The Colors of Queens: Elmhurst

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Class photo-essay project.

Text of The Colors of Queens: Elmhurst

  • 1. Elmhurst
    By Brianne Barry

2. Where All Paths Converge
In the midst of traffic jams, subway cars, telephone lines and crowds there exists a hidden culture and beauty simmering within this urban utopia.The contrasting languages, creeds, races, andpaces of life offer an array of experiences that is distinct to each of its inhabitants. As diverse in its colors as it is in its environment and ethnicities, it is this contrast in life that makes the neighborhood of Elmhurst one of the most unique places in the world.
Brianne Barry
3. Where Industry Meets Nature
Elmhurst was established in 1652 by settlers seeking shelter from Native American attacks by migrating further inland.The slow development of its ample farmland quickened with the development of the railroad in 1854. Elmhurst experienced another growth spurtwith the introduction of the subway line(Seyfried, 1991).The relationship between natural life in Elmhurst and industrial technology is a balance that is still apparent in its physical landscape.
Brianne Barry
4. Where Corners Meet Curves
Angles and curves adorn the structures of Elmhurst.Queens Place, the imposing circular structure is a shopping mall that was built in 1965.When designed, the corner property was owned by a woman who refused to sell her childhood home,thus the circular design was configured.The Building in the foreground,presently a Capital One Bank, was originally designed to resemble a bird taking flight(Barry, 2010).
John Roleke
5. Where Corners Meet Curves
Angles and curves adorn the structures of Elmhurst.Queens Place, the imposing circular structure is a shopping mall that was built in 1965.When designed, the corner property was owned by a woman who refused to sell her childhood home,thus the circular design was configured.The Building in the foreground,presently a Capital One Bank, was originally designed to resemble a bird taking flight (Barry, 2010).
John Roleke
6. Where Traditional Meets Contemporary
This house situated on 54thAvenue and 94th Street was originally an architectural style that populated much of Elmhurst.A large house split down the center to offer residences for two families was a popular style during Elmhurstsvery own construction boom between 1950- 1969.However, with an estimated population of almost 110,000 residents, (60,000 people per square mile) apartment buildings tend to spring up in the most unlikely of places, even where the rest of your house used to be (City-data.com, 2010).
John Roleke
7. Where Traditional Meets Contemporary
This house situated on 54thAvenue and 94th Street was originally an architectural style that populated much of Elmhurst.A large house split down the center to offer residences for two families was a popular style during Elmhurstsvery own construction boom between 1950- 1969.However, with an estimated population of almost 110,000 residents, (60,000 people per square mile) apartment buildings tend to spring up in the most unlikely of places, even where the rest of your house used to be (City-data.com, 2010)..
John Roleke
8. Where East
According to the 2000 United States census, one of the largest ethnic demographics of Elmhurst was its Asianpopulation.About35,000 respondentsidentified as being Asian, that was about 40% of the population in 2000(Queens Public Library).The Asian influence is notable in the growing business area that runs along Broadway, and is locally referred to as Chinatown (Barry, 2010).
John Roleke
9. Meets West

  • In 2000, according to the U.S. Census, Hispanics and Latinos made up the largest ethnic demographic in Elmhurst at 45% (Queens Public Library).In businesses and neighborhoods throughout Elmhurst, Spanish is spoken more frequently than English. The concentration of residents with Latino heritage inspires businesses like Boca Juniors, an Argentinean Steakhouse to take root.

10. A heavy presence is still felt by the historical inhabitants of Elmhurst.Europeans such as Irish, German and Polish immigrants inhabited Elmhurst in the early 20th century.It was the ideal location for working class immigrants usually employed in Manhattan to find reasonably priced places to live, within travel distance from their jobs (Barry, 2010).John Roleke
11. Where Big Business meets Small Business
Elmhurst is the commercial center of Queens.Queens Center Mall and Queens Place both located blocks apart on Queens Boulevard have a combined total of almost one-hundred major retailers.However, even with multi-million dollar competitionlocal businesses and even street vendors have the opportunity to run successful businesses.In a iconic display of economic diversity, within feet of the Macy's department store entrance,dozens of food and merchandise vendors line the sidewalks (Barry, 2010).
John Roleke
12. Where faith...
Elmhurst is one of the most religiously diverse communities in the nation. Worshippers find structures such as the Wat Buddha Thai ThavornVanaram.Located in a quiet residential area,the temple is at the center of the Thai Buddhist community in New York City.Less than 10 minutes away,is this Geeta Temple located on Corona Avenue. Located down the block from the largest factory in Elmhurst, the structure was converted into a religious temple from what was originally a warehouse (Barry, 2010).
John Roleke
13. Meets Cohabitation
Located literally across the street from one another, are two examples of the harmonious diversity that makes Elmhurst distinct.Located on Ithaca street is St. Bartholomew'sRoman Catholic Church.The original church structure was built in 1910.Almost directly across the street is the Jain Center of America,one of the first Jain temples in the entire United States.It's construction was completed in 2005 (Roleke).Along with being an indicator of present diversity,these two structures represent the ethnic tides that affected Elmhurst geographically.The historical predominance of European ancestry,has expanded to include the influx in Eastern religions.
John Roleke
14. Where Public Meets Private
Elmhurst is constantly finding a balance between its public and private spheres.Bars on windows and Beware of Dog signs prominently displayed in front yards, symbolize a stand-off persona that is contradictory to the open attitude of many Elmhurst natives.Take a stroll through Elmhurst on any hot summer night and you will find neighbors on their front stoops airing the dirty laundry about the latest local gossip.
Brianne Barry
15. Works Cited
Barry, J. (2010, December 8). History of Elmhurst. (B. Barry, Interviewer)
City-data.com. (2010). 11373 Zip-code Detailed Profile. Retrieved December 3, 2010, from City-data.com: http://www.city-data.com/zips/11373.html
New York Landmark Society. (n.d.). Historic Properties Fund. Retrieved December 3, 2010, from New York Landmark Society: http://www.nylandmarks.org/programs_services/loans/historic_propertie_fund/projects/old_st_james_parish_hall
Queens Public Library. (n.d.). Demographics- Ethnic and Racial Identification. Retrieved 3 December, 2010, from Queenslibrary.org: http://www.queenslibrary.org/pub/cns2000_show_table.asp?branches=Elmhurst&tables=t04aaaTable:'Ethnic and Racial Identification'$$ t04abbr01: Total:$$ t04abbr02: Hispanic or Latino$$ t04abbr05: White alone$$ t04abbr08: Asian alo
Roleke, J. (n.d.). Photos of Elmhurst Queens. Retrieved November 29, 2010, from About.com: http://queens.about.com/od/photogalleries/ig/Photos-of-Elmhurst/
Seyfried, V. F. (1991). Old Queens, N.Y. New York: Dover.