|The Capitol Of
the United Nations moved into their headquarters on Manhattan’s east
side in 1951, much of the world body’s activities took place in
Queens. Through the 1940s, the General Assembly met in Flushing
Meadows-Corona Park and most delegates resided in Flushing’s Parkway
Village, the massive UN housing complex. But it wasn’t only back
then that Queens was the epicenter of world affairs.
Gary Ackerman, this writer was the dedicated journalist and civic activist
who founded the
Flushing Tribune in
the borough remains the “Capitol of the World,” with the most
culturally and ethnically diverse population in the land.
with the first large wave of immigration to new arrivals from other far
away lands, Queens is continuously being discovered by people from all
points on the globe.
a senior member of the House International Relations Committee, I am often
involved in events occurring in all of the different areas around the
world. To most members of Congress on the panel, the committee’s work
doesn’t translate into much as it relates to their districts. But here
in Queens, international relations is a local issue.
the region involves the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, Northern
Ireland, Europe or any other area in the world, there are many people it
affects in Queens.
amount of diversity that exists here is simply outstanding. Queens has
evolved into a county where more than 150 languages are spoken. Numerous
forms of art from dozens of cultures are displayed in our museums and
galleries. Different styles of architecture make up the borough’s
buildings and infrastructure.
and dance are as diverse as they come
. . . whether bopping to sounds of salsa, moving to the beat of rap
or moshing to the riffs of heavy metal.
is also an abundance of literature, newspapers and television and radio
stations, all in different languages that cater to the borough’s vibrant
ethnicity and their lifestyles. Not to mention all the different forms of
religion and houses of worship from Catholic, Greek and Korean churches to
mosques to Jewish synagogues.
boasts the entire rouge of international cuisine.
to Flushing and you’re in East Asia,
Jackson Heights for South Asia, Astoria for Greek, Jamaica for Caribbean,
Avenue for South and Central America, Forest Hills for Russia, Glendale
for German, Woodside for the County Cork and for Italian, French and . . .
well, just name it, we’ve got
it all. Not to mention some of the best
steak and seafood restaurants as well as Greek diners.
almost goes without saying that such multi-culturalism is a source of
vitality and energy. Diversity is good; choice is good; exposure to
different cultures and ideas is good. It makes us more educated, better
rounded people and it improves our communities. We live happier and more
fulfilling lives as a result of it.
it’s not just all the culture that we benefit from.
variety of ethnicity and diversity in Queens, has been extremely positive
for bolstering our local economy and creating jobs. Without immigrants
from regions such as Mexico and Latin America, our farmers couldn’t
bring in the crops, our hospitals would have a catastrophe instead of a
mere nursing shortage crisis and our high-tech info industry would close
down for lack of programmers (India and South Asia).
addition, the restaurants, galleries, newspapers, etc. also create many
jobs as well as continue to spur economic development.
describe Queens as a melting pot, but that implies a blending of cultures
into one amalgam. Queens is really a stew pot in which each ingredient
retains its own identity but absorbs some flavor from the others.
I tell my colleagues from across the nation about the culture and
diversity in Queens, I think to myself how lucky we are to have it all
we have much to benefit from. Never has the phrase “Our strength is in
our diversity: E Pluribus Unum - Out of Many, One” been so true than
here in the county of Queens, New York.
I invite you to celebrate with me, all the many differences that Queens
has to offer as our great borough ventures even further
into the 21st century.