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Jackson Heights offers diversity, affordability and easy transportation

Nicknamed “The World’s Borough,” Queens is one of the most culturally diverse urban areas on the planet, and Jackson Heights is often considered its epicenter.

For those with a healthy appetite, the neighborhood boasts an enviable food scene, thanks to various ethnic enclaves including large Indian, South American and South Asian populations.

Walking down 74th Street, it’s easy to see why the thoroughfare is nicknamed “Indian Row.” Men in traditional Indian garb chat on the sidewalks and heady spices emanate from the many eateries and grocery stores lining the block, from street vendors selling spicy Indian chaat to the inexpensive lunch buffet at Jackson Diner to the grand Patel Brothers grocery store, a source for Madras curry powder and other spices to cook with at home.

Meanwhile, Raj Jewels of London sells jewelry, Butala Emporium has a range of icon and incense needs and Lavanya offers jewel-tone saris.

On Sundays, foodies from around the city head to the Jackson Heights Greenmarket for seafood, bread, vegetables and fruits, meats, wines and other goods.

“Jackson Heights is almost so diverse that sometimes you just want a hamburger,” chuckled resident Alfonso Quiroz, 43, a Con Edison spokesman.

Quiroz, who also runs “OUT Jackson Heights,” a monthly dinner party that hosts around 20 LGBT guests at area restaurants, joked that he is heartened by the recent arrival of Emoji Burger on 37th Avenue.

“I love it,” he said of his neighborhood.

Jackson Heights often serves as a stepping stone for newcomers who migrate to the city from other states and countries, according to Alan Lightfeldt, a data scientist at the real estate listings site StreetEasy.

“The network in Jackson Heights is very strong,” Lightfeldt said.

It’s also easy for new buyers and renters to find apartments, he said, but added that the nabe can feel a bit crowded with so many people living there.

“On the whole, Jackson Heights is extremely buyer-friendly and renter-friendly when you compare it to other parts of Queens,” Lightfeldt said.

The nabe’s median asking sales price in 2015 — $253,000 — was 15.5% cheaper than Queens as a whole, according to StreetEasy, and the sales market is mostly dominated by co-ops, which tend to sell for less money than condos. The median asking rent on a one-bedroom in the area in 2015 was $1,775.

To pay Jackson Heights a visit, hop on one of many buses that serve the area or take one of several trains to the Roosevelt Avenue/74th Street subway stop.

Near the transit hub, say hello to the neighborhood mascot: a penguin statue named Wink that is always dressed up by a local.

“It’s a nice mix because it’s definitely an urban area, with apartment buildings and everything, but it definitely has a suburban feel to it,” said Monica Pagan, 27, program coordinator for the career advising program at the NYU School of Medicine, who’s lived in Jackson Heights for two years.

“There’s trees in the medians of the avenues,” she said.

If there was one improvement Pagan would like to see in the nabe, it would be better sanitation on roads not managed by business improvement districts, she admitted.

“There’s a lot of trash on the streets, like all the time,” she said.

And while Pagan speaks Spanish, her live-in boyfriend sometimes has to ask for translations in local businesses. “But the signage is good and people are very helpful,” she said. (WITH HEATHER SENISON)

Find it:

Jackson Heights is bordered to the north by Astoria Boulevard and to the south by Roosevelt Avenue, according to StreetEasy. It is bound to the west by 68th Street and the Brooklyn Queens Expressway and to the east by 94th and 89th streets.

The basics

TransportationTrains: 7, E, F, M, RBuses: Q32, Q33,
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier


Trains: 7, E, F, M, R

Buses: Q32, Q33, Q47, Q49, Q53, Q70


Jackson Heights is covered by the 115th Precinct at 92-15 Northern Blvd. The precinct reported one rape, eight robberies and no burglaries in the week of Jan. 25-31. It reported six rapes and no murders so far in 2016 as of Jan. 31.

Movies and TV

Numerous films, including Alfred Hitchcock's "The Wrong Man" (1956), "The Usual Suspects" (1995), "Random Hearts" (1999), "Maria Full of Grace" (2004) and James Gray's "We Own the Night" (2007), were partially shot in Jackson Heights. Frederick Wiseman's documentary "In Jackson Heights" (2015) profiles the neighborhood. It is also where the family on the TV show "Ugly Betty" lived.

To eat

Espresso 7735-57 77th St.This cozy coffee shop is
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

Espresso 77

35-57 77th St.

This cozy coffee shop is known for its espressos and honey mint limonatas. There are also live performances and local artwork on display.

Emoji Burger

80-07 37th Ave.

A new burger joint offering a variety of burgers made of vegetarian-fed beef with GMO-free buns.

Jackson Diner

37-47 74th St.

Open since 1980, this restaurant serves ethnic cuisine from North and South India. Visit midday for the lunch buffet.


To party

Terraza 740-19 Gleane St.Open until 4 a.m., this
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

Terraza 7

40-19 Gleane St.

Open until 4 a.m., this live music venue is also a place for political expression, featuring poetry slams, jazz music and film screenings. There are even musical workshops, including piano and Columbian music lessons.

La Gloria

86-11 Northern Blvd.

This Cuban lounge is designed in crimson decor with leather seats. It serves specialties like empanadas, mariquitas (plantain chips) and Cubano sandwiches and features live DJs.

Amaru Pisco Bar

84-13 Northern Blvd.

The Peruvian-style bar offers a wide range of cocktails mixed with pisco, a South American brandy. Pair cocktails with Peruvian-style tapas like ceviches, empanadas and salchipapas.

To shop

Butala Emporium37-46 74th St.A colorful Indian shop selling
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

Butala Emporium

37-46 74th St.

A colorful Indian shop selling religious statues, incense, Hindi magazines, literature and dictionaries, among other items.

Table Wine

79-14 37th Ave.

This shop offers a diverse selection of wines and spirits and conducts weekly wine tastings.


Patel Brothers

37-27 74th St.

Head to the back of this Indian market to find a wall lined with a variety of spices. Take home bags of Madras curry or chili powder, ghee and whole-wheat chapati flour.

To do

AMF Bowling and BQE Billiards & Bar69-10 34th
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

AMF Bowling and BQE Billiards & Bar

69-10 34th Ave. and 70-02 34th Ave.

Located across the street from each other, these establishments provide a laid-back vibe with bowling and billiards play. 718-779-4348

Gulzar Beauty Salon

7401 Roosevelt Ave.

A salon specializing in traditional Indian mehndi. Leave with intricate henna designs on your body and hands.


Travers Park

34th Avenue and 77th Street

The largest space for recreation in the nabe, this park is also home to a year-round farmer's market on Sundays. There are daily pickup games on the basketball, handball and tennis courts, as well as soccer and kickball matches. A playground also appeals to families with children.

Real estate

2015 Jackson Heights market data:   Median sales
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

2015 Jackson Heights market data:


Median sales price: $320,000

Number of units on market: 358

Median rental price: $1,775

Number of rentals on market: 677


(Source: StreetEasy)


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