17. Little Guyana in Richmond Hill, Queens

Open-air markets are common in Guyana

Richmond Hill houses the largest Sikh population in New York City. Since the 1970s, many Caribbean Indians have called the southern part of the neighborhood home, where one of the largest populations from Guyana resides. There are approximately 140,000 Guyanese residents in New York City, most of whom live in Ozone Park, Canarsie, and Flatbush. This makes the Guyanese-American community the second-largest foreign-born group of immigrants in Queens. During the 1970s and 1980s, there was a large wave of Guyanese immigrants, many of whom were Hindu. Over time, Richmond Hill and Ozone Park also attracted Trinidadians, Chinese, and Indians, leading to a fusion of the Caribbean with Asia.

Along Liberty Avenue, named for being the only toll-free road in the area during a bygone era, there are shops selling roti and doubles, a street sandwich consisting of fried bread and curried chickpeas topped with Caribbean spices, cucumber, coconut, and a hot pepper sauce. The food shops are interspersed with clothing stores selling fabric and traditional Indian clothing.

As diverse as its citizens, Little Guyana offers Caribbean twists on traditional Indian cooking. While predominantly Indian, you can find Caribbean, African, and Chinese food at different price ranges. Guyanese restaurants and bakeries are abundant, notably Sybil’s Bakery and Restaurant Shop where you can taste the gambit of traditional Guyanese meals, and the Little Guyanese Bake Shop which offers a variety of traditional cakes, bread, and sweets.

The neighborhood has various sit-down restaurants and street-fare stalls as well, from Caribbean-Suriname crossover to Trinidadian “bake and shark” (exactly as it sounds; fried shark on a dough bun) to Chinese-infused curry dishes. Near the larger markets, it’s not unusual to find a picnic table selling fresh peppered mangoes and melons.