Elected officials, community leaders and local residents gathered at Maspeth Federal Savings on Tuesday to celebrate the 375th birthday of Maspeth.
Kenneth Rudzewick, former president and CEO of Maspeth Federal, kicked off the celebration with a brief history of the town. The land was inhabited by the Algonquian native American tribe for hundreds of years before the Dutch settled in the area in 1621.
On March 27, 1642, Dutch Governor William Kieft granted a patent to Englishman Francis Doughty, which included 6,666 acres of land, including the western portion of what is now Queens County.
“Like most Americans, we in Maspeth are resilient and proud of our heritage,” Rudzewick said. “Here in Maspeth, we survive. We remain strong and we love this town.”
The longtime community leader said the town has lasted through many wars, including the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, both World Wars and even the division of the town with the addition of the Long Island Expressway.
Rudzewick then brought out an employee dressed as the Dutch governor Kieft, much to the crowd’s delight. They cut a custom cake celebrating the 375th anniversary.
“We are certainly proud to be part of this great community,” Rudzewick said. “We certainly stick together.”
He noted that on June 9, Maspeth Federal is hosting an anniversary concert in the branch parking lot. The event will feature the Queens Symphony Orchestra.
Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley said her family goes back a century in Maspeth. Her grandparents emigrated from Ireland to the neighborhood.
“Still today, so many families come to Maspeth from all over the world,” Crowley said. “[They] come to Maspeth for the American Dream, to provide a better life for themselves and for their families.”
Resident Christina Wilkinson said her family came to Maspeth in the late 1800s from Poland. Her family also has roots in Italy and northern Ireland.
“They all settled here and met each other,” she said. “Year after year, you see people stay. It’s a very family-oriented community.
“Houses and businesses are passed down from generation to generation,” she added. “It’s very tight-knit.”