Surprise & Serenity

I got off at Flushing Main Street station. Getting off at Grand Central and taking the 7 train all the way to the last stop was a longer trip than usual. It took around 40-50 minutes to get there. As soon as I stepped out of the station, I was welcomed with a bustling commercial center of restaurants, clothing stores, groceries, and delis.

I stood at the edge of the road for a good 10 minutes, figuring out which roads and tiny alleys I should explore. I observed a number of grocery shoppers, business men (probably doctors, lawyers), multinational finance companies, banks, etc. I used think of Flushing as the place to get genuine Chinese or Korea food, but it is so much more. Main street is the central hub of all activity. It is a community where people go to work and get their daily necessities.

From the 10 minutes I was lingering on the street, people could tell I wasn’t from the area. People glared at my big DSLR around my neck.


It was a rainy weekend. I watched people lunging around a trolley down Main St. and people shopping in the rain. Where do these people get the stamina to pile big amounts of groceries in the rain? Walking for a good 15 minutes towards the outskirts of Main Street, I noticed a lot of apartments and housing. People were taking advantage of the weekends to stock up on groceries to feed for their families.

It is interesting how Flushing Main Street has served many purposes for different people. I come as a tourist for authentic Chinese food and to purchase specialty Chinese sauces in order to recreate the taste of authenticity in my own kitchen in New York.


(Mmmm look at that)

I have experienced the affect of Flushing this weekend, but I believe the “intensity” of affect builds up once I spend more time there. Nassumi refers to affect as the intensity, “Intensity and experience accompany one another like two mutually presupposing dimensions or like two sides of a coin. Intensity is immanent to matter and to events, to mind and to body to every level of bifurcation composing them and which they compose” (33). I realized that in order to produce affect, I could observe, smell, and feel the Flushing ecology. The smell of different kinds of foods – Korean and Chinese (mainly). I smelled the strong thick peppers of the Northern Chinese noodles and the subtle lightly salted southern Chinese vegetables. I felt like since it was my first time being exposed to this ecology with great attention to affect, I will be able to recount my next trips with more observations.

Around 10,000 people passing through Main St. and Roosevelt Ave every hour. That is crazy to think about. With the numerous bus lines feeding into the subway terminal and the Long Island Rail Road station, I was bombarded during my trip to Flushing this weekend. This bombardment filled me with surprise and serenity at the same time. Surprise, because of the massive amounts of things around me but serene because of the consistency of people, shops, surrounding and familiarity with the kinds of people.


Theresa Brennan makes a forward-looking point about my project. “One cannot grasp what is really distinctive about individuality or distinctiveness without first appreciating that it is not taken for granted. It is not to be taken for granted precisely because of the artificiality of the distinction between the individual and the environment at the level of physical and biological exchange” (5).

Christina (Ling) H0

Works Cited:

Brennan, Theresa. “Introduction.” The Transmission of Affect. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2004. 1-23. Print.

Massumi, Brian. “The Autonomy of Affect.” Cultural Critique 31 (1995): 83-109. Web.

#Flushing #Mainstreet #Affect #Feelings #ChineseCulture #Surprise #Serenity


~ by christinahohk on October 2, 2016.

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