Queens, New York stands out as the most ethnically diverse county in the U.S. The physically largest of the five boroughs of New York City, Queens extends over 109 square miles on the western end of Long Island, including a few smaller islands in Jamaica Bay. Portions of the unique and lovely Gateway National Recreation Area are part of Queens, 26,000 acres of parkland set aside in the heart of America’s largest metropolis.
The most significant quality seen in Queens is the steadfast loyalty that residents show to their neighborhoods. Each of Queens’ seventy-one neighborhoods has its own cultural flavor and atmosphere.
- Rockaway Beach is a rollicking Irish-American area and Astoria is home to the largest Greek population outside of Greece.
- Jackson Heights, Elmhurst and Corona contain large numbers of Hispanic and Asian residents, with a portion called Little India. Indian Sikhs congregate in Richmond Hill also; found here is the largest population of Sikhs outside of India.
- The district of Jamaica is the seat of Queens County and a major business and transportation hub. Large neighborhoods of middle class African American, Latino and Caribbean people live in the south and eastern sides of Queens.
- Howard Beach and Middle Village are home to many Italian Americans.
This wonderful mixture of ethnic races and cultures gives Queens, NY a colorful and diverse atmosphere. The eastern end of Queens contains more suburban-type homes and landscaping, while the central and western sections retain more urban characteristics.
Tourism, industry and trade support the economy of Queens. Jamaica and Flushing are the two chief commercial centers. The JFK International Airport in Jamaica and LaGuardia in Flushing are two of the busiest airports in the world. Several large firms maintain their headquarters in Queens, including Bulova, Glaceau, Steinway & Sons and Jet Blue Airways. The film industry is rapidly growing here also, especially in the Astoria neighborhood. Western Queens has gained a reputation for becoming an artistic center to both live and work in. Found here is the unique and special Socrates Sculpture Park, the Museum of the Moving Image, which honors film, and the Museum for African Art.
Eastern Queens contains the New York Hall of Science and Technology Center, the Queens Museum of Art, and lively Shea Stadium, home to the New York Mets baseball team. Located here also is the renowned Flushing Meadows Park, the site of two World Fairs and the annual U.S. Open Tennis Tournament.
Portrayed as New York’s lower income working-class borough in the 1970’s TV classic All in the Family, modern-day Queens has grown more affluent. While the median household income in neighboring Brooklyn was more than $9,000 below the national average, (Census 2000 data), Queens reported a household income of $42,439, almost $500 above the national.
Almost three quarters of Queens’ population of more than 2,200,000 people graduate from high school, while 25% of those go on for higher education. Many residents that live in Queens commute over to Manhattan, New York City’s commercial center. Workers from Queens average a 42-minute commute, as compared to the national average of 26. The Long Island Expressway connects Queens with the rest of New York City.
Queens, New York presents an intriguing and eclectic face to the world. This vibrant borough of New York City welcomes people of every race and faith. With over 7,000 acres of parks, and 10 miles of boardwalk-lined beaches, culture, class and style, residents of Queens take great pride in their home.