Happy Birthday, Eliot Avenue! - JuniperCivic.com
Serving Middle Village and Maspeth since 1938.

Originally published in the June 2009 Juniper Berry Magazine

Happy Birthday, Eliot Avenue!

Eliot Ave west from 84th Street, June 16, 1936.

Eliot Avenue runs from Metropolitan Avenue to Queens Boulevard. The oldest parts of the road are in Middle Village, from Fresh Pond Road to Mt. Olivet Crescent and in Maspeth, between Metropolitan Avenue and Fresh Pond Road.

Eliot Avenue was named for Walter G. Eliot, an engineer in the Queens Topographical Bureau who was in charge of the Bureau in 1910. (He even went so far as to name the street a block over for his daughter Marion. Marion Avenue was renamed 63rd Avenue in the 1920s.) It was known as Eliot Avenue until 1925, when it was changed to 61st Avenue. In 1930 or 1931, the street's name was changed back to Eliot Avenue and has remained so ever since.

For many years, it was planned that this street would extend to Woodhaven Boulevard and further to Queens Boulevard, but it was not completed until late 1938 (and dedicated on February 11th, 1939), just in time for the upcoming World's Fair in 1939-40. Eliot Avenue was sometimes called "World's Fair Avenue, because it was the main road, if not the only road, that lead from Brooklyn to the World's Fair in Flushing.

Much of the road in Middle Village is laid over the ancient Juniper Swamp (a swamp that existed when the original settlers came here in the 1600's). Many delays were caused by the refusal of the cemeteries to permit a road to be cut through from Mt. Oliver Crescent going east. After several years of planning, the City was permitted to cut a narrow two-lane road through the cemetery.

This two-lane portion of Eliot Avenue, which was reconstructed last year, is still in use, while most of Eliot Avenue is much wider.

Eliot Avenue, as widened and paved from Metropolitan Avenue to Queens Boulevard, opened officially on February 11, 1939.

The opening of Eliot Avenue coincided with the construction of the Juniper Park Homes. The first model home was opened on 79th Street and was the first of 56 homes that opened in the fall of 1938. The homeowners formed the Residents of Juniper Park Homes, which in 1942 merged with the Eliot Avenue Civic Association and became the Juniper Park Civic Association.

If Mr. Eliot were alive today, he would see a beautiful tree-lined road, heavily traveled by area residents, and with lovely homes and stores. Surely a sight to make him proud!