From the Washington Post travel section:
Even though I go to Flushing, N.Y., fairly often, I'm always caught off guard by how quickly things change in the Queens neighborhood. Sometimes it will be just a new restaurant, or maybe a new hotel, but last year, as my train was pulling in, I noticed a whole new stadium. Shea was gone, and Citi Field was in its place. The area has an energy to it that I just want to bottle and sell.
Citifield is in Corona, on the other side of Flushing Creek, not in Flushing (no matter how hard the Wilpons pretend). I do sometimes fantasize about marketing "Eau de Flushing", though...
Here's a neighborhood that really seems to be part of China, only with New York City street signs.
Yes, we've noticed.
When I step off the train at Main Street, get my first whiff of scallion pancakes, make my first sighting of a new menu or find some ingredient that exists nowhere else in the Eastern United States, I know that I've come to the right place.
The first thing you smell when you step off the train at Main Street is definitely not scallion pancakes.
I'm not kidding about the stepping-off-the-train thing. There are Chinese street food vendors right under the elevated tracks.
Yes, we've noticed.
When it comes to shopping, I always set out with a goal; it could be a pair of jeans, an ethernet cable or some cereal bowls. And I can guarantee that I'll never find what I want and will come home with something else. Last time, it was my favorite Fisherman's Friend cough drops in Chinese packaging.
I'd resist the urge to consume any food product in Chinese packaging these days, pal.
The neighborhood is filled with malls that look more like third-world market stalls, and a small storefront could be a gateway to dozens of tiny vendors and even more food.
Finally, a dose of honesty!
Flushing Meadows Corona Park never seems to be on anybody's list of favorite parks.
Another dose of honesty!
At the Queens Museum of Art...head for "The Panorama," a model of New York City as it existed in roughly 1992. At 9,335 square feet, it's the world's largest architectural display. I can't visit it without crying.
Neither can I. New York before Bloomberg. A wonderful place. When they finish updating the panorama, it will show all that we've lost and the crap that we've gained in its place.
At the end of the day, take a walk down Main Street. Embrace the crush of the crowds, browse in the shops, grab a few snacks and pretend for a moment that you're in Asia.
No need to pretend. "Am I still in America?" is a phrase I have said many a time while strolling down the main drag.
Just as I was thinking that this was as urban as a place could be, I heard a rooster crow.
Yarvin is a writer and photographer in Edison, N.J.
Ah, that explains it.