NASSAU HEIGHTS, 1922

1922maspeth
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Once again, let’s blow the dust off a 1922 edition of a Hagstrom 5-boro map that I furtively captured with a digital camera on a long-ago day ay the Map Room of the New York Public Library on 5th Avenue. The attendant had told me that there was no way the map could be photocopied, not because of a copyright issue but because the map was in poor shape and couldn’t hold up in a drum scanner. Otherwise, I’d have the whole darn thing. This way, I was only able to get selected slices.

So, let’s note the differences between this and today’s map. For one thing, no one calls the neighborhood Nassau Heights anymore. The southern section is Middle Village, the middle was developed as Juniper Park in the 1930s, and the north end is an eastern section of Maspeth or the west end of Elmhurst (there’s debate over the boundary line).

Eliot Avenue is missing. It was not cut through the area until the mid-1930s. Therefore. Mt. Olivet Cemetery abuts Lutheran (All-Faiths) Cemetery. The Wayland Avenue that cuts through Lutheran Cemetery is no longer there. The mapped 61st Avenue later became Eliot Avenue. 61st Avenue is an odd numbered avenue in Queens in more ways that one — today it runs only in Glen Oaks.

Many more streets are named. In 1922 the Queens numbering system, adopted in 1915, hadn’t yet reached several neighborhoods. The map notes the old names along with the new numbers. Note that Mazeau Street extends much further south than today. My favorite street name in Queens, Juniper Valley Road, was kept after the numbers took over. Some other names have survived too, like Dry Harbor Road, Penelope Avenue, Gray Street, Pleasant View Street and others.





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11 Responses to NASSAU HEIGHTS, 1922

  1. Al Tz says:

    The dotted and straight line from top to bottom is the cut of the New York Connecting Railroad, that comes from the Hell Gate bridge up north, and connects with the LIRR Montauk branch a short distance south. Many of the streets alongside it were cut off and became dead ends because of the railroad cut.

    Also interesting is Jupiter Ave near what would become Juniper Park. I have heard some locals (both young and old) incorrectly refer to the park and the “Juniper-named” neighborhood streets as “Jupiter”.

    Al T. (living on what was Ward Street, near the center of this map)

  2. Andy says:

    The Long Island Expressway today cuts across the very top of the map. It is above where 58th Avenue appears. That route was not built till the mid 1950s. Before that the original LIE (then called the Midtown Highway) ended at the Brooklyn Queens Expressway.

  3. Allan Rosen says:

    My favorite former street name in Queens is still “Shoe and Leather Street” which is now something like 103 Rd. Too lazy to check the exact street name now.

  4. Alan Gregg Cohen says:

    Love to see these old maps of Queens, especially before they robbed the borough of most of it’s original street names and supplanted them with numbers (devoid of any charm, or historical reasons that the old names had. I guess this was another way towards urbanizing Queens by eliminating suburban sounding names. They could have just as easily applied the new (borough-wide) address numbering system ( e.g. 63-xx or 101-xx) on an overlay of the old street names with street signs noting the block number on them, a practice that is found in many cities and even rural areas throughout the US, mainly in the midwest and western states.

    • Howard Fein says:

      Many areas of Queens still have heavy swaths of named streets: Ridgewood, Elmhurst, Rego Park, Forest Holls, Jamaica Estates, South Jamaica, Saint Albans (a large neighborhood of streets intriguingly named for NYS villages), Springfield Gardens, Holliswood, Bellerose, Douglaston and Little Neck. Until the 1960s Hagstrom had numbered designations for many streets in Forest Hills Gardens, whose unique non-NYCDOT signs ALWAYS carried the original names. Likewise Douglaston Manor. Recently a newly landmarked section of Douglaston renamed numbered streets and avenues back to their original names.

  5. andy says:

    Today the Long Island Expressway slices across the top of this map location, roughly just north of 58th Avenue. It was originally called the Midtown Highway when the first stretch opened in 1940 between the then-new Queens-Midtown Tunnel and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. In the mid 1950s the stretch through Nassau Heights was built as far as Queens Blvd., where it connected with Horace Harding Boulevard. That artery, in turn, was rebuilt to accommodate the LIE all the way to Queens-Nassau boundary (completed in 1960-61).

  6. chris says:

    Something else to note. Maybe at one time Juniper Valley Rd. extended to Woodhaven but today the road bordering the Cemetery is Furmanville. The peat bog that became Juniper Valley Park has yet to appear and onetime there was a race track there.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juniper_Valley_Park

    For the record, ‘Penelope’ is not pronounced like the girls name, it is more like pen-A-lope, at least it was that way in the 50′s.

  7. John Dereszewski says:

    It’s funny but in the early 20th century a number of places and buildings were named “Nassau”. While that was the name given to that part of Queens that did not join NYC – which of course stuck – it was also the name – in this case the “Nassau River” – that the powers that be tried to foist upon Newtown Creek right after that body of water was channelized. It obviously did not stick. My guess is that the same sequence occurred here.

  8. steve says:

    It’s important to note many on that map are merely Names Without Streets. The area at the center of the map, around the word NASSAU, had neither houses nor actual streets at the time the map was drawn. That land was Juniper Swamp, the drier parts of which were farmed before Arnold Rothstein consolidated it, built a phantom town consisting of facades, and tried to sell it all to NYC at an inflated price. After Rothstein was murdered, NYC acquired the land in payment of his back taxes, and turned much of it into Juniper Valley Park

  9. Frank Jellison says:

    See http://www.junipercivic.com/historyArticle.asp?nid=6 for further info on Wayland Avenue

  10. Howard Fein says:

    This is fascinating; I never knew this area to be known as anything but Middle Village, supposedly named because of its central location between Jamaica and Williamsburg along the toll road that is now Metropolitan Avenue.

    A couple of thoughts and corrections: the area south of the LIE and north of Eliot Avenue between 74th Street and the LIRR main line was considered Elmhurst 11373 for decades until it was officially absorbed into Middle Village 11379 sometime in the 1990s or 2000s. Local residents felt the expressway’s huge shadow put them much more in Middle Village than Elmhurst. Maspeth 11378 is north of Eliot Avenue west of 74th Street, and is still bisected by the expressway.

    Through the 1970s, Hagstrom maps showed 63rd Avenue (Wayland Avenue on this map) cutting through Lutheran Cemetery between Mount Olivet Crescent and 69th Street. If there ever was a street through there, it must have been eliminated many decades ago. I found out the hard way when first exploring the area by bike in the late 1970s when I was forced on a lengthy detour to narrow, hilly Eliot Avenue.

    And 61st Avenue is in Douglaston and Little Neck for its brief run, not Glen Oaks. As a fan of the number six, it always bothered me that 66th Avenue always got short shrift, only existing in Rego Park, Forest Hills and (beginning the the early 1970s) a couple of blocks of a Douglaston townhouse development. Juniper Valley Road fills the role of 66th Avenue quite ably through Middle Village.

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