If you look at the census figures for a place like Flushing, Queens, you will find that, like many areas of New York, this is more of a small city or town than a neighborhood. Flushing has a population of 173,826 and a demographic makeup that is 43% Asian, 19% Hispanic, 6% black and 39% white. The range of services is broad enough that you could easily never leave the neighborhood, and I imagine many who live and work in Flushing do not leave often.
Flushing now rivals Manhattan's Chinatown as a center for Chinese community, making it the largest (or second largest) in the United States and outside Asia. Flushing, however, unlike a typical Chinatown, has more Asian diversity, both in its residents and businesses/services, with many Asian groups including Korean, Taiwanese, Malaysian, Thai, Vietnamese, and Japanese.
Flushing has become a model for religious pluralism in America, according to R. Scott Hanson, a visiting assistant professor of history at the State University of New York at Binghamton and an affiliate of the Pluralism Project at Harvard University. There are over 200 places of worship in a neighborhood of only 2.5 square miles.
On my recent excursion, I explored the area by foot and by car and was amazed by the diversity of people, commerce, architecture, and residential enclaves that I found. I was particularly impressed with North Flushing's absolutely exquisite single family homes, just a short way from the hustle and bustle of Main Street, Roosevelt Avenue, and Northern Boulevard. You can see, for example, the Fitzgerald-Ginsberg Mansion in the upper right of the photo collage.
There is a botanical garden, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park (site of the 1964 World's Fair), the Queens Museum of Art, art galleries, tea shops, herbalists, dumpling stands, Queens College, the Old Quaker Meeting House, and the historic Flushing Town Hall (headquarters of the Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution). Flushing is home to the Queens Borough Public Library - the Flushing branch is the busiest branch of the highest circulation system in the country.
I would recommend a visit to Flushing (along with Jackson Heights), both for the New Yorker and the out of town visitor. Here, you will get a slice of ethnic life in New York City in a real working neighborhood which caters to its residents and not so heavily to tourists, as in Manhattan's Chinatown. And there are plenty of restaurants to satisfy and shops to peruse.There's a vibrant feeling in this place. Flushing is a city on the move...
Note about the name: From the New York Times: "Flushing's early settlers were mainly English families who came via Vlissingen, a port city in the Netherlands. In 1645, these folks named their community Vlissingen. The area remained known as Vlissingen until about 1663 when the name was changed to New-Warke or Newark, according to documents from the Queens Historical Society. In 1665, however, the name Flushing, an English version of Vlissingen, was adopted and stuck."