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Flushing Chinatown

 

Flushing Chinatown

Coordinates: 40°44′32″N 73°52′43″W / 40.74221°N 73.87863°W / 40.74221; -73.87863

Flushing Chinatown
Chinese: 法拉盛; pinyin: Fǎlāshèng
Neighborhood of New York City
Borough Queens
Region Long Island

Chinatown, Flushing, or Flushing Chinatown (法拉盛華埠),[1] in the Flushing area of the New York City borough of Queens, USA, is one of the largest and fastest growing ethnic Chinese enclaves outside of Asia, as well as within New York City itself. In Mandarin, Flushing is known as "Falasheng" (Chinese: 法拉盛; pinyin: Fǎlāshèng).

Location

Main Street and the area to its west, particularly along Roosevelt Avenue, have become the primary nexus of Flushing Chinatown. However, Chinatown continues to expand southeastward along Kissena Boulevard and northward beyond Northern Boulevard.

History

In the 1970s, a Chinese community established a foothold in the neighborhood of Flushing, whose demographic constituency had been predominantly non-Hispanic white, interspersed with a small Japanese community. The Taiwanese were the first Chinese immigrants to arrive and developed Flushing's Chinatown. It was known as Little Taipei or Little Taiwan. The Taiwanese immigrants that began arriving into New York City were unable to relate to the originally established Manhattan Chinatown (紐約華埠), which was initially dominated by the Cantonese language and people before receiving large numbers of Fujianese immigrants but a generally working class community. Housing conditions in Manhattan's Chinatown were poor, and the Taiwanese immigrants were more likely to have attained higher educational standards and socioeconomic status, and so they settled in Flushing instead. As their population grew, they eventually created their own Flushing Chinatown with a higher standard of living and which had better housing conditions. However, over the years, many new Chinese immigrants from different regions and provinces of China have arrived, and now the Chinese population is very mixed, with different provincial languages and cultures.[2][3][4][5] This Chinatown abuts the rapidly growing Long Island Koreatown (롱 아일랜드 코리아타운) as well.[6]

Demographics

A 1986 estimate by the Flushing Chinese Business Association approximated 60,000 Chinese in Flushing alone.[7] By 1990, Asians constituted 41% of the population of the core area of Flushing, with Chinese in turn representing 41% of the Asian population.[2] However, ethnic Chinese are constituting an increasingly dominant proportion of the Asian population as well as of the overall population in Flushing and its Chinatown. Massive and relentless immigration from Mainland China, both legal[8][9] and illegal[10] in origin, continue to spur the ongoing rise of the ethnic Chinese population in Flushing Chinatown, as in all of New York City's Chinatowns.

Size

According to a Daily News article, Flushing's Chinatown ranks #2 as NYC's largest Chinese community with 33,526 Chinese, up from 17,363, a 93% increase. The Brooklyn Chinatown (布鲁克林華埠) now ranks #1 as the largest Chinatown of NYC with 34,218 Chinese residents, up from 19,963 in 2000, a 71% increase. As for Manhattan's Chinatown, its Chinese population declined by 17%, from 34,554 to 28,681 since 2000 to rank #3.[11]


Chinatown, Elmhurst (唐人街, 艾姆赫斯特)

The Elmhurst Chinatown (艾姆赫斯特 唐人街) on Broadway in nearby Elmhurst, another neighborhood in the borough of Queens, also has a large and rapidly growing Chinese community and is developing as a satellite of the Flushing Chinatown. Previously a small area with Chinese shops on Broadway between 81st Street and Cornish Avenue, this newly evolved second Chinatown in Queens has now expanded to 45th Avenue and Whitney Avenue.[12]

A third and fledgling Chinatown is now emerging in Queens, geographically between Flushing and Elmhurst, in the neighborhood of Corona (唐人街, 電暈).[13]

Transportation

The New York City Subway's has its terminus at Flushing – Main Street; the intersection of Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue, at the heart of Flushing Chinatown, is the third busiest intersection in New York City, behind only Times Square and Herald Square in Manhattan.[14] Numerous other public bus and rail connections also serve Chinatown at the Main Street/Roosevelt Avenue intersection, including 22 bus routes as well as the Port Washington Branch branch of the Long Island Railroad.[15] Flushing Chinatown is also readily accessible by automobile from several major highways, namely the Grand Central Parkway and the Whitestone Expressway/Van Wyck Expressway.

Educational centers

In accompaniment with its rapid growth, Flushing Chinatown in particular has witnessed the proliferation of highly competitive businesses touted as educational centers as well as non-profit organizations declaring the intent to educate the community. Some entities offer education in Mandarin,[16] the lingua franca of Mainland China; others profess to provide students with intensive training in computer and technological proficiency; while still others entice high school students with rigorous preparatory classes for college entrance examinations in mathematics, science, and English literacy.

Political clout

The political stature of Flushing Chinatown appears to be increasing significantly. Taiwan-born John Liu, former New York City Council member representing District 20, which includes Flushing Chinatown and other northern Queens neighborhoods, was elected to his current position of New York City Comptroller in November 2009. Concomitantly, Peter Koo, born in Shanghai, China was elected to succeed Liu to assume this council membership seat.

Center of Chinese culture

Flushing Chinatown now rivals Manhattan's Chinatown as a center of Chinese culture.[17] The Lunar New Year Parade has become a growing annual celebration of Chinese New Year in Chinatown. More and larger Chinese supermarkets are locating and selling a diverse and uniquely vast array of Chinese food and ingredient selections in Flushing Chinatown, the largest of which include Hong Kong Supermarket and New York Supermarket, which also happen to be rapidly growing Chinese American chain supermarkets.[18][19][20]

Cuisine

The popular styles of Chinese cuisine are ubiquitously accessible in Flushing Chinatown,[21] including Taiwanese, Shanghainese, Hunanese, Szechuan, Cantonese, Fujianese, Xinjiang, Zhejiang, and Korean Chinese cuisine. Even the relatively obscure Dongbei style of cuisine indigenous to Northeast China is now available in Flushing Chinatown,[22] as well as Mongolian cuisine.

Languages

Mandarin Chinese[23] (including Northeastern Mandarin), Fuzhou dialect, Min Nan Fujianese, Wu Chinese, Beijing dialect, Wenzhounese, Shanghainese, Suzhou dialect, Hangzhou dialect, Cantonese, Taiwanese, and English are all prevalently spoken in Flushing Chinatown, while the Mongolian language is now emerging.

Public institutions

The largest of the Flushing branches of the Queens Borough Public Library is located at the intersection of Kissena Boulevard and Main Street in Chinatown.[24] This library houses an auditorium for public events.

Medical care

New York Hospital Queens, a member of the NewYork-Presbyterian Healthcare System, is a major medical center providing Flushing Chinatown as well as surrounding communities with comprehensive medical care services.[25] Numerous tertiary medical clinics also serve the residents of Chinatown.

Social services

A diverse array of social services geared toward assisting recent as well as established Chinese immigrants is readily available in Flushing Chinatown.[26]

See also

New York City portal

References

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