Introduction to Glendale Queens: Where to Go, What to Do

    by

    The Shops at Atlas Park

    Glendale is a well-kept small town in western Queens filled with local restaurants and dining options as well as one of New York City’s largest malls (constructed atop a former industrial park) and the vast Forest Park.

    Glendale was formerly one of New York City’s most populous German-American bastions, and home to a number of restaurants specializing in German cuisine, such as Gebhardt’s, Durow’s and Von Westernhagen’s. Zum Stammtisch is the lone survivor, although it was the new kid on the block when it was founded in 1972 by Bavarian immigrant John Lehner at 69-46 Myrtle Avenue, just west of Cooper Avenue.

    gd.zum1

    Its name in English means, approximately, “regulars’ table,” a friendly place where people sit around to chat. The homey wood-paneled interior resembles a Bavarian hunting lodge. Lunch and dinner menus feature filling German fare such as sausages, chicken, pork and veal cutlets, and roast beef prepared in myriad ways.

    gd.stammtisch2

    In 2011, Werner and Hans Lehner, the current owners of Zum Stammtisch, citing the disappearance of German restaurants and specialty stores in the area (including the well-known Karl Ehmer’s) opened the Zum Stammtisch Pork Store next door to the restaurant. German imports make up 90 percent of its offerings, including butcher and bakery products, as well as, of course, every variety of wurst on the market.

    gd.atlaspark2

    A trip to the Shops at Atlas Park

    From Zum Stammtisch, it’s a short 10-block walk on Cooper Avenue to 80th Street, where you will find one of Queens’ largest outdoor malls. The Shops at Atlas Park opened in April 2006, encompassing the site of the former 25-acre Atlas Terminals industrial park, which which at one time housed companies such as General Electric, Kraft, Westinghouse, and New York Telephone.

    Its only remnant is a tall water tower that has become an unofficial neighborhood landmark. The mall a pleasant place for an outdoor stroll and so serene and well kept, you might forget you’re in New York City.

    The center’s major tenants include TJ Maxx, Foot Locker and Regal Cinemas, and the restaurants California Pizza Kitchen and Chili’s. Over its nearly 10-year history, Atlas Park has struggled to develop a large following in Glendale, and it took a hit from the bankruptcy of a major tenant, Borders Books. Recently Atlas Park seems to be slowly developing more of a following, and it is now served by two bus routes originating in Jackson Heights, the Q29 and Q47.

    gd.gradecross

    Glendale was formerly served by a passenger railroad stop at Edsall Avenue and 73rd Street, but the service was discontinued in 1998 because the LIRR was purchasing new cars that required high-level platforms, and the railroad found it unnecessary to construct new platforms at a station where three trains stopped daily, serving less than 10 passengers.

    Periodically, there is talk about connecting this spur to the subway network, but those discussions have never borne much fruit. Both of the buildings in the photo above were former roadhouses catering to railroad passengers in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

    gd.forestpark

    Forest Park, shown here at Myrtle Avenue and 80th Street, forms a triumvirate of three vast Queens parks, along with Flushing Meadows and Cunningham Parks. The western end of the park (west of the abandoned LIRR Rockaway Branch) is the most heavily used. It includes the Forest Park Golf Course, the Seuffert bandshell, the Carousel, and Dry Harbor Playground (pictured above).

    The park was actually developed by the then City of Brooklyn in 1895, as a way to alleviate crowded tenement conditions by offering a place where fresh air could be obtained. The eastern end of the park consists of dense woodland with a bike trail and hiking trails.

    gd.jackie

    Just a few blocks from here is an entrance to the Jackie Robinson Parkway at Myrtle Avenue and 79th Lane. The Interborough Parkway, as it was originally called, was constructed in sections between 1933 and 1935. For years, the Interborough was the most primitive of all NYC express roads, as its original dimensions were retained until 1987, with narrow lanes and the barest concrete divider; driving on it was like traveling on a snake-shaped race track.

    The Department of Transportation was able to upgrade the road, making it safer, but it still retains some tight turns that make caution a must. In 1997 it was renamed the Jackie Robinson Parkway, for the Brooklyn Dodger who became the first African-American to play in major league baseball, on the 50th anniversary of his breaking that color barrier.

    Some Glendale history: In the early 1860s, developer George S. Schott acquired a considerable amount of land in Fresh Ponds as repayment of a debt owed him. As the Civil War drew to a close, he founded what is today known as Glendale, which he named after his hometown of Glendale, Ohio. At this time, the area’s main occupation was farming.

    How to get there. Like its neighbor to the north, Middle Village, and Maspeth, further to the north, Glendale is a small region in western Queens that the subway system has seemingly forgot. Ironically, two of its borders are marked by a railroad, as a Long Island Rail Road freight line bisects it from east to west: known as the Montauk Branch, it connects the waterfront at Long Island City and Jamaica.

    Glendale is officially bordered by Metropolitan Avenue on the north; Otto Road and Central Avenue, which run along the railroad, on the west; the Cemetery Belt running south of, and along, Myrtle Avenue on the south; and Woodhaven Boulevard on the east.

    Curious Williamsburghers can access Glendale along the B54 bus running along Metropolitan Avenue, while Ridgewoodites can get there by the B55 on Myrtle Avenue. There’s also the M train to Fresh Pond Road and then a hike south along that street and then east along Myrtle Avenue to get to the heart of Glendale.

    glendale-89-24-74th-avenue-052615

    Photo by Exit Realty One

    The real estate market. The varied housing stock goes back to the 19th century and includes row houses, standalone houses and apartment buildings. Typical row houses generally start at about $500,000. A renovated house with open plan kitchen at 89-24 74th Avenue in Glendale is on the market for $750,000, above.

    glendale-77-02-79th-place-052615

    Photo by Nicholas Strini for PropertyShark

    Rentals are relatively affordable, with two-bedrooms available starting at about $1,700.  This two-bed, one-bath rental at 77-02 79th Place in Glendale is asking $2,200 a month.

    What's Happening