July 5, 2008

From Central Asia to Forest Hills

Here's an NYT article, "Questions of Size and Taste for Queens Houses," on the Bukharian Jews from Central Asia who are building vast Oriental palaces in the formerly sedate, tree-lined Queens neighborhood of Forest Hills, paving over all the lawns:

“We like to utilize every single square inch of land, every inch of territory,” explained Rabbi Shlomo Nisanov, head of a Bukharian synagogue and community center in Kew Gardens Hills. “For some reason, people don’t appreciate it.”

The Bukharian construction binge is much to the displeasure of the middle class Ashkenazis who have long lived there (Joey Ramone, for example, grew up in Forest Hills). The neighborhood is best known for the tennis club, with its wonderful grass courts (like playing on a putting green), which hosted the U.S. Open up into the 1970s.

I met Joey Ramone in 1982, when he and his mom were standing on a corner in Greenwich Village, eating ice cream cones. He was quite gracious to a slobbering fan.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

21 comments:

Garland said...

You know, in many ways, this is the quintessential Steve Sailer post.

Staash said...

Generally speaking, most of the queens I know live in inconspicuous, small apartments, despite being otherwise preoccupied with size and taste.

Ron Guhname said...

Steve, you had to look up at Joey, right?

Anonymous said...

You know, in many ways, this is the quintessential Steve Sailer post.

For this to be quintessential we need to know what is the IQ of these Bukhari. Is it a kind of clan IQ that enables them to build palaces in Queens for the "big man" and his family? Extended I'm sure

"G"

Steve Sailer said...

And the tennis club should be a golf club instead.

Anonymous said...

The Silk Road Leads to Queens - New York TimesJennifer S. Altman for The New York Times. At Shalom, a Bukharian restaurant in Rego Park, Queens, the cook, Tolik, makes meat and onion samsi in a tandoor. ...
www.nytimes.com/2006/01/18/dining/18rego.html - Similar pages

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/18/dining/18rego.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Mark said...

I remember back in the 90s, in Beverly Hills, how shocked many of us were by the rude behavior of the newly arrived Persian Jews at our temple. It's probably akin to how the German Jews felt about all their unclean "cousins" pouring in from the shtetls, both in Europe and here. Now we, the shtetl folk, have become the assimilated bourgeoisie, and are having to psychologically deal with these rough Asiatic types who are supposedly just like us, in essence. Who knows how it'll end.

wren said...

Another good article about newcomers in a New York neighborhood.

It starts with these sentences:

Is Clinton Hill an okay place to move? It’s vibrant, diverse, and feels very safe. Clinton Hill is full of black people who have a chip on their shoulder and some white people who think themselves cool for living among them. It is a gorgeous little stretch of buildings. If you like the ghetto, you will love that area.

SFG said...

I remember back in the 90s, in Beverly Hills, how shocked many of us were by the rude behavior of the newly arrived Persian Jews at our temple. It's probably akin to how the German Jews felt about all their unclean "cousins" pouring in from the shtetls, both in Europe and here. Now we, the shtetl folk, have become the assimilated bourgeoisie, and are having to psychologically deal with these rough Asiatic types who are supposedly just like us, in essence. Who knows how it'll end.

Oh, German Jews were the snootiest. They were convinced of the superiority of their German culture (remember, scientific journals used to be published in German) and convinced a lot of the new arrivals to settle around the country so they wouldn't be confused with them. Marcus Goldman (of Goldman Sachs) was a German Jew. In NYC, Mount Sinai was the German Jewish hospital, whereas Beth Israel was the Russian and Polish Jewish hospital. Guess which one's on the Upper East Side?

Remains to be seen whether they'll assimilate. I think multiculturalism is having negative effects in that even groups that would otherwise assimilate (I mean, come on, what's the last time you got mugged walking through the Jewish neighborhood?) are insisting on in-marriage: I remember a Jewish dating service that has boxes you can click for Ashkenazi, Sephardic, Syrian and Persian Jews.

I mean, we turned people from Ireland, Italy, Germany, Poland, and Scandinavia into Americans. Maybe you can't do it to Mexicans like you guys say (I think it has more to do with the numbers of Mexicans), but we're not even trying anymore.

Concerned said...

Joey and all the other Ramones grew up in apartments, in a different part of Forest Hills.

About these Bukhari, I don't like them but I agree w/their attitudes towards lawns. A waste of water.

The article didn't say how they make their money. In the past, they controlled the gem trade. The heretic shrink Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson's father was one such.

Peter said...

Much of the new residential construction in Queens during the past several years has consisted of Fedders Specials. These are bleak, cheaply built, un-landscaped small apartment buildings, the sort of places that you just know will begin to show their age in only a few years. Rampant cost-cutting means no central air conditioning, instead the rooms get AC sleeves bearing the Fedders brand logo, hence the moniker.

These Bukharian palaces are a breath of fresh air in comparison, no matter how vulgar they may be.

Anonymous said...

Good for the rabbis for trying to encourage some modesty. But let's face it: this IS the American dream. Vulgar nouveau riche everywhere. The Bukharin may be particularly bad, but everyone else seems to be following in the same grotesque, tasteless direction. Immigrants tend to be the most desirous of ostentation, especially as they like to send pictures home to their relatives in the various crowded shitholes of the world showing off their wonderful brick boxes built from a standard plan and lacking all charm and craftsmanship. The American dream it would seem. Consumerism gone awry. The homes are as big as their bellies no doubt.

guest007 said...

Judging by Koreans and Chinese in the DC area who also have large, multifamily homes, part of it is due to the culture of tying your children to yourself and part of it is that they are not the type who put their money in mutual funds or investment accounts. Thus, they build large houses as investments and to keep their children from leaving.

beowulf said...

"Councilwoman Katz said that while the Bukharian homes in her district have complied with the city’s building and zoning regulations, she, too, was concerned about their size and the loss of green space..."

They're obeying the law and hurting anyone else, so what's the problem? If you don't like it Councilwoman, change the law.

The real problem here aren't the foreigners with broken English minding their own business, but the articulate Americans who like to nag others on how to use their property.

I'm with Peter, these McMansions are no doubt an improvement over whatever they tore down to replace it. Queens is so damn ugly, it would be benefit if the whole borough were redeveloped in this style.

Anonymous said...

These Jews have large houses because they have large families. Large houses with lots of family members under one roof are also a way to facilitate economic advancement: kids can live at home rent-free until they are in their 30s, and build up a next egg instead of collecting rent receipts.

- Fred

Half Sigma said...

The Bukhari (who I never heard of before) seem rather practical in that they are putting up the most building that the zoning code allows, thus maximizing their living space.

Because they have large families, the square feet/occupant ratio of Bukhari houses may actually be lower than their child-free upper class liberal elite neighbors. They should be celebrating the vibrant diversity that the Bukhari bring to the neighborhood instead of whining about the size of their houses.

Anonymous said...

Another point worth mentioning is that the Bhukari approach to houses isn't that different from that of some Ashkenazi Conservative and Orthodox communities. There's a town in NJ (a few minutes outside of Manhattan) where many of the large, old houses within about a half-mile of the conservative synagogue have been knocked down and replaced with newer, larger homes. The reason is simple: these folks have lots of kids. And these Jews aren't broken-English speaking central Asians: they are physicians, Wall Street execs, law firm partners, etc.

- Fred

anony-mouse said...

I am puzzled why on a paleo website there is so much hostility to large families, especially large families where the mother stays at home.

And no, not just with regard to some Jews but also with regard to FLDS, too.

Are there any groups in America having large families where the mothers stay at home that are any good?

Anonymous said...

What town in New Jersey? Livingston?

Anonymous said...

Anony-mous said "I am puzzled why on a paleo website there is so much hostility to large families, especially large families where the mother stays at home."

Yes, in fact we should be overjoyed about Mexican immigration as well. They tend to have larger families too and thats whats important, not nit-picking over trivial matters like race, ethnicity, IQ nationality and the like.

Anonymous said...

"What town in New Jersey? Livingston?"

The town I was thinking of was Englewood, but the same thing may be happening in Livingston, I don't know.

- Fred