Just when you refuse to accept the fact that summer is almost over and that school will be starting soon, Maspeth and Middle Village have come to the rescue with some great last minute summer fun.
The two seemingly sleepy, mostly middle-class neighborhoods are actually bustling centers of activity with a solid sense of civic pride. Once considered “the boondocks” by Manhattanites and mostly comprised of farmland years ago, they both have active civic groups, social clubs and school organizations that help keep the areas clean, safe and secure.
And many of these same groups are also responsible for staging a great deal of interesting community events that draw visitors from all over.
To begin, onecannot speak about Maspeth or Middle Village without giving credit to Community Board 5, a dedicated group of people led by District Manager Gary Giordano. CB 5 serves both Maspeth and Middle Village and is responsive to the residents it serves. CB 5 can be reached by calling (718) 366-1834 or by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When you visit Maspeth, travel northbound on 69th Street or westbound on the LIE and you can’t help but notice the huge, in-your-face American flag and bald eagle mural on the side of Maspeth Federal Savings Bank’s main office. It is located on the corner of Grand Avenue and 69th Street.Bursting withcivic pride, the mural says it all with its motto: Maspeth is America.
Maspeth Savings Bank is not only the centerpieceof Maspeth, it is also a major financial supporter of numerous community improvement projects and the host of free outdoor summer concerts held in its parking lot.
The next free concert will be a Polish Night featuring Jimmy Sturr with Carol Golis and the Polonaise Dancersm on Aug. 24 at 7:30 p.m. Bring your beach chair and tap your feet to this lively performance.
The Maspeth Kiwanis Summer Flea Market will be held in the same location on Oct. 16 (rain date Oct. 23) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is a popular event where you can find many bargains and treasures both old and new. Don’t miss it. Proceeds from this eventhelp fund the Maspeth Kiwanis Club’s many community improvements. Vendor information can be obtained by calling Maryanna Zero at (718) 326-2400.
No visit to Maspeth could be complete without a stopover for lunch and a cold one at Connolly’s Corner Restaurant at 71-15 Grand Ave. Enjoy one of their beef burgers or some juicy, fall-off-the-bone ribs on the outdoor patio or enjoy their dinner specials while watching all your favorite sports programs on their flat-screen TVs. Call (718) 565-7383 to ask about their weekend events.
Maspeth is also the home of a host of very active civic organizations like Lions International, the Elks Club, The Moose Lodge and Kiwanis International, as well as numerous veterans organizations that are the glue of this super-patriotic community. One such group, the Maspeth Kiwanis Club —in conjunction with the Maspeth Chamber of Commerce —supports the Maspeth Senior Center, Maspeth Town Hall and many other historical and social organizations with the money they raise from their many fundraising efforts.
They also sponsor street festivals and numerous neighborhood beautification projects. Their members are mostly local merchants, community leaders, business people and dedicated volunteers.
To become a member of this club or for more information, callthe new Lt. Gov. Mike Terry at (718) 898-0871 or President Lou Bekios at (718) 326-1090.One of their upcoming fundraising events is a bus trip to Atlantic City on Saturday, Aug. 27.
The bus leaves at 8 a.m. from Mount Olivet Cemetery at 65-40 Grand Ave. and includes a continental breakfast and many other perks and freebies on the bus and at the casino. For more information, contact Dave Gigler at(718) 326-1280.
Then, on Thursday, Sept. 15 at noon,the club will host aDay at The Racesat Belmont Park. This popular annual outingincludes a sumptuous lunch in the clubhouse and other perks for only $45 per person. CallLou Bekios at (718) 326-1090 for more information.
On Sept. 25, bring your appetite and some spending loot and head over with the kids to 69th Street and Grand Avenue for a great end-of-summer fun family day at the annual street festival. Your attendance and participation in these events help fund the many community projects of this active club.
TheMaspeth Kiwanis Clubis part of Kiwanis International, a philanthropic organization that provides many critical servicesto needy children and their families in the United States and all over the world. Their project for 2011, in conjunction with the United Nations Children’s Fund, is Project Eliminate — a global effort toeliminate tetanus, a painful medical condition that affects infants and their mothers in developing countries.
This condition is easily cured by vaccinations that cost only pennies per dose. You can donate by calling J.P. DiTroia at (718) 821-9700 or by mailing a donation to: Project Eliminate, c/o J.P. DiTroia, U.S. Columbarium, 61-40 Mt. Olivet Crescent, Middle Village, NY 11379.
The historic U.S. Columbarium in Middle Village is hosting a genealogy seminar series beginning on Thursday, Sept. 8 from 7 to 9 p.m. The first class, one of four in the series, is free so grab your pen and notebook and head on over to hear Tony Lauriano, the Sherlock Holmes of genealogy, who will be teaching attendees how to connect with ancestors. If you like the first class, you can sign up for the remaining three Thursday evening classes for a small tax-deductible donation of only $35 for the entire series.
While you are there, ask for a free tour of the historic building with its Tiffany- stained glass windows and towering hundred-year-old ornate brass doors. Call (718) 821-9700 for more information or to reserve your seat in the class.
Then, grab the kids, your picnic basket, some cold drinks and a blanket and take the short ride over to Juniper Valley Park at 80th Street and Juniper Valley Road in Middle Village for some relaxing, quality family time. There’s plenty of shade, new playgrounds for the kids, a running track and more. Read a book, take a brisk walk, practice your soccer moves, catch up on your tan or just bask under the shade trees and catch a cool breeze.
If you forget the picnic basket, you can find a delicious and healthy meal only five minutes away at Gyro Grill, a new Mediterranean cuisine restaurant located at 63-02 Woodhaven Blvd. They offer the freshest and most delicious souvlaki, gyros, moussaka, spinach pie and many other authentic Greek specialties that you can eat in or take out. Or call them at (718) 779-0900 for free delivery.
For the older folks, the Middle Village Older Adult Center at 69-10 75 St. offers many fun, interesting and educational activities for those who are 60 or older. Class offerings include everything from art to zumba.
The centeris now offeringadult computer courses for beginners to advanced including introduction to computers, digital photography Microsoft Word and Excel and many more. If you have been feeling like roadkill on the information highway and always wanted to move into the computer age, this is your chance. Call Dina at (718) 894-3441 for more information.
And when you are ready to accept that summer is truly over, you can take the fun and games indoors with adult continuing education courses at Christ the King High School at 68-02 Metropolitan Ave. They have a large selection of classes sure to interest everyone, ranging from arithmetic to zumba.
Call the school at (718) 366-7400, ext. 244 to get their comprehensive program guide and reserve your seat now before the classes fill up.
May the rest of your summer be safe and happyand be sure to get your copy of the Queens Chronicle on Aug. 25 for some great bargains in the Back To School Fall Guide.