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Real EstateCity LivingQueens

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.

Its a great place to live because theres 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 its really cheap compared to a lot of other places.

The neighborhoods 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 Hills 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.

--LISA FRASER