Thursday, August 31, 2006

They Call it Little India

The air is heady with the fragrance of cardamom, cumin, roses and incense. The markets are crowded with women clad in flowing saris and men wearing caftans and intricately-wound turbans. Shop windows display glittering gold jewelry, statues of Krishna and lacquered sitars. Sidewalk vendors proffer bunches of fresh herbs, sticky sweets and copies of the Koran.

This is Jackson Heights, also known as Little India. It has been said that this section of Queens is not really like Bombay (or even Mumbai) because there are no cows wandering the streets. But Little India certainly isn't like anyplace else in the United States.

This is the place to go for books, newspapers, CDs and videos in Urdu, Hindi, Tamil and Gujarati. Catch the latest releases from Bollywood at the Eagle Cinema. Bang on a tabla, have a salwar kameez made to measure, fill your arms with colorful glass bangles, get a mehndi tattoo, drop a coin in a beggar's cup, have your eyebrows threaded or your handlebar moustache groomed.

The grocery stores and pushcarts overflow with the spices, herbs, fruits and vegetables of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Intrigued by curry leaves, purple yams and ridge gourds but unsure what to do with them? Just ask (you'll be inundated with "secret" family recipes) or leave the food in the hands of the professionals and fill yourself -- cheaply and deliciously -- at the local sweets shops and restaurants.

Fresh Pan, Kulfi Posted by Picasa

Outside a toy shop Posted by Picasa

Bejeweled necklace Posted by Picasa

Gold bracelet Posted by Picasa

Gilded statues of Hindu gods Posted by Picasa

India Sari Palace Posted by Picasa

Selling saris Posted by Picasa

Silk on display Posted by Picasa

Bolts of silk in a sari shop Posted by Picasa

Stacks of glass bangles Posted by Picasa

Vegetables piled on a pushcart Posted by Picasa

Grocers with cases of mangos Posted by Picasa

Okra and karela (bitter melon) Posted by Picasa

Methi and palak Posted by Picasa

Tiny eggplant Posted by Picasa

Cloth bags of rice Posted by Picasa

Delhi Palace Sweets Posted by Picasa

Sweets with cherries Posted by Picasa

Pistachio burfi with silver foil Posted by Picasa

The Eagle Cinema Posted by Picasa

  • Citysearch: Jackson Heights

  • Jackson Heights NYC

  • Time Out New York: 74th and Broadway

  • Jackson Diner

    At 9/05/2006 06:24:00 PM, Blogger Fidget said...

    I envy all these great cultural experiences you have within a reasonable distance. your pictures are always great. I particularly like th eggplant one


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