Pinoy In Queens

Below the rumble of the No. 7 train above is a beehive
of Pinoy businesses on Roosevelt Avenue in Queens.

While most Filipino immigrants in the US are based in California, a big chunk of Pinoys work and live in New York City. To hell with frigid winters, this is the Big Apple of our chinky brown eyes! According to the Asian American Federation of New York, there are 75,352 Pinoys in the city based on a 2005-2007 survey, 60% of which is in the borough of Queens where I reside. This makes us the fourth largest Asian group in the entire city. In my apartment building, there are several of us Pinoys living on different floors along with other immigrants which makes a veritable United Nations of "where are you originally from?".

When it comes to business, Pinoys have made its presence felt in Queens - in Woodside particularly. On a stretch of Roosevelt Avenue underneath the elevated tracks of the No. 7 train, Pinoy businesses have thrived to serve the needs of kababayans. Restaurants, remittance centers, immigration services, video rentals, medical/dental clinics, cargo forwarders, beauty salons and a grocery store are all here. Saturdays and Sundays are usually the busiest:
  • Ihawan, Krystal's Cafe, Renee's Kitchenette and Perlas Ng Silangan are invaded by whole families gathered for a feast.
  • Phil-Am Food Mart is packed with people carrying grocery lists that might include Jufran Banana Ketchup, Selecta Ice Cream and Hakone Sardines.
  • Johnny Air Cargo is brimming with Balibayan boxes waiting for delivery to excited relatives in the Philippines.
  • Kulay at Gupit has Pinays waiting for a haircut and a makeover.
It doesn't take much time to see what's goes on here. As I roam around, all that frenetic activity and the twitter of a familiar language takes me back on a little trip to the Philippines. Even if it's just in . . . Queens.

Jollibee's arrival in the East Coast last February was met
with a lot of hungry stomachs homesick for Chicken Joy.
Even US-born kids are now introduced to the Philippines'
largest fast food chain by moms and dads who grew up with it.

Exchange rate is checked at a local remittance center before sending
back home. According to Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas,
US-based Filipinos
sent $7.8 billion in 2008 which, together
with remittances from Overseas Filipino Workers elsewhere,
helped fuel a rise in middle class families in the Philippines.

A stack of free community newspapers help disseminate information.
On the post are notices for services and rooms-for-rent. Some Filipinos
sublet their apartments to generate extra income and help pay bills.

According to the Asian American Federation of New York,
the median income of Filipino
households in NY is $78,075.

While an airline ad on a telephone booth beckons Pinoys
to a flight back home, customers of Phil-Am Food Mart
content themselves buying familiar grocery items.


  1. ang galing nito pards,pinoy na pinoy ang dating..dito sa kuwait walang jollibee...misss ko na nga yung jolli hotdog!

  2. ang sabi sa akin, di daw nag click ang jollibee sa LA dahil maliliit ang burger. sa new york ba filipino size din? hehe. nice to know that there's this kind of community sa NY. Sa Tokyo kasi, sabog-sabog.

  3. haha I took a pic of that same "Say Kumusta To Manila" sign! We tried to eat at Ihawan, but it was closed, so we ate at Krystal's. It was delicious with accompanying Wowoweee or whatever show that was on the tv hehe... we're still planning a trip of Jollibee!

  4. great feature! havent seen someone posting this yet.

    but i wonder if some americans eat in jollibee.

  5. In Philippines the name of business is converted to English for social effect. In US they make it tagalog.

    do you accept xlink

  6. Hi Everlito,
    Malay mo, pag may market na dyan, may magtatayo din ng franchise dyan. Nung nasa Jeddah pa ako, nagsara ang dalawang Jollibee dahil nilangaw. Tsk! tsk!

    Hi R-yo,
    I've been to the Cerritos branch in LA pero mukhang matao naman.Di ko pa nasusubukan ang burger kaya di ko alam kung maliit nga ito. Mas mabenta ang Chicken Joy, Spaghetti at Palabok.

    Hi Angelo,
    Oo nga pala, every time we eat in any of the restaurants there, Filipino music is always played and/or TFC shows are on.

    Hi Dong,
    Thanks Dong! Ikaw nga ang nagsuggest nito noon kaya buti na lang naalala kung gawin. Meron din akong nakitang ibang lahi na kumain sa Jollibee although kasama ng Pinoy.

    Hi Cebu Pictures,
    That's true, para maiba talaga. Thanks for dropping by.

  7. Nice coverage... once Filipino always Filipino :-)

  8. hay kakamiss na naman ang Pinas....kakainggit ka naman at may Jollibee dyan, dito sa lugar namin sa Japan malayo kami sa kabihasnan hehehe malayo sa Tokyo at malayo sa lahat hehehe unlike sa CA (where we used to live) may jollibee at chowking pa.....ganda ng mga pictures mo ha

  9. The Jollibee in Carson and Cerritos are, I think, doing fine. I know the one in Long Beach did not last long. I can only surmise it is because it is surrounded by many American fastfood outlets and there are not too many Pinoys in the immediate area.

  10. Oh wow. When we went to Queens, we went to the Bangladeshi/Indian part of town, it was totally like what you're showing. I was told by them that there is a huge Pinoy community a few blocks away and I did not even go there.

    Are you here often?

  11. Hi Sidney,
    Totoo yan! Maraming salamat!

    Hi Missy,
    Malayo pala kayo sa kabihasnan kahit nasa Japan ka na he he he! Pero ang ganda ng lugar mo. Salamat ha.

    Hi Bert,
    Not much Pinoys in that area? - I wonder if they did a good feasibility study before investing on a restaurant.

    Hi Photo Cache,
    I'm surprised you didn't pass by Woodside when you were already that close. I visit this area usually weekends because it's close to where I live.

  12. i smiled when i read your line here that says "hungry stomach homesick for chicken joy"...
    ...pinoy sa isip, salita at sa sikmura, lol!

  13. kudos to those well-taken photos who speak as well for your AM-based article..san of course your wisdom in writing.

    indeed complement your whole big A experience..TRULY PINOY. txs to Queens! i jst wondered how much the cargo services & the jollibee cost in there?

  14. Hi Docgelo,
    Oo naman Doc, di mawawala ang pagka-Pinoy ng Pinoy kahit sa sikmura.

    Hi Josh,
    Cost of freight forwarding here varies - cost more to send via air and to provinces. I had Halo Halo at Jollibee that cost me $4.99 while Combo meal of Spaghetti, Chicken Joy and soda was $7.19.

    Hi Mussolini,

  15. At least even if you are miles away from home, this kind of environment will surely help lessen home sickness... Saya pala saka nakikita talaga ang tulungan ng mga Pilipino sa kapwa Pilipino...

  16. I miss this place, I used to work here in this Filipino restaurant called Krystal's.

    Those were memories of my "so-called" lost year... I missed New York, I heard a lot of things has changed in this Filipino enclave for the past 5 years.

  17. Marami na rin akong napapansing Pinoy stores dito sa Abu Dhabi. Madaling mahalata dahil sa pangalan ng establishment, e.g. Pinoy Big Brother House. =)

  18. Hi Xprosaic,
    Pamatay homesick nga talaga.

    Hi Whattaworld,
    Wow, I'm intrigued by your "lost year" working at Krystal's. Your former employer is still around and there are more Pinoy businesses.

    Hi Witsandnuts,
    Totoo nga, maraming Pinoy business establishments are easily identified sa pangalan pa lang. Kadalasan, kinopya nga lang.

  19. i love your photographic depictions. :)

    you really are living the american dream.

  20. Take a vacation and go to a real Jollibee resto here :)

  21. fabulous collection of everything filipino in queens! i have yet to conquer jollibee in woodside! i keep putting it off! :P

  22. Pinoy na pinoy pa rin ah. Namiss mo pa rin ba ang Pilipinas?

  23. Ehehe... Lost year!! A coin I just termed, to make the long story short I was disillusioned after my first job after college, quit in less than a year and bummed around. 5 months of which was spent in the Big Apple!!

    I miss that place!!

  24. How I wish may jollibee din in our state (WV) but unfortunately wala hehehe.. In fact, I can't even find one Pinoy business there..

  25. bossing, nakita ko yong kompanya kung saan ako nagwowork sa mga pictures, hehe ang galing.

  26. Wow, love the photos. all taken by you? Excellent photojournalism then. =) Thanks for visiting my site. Ingats kabayan!

  27. Hi Floreta,
    Thanks! I tried my best.

    Hi Twin,
    Yes, I'm on my way there this weekend.

    Hi Fortuitous faery,
    Hope you visit this area soon - it's just across two rivers!

    Hi Redlan,
    Oo naman, miss ko rin. I still have family and friends in the Philippines.

    Hi Mr.Whattaworld,
    5 months in NY? That must have been an experience for you.

    Hi Chubskulit,
    Baka naman someday, ikaw pa ang unang magtatayo ng Pinoy business dyan!

    Hi Taympers,
    Teka, nagtrabaho ka ba dito?

    Hi K.C.,
    Yes KC, I took all those shots. Salamat!

  28. Hi, any Pinoy in Queens, New York, please send me a message. I just need a Pinoy restaurant survey. Very easy.
    My Facebook name is Aiah Bruce.


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