The title of this post is a line from a movie. Can you name it? Bonus points for character, actor, and scene. You have until the end of this post to guess your answer.
Six weeks of the WordPress Post-A-Week challenge has been very good in getting me to blog regularly this year! While I did say that would I write about travel, culture, food, New York City, and bikram yoga, I have yet to figure out the common thread(s) that would pull all these disparate interests together to make an interesting and worthwhile read for visitors. Ultimately, I am trying to figure out what my unique contribution will be to the online community.
Last Thursday, I saw travel blogger Vagabond3‘s tweet on a current weekly blog feature: a 12 week challenge centered on the theme of traveling within your own hometown. Immediately, I thought this challenge would be a perfect way to complement my Post-A-Week challenge and the goals I hope to accomplish! So once again, I declare to the world my intent to participate in this excellent idea to write about New York City…but with a *TWIST*. I’m going to focus all future articles for this challenge on only 1 of the 5 boroughs of New York City: Queens.
A Manhattan-ite once wrote on her Facebook status update, “Only reason to go to Queens is the airport.” While the borough does house the city’s two airports, as a Queens native, it absolutely PAINS ME to hear this statement! Yes, Queens gets very little love in the hearts and minds of many people when compared to limelight-stealing Manhattan and trendy, hipster Brooklyn. While the Bronx gets little attention too and Staten Island is barely on the radar for most tourists and New Yorkers alike, I believe Queens to be a real gem as New York City’s most ethnically diverse borough and arguably, the most ethnically diverse county in the United States.
So if you are a tourist visiting New York City interested in getting-off-the-beaten-Manhattan-path or a city resident hesitant to cross the river, check back here every week as I spotlight Queens. I hope to inspire you to get out of your comfort zone and explore another layer of this wondrous city. And as much as I love the westernmost neighborhoods of Queens — Astoria and Long Island City — that border the East River and are closest to Manhattan, I’m going to do my best to focus on lesser known neighborhoods in the borough that are equally interesting but don’t get very much publicity.
“What better place to find a queen than the city of Queens?” Prince Akeem asks Semmi, his friend and cousin in the 1988 movie “Coming to America”. In fact, this movie holds a special place in my heart. McDowell’s Restaurant was, and still is, a Wendy’s restaurant in Elmhurst, where I grew up. Filmed in 1987, I will always remember my elementary school classmates coming into school one morning excitedly talking about their bus ride home the afternoon before. Apparently, they hollered and frantically banged on the bus’s windows to get the attention of Eddie Murphy & Arsenio Hall as they filmed on the street. Little did I know that in 6 short years, I would hold a part-time job in high school at this Wendy’s. The hallway was lined with black and white photos of the cast. Heck, I eventually dated my first boyfriend who also worked there and took him to my prom.
Personal tidbits aside, name me another borough that has a major thoroughfare with the coolest street name ever.
*Movie still picture found on Slowly Going Bald.