Middle Village was given its name because it was midpoint between points on the East River and Jamaica. The area was served by a trolley, which was replaced by the B53 bus in 1949.
One of the last surviving landmarks of old Middle Village was Niederstein’s, a hotel at what became 69-16 Metropolitan Ave. Officials didn’t file and keep records in the 19th century like we do today, but the building is estimated to have gone up in 1835. New wings were added over the years.
In 1850 the Common Council of New York City forbade burials in the city, which did not then include Queens. St. Paul’s German Lutheran Church on Sixth Avenue opened up a cemetery in 1852 right next door to the hotel, which was called Schumacher’s at that time. The hotel became famous as a stopover for funeral parties on their way back from the cemetery before the advent of the automobile.
In 1888 the hotel was sold to John Niederstein for $28,000 and the name was changed. Early in the 20th century it was owned by his relatives John and Henrietta Gabriel. It became famous for weddings and social, fraternal and political events. It was owned by a succession of relatives until June 1969, when it was sold to Horst Herink and his young brother Reiner. Reiner Herink left his job as a history professor at Queens College to go exclusively into the restaurant and catering business. Under the Herinks’ ownership the 19th-century open wooden porch was enclosed to make more room for dining.
Horst Herink died suddenly in 1994. Reiner Herink decided to sell in February 2005, at the height of the real estate boom, to Tom Clark, a Burger King and Arby’s franchisee. In September 2005 Niederstein’s was demolished, closing the book on a chapter of Middle Village history.