Located about nine miles southeast of Manhattan, Elmhurst is diverse neighborhood in the borough of Queens. Though originally an English and Dutch neighborhood, Elmhurst has become known for its rapidly growing Chinatown area, with shops, restaurants and businesses. Other South Asian cultures are also represented here, including people from Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong. Residents love the proximity to Manhattan for culture and jobs as well as the public transportation, diversity and lower rents, citing all those things as major reasons to live in Elmhurst.
Restaurants & Nightlife
There's no central location for restaurants in Elmhurst, but you'll find all kinds of culinary diversity here, such as Vietnamese, Cuban, Thai, Italian, Malaysian, Chinese, Filipino and Colombian, among others. One of the neighborhood favorites is JoJu, serving modern Vietnamese sandwiches in a casual environment. Locals love the banh mi fries and crispy chicken wings, but the banh mi sandwiches are the stars here, and they pair perfectly with the bubble tea. From bulgogi to lemongrass chicken and kakuni pork belly, this establishment features a large menu, so you're sure find something filling and tasty. Inhabitants of the area also flock to Rincon Criollo for Cuban classics like ropa vieja and vaca frita with a casual vibe. Most love the attentive, friendly service and cleanliness of the place, but all agree the food stands out in a big way. Large portions leave plenty to take home with you, but don't forget about the tres leches, which locals say not to miss. If you're in the mood for Italian, check out Il Triangolo which serves up all the classic pasta creations you crave along with chicken, veal, pork and fish dishes. All the bread and pasta are homemade, giving this establishment a family feel. But with such a romantic atmosphere, it's also the perfect place for a glass of Chianti and a first or second date. Elmhurst's nightlife steps it up Thursday night and winds down by Sunday evening, just in time for the workweek to begin. Centered mostly around an eclectic selection of bars and lounges, it's anything but boring. Terraza 7 hosts live Latin American music in a chill atmosphere perfect for hanging out with friends. From the funky décor to the fruity sangria, this is a true neighborhood joint with tons of personality. Pata Paplean is another bar in the area with funny bartenders and reasonably priced drinks for a relaxing night out. If you're in the mood for something different, Grandstand provides an Irish pub feel in the middle of Queens, with food, an excellent jukebox and lots of beer on tap. If you like to sing along, head here on Friday for karaoke night. Sabor Latino, Glazz Nightclub and Club Evolution keep the beat going with dancing, drinks and high-energy socializing from dusk to dawn.
History & Culture
Elmhurst was established in 1652 by Dutch colonists, but was taken over by the British in 1664. Though originally called Newtown, the village was renamed Elmhurst in 1896. The area became fashionable due to a new housing development built between 1896 and 1910 and the Grand Street LIRR station, which connected the area to Manhattan and eastern Long Island. Before World War II, Elmhurst was predominately Italian and Jewish, but by the 1980s, it had welcomed new residents from 112 nations. Elmhurst has no museums, but does support a few art galleries, including Meta Park for sculptural pieces made from metal and J&A Gallery. Though Elmhurst doesn't have any annual events, neighboring Flushing Meadows supports the U.S. Open in late-summer each year.
Since Elmhurst is so close to New York City, most of its residents prefer to use public transportation, such as the E, M, R and 7 trains, or Q11, Q21, Q29, Q38, Q52, Q53, Q58, Q59, Q60, Q72 and Q88 buses. If you choose to drive, Elmhurst is accessible to the Long Island Expressway, Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and to JFK and LaGuardia Airports. Public parking can be tough to find and often expensive in a lot or garage. It’s relatively easy to hail a cab, depending on where you are and if it’s rush hour or not. Uber pickups can also be arranged easily online or through your smartphone. The neighborhood is very walkable and has some bike lanes, making it safe for cyclists.
Elmhurst’s cost of living is lower than Manhattan’s average but higher than the national average, with a one-bedroom residence renting for around $2,236.00 per month. It costs about $3 to get to Manhattan from Elmhurst via subway, and a beer at a local pub runs you anywhere from $4 to $6. Gas prices hover around 17 percent higher than the national average in Elmhurst.
Most of Elmhurst's shopping is clustered around Queens Blvd. and Corona Ave. — two of the area's main drags. A few large chain stores like Target and Macy's reside in the area, but no real luxury or high-end shopping exists here. For that, traveling to Manhattan is probably your best bet. Among the smaller boutiques in the area are All the Right, which sells fashionable men's clothing and accessories and provides up-to-the-minute haircuts to a wide variety of clients. Caralinda Mis Fajas carries women's clothing and lingerie for much less than department stores, making it a must-see for bargain hunters. Most of Elmhurst is serviced by smaller grocers, some of which cater to the large Chinese population. Great Wall Supermarket has lots of Asian grocery products, while Skyfoods Mart and Pacific Supermarket carry fresh produce, seafood and other grocery items. The Elmhurst Greenmarket is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. outside the Elmhurst Hospital Center. Local farmers and bakers make residents happy with their friendly demeanor and healthy products, including honey, baked bread and more.
Elmhurst has one park located off Grand Avenue. Newly restored, Elmhurst Park now has lush lawns, jogging paths, benches, bathrooms and more than 620 trees. Kids love this park for the playground and other kids to play with, but adults also love it for the wide-open spaces perfect for jogging or team sports like touch football or soccer. Dogs are also welcome provided you clean up after them. Elmhurst Park is free to the public.