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Real EstateCity LivingQueens

City Living: Maspeth is a caring community bordering a thriving industrial zone

With three cemeteries close to its borders, Maspeth has an almost isolated feel, despite being locked between several of Queens busiest neighborhoods and parts of Brooklyn.

But the southwest Queens community has learned to take care of itself through the generations and residents are happy to be here.

Maspeth is a comprised of workers, some who go across town every day to one of the hundreds of companies that produce goods in its industrial section, and neighbors who are close and watch each others kids.

The ride along New Cavalry, Mt. Zion, First Cavalry and Mount Olivet cemeteries to get into and around Maspeth adds an aesthetic appeal.

Its like a little village here. I cant go to the store without someone stopping me, passing along neighborhood gossip, said Roe Daraio, a resident of over 30 years and president of the Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together civic group. She moved to the area as a child with her parents and now she and her son David still live here.

Its accessibility to highways such as the Long Island and Brooklyn Queens expressways -- makes it a great place to live for car-owners, but those who use public transportation will find it lacking in train access. Maspeth doesnt have any stations in its borders, the closest being the M at Grand Avenue in Elmhurst and Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village.

However, it is served by several bus lines that quickly transport commuters to the M and neighboring Woodside, Sunnyside, Elmhurst, Ridgewood and East Williamsburg, among other bordering nabes.

Its really convenient, said Lucille Winkso, a resident since 1975, said of transit in Maspeth. I dont really need to use my car because the public transportation is good. Though theres no trains here, the buses make up for that.

The feeling of separation from the rest of the city also keeps its population density and living prices down, according to Jim OKane, who owns OKane Realty on Grand Avenue.

Were located 5 miles outside of Midtown and 42nd Street, yet we still maintain that small-town spirit, he said. Hes lived in Maspeth since his parents moved here at the end of World War II.

While rental and sales prices in Woodside and Sunnyside have shot up in recent years, OKane said that in Maspeth the rise has been more moderate.

A one-family runs between $400,000 and $500,000, he said. Newer homes cost closer to $600,000. One-bedroom rentals go for about $1,200 and two-bedrooms are $1,400 and up.

However, right now there is a shortage of all housing and rentals on the market, OKane disclosed. Things dont last on the market very long here. Down by Newtown Greek, Maspeths industrial area houses roughly 850 companies and manufacturers of all kinds of goods, including food and drinks, steel work, concrete, commercial prints and chemical products, according to the Maspeth Industrial Business Association.

Immigrants from Poland, Ireland and Italy gravitated to Maspeth in the hundred years or so, and are still represented in the areas restaurants, pizzerias and delis, from Iavarone Brothers Quality Foods on Grand Avenue to ONeills Quality Foods on 53rd Drive.

Retail shopping and nightlife arent the focus for residents in Maspeth, but families thrive in its good schools and community events.

The numerous local organizations devote time and effort each year to making the area fun, safe and clean.

The Maspeth Town Hall community center on 72nd Street, for example, offers programs and activities for all ages.

The local Chamber of Commerce, the Lions Club and the Maspeth Federal Savings Bank throw a Memorial Day Parade, antique car shows, flea markets, a tree-lighting ceremony during the holidays and the Ragamuffin Halloween Parade, and perform general upkeep in the nabe.

And in addition to loving their community, Maspeth honors its heroes, together. Its Memorial Square, at Grand Avenue and 69th Street, pays homage to the residents and firefighters from the FDNY Squad 288 & HAZMAT 1 that were lost on 9/11 for which there is also an annual anniversary commemoration and war veterans.

There is a warmth and the caring that people have for each other here, doted Eileen Reilly of the Maspeth Town Hall. Theres a sign on [Grand Avenue] that says Maspeth is America -- thats true; everyone here feels mindful of their country, community and being a good citizen and neighbor.