juxtaposition." True or not, it's one of those claims that many want to make. I cannot argue that New York City leads the world in contrasts; travelers to places like Egypt speak of the extreme contrasts unknown in the United States, such as disembarking from a plane and seeing the pyramids of Giza, or camels and limos in the streets of Cairo.
In the United States, we cannot compete with contrasts based on age. However, in New York City, there are remarkable cultural and ethnic pockets, with shops and services often juxtaposed in startling ways. Looking into my vault of photos, I found today's images from July 2011, when I paid a visit to Woodside, Queens.
On or near 55th Street, in two short blocks, you can have you taxes done, bookkeeping, find a notary, pray at the local Masjid Fatima mosque, or get your fresh fowl at the Bismillah Live Poultry. From their website:
We are in business since 2002. All our poultry items are slaughtered Under Muslim rules & regulations (100% Halal). We are a proud member of Shariah Board of USA. All our chicken are naturally grown, no hormone or steroids used and they are tested by USDA.
In this industrial warehouse district, you will also find Sapori d'Ischia, an Italian foods retailer that becomes a highly regarded restaurant at night. ABC has a rental facility there, as well as Saks Fifth Avenue.
The live poultry business is always the biggest shocker for me to see in New York City. When I started this blog in 2006, I was particularly driven to show things of dramatically disparate natures. I had recalled passing a live poultry dealer on the Lower East Side, and one of my first postings was of a Live Poultry Market on Delancey Street, which I believe is now closed. At one time, there was even a live poultry dealer in the South Village, only blocks from my home. These things are often taken for granted at the time, and once gone, I begin to question my own memory of something so seemingly out of place in Manhattan.
As I explored the streets of Woodside that Sunday in the hot summer sun, there was very little activity, even by locals. The streets were deserted. Some of the backroads hearkened to the Old West. At any moment, I expected tumbleweed to blow through, had there been a breeze. And maybe out of that New York-styled Wild West would be our own Wyatt Earp, just back from Masjid Fatima toting a sixshooter on one hip and live poultry from Bismillah on the other. And that's New York City at High Noon :)