Chinatown in Flushing is home to a vibrant middle class and blue-collar community, and is wealthier than Chinatown in Manhattan. Until the 1970s Flushing was mostly an Italian and Greek neighborhood, but the downtown was shaken by the economic turmoil of the 1970s. People left Flushing and housing prices dropped. Korean and Chinese immigrants began to settle in Flushing by the late 1970s, and have predominated since the 1980s.
Many of the Chinese arrivals to Flushing have come from Taiwan, Southeast Asia, and even Latin America (from earlier immigrant groups). The representation of the extended Chinese community makes the eating possibilities in Flushing most delicious.
Today's tour of downtown Flushing covers:
- Shopping: The Flushing Mall, plus shopping for stationery, books, and music
- Dining: Street food and restaurants
- Hanging out: Bubble tea and Chinese bakeries
Public Transportation to Flushing: Subway, Train, and Bus
- The 7 subway serves downtown Flushing with its terminal station on Main Street.
- The LIRR train on the Port Washington line also stops on Main. Buses connect Flushing to the rest of Queens and also north to the Bronx.
- The following buses serve Flushing downtown: 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 20, 21, 25, 28, 34, 44, 65, and 66.
Driving Directions to Flushing
- It is fairly easy to drive to Flushing, but traffic and parking in the downtown can trigger migraines. Northern Boulevard and Main Street are the two most prominent thoroughfares. Exit the Whitestone Expressway (I-678/Van Wyck) at Northern Boulevard. Or exit the LIE (I-495) at Main Street, and drive north for about a mile.
- Check Yahoo's map of Flushing.
Parking in Downtown Flushing, Queens
- There is a large municipal lot at 37th Avenue and Union Street. The price is right at this two-level garage. There is smaller municipal lot next to the LIRR at 41 Avenue, just west of Main Street. Another small lot is on Prince Street, between 38 and 39 Avenues, which can often be a nightmare to navigate.
- There are several private parking lots, like the one across from the Flushing Mall at Prince and 39th Avenue.
- On a weekday you might get lucky and find a spot on the side streets around the Flushing Mall. The farther you go toward College Point Boulevard (west of Main), the more likely you will find street parking. Residential streets like those east of Union tend to have parking restrictions. Parking on Main Street is for the lucky and the thrill seeking. Watch out for the double-parkers!