Yes, this is NYC (I know the traffic light gives it away ;))
According to the latest census, New York City had more immigrants in 2 neighborhoods than in all cities of Pennsylvania. With the gentrification of both Brooklyn and Manhattan, Queens is to thank for this statistic. So, thank you, Queens!
This is embodied on the 7 train, where once it goes underground, writers are known to call it the ‘orient express.’
In Queens, ethnic solidarity becomes a logical strategy to social mobility. So what may seem like a lack of assimilation to all things Americana, is actually a stronghold of values and culture, facilitating assimilation.
Rice cookers by the tons at an Asian food mart
A sense of nationalism is rewritten when people come to the U.S. — Chinese and Koreans communities, which are historically not on friendly terms congregate as one in Queens due to even the slightest cultural similarities.
A New York Times Article describes the 7 Train: “Rather, it is the signs, window displays, performances, restaurants, street foods, faces and, when they are revealed, newcomers’ stories that make for engaging visits. This is the Lower East Side of my immigrant grandparents, updated, magnified, translated into Hindi, Cantonese, Italian, Thai, Spanish, Korean and many other languages. On these streets the perpetual struggle between clinging to the old country and embracing the new is often visible. In a Mexican party store, the best-selling pinata is a Pokemon.”
Clearly, it’s not just on paper that Queens is the most diverse county in the entire United States. Queens is Jewish. Queens is Mexican. Queens is Thai. Queens is… what isn’t it?
The best part about this imminent diversity is that you can eat it.
“The history of the world is that when people are exposed to different cultures, they adopt and adapt as their own whatever appeals to them…Here, the process happens more intensely.” One of her favorite examples is a sign in an Indian restaurant on Thanksgiving advertising tandoori turkey”
The newspapers talked of the communities lining the streets in the 1800s, separate, but equal in their differences: ‘the Chinese were casual about smoking, eating, and walking in the middle of operas’ // ‘the French smelled of garlic, the Germans, of sauerkraut and beer; the English, of roast beef and ale; the Americas, of corn cakes and pork and beans; and the Chinese, of opium, cigars, and dried fish’
And it’s not just about the sights and tastes, but also the smells. The 7 train gives you a unique perspective into this diversity via an intercultural olfactory tour.
These are the stories of the 7 train, representative of the “great narrative of the immigrant experience in New York City, and America.”
Fruit at a Flushing Market
Another storyteller writes: “Returning to Manhattan on the train, I’m lucky to hit the right time of day, when the setting sun bounces off the tracks and casts a glow, a reminder that the No. 7 train is not only the spine of Queens but its soul.”
To that end: our tour begins at the very end of the 7 train on Main Street in Flushing.
2. Han ah Reum 141-40 Northern Blvd
3. Yi Mei Bakery Corp 135-38 Roosevelt Avenue
4. Shun An Tong Helath Corp 135-24 Roosevelt Avenue
5. Ten Ren Tea & Ginseng Co Inc 135-18 Roosevelt Avenue
6. Good Luck Market 135-08 Roosevelt Avenue
7. Kam Sam Food Products 41-79 Main St
8. A & C Supermarket 41-41 Kissena Blvd
9. Joe’s Shanghai Restaurant 13621 37th Avenue — great dumplings!
10. Mini Mall — reminiscent of malls I had been to in Tokyo