NFT New York Jackson Heights

Jackson Heights
Home to immigrants from Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, and Latin America, Jackson Heights/Elmhurst is one of the most culturally diverse neighborhoods on the planet. Jackson Heights is New York City's oldest gay community dating back to vaudevillians who moved there in the '30s. These days the boys who hang out there are mostly Latino and get their groove on at local night clubs. Late nights, clubgoers of all sexual orientations grab a snack from one of many Latino street food vendors.

Jackson Heights is also where Alfred Mosher Butts invented Scrabble in the 1930s, at the landmark Community Methodist Church, which today conducts services in several languages, and still plays host to a Scrabble club. The Scrabble Street Sign outside the church commemorates Butts' invention with point values corresponding to the letters in 35th Avenue. Elmhurst was never the birthplace of any board games, but it does have its share of historic houses of worship. St. James Episcopal Church was chartered in 1734 by none other than King George III, and is its oldest building. Just up the road is the Dutch Reformed Church of Newtown, which was erected in 1831, and still bears the name of the original settlement.

Old churches provide ties to the past and all that, but the award for the area's most intriguing house of worship goes to Wat Buddha Thai Thavorn Vanaram, a Thai temple whose ornate gilded roof stands out amidst the blocky multifamily homes surrounding it. Another edifice with an astonishing roof line is the five-spired Newtown High School built in 1897. The Baroque style school counts Omar Minaya, general manager of the New York Mets, among its alumni. Other architectural gems include Elks Lodge Local 878, which is now a megachurch, and the modernist Capital One Bank, with its swooping patina-green roof, originally built as a branch of the Jamaica Savings Bank in 1968. Jackson Heights is no slouch when it comes to architecture either and boasts its own historic district that features some of the first cooperative housing in the United States, including The Towers, built in 1924 and designed by Andrew J. Thomas. Its notable features are its mansard roof and sumptuous interior garden.

Unless you plan to settle down in a historic co-op, worship at a 200-hundred year old church, shop for saris in Little India, or suck down overpriced beers while checking out the scantily clad Latina dancers at so-called sports bars there’s really only one reason to come to the nabe: the food. Get off at the Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue subway stop and you’ll find yourself in a veritable ethnic food lover's paradise. Roosevelt Avenue and the surrounding blocks are lined with Latin-American restaurants, including numerous Ecuadorean spots, legions of taco trucks, several Argentine steak houses, and dozens of Colombian bakeries.

Little India runs the length of 74th Street from Roosevelt to 37th Avenue. A new addition to the area is Little Tibet with several restaurants serving cuisine from the rooftop of the world. Out on Northern Boulevard Colombian hamburger and hot dog joints bring new meaning to "the works" by topping weenies and patties with potato chips, avocado and hard-boiled egg, among other things. Elmhurst also has its share of ethnic grub, including several excellent Thai and Indonesian eateries.

Nightlife
Taxi dancing joints like Flamingo; gay bars and clubs, including Friend's, the nabe's oldest; and "sports bars" like Ildas II, abound. For a truly transporting experience shake a tailfeather with Nepalese and Tibetans who flock to the Himalayan Yak for dinner and a band that plays everything from Bollywood to The Eagles.

Restaurants
Little India is home to Dosa Place and Merit Kabab & Dumpling Palace, which offers Pakistani, Nepali, and Tibetan. Newcomers include Polish comfort food specialist U Dzika and Shangri-La Express Dumpling and Curry House. And lest, we forget, The Arepa Lady, a former Colombian judge who serves up tasty late-night street food.

Shopping

Browse Indian bridal jewelry at Shri Krishna Jewelers. Bombay bling not your thing? Check out fetish gear at London Boutique or get inked at Village Moon Tattoo. Ethnic groceries abound. For Thai ingredients try Katii Thai Grocery Store. Phil-Am Food Market is a must for Filipino food. We dare you to try the balut.



         
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Friday, February 18, 2011

Posted By:  Jess Allen
Photo:  Jess Allen

Maharaja Sweets & Snacks
Some say we eat first with our eyes. If true, then Maharaja Sweets & Snacks in Jackson Heights offers belly-busting rainbows galore. Up front, a display case features desserts in all hues, from the bright pink of a young girl's bedroom to never-seen-in-nature lime green to a moist deep orange, full of wisdom and secrets. Silver slivers have been applied with a hand more liberal than a club kid getting ready for the night. In back, there's a seating area with table service. Staying or going, try a cham-cham, a hefty concoction of boiled cheese and sugar, or a jamun, similar to a donut but veritably dripping with syrup. Snacks---including samosas, pakoras, flavored naan, and chat---are decidedly savory, if less visually stimulating.



Monday, April 12, 2010

Posted By:  Layne Mosler
Photo:  Layne Mosler

Tangra Masala
The first thing you'll notice when you open the menu at Tangra Masala--an Indian-Chinese restaurant in Elmhurst that's recreating a marriage of two cuisines that started in Calcutta--is the sea of chili pepper symbols. Of the 159 dishes on the menu, 108 have chili pepper symbols next to them--and just in case the food's not explosive enough for you, every table is equipped with two jars of house-made chili sauce. But spicy isn't the only reason this place is a cab driver favorite: hot and sour soup ($3.95), lollipop chicken ($6.95, curry-breaded wings with chili mayo dip) and Manchurian chow mein (with ginger, garlic, scallions, bird chilies, chicken, cabbage, bean sprouts and egg noodles) fuse the most flavorful facets of India and China and keep locals coming back for more. In deference to Islamic tradition, they don't allow alcohol (Read: no beer to diffuse the heat). Credit cards are a no-no, as are strollers (no space). Though it's too clean to qualify as a hole-in-the-wall, gold-tassled curtains can't camouflage the grim windows or the view of the bus stop. But once you taste the food, none of these things matter.



Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Posted By:  Dave Cook
Photo: 

Corner Corn Cart
I love corn, but I hate getting it stuck between my teeth when I eat it off the cob. So I was more than happy to get my veggies from a fellow who serves spiced-up Mexican-style corn, both as elotes (ay-Loh-taze, from a cob) and as esquites (ess-Key-taze, from a cup). I asked for esquites "with everything" and got a payload of hot kernels, a slather of margarine, a pinch or two of grated white cheese, and a dusting of chili powder. Maybe I missed out on a little messy fun, but I consoled myself with a few extra spoonfuls from the bottom of the cup.



Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Posted By:  Jennifer Keeney Sendrow
Photo:  Courtesy Roomorama

Zabb Elee
The 7 train sweeps past quite a few authentic Thai restaurants, but Zabb is worthy of particular attention from those who love to feel the burn. Spicy specialties from the chefs' home province of Isaan dominate the menu. Some dishes that originated in Northeastern Thailand, like som tum (green papaya salad) and larb (ground meat salad), have already become ubiquitous throughout the global Thai takeout diaspora, while those involving organ meats, like gay jub, are understandably more obscure. Obscure, but good, if one likes pig parts. The less adventurous might stick to the delightfully crispy whole fried fish or the DIY fun of the Laotian-style hot pots. Regardless, do as they do in Isaan and try using a gob of sticky rice as your primary utensil. Zabb is BYOB and it stays open until 2 am, making it a fine place for late night revelry.



Monday, November 05, 2007

Posted By:  Vanessa Vichit-Vadakan
Photo: 

If you haven’t reveled in the joys of Korean-style fried chicken yet, UFC is a great place to start, if for no other reason than their logo is just about the cutest logo ever. The chicken is good, too, and that’s almost all they do here except for fries (potato or sweet potato), a random sandwich, and some way overly mayonnaised macaroni salad. You can choose from soy garlic, sweet-spicy, or sweet mustard sauces for the chicken, or you can let your chicken go au naturel. The food is made to order, so be patient (they’re double-frying it back there in the kitchen to ensure its extra-crispiness!). Dine upstairs where it’s airy and bright, or head downstairs to the darker, cozier seating area. Either way, grab a few extra napkins and enjoy every last bite. It will be easy to identify the deliciousness.



Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Posted By:  Jennifer Keeney Sendrow
Photo:  Courtesy Roomorama

Outgrown Kalustyan's? Patel Brothers supermarkets have aisle after aisle stocked with groceries from the Indian subcontinent, everything from toothpaste and hair dye to fresh vegetables and locally baked sweets. The produce section becomes mango central in summer, when the sweetest ones are snapped up 5 pounds at time as soon as they hit the shelf. The spice selection is a big draw for cooks, with fresh pouches of everything you need (and lots of stuff you probably haven't even heard of) for about a buck or two. For the cooking-averse, frozen TV dinners priced for $3 or less tend to be surprisingly good, definitely no worse than Midtown buffet fare. If you've got wheels, forget Costco: Come here to get 5 pound tubs of yogurt for $4, sacks of rice for $10, and 2 pound bags of grains and legumes for under $5. Besides, you can't get Saffron Pistachio ice cream at Costco.



Friday, June 15, 2007

Posted By:  Jennifer Keeney Sendrow
Photo:  Courtesy Roomorama

Not sure if the shop's name has anything to do with actress Karishma Kapoor, but this place can provide any lady with a wardrobe worthy of a Bollywood starlet. If you have a J. Crew credit card in your wallet, Karishma is not for you. These racks bulge with all things multicolored and spangled, from heavily embroidered formal ensembles to everyday tunics and trousers. Don't be afraid to mix your jewel tones! Once clothed, there's a fantastic selection of costume jewelry at the front counter to complete the look. With prices for matching sets of earrings, necklaces, and tikkas going for $25 to $150, you can glitter like a goddess for less than a tenth of the cost of the 22K gold sets displayed next door.



Thursday, March 01, 2007

Posted By:  Jayson Walker
Photo:  Jayson Walker

Beer machismo might need some rethinking. I mean, it’s understood that a beer with added sweetness, sunny packaging, or even just a slice of citrus says its low booze content and slightly acidic taste is just too much for you to possibly stand, you pissy wimp. But crushed lime, shaved ice, and a salt-rimmed frosted mug after an hour long search for an open Latin restaurant on Monday night in a 25 degree bluster says that if you suffered through that ordeal, you can drink whatever you want, you handsome stud. Moreover, you can do it in a neon-lit mod-ish (for Queens) diner with $10 entrees like pan-fried steak, chorizo, bacon, and fried egg (for big boys only) and zippy orange (it’s OK, you’re tough!) pecositas de pollo over a mess of almond, bacon, plantain and deliciously oily rice that’s enough to take half home for lunch tomorrow (that’s OK too, big guy). You can also have a sour sop shake or sweet bread from their bakery and their cute waitresses will still smile at you, you red-blooded fella.




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See Jackson Heights...
Restaurants (62)
Nightlife (13)
Shopping (113)
Landmarks (12)



Other Jackson Heights Restaurants

Arepa Lady
Tasty arepas made by a former Colombian judge.
Armondo's
Classy Italian with great entrees and a Sunday brunch.
Bahar Restaurant
Authentic Afghan food, BYOB.
Chao Thai
If you tire of Sripraphai, give this place a try. It might be the second best Thai around.
Chivito De Oro
Uruguayan.
Delhi Palace
Quality Indian cuisine with a sweet shop next door.
Dosa Delight
A dozen dosai, including the ultra-crisp rava masala dosa.
El Nuevo Izalco
Cozy Salvadoran with fine tamales and salpicon.
El Pequeño Coffee Shop
Go native and order cuy or roast guinea pig at this Ecuadorian spot.
Haewoondae Korean Restaurant
24-hour Korean BBQ below a 24-hour Korean sauna.
Himalayan Yak
Momo and chili chicken along with live Nepali pop, bhangra and 70s rock.
Ihawan
Great Filipino barbeque.
Jahn's
Old-school ice cream/diner straight outta 1950.

See more restaurants

Other Jackson Heights Nightlife

Alfonso's Bar
Small local hangout.
Café 75
Another local hangout.
Chueca Bar
Latina lesbian dance bar, ask for a flaming shot.
Club Evolution
One of the biggest gay clubs in the borough, with theme nights and drag shows.
Flamingo
Tuxedoed waiters class up a joint where Latino ladies dance with you...for $2.
Friend's Tavern
Not a nightspot for Quakers but rather Queens' oldest gay bar.
Himalayan Yak
Eccentric live band plays everything from Bollywood to The Eagles.
Lucho's Club
Woodside's (only?) Latin drag-gay nightspot.
Play
A fiberoptic bar meets arcade with a loophole in the anti-smoking law.
Post Time Bar
Basic local pub.
Terraza 7
Bar with live music, poetry readings, film screenings, and art.
Uno Café Billiard
Karaoke on Monday through Thursday, pool every day.
Winners Bar
Korean sports bar.

See more nightlife spots

Other Jackson Heights Shopping

Apna Bazar Cash and Carry
Larger and cheaper than Patel Brothers, hectic checkout.
Butala Emporium
Books, periodicals, and music from India.
Cigi Bicycle Shop
North of Roosevelt toward Corona.
Despana Brand Foods
Meats and cheeses for all your entertainment needs.
Duane Reade
The 24-hour one.
E&B Colony Wines
Pretty OK for the neighborhood.
El Indio Amazonico
Have your fortune told or purchase a love amulet at this botanica.
Hong Kong Supermarket
Largest Asian supermarket in Elmhurst. Not the cleanest but has the best selection and good prices.
Indian Sari Palace
Saris and textiles from India.
Inthira Thai Market
A wide selection of Thai groceries plus homemade coriander beef jerky.
Karishma
Get kitted out like a Bollywood starlet.
London Boutique
Sex toys, fetish gear, and lingerie for straights and gays alike.
Patel Brothers
All things from India, fun to browse.

See more shopping

Other Jackson Heights Landmarks

Capital One
Ultra-mod 1960s architectural gem.
Community United Methodist Church
Offers services from a diverse clergy in different languages.
Elks Lodge Local 878
Beautiful building from 1924, no longer an Elks Lodge.
Jackson Heights Beautification Group
Come and see the beautiful community gardens of Jackson Heights.
Manuel De Dios Unanue Triangle
Take a break on a bench at this plaza named for a slain antidrug journalist.
Newtown High School
1897 building has a distinctive Baroque tower with five spires.
Reformed Church of Newtown
Landmark church built in 1831, graveyard from early 18th century.
Scrabble Street Sign
Letters of sign have number values honoring inventor of Scrabble.
St. James' Episcopal Church
Oldest building in Elmhurst, constructed in 1734.
St. Mark's Church
An exquisite church offering services in Spanish and English.
The Towers
Part of the Historic District--beautiful co-ops from the 1920s.
Wat Buddha Thai Thavorn Vanaram
Ornate Thai Buddhist temple sporting an Emerald Buddha on its top floor.

See more landmarks