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City Living: Queens Village is a peaceful nabe

JASON ANDREW

JASON ANDREW Photo Credit: Check out more photos of the neighborhood below.

If you ask residents what life is like in Queens Village, many say it is quiet and welcoming.

Neighbors in the residential nabe in eastern Queens know one another by name.

“People are very friendly,” explained Letitia Moratal, who’s worked at Doty’s, a local Filipino restaurant, for the last four years. “It’s a nice place to live.”

Akin to a rural town, it has one centrally located train stop, the Queens Village LIRR station, from which you can get to Penn Station in a half-hour.

But by car it’s easily accessible via the Clearview Expressway and the Grand Central and Cross Island parkways.

According to nycgov parks.org, the Jameco or Yamecah, a Native American tribe of the Algonquin nation, originally occupied the land later known in colonial times as “Little Plains.”

It was named Brushville in the 18th century and in 1923 was renamed Queens Village, by the LIRR Road, to differentiate the stop from the county of Queens.

Homage is paid to “Little Plains” on the sign at the LIRR Queens Village station.

The area is also home to Veterans Plaza, at the intersection of Springfield Boulevard and Jamaica Avenue, which honors the millions of soldiers killed and injured in World War I.

Queens Village is appealing to renters and homebuyers because it offers sizable properties.

“People like big, nice properties with plenty of street parking,” explained Kyle Thomas, a real estate agent from Exit Realty Central.

One-family homes can run more than $325,000 whereas two-family homes can cost more than $600,000, Thomas said.

Made up mostly of independent retailers, Queens Village also has a thriving business district along Jamaica Avenue, in addition to stores on Hempstead Avenue and Springfield Boulevard.

Although, in the last 10 years locals saw businesses close and banks move out, “banks are coming back and that brings back small business,” observed Mohamood Ishmael, a 28-year Queens Village resident who has served as president of the Queens Village Civic Association for the last three years.

“Commercial districts get people to move in,” he said.

The people recently moving into this already ethnically diverse area are mainly Haitians, Latinos and immigrants from India, Ishmael added.

The northern part of the nabe is mostly white and the southern part is predominantly black, he added.

But locals say the cultures exist harmoniously.

“We are one big family,” Moratal said.

Find it:

Queens Village, on the eastern edge of Queens, is bordered to the north by Hillside and Braddock avenues; to the east by Gettysburg Street, 225th Street, and the Cross Island Parkway; to the south by Murdock, 114th and 115th avenues; and to the west by Francis Lewis Boulevard.

The basics

Transportation

The LIRR gets you to Penn Station in 30 minutes from the Queens Village stop. Or you can jump on the Grand Central or Cross Island parkways to get around.

Buses

Q1, Q27/Q27LTD, Q36/Q36LTD, Q43/Q43LTD, Q83/Q83LTD, Q68, Q88, N24, X68

Library

Queens Library, Queens Village, 94-11 217th St. 718-776-6800

Post Office

USPS, 209-20 Jamaica Ave. 718-736-1572

Crime

Queens Village is patrolled by the 105th Precinct. Compared with the week of Oct. 7-13 last year, the area shows a 57.1% drop in murders, a 53.3% drop in rapes. Burglaries are down 7.5%. So far, three murders have been reported this year.

To eat:

St. Best Jerk Spot, 112-31 Springfield Ave.

This popular takeout spot offers great country-style Jamaican food. 718-465-1713

Doty’s Restaurant, 90-49 Springfield Ave.

This Filipino restaurant is a hidden jewel, whose motto is we’re all “One big family.” 718-465-2777

Kalalloo Restaurant, 215-52 Jamaica Ave.

This family-style restaurant serves classic Caribbean dishes. 718-776-5100

To party:

Windies, 216-06 Jamaica Ave.

At this full-service bar you can order West Indian rum -- and green shots on St. Patrick’s Day. 718-736-9414

Mateus, 222-05 Jamaica Ave.

Including the Portuguese Vinho do Porto, a sweet red wine, they serve up a range of liquors and beers that won’t break your budget. 718-464-4522

Cara Mia, 220-20 Hillside Ave.

Meet with your friends for exotic drinks, like a Samoan Martini, have a glass of red wine outside in a romantic Italian setting or celebrate any special occasion with champagne. 718-740-9118

To shop:

Jamaica Lampshade Corp., 212-26 Jamaica Ave.

They’ve been providing lampshades to restaurants, hotels and designers since 1953. In addition to their extensive inventory of soft and hard shades, they do custom designs. 718-776-5039

For You Beauty, 218-20 Hempstead Ave.

This super supply beauty store, in the Village Plaza Mall, has a large inventory of the best beauty products. 718-465-3595

Wear 2 Care, 218-29 Jamaica Ave.

A staple in this nabe for more than 26 years, this unique boutique carries shoes, accessories and scrubs at “budget prices.” 718-217-5853

To do:

Shotokan Karate Studio of Self-Defense, 214-42 Hillside Ave.

This Gracie Certified Jiu Jitsu training center is small but packs a big punch. It also offers a “BullyProof” training program for kids. 718-740-0950

Dance Studio A, 220-15 Jamaica Ave.

A modern dance school with a skilled and pleasant staff. 718-217-1404

Mainline Pro Sound & Video, 218-12 Hillside Ave.

These guys “Live the Culture,” as they celebrate their 25th year selling the latest in sound, lighting and video gear. Wanna be a DJ? They’ll teach you! 718-479-4848

Buzz:

The New York City Department of Education released a proposal last month to open and co-locate a new school within Martin Van Buren High School in Queens Village, reducing enrollment by nearly 500 students by 2017.

The DOE notice states that the new school, 26Q315, offering grades nine-14 early college and career technical education, is slated to open in 2014.

In the program students would be able to obtain a high school diploma and an associate degree, as well as partake in an internship outside the classroom.

“We’re delivering an incredible new Early College and Career Technical Education school for this community, one of only a handful from around the city,” DOE spokesman Harry Hartfield said. “This will be a new option that will deliver great outcomes for children, and we’re confident it will be in very high demand.”

According to the DOE, the new school will partner with Queens Community College But students and local officials don’t agree with the idea entirely, saying they like that students will receive a college degree, but believe funds should be given instead to help improve the school in its current state.

“Why not use the existing high school?” President of the Queens Village Civic Association Mohamoot Ishmael said. “Why not encourage the new principal with more resources.”

The DOE says that there has been a significant drop in applications to Van Buren since the 2010-2011 school year.

Though the new school will offer Queens residents first priority, some students At reducing enrollment could mean fewer funds for the school, crowded classrooms and lower grades.

“It’s not good to make some students fail to make others pass.” 15 year-old Van Buren junior Shiane Wright said.

The DOE says, as with all proposals, they will seek out and listen to feedback from the community and will balance it with the needs of the district.

A public hearing on the co-location was held at Van Buren last night, but the results were not known as of press time.

 Q&A with Mina Clemente: Chef/manager at Doty’s

Mina Clemente worked at HSBC bank before opening Doty’s, a Filipino restaurant, with her daughter 10 years ago. She now serves as the chef and manager at the restaurant. She moved here from the Philippines to be with her husband, Arsenio, 20 years ago.

What do you love about Queens Village?

The people are kind and it’s a nice place to live.

What is a challenge of running a restaurant?

Maintaining cleanliness and the preparation of the food to keep up to Department of Health standards.

What do you think needs improvement in the area?

When we come in the morning we find garbage in front of the restaurant. Neighbors should be more concerned about the cleanliness. I think they should take care of the neighborhood.

Why do you choose to stay in Queens Village?

I stayed because of my husband, my family and my daughter. My husband helps me at the restaurant. My daughter wanted to go to medical school and now she works as a physician’s assistant at Jamaica Hospital.

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