Bowne Street in Flushing, Queens

November 7, 1999

Source: The New York Times

On November 7, 1999, The New York Times published an article on the multi-faith presence of Bowne Street in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens, New York. R. Scott Hanson, a doctoral student who is studying the religious diversity on Bowne Street, calls it "one of the most extreme cases, if not the most extreme case, of religious plurality." He has identified over 40 houses of worship in a square-mile area around the street. A plethora of churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, and gurdwaras exist side by side, with the immigrant congregations being the largest and most active. In the area, the Muslim Center of New York serves 500 families, the Hindu Temple Society of North America attracts 3,000 worshippers on a weekly basis, and the Korean American Presbyterian Church has 3,500 members. Though some organized interfaith efforts have emerged, the different worship centers are content to keep to themselves; R. Scott Hanson calls it " and let live." Since Flushing is primarily a residential area, worshippers and community residents are getting increasingly annoyed with the lack of parking facilities, with many streets clogged with double parking. Flushing ordinances have allowed religious organizations to sprout up where homes used to be without the input of neighbors. In addition, religious institutions are only required to provide parking based on the number of fixed seats in the building; temples and mosques where worshippers sit on the floor are exempt.