Eileen Reilly moved to Maspeth in 1980 with her husband and has resided here since. She has been at the Maspeth Town Hall Community Center for 20 years and is its executive director. The Town Hall, at 55-37 72nd St., offers free and low-cost educational, recreational and cultural programs to the residents of Maspeth and surrounding neighborhoods. The center services about 40 children a day, Reilly said.
How does the Town Hall benefit Maspeth?
We’ve answered the needs of the community. We offer senior programs, a program for toddlers which serves 150 families, and an afterschool program that serves the majority of P.S. 58 The School of Heroes students. Our toddler program gives parents an opportunity to meet other people within same age range and range of the children and it makes them feel part of the community. It helps people who are new to the community or may not have family in the community, and it’s a place where really true friendships are made and grow.
What’s it like living in Maspeth?
It’s a true community here. I’m very fortunate to live and work in same place. We have a lot of people that move away and will come back and say how much they miss not having a community center in their new neighborhood. People want to live in the area. You have to remember, it’s 15 minutes to Manhattan from here. It’s tremendously convenient being five minutes away from [the] Midtown Tunnel. If you take traffic out of [the] equation, it’s 20-25 minutes to Manhattan.
What do you think could be better about the neighborhood?
There’s a lot of truck traffic on Grand Avenue and it’s certainly hazardous. The speed of cars is also a problem, whether it’s residents or people who work here. There are too many children in Maspeth, no none should be going more than the 20 mph zone. I would like to see more streets be made into one-way streets. I think it will promote more safety. And I’d love to see more shopping options.