New York City is far away from Jamaica, so I tried to use this Monday to explore more parts of Queens. Jamaica, Ridgewood, Rego Park and Jackson Heights were the stops on my bus tour today. Queens is huge, so getting from one neighborhood to another by bus one can take some time.
I started my trip in Jamaica Estates, my current home neighborhood, walked down Homelawn Street to Hillside Avenue, where the F train runs below, and caught a Q30 bus to Jamaica Center. On Jamaica Avenue I got off at 161st Street and walked to King Manor Museum. Jamaica Avenue looks like so many main streets I have seen in Queens or in parts of Brooklyn. There are chain stores, mainly cheap ones, all kinds of phone stores and takeout restaurants. I had a look into Jamaica Market, but it is not really a market but hosts a couple of fast food restaurants. People on the street are black, African Americans and West Indians. But Jamaica does not feel as African American as Harlem and not as Caribbean as Crown Heights. It is a blend and it doesn’t show a distinct face.
A Q54 bus took me all the way along Metropolitan Avenue to Ridgewood, passing Kew Gardens, Forest Hills and Middle Village, neighborhoods that come very residential. Individual houses and apartment blocks look friendly and neat. Parks and cemeteries provide green areas. Ridgewood is different. Three story brick houses line the streets. It is a working class neighborhood with a rough touch, just like its Brooklyn neighbor Bushwick, which I explored all those weeks ago, when the summer heat wave was hard to stand.
I walked down Stockholm Street, through one of Ridgewood’s historic districts to Seneca Avenue and over to the M train. The historic district is just one block of yellow two story brick houses with front porches. Its main attraction however is the red pavement that is unique in Queens.
As I didn’t have a proper lunch (due to a late breakfast) I got hungry. In one of the numerous deli groceries I bought a turkey and cheese sandwich. The guy put lots of mayonnaise on both halves of the roll and the mount of turkey slices was enormous.
On Seneca Avenue I took the M train to get back to Metropolitan Avenue and caught a Q38 bus to Rego Park there. It was already getting dark, so I couldn’t see so much. The route crosses Middle Village, which looked appealing to me. Individual brick houses and smaller apartment blocks line the streets. The part of Rego Park I saw was probably not its most attractive one. I got off the bus at the R/M subway station on Queens Boulevard. That is a shopping area and behind the shops apartment towers are looming. I know that Rego Park has an attractive area with individual houses but there was no time left to find it.
Soh Ang had suggested to meet in Jackson Heights to look for my Kurti. That’s what the Indians call a tunic. We browsed through a couple of shops but I didn’t find what I was up to until Soh Ang directed me into a basement shop. There a friendly girl made sure I found what I wanted. She made me try different sizes and styles until I had my Kurti. She was a bit disappointed then that I bought just one.
For dinner we had more of our Sri Lankan curries and some Samosas that Soh Ang had bought in a bakery in Jackson Heights. The curries were even better today after having infused for two days.
Before I left for my tour I had arranged and weighed my luggage. Everything that I will need for my remaining time went in to my suitcase. Everything else into the other bag that will stay at Soh Ang’s house until the day of my departure. Then I will have to add the books and make sure that none of my two bags has more than my allowed 23 kg. Right now I still have a scope of about 3 kg.
What I learned today:
Queens has nice parts but getting there can be time consuming.