If one neighborhood feels like the center of Queens, it’s Elmhurst. Not that it’s exactly the borough’s geographic center, but Elmhurst residents have easy access to the Long Island Expressway and many subways, and its shopping opportunities draw people from throughout the borough. Elmhurst has big-box stores (including Target) and a mall–Queens Center–that’s said to be the most profitable per square foot in the country. Established as a village by the Dutch in 1652, Elmhurst lies between Corona and Jackson Heights.
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I grew up in Elmhurst and lived there my whole life. It’s a small ethnic community; mostly hard-working blue collared immigrants from all over the world. Different culture and food are all abundant. People go to work and raise their children.
Elmhurst is the hub of Queens; surrounded and easily accessed from Woodside, Corona, Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst, Flushing, Maspeth, and LIC. You can get to anywhere in NYC from Elmhurst as the major trains such as the E, F, R, V (now M) and 7 run through here.
The neighborhood is always buzzing during the day from trucks, sirens, horns, and work, but it quiets down as the working day ends. Expenses are extremely cheap compared to the city, and even Brooklyn now with the encroaching hipster fad.
All areas are relatively safe, but out-of-towners might not be so comfortable. If you’re not comfortable around minorities, Elmhurst is probably not for you.
In short, Elmhurst is a no-bullshit, old school neighborhood. Cheap rent, cheap houses, and everybody minds their own business. A great place to live if you want to make a decent living and if you’re not into expensive, soul-sucking trendy corporate bullcrap.