Inside Richmond Hill, Queens–NYC’s Largest Sikh Neighborhood

The Richmond Hill neighborhood in Queens has the highest Sikh population of any neighborhood in New York, and boasts large populations of South Asian Americans as well as Afro- and Indian-Caribbean immigrants, not to mention other ethnicities. This week we went for a visit, cameras in tow. During a few hours’ walk we saw a trailer diner, tree-lined streets, and several working factories. The Sikh population blends in with the ubiquitous residential Queens scenery, sometimes conspicuously and sometimes inconspicuously. Within the span of a few minutes of walking around Phil Rizzuto Park in Richmond Hill, Queens, we saw softball, handball and basketball, standard staples of any New York playground. But stick around another few minutes and you might see cricket being played in the outfield, or kids with turbans playing pickup ball.

The climax the journey was a brief hangout session with Indian singer Laddi B, his manager Charly and two young friends whom we met on the street after taking a couple of shots. Smoke was rolled in papers, and Laddi’s sweet song blew into the room.  “This neighborhood’s cool,” Charly joked, “but there’s a lot of Indians here.”  Our walk finished a few blocks past the end of the A line at a restaurant that served Caribbean food, but played a Bangra soundtrack. Richmond Hill–another quintessential  New York City heterotopia. Below is a gallery of images from our visit.

For more work by Ari Joseph and Raafi Rivero, check out their websites at  arijoseph.com and  raafirivero.com.

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