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So… Welcome to Newtown Creek, and specifically, Maspeth.

Maspeth was the first European settlement in Queens, dating back to the 1640s.

Newtown Creek was a vital and thriving coastal wetland back then, known for a remarkable abundance of fish, fowl and shellfish. The modern community of Maspeth gets its name from a group of Native Americans who used to live here — a people whose name was recorded as the “Maespetche” or “Mespeatche” by the Dutch.

Maspeth has a long and colorful history, one which includes being ruinously occupied by British and Hessian troops during the American Revolution, but the wooden structure you see sticking out of the water at the street end of 58th Road at 47th Street isn’t that old.

Instead, it only dates back to 1875 when Ulysses S. Grant was president.

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Why has no one bought the First German Sport Club at 60-60 Metropolitan Avenue? Even if there aren’t a too many hipsters in the immediate area, the retro facade is so cool that we can see bearded types from Bushwick and broader Ridgewood making the trip. Or could the club’s mobster history be holding it back? In 2005, the Queens District Attorney brought charges against 17 members of the Genovese and Bonano crime families for running numbers out of this and two other locations. That didn’t stop the current owner from picking it up for $350,000 back in 2009. The current broker is Queens Central Realty at 718-417-0700. GMAP

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Image source: Wikipedia

It’s easy to forget that, well before these street numbers, apartment buildings, and train lines existed – before Queens was Queens – the area had been inhabited by Native Americans for thousands of years. Scholars believe that the Queens area was not densely populated, and that Native Americans lived in small groups mostly along the bays, creeks, and ponds, where they could fish (haddock, oysters), farm (maize, squash), gather (strawberries, chestnuts) and hunt (grouse, quail).