|No, it's not Hong Kong|
This is a two-part series involving two places where I spend plenty of time, if not most of it. It's not really specific to my apartment or work place but rather the areas around it. In other words, it's like walking with me and 'see' what I see whenever I walk in my neck of the woods. As someone whose travel itch has brought me beyond New York on many occasions, I feel it's now time to go local and feature this true melting pot I've called home since 2001.
Welcome to my neighborhood. Welcome to Flushing, New York!
|Aerial shot of Flushing taken just as my plane was descending into nearby La Guardia Airport. |
So thrilling to see something familiar from above, including the apartment building where I live.
Flushing is part of Queens, one of New York City's boroughs (the other four being Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn and Staten Island). I ended up living here because of a 'kababayan' couple from Davao. I lived with them for several months until I was able to decide where I'd like to live in the city. Somehow, those few months made me feel so at ease with Flushing that when I saw an opportunity, I signed an apartment lease right away. That lease has remained so till today and I haven't even thought of moving or living elsewhere.
|Busy New Yorkers line up for cheap food on the go at a food stall on Flushing's Main Street.|
While the population is just as diverse as anywhere in Gotham, Flushing is predominantly Asian, thus oftentimes being referred to as the city's second Chinatown. And when you say Chinatown, familiar food can never be far behind. I am not a cook so the convenience of plentiful Asian restaurants - from Chinese to Thai to Vietnamese to Korean - got me really hooked here (No Pinoy restaurants as of yet although those in Woodside isn't far). There are also Asian grocery stores, many stocked with Pinoy foodstuff.
|The Bowne House, built in 1661, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places|
and designated as a New York City landmark. I live close by on the same street.
Flushing didn't start as an Asian enclave. When it was established in 1645, English colonists built their homes at a time when New Amsterdam (then New York's old name) was controlled by the Dutch and the Quaker faith was outlawed. John Bowne, one of the colonists, allowed religious meetings of Quakers in his home. The so-called Flushing Remonstrance - a petition for religious tolerance filed in 1657 - inspired the inclusion of religious freedom in the Bill of Rights under the US Constitution. These days, the Bowne House still stands on the street named after the owner, on the very same street where I live.
Now that you know a bit of Flushing history and why I love it here, let's take a walk and see some more:
|The Flushing Town Hall, built in 1862, now houses|
the Flushing Council on Culture and Arts
|Every American town has a Main Street. Flushing's Main Street|
is its busiest, seen here decked for the Christmas holidays
|No one gets hungry in Flushing. From seafood to farm produce |
to Asian cuisine, there's plenty to choose from.
|Even homesick Pinoys will find familiar items at Asian grocery stores.|
|There's shopping on the sidewalks to shopping in the malls.|
|Inscribed on the steps of Flushing Library is the title of one |
Filipino folk story - Si Aponitolau At Ang Dalagang Bituin
|For fans of the New York Mets, the Citi Field is home base|
|The Arthur Ashe Stadium is the venue of the annual US Open.|
I hope to see Djokovic and Nadal play in the finals again next year.
|For trips to Manhattan, the No. 7 train brings passengers all the way to the end line at|
Times Square, a half-hour journey. The same train also brings me to work 5 days a week.