by Kevin Walsh

I’m not a big roast beef guy, so when I visit places like Roll & Roaster in Sheepshead Bay and Arby’s, I have other items on the menu. I was all set to order my chicken sandwich at the Arby’s on Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village one afternoon when I spotted a mural depicting what had been there before Arby’s arrived.

East of 69th Street there is a brief interruption in All-Faiths Cemetery on the south side of Metropolitan. Currently the space is filled by a medical lab and by an Arby’s, which, on one of the rocks guarding a driveway, there is an etching depicting a lengthy, two-story restaurant called Niederstein’s which formerly occupied the space. And within, there’s this mural depicting the roadhouse.

Built by Henry Schumacher about 1854, this building became John Niederstein’s hotel and restaurant in 1888. It originally served as a rest stop patronized by those hauling their goods between Jamaica and Williamsburg(h) via the former turnpike now called Metropolitan Avenue. In the 1970’s the hotel was modernized by its new owners, who removed the porch and carriage sheds to make way for small parking lots. It ceased functioning as a hotel many years ago.

Niederstein’s served typical German fare and in recent years catered mainly to funeral and wedding parties as well as loyal locals. There was no joy in “Midville” when the restaurant closed in February of 2005 and was sold to a fast food franchisee. Arby’s eventually razed the building. Over the years its interior and exterior had been altered to such a degree that it was deemed unworthy of protection by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Just east of here is one of NYC’s last taxidermists.

Check out the ForgottenBook, take a look at the gift shop, and as always, “comment…as you see fit.”



TomR January 18, 2021 - 8:17 pm

It really wasn’t good food, at all. I went a few times with my folks growing up (for the only reason you’d really go, anyway), with their German patron/bosses. A joyless place indeed. And the borscht was eh. The links to the juniper civic site don’t seem to go anywhere relevant, so here’s the links you might’ve had in mind:

Ray January 19, 2021 - 7:56 am

Wasn’t this the place with the elaborate old fans with pulleys on the ceiling?

Ellen January 19, 2021 - 4:37 pm

My Husband had his retirement party given by his co workers at Pfizer (Brooklyn) there. We also enjoyed many events there & dining when we got the chance.

Peter January 19, 2021 - 5:01 pm

Roald Dahl’s short story The Landlady was the best thing ever written about taxidermy. What, you thought he only wrote children’s stories?

Frank Jellison January 19, 2021 - 5:24 pm

I also went to Niedersteins many times with my parents as a child and enoyed the meals.. We can perhaps ignore what a child thinks when it comes to the quaility of food but years later I attened a wedding reception there and still l remmber the wonderful saurbratten that was served. Different strokes

MaryAnn JoAnn Agate January 20, 2021 - 3:29 pm

I worked there as Hostess and Cashier. Had a great experience working in this restaurant under the owner. Made it very convenient for me as I only lived down the street. The food and people were excellent!!..Miss the restaurant down the street


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