Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Queens - Just Another Stamp in the Passport?

Queens, New York.

When one hears this faux-city title, immediately images of
grimy airports, the Mets and famous Eddie Murphy movies come to mind. Queens is technically a borough in New York City proper, but how can New York actually consider this a part of its immediate family? How is it possible that such a refined, classy, educated and cultured lady as Manhattan possibly be related to the foul, unearthly and unkempt Queens? The beast to Manhattan’s beauty, Queens isn’t known for being the classiest of joints.

Truth be told, the UE is prejudice. I live in Manhattan, breathe in Manhattan, and hold close to heart the life in Manhattan. Despite the small square mileage of this city, the outer burrows may as well be on another continent. It legitimately takes equally as long to ride a train from Harlem to Brooklyn as it can to ride to Philadelphia. So, in the UE’s head, the choice comes down to spending the same amount of time to go to either hippies or cheese steaks?


No brainer.

For the first 365 days of living in Manhattan, the UE refused to even step foot on a train that left Manhattan (did a LOT of walking back in those days). But in recent months, it has come to my attention, appalling as it may sound, there may actually be life OUTSIDE the borders of the Hudson and East Rivers. And you, the entranced reader, have benefitted greatly from those perilous treks into the unknown as well. There are beer gardens in Brooklyn whose unique Eurobrews have left a lasting impression on the olfactory and palette. The injera from little known places in Harlem, whose spicy dishes and warm open wait staff continue to inspire us to be more diverse in our tastes. And let’s not forget the mojitos at cafés in Hoboken (yes, Jersey is the 6th borough) – some of the freshest in the city.

Despite its glamour and fame, Manhattan can be a bit too high brow for some of the more culinary savvy, mainly the poor, tired and sick from other countries, who bring with them spices and kitchen techniques unbeknownst to the ignorant Stars and Stripes. What would New York be without its migrant population? It’s cheerful Indians and their curry anything, the hard working El Savladorian line chefs, diligently manning their stations to aid in the manufacture of each and every meal we New Yorkers ingest, or the industrious Chinese and their ability to create food out of any pet?

These are the people that make New York famous for food, and for a lot, Queens is their home court. So despite common sense and a rational fear of being kidnapped, gambling on a trip to other burrows in the Big Apple has become the new Urbane Adventure.

-The UE

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