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Tour Queens via the 7 Subway - Neighborhoods and Sites on the 7 Train

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Flushing-Main Street - The Best Chinatown in NYC
Street Signs in Downtown Flushing, NY

Korean street signs in downtown Flushing. Although referred to as a "Chinatown," Flushing is very diverse with significant Korean enclaves along Northern Boulevard.

Photo (c) John Roleke
Your final stop on the #7 is at Main Street in Flushing, and though you're at the end of the line, this downtown bustles as hard as Manhattan. Flushing is the largest Chinatown in New York City, with a significant Korean population, too. In between the Asian language signs, you can see a couple small signs of the colonial past in the birthplace of religious freedom in America.

Flushing was once an important Dutch colonial town, founded as Vlissingen in the 1600s and part of the New Netherlands. It was settled by English families and the pacifist Quakers. When Governor Peter Stuyvesant forbade Quaker meetings, Flushing residents protested, making perhaps the earliest demand for religious freedom in the Americas in a document known as the Flushing Remonstrance. Stuyvesant was later reprimanded by the Dutch West Indies Company, his edict repealed and religious liberty established throughout the colony in 1663.

Come out of the subway in the thick of things on Main Street, a hub of commerce and Taiwanese bubble-tea cafes. Walk north on Main Street toward that church steeple. It once dominated the area, but St. George's Church (135-32 38th Ave, 718-359-1171) now recedes a bit in competition with the new shops and restaurants, teeming with signs in Chinese, Korean, and English. The Episcopalian church -- a later rendition of the original, which was chartered by King George III - is a calm oasis.

Continue up to Northern Boulevard and turn right to see the plain wooden Friends Meeting House (137-16 Northern Blvd, 718 358 9636), built in 1694. Across the street is Flushing Town Hall, a Romanesque Revival building, now home to the local arts council and its monthly Queens Jazz Trail tour.

Before heading away on the subway, you have to eat. Try one of the delicious and relatively inexpensive Chinese, Thai, and Malaysian restaurants on Prince Street.

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