zion: Sepulchral Photographs.”) This was a custom brought to the U.S. by Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe.

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Until a few years ago, an unassuming two-story brick building with a porch painted red in West Maspeth held a key to Queens’ past, before the cartographers decided to number all the streets in the 1920s to make things less (?) confusing.

Until the 1920s, Queens street names trended toward the tried and true, with plenty of presidents, governors, spruces and elms, but further east, in what would be the Juniper Park area, 78th Street was Grieffenberg Street, 81st was Thew Street, and 84th was Gwydir Street. Even further east, proposed streets east of Queens Boulevard in the Forest Hills area that now are a thicket of 60th drives and 62nd roads were mapped in alphabetical order, carrying odd, otherworldly names like Meteor, Nome, Occident, Thupman, Uriu, Yalu and Zuni. The only remnant of this scheme is Jewel Avenue, the “J” street in the sequence.

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Maspeth, in a western corner of Queens, seems stuck between the grit of Williamsburg, Brooklyn to the west and the airy, almost suburban feel of its eastern and southern neighbors, Middle Village and Glendale. Maspeth was first settled by Native Americans and, after the middle 1600s, by the Dutch and English. It was absorbed by a newer settlement to the east (named, appropriately, Newtown–the present-day Elmhurst), became a part of the borough of Queens, and then became a part of New York City in 1898. “Maspeth” is derived from Delaware Indian terms that have, by different accounts, meant “great brook” or “bad water place”; the latter seems rather appropriate, since Newtown Creek, noxious and noisome through most of its latter-day history, is nearby. The name dates back to Dutch records in the 1630s.

Beginning in the 1790s DeWitt Clinton, mayor of New York City from 1803 to 1815 and New York State Governor from 1817 to 1822 and again from 1825 to 1828, resided in a mansion at present-day 56th Terrace and 58th Street. Plans for the Erie Canal were made in the two-story mansion, which over the decades became a boardinghouse and farmhouse, finally burning down in 1933. The area is nondescript industrial these days; the mansion is remembered by the Clinton Diner, which stands near where Clinton’s homestead would be. The diner was renamed “Goodfellas” diner a couple of years ago, after the classic Scorsese flick about mob life that was filmed there.

More after the jump

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Of the many bridges that cross the noxious and noisome Newtown Creek, which includes the Pulaski (McGuiness Boulevard), J.J. Byrne (Greenpoint Avenue) Kosciuszko (Brooklyn-Queens Expressway), the Metropolitan Avenue Bridge, and the late lamented Penny Bridge, my favorite is the rattling Grand Street Bridge, which connects outlandishly remote sections of Brooklyn and Queens, two neighborhoods in East Williamsburg and western Maspeth you wouldn’t visit unless you worked there. Or unless you are me.

The reason for my preference is simple. While the other Newtown Creek bridges are relatively bland products of the mid-to-late 20th century and are quite boring in aspect the Grand Street Bridge is a 1900 swing bridge that looks like something you would put together with an erector set when you were a kid.

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Photo by Christina Wilkinson

In 1928, much of Queens was still largely unpopulated and unbuilt-upon. Ridgewood, however, was an exception to the rule, due to its proximity to Brooklyn, and real estate developers hoped to capitalize on the cachet of the neighborhood. By then, Ridgewood was dominated by attached brick and brownstone houses, as well as blocks of handsome, yellow-bricked apartments constructed by developer Gustave X. Mathews. He built from materials created in the Staten Island kilns of Balthazar Kreischer.

In that year, the developers Realty Associates purchased 70 acres in a neighborhood then labeled as “North Ridgewood” but now a part of northern Maspeth roughly defined by Maurice Avenue, 64th Street, Grand Avenue and 74th Street. Builder John Aylmer set to work constructing two and six-family homes in the newly-named Ridgewood Plateau, so named for its location atop one of Queens’ higher hills.

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You can take the Q39 bus here, but why? There’s a somewhat hidden stretch of Laurel Hill Boulveard, which is entirely overflown by the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, down here. On either side of the street, high masonry walls define the borders of Third and Fourth Calvary Cemeteries. There are sidewalks, however, and this is one of the loneliest spots to walk through that can be found in all of Western Queens.

The street is only ten blocks long, spanning the area between 58th and 48th Streets, and it’s one of those hazy areas where you might be in the neighborhood of Maspeth, or in Woodside, or perhaps Sunnyside. It’s actually and definitively Woodside, by the way, but there really is no one around whom you’d be able to ask. You’d be surrounded by literally millions walking down this street, but they’re all dead.

More after the jump…

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I’ve told you all about Maspeth Creek before, but long story short is that it’s a tributary of Newtown Creek with big history and even bigger problems. On the history front, how many places can you name in Queens that British Commander Lord Cornwallis could have been hanging around during the 1770s?

I’m always hunting around the web for historic photos and maps of Western Queens and of Newtown Creek in particular. This past weekend, nearly an entire Sunday was lost exploring the amazing nyc.gov map site offered by the NYC Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications. The NY City Map allows you to turn various informational layers on and off – showing you transit locations, and healthcare centers, and parks of course – but what I find really interesting about the site is that they have aerial views from several “moments” in NYC history packaged in a modern digital map.

More after the jump…