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Middle Village is a mainly residential neighborhood in the central section of the borough of Queens, New York City, bounded to the north by the Long Island Expressway, to the east by Woodhaven Boulevard, to the south by Cooper Avenue, and to the west by Mount Olivet Cemetery. A small trapezoid-shaped area bounded by Mt. Olivet Crescent to the east, Fresh Pond Road to the west, Eliot Avenue to the north, and Metropolitan Avenue to the south, is often counted as part of Middle Village but is sometimes considered part of nearby Ridgewood.
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 reassigned from Elmhurst’s ZIP code of 11373 to Middle Village’s ZIP code of 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.
Metro Mall is a shopping mall on Metropolitan Avenue just west of the neighborhood’s subway station. In 1920, the C.B. French Company, which made telephone booths for the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (now AT&T), built a factory on what is now the site of Metro Mall. After the C.B. French Company was acquired by the Turner-Armour Company, which was in turn acquired by the Western Electric Company, Western Electric continued to operate the plant and make telephone booths for AT&T. The plant was closed by around 1965, after which United Merchants and Manufacturers Inc. acquired the land and built a three-story mall on the site between 1972–4.
The Frank T. Lang Building, at Metropolitan Avenue and 69th Street, was constructed in 1904. It is named after Frank Lang, the building’s namesake, who built mausoleums and monuments. The building, which sold mausoleums and monuments until 1946, also used to have an “H.C. Bohack” gas station, operated by the same man who also headed the Bohack grocery store chain. The two-story art deco building is notable for imposing gargoyles and finely chiseled faces on its roof.
Niederstein’s, a renowned local restaurant, was located at 69-16 Metropolitan Avenue until it was demolished in 2005. The site, located near present-day 69th Street, was prime real estate in the early 19th century. Isaac Ferguson, who owned 7⁄12 acre (0.24 ha) of land at the site, sold 1⁄3 acre (0.13 ha) of his land to John Heuss, having been loath to give his land to the Geissenhainers of Lutheran Cemetery due to Ferguson’s concerns that the tract was worth more than what the Geissenhainers would have paid for it. Huess later sold the land to Henry Schumacher, a then-27-year-old Württemberg native. In 1850, Schumacher built a 2-story wooden roadside lodge, called the Schumacher’s Lager Beer Saloon and Hotel, on the Williamsburgh and Jamaica Turnpike. Ferguson sold the remaining 1⁄4 acre (0.10 ha) to Schumacher in 1864, by which time the area’s hotels were booming in popularity. In 1888, Schumacher was dead and his wife, Catharina Sutter, sold the building and the business to John Niederstein, a German cook. Niederstein built 32 rooms with two wings and operated the lodge as a hotel. Henrietta Gabriel, John Niederstein’s granddaughter, bought the business from Grace, Niederstein’s daughter-in-law, in 1920. In 1969, Gabriel sold the hotel to Reiner and Horst Herink, who operated the structure as a restaurant. Once patronized by 130 thousand annual diners, the restaurant became less popular by the 1990s. Because of its many modifications, the building was ineligible for landmarking by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. The property was sold in the early 2000s and demolished in September 2005 to make way for an Arby’s restaurant.
A volunteer fire department, Fearless Hook and Ladder Company No. 7, operated at 71-55 Metropolitan Avenue from 1891 until 1986.
The Arion Theater, a one-screen, 970-seat theater at Metropolitan Avenue and 74th Street, was built in 1921 and was the first theater in Queens that had wiring for loudspeakers. It closed in the mid-1980s because of a never-implemented plan to turn the structure into a triplex. Instead, the theater was converted to a RiteAid drugstore—which closed in 2009—and then to a Spirit Halloween superstore. As of 2016, the site is a Salvation Army location.
The Artistic Building, on Metropolitan Avenue between 79th and 80th Streets, is a 1930 structure that is notable for having friezes of biblical scenes on its facade. As of 2005, it was a tailor’s shop.
There are also some very old houses in Middle Village. The Morrell House, built by English settler Thomas Morrell, was built in 1719 on present-day Juniper Valley Road; the house was demolished in 1985. By 1995, two other historical houses were slated for demolition by the same developer who demolished the Morrell House. In 2005, though, the Juniper Park Civic Association successfully petitioned to get parts of Maspeth and Middle Village rezoned to prevent aggressive redevelopment. An old farmhouse on Furmanville Avenue, built in the 1890s, still exists as of 2007.
Content courtesy of Wikipedia.org