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Jack Eichenbaum, Borough Historian, Offers a Word on Flushing

The 1964-1965 World’s Fair held in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park was heavily supported by America’s “cold war” allies. In particular, South Korea and Taiwan supported large pavilions which required many of their personnel to take up residence in central Flushing.

Coincidently, in 1965, America’s immigration laws were changed based more on needed skills and entrepreneurial promise than restrictive quotas. This immigration was primarily one of middle class people in the country of origin. Building on the small communities in place during the World’s Fair, Flushing soon became home to burgeoning Korean and Taiwanese communities.

As the middle class European stock of Flushing died, suburbanized, or retired to sunbelt regions, they left a rather dense rental apartment neighborhood. Vacancies were filled predominantly by Asians; first more Koreans and Chinese and later by immigrants from South Asia: Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. The Number 7 IRT train serving Flushing began to be known as the International Express.

Today’s Flushing supports vibrant business communities serving immigrants from the nations mentioned as well as the larger population. Also notable are significant houses of worship for the diverse religions represented in the population. The magnificent temples, churches, and mosques of Flushing, both new and historical, are testimony to the religious freedom promised by the Flushing Remonstrance of 1657.

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