Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Community spotlights: Kew Gardens Hills

I put on the blog a while back that I was going to start spotlighting communities. Well, I'm going to start with what I know best: Queens.

The Jewish "Capitol" of Queens is Kew Gardens Hills or KGH for short. KGH is where I would tell most anyone to look at, if they were looking at communities in the greater New York City area. The people are friendly. Shopping and shuls are convienient in this tight knit area.

People are incredibly friendly in this area. You will never have problems getting a Shabbos or Yontiff meal. In fact, there is a hospitality commitee for singles and I believe some of the shuls have one, too. You won't need it for long, though. As soon as you start meeting people, they will introduce you to others. Also, people who see me a couple times invite me over. For Sukkos, I had plans to go somewhere else but the person who invited me wasn't giving me the details I needed. At around noon on Friday, I picked up my phone and made two calls. They offered what they could and then made some calls for me. Within two hours, I had an overnight and all my meals in a Sukkah scheduled in KGH. Do you really think that would happen with any other area?

Main street, the community's shopping district is large enough to have two clothing stores (one expensive-Eishes Chayil, one more affordable-ELZEE.) There are three main supermarkets: Supersol, Brach's and Wasserman's. Supersol is the most expensive but, they have the most vareity and a parking lot. They also have normal hours. Brach's is the cheapest for most things but they close early (7pm?). Wasserman's is open at all crazy hours-ok, till about 11 or 12. They have delivery and phone orders with a credit card on Thursday and Friday, maybe Wednesday, too. I don't use this service. I was told about it.

On Main Street is not just these stores but, many restaurants and take out places, as well as other Shomer Shabbos businesses. I would also like to mention that off-Main street on Jewell, is a kosher Subway. This one has tofu based, parve cheese. The ones in Brooklyn do not. On Shabbos or Yontiff, the metal gates are down across Main Street and Jews cover the sidewalks. Occasionally, a non-Jew drives by. The area boast something like 35 to 40 shuls and Schteibles. Most homes have a driveway and/or a garage behind their homes. There are block-lengthed "driveways" that run between the streets so that these homes garages can be accessed. There is also on-street parking. Incidentally, the restaurants in this area put up sukkos for the holiday. That photo is the sukkah from Shimon's Pizza.

Renters generally rent in 2, 3 and 4 family homes. This means that sometimes people have access to a front or backyard as a renter. Although, this may only be restricted to an area where you can put out a kiddie pool or a Sukkah, it comes in handy. Speaking of Sukkos, the streets and the driveways behind are lined with sukkos for the holidays right now. There is a community-wide eruv so, there is no need to attach the sukkah to the house or to build an eruv around the property.

Incidentally, the Hamodia Magazine recently spotlighted KGH, as well. They spoke of the yeshivahs. The area is most Yeshivish/Litvish types. There are many kollel couples in the area. The men who go to college might go to Lander or Queens College. The women usually go to Queens College or commute to a college in the city.

There aren't many downfalls in this community. However, some might prefer Brooklyn if they have children with special needs. Such kids often go to schools in Brooklyn, even though there is a program in the area. It is often not right for these kids. Most of the women I know from KGH work in Brooklyn as therapists and teachers at those yeshivos.

Incidentally, I don't live in Kew Gardens Hills, but I work there and I often go there for Shabbos, as it's substantially easier to get an overnight and meals there than it is to get a meal in my "Jewish" neighborhood 3 miles away.


  1. You are very fortunate to live in a place where Jewish facilities are so readily available. Short of Israel I don't think that you could hope for anywhere better!

    Australian Jewish life is a world away!

  2. Brooklyn actually has more stuff, but there are downfalls there. There's no eruv, for one. Also, it's big and people aren't as friendly, people can get lost in that, especially someone converting. Once you're a part of another community, it's not a problem because you just get your first people from people from your old place.

    When I move to Brooklyn, this is how I will get my first meals. Then, I figure those people can set me up with more people to go to and I'll start meeting people. When I meet people, I'm going to make sure I tell them I moved in and don't know anyone yet, hoping they get the hint.