Woodside is a rather bustling neighborhood in northwestern Queens, bordered on the west by Sunnyside and on the east by Elmhurst and Jackson Heights. Roosevelt Avenue cuts through the main portion of Woodside, though there are plenty of quieter spots in the neighborhood just a stone’s throw away. By the 1930s, about four in five people in Woodside were Irish, and though the area has become significantly more diverse, with new Asian and Hispanic communities forming, the area still maintains some long-standing Irish businesses and historic architecture. The neighborhood includes a “Little Manila” along Roosevelt Avenue, a handful of green spaces, and some rather odd structures that have been landmarked and preserved over the years. Here is our guide to the top 12 secrets of Woodside.
1. A few blocks of Woodside are called “Little Manila”
Woodside has one of the highest Filipino populations in New York City, thus giving part of the neighborhood the nickname “Little Manila.” A strip of Roosevelt Avenue between 61st and 70th Street, mostly concentrated in the high 60s, is commonly considered the heart of the Filipino community, which dates back to around the 1970s. After the passage of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, Filipino medical professionals moved to Woodside, many working at the nearby Elmhurst Hospital, and most Filipinos felt welcome since Woodside had been predominantly Irish Catholic at the time.
Today, there are about 50,000 to 70,000 Filipinos living in the Woodside area. One of the most popular stores in the neighborhood is Phil-Am Food Mart, featuring everything from ube desserts to Filipino meats to dishes like lumpia (spring rolls) and balut (fertilized duck egg). Right across the street is Ihawan, known for its barbecue and large platters called kamayan. Jollibee, a popular Filipino fast-food chain, has a location on Roosevelt Avenue. Other notable spots include Tito Rad’s, Krystal’s Cafe, Red Ribbon Bakeshop, and Renee’s Kitchenette and Grill.