NFT New York East Flushing

East Flushing

East Flushing serves as a buffer between Flushing's bustling Chinatown and the bucolic far reaches of suburban Northeastern Queens. East Flushing's leafy residential streets comprise a well-kept single-family haven for an increasingly Asian (and especially Korean) population. The solidly middle-class area is thus home to some of the city's best Korean restaurants. If you're exploring East Flushing, best to have a vehicle or a specific restaurant in mind, but if you make the trek, you will be rewarded with some excellent out-of-the-way food options. Besides the mass of what is generally "Flushing" that comprises East Flushing, two named neighborhoods stick out in particular: Murray Hill and Auburndale.

Murray Hill was founded by a guy named Murray who owned a nursery during the 19th century in this area (this part of Flushing was home to several major nurseries). The neighborhood is centered on the hill (duh) around 150th Street and Northern Boulevard. Northern Boulevard along the stretch between (roughly) 150th Street and (roughly) the Broadway LIRR train station near 164th Street is shaping up into becoming New York City's next big Korea town - - it's longer than 32nd Street in Manhattan, for one, and nearly every business here seems to be Korean themed or Korean owned.See more.

Auburndale was established in the early, early part of the 20th century as a housing development along the Long Island Rail Road. (The name "Auburndale" is an homage to Auburn, Massachusetts, the hometown of the president of the development company; sort of like "Harlem," you know?) Although Auburndale, strictly speaking, is the 90 or so acres of the original development between Auburndale Lane and the Clearview Expressway just north of Northern Boulevard, the area south of Northern Boulevard is also sometimes referred to as Auburndale.

In the past we've called Northern Boulevard in East Flushing the tail of the dragon that is downtown Flushing. But if you want to apply a physiological metaphor to Northern Boulevard, the major thoroughfare through this area of Queens, consider it less an "artery" (too pat!) than a sort of six-lane pancreas that generates insulin to this placid part of town. On the south side of Northern Boulevard between 152nd and 153rd Streets, for example, there are four top-notch Korean restaurants in a row at 152-22, 152-24, 152-26 and 152-28. Just awesome.

The southern portion of East Flushing includes part of Kissena Park, and golfing is possible at Kissena Park Golf Course. That other great Queens pastime, cemeteries, is represented in Flushing Cemetery, which was established in 1853 (many cemeteries in the "cemetery belt" between Queens and Brooklyn were created in the 1840s and 50s to accommodate increasing numbers of Manhattan's dead) and is the final resting place for Louis Armstrong, Bernard Baruch, Adam Clayton Powell, Sr., and Vincent Sardi, (as well as many others!). Across the street from Flushing Cemetery is Martin's Field, a former African-American burial ground that the city turned into a playground in 1936. Chastened by community pressure not to allow kids to blithely "have a catch" or while away the hours in a wading pool constructed on top of human remains, in 2006 the Parks Department refashioned the site into a contemplative spot more appropriate to its original use. Today, a sign on the fence out front rechristens Martin's Field "The Olde Towne of Flushing Burial Ground," but even with all this new consciousness about the site's past, neighbors still complain about the park's prohibition against dogs.

Northern Boulevard features karaoke and late-night (sometimes all-night) Korean food. BBQ Village offers one hour of free karaoke after you're done eating all the Korean barbecue that you can. If you're looking for something more low-key, check out TNT's seven television screens and darts or Sheehan's Irish-style pub.

There are so many rivaling Korean spots that you should just pick one already (send a Radar afterward!), but if you need somewhere to start, Dae Dong Manor, Nolbu Nolbu, and Sik Gaek all come recommended. Explore trendy Korean fried chicken at Kyochon Chicken, Mad For Chicken, and BBQ Chicken.

Northern Boulevard and its myriad Korean specialty stores form the main shopping district in this part of Queens. Two Asian grocery stores, Han Yang and H Mart are fun stops. For loopy Japanese housewares, visit Banzai Living. A smaller shopping corridor stretches south along 162nd Street from Northern Boulevard.


On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Rob Tallia
Photo:  Rob Tallia

Sik Gaek Chun Ha
We are not so proud here at NFT that we can't take a recommendation from someone else in our "industry" (whatever that is). So, we thank Anthony Bourdain for turning us on to one of the most unique dining experiences we've ever had, Sik Gaek in Flushing. The $79 seafood platter, heaped with noodles, veggies, shrimp, mussels, clams, squid, lobster, and a live octopus that slowly dies from the heat as you're blithely eating everything else, including the intense broth, is an experience not to be missed. Especially when it's accompanied by a mash-up of Korean and American pops hits blared loudly at you while you sip your cucumber soju and down Ob beer. The madness continues until 6 am. Crazy.

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