Jackson Heights is known as Queens‘ Little India. But it’s much more than that. It is a cultural melting pot and has been the first garden city community built in the United States. A large part of the neighborhood is an historic district containing apartment blocks showing ornate details like little towers and entrances with sculptures as well as individual one to three family homes.
I took an M train from Steinway Street to Jackson Heights and walked along 74th Street first. That’s the heart of Little India. Stores offer saris and jewelry and almost every store has somebody outside who offered me a business card of the store. Indian groceries and Indian restaurants provide food.
I zigzagged north up to Northern Boulevard. There I found a supermarket called “Mi Tierra”, providing groceries for the Hispanic population of Jackson Heights. A lot of them are Colombians, Peruvians or Ecuadorians. I was tempted to buy “Queso blanco para freir” and “Arroz con Leche” but didn’t want to carry it with me the whole afternoon.
Strolling through the historic district is a pleasure. While the avenues are mainly lined by apartment blocks the streets show family homes or row houses that gave me a feeling to be in an English country town, not in a metropolis. Many of them have front gardens with rose bushes and right now there is a lot of fancy Halloween decoration.
The apartment blocks are built around gardens, that’s the idea of a garden city. Most of them have beautiful front doors instead of simple metal ones. Lions or big birds pay attention who is going in and out. Towers and Moorish arcs add individual notes. I would definitely consider living here.
82nd Street and 37th Avenue are the shopping and restaurant areas in addition to bustling Roosevelt Avenue beneath the elevated 7 train. There is everything from supermarket to boutiques – no bookstore though. Restaurants are mirroring the Hispanic population, but there are as well Afghani and Nepalese places and the chains that can be found everywhere.
I sampled an Empanada in a Columbian takeout and some Churros of the street and took home cardamom tea from an Indian grocery store.
Back on 74th Street I looked for a tunic in some of the sari stores. I didn’t find what I had in mind though. Need someone to help me with that.
While I was strolling around the miracle happened. Two ladies on the Upper West Side emailed that they are willing to host me. Together that covers my last month except for the first week. But I can stay in Astoria a week longer or I can stay in Jamaica with Soh Ang or combine it.
I fixed the bookings at night and it took a huge load of my mind.
What I learned today:
Miracles do happen!