Flushing in Queens NY

Flushing is the largest Chinatown in New York City

Flushing defines north-central Queens. The historic neighborhood core is the largest urban center in the borough, and it's the wealthiest and the largest Chinatown in New York City. Since the economic blight of the 1970s, Flushing has changed dramatically. Increasingly prosperous Chinese and Korean communities have grown to be the dominant groups. The downtown, a transportation hub, is now the busiest shopping district in Queens, with big money pinned to planned real estate developments.

Flushing Transportation

Flushing is a 30-minute plus commute on the #7 subway to midtown Manhattan from the Main Street terminus. The LIRR also runs from Main Street to midtown—17 minutes.

Buses 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 20A, 20B, 25, 27, 34, 44, 48, 65, 66, and QB1 serve Flushing. The QM2 runs express to midtown.

The Whitestone Expressway connects Flushing north to the Bronx, south to the Van Wyck to JFK, and to the Grand Central and LaGuardia. Northern Boulevard and Main Street are the big commercial streets.

Downtown Flushing

Downtown Flushing is the largest urban center in Queens, and home to the second largest Chinatown in New York City (Flushing neighborhood profile). Get off the 7 subway or the LIRR at Flushing Main Street and step into the crowds. The downtown sidewalks pulse with people – of all nationalities but predominantly East Asians, specifically Chinese and Koreans. Signs in Chinese are at least as prominent as those in English. This Chinatown, though, is a real American fusion. For food there's everything from McDonald's and Chinese seafood restaurants to street vendors selling fried noodles. For drinks there are Irish bars, Starbucks, and bubble tea cafes. The shopping ranges from the standard Old Navy and upscale Benetton to Chinese bookstores, herbal medicine shops, Asian groceries, and music stores that stock the latest hits from Shanghai.

Chinatown in Flushing is home to a vibrant middle class and blue-collar community, and is wealthier than Chinatown in Manhattan. Until the 1970s Flushing was mostly an Italian and Greek neighborhood, but the downtown was shaken by the economic turmoil of the 1970s. People left Flushing and housing prices dropped. Korean and Chinese immigrants began to settle in Flushing by the late 1970s, and have predominated since the 1980s.

Many of the Chinese arrivals to Flushing have come from Taiwan, Southeast Asia, and even Latin America (from earlier immigrant groups). The representation of the extended Chinese community makes the eating possibilities in Flushing most delicious.

Public Transportation to Flushing: Subway, Train, and Bus

* The 7 subway serves downtown Flushing with its terminal station on Main Street.
* The LIRR train on the Port Washington line also stops on Main. Buses connect Flushing to the rest of Queens and also north to the Bronx.
* The following buses serve Flushing downtown: 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 20, 21, 25, 28, 34, 44, 65, and 66.

Driving Directions to Flushing

* It is easy to drive to Flushing, but traffic and parking in the downtown can trigger migraines. Northern Boulevard and Main Street are the two most prominent thoroughfares. Exit the Whitestone Expressway (I-678/Van Wyck) at Northern Boulevard. Or exit the LIE (I-495) at Main Street, and drive north for about a mile.

Parking in Downtown Flushing, Queens

* There is a large municipal lot at 37th Avenue and Union Street. The price is right at this two-level garage. There is smaller municipal lot next to the LIRR at 41 Avenue, just west of Main Street. Another small lot is on Prince Street, between 38 and 39 Avenues, which can often be a nightmare to navigate.
* There are several private parking lots, like the one across from the Flushing Mall at Prince and 39th Avenue.
* On a weekday you might get lucky and find a spot on the side streets around the Flushing Mall. The farther you go toward College Point Boulevard (west of Main), the more likely you will find street parking. Residential streets like those east of Union tend to have parking restrictions. Parking on Main Street is for the lucky and the thrill seeking. Watch out for the double-parkers!

The Flushing Mall

This indoor mall has lots of small shops, that sell everything including Hong Kong fashion, jewelry, art, toys, and cell phones. Plus there is a food court and offices for community organizations. There are bargains to be found at the Flushing Mall, though the real appeal of the mall is convenience. With so many retailers in one location, it is easy to shop and browse with friends and family and get a lot done in a short time. Although people from all over shop at the mall, the main clientele are Chinese. Many stores stock items from East Asia, or clothes tailored for East Asians. Loudspeaker announcements are in Chinese. However, there is no need to be intimidated. If a clerk doesn't speak English well, there is sure to be someone else in the store who does. (For a list of all stores, see the website for the Flushing Mall.)

Flushing Mall

133-31 39 Ave (at Prince St)
Flushing, NY 11354
(718) 762-9000
Open: Sunday to Thursday: 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Yes. Wheelchair accessible