A few years after arriving in the US in 1964, Sri Chinmoy moved to the New York suburb of Jamaica, Queens. Throughout his frequent international travels, Sri Chinmoy made his home in a quiet street of this suburb of New York for over three decades. Over the years, many students of Sri Chinmoy, from the US and all corners of the world, moved to the area to set up enterprises and be closer to their spiritual teacher. This has helped the area to be one of the most multicultural and multi-ethnic areas in the US.
In a recent New York Times article, the area was described as a great melting pot – ‘whose residents cite harmonious diversity as a defining element.‘
Three storefronts stand shoulder to shoulder: a modest grocery, whose sign declares Indian-Pakistani-American roots, selling Indian DVDs, two for $5, and asking 75 cents for a microwave-warmed vegetable samosa; Annam Brahma, a new Indian vegetarian restaurant with the motto “Food Is God,” one of several businesses with exteriors painted a light blue to signal devotion to Sri Chinmoy, the late Bangladeshi spiritual teacher who made his home in the area; and St. Gerasimos Greek Orthodox Church.
That stretch goes some way toward capturing a neighborhood whose residents cite harmonious diversity as a defining element… (NY Times article)
The 3100 Mile Race
For the past 14 consecutive years, in June, July and August, the neighbourhood also plays host to the world’s longest certified race the 3100 Mile Race. The race can last upto 52 days. One of the most remarkable things of the race is that it is run around a single block. Local Residents and local school children have become accustomed to this remarkable race which has been one of the features heralding the start of the summer.
Local residents explain how they have come to appreciate the presence of this unique race which occurs between 6am and 12pm every day for those 52 days of summer.
Members of the Sri Chinmoy Centre have a strong presence in the area with a number of business enterprises painted in a defining blue. Some of these local stores include:
- The Smile of the Beyond – a breakfast and luncheonette diner on Parsons Boulevard
- The Divine Robe – A specialist clothes shop
- Guru Stationary – Small independent stationary store
- Guru Health Foods – a busy independent health food store managed by serial Guinness World Record Breaker, Ashrita Furman.
- Annam Brahma – a popular vegetarian restaurant.
- Panorama Cafe of My Silence-Heart