Flushing is a teeming-with-life neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens. While much of the area is residential, Downtown Flushing is a large commercial retail zone and the fourth largest business district in all of New York City. It is also an amazing source of American history.
John Choe, Executive Director of the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce and our very knowledgeable guide that morning, used the word “oldest” many times during our trip. We met at St. George’s Episcopal Church, built in 1702, and the oldest church in Flushing.
2/3 of the residents here are Asian from many different Chinese provinces. The population is much larger than the Asian population in Manhattan’s Chinatown. Asians in Flushing think Chinatown in Manhattan is somewhat of a tourist haven. If you want to see how Asians work and live today, Flushing is much more authentic.
An RKO theatre was a shell of its former glamorous self. When it closed in 1985, no more movie theatres were built in Flushing! Today Fulton Square Development is constructing luxurious condominiums which will include a large movie complex on premises.
At the Bowne House, there was a stone commemorating the sermon that George Fox, founder of the Quakers, gave in 1672. Our next stop was the Flushing Quaker Meeting House, built in 1694 and the oldest house of worship in New York.
On the ninth floor of One Boutique Hotel, we had an aerial view of the 1912 Flushing High School building. The school was founded in 1875 and is the oldest public high school in New York State. John pointed out the Flushing YMCA, which wasn’t the oldest, but was one of the most progressive: the first to allow women to join!
The present and future are also alive and well in Flushing. Business is booming. Prices are reasonable. Food is wonderful. People are diverse and dynamic. It is an international melting pot, home to Chinese, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, European, Caribbean, Indian and African immigrants and their descendants.
History comes to life. Life flourishes in Flushing. What’s not to love?