Crowley Visits Jackson Heights Hindu Community Center


Walking down 75th Street from the Roosevelt Avenue subway station in Jackson Heights to Ridgewood Avenue showcases how Queens is easily the most diverse place in the city and possibly the world.

One passes a Muslim community center and then a Buddhist Temple, and people on the street of seemingly every ethnicity. Finally this Brooklyn-based reporter stopped to the Satya Narayan Mandir, a Sindhi Hindu Temple and community center at 75-15 Woodside Avenue.

The organisation operates and maintains a GurMandir, which in the Sindhi-Hindu  tradition is a combination Gurdwara (Sikh place of worship) and Mandir (Hindu place of worship); this observance of both religions in the same premises is uniquely a Sindhi tradition.

Vicam Langar, one of the politically active members of the temple hosted the offering, music and food event, and the featured guest was U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Sunnyside, Astoria, College Point, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Corona, Woodside, parts of the Bronx) who is also the chair of the House Democratic Caucus and Queens County Democratic Party Chair.

In introducing Crowley, Langar also noted that Crowley, who is a musician himself, is chair and founder of the House Musicians Caucus.

“I know this area and Woodside Avenue very well,” said Crowley, addressing the congregants. “As a boy I walked down these streets so I know these streets very, very well. Before they were one way streets I knew them.

“It’s my great pleasure to represent many of you, if not all of you in Washington DC. I am the grandson of immigrants and the son of immigrants, my mother was an immigrant so I’m passionate about the issues of immigration.

“I often talk about two people from Queens – Donald Trump and myself, but we could not be more different in how we approach things, especially on the issue of immigration. My grandmother when she was born in a very poor part of Ireland, she grew up in a grass roof house and the walls were mudpacked and there was no heat or plumbing. It was not very different from a woman who was raised on an island in northern Scotland. An Island call Lewis and a town called Tong, and her first language was not English. It was Scottish Gaelic. She learned English in a school and when she came to this country in 1930 she did what my grandmother did when she came here. She worked as a domestic servant, and that woman was Donald Trump’s mother.

“And what I find most reprehensible about his approach to immigration is that he himself is not that far removed from that experience. His mother was an immigrant and she came here as a young woman, not sure of her own future, but that’s the beauty of America because what America provides is opportunity and we want the best and we want the bravest because it takes an awful lot strength to come from another country and make a new way of life.

“i appreciate that and I know what the Indian community is doing to contribute vitally to the American experience – to our country in so many ways – culturally and economically. In so many ways I recognize that and I’m proud to represent you all in Washington DC. I don’t turn my back to it. I welcome it with both arms open and I want you to know how much I enjoy that and I will continue in that effort and I will stand up to this administration when i think its appropriate to defend my constituency. I’ve been doing it all for a year and a half and I’ll end on this. I believe i was meant to be where I am at this point in time. By some intervention for whatever I was meant to be doing what I’m doing right now so I thank you for this opportunity and appreciate all the support.”