NFT New York Flushing


At the far-flung frontier of the city, Flushing can feel like the wild, wild east. There are showdowns between buses at Roosevelt and Main (said to be one of the busiest intersections in the city). The train ends (at least the 7). And Toby Keith songs are sung from the karaoke (or KTV) bars. Also, most of the business here has been recast for the Asian market. But this town is big enough for two of just about everything. In the 17th century, when Flushing was a small settlement on Long Island, a resident named John Bowne battled the Dutch for religious freedom and won. And his legacy seems to be the neighborhood's tolerance for its own brand of disheveled diversity (he also got The Bowne House on Bowne Street). Chinatown is a short walk from Little Korea. The gothic See more.

>St. George's Episcopal Church offers Sunday services in Spanish, English and Chinese. And in Flushing it is possible to find a Latino fellow selling sushi at a pizzeria.

It all makes for a shook-up cocktail of multiculturalism, and can be just as dizzying. The Chinese restaurant you are looking for might be wedged between a basement acupuncturist and an upstairs correspondence college. Toss in a wig-and-cell-phone parlor, a few glazed ducks in the window, and a LaGuardia-bound jet rumbling overhead and call this scene "Your First Time in Flushing." So stick to a general rule: Most of the action is along Main Street (running north-south) and Northern Boulevard (running east-west).

Shoehorn development is nothing new in the city, but it has not made Flushing a beautiful neighborhood. There are always interesting smells here; there are not always interesting sights. With some curious exceptions. Flushing High School (the claim: oldest public school in New York City) is like an urban Hogwarts. The Flushing Town Hall has set aside civic concerns for artistic ones, and now hosts jazz shows and a range of exhibits. The Queens Botanical Gardens balance out the bad chi of too much asphalt with its 39-acre collection. And the home of the Mets, Shea Stadium the new CitiBank Field (also known as Bailout Park), glows on the western horizon like some modern-day Dr. Eckleburg.

And an odd footnote on Flushing: The Society of Friends, or Quakers, recorded some early history here. The religion's founder delivered a sermon on Bowne Street in 1672, an occasion now marked by the George Fox Stone. (The aforementioned Bowne was a Quaker, too.) The Friends Meeting House is said to be the second oldest house of worship in continuous use in the country. (The British used it for a stable and prison during the Revolutionary War.)

Flushing is still routinely snubbed. The writer F. Scott Fitzgerald called it an industrial "valley of ashes" and there are plenty of Manhattanites who kvetch, "That's too far away." And in a sense, it is far away from Midtown. The prices are low, the people are unstylish. But show up with an empty stomach, and there is no tastier dumpling.

For the Korean businessman looking to close the deal with a fiery chorus of "Don't Stop Believing," there is no other place than the Karaoke booth. Do it right with the five-star hotel feel at Di Yuan, or the rainbow-lit Monster. Or for a warehouse-sized pool hall, there's Carom Café Billiards.

A $2 bill gets dinner for two in Flushing - - if you're up for squid on a stick at the curb. For a subdued bite and a seat, try the authentic, no-forks-on-the-table Asian restaurants along Prince Street. Or go big with the Korean barbecue buffet at Picnic Garden.

Choosy ginseng shoppers in need of a foot rub will be delighted by Flushing. Others, however, may be disappointed. The Banzai Japanese Outlet is a good stop for cutesy gifts, and there are plenty of cheap-o clothes barns. For the pan-Asian flea-market experience try one of the shopping plazas, such as Flushing Mall.


This Neighborhood Featured in...
5 Ways to Taste the Silk Road

By Layne Mosler
Though New York cabbies hail from all over the world, many of them were born along what was once the Silk Road. Guided by taxi drivers from Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Iran and Turkey, Layne Mosler explores five restaurants where chefs still cook under the influence of spice swaps on the ancient trade route.
Robert Moses Commands

By Michael Massmann
Sure, he's a controversial figure, but ain't you glad we got fast-moving roadways, tunnels and heaps of stark, unvarying violence-inciting public housing? Michael Massman chronicles the mind (or maybe just the history) of the 20th century Machiavelli.

Five NY Franks to Relish

By Molly Fergus
When it comes to hot dogs in New York, it's easy to fall into a Gray's Papaya-dirty water dog routine. Still, that doesn't mean noshers want for frank options. For anyone who can, ahem,  mustard up the energy, Molly Fergus hunts down five hot dogs in five boroughs.

On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Sarah Enelow
Photo:  Sarah Enelow

Shanghai Tide
You won't find a quick bite to eat at Shanghai Tide in Flushing, where the specialty is Chinese hot pot. There are many variations of Asian hot pot, but the basic idea is that hungry patrons cook raw meat, seafood, and vegetables in flavored broth right at the table, which ends up being a fantastic interactive experience. The hot pot menu, separate from the regular menu of Chinese dishes, offers a wide range of items including beef, lamb, pork, whole prawns, squid, fish balls, noodles, spinach, Chinese cabbage, bok choy, mushrooms, winter melon, and much more. You can choose the spiciness of your two broths, though keep in mind that "spicy" in China can be rather punishing to a mild-mannered palate, and you can create your own dipping sauce from garlic, bean paste, sesame, and other flavors. At $26 per person including tax and tip (cash only), Shanghai Tide is one of the city's cheaper places to get hot pot, which includes all the ingredients you can eat plus unlimited appetizers (scallion pancakes, dim sum, etc.) and endless drinks (meaning beer, not just soda). In a city where waiters hustle you out the door to make room for the next batch of customers, it's time to slow down and really enjoy the food, any day of the week until 3 AM.

Posted By:  Layne Mosler
Photo:  Layne Mosler

Ganapati Temple Canteen
To the right of the temple entrance, a grey metal door with a red and white sign ("Canteen Open Daily") leads to a stairway to the basement, where folding tables, metal chairs, and devotees of Ganesh share space with fans of cheap South Indian food. The Masala Dosa ($4), a rice flour and black lentil crepe stuffed with potato-onion curry, is the mildest dosa on the menu, but it will still push sweat through your pores. If you have the spice tolerance of Anthony Bourdain, try the Pondicherry Dosa and pray for your intestines. Be sure to save room for Uttappam--a rice flour pancake with fresh rosemary and cilantro, fried onions, and green chilies--and pay your respects to the god of success before you go.

Posted By:  J. Slab
Photo:  J. Slab

Spicy and Tasty
Growing up with a physical disability has taught me a lot about life. Like: appreciate what you have, because you never know when you’ll lose it; or, one man’s molehill is another’s mountain; or, kids can be so cruel. Just kidding! I’m not disabled, I’m just lazy. And yet somehow, I find the inner strength to take the subway (over an hour) to Flushing, Queens, for the Sesame Noodles at Spicy and Tasty. Why the fixation? They’re not at all what you think. Toothsome and fresh; tossed in a light, lovely sauce (no peanut butter here!); served at room temperature with a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Oh baby, you keep me coming back for more

Posted By:  Jennifer Keeney Sendrow
Photo:  Courtesy Roomorama

One of Flushing’s most popular dim sum palaces, Gum Fung succeeds because although the dining experience is never mind-blowing, it never blows. Plus, out in Queens, they don’t run out of the good stuff by mid-morning. The friendly cart ladies are on a constant loop during prime brunch hours, with better than two dozens items in rotation. Be judicious stocking the table lest you fill up before the above-average lotus buns and egg custard cups appear. All the dumplings tend to be good, especially the chive and pork, sweet pork, and corn varieties. Squid in brown sauce is never overcooked, and the fried taro buns are always perfectly crisp. Take your ticket over to the cooking table to procure an assortment of items ill-suited to sitting on a cart, but no less tasty: freshly fried noodles, delicate dumplings, and several types of pancakes. Take that, hangover!

Posted By:  Jennifer Keeney Sendrow
Photo:  Courtesy Roomorama

When the first thing on the menu is “testicle with hot pepper sauce,” you know the restaurant is not messing around. Flushing’s Northern Chinese outpost A Fan Ti serves lamb every way you can imagine...and a few ways you probably don’t want to. The osso buco-esque “lamb home style” and the fragrant lamb soup are hearty, delicious, and big enough to share. Cryptic names like “lamb tight meat” or “lamb heat meat” invite curiosity. Could they be titles lifted from sheep porn? Wither “salteed hunch”? A little mystery doesn’t hurt, but they do have one unambiguous item this dedicated omnivore cannot bring herself to try: “lamb eye in brown sauce.” Let me know how it is.

Posted By:  Diana Pizzari
Photo:  Diana Pizzari

Citi Field
If you follow New York's other baseball team, you should know that they're still in with a shot at the wild card. The final few games in the season are going to be crucial, so get out to Shea to support our home teamÉ If nothing else, the food is better at Shea than Yankee Stadium. The 7 train goes out there from 42nd Street and the LIRR to Port Washington makes a stop at Shea on game days. The Mets have 12 home games in Sep-tember and 2 in October. As with the Yankees, if the Mets are sucking, head for the subway before the end of the game. Many Mets fans drive in from Long Island, but the 7 platform still gets jammed after games.

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