“We like to utilize every single square inch of land, every inch of territory,” explained Rabbi Shlomo Nisanov, head of a Bukharian synagogue and community center in Kew Gardens Hills. “For some reason, people don’t appreciate it.”
Questions of Size and Taste in Queens
The Bukharian tendency to pave over everything is practical, he continued. Bukharians preferred a terrace or patio to a lawn, which he called “useless land.” A yard required mowing — “a waste of time,” he said.
“Exhibit A,” he said, gesturing to a brick row house on 76th Road. It had a verdant front yard that seemed to beg for mowing and pruning. “You see this?” he said dismissively. “What is this? What are we seeing here?”
He then pointed to the house next door. “Exhibit B,” he declared. The house was fronted by a well-swept terrace of red and black paving stones and enclosed within a five-foot-high wall that, he said, ensured some privacy. Any remaining green was an accent rather than a feature.
“You can eat outside, the kids have a place to play,” the rabbi said. “You have usage of the front of your house.”
“It’s nice, it’s beautiful,” he added. "What are you afraid of?"
Oh, little things like worsening pollution, the heat island effect, 3 feet of water in our basements...