Location/Culture Reports

Culture Report – New York City

After leaving Alaska, the Racers – well, Rob and Brennan, and Frank and Margarita – are on their way to Queens, New York and the finale of the race where Phil and the other racers (except a certain team still in Alaska – hi Team Guido!) are there to greet them.

Queens is one of the five boroughs that make up New York City. Queens is 112 square miles and has 2.2 million residents. Among the things that Queens is famous for are two World’s Fairs (1939-40 and 1954-55), the Louis Armstrong House & Archives, the current home of MOMA, P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, American Museum of the Moving Image, and the US Open Tennis Tournament. And, of course, the New York Mets, the winners of the 1969 and 1986 World Championships. And 2004. Well, it could happen. Ahem.

There have been many other movies and television shows that have been filmed in Queens. The climatic final battle scene in Men In Black occurs on the World Fair site (very close to where the race ended). Other times that you have seen Queens on the big and small screen include the King of Queens, Sex and the City, The Sopranos, The Age of Innocence, When Harry Met Sally, Two Weeks Notice, Spiderman and Spiderman 2, The Rutles, The Royal Tenebaums, Radio Days, Goodfellas, Center Stage, and The Odd Couple.

Among the books that take place in Queens are the mysteries with Ed Coffin Johnson and Grave Digger Jones by Chester Himes; Park Avenue South and The Cordelia Squad by Mary Anne Kelly and How Pizza Came to Queens by Dayal Kaur Khalsa. Deborah, Golda And Me and Three Daughters were written by Letty Cottin Pogrebin who is from Queens. There is also M. Darcy’s 2000 Diary when the Mets were in the World Series (not published, part of a private collection).

There are many famous people associated with Queens. Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel, Khandi Alexander, Donald Trump, Martin Scorsese, Richard Feynman, David Schwimmer, James Caan, Tony Bennett, Lucy Liu, and Robert Mapplethorpe were all born or raised in Queens. M. Darcy herself lived in Jamaica, Queens during 1970. There are also many famous people that are buried in Queens. They include Charles Atlas, Louis Armstrong, Sholem Aleichem, Stella Adler, Bella Abzug, Roy Cohn, Leo Frank, Dizzy Gillespie, John Gotti, Helen Hanff, Lorenz Hart, Harry Houdini, Scott Joplin, Bert Lahr (the Cowardly Lion), Minnie and Samuel Marx (parents of the Marx Brothers), Molly Picon, Edward G. Robinson, George Tobias (Abner Kravits on Bewitched), former New York Mayor Robert Wagner, Nathanael West, and Henny Youngman.

And, that’s it for now. The end of The Amazing Race 1. TAR 1 – which started and ended in one of my favorite cities in the world – New York. The City so nice, they named it twice.