Blogging the News

Flushing’s Korean Car Services: Convenience at a Price

December 15th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Flushing’s Korean Car Services: Convenience at a Price

https://blogs.baruch.cuny.edu/justoffthe7/?p=182

 

Tags: Journalism

The Secret Cabbies of Flushing

December 15th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on The Secret Cabbies of Flushing

Sam Kim’s car has no sign or marker signifying that it’s a cab. There’s no doodad inside keeping track of how far you’ve gone. And he may ask you to sit in the front depending on how many T.L.C. cops are on the streets that night. It sounds shady, but it’s a business that’s been around for decades and almost all the ethnic enclaves have their version of the undercover cab service. Dozens of Korean men like Sam choose to risk having their vehicles taken away, a day in court, and insane fines to work for these car services, most of which are based in Flushing.

A customer who needs a ride to Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut can easily bring in a couple hundred dollars. But there are also nights where you are stuck with local rides that barely bring in 6-11 dollars a trip.

“A job like this is feast or famine,” Sam says. “Still, I was most drawn to the flexible work schedule and even though I’ve been living in New York City for over 35 years and driving for most of those years, this job is giving me a view of my home that I’ve never had before.”

Business card from Sam's company.

Business card from Sam’s company.

Just the night before, two cars from Sam’s company were seized by undercover T.L.C. agents. “The crackdown is worse than ever,” he says. It’s especially tough when you’re having a slow night as is and have to prematurely head home. “When T.L.C. are out all the guys like me have to wait at the base for who knows how long until the coast is clear. Meanwhile, the few cars with licenses are making a killing because they’re getting all the rides that are coming in.”

Subways may be the lifeblood of commuting New Yorkers but sometimes you’re too cold, too tired, too drunk, or some combination of all three to walk to want to walk to a station and wait for a subway. We’re not quite at drone taxis yet but yellow cabs are as ubiquitous to New York City as pigeons and dirty water hot dog stands. And while you won’t find yellow cabs in Flushing, you’ll find guys like Sam ready to take you wherever you need to go.

Tags: Fast Flushing

Flushing’s Korean Car Services: Convenience at a Price

December 15th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Flushing’s Korean Car Services: Convenience at a Price

Sam Kim’s car has no sign or marker signifying that it’s a cab. There’s no doodad inside keeping track of how far you’ve gone. And he may ask you to sit in the front depending on how many T.L.C. cops are on the streets that night. It sounds shady, but it’s a business that’s been around for decades and almost all the ethnic enclaves have their version of the undercover cab service. Dozens of Korean men like Sam choose to risk having their vehicles taken away, a day in court, and insane fines to work for these car services, most of which are based in Flushing.

A customer who needs a ride to Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut can easily bring in a couple hundred dollars. But there are also nights where you are stuck with local rides that barely bring in 6-11 dollars a trip.

“A job like this is feast or famine,” Sam says. “Still, I was most drawn to the flexible work schedule and even though I’ve been living in New York City for over 35 years and driving for most of those years, this job is giving me a view of my home that I’ve never had before.”

Business card from Sam's company.

Business card from Sam’s company.

Just the night before, two cars from Sam’s company were seized by undercover T.L.C. agents. “The crackdown is worse than ever,” he said. It’s especially tough when you’re having a slow night as is and have to prematurely head home. “When T.L.C. are out all the guys like me have to wait at the base for who knows how long until the coast is clear. Meanwhile, the few cars with licenses are making a killing because they’re getting all the rides that are coming in.”

Subways may be the lifeblood of commuting New Yorkers but sometimes you’re too cold, too tired, too drunk, or some combination of all three to want to walk to a station and wait for a subway. We’re not quite at drone taxis yet but yellow cabs are as ubiquitous to New York City as pigeons and dirty water hot dog stands. And while you won’t find yellow cabs in Flushing, you’ll find guys like Sam ready to take you wherever you need to go.

Tags: Fast Flushing

The 7 Train: NYC Subway or Trip Around the World?

December 3rd, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on The 7 Train: NYC Subway or Trip Around the World?

New York City subway ridership annually exceeds 2.3 billion and out of all the subway lines, none give a better tour of Queens than the 7 line. It operates between Times Square, Manhattan and Main Street in Flushing, Queens. Along the way you’ll pass through multiple ethnic enclaves and get a perfect cross-section of one of the most diverse counties in the world.

Below are some notable stops, in order, that are worth checking out. Even if you can’t catch a professional tour, you’ll soon see why the 7 line has long been dubbed the “International Express”:

(more…)

Tags: Uncategorized

The 7 Train: NYC Subway or Trip Around the World?

December 3rd, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on The 7 Train: NYC Subway or Trip Around the World?

New York City subway ridership annually exceeds 2.3 billion and out of all the subway lines, none give a better tour of Queens than the 7 line. It operates between Times Square, Manhattan and Main Street in Flushing, Queens. Along the way you’ll pass through multiple ethnic enclaves and get a perfect cross-section of one of the most diverse counties in the world.

Below are some notable stops, in order, that are worth checking out. Even if you can’t catch a professional tour, you’ll soon see why the 7 line has long been dubbed the “International Express”:

♦ Flushing – Main Street:  “NYC’s best Chinatown and Koreatown”

images

Got the d? And by ‘d’ we mean dim sum, dukbokki, and dumplings.

Where better to start (or end) your journey than at Main Street? Flushing is home to almost 220,000 people and nearly 80 percent of its population is Asian. Flushing also boasts a Chinatown and Koreatown that far exceed Manhattan’s and its Chinese and Korean immigrant populations surpassed Manhattan’s yeeears ago. Step outside of the subway terminal and it’s impossible not to bump into some little dumpling eatery or fruit stand selling dubious looking edibles. (Psst, need more ideas? There might be something here to help: hint, hint, and hint.)

♦ Mets – Willets Point: “Come for the Mets… stay for the Unisphere”

Before the name change to Citi Field, the New York Mets called Shea Stadium home. Save your money on tickets and have a day of free fun at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Aside from its sprawling green, the park also has a zoo, science museum, marina, two lakes, an ice skating rink, lots of soccer pitches, and a couple cricket fields. You’ll also find the Unisphere, a 140-foot high steel globe anod it’s almost a guarantee that somebdy around you will point out that it was the site of the final battle scene in Men in Black.

♦ 82nd Street – Jackson Heights: “Don’t mind the rumble”

12704395294_09fc5f8472_m

Subway over Jackson Heights

You won’t see Popeye Doyle in Jackson Heights but the rumbling subways overhead create a claustrophobic atmosphere straight out of French Connection. The neighborhoods of Jackson Heights, Corona, and Elmhurst are home to a huge Latino community and the results are simply delicioso. Authentic Mexican taco trucks, Argentinian bakeries (dulce de leche filled pastries amirite?), and Ecuadorian pupuserias await you. Music spills out of every store and eatery so burn off your meal with an impromptu dance party.

♦ 74th Street – Broadway: “Little India”

We’re still in Elmhurst but before you know it, you’ve moved from South America to South Asian and if you’re mouth isn’t watering by the time you walk out of the 74th Street station… just, just leave. After stuffing your face with pungent tandoori chicken and sticky sweet jalebi, you can catch the latest Bollywood flick, get your eyebrows threaded (never has string been more terrifying), or drool over the exquisite, jewel tone saris being sold in shops manned by gruff, cigarette-puffing, Indian men.

♦ 40th Street – Lowery Street: “The melting pot’s melting pot” 

rsz_sunnyside-graffiti-mural

Sunnyside wall mural

Sunnyside was once more than slightly seedy but lately gentrification has been sinking its beanie-wearing, PBR-sipping, fixie-bike-riding teeth into the small neighborhood. Despite the changes, one thing remains constant — Sunnyside is tasty. Turkish halal, Paraguayan empanadas, Irish pub fare, and Korean tofu stew all within a few blocks… does it get any better than that? Hopefully the imminent food coma distracts you from the growing number of Sunnysiders wearing those freaky foot gloves.


Even if you’re simply on the 7 to transfer to another line, on any given morning the breakfasts alone span the globe — hot arroz con leche, Chinese steamed buns, and the customary bagel and cup o’ joe all sitting next to each other. Trying to hit all of the above stops will result in a hefty MetroCard fee but hey, it beats taking an embarrassing passport photo and getting groped by disinterested TSA.

Tags: Secrets of the 7

The 7 Train: NYC Subway or Trip Around the World?

December 3rd, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on The 7 Train: NYC Subway or Trip Around the World?

New York City subway ridership annually exceeds 2.3 billion and out of all the subway lines, none give a better tour of Queens than the 7 line. It operates between Times Square, Manhattan and Main Street in Flushing, Queens. Along the way you’ll pass through multiple ethnic enclaves and get a perfect cross-section of one of the most diverse counties in the world.

Below are some notable stops, in order, that are worth checking out. Even if you can’t catch a professional tour, you’ll soon see why the 7 line has long been dubbed the “International Express”:

♦ Flushing – Main Street:  “NYC’s best Chinatown and Koreatown”

images

Got the d? And by ‘d’ we mean dim sum, dukbokki, and dumplings.

Where better to start (or end) your journey than at Main Street? Flushing is home to almost 220,000 people and nearly 80 percent of its population is Asian. Flushing also boasts a Chinatown and Koreatown that far exceed Manhattan’s and its Chinese and Korean immigrant populations surpassed Manhattan’s yeeears ago. Step outside of the subway terminal and it’s impossible not to bump into some little dumpling eatery or fruit stand selling dubious looking edibles. (Psst, need more ideas? There might be something here to help: hint, hint, and hint.)

♦ Mets – Willets Point: “Come for the Mets… stay for the Unisphere”

Before the name change to Citi Field, the New York Mets called Shea Stadium home. Save your money on tickets and have a day of free fun at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Aside from its sprawling green, the park also has a zoo, science museum, marina, two lakes, an ice skating rink, lots of soccer pitches, and a couple cricket fields. You’ll also find the Unisphere, a 140-foot high steel globe anod it’s almost a guarantee that somebdy around you will point out that it was the site of the final battle scene in Men in Black.

♦ 82nd Street – Jackson Heights: “Don’t mind the rumble”

12704395294_09fc5f8472_m

Subway over Jackson Heights

You won’t see Popeye Doyle in Jackson Heights but the rumbling subways overhead create a claustrophobic atmosphere straight out of French Connection. The neighborhoods of Jackson Heights, Corona, and Elmhurst are home to a huge Latino community and the results are simply delicioso. Authentic Mexican taco trucks, Argentinian bakeries (dulce de leche filled pastries amirite?), and Ecuadorian pupuserias await you. Music spills out of every store and eatery so burn off your meal with an impromptu dance party.

♦ 74th Street – Broadway: “Little India”

We’re still in Elmhurst but before you know it, you’ve moved from South America to South Asian and if you’re mouth isn’t watering by the time you walk out of the 74th Street station… just, just leave. After stuffing your face with pungent tandoori chicken and sticky sweet jalebi, you can catch the latest Bollywood flick, get your eyebrows threaded (never has string been more terrifying), or drool over the exquisite, jewel tone saris being sold in shops manned by gruff, cigarette-puffing, Indian men.

♦ 40th Street – Lowery Street: “The melting pot’s melting pot” 

rsz_sunnyside-graffiti-mural

Sunnyside wall mural

Sunnyside was once more than slightly seedy but lately gentrification has been sinking its beanie-wearing, PBR-sipping, fixie-bike-riding teeth into the small neighborhood. Despite the changes, one thing remains constant — Sunnyside is tasty. Turkish halal, Paraguayan empanadas, Irish pub fare, and Korean tofu stew all within a few blocks… does it get any better than that? Hopefully the imminent food coma distracts you from the growing number of Sunnysiders wearing those freaky foot gloves.


Even if you’re simply on the 7 to transfer to another line, on any given morning the breakfasts alone span the globe — hot arroz con leche, Chinese steamed buns, and the customary bagel and cup o’ joe all sitting next to each other. Trying to hit all of the above stops will result in a hefty MetroCard fee but hey, it beats taking an embarrassing passport photo and getting groped by disinterested TSA.

Tags: Secrets of the 7

Just Off the 7’s Social Media Strategy

November 24th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Just Off the 7’s Social Media Strategy

I want to use social media as both a way to promote Just Off the 7 but also as a way to find potential blog post ideas. Although a significant following is more beneficial if your content gets shared, the chances of that happening are more unlikely. Because Just Off the 7 is a tourism blog, I will seek out niche sites that relate to my blog’s message. For example, tourism sites can help me create a calendar of events that I can then share with my audience. Also, by creating posts with a specific organization or individual in mind, I can better my chances of getting noticed.

The individuals, companies, organizations, societies, etc., that I want to reach through social media are:

  1. The Queens Courier: Twitter – @queenscourier / Facebook – facebook.com/queenscourier

The QueensCourier is one of the largest, if not the largest, weekly news publication in Queens. It’s a great source for hyper local content and regularly covers news and events in Flushing. Both its Twitter and Facebook pages are regularly updated multiple times a day so if I reach out to them on social media, the chances of me getting a response for an interview or getting a retweet are more likely.

  1. Queens Chronicle: Twitter – @QueensChronicle / Facebook – facebook.com/queenschronicle

This is in the same vein as The Queens Courier. Hyper local, regular updates on all social media, easily accessible both on the internet and if need be, I could meet its journalists for interview purposes.

(more…)

Tags: Uncategorized

Just Off the 7’s Weekly Flushing Roundup

November 19th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Just Off the 7’s Weekly Flushing Roundup

  • Two good reasons to visit Flushing, Queens: The Flushing Town Hall’s Flushing-through-the-ages exhibit and a meal at New World Mall where you can sample Uighur food, which comes from an ethnic minority of Muslims from Xinjiang, a province in northwestern China. [The New York Times]
  • SkyView Center, Flushing’s fledgling mall, is slowly playing catch-up by adding a Nike Factory Store and a Forever 21 to their growing list of stores. [The Queens Courier]
  • Dumpling Galaxy on Main Street is a far cry from Ms. You’s original dumpling stand, but the flavor is still the same. [The New York Times]
  • Free Synagogue of Flushing Community Theatre Group thoroughly delivers in their production of “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” [Times Ledger]
  • Get your black goat meat on Ban Ga Ne and maybe celebrate Thanksgiving a little differently this year. [Chopsticks and Marrow]

Tags: Uncategorized

Just Off the 7’s Weekly Flushing Roundup

November 19th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Just Off the 7’s Weekly Flushing Roundup

  • Start your day in the 1800s at Flushing Town Hall and end it with spicy, sinus-clearing Uighur food. [The New York Times]
  • SkyView Center, Flushing’s fledgling mall, is slowly playing catch-up by adding a Nike Factory Store and a Forever 21 to their growing list of stores. [The Queens Courier]
  • From tiny stall to bonafide dumpling dynamo – Ms. You serves up out-of-this-world delights at Dumpling Galaxy. [The New York Times]
  • Free Synagogue of Flushing Community Theatre Group thoroughly delivers in their production of “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” [Times Ledger]
  • Get your black goat meat on Ban Ga Ne and maybe celebrate Thanksgiving a little differently this year. [Chopsticks and Marrow]

Tags: Uncategorized

Just Off the 7- F.E.E.D. Episode 1

November 10th, 2014 Written by | Comments Off on Just Off the 7- F.E.E.D. Episode 1

Tags: Uncategorized

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