On a cold day in February, I journeyed to New York City to visit one of my favorite neighborhoods in Queens known as Jackson Heights.  While based in New York, I routinely traveled through Jackson Heights.  The Roosevelt Avenue / Jackson Heights subway station served as my access point to trains bound for Manhattan. 
In some ways, Jackson Heights is just like any other neighborhood in Queens.  You’ll find food trucks, hole-in-the-wall shops, flocks of dirty pigeons, and of course, mountains of trash and recycling on pick-up days.
There’s an exciting energy about this little neighborhood that I find fascinating and distinct from other places in the city.  Walking down the main street, your senses are awakened by the smell of spices, the sounds of rumbling trains overhead, and the feel of the underground subway vibrating beneath your feet.

Also striking is the diversity.  Shop owners in this area are mainly immigrants from Mexico, South and Latin America, and Asia.  Walking down a side street can make you feel as if you’ve just stepped into another part of the world.

76th Street and Broadway

I began my visit at 76th Street and Broadway.  Immediately upon wandering down the street, I began seeing signs written in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.
Fruit Market NYC
A sign for apples written in four different languages!
Sabay Thai NYC
I stopped for a delicious lunch at Sabay Thai!
Chinese Church Jackson Heights NYC
New York Seventh Day Adventist Chinese Church
Jackson Heights Queens
A friendly shop owner who let me take his picture!

72nd Street and Broadway

After finishing my delicious lunch, I wandered to 72nd Street where I found many local women in full-length dresses and headscarves and men wearing beards and turbans.  Shops in this area cater to Muslims seeking Halal food and drink.
Dera Restaurant Queens New York
This restaurant is famous for its Indian and Pakistani food. I want to stop by the next time I'm in New York!
Halal Meat Store
There are several competing Halal Meat stores around this block.
Asia Tribune
The Asia Tribune - a newspaper in Arabic for sale inside several shops.
Ainul Haramain
A travel agency advertising for Muslim pilgrimages.

76th - 80th Street and Roosevelt

Next I headed north to a cross-street known as Roosevelt.  Here you’ll find shops predominantly run by immigrants from Spanish-speaking countries such as Mexico, Peru, and Colombia.  Block after block you’ll find shops labeled purely in Spanish, advertising help with immigration papers and passport photos.
Visit New York Queens
Mmm....tacos!
Picture
A vendor unloading a TON of Mexican beer!
Picture
I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of the "immigration offices" along this street specialize in fake IDs.
Piñatas for sale New York
Piñatas for sale!
It’s amazing really to see so many cultures blended into one neighborhood.  Jackson Heights isn’t a beautiful neighborhood.  In fact, it’s a bit grimy.  If you walk down the streets at night, you’ll get solicited to visit the upstairs “massage” parlors or encouraged by promoters with flyers to enter the strip clubs.   Despite all this, I still love visiting Jackson Heights, Queens and I know you’ll love it too!  If you’re planning a trip to New York City any time soon, be sure to stop by this diverse and unique neighborhood!

-Jenn Grahams


 


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Great content.

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10/05/2015 22:00

I love reading your articles

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    Jenn Grahams

    is a flight attendant and an aspiring writer.  She lives in the Midwest with her husband, many pet fish, and two chinchillas named Kuzco and Pancho.

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