chapter  3
Indian-American landscapes in Queens, New York: Ethnic tension in place remaking
ByJohn W. Frazier
Pages 20

This chapter will examine the responses of Queens’ residents — including Indian residents, and Irish, Italian and German residents who identify as ‘white’ and ‘European’ — to new architecture. While some Queens’ residents refrain from open statements, social media reveal latent, long-term, emotion-based issues in eastern Queens, Queens Village and Bellerose; each is a small, adjacent neighborhood. Figure 3.1 reports three response categories related to Indian ethno-architecture

in Queens during 2013 and 2014, a decade after changes occurred. These responses were made by ‘white’ residents. The three social media-posting themes that prevail, including among educated and above-average-income residents, openly express feelings, good and bad, regarding social or physical space that has taken on the meaning of place. The quotes that appear illustrate that one theme is clearly racist and Indians are unwelcome unless they abide by rules established by the Irish and Italians, who have blended into a common sense of belonging in this context. The second theme illustrates the positive, non-racist view that cultural preferences vary and racist language is not helpful in addressing issues. These types of responses also suggest that some housing-style changes represent significant, positive investments because they curb a general decline in the economic situation of Queens, evident in lack of maintenance due to aging households and the departure of children seeking employment or more-preferred neighborhoods on Long Island (an observation also noted by our key informant, remodeler in these neighborhoods). The third theme presents a negative view of ethno-architecture, without reference to race or ethnicity, but predominantly contains postings made by neighborhood residents, or by those who have relocated but have remained attached to their previous neighborhoods. We will return to these themes later in the essay.