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Measuring wealth in a few short blocks

Starting on Utopia Parkway across from St. John’s University at around 4 pm, I headed south alongside Jamaica Estates. This neighborhood is wealthy. It was too quiet. The houses among the hills were mansions; the cars were mostly luxury vehicles like Lexus, Infiniti, Mercedes, BMW, and a couple of Bently’s here and there. A few license plates on these cars had “MD” on them, indicating that they were practicing medical doctors. The population was generally mixed between white, Jewish, and Asian. I know this because, very rarely, I’d see someone come out of their house. I assume that most of the people that live in these homes have high paying jobs and work very hard, but just south of the Grand Central Parkway, where Utopia Parkway turns into Homelawn Street, the entire neighborhood shifted. I wouldn’t say that this neighborhood was poor by any means, nor would I say that these people did not work; houses still had driveways and many had fairly new cars in their driveways, but the difference was intriguing. There were way less trees, houses were closer together, and more people were out walking, most of whom were different ethnicity than in the Estates. I don’t want to incorrectly assume anyone’s racial background, but on the rear-view mirror of someone’s car, I saw a flag of Bangladesh hanging which leads me to believe this area is more populated with people from Bangladesh. I saw more women with children, many who were in strollers. How come there was such a drastic difference in such a short span of distance? The further south I went down Homelawn toward Hillside Ave, the more delis and small businesses like laundromats or 99 cent stores there were, I would assume that many of the people that live in this area also worked in these places, or maybe even owned them. There was also more trash, less trees and the smell of delicious food could be smelled for blocks. Oddly enough, I found that more people had pets the further south I went. There were more stray cats as well, most of who were really friendly .

I wonder what reasons there are for the economic differences between the two groups of people. I think, perhaps, there is a difference in education systems because of funding–I assume most kids who live in the estates have money to afford private school whereas the kids that live south of Jamaica estates are forced to go to schools that are underfunded and don’t offer resources for parents to learn language skills.

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