Neighborhood Temple

Neighborhood Temple - Flushing, New York

Neighborhood Temple – Flushing, New York

My best friend, Frank, picked me up at the airport, and we made a b-line for Flushing. That’s where I grew up. I went to New York in June to meet friends and attend my 40th high school reunion. As you might expect, photography was also a big part of the trip — snapshots of my friends and the skyscrapers of Manhattan. But first, I wanted to document where I grew up. I busted out the big Fujifilm GFX 50S II.

We went first to the house. I lived there from when I was nine until I left for college. Disappointingly, it was in a shabby state with an overgrown yard. I wasn’t sentimental about it, documenting it dispassionately. It wasn’t compelling photographically.

This temple, on the other hand, was quite interesting. When I grew up in Flushing, it was a multi-ethnic working-class neighborhood. Over the last fifty years, a large Asian population has moved in — many of Chinese descent. Flushing is now the premier Chinatown in New York City, displacing the original in Manhattan.

A large white clapboard house stood here when I lived in this neighborhood — converted into a chiropractor’s office and looked similar to the structure on the left. Somewhere along the way, someone demolished the house and replaced it with this Buddhist Temple — a big surprise. A visual shock but something intriguing photographically.

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