My Buddy Queens

Photo and Story by Jasper Lo

If boroughs were people, then I’d like to introduce you to my buddy Queens. I knew him up until I moved to Long Island for high school.

My Buddy Queens

My buddy Queens will be forever uncool. Despite his champions, he’ll always be a clutter of metallic reflections and vinyl siding. There’s no art in Queens. He’s too busy for art. He’s tired from his second job or he’s too concerned about saving up for god knows what. Otherwise, he’d rather drive his leased beamer across the Williamsburg or Ed Koch to avoid the tunnel toll. If you’re Chinese, he’d much rather you hang out with Chinese kids. Even the Koreans seem suspiciously foreign. He insists to go to the same restaurant time and time again because they make it the best here. God help those poor customers being duped at that other place, they have no taste. But nothing is enough for Queens, yet Queens won’t change a goddamned thing. Queens doesn’t understand why someone would dress like that. Queens looks judgingly at the person with a curious thought. Queens teaches his children that this is the only place and that Brooklyn is dangerous because of all the Black people and the Bronx is for the homeless. He says that Manhattan is beautiful but too expensive. Queens passes the boutique restaurants where boys with denim jackets sit behind women in long coats and remarks how stupid they are for squeezing into that tiny place. Queens exclaims how expensive the menu is, and continues to Applebee’s Times Square for the authentic experience. Queens gets punched in the face often because he’s kind of an asshole. People who listen to Queens often, roll their eyes and offer nothing in response. Queens goes to bed in the master bedroom of his duplex with his mother sleeping downstairs and his children sneaking in. You know; Queens made a big decision the other day when he bought that chocolate fountain. But he often gets caught in that chain of lying that starts when he says he’s 5’10” even though he’s 5’9”. This extends rapidly to 6’. But I guess that would be unfair to say these things about Queens. I mean, we’re all from our own Queens.

Reader Questions

Why doesn’t Queens understand why someone would dress like that?

Queens isn’t quite the fantasy of multiculturalism laid out in policy papers and it isn’t the orientalist blue-collar utopia described in NYT restaurant reviews. He just wants to wear his cologne, gel his hair, and drive obnoxiously fast between traffic lights on Northern Boulevard. BTW Queens doesn't know how to drive standard.

Is that really how someone in Queens think of Brooklyn and the Bronx?

Sort of. I mean pretty much.

Is there more space in Queens?

Queens is all about preferring big comfortable spaces over trendy small ones. It’s the most suburban borough, next to Staten Island of course.

What’s Applebees?

A restaurant chain headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri.

What is it about Queens that makes people roll their eyes?

What is it about everyone else that makes Queens roll his eyes?