Tips for living in Flushing, NY
May 10, 2009 9:54 AM   Subscribe

I am moving to Flushing, NY for 3 months. How can I live frugally while enjoying all that the area has to offer?

I have a summer internship in NYC and plan to commute via public transportation from Flushing to Manhattan. Other than the fact that Flushing has the largest Chinatown in NY, I know very little about the area. I've been to NYC a few times before, but I have never lived there for an extended period of time.

So, I'm interested in what you know about Flushing and living in NYC. Where are the cheap places to get groceries? Any must-sees? Favorite place to unwind with a book? Good wifi spots?

To give you an idea of where I'll be located, the apartment is approx. 1.4 miles away from the Flushing Main St. Metro stop. I will be bringing a bicycle with me so that I can get around pretty easily.

Thanks in advance!
posted by pulled_levers to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It's been more than a couple of decades since I lived there, so I won't be able to offer any real help, but what I can tell you is that living frugally will not be difficult.

As a kid, I remember being taken to the Botanical Garden a lot. There's also Flushing Meadows Park, with fantastic remnants of a World Fair that always got my imagination going.

Finally, here's a link to a New York Times article about "finding Beijing" in Flushing. And don't forget to try the kimchi pizza!
posted by war wrath of wraith at 11:29 AM on May 10, 2009

For public transit there is both the Long Island Rail Road and subway. I would look into the LIRR as potentially a faster way to get into the west side of Manhattan on the weekends due to the CityTicket program. I go to Flushing often for eats and the 7 is so, so slow sometimes.

For groceries, I would start at the Hong Kong Super Market (37-11 Main Street). It's giant. My general recollection is that produce prices are very reasonable by NYC standards.

If you like Chinese food, you can eat very very well in Flushing, for very very little. I suggest learning to love Chinese food!

Buy frozen dumplings in bulk, and learn to cook them at home. I like Best North Dumpling (135-08 Roosevelt Ave A4) where you can get 50 dumplings for $10-15 dependent on filling (it looks like a half empty strip mall but the steamed pork and fennel dumplings are great) and Zhu Ji Guo Tie (40-52 Main Street is the technical address, but the actual window is on 41st Avenue) where it's 50 dumplings for $11 last time I checked (they specialize in the fried kind). NB: 41st Avenue and 41st Road are not the same.

You can also order a dozen meaty, juicy wontons with hot sauce, scallions, etc. on top from White Bear (135-02 Roosevelt Ave #5) for only $4.50. Don't be alarmed if the awning says something about a Travel Agency or Ice Cream! It's a dumpling and wonton shop.

If you're on the go, you can get street food for $1-3 near the 7 stop / LIRR station. Corner 28 (40-28 Main St) has roast duck buns in a soft, white bread for $1.50. The steamed rice crepes are not worth it in my opinion. A bit gummy and too hard to eat standing up. The food windows undernearth the LIRR station (AA Plaza, 40-40 Main St) have scallion pancakes, chicken legs, "big" bready buns, for $1-2 each. Sunflower Delight (40-46 Main St) also has a number of items available like meatballs on skewers for $1.

There's tons more cheapo food in the (somewhat dingy, byzantine, poorly ventilated, but supercheap) Golden Shopping mall (41-28 Main Street). The Xian Famous Foods stall (#36) has wonderful, filling cumin spiced lamb sandwiches for $2.50 and a cold noodle salad for $3.50. He has an extensive menu in photographic form on the walls. The proprietor speaks really good English, is extremely talkative, and can usually be found chattering away with staff and customers. His shop will be featured in an upcoming episode of Anthony Bourdain's TV show. A big bowl of hand pulled noodle soup at Lanzhou Hand Pulled Noodles (#27) will run you $4-5 dependent upon if it's lamb, beef, etc. Look for the people making noodles -- you'll hear them before you see them. You can also grab some mouth tingling spicy dan dan noodles from Sichuan Heaven (#31) for about $4. They also have an extensive menu in photographic form on the walls, but their English is not quite so good.

The Flushing Mall has a Taiwanese food court in the basement that has Chinese sesame pancakes, soy milk, fried crullers, shaved ice, pearl milk tea, Taiwanese "gua bao," stinky tofu, hot pot, beef noodle soup and more from a variety of vendors, all in the range of $1-5. This is more like a Western food court with picnic style seating, a janitorial staff, plastic trays.

And the criminally underrated Sun Mary Bakery (13357 41st Rd) has some of the best desserts in the neighborhood. Checkout their layer cakes (green tea, etc.), cookies, and freshly made pineapple tea cakes (it's like a Fig Newton but with pineapple).

Things I left out: dim sum, sit down restaurants (more economical with more people), non-Chinese food.

NB: If you follow that NYT article, ignore anything to do with the Shi Hong Mall. It has closed and reopened but with completely different vendors. And the main woman cook at Yipin has left.
posted by kathryn at 4:38 PM on May 10, 2009 [4 favorites]

Not in Flushing, but life-long Queens resident here. Never buy your produce at a chain grocery store like Stop & Shop - the neighborhood family-run grocery stores and produce shops found throughout Queens sell fresh stuff at mere fractions of the price found in the mainstream stores.

I take photographs often - normal haunts include Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Fort Totten, Forest Hills, Brooklyn Bridge Park, the various Botanical Gardens, and Manhattan.
posted by tomorama at 7:50 PM on May 10, 2009

The magazine Time Out New York lists free events (and pay events too) all over the city.

Forgotten NY is a fun website listing odd or out of the way places in NYC.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:16 PM on May 10, 2009

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