Flushing: The Street as World Center

Monday, May 8, 2017 | 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.
CM | 3.50
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You'll learn about:

  • Diversity at the intersection of Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue, which sees the third-most pedestrian traffic in all of New York

  • The challenges of a vital commercial, social, and cultural center growing in the shadow of Manhattan

  • The foundational role Flushing played in the social and commercial growth of the city (and the nation), dating back to its role in the 17th century as center for cultural diversity and rights 

  • The challenges of "Main Street" growth and the public investments needed to facilitate and support it 

New York was originally settled as a Dutch colony, not only in Lower Manhattan but also in Vlissengen— now called Flushing—first settled in 1645. Principles of immigration, free trade, individual rights, religious freedom, and ethnic diversity shaped this settlement. 

In the 1970s,  Flushing became a center for Chinese and Korean immigrants and is today about 70 percent Chinese and Korean and 15 percent Hispanic (Colombian and Salvadorans). The surrounding  neighborhoods are home to people of Irish, GreekItalian, Indian, Sri Lankan, and Malaysian heritage. Recent immigration has reinvigorated Flushing with new restaurants, nightlife, markets, education and social centers, as well as new banking, apparel, and other commercial enterprises. Moreover, some 350 years after the Remonstrance, Flushing continues to be a center for religious diversity, boasting  numerous Buddhist temples and churches, the Quaker Meeting House, Free Synagogue, Hindu Temple Society of North America, and the Muslim Center of New York.

Walk the streets of Flushing, the third-busiest place in the city (surpassed only by Times Square and Herald Square). Experience its pedestrian and transit traffic—and learn about city efforts to obtain federal funds for sidewalk-widening initiatives, transit-improvement projects, and the replacement of municipal parking with redevelopment.