I suspect the rest of Queens might still be here too, somewhere. I manage to leave and get back to my apartment everyday. None of the many trains that stop in Jackson Heights resemble the
No one who’s ventured across the East River to the outer borough that’s not Brooklyn could argue that the food sucks. Queens is anything but a culinary wasteland. Jackson Heights alone has some of the City’s best Thai and Indian food as rated by other reputable food resources, not to mention Colombian and Mexican and Vietnamese. Hipsters make pilgrimages to my neighborhood to sample the street food; I see them under the 7 train with their pegged jeans and printout maps every weekend. And everything in Queens is cheap, cheap, cheap. Wifey and I can eat out for less than $25 total. We smile when we pay the check, because it feels like stealing. And then we walk home.
In New York Magazine’s rundown, any entree under $25 qualifies as cheap. The whole bill at many of the restaurants mentioned would be much higher…$60 or $70 for a couple who shares an appetizer, orders two entrees and washes it down with tasty beverages. Not everyone can afford that price for dinner. And even fewer people would call that cheap. Of course, all the individual food items covered are less than $25. I don’t mean to suggest otherwise. But calling them cheap eats can be a little misleading.
The $25 dividing line is also an important clue. New York Magazine’s readers are professionals, with a certain income and standard of living. Or at least they aspire to those things. I read the magazine (translation: look at the pretty pictures) to seem smart on the train once it crosses out of the Land that Food Forgot. And because the colors make me happy. The Magazine is an excellent source for commentary on local, national and international events. It’s also known for its informative restaurant reviews. When I need a recommendation for a nice place to take wifey for her birthday, that’s where I turn. Many of my friends do the same, which is why wifey gets a lot of expensive free meals around her birthday.
The restaurants covered in this issue are mostly in Manhattan and Brooklyn, because the Magazine’s readers are mostly in Manhattan and Brooklyn. A few restaurants in
But the Magazine is named after the whole city. And the last time I checked, the City had five boroughs. Claiming to represent the best cheap food in New York is just plain misleading. I eat some of the best cheap food in the city all the time. And it’s not in Manhattan or Brooklyn. It’s in Queens… usually Jackson Heights for me. The borough is home to some of the best cheap eats anywhere. How else could an unemployed guy and his wife afford a decent meal out? By failing to show the whole picture, the Magazine does its readers a great disservice.
Maybe it just doesn’t give them enough credit. Queens, outside of Astoria, probably seems like a foreign country, something to pass through on the way to the airport or the