A Day in Queens

Last weekend my friend and I tried out something new. We went all the way from Brooklyn to Queens!

Now this might sound unexciting to some of you. “Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, isn’t it all the same?” you might think. “Isn’t it all pretty darn close to each other?” No no, I have to tell you, it is not. You can actually spend a good 2 and a half hours of travel from the midst of Brooklyn to heart of the Bronx, and this is by means of normal subway (as I told you, most folks don’t have or need a car here).

So getting to Queens from Park Slope was very … interesting. Since it was a Sunday, the train schedule was messed up, of course. Trains usually arrive every ten minutes on weekdays and Saturday, but on Sunday they like to show up every 20 minutes, which is about three times an hour. Once we finally hopped on the F, we traveled all the way up to Roosevelt Av and switched to the 7-train. The 7-train is basically the connecting subway from Queens to Manhattan and it stops at Times Square. I rarely take it as I don’t have any reason to go to Queens. Indeed, I recall, the last time I jumped on it was exactly a year ago, and that was when I was looking at a room around Jackson Heights.
Anyhow, the 7 is tricky as it goes local or express. Local means it will halt at every useless stop. Express is the better option. After one and a half hours we finally breathed in fresh air when getting off at the Mets-Willows Pt stop. Destination: Flushing Meadows Park!

Flushing Meadows is a well-known park, as it is right across from the Mets stadium (football freaks!) and as the US Opens court is directly in the heart of all the green. Regretfully I’ve only made my way out once since I’ve been here. This was last fall and I had a good time shooting a few lovely pictures, taking in the last rays of the autumn sun, and watching Mexicans play soccer. Then a tragedy happened and in February I lost all the pictures I had taken in New York due to a hard drive failure.

Shit happens.

Now I am slowly rebuilding my path from last year without getting lost on its way.

So I definitely had to check out Flushing Meadows in October again, just to retake those infamous, beloved photos. My friend had never been and I considered this to be a great occasion to show him around.
We started walking towards the well-known emblem of this park. You know, the first thing you notice when watching an episode of “The King of Queens,” which by the way is completely shot in LA and, therefore, not really authentic. Back to the story. We started walking towards the Unisphere, illuminated by the sun shining through the metal bars of the back of the figure. This year as in last year there were many Latinos out, playing their soccer and having fun in the sun. It was an unexpectedly warm day outside and we didn’t need the jackets we had brought with just in case. But this time I didn’t know whether I should be happy or sad. Mexicans in New York definitely deserve a separate post, so I won’t deliberate too much on them here. It’s just so sad to see them playing out and knowing their life is better than the small village they came from in Mehiko but that they are still not being treated unbiased by the people here. More of this in a later post, though.

We shot some excellent pictures of the Globe. Basically, we had our own private photo session in front of it and I reveal to you some good photos worth posting.

The one and only Unisphere

Then I showed my friend where the US Opens are being held and we carried it on from there, walking around, until we got to a river-like structure. I still didn’t know whether to feel sad or happy. The murky water was filled with trash and I doubt any animal would survive in it. Families were posing in front of this pile of junk and acting as if it were a great scenery. Then the pigeons which were fed by passerbys. The few Orthodox Jewish kids who were running around in a minority compared to the Middle-American crowd. On our way out I passed a dancing group of teenagers. I think they were trying out the some Salsa steps and I couldn’t help but take a picture.

On the subway ride back we got off at Jackson Heights, as I remembered a block that was called Little India in the midst of Queens. I was eager to check it out and we walked right into an Indian street fair. Seems like we were at the right place to the right time, as it happens quite often. Since it was 5 PM already, some stands had wrapped up, but most were still open, advertising their good food, their colorful shawls, and other Indian exotics. I helped myself with a buffet, my friend got a cold dish the name of which I’ve forgotten made up of chick peas and various vegetables served in a sauce layered with bread. Both were really good. For dessert I sneaked around a kettle in which something resembling fried calamari was swimming around. Turns out these were traditional Indian sweets called Imarti. I bought a small bag and took a bite. Pure sugar mounted on top of fried pastry but very good indeed. I don’t think my teeth will like this dish in the long run, but it was worth trying.

It had been a long day. We were tired. Off to Brooklyn we went. This time I wanted to take a different way, so we stopped at Bryant Park and walked to the F from there. Then we had to wait those full 20 minutes until the next train showed up. So it was another one and a half hours back to the Slope. The colorful day had made up for the tedious trip, though!

For more pictures on Flushing Meadows, go to A Picture Every Day.

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