NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Punjabi community in Queens had a street co-named in its honor Friday.
The goal was to celebrate the South Asian community’s contributions to the Richmond Hill area, CBS2’s Kiran Dhillon reported.
The stretch of 101st Avenue between 111th and 123rd streets is filled with Punjabi culture – sounds, cuisine and clothing – earning it the nickname “Little Punjab.”
That stretch is now officially co-named Punjab Avenue, the culmination of a two year joint effort by several South Asian groups and City Council Member Adrienne Adams.
“This community has been underserved, not really recognized,” said Adams. “Invisible, which is a travesty, knowing everything that all of our community brings to this wonderful district.”
The Punjab region is split between northern India and eastern Pakistan.
Adams said Punjabis and South Asians deserve to be acknowledged, since they have helped build and shape Richmond Hill for 50 years.
“Some of the hardest working people are of the South Asian community… Folks who have been here for a very long time,” Adams said.
Community advocates agree.
“Just because we look different, it doesn’t mean that we are not humans or we are lesser Americans,” said Harpreet Singh Toor, former president of the Sikh Cultural Society.
“It means a lot. We really feel respectful that we are recognized,” said Rajwinder Kaur, a member of the Community Education Council, District 28.
Members of the Punjabi community said the co-naming of the street means more to them than they can express. They said it makes them feel like they belong and are an integral part of the neighborhood.
“We’re excited about it, because it represents our culture,” one person said.
“It’s a good thing. We are very happy today,” said another.
Thy city said the co-naming is just the beginning. At the end of November, 97th Avenue from Lefferts Blvd. to 117th Street will be co-named Gurdwara Street, a nod to Sikh temples in the area.
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