City Living: Downtown Flushing
Flushing is a bustling neighborhood with a downtown area home to businesses predominantly owned and operated by the community’s growing Asian population.
Signs in English are a rarity in downtown Flushing, which makes visitors feel like they have been transplanted to a foreign shore.
The mix of ethnicities has helped Queens become one of the most diverse counties in America.
“You come out of the 7 train and you almost feel like you’re in a different world,” said Ellen Kodadek, executive director for Flushing Town Hall, an arts and culture nonprofit. “I feel as though Flushing is really reflective of this country as a melting pot.”
The Asian community is deeply embedded in the area and nearly 80% of businesses have either Chinese or Korean owners.
A diverse array of authentic cuisines, products and services are available in the area. And lots of food.
While downtown Flushing is known as a Mecca of multiculturalism that is heavily urbanized, there are also suburban streets lined with trees that echo the neighborhood’s past.
Preservationists for years have tried to save some of the expansive houses and estates developed here between 1875 and 1925. These residences sit blocks away from modern high-rise buildings and shopping malls.
Flushing’s embrace of multiculturalism has roots in the neighborhood’s founding in 1645 by English settlers as a beacon of religious freedom. One settler, John Bowne, allowed Quakers to practice in his home, defying laws of the time. His house still stands, as well as the Old Quaker Meeting House on Northern Boulevard, which is New York City’s oldest house of worship. --MAX STAVIS with DAN RIVOLI
Need to know
The four borders of downtown Flushing are Willets Point Boulevard, College Point Boulevard, Northern Boulevard and The Long Island Expressway (or Booth Memorial, if you want to take it a bit farther). More »
Downtown Flushing is a transportation hub with 24 MTA bus routes that transport around 70 million passengers annually. The No. 7 train from Times Square has its terminus at the Flushing/Main Street station. Major highways run through downtown Flushing as well, including the Van Wyck Expressway and Grand Central Parkway. The LIRR has a station here. More »
The Queens Library at 41-17 Main St. serves more than 2.3 million people a year and circulates among the highest number of books and other library materials of any branch in the country. More »
Queens College, Flushing High School, East-West School of International Studies, Queens Academy, Townsend Harris High School, John Bowne High School, P.S. 242, P.S. 21, I.S. 237 More »
The 109th precinct station house is located at 37-05 Union St. and the Queens North Task Force is housed at the Flushing Armory, 137-158 Northern Blvd. According to the NYPD CompStat report, murders have decreased by 20% since 2001. Robberies dropped 31.2%. In 2001, there were 22 rapes reported — in 2012 there were 11. More »
41-65 Main St. is the U.S. Post Office in downtown Flushing. The building is historic, with its Roman Imperial architecture and Corinthian columns. More »
Xi’an Famous Foods
Featured on Anthony Bourdain’s cable show, this shop makes its own hand-pulled noodles from scratch. It specializes in dishes from the western Chinese city of Xi’an, which sits along the ancient Silk Road. The food is a fusion of Middle Eastern and Chinese dishes, resulting in tastes that are both unique and delightfully spicy. Some choice options are Liang Pi “Cold Skin” Noodles, the cumin lamb burger and wide hand-pulled “Biang Biang” noodles.
Zhu Ji Guo Tie
$1.25 buys a plate of four pork and chive fried dumplings in the shape of crescents moons. This small establishment has been refining their recipes and techniques since 1974. Located right on Main Street, the small service window and shop specializes in dumplings and pork buns.
Outside one can grab stellar Peking duck buns to go or come inside for a truly epic dining experience. Popular dishes include the roast pig: 1 lb for $8.50, or, the honey roast duck: half $9.95, whole $18.50.
Wontons in hot oil and dan dan noodles make this spot run by a husband-wife team truly great.
A sleek and contemporary hangout spot just a quick jaunt away from Flushing’s main central downtown area. Also a great place to grab a drink and watch a game with friends or meet new people out on the town.
The One KTV Lounge @ New World Mall
Hit up this spot for its 28 luxury private karaoke rooms, including VIP suites that can fit up to 30 guests. State of the art sound systems and good service make this place great.
Flushing Meadows-Corona Park
This public park contains the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the current U.S. Open tennis tournament venue. You can catch the Mets, of course, at nearby Citi Field. The park also contains the New York Hall of Science, the Queens Museum of Art, the Queens Theatre in the Park, Queens Wildlife Center, Queens Zoo, an ice-skating rink and a newly built skate park. The 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs were held at the park and the remnants, such as the Unisphere and the New York State Pavilion, have become famous landmarks.
Queens Botanical Garden
The garden was created as an exhibit for the 1939 World's Fair. Check out rose gardens, bee hives, herb gardens and perennials. The ever-changing garden displays and exotic flora make this 39 acres of beauty and serenity an oasis in the city.
Flushing Town Hall
This building boasts a 308-seat concert hall / theater space, an art gallery and classroom and hosts classical, jazz and world music concerts, art exhibitions and other educational experiences. Originally built in 1862, the Romanesque Revival style building started as a civic building. The Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts sponsors the music and dance performances.
Shun An Tong Health Herbal Corp.
Just off of Main Street, this is one of the longest established herbalists in Flushing. You can watch as the herbalists prepare remedies from mushrooms, ginseng, shark fin, animal teeth and other traditional medicines.
The Shops at Skyview Center
The 800,000-square-foot shopping mall contains an Applebee’s, Bed Bath and Beyond, Best Buy, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Bob’s Discount Furniture, Chase Bank, Chuck E. Cheese, Coco Fresh Tea and Juice, Famous Footwear, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Fay Da Bakery, Hershey’s Ice Cream, Marshall’s, Old Navy, Payless Shoe Source, Sky Foods, Subway and Target.
Queens Crossing Mall
A small, urban mall with upscale, modern design that mixes retail, dining and office spaces. Businesses include TD Bank, Irresistible Home Decor, Liuligongfang, Mango, Belle Beauty Lab, Crossing Art, Sbarro, Paris Baguette, Mulan Restaurant, Mudan Banquet Hall and the Rose House.