Close-up on Maspeth


Portions of this article have been updated.

Like the rest of Queens, Maspeth has a bustling and gritty shopping district, farting buses and fast cars, and visible sky. Still, much of the neighborhood resembles the bucolic outskirts of London or Dublin, with brick two-story English Tudor-style houses, stony bridges over meandering train tracks, and trees galore. A daytime stroll finds backpack-toting schoolchildren dismounting from city buses and warm Irish pubs where the day laborers take a beer with lunch. It’s a homey, old-country population of neighbors and friends, a working class that insists upon decent living conditions. And though time has seen new waves of Indian, Pakistani, Korean, and young Irish immigrant families move into a neighborhood of Poles and Italians, as one realtor said, “it hasn’t really changed that much.”

Boundaries: BQE to the north, 69th Street to the east, Metropolitan Avenue to the south, and Newtown Creek and Brooklyn to the west

Transportation: No trains have stops directly in Maspeth, but all are accessible by bus, including the 7 (Woodside/61st Street and 74th Street/Broadway stops), the G, R, and V (Elmhurst Avenue stop), the M (Forest Avenue through Metropolitan Avenue stops), and the L (Jefferson Avenue through Myrtle Avenue stops); from the train, the ride to midtown is about 30 minutes. Buses: Q18, 38, 39, 54, 57, 58, 59, and 67, and the B38. The LIRR also stops at Woodhaven/61st Street.

Main Drags: Grand Avenue, a/k/a “the Avenue,” provides quick access to Brooklyn. Factories and distribution warehouses on the westernmost end provide work for many locals, while the east end’s bars, restaurants, and shops are where residents spend their wages.

Average Price to Rent: One-bedrooms, $900 to $1100 ($800 to $1100); two-bedrooms, $1200 to $1500; three-bedrooms, $1200 to $1600 ($1500 to $1800). Studios are illegal, and there are very few, if any, lofts, condos, co-ops, and rental houses.

Average Price to Buy: Single-family homes, $500,000 to $550,000 ($300,000 to $450,000); two-family homes, $450,000 to $700,000; three-family homes, $900,000 ($650,000 to $850,000). Dierdre O’Connolly, a 30-year-old waitress and Maspeth homeowner, likes the neighborhood for its low-rise buildings, proximity to the city, and intimate atmosphere. “The crime here’s low,” says O’Connolly. “You don’t have to worry about your neighbors breaking into your car.”

Coffeehouses: Diners like FAME (69-67 Grand Avenue) and ABC Restaurant (66-35 Grand Avenue) are the locals’ choices for chewing and chatting.

Shops: Maspeth is neither a 99-cent-store bargain district nor a mall rat’s haven. A few consignment stores dot the area such as On the Road Again (65-46 Grand Avenue), which hawks strollers, toys, and children’s clothing.

Cultural Institutions: The Queens Public Library Maspeth branch (69-70 Grand Avenue) hosts children’s events, knitting workshops, and biweekly English lessons. Across the street, the Selfhelp Maspeth Senior Center (69-61 Grand Avenue) offers arts-and-crafts workshops, while the Maspeth Town Hall (53-37 72nd Street) holds seasonal community events and houses a child care center too.

Parks: Juniper Valley Park, though technically in Middle Village, is just a few blocks below Grand Avenue off 72nd Street. Maurice Park (Maurice and 54th avenues) is another popular green space.

Best Restaurants: The Grand Stand Pub (85-35 Grand Avenue) in nearby Elmhurst is a classy traditional Irish watering hole that serves a Sunday Irish brunch. For Indian and Indonesian, Tikka Masala (71-03 Grand Avenue).

Best Bars/Clubs: You know Matchmaker (58-14 61st Street) is a great bar upon entry: The smell of soured beer and stale smoke saturates the wooden floor planks. There’s also a dart team, a pool team, and live bands on weekend nights. O’Neill’s (64-21 53rd Drive), a jovial and bustling Irish bar with an Italian brick-oven pizzeria, is a gambler’s haven, with off-track-betting machines, over 50 big-screen TVs to watch the races from, lottery-ticket dispensers, computer poker, and a New York Lottery office.

Politicians: Councilmembers Eric Gioia and Melinda Katz; assemblywomen Catherine T. Nolan and Margaret Markey; representatives Joseph Crowley and Nydia Velasquez, and State Senator Daniel R. Hevesi, all Democrats, and State Senator Serphin Maltese, a Republican.

Crime Stats: The 104th Precinct covers the large area of Ridgewood, Glendale, Middle Village, and Maspeth. As of November 22, 2005, it reported 2 murders, 209 rapes, 157 robberies, 431 felony assaults, and 477 burglaries. (As of January 26, it reported one murder, up one; one rape, up one; 23 robberies, up four; 57 burglaries, down seven; and 20 felonious assaults, up eight.)