Welcome to Maspeth

        Maspeth is another hidden gem of the Old New York. It is an historically Irish and Italian, but increasingly Latino and East Asian working-class stronghold that lacks any good public transportation and is relatively close to New York’s industrial waste dump – also known as the Newtown Creek. While it is bordered by gentrifying neighborhoods – Ridgewood and Bushwick – the hipster coffee shops, Whole Foods and $20 ramen joints have not yet taken hold. Whatever the reason for Maspeth’s hold out, whether it’s lack of access to mass transit or lack of brownstones or both, it’s still worth celebrating a neighborhood that has managed to withstand the tides of gentrification that have swept unrelentingly over its neighbors. And although one of the purposes of this website is to document and criticize the rampant gentrification in New York, it is also useful to dive into the world a community that, at least for the foreseeable future, is not under any major threat of being displaced.

        Rosa’s Pizza at 69th Street and Clinton Avenue is an anchor for the surrounding neighborhood. People walk and drive from all over Maspeth just to eat at this one-of-a-kind pizza joint. On a typical Saturday you can sit at the old red booths or the squeaky and uneven wooden chairs and tables and eat a slice of some of the best pizza in New York. 

        As you eat you’ll notice the tired Irish father who leaves his car outside as he runs in to grab two large pies. He thanks the cashier and tells him to give the owner his regards. Then there’s the school kids who turn up in groups of four or five, taking turns sharing one bike between them. They tumble into the place filling it with shouts and laughter and the annoyed looks of adults. The owner does his rounds talking to the regulars and introducing himself to some of the new patrons. He’s an older Italian man, maybe in his fifties and bald. He looks tired but happy and clearly gets a kick out of hearing about the lives and stories of the locals.

68th Street and Jay Avenue

69th Street and Jay Avenue

69th Street and 55th Avenue

        Another staple of this neighborhood is Isabella’s Italian Ice & Ice cream shop. Right across the street from Rosa’s pizza, this open-air style corner shop provides a much-needed place for people to come, relax and cool off in the hot New York summers.

69th Street and Grand Avenue

        Iavarone Bros. on the busy corner of Grand Avenue and 69th Street is a small Italian deli and bakery that serves this historically Irish and Italian working class neighborhood. As you enter, the sound of honking cars and backfiring truck engines from the Long Island Expressway fade away and the air is filled with the rapid-fire thuds of sharp knives hitting cutting boards, pedal-cranked pasta machines chopping pasta, and the chatter of people at work. Behind the meat and cheese counter are a few large Italian guys with hair nets and thick accents. They’re chopping pork sausages into salami and cured ham into prosciutto. The smell of salt and meat lingers in the air and it feels like you have stepped back in time. It’s a Friday evening and the place is abuzz with locals from all around the neighborhood stocking up on pasta, meat and of course, cheese.

69th Street and Grand Avenue

Grand Avenue and 69th Place

Grand Avenue and 69th Place

Grand Avenue and 69th Place

Grand Avenue and 69th Place

Grand Avenue and 69th Place

Grand Avenue and 69th Lane

Grand Avenue and 71st Street

Grand Avenue and 71st Street

Grand Avenue and 71st Street

Grand Avenue and 69th Place

69th Street and 54th Avenue

69th Street and 53rd Drive

69th Street between 53rd Drive and 53rd Road

53rd Drive between 65th Place and 66th Street

65th Place and 53rd Drive

65th Place and 53rd Drive

65th Place and 53rd Drive

65th Place and 53rd Drive

69th Street and 52nd Drive

69th Street and 52nd Road

69th Street and 50th Avenue

69th Street and 48th Avenue

69th Street and 48th Avenue