Two days in a row, and I went back to Queens. Yesterday, it was to pick up groceries and Indian desserts in Jackson Heights, and today, it was to pick up Mexican dried chilies and cheese at a Mexican grocery store in Corona, which is known for having a very diverse Latino population, many of whom are Mexican, plus to meet friends for Isan Thai food in Woodside.
When I first moved to New York City and lived in Elmhurst, Queens, I heard everyone telling me that no Mexican people live in New York City, that there was no good Mexican food. Then, I went to areas like Jackson Heights and Corona (and Sunset Park in Brooklyn) and realized exactly how wrong everyone was. What people generalized in their meaning was that perhaps there weren’t a lot of authentic Mexican restaurants or Mexican immigrants living in Manhattan... because apparently, New York City revolves around Manhattan, and most people never even think to venture out to outer boroughs like Queens except when transiting to and from the two major New York City airports. Part of me wonders if that is just due to sheer ignorance, a lack of curiosity, or just a complete dismissal of true immigrant communities like Corona. You can’t really discover anything new unless you actively make the decision to choose to seek newness out. Newness does not simply show up on your doorstep or in your neighborhood and scream, “Hey! Look at me! I’m here to cater as a new experience to you!”