Consulates are in essence a piece of foreign territory abroad, and in New York, they are all in Manhattan, where there is a kind of multinational enclave near the United Nations. The Ecuadorean Consulate, for example, is in the same building as the Israeli Consulate, which imposes the same security restrictions upon every visitor, no matter where they are going — or where they are from.
But that will change on Monday as Ecuador extends its reach outside Manhattan, inaugurating a consular outpost in the borough where most of its citizens live. The office, in a stucco building whose walls still smelled of fresh paint on Sunday, sits across from El Huarache Restaurant, which sells burgers and the beef fillets known in South America as bistecs, and it is not far from the corner where Ecuadorean day laborers gather every morning in search of work.
Consulate for Ecuadoreans Reaches Where They Live
The consulate is the color of cement and has thick floor-to-ceiling windows that do little to muffle the rumble of the No. 7 train as it rolls along the elevated tracks.
And the office in Queens will have a somewhat unusual schedule: It will be open Saturday through Wednesday.
For Ecuadoreans, Queens has been a magnet for decades, and there are more of them in the borough — about 102,000 — than immigrants from any other Latin American country, according to 2006 census estimates. With a population of about 162,900 citywide, Ecuadoreans are New York’s fourth largest Hispanic contingent, behind Puerto Ricans (770,100), Dominicans (587,330) and Mexicans (260,620), according to the census.