Downtown Flushing has become so popular among Asians and tourists from all over the world that many now refer to it as the new Chinatown. NY1's Ruschell Boone filed the following report.
It's 9 a.m. and Main Street is slowly coming to life. Three hours later, there is barely any room on the sidewalk to stand with the camera as thousands of people, the majority of them Asian, make their way through the downtown area. Most are heading to work. Many are headed to the grocery store.
"I just bought some vegetables, fruit everything, meat everything," said one shopper.
Supermarkets are extremely popular here because people can buy foods they would normally get in their homeland. Peter Tu, the head of the Flushing Chinese Business Association, gave NY1 a tour of the area. His first stop was the brand-new mega supermarket inside the New World Mall.
"Because people who are Chinese or people who are Asian, they don't like to eat the food without fresh because they cook every day, they cook every night," Tu said.
Another attraction is the booming job market. People are moving from mainland China in record numbers as a result. Downtown Flushing has grown into the center of commerce for this area, with more than 3,000 businesses. Just take a look at the skyline. It's starting to look like a small city rather than a neighborhood.
"Business here is booming," said one person in the neighborhood. "There's more opportunities here."
There's also the opportunity for great shopping, which means more and more tourists are coming here.
You can buy a lot of inexpensive items, but the head of the business association said unlike some other Chinatowns, knock-off designer goods are not something tourists should expect to find here.
"We just don't want the people selling the bags on the street because this is a new Chinatown," Tu said. "We will always tell the police we don't want to see this happen, and police don't want to see this happen, either. "
Neither do the residents and business owners in this rapidly growing area. They say it's one less issue they want to worry about.