¡Hola! Welcome to Corona, Queens, a community rich in Mexican culture and pride. Throughout this tour, we will take you to different places in Corona which we believe really capture the Mexican spirit. We've included a map to show you the different places we will visit and the order to see them in, so in case you get lost, you know where to go next. Now, sit back, relax, and be prepared to be immersed into the Mexican culture or Corona.
Blessed Sacrament Church
The first stop on our journey is Blessed Sacrament Church. This church is located on the corner of 35th Avenue and 93rd Street. Once you enter the church, you will be blown away by the beautiful architecture of the building. The booklets located in the pews have both English and Spanish in them. This is interesting to see because it shows how influential the Spanish community is on the church. Another interesting aspect of the church is its statues and plaques. Each statue has a plaque underneath it written in both English and in Spanish. If you want to take a piece of the Church with you, there is bookstore located at the back of the church, which sells books in…. Spanish! If your interest carries you further, you can go onto the Church’s website, www.blessedsacramentjacksonheightsny.com, where the names of the different clubs, organizations, and services they offer can be found. From the website, it can be seen that all of the Church’s tidings are presented in both English and Spanish, with a majority of the Sunday masses in Spanish.
Let’s suppose that you get hungry during your journey through Corona. The Xin Grocery is a convenience store where you can pick up a great snack. In order to get there, head south on 93rd street towards 35th Avenue, where you will make a left onto Junction Boulevard. Located at 34-43 Junction Blvd, this domestic business only opened up a year ago, on March 8, 2013. From the name of the store, you might assume that the merchandise is of Asian origin. Interestingly enough, however, many of the products are Hispanic products. You are just as likely to see ingredients for dumplings as tortilla batters. In the variety of products available in the grocery, you see the wide range of cultures and people that live in Corona.
Marco a Garcia Medical Center
Now head south on Junction Boulevard back towards 35th Avenue, onto which you will make a right. Then make a left onto 94th Street and walk until you can make a right onto Roosevelt Avenue. Here you’ll notice a building that departs from the monotonous structure of most other buildings in the area. This building is in fact the Marco a Garcia Medical Center, located at 40-35 95th Street. Dr. Marco A. Garcia founded this clinic in order to better serve the Hispanic community of Corona, explaining why everything on the office’s exterior is written in Spanish. Although Dr. Garcia is trained in internal medicine, this medical center is equipped for the practicing of many different kinds of medicine, such as cardiology and gynecology. An important part of Corona, this clinic allows many Hispanic immigrants to speak Spanish, the language they are most comfortable with, while receiving medical care. This is important because the comfort with their native tongue allows many patients to describe their problems more accurately and receive better care than if they were forced to speak English. This is important because the comfort with their native tongue allows many patients to describe their problems more accurately and receive better care than if they were forced to speak English.
After looking at the doctor’s office, you must be pretty exhausted by now. To refresh you, let’s go to an open market! From the medical center, head east on Roosevelt Avenue so that you can make a left onto 94th Street. Keep on 94th until you can make a right onto 37th Avenue. Stay on 37th until you can make a left onto 105th Street. This small open market is located inside the deli. It has a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables to offer customers. This was very interesting because many Mexicans love to have fresh fruits and vegetables to eat like they did in Mexico and it is available for them now in Corona. If you aren’t in the mood of fruits or vegetables, simply step outside the market and you can find another small open market. This one also has a variety of foods to offer, from flan, which we highly recommend, to corn on the cob to different Mexican hard candies. If you love the flan as much as we did, the recipe for Mexican flan can be found at http://mexicanfood.about.com/od/sweetsanddesserts/r/easyflan.htm. Both the deli and the outside open market are owned and run by Mexicans in Corona who say the community is very important to them and it feels like they never left Mexico with so many of familiar faces around.
Now that you’re running on a full stomach, you should have the energy to walk down 37th Ave towards 103rd Street, make a left onto 103rd to arrive at your destination. “There’s nothing here,” you might think to yourself but really what you see around you is a major part of Corona, Queens. These apartment buildings are where a majority of the residents live in and make up a major part of the overall environment of the neighborhood. As you will notice, many of these buildings were erected very long ago. Most of the buildings that surround you were built in the late 19th century as Corona developed into the Mexican enclave that it is so popularly known as today.
You will also surely notice that these buildings are in very close proximity. In the late 19th century, buildings were constructed as close to each other as possible to provide the opportunity for more housing despite the high density of families. As you look around, you will notice some clear differences between buildings, whether it is in height, recent renovations, or even something as minute as a bigger walk-in entrance. These buildings symbolize the diversity of the entire Mexican-American community in Corona.
Now we know you’ve been walking for quite some time, but this next location will be sure to fuel you up to help you finish the tail end of your tour. To reach your next destination from The Streets of 103rd Street and Roosevelt, you will begin by walking down Roosevelt towards 104th Street, onto which you will make a right. Continue down 104th Street until you reach 47th Avenue and then make a left. You have now arrived at Tortilleria Nixtamal, one of the most renowned Mexican restaurants in all of the five boroughs. Merely taking in the myriad of aromas as one walks inside this restaurant will show any customer why he/she should dine there. Rated a 26/30 on Zagat, NYC’s premier restaurant rating system, Tortilleria Nixtamal offers a variety of food so whether you are a vegetarian or a meat lover, you are guaranteed to leave this restaurant satisfied. Famous for the freshest tortillas “this side of the Rio Grande,” this restaurant uses the freshest ingredients to ensure customers one of the finest Mexican dining experiences, all for a price that won’t break the bank! On average, individual customers only spend around $16 so unless you’re planning on bringing a plus one, you will not be spending too much. The food of Tortilleria Nixtamal is very reminiscent of a typical meal in Mexico. The restaurant’s goal is to provide a “healthy, nutritious and satisfying food in a vibrant laid back ambience that evokes and keeps alive memories of Mexico and its traditions.” People who do go to the restaurant, leave with a happy belly and attitude. The food and environment remind them so much of their homes back in Mexico and they are overjoyed to have a nice place where they can show their children their communities and rich heritage.
Flushing Meadows Corona Park
The last, most quintessential stop you should make in Corona is Flushing Meadows Corona Park. This area was referenced in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby as a “valley of ashes” and has since then been turned into a renowned 898-acre park. Now to get to the park from the residential area will be a bit of a walk, but soldier through and it’ll be worth the effort.
First you will walk down 47th Avenue towards 108th Street. Then turn left onto 111th Street. Walk for a while until you reach United Nations Avenue North and make a left. Keep walking till you can make a right onto the Avenue of Transportations. Continue to walk down the Avenue until you see United Nations Avenue North. From there you will continue till you have entered the park.
Entering from the underside of the park bordered by the Grand Central Parkway, you will first encounter the Queens Museum of Art, which is home to the world’s largest panorama of NYC. Continuing onwards in the same forward direction, you will grow closer and closer, and feel proportionately smaller as you do so, to the Unisphere, a 140-foot high colossal stainless steel globe. The Unisphere is the most well known symbol of Queens, even used in the opening of the popular television show “King of Queens”, and was given to the 1964 World’s Fair by the company United States Steel. The base of the globe is equipped with a hydraulic system so that in good weather, the area can be used as a fountain for children to play in. Once you’ve taken a good look at the Unisphere, you can proceed down the left diagonal path, the one oriented towards Roosevelt Avenue, to walk past the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. This world famous center houses the US Open and Arthur Ashe Stadium and is even open for pubic use year round, providing people with multiple courts (three stadium, 22 outdoor, and nine indoor). Following the path, as it turns right, you will encounter the Fountain of the Planets. Then you may embark on a nice stroll following the same path past the Fountain, heading towards the Long Island Expressway. Here you will happen upon Meadow Lake, a soothing body of water that offers a peaceful escape from the busy and crowded life of Corona. If you are meandering through the park during the summer, be sure to grab some Italian Ices from the vendors or pick some mulberries off the trees that frame the pathways. Once you complete your relaxing retreat in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, you can make your way back home via the conveniently nearby 7 train.
“11368 Detailed Profile.” City-Data. 18 April 2008. Web 29 March 2014.
This website was very similar to the social explorer program used. The main difference, however, was that this source provided overall statistics for Corona while social explorer was much more concentrated. Although many of the demographics that this website provided were not included in the walking tour, they helped give an idea of the type of community awaiting one in Corona prior to the first visit. This source provided important information about Corona, such as population density and housing distribution numbers, which was included in the walking tour.
"Blessed Sacrament Church." Blessed Sacrament Church. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Mar. 2014.
This website is the official church website of the Blessed Sacrament Church. It includes a basic history of the church, such as when it was founded, how it began, and how it came to be where it is today. The website also has a list of the various services offered in the church, such as mass schedules, CCD, and sports teams, a list which was mentioned in the walking tour. In addition, the website also has many of the masses offered in both Spanish and English, which indicates the strong influence the Mexican population has on the community. This website was helpful in composing the walking tour since it provided a place to direct the audience to in case anyone had any follow-up questions.
Davis, Rebecca. "Keepin' It Classic in Queens." YouTube. YouTube, 19 June 2011. Web.
01 Apr. 2014.
This YouTube video discusses the history of Tortilleria Nixtamal, a Mexican restaurant in Corona, Queens. The owners of the video discuss how they prepare traditional Mexican foods and the importance of having a central gathering spot for Hispanic youth where they can eat their native foods. The video elaborates on how the restaurant has fostered a community feeling in the neighborhood and shows how influential a restaurant can be on the community lifestyle. This source was helpful in describing the overall vibe of the restaurant in the walking tour.
Fernández, Eduardo C. "Mexican-American Catholics." Google Books. N.p., 2007. Web.
31 Mar. 2014.
This online book speaks about the history of religion of Mexicans. It starts off with the different religions The natives had before Columbus and how their religious views changed after he came. It also goes on to say how Catholicism is one of the major religions of Mexico and the major influence it has had on the community. This was extremely helpful while creating the walking tour because it indicated that it was essential to have the Blessed Sacrament Church as a stop on the walking tour since Catholicism is such a huge part of Mexican culture.
Foner, Nancy. "Mexican: Civic Engagement, Education, and Progress Achieved and
Inhibited." One out of Three: Immigrants in New York in the Twenty-first Century. N.p.: n.p., n.d. 246-67. Print.
In this chapter of the book, Foner hones in on the Mexican population of the city. This is particularly helpful to the walking tour because it indicates the high number of Mexican immigrants in the community as well as the fact that many of them are illegal immigrants. The chapter goes on to explain why this is a problem and delves into some of the problems faced by Mexican immigrants. The chapter also mentions many of the advancements in the Mexican community and the various programs established to help them. This helped provide insight into the Mexican community of Corona and explained the establishment of certain businesses (for example, the fact that there were many, many notary public offices, which are important in terms of having legal immigration documents).
Forner, Nancy. “Then and Now or Then to Now: Immigration to New York in
Contemporary and Historical Perspective.” Journal of American Ethnic History
Vol.25, No 2/3 (2006): 33-47. JSTOR. Web. 30 March 2014.
This article compares the immigration of several ethnic groups to New York over a period of time. This article also talks about the effect these ethnic groups have had on their respective communities. The article points out that it is difficult to compare immigration over a period of time because one cannot realistically set strict boundaries to indicate a time period. However, this article decides to look at immigration after 1965. The discussion of Mexican immigrants includes the phenomenon of ethnic succession, where older Mexican groups have now raised their social standing while younger immigrant groups now form one of the main labor sources in New York.
"Flushing Meadows Corona Park." Virtual Tour : NYC Parks. The City of New York,
n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2014.
This website served as an excellent tool with which to compose a walking tour. By offering a map, detailed descriptions, and a virtual tour, the interactive website made it easy to compile a lot of information concerning Flushing Meadows Park. The site provided historical information regarding the founding of the park as well as the history of individual sites within the park. These details were used to enrich the description of the park within the walking tour.
Martinez, Isabel. ”What’s Age Gotta Do With It? Understanding the Age-Identities and
School-Going Practices of Mexican American Immigrant Youth in New York City.” The High School Journal Vol. 94, No. 4 (2009): 34-48. JSTOR. Web. 30 March 2014.
This article explores why Mexican American youth tend not to enroll in formal schooling institutions. The author discusses the lives of seven Mexicans, four of whom are “pre-immigration” (they have never left Mexico) and three of whom have already settled in America while originating from small Mexican villages. The author speculates that the youth stay out of school in order to send money back home to Mexico while also having to pay their own expenses.
Miyares, Ines M. “From Exclusionary Covenant to Ethnic Diversity in Jackson Heights,
Queens.” Geographical Review Vol. 94, No. 4 (2004): 462-483. JSTOR. Web. 30 March 2014.
This article discusses how Jackson Heights grew from an ethnically uniform community to a very diverse neighborhood. It talks about the history and development of the neighborhood and how the population boomed after mass transit lines and the Queensboro Bridge were built in the area. The article offers census numbers from 1990 to 2000 and shows the percent change in the population of several immigrant groups. The article points out that the Mexican population in the area is rapidly increasing and is currently the third fastest growing group. It also talks about how most of the informal businesses in Jackson Heights and Corona, such as food carts, are run by Mexican immigrants.
Ortega, Alexander N. "Health Care Access, Use of Services, and Experiences Among
Undocumented Mexicans and Other Latinos FREE." JAMA Network. N.p., 2007. Web. 31 Mar. 2014.
This scientific article was used to compare the access to health care, use of services, and heath care experiences for Mexicans and other Latinos based upon citizenship and immigration status. In the end, those who weren’t either citizens or legal immigrants would not go to health care centers and had more negative experiences. This article seemed to contradict what was seen while walking in Corona since there were several medical offices which seemed filled to the brim with patients and/or loved ones.
“Tortilleria Nixtamal.” Yelp. 8 March 2014. Web. 29 March 2014.
The majority of the information for the seventh stop on the walking tour, Tortilleria Nixtamal, was derived from this source. Yelp is a highly regarded restaurant grading system and so this source was used to find out more about the food, culture and people of Tortilleria Nixtamal. Especially helpful was the plethora of customer reviews that shed light on what was liked and disliked by the general public. Furthermore, this source helped explain the background and history of the restaurant, details that were included in the description of the walking tour.
Turkewitz Julie. “In Queens, Balking at Change, Even if It’s Called Improvement.”
New York Times. 7 Nov 2012. Web. 29 March 2014.
This article really provided insight onto how Corona, and the greater Queens area, has changed in the past 50 years. Walking around Corona revealed that this article accurately depicted the different sights housed in Corona, Queens. This particular source was utilized via the incorporation of the changes that occurred over time into the walking tour. This source not only referenced the myriad of people and cultures present in Corona but also mentioned the different businesses present in Corona and their impact on the society as a whole.