Middle Village in Queens NY

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Middle Village is in the heart of Queens' cemetery land. This working-class neighborhood was until recently mostly Italian. But its relatively inexpensive rents and central location have enticed immigrants from Latin America, Poland, and Ireland. This both quiet and bustling neighborhood is home to many of NY's finest. Public transportation options are limited, so most residents drive (and park). And everyone walks to shop and eat on Metropolitan Avenue.

Middle Village Boundaries and Main Streets:

The main drag that defines Middle Village is Metropolitan Avenue. It's abuzz with small chains and mom-and-pop stores, but is so quiet on the stretches through St. John's Cemetery and the Lutheran Cemetery. To the east is wide Woodhaven Boulevard and then Forest Hills. Eliot Avenue separates it from Rego Park to the north and from Maspeth to the west. LIRR tracks and Cooper Avenue divide it from kindred spirits in Ridgewood and Glendale to the south.

History of Middle Village:

Named due to its location midway between Williamsburg and Jamaica, Middle Village got its start in 1816 as part of the larger Newtown community. It didn't take off until burials were banned in Manhattan and churches bought farmland in the area for new cemeteries. Germans dominated the area and its cemetery businesses until Italian immigrants supplanted them in the 20th century. In 1915 the Juniper Swamp was filled in, becoming Juniper Park and allowing for development of the surrounding area.

The Middle Village Famous Dead:

St. John's Cemetery holds many famed mobsters, including John Gotti and Lucky Luciano. Somehow fitness guru Charles Atlas and photographer Robert Mapplethorpe are also interred there. The General Slocum Steamboat Fire Mass Memorial, commemorating one of the worst disasters in NYC's history, is at Lutheran All Faiths Cemetery (67-29 Metropolitan Avenue).

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