Middle Village, Queens (History)

(Neighborhoods In Queens)

neighborhoods_queens_middle_vilage_300x300Middle Village is a middle-upper class neighborhood in the central section of the New York City borough of Queens. The neighborhood is located in the western central section of Queens, bounded to the north by the Long Island Expressway, to the east by Woodhaven Boulevard, to the south by Cooper Avenue and the Long Island Rail Road’s Montauk Branch, and to the west by Fresh Pond Road. Middle Village is bordered by the neighborhoods of Elmhurst to the north, Maspeth and Ridgewood to the west, Glendale to the south, and Rego Park to the east. In 2003, “South Elmhurst”, an area between Eliot Avenue and the Long Island Expressway, was added to Middle Village’s ZIP code (11379). The neighborhood is part of Queens Community District 5, served by Queens Community Board 5.Housing in the neighborhood is largely single-family homes with many attached homes, and small apartment buildings.

 

HISTORY

The area was settled around 1816 by people of English descent and was named in the early nineteenth-century for its location as the midpoint between the then-towns of Williamsburg (Brooklyn) and Jamaica (Queens) on the Williamsburgh and Jamaica Turnpike (now Metropolitan Avenue), which opened in 1816. In 1852, a Manhattan Lutheran church purchased the farmland on the western end of the hamlet that would become the Lutheran Cemetery. The St. John’s Roman Catholic Cemetery was laid out on the eastern side of the town in 1879. After the Civil War, the area became predominantly German. Hotels and other services appeared to meet the needs of cemetery visitors. A housing boom which began in the 1920s eventually consumed the surrounding farmland and became continuous with neighboring towns and neighborhoods.

Middle Village is served by Juniper Valley Park, a large public park built on what was once called Juniper Swamp (filled in 1915).

Four national historic districts were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983:Forest-Norman Historic District; Grove-Linden-St. John’s Historic District; Seneca-Onderdonk-Woodward Historic District; and Woodbine-Palmetto-Gates Historic District.

 

DEMOGRAPHICS

The population in Middle Village is Italian American and Irish American, although Middle Village has seen an influx of Polish, Eastern Europeans, Chinese Americans (mostly in South Elmhurst, after a ZIP code change in the early 2000s). Many of the older families have left Middle Village but have not sold their homes but rather passed them down to their children; the result is many second and third generation residents.