Must-See Jackson Heights
by Jessica Allen, 09/19/2014
(From left) La Porteña Restaurant photo by Will Steacy • Jackson Diner photo by Alex Lopez
Just about every language on Earth is spoken somewhere in Queens, and a stroll around the neighborhood of Jackson Heights might make you think that almost every type of food in the world is served here, too. An influx of immigrants, especially from South Asia and Latin America, arrived in the area in recent years, bringing recipes and distinctive preparations with them. Stuffed Tibetan dumplings, fruity Colombian beverages, spicy Indian chaat and other delicious edibles and drinkables may be had from street carts and established restaurants—even out of the back of a cell phone store. But Jackson Heights offers more than palate-pleasing, belly-bursting food. Every summer it hosts the Queens Pride Parade and Multicultural Festival, and serves as the borough's center of gay culture year-round. Much of the neighborhood is a designated historic district, in recognition of its characteristic garden apartments and urban design. The inventor of Scrabble lived in Jackson Heights; he is memorialized via a Scrabble-esque street sign. Only a few stops on the subway from Midtown Manhattan, this largely residential neighborhood welcomes visitors, priding itself on being the kind of place where people from elsewhere can feel at home, much like New York City itself.