Serving Middle Village and Maspeth since 1938.

Neighborhood History

ANNA MARIE

ANNA MARIE

As I get older the memories of my childhood have begun to fade. It's very unfortunate. I have snapshots, pictures in my mind. At times I can remember a smell, taste, sound, or a name. Anna Marie is a name I remember well; the thought of it makes me smile. I know the scent of a Thanksgiving Day turkey, the pine tree needles of a Christmas tree, the smell of the bubble gum that came with a brand new package of baseball cards. I even recall the dusty smell as I clapped together the chalk covered erasers in school when it was my turn to wash the blackboard, (and the sneeze it caused me to hold in which nearly made my head explode!).

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They came because they always do. Maspeth Remembers and Dedicates Site of Tragic Fire 50 Years ago.

They came because they always do. Maspeth Remembers and Dedicates Site of Tragic Fire 50 Years ago.

The date was October 26, 1962. The country and the world were concerned about the very real possibility of a nuclear war that could break out at any moment. As president John F. Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev maneuvered warships and missiles, a local fire would have a huge impact on a half a dozen families.

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The Fight

The Fight

It was not that long ago when real men settled their differences out in the alley, not in the courtroom. Such an event came to my attention when I was in the second grade.

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The New York Connecting Railroad

The New York Connecting Railroad

Back in the late 19th century the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) proclaimed itself the Standard Railroad of the world. It was a time when railroads were king and expansion projects were often privately funded.

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Shocking Catastrophe ‒ Five Children Smothered to Death in Newtown

Shocking Catastrophe ‒ Five Children Smothered to Death in Newtown

Brooklyn Eagle January 2, 1855 • Seldom have we been called upon to record a more melancholy catastrophe than that which occurred in Newtown, L.I., in the neighborhood of Maspeth on Friday evening last.

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A Shocking Suicide as Unknown Woman Cuts Her Throat at Maspeth

A Shocking Suicide as Unknown Woman Cuts Her Throat at Maspeth

One of the most horrible suicides that ever occurred in this vicinity was discovered yesterday at dusk in Maspeth near the entrance of Mount Olivet Cemetery, by Michael Ryan of that village who found a woman with her throat cut from ear to ear and her head nearly severed from her body.

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It Was Not a Ghost, But a Ventriloquist That Shrieked at Midnight in the Lutheran Cemetery.

It Was Not a Ghost, But a Ventriloquist That Shrieked at Midnight in the Lutheran Cemetery.

Frederick Schmidt, of Middle Village is an accomplished ventriloquist. On Tuesday night about midnight he secreted himself in the Lutheran Cemetery on the outskirts of the village and began to shriek Murder! Murder! Oh, spare my life! at the top of a lofty falsetto voice.

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The Blizzard of 1888

The Blizzard of 1888

March 12, 2013 marked the 125th Anniversary of the Blizzard of 1888. The storm featured 80 MPH winds coupled with below zero temperatures. The storm changed the future of New York City as overhead wires were eliminated from Manhattan and it showed just how vulnerable elevated trains were. This prompted the planning of the NYC Subway system.

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CITY LORE; The Trees That Don't Grow in Brooklyn

CITY LORE; The Trees That Don't Grow in Brooklyn

SECLUDED among loam hills in central Queens, before the advent of urban zoning and brick row houses, sprawled a storied peat bog known locally as Juniper Swamp. The bog, used in the 1920's by the gangster Arnold Rothstein as the site of a phantom village built to dupe potential property buyers, earned a niche in the archives of quirky city history.

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A Father’s Grief, a Father's Rage

A Father's Grief, a Father's Rage

Eighty years ago next month — on Feb. 13, 1927 — Joey Caruso, age 6, died in a tenement apartment in the broad swath of New York then known simply as South Brooklyn. That same day, 27-year-old Dr. Pendola, who like Joey was of Sicilian heritage, died in the same apartment. The child succumbed to disease. The doctor was the victim of cold-blooded murder. And the man who killed him, first by strangling him, then by slashing his throat so severely that his head was nearly severed from his body, was Francesco Caruso, Joey's father.

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Old Christmases

Old Christmases

When Clement Clarke Moore composed the immortal Christmas poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" at his home in New York City, he was in all probability thinking of the home of his grandparents in Newtown Village.

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The Cemetery Belt

Why does Queens have so many cemeteries? Answers go back to mid-1800s Manhattan

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Three popular places where Brooklyn Germans love to spend their Sundays

The peculiar attractions of Middle Village and Cypress Hills and the picturesquely rural scenes of East Williamsburgh

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Bringing Order Out of Chaos in Street Naming and House Numbering

Bringing Order Out of Chaos in Street Naming and House Numbering

How the Great Borough of Queens, New York City, Composed of Sixty Former Villages, Changed the Names of Most of Its Streets and Gave New Numbers to All of Its Houses

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Thaddeus Kosciuszko - A Polish Son of Liberty, Hero of the American Revolution

Thaddeus Kosciuszko – A Polish Son of Liberty, Hero of the American Revolution

Of the many distinguished military men who came from abroad to fight for the independence of the American colonies, Kosciuszko was the very first. In August 1776, only a month after the Declaration of Independence had been signed, the 30-year-old military engineer arrived in Philadelphia from Poland.

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The Confederate Dead in Brooklyn

The Confederate Dead in Brooklyn

Alexander Hodges, was tall for a Civil War soldier, standing six feet two inches. William Tilley was a fifty-five year private in the Fourteenth South Carolina Militia. David Amos, First Tennessee Heavy Artillery, was captured at Fort Morgan, Alabama.

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Garrit Furman

Garrit Furman

Garrit Furman was probably born near an old farming village called Dry Harbor, which was a forerunner of today's Glendale. The name survives in the street name, Dry Harbor Road. The new Atlas Shopping Center now occupies much of the site of the old village.

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Caving in of a Draw-Bridge

Caving in of a Draw-Bridge

Yesterday, the Draw-bridge over Newtown creek, connecting Greenpoint with Queens county, on the road, commenced some years ago by the now defunct Flushing Plank Road Company, but never completed, fell by the weight of a team, injuring one person severely, and several horses.

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An Old Historic Town

An Old Historic Town

Maspeth, situated in the western part of the town, is located on three plots of ground on the north side of the street railroad running from Brooklyn, E. D., to Newtown village, and is about three miles distant from the Willaimsburg ferries. The map of the first plot was filed in August, 1852 by Joseph W. Van Mater, Jr.

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Saloons By The Score

Saloons By The Score

There is perhaps no section in the state of New York where less restrictions are imposed upon the sale of liquor than in the town of Newtown, a large part of which borders upon this city. In fact there is no restriction at all as long as the seller has a license.

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Off the Track

Off the Track

An unusual occurrence for the South Side Railroad, which has latterly enjoyed an exceptional immunity from casualties, transpired in the vicinity of Maspeth, resulting in the killing of a conductor and the injuring of two employees of the Company.

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Residences Which Are Historical

Residences Which Are Historical

Elmhurst is the modern climax of that historic locality formerly constituting the Town of Newtown and now comprising the Second Ward of Queens Borough. Unquestionably one of its peculiar features is the visible reminders of the past which strike the eye on every hand.

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Maspeth’s Ancient Name

Maspeth's Ancient Name

From the patent granted by Governor Kieft to the Rev. Francis Doughty and companions, March 26, 1642, has been accepted as the date of the settlement of Newtown, or Mespat, as it was more anciently termed, although there were a few plantations with cottages erected by Dutch farmers prior to Doughty's purchase.

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What We've Lost

Our area is steeped in history. Maspeth was the first settlement in Queens and Middle Village was once part of the land chartered as Newtown. Many vestiges of our past survived for centuries, only to be torn down during the real estate boom that took place over the last two decades.

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Body Burning

Body Burning

The crematory stands upon a hill two hundred yards east of the Fresh Pond station. At present it is a kind of composite building of marble and brick, but the marble portion which faces the west is to be torn down soon.

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Island’s Oldest Village

Island's Oldest Village

In the struggle for establishment and existence through the first hundred years of its life the village of Newtown is without a parallel among the towns of Long Island.

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Middle Village of Old

Middle Village of Old

Middle Village population of fifty years ago was different than that of today. Indeed, the great change has come within thirty years. In the old days, the residents were old-fashioned Yankees.

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Past and Present of the Stream Called Bushwick or Newtown

Past and Present of the Stream Called Bushwick or Newtown

There was a time, and that within the recollection of men of middle age, when this creek, the waters of which are today poisoned with the overflow of the waste which comes from the great chemical and other works that line its bank, was the home of fish of diverse forms and flavors.

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No Beer or Base Ball

No Beer or Base Ball

Police Justice William T. Monteverde, who assumed the duties of his office on May 1, yesterday threw a bomb shell at Sunday amusements in the town by closing the two leading parks in Maspeth and arresting the musicians in one of the parks.

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Destruction of the Alsop House

Destruction of the Alsop House

The extension of Calvary Cemetery by the addition of one hundred acres occasions the demolition of the Alsop mansion, of historic interest. The Alsop family was distinguished n the annals of Newtown down to recent date. Now but one descendant remains, and he long ago quitted his ancestral home.

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Additional Particulars About the Old Alsop Mansion

Additional Particulars About the Old Alsop Mansion

Additional Particulars About the Old Alsop Mansion – The Ancient Unconsecrated Cemetery Plot Within Calvary ‒ The Duryea House at Penny Bridge and the Military Outreage of 1779.

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Concluding Reminiscences of the Alsop Family

Concluding Reminiscences of the Alsop Family

The Sunday Eagle of a recent date contained an interesting account of the Alsop mansion, in Newtown, which was supplemented by an interesting history of the Alsop family from 1661 to the present time.

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A Costly Undertaking

A Costly Undertaking

Metropolitan avenue, which runs parallel to Grand street, lying two short blocks north of it, crosses it at Newtown creek, and while the Grand street line of road continues to Newtown, the Metropolitan highway strikes directly into the heart of the most productive of the farming lands of Queens and Kings.

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The Old Betts House

The Old Betts House

Newtown still retains two relics of the old Dutch Government, in the form of what is called the old Betts houses. One was the abode of Richard Betts, the founder of the Betts family. It stands on the road between Calvary Cemetery and Maurice Avenue.

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History of Middle Village and the Lutheran Cemetery

History of Middle Village and the Lutheran Cemetery

The name of this village refers to its position between Williamsburgh and Jamaica on the old turnpike, which connects them. The village is made up very largely of German families, and nearly all the business of the place is transacted in that language.

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Maspeth Swamp Becoming the Center of Lines of Trade

Maspeth Swamp Becoming the Center of Lines of Trade

Newtown creek is today of sufficient depth, even to the Penny Bridge, to permit ships drawing ten and twelve feet to float upon, and where the bay that once was near its head ‒ later swamp and now with every prospect of becoming solid ground ‒ had a surface of no means extent.

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Newtown Creek is Filling Up

Newtown Creek is Filling Up

Newtown Creek is rapidly filling up. It used to be navigable for one hundred ton vessels up to what was formerly called "English Kills," now upper Maspeth Landing, to as late a period as 1820 ‒ a distance of three miles above Penny Bridge, and up to Penny Bridge for sea-going vessels.

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Death of One of the Solid Men of Queens County.

Death of One of the Solid Men of Queens County.

Hon. James Maurice died at his home in Maspeth rather suddenly yesterday afternoon. He had been complaining, but was not thought to be seriously ill. Mr. Maurice was at one time the most prominent citizen of Queens County, but for the past fifteen years he has lived very retired and his name seldom appeared before the public.

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DeWitt Clinton’s Old Home

DeWitt Clinton's Old Home

On the corner of Flushing and Maspeth Avenues, only a stone's throw from Newtown creek, in the village of Maspeth stands an old fashioned mansion which cannot but interest every admirer of colonial architecture.

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Old DeWitt Clinton House At Maspeth To Be Preserved?

Old DeWitt Clinton House At Maspeth To Be Preserved?

If Governor Clinton should come back to earth today and see what twentieth century civilization has done to the old place, he would probably feel like going back into the grave again and staying there.

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The DeWitt Clinton House

The DeWitt Clinton House

Though Maspeth is out of the beaten track of the tourist, once in a while it is visited by a stranger on a travel bent, and as he goes through Spragg's Lane, in the western part of the village, he is sure to ask a question or two about a house of ancient architecture. Any one in Maspeth will at once tell him that it is the old DeWitt Clinton House, for by that name it is known locally, though it is now only a tenement.

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Forgotten New York Tour of Maspeth

Forgotten New York Tour of Maspeth

In this article, we will pick up where the first part of our tour left off in the last issue of the Juniper Berry. We will focus on the architecture and history of Maspeth, Queens' oldest settlement.

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Forgotten New York Tour of Elmhurst

Forgotten New York Tour of Elmhurst

On our Forgotten New York Tour of November 19th, 2006, we began in the heart of Elmhurst, the confluence of Queens Boulevard, Broadway and Grand Avenue, and made our way west. In this article, we will focus on the architecture and history of Elmhurst, first settled as Newtown in 1644.

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Early Ballparks of Maspeth

Early Ballparks of Maspeth

In 1884, a syndicate of businessmen leased a picnic ground on the south side of Grand Street (now Grand Avenue), Maspeth, immediately west of where 54th Street now exists, from the brewing firm of N. Seitz's Sons. Around the grounds they built a horse racing track for night racing, as well as a hotel, a ball field within the track, and a grand stand. The newly named Queens County Grounds were reachable by the Grand Street and Newtown horse cars, although the Brooklyn Eagle warned that to journey there meant traveling through the "fertile cholera breeding district" of Newtown Creek.

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Posses of Men Hunting in Vain a Ghost on Long Island

Posses of Men Hunting in Vain a Ghost on Long Island

Dismal swamps, stagnant bogs, and thick undergrowth lie between the Lutheran and Mount Olivet Cemeteries, near Maspeth and Fresh Pond, Long Island. In this unlovely neighborhood a ghost has squatted himself, much to the annoyance and alarm of the residents of that quiet neighborhood.

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Caldwell Avenue Memories

Caldwell Avenue Memories

I'm going to write about the area where I grew up and played which was mostly on Caldwell Avenue between 74th and 75th Streets.

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How Furmanville Avenue Got Its Name

How Furmanville Avenue Got Its Name

It's not too difficult to imagine what John Furman's family saw when they came to Newtown. Acres and acres of unused land, ponds, swamps. Fertile land. Land that was good to stake a claim on and build a home on. A place that was safe and clean to raise a family.

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Rev. Frederick William Gessenhainer

Rev. Frederick William Gessenhainer

Rev. Dr. Frederick William Geissenhainer was born in New Hanover, Montgomery county, Pa., June 28th 1797. His father was Rev. Dr. Frederick William Geissenhainer, a native of Prussia (whence he came in 1793) an early Lutheran minister in America and a man of remarkable literary and theological attainments, distinguished for his intelligence and particularly noted for his thorough scholarship in Hebrew, Latin and Greek, and as a profound mathematician, mineralogist and botanist of extensive scientific acquirements.

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Education of Days Past

Education of Days Past

The first public school in Middle Village was built in the 1850s on the northeast corner of 69th Street and Juniper Valley Road. It consisted of one room and was made out of wood. This original school burned down and was rebuilt. After it burned a second time, the third known school was built in Middle Village and was called District School #6.

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The Thom Family Flower Farm

The Thom Family Flower Farm

It was a time, not that long ago, when wholesale florist businesses and their flower farms dotted the landscape of western Queens. Their greenhouses and cold frames were a familiar site until some 40 years ago.

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Memories of the Maspeth Gay Nineties Parade

Memories of the Maspeth Gay Nineties Parade

I had the opportunity recently to talk to Ethel Chahales. Everyone from the Maspeth area knows the Chahales name and immediately identifies it with their restaurant, the Spartan.

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History of Niederstein’s

History of Niederstein's

Niederstein's Restaurant was located at what is now 69-16 Metropolitan Avenue near 69th Street in Middle Village. Years ago 69th Street was called Juniper Avenue and Metropolitan Avenue was the Williamsburgh & Jamaica Turnpike.

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Remembering the Triangle Fire

Remembering the Triangle Fire

Before 9/11, there was March 25, 1911. On that day, 146 mostly young immigrant women died in a factory fire at the notorious Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in Greenwich Village.

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Middle Village Streets - Name Origins

Middle Village Streets – Name Origins

In the early twentieth century the Queens Topographical Bureau established an alphabetical series of street names for existing and proposed roadways in Maspeth and Middle Village.

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Picnic Parks of Maspeth and Middle Village

Picnic Parks of Maspeth and Middle Village

Picnic parks became popular in the late 1800s for the immigrant residents of the Greater Ridgewood area who worked six days a week and needed a form of entertainment.

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Hon. James Maurice

Hon. James Maurice

James Maurice is a son of James Maurice and Jean, his wife, who resided for many years in the city of New York. His father was a native of Ireland, of English ancestry...

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The Serious Side of “Carpenter Gothic:” Why Richard Upjohn Wanted to Build a Country Church in Maspeth

The Serious Side of "Carpenter Gothic:" Why Richard Upjohn Wanted to Build a Country Church in Maspeth

Designing and building Trinity Church was the turning point in Richard Upjohn's life, and his design for St. Saviour's, Maspeth came shortly afterwards.

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The Lamplighter of Olde Middle Village

The Lamplighter of Olde Middle Village

At night the streets were lighted by gas lamps in glass enclosures at the top of a pole about 8 feet high. Every evening a man would make his rounds lighting the lamps individually and in the early morning he would travel his route once again to extinguish them.

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Dewey Athletic Club of Middle Village

Dewey Athletic Club of Middle Village

In 1899 the Dewey Athletic Club was located on the north side of Metropolitan Avenue between Pleasantview Street on the east and 71st Street on the west. It was located immediately to the west of the Fearless Hook & Ladder Company #7's fire house.

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Land Deed on File in Albany Records Maspeth as the Oldest White Settlement on Long Island

Land Deed on File in Albany Records Maspeth as the Oldest White Settlement on Long Island

Maspeth under the old name of Metsepe, corrupted to Mespat (Dutch Maestealches) Killetze, later English Kill and subsequently Newtown Creek, is regarded as the oldest settlement in Queens.

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Stage Coach Lines

Stage Coach Lines

The Williamsburgh and Jamaica Turnpike was never planked like other toll roads, so early stage coach lines faced dust in dry weather, mud when it rained, and a terribly bumpy road at all times. From records of the past it would seem that several operators attempted stage coach lines on the Turnpike but some operators eventually would abandon the line. Clouds of dust would blow into passenger's eyes and mouth while riding the old stages.

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Let's Take a Stroll Up Old Grand Avenue

Let's Take a Stroll Up Old Grand Avenue

Hi! My name is Rosemarie Kohout Gray and since I enjoy company I was wondering if you would take a walk with me as we use our imaginations and memories of the 1950's and 60's and remember how it was on Grand Ave. in Maspeth. If you don't mind for a moment we'll stop and I'll tell you a little bit about my family and me.

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My Maspeth Memories

My Maspeth Memories

Grandma and Grandpa Stines lived in a large, stately house on Maspeth Avenue, just past P.S. 72 which is now Martin Luther High School. Seems like just about every boy and girl attended P.S. 72, as St. Stanislaus and Holy Cross schools were not yet opened. On the same large property as the house was a two (2) story factory in which they manufactured Navy uniforms for the sailors that were serving in World War I. The workers were all local Maspeth women earning a living, while their men were serving in the armed forces.

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Juniper Valley Racetrack

Juniper Valley Racetrack

About fifty years ago there was a race track in Maspeth. Many area men as well as men from all over New York came to race ther. Harold Storz, of Maspeth used to race at the track. He wrote us an interesting letter he thought would be of interest to our readers. We are delighted to print Mr. Storz' letter for you to enjoy.

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Happy Hundred Newtown High (1998)

Happy Hundred Newtown High (1998)

In commemoration of Newtown High School's upcoming centennial, The Juniper Berry would like to take this opportunity to indulge its readers in an historical perspective of Newtown proper and its high school. In recognition of the first graduating class of 1898 to the present graduating class of 1998, we congratulate you. Upon Newtown's discovery by Henry Hudson in 1609, this territory was originally named Mespat by the Indians and belonged to the New Netherlands. Among the first settlers to Mespat in 1642, was one Rev. Francis Doughty of the Mayflower expeditioners.

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History of St. John's Cemetery

History of St. John's Cemetery

The area now called St. John's Cemetery was once called the Hempstead Swamp. Lands were allotted and clearing and draining began about 1670. On August 8, 1879 the Rev. John Loughlin, the Roman catholic Bishop of Brooklyn, bought the Mills farm for $44,000. On September 6, 1879 the property was transferred to the newly organized St. John's Cemetery. Shortly after surveyors went to work projecting plans for roads and burial plots.

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Lutheran Dummy Trolley

Lutheran Dummy Trolley

Dummies were trolley-like cars pulled by steam locomotives, which used coal for fuel. It was from the small engine-car however, that name "dummy" derived. These steam engines were short and miniature, rolling along on four wheels. The inevitable smokestack jutted up through the roof. They were slow, chugging along at 10 miles per hour. Their black smoke would billow into the air, making them one of the first polluters of the air.

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William Eckert, peddler

William Eckert, peddler

The Eckerts had two sons who with their father eventually started a fruit and vegetable business in the Maspeth area. The business used horses and wagons to deliver their produce.

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Middle Village Asks Rothstein Tract Restudy

Middle Village Asks Rothstein Tract Restudy

An appeal to City Plan Commissioner Sullivan to reconsider his stand against acquisition of the Rothstein tract, between Maspeth and Middle Village, as a park site, will be made by the Middle Village Community Council.

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Peat Bog in Juniper Swamp

Peat Bog in Juniper Swamp

Description of Juniper Swamp from July 4, 1918.

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The Rey Family

The Rey Family

The first of the Rey family came to Middle Village in 1847. Jean Baptiste de Rey was born in l80l in Toulon, France. He attended the University of Toulon and earned a degree in chemistry. With his wife, Elizabeth Lorraine, he immigrated to America in l830. They entered through Ellis Island and settled on l4th Street in lower Manhattan.

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Middle Village Harvest Picnic

Middle Village Harvest Picnic

Since this area was once made up of many farms it is interesting to learn about the farmers who once lived in Maspeth and Middle Village. The big event in the social life of the farmers was the Harvest Picnic. For at least six months before the harvest season the farmers and their families planned for the big occasion. They had worked hard all Spring and Summer working the land and growing their crops. They looked forward to the big day of the picnic for some well earned enjoyment.

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General Slocum Disaster Remembered 1904-2004

General Slocum Disaster Remembered 1904-2004

Ask any New Yorker to name the city's greatest disaster before September 11, 2001 and invariably they offer the same answer: the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire of 1911.

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The History of the Pullis Farm Cemetery Landmark

The History of the Pullis Farm Cemetery Landmark

This non-profit, publicly supported organization was founded on January 16, 1993 by Ed Shusterich, President and Juniper Park Warden, in his efforts to restore and maintain an historical landmark cemetery in Juniper Valley Park...

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Peter Hirsch, Middle Village Pioneer

Peter Hirsch, Middle Village Pioneer

In 1850 Phillip and Joseph Hirsch established a grocery and seed store on Metropolitan Avenue. They also had a saloon on the corner of 80th Street and Metropolitan Avenue. Peter Hirsch was born in 1849 in Manhattan. When he was 5 years old his father moved the family to Middle Village.

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Mr. Maspeth’s Wonderful Life

Mr. Maspeth's Wonderful Life

On May 3, 2004 we lost a truly great man, Maspeth civic and business leader and my friend, Frank Principe. Frank dedicated his life to the community, a life that was long on years (94) and accomplishments.

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A Grand Tale of Two Trolley Lines

A Grand Tale of Two Trolley Lines

The Brooklyn Dodgers were so named because Brooklyn was once a stronghold of the trolley car and in order to reach Ebbets Field one had to be a dodger of trolleys.

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A Short History of St. Margaret’s Parish

A Short History of St. Margaret's Parish

On October 30, 1853 Bishop John Loughlin was consecrated the first Bishop of New York, creating the Brooklyn Diocese. Shortly thereafter, he noticed that in the Middle Village area there were quite a few Catholics without a church of their own.

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Visions of Sugar Plums

Visions of Sugar Plums

The little known connection between Middle Village and the Modern Day Image of Santa Claus

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