Friday, August 17, 2007

Flushing break up

I'm sorry to say it, but it must be said: My love affair with Flushing is over. It's too bad, really, because I've always been crazy about Flushing. Actually, I love everything about New York City. I was born and raised in New York, and Flushing to me has always embodied the best of what this city is: bustling street life, punctuated by the cacophony of the No. 7 line that signals all roads lead to Main St.

Give us a sign that all are welcome

After dinner, a friend and I strolled up 37th Ave. as we peeked into store windows, I realized that I couldn't identify any of the businesses. Travel agent? Real estate? Dentist? Card store? One shop seemed to sell housewares, but every sign in the front window was written in Korean. Or was it Chinese?

By putting their signs only in their native language, the merchants are saying to me that they don't want my business. They don't want to entertain the idea that someone who doesn't speak their language would spend money to purchase their merchandise or use their services.

So, I've decided to give them what they want. I'm spending my money where it's welcome.

It's too bad, really, because I do love Flushing.

35 comments:

georgetheatheist said...

This reminds me of the Jim Crow era in the American South. Picture your're the owner of a Woolworth's and you DON'T want customers at your lunch counter because of their skin color. Are you crazy? The MORE customers the merrier! When "Jim Crow" was eliminated, what happened? The South BOOMED economically!

If the Asian owners had any real smarts, they'd put up bi-lingual, tri-lingual, quatra-lingual, etc. signs and drive their ignorant competition out of business.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in flushing (late 70's-mid 80's), me and all my friends(of diffrent ethnic backgrounds, but still AMERICANS) worked in alot of stores up and down main st , from the age of 14 through college. if we were growing up there now WHO would hire us? they don't want us buying in thier stores, they don't want us IN their stores !!! I find that abit racist, but that's right only caucasians are racists.

Anonymous said...

Its like this all over NYC. You go to Brighton Beach and everything is in Russian. You go to Washington Heights and everything is in Spanish.

I don't read Chinese or Korean and have found that most signs do have some English on them. And when you go into the stores, the chances of encountering an employee who speaks english is a lot better than it was just five years ago.

Most immigrants do want to learn English. Most of the english as a second language classes across the city are filled to capacity.

BTW, the old law requiring english was written in the 1900s to address western europeans that the earlier immigrants in the US did not think will ever learn to speak english.

Anonymous said...

The Lion may roar, but that battle, unfortunately, was lost many years ago.

Asian storekeepers pretty much want people who speak the language in their businesses.

www.forgotten-ny.com

Anonymous said...

This topic came up a few years ago in Flushing and I thought the end result was that local businesses were going to be forced to have signs in english as well, so all would be welcome.?.

Anonymous said...

There has been a state law on the books for 100 years that requires English on all signs for safety reasons (emergency services need
to be able to identify a location for quick response).

Has it been enforced? No!

Councilwoman Julia Harrison tried to get a similar law put on the city's books but she was branded an anti-Asian "racist" for her efforts.

Why? Because it interfered with the vested interests' plan to develop Flushing as a primarily mono cultural area.

Anonymous said...

An exception to this practice of no English language on signs is the startling contrast of the "Beplat" hardware store located further east on the northeast corner of 150th Street & Roosevelt Ave.

A Korean family took over this long established family owned business (about 80 years old at the time) kept on the "American " workers until they retired. Their current employees are not just Koreans.

This family is cordial and welcomes all ethnicities.
The old sign is in English (with some other language additions).

I'm greeted with a" hello" when I walk in and their quality is superior to Home Depot.
You get personalized service without having to hunt around a football field sized ware house to find help.

They also deliver free on orders of $100 or larger.

Result......Beplat does a booming business by an atmosphere of welcome inclusion . They've expanded their customer base.

Bravo.....I always patronize them first because they adapted and grew with the neighborhood and that's good business. They've become good neighbors .

Other Korean stores have come and gone in east Flushing but they are here to stay.

KG2V said...

RE Beplat:
I too was worried when Beplat was taken over. If anything, the new owners breathed new life into what has always been a great hardware store.

Speaking of hardware stores - does anyone else think that Jere's has gone downhill somewhat? 25 years ago, it seemed like there was nothing that they didn't have, or could get you within 2-3 hours... Now?

westernqueensland said...

I try and see past the parochial signage, though I find your observation canny and accurate. I like Anonymous 2's post about the hardware store. I have to admit that there is a short-sightedness to mono-lingual (non-English) signs that I hope these merchants will outgrow.

http://todayeye.wordpress.com/2007/03/29/brazil-79/

(Yeah, it's Manhattan)

Anonymous said...

Little bits and pieces like this tells us that the machine runs Queens for their interest, not the public.

All that matters is the community of tweeded votes for 'tha lads'.

Don't feel comfortable in your own country? neigbhorhood? Thats YOUR problem. YOU adjust.

Wheather its immigrants, or yuppies, swamping your commmunity, remember, its because the machine has an agenda and these developments satisfy it.

If you say nothing, you don't exist.

Anonymous said...

Any second now we will hear from Johnny Liu demanding retractions and denouncing the Daily News. I sincerely hope they don't cave in.

Anonymous said...

where have you all been? this has been going on since the late 70's when the asians started taking over large chunks of queens. everything i know growing up as a kid in queens is either gone or asian. time to move on i guess. original native residents are not welcome anymore

Anonymous said...

Union Street is a visual nightmare. One of the ugliest streets in the entire city.

Main Street is undoubtedly one of the most disgusting stolls in the entire city.

Hey, I can say that! I am not running for office, and make no money from tweeding, so, if the emporer has no cloths, I can say what I want and its no skin off my back!

Anonymous said...

Not every native-born American has the time to learn 80 different languages. I speak Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese and Japanese but I don't have time to learn Chinese and Korean too, and I think people should make an effort to learn English if they move to the United States. If not, why did they want to come to this country in the first place?

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to the people who own Belpat and continue to thrive. Most of Flushing, as well as Corona don't want Americans in their stores. They are happy to be in an environment just like home. They don't want to speak English or assimilate to the American ways, they just want to make money. The City Council would never vote to uphold the law that requires signs in English because that wouldn't be politically correct and they wouln't be popular. That is why white people are heading out of New York. All we ask is that if you come, come legally and assimilate and follow the laws. Our ancestors did, why must they be coddled by our government?

Anonymous said...

Flushing is filthy and disgusting. There is absolutely zero pride of neighborhood there. If the people who live and work there want to live that way, let them have it.

Anonymous said...

I have observed the hodgepoge signage in Asian languages in Flushing over the years. The signs seems to cover the stores including the second floor and are a plain ugly sight. It appears that they cater only to their tribes, but perhaps it is due to the lack of command of the English language.

I strongly suggest a uniform signage legislation for all NYC buisnesses that include mandatory written English buisness identification on signs which would also then allow their native language in smaller letters.

Successful buisness folks will recoginize drawing potential customers from a diverse base of people is great for their bottom line.

Anonymous said...

Flushing is a textbook example of unchecked immigration overwhelming the character of a neighborhood. On the plus side, new blood has revitalized downtown after the low point of stagnation and neglect in the 1970s. On the down side, due to the massive influx of orientals, the English-speaking occidentals of the area are no longer welcome. (the non-English store signs are a blatant form of discrimination). It's unfortunate that inclusion, diversity and tolerance are concepts expected just from English-speaking white people. All others seem to have been anointed victim status.

Anonymous said...

The first candidate for president, whether regardless of party, who wants to make English the official language of the United States will get my vote. All business should be conducted in English. By the way, this has come up for vote and Ms. Clinton and Mr. Osama voted against it. Something to think about when you cast your vote. I think the American people should have this on the ballot. English should be made the official language of the United States.

Anonymous said...

Even if the signs were all in English they'd still be obnoxious because there are just too damned many of them.

who walk in brooklyn said...

They don't want to speak English or assimilate to the American ways,

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^'

which are what, precisely? McDonalds? Wal Mart? Or, to make it "classy," an Applebees or Red Lobster?

I'm not saying signage is not an issue at all but... be careful what you wish for.

Oh wait wait-- I've tried to suppress this from memory but how about the LOVELY All-American Queens Center Mall*?

wwib

Anonymous said...

Leaving New York isn't going to accomplish much.

"They" as someone indicated,
have "taken over" everywhere.

And just who are "they"?.......
We have met the enemy and they are us !

We're also responsible for the mess!

I'm staying in NYC......at least the real estate taxes
are low when compared to
impoverished Nassau County.

Those sons and daughters
of those white flight people
who left New York years ago are now returning
in droves.....
while poor people who can no longer afford
to live in new York are replacing them.....
a sort of reverse migration !

connie said...

Many, many years ago I attended a meeting at the AME church in Flushing. Julia Harrison was the quest speaker. She spoke about introducing a bill requiring store signs in the English language. She got a big round of applause. I supported her idea 100 percent.

I spoke with her after the meeting and she invited me, along with some others, to attend a hearing at City Hall on the subject. It was my first (and last) time at City Hall. Many of us spoke before the council committee. There was a man at the meeting, Mr. Kim, the president of a Korean group of businessmen from Flushing, who testified. The hearing got real nasty and Mr. Kim turned to Harrison and shouted into the microphone, "If you're not with us, leave us alone". I'll never forget it.

That was the last meeting I ever attended. I give Harrison credit for at least trying to get some order in Flushing.

It's been years since I spent money in Flushing, I don't go there anymore. Flushing was my home for more than fifty years, but now, I know I am not welcome there.

Anonymous said...

"It's been years since I spent money in Flushing, I don't go there anymore. Flushing was my home for more than fifty years, but now, I know I am not welcome there"

You pay taxes. You are a citizen. You might even be a veteran.

Never never conceed one inch of American soil.

Anonymous said...

"which are what, precisely? McDonalds? Wal Mart? Or, to make it "classy," an Applebees or Red Lobster?"

No Duck Butt. That is my fav....

Anonymous said...

and Forest Hills and Rego Park increasingly have signs only in Russian. in 10 years it will be Brighton Beach.

Anonymous said...

Comparing the situation in Flushing to Jim Crow is just stretching it. Most of these shop owners are recent immigrants who want to be able to communicate in English but can't. I think as we move into the second generation, the English signage problem will disappear. Jim Crow was a system of laws set up by Government with the intent of separating the races. Most of these immigrant shop owners would welcome marketing beyond their native populations if they knew how. Just look at the H-Mart supermarket at Northern and 156th. It started as a market only selling Korean products, now it sells Franco American products and peanut butter just like Pathmark.

Also, before you say immigrants don't want to learn English and assimilate, look at the overflowing English classes given by many non-profits. You can also see how many of these second generation immigrants now hold jobs as architects, engineers, bus drivers and postal employees. A broad reflection of our society.

Anonymous said...

let's not forget where these people come from, the orient, if you have traveled there then you would know these are societies that are basicaly one race one culture. even in tokyo if your non asian, people stare at you, ask to have their picture taken with you.
orientals don't come here to try and lead a leave it to beaver lifestyle.

Anonymous said...

No one would want to live in this area
except people who have little choice.....
those fleeing from uglier places in the world.
This is not the destination of choice
as the Flushing Bid street banners proclain.

Mabel Law and Myra Herce are jerking us
all around, as usual, and getting well paid for it!

No thank you.....if I wanted to visit or shop
in the Orient....it would be in China proper.

There you could see some genuine classy architectural treasures not cheap giant plastic chopsticks in bowl signs atop shoddy buildings
and greasy sidewalks to slip on.

And please tell me what is that evil smelling
milky grayish yellow mystery liquid
that flows on the side streets from time to time
near the LIRR westbound tracks?

Anonymous said...

What do you expect?

Whites fled flushing, and Asians filled in.

Flushing was given up a long time ago, get use to it.

Anonymous said...

WOW! So much ignorance! I love how some of you berate these asian immigrants, when you were once immigrants yourselves. I mean, where would Flushing be without asians injecting money and some life into their new communities. It would be a ghost-town akin to many "white" parts in the mid-west. White flight started a long time ago for Flushing, and now since its thriving they're all whining, "But what happened to my old Flushing!?" I know alot of older "ethnic" white people typically can't handle change so they move upstate, down south, or the mid-west- good for them. Before, some of you ignorant asses start complaining, read the facts and at least be truthful in admitting it's not really about the signs that irks you but rather the kind of people occupying the space.
1) About a third of complaints about store signs in flushing were people complaining that the sign was english only!!

2)5% of signs in flushing on northern blvd. have no english. city council said its not enough to change any existing law (the law was passed in 1909 and says signs have to have some english but doesnt specify any penalty(which would have been added to any new laws)

3)A survey of chinese and korean business owners in flushing found that almost all have signs in english and the #1 reason they mentioned was to attract non korean/chinese speakers.

Ready Go said...

good assortment of comments and interesting post. for more info on Flushing and help in deciphering the various shops and restaurants check out myflushing.blogspot.com

jdonuts912 said...

its a shame that hard working american born citizens that own buisness have to pay threw the toilet in taxes and etc.but our slanty eyed friends come here with a 7 year tax free deal to open up a buisness and massive ammounts of OUR money thats been feed threw the 6 million churches...oh im sorry im a racist for saying that .but they can talk smack about americans heh.!!!!

jdonuts912 said...

oh yea i almost forgot about their manorisms spitting in front of us and using the air to blow thier nose..filthy pigs

Anonymous said...

The reason the new merchants want only there race is they only want cash business so they don't have to pay any taxes CASH onl for them