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City Living: Richmond Hill
Ethnic eateries serving up dishes like roti and curry or rice and beans with yucca; historic churches mingling in close proximity to Hindu temples and Muslim masjids; bustling retail corridors with sari shops flaunting a colorful array of traditional South Asian attire; and well-kept streets lined with small single-family homes and large Victorians — this is the middle class neighborhood of Richmond Hill in southern Queens.
Known for its diversity, vibrancy and history, the nabe offers plenty for those looking to find culture, family and a slice of history.
Its many Victorian houses, including the Queen Anne styles on the north side, grace quiet blocks, offering a suburban charm. However, getting to Manhattan could take as little as 30 minutes on the A or J trains.
“It’s a great place to live because there’s access to all of these cultural resources in terms of retail, food and religion,” said Richard David, the executive director of the Indo-Caribbean Alliance, a group that advocates for programs and services in the neighborhood. “And it’s really cheap compared to a lot of other places.”
The neighborhood’s friendly vibe is what convinced Simcha Weisman, a resident of 38 years, to remain in Richmond Hill and build his printing business there.
“The people welcomed me very nicely,” said Weisman, who emigrated from Israel.
According to the Richmond Hill Historical Society, originally, many Europeans including the Irish, Italian and Dutch settled in Richmond Hill during the 16 and 1700s.
But in the last 40 years, an influx of Indo-Caribbean and South Asian immigrants migrated to the neighborhood. The neighborhood is divided on the north and south by Atlantic Avenue. On the south side of Richmond Hill, Caribbean Americans and South Asian Americans dominate whereas on the north, descendants of the early European settlers remain.
Richmond Hill’s main commercial corridors are Jamaica Avenue, which offers plenty of service-based establishments and Latin-American restaurants, 101st Avenue which is populated by sari shops and establishments selling South Asian products, and Liberty Avenue, also known as “Little Guyana” for its large Indo-Guyanese community. Liberty Avenue is dotted with roti shops, vegetable markets and bakeries that cater to the population with a variety of Caribbean-style cakes and pastries.
Need to Know
Richmond Hill is surrounded by Woodhaven and Ozone Park to the west, Kew Gardens to the north, South Ozone Park to the south and Jamaica to the east. North of Atlantic Avenue its western boundary is 101st Street. South of Atlantic Avenue its western boundary is 107th Street. The Van Wyck Expressway marks its eastern boundary. Its northern boundary is 85th Avenue up to Lefferts Boulevard; from Lefferts Boulevard to the Van Wyck the northern boundary is Jamaica Avenue. Its southern boundary is 109th Avenue. More »
Q8, Q9, Q10, Qm18, Q24, Q37, Q41, Q55, Q56, Q112 buses More »
Queens Library at Richmond Hill, 118-14 Hillside Ave. More »
USPS, 117-04 101st Ave. USPS, 122-01 Jamaica Ave. More »
The 102nd Precinct at 87-34 118th St. covers Richmond Hill. According to the NYPD’s CompStat report, the precinct had high levels of grand larceny auto, burglary and robbery complaints in 1990 with 4,145, 1,847, and 1,067 respectively. By 2012, those numbers dropped to complaints of 230 GLA, 313 burglaries and 326 robberies. For the week of Dec. 16-Dec. 22, 2013 there were seven GLA complaints, up from to two during the same week in 2012. There were five robbery complaints during that week in 2013 compared to three in 2012. There were zero rapes and murders reported by the precinct in those weeks. More »
Sybil’s West Indian Bakery
This flagship location of the restaurant is well known and loved in and outside of Richmond Hill for its authentic Guyanese dishes including curry, fried rice with barbeque chicken and black pudding.
This newly renovated, 24-hour diner offers everything from chicken parmigiana and steaks to Belgian waffles and sandwiches.
A neighborhood favorite for many years, Alfie's dishes up New York Style pizza, garlic knots, paninis, and sweets like zeppoles and Nutella pie.
Maracas New York Night Club
One of the few Caribbean-themed nightclubs in New York City, Maracas caters to Richmond Hill’s West Indian crowd with popular reggae, dancehall and soca music.
This bar and lounge takes the shape of a boat inside and offers a mini escape with Latin American food, tropical-themed drinks and live music on Wednesdays.
Level Ultra Lounge
The DJs here spin classic hip-hop and dancehall tracks as the crowd indulges in drinks and hookah.
Rubie’s Costume Company
Rubie’s grew from a mom-and-pop store to a giant manufacturer and distributor of Halloween costumes and accessories. They also rent out costumes.
Richmond Hill Flea Market
Held in the Richmond Hill Bingo Hall every Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., in the building of what used to be a movie theater, the flea market offers affordable finds ranging from vintage to modern.
This shop sells vibrant, colorful saris and kurtas for women and men and offers friendly service.
Held every March starting from Liberty Avenue and ending at the Phil Rizzuto Park on 126th Street and Atlantic Avenue, the parade celebrates the Holi festival of the Hindu new year. It is also known as the festival of colors as people play with colored powder to ring in the arrival of spring and the triumph of good over evil. The parade and festivities attracts more than 40,000 people from many cultural backgrounds to Richmond Hill. More »
This pool hall provides a huge space to play and enjoy fun music and drinks at an affordable price.
The Richmond Hill Historical Society Archival Museum
See a photographic and written history about old Richmond Hill, curated by the historical society. It was closed for a short time for renovations but Richmond Hill Historical Society President Ivan Mrakovcic says finishing touches are expected in late January. Open by appointment only.