43 Signs You Grew Up In Queens

All the cool kids may be in Brooklyn these days, but the borough next door is far too modest for all that fanfare. We’re just the largest, most picturesque, most ethnically diverse New York City borough. NBD, guys.

1. You’ve been to Cherry Valley.

Through the years, it progressed from being “the awesome sandwich place” to “the awesome drunk-food place.”

2. You ordered the Bushman.

Or maybe the Fatboy. But most likely the Bushman.

3. You took at least two buses, or at least a bus to a train, or at least two subway lines, to get to high school every day.

4. You had a school trip to this place EVERY YEAR.

karendotcom127 / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: karendotcom127

5. First stop: GIANT-ASS BUBBLES!!!!

OK, we can go to the gift shop now.

6. Your parents would always take you to Flushing Meadows Zoo…even though you begged and cried to go to the Bronx Zoo JUST ONCE.

Once you got there, there was a barren pond…

Samantha Chapnick / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: sierraandi

Oh, hello, single duck floating along suspiciously. Are you…are you…dying?

…a red panda that showed its face every few years…

Herwig Prammer / Reuters

…and a petting zoo.

Samantha Chapnick / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: sierraandi

Cool zoo, bro.

Samantha Chapnick / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: sierraandi

7. There were actually more animals to see on the Flushing Meadows carousel.

Joe Shlabotnik / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: joeshlabotnik

8. You were all like this when you got the day off for Brooklyn-Queens Day:

That’s right. Queens is so awesome, we get our own DAY. OFF. OF. SCHOOL. Yeah, we had to share it with Brooklyn, but whatevz.

9. And like THIS when you found out that other kids in the city still had to go to school that day:

10. The amount of strings on your Jansport were directly proportional to your social status in junior high school.

Look, there’s even a song (sort of) in ode to them!

11. All you wanted on a sweltering July afternoon was an Italian ice from the Lemon Ice King of Corona, but if you didn’t live nearby you’d settle for Uncle Louie G’s or Ralph’s.

Holy Canoli ice? Yes, please.

12. All of your best friends from childhood speak at least one other language fluently.

I mean…Queens is the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world, guys. THE WORLD. Take that, other four boroughs!

13. You ate at Pastrami King at least once as a kid.

RIP, Kew Gardens location.

14. You know damn well that there’s a Ridgewood outside of New Jersey. And that it’s way/sort of cooler.

Full disclosure: I grew up and also now reside in Ridgewood. Every conversation I’ve ever had about where I live, as far back as I can recall, goes something like this.
Stranger: “Oh, Ridgewood, New Jersey!”
Me: “No, Ridgewood, Queens.”
Stranger: “Oh. Never heard of it.”
Me: “Do you know where Middle Village or Glendale are?”
Stranger: “Um, yea…I think?”
Me: “It borders those two neighborhoods. It’s next to Bushwick too.”
Stranger: “Oh, OK, Bushwick!”

15. Bonus shout-out to Briarwood and Auburndale, the other two Queens neighborhoods no one ever knows about.

16. You experienced your first night out “clubbing” at age 15 at the European bars in Astoria because they never ID’d anyone. (Or they were the only bars that accepted the out-of-state ID you bought in the village for $40.)

“Karen from Ocean City, Maryland, you say…? Well come on in, totally legal 21-year-old patron!”

17. And if you couldn’t get into a bar, you’d just hang out at a pool hall instead — taking turns sneaking sips from a beer the one person who barely passed for 18 was somehow able to snag.

Johnny Nunez / Getty Images

Austin Street and Bell Boulevard were swarming with kids who had the same idea.

18. You hung out at either Queens Center or Bay Terrace, like, every day after school.

And you remember filling up bags of jelly beans from Candy Candy and going back to get, like, 10 samples of chicken teriyaki from the Japanese place in the food court.

19. You know who this guy is.

And you’re probably friends with him on Facebook.

20. If you were a girl shopping for your prom dress, your first stops were Austin Street in Forest Hills or Steinway/Broadway in Astoria.

You know you rocked a prom dress that looked like this. And you rocked it hard, as only Queens girls can.

21. You know you’re capable of ANYTHING in this lifetime after successfully crossing Queens Boulevard (aka the Boulevard of Death) on multiple occasions.

Leave off the last “s” for “scary.” Over the last two decades, roughly 10 people have died each year crossing or walking beside Queens Blvd. :( BE CAREFUL, FELLOW QUEENSFOLK.

22. And when you’re standing on Queens Blvd., you have no clue which way is east vs. west or north vs. south — just that “LIC is this way and Jamaica is that way.”

Cardinal directions, more like useless directions, am I right?

23. You chuckled and made corny jokes EVERY time you passed by Goldfingers and Wiggles.

Douliery-Hahn/Abaca Press / MCT

And when you were finally of age and someone decided it would be “funny” to check out Wiggles after bar-hopping, $100 later, your experience could be summed up by one of these reviews.

24. When your friends got their licenses, all you did was pile into the car to cruise the ‘Lew (or Bell Blvd. or Woodhaven Blvd.) for hours — beeping at/exchanging glances with other teenagers on the road.

You finally settled at a cafe or the movies and then your one friend with the car drove everyone home.

25. Going to “the city” was a big deal — and you’d round up at least 10 of your friends to do so. Must-stops: St. Mark’s, Rockefeller Center, Times Square (just for TRL, though).

26. You stand “on line,” not “in line.”

CC: all native New Yorkers.

27. The college application process was way less daunting than the high school application process.

1) Consider your zoned high school out of the question, because someone got shot and/or arrested there last week.
2) Read through a book that’s twice your body weight.
3) Pick the 10 schools you want to go to.
4) Take approximately 346 tests.
5) Have a magic unicorn race with other incoming freshman to see who makes it to your No. 1 pick first.
6) You’re in!
7) Just kidding. You’re wait-listed.

28. You got your first tattoo (a star) or piercing (cartilage) at Pete & Cubo’s in Ozone Park or True Blue Tattoo in Middle Village.

29. You know the best bagels are actually at a place called Hot Bialys…

30. …the best Indian food is in Jackson Heights…

kamekame / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: kamekame

31. …and the best Chinese food isn’t in Chinatown, but in Flushing.

32. All your rich friends had cool parties at their mansions in Forest Hills Gardens or Malba.

Matt Green / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: imjustwalkin

33. You were well-aware that you could easily polish off a five-course meal at the bus stop before the next Q54 or Q55 arrived.

Bjc20199 / Creative Commons / Via commons.wikimedia.org

Worst. Buses. Ever.

34. You went to see friends’ bands play all-age shows at Castle Heights and Redzone.

Courtesy of Christina Brault / Via facebook.com

35. You engaged in underaged hijinks behind the Woodhaven Lanes bowling alley.

36. Sometimes you actually even went inside to bowl.

Joe Shlabotnik / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: joeshlabotnik

37. This guy could be found hanging around somewhere in your home.

38. You didn’t move out of your parents’ house until at least age 25.

39. You’ve spent more than one hungover morning with a greasy plate in front of you at this place.

Jim Henderson / Creative Commons / Via commons.wikimedia.org

40. Depending on how old you are, you may have spotted The Jerky Boys (1995)…

41.Spider-Man (2002) and Spider-Man 2 (2004)…

42. …and Men in Black 3 (2012) being filmed in Queens.

43. At one point, you were pumped to call LL Cool J a fellow Queensite…

(Fine, it doesn’t roll off the tongue as smoothly as “Brooklynite” or “Staten Islander,” but we need a word to describe ourselves, OK?)

Until this happened.

At least we still have Nas.

The Ramones.

Simon & Garfunkel.

Monosnaps / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: dubpics

Christopher Walken.

John Harrison / Creative Commons / Via en.wikipedia.org

And Lucy Liu.

Genevieve719 / Creative Commons / Via en.wikipedia.org

Tell us why you love (or loved growing up in) Queens in the comments below!

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