New York names Queens thoroughfare ‘Little Thailand Way’

New York City officially enshrined its Thai community as part of the Big Apple by permanently naming a Queens thoroughfare “Little Thailand Way” with a festival attended by Thailand’s Foreign Minister.

As “luk tung” or Thai country music filled the air, classical and traditional dancers in their multi-colored garments and ornate headdresses swayed and whirled on the avenue to the delight of festival goers. Restaurants offered a smorgasbord of central and regional Thai delicacies to please any palette.

“This road is going to represent Thainess to both New Yorkers and foreigners,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Don Pramudwinai who was in New York City to attend the annual United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and attended the street naming event.

Also featured in the festival were demonstrations of Muay Thai (traditional Thai boxing), massage and wellness treatments by local Thai spas, and a marketplace similar to what one would find in Bangkok. Chef Yim of Somtum Der in the Lower East Side, Chef Boonchert of Nora Thai in Williamsburg, and Chef Bao Bao of Baoburg in Greenpoint.

“Members of the New York Thai community will be cultural and soft power ambassadors which will help decrease any misconceptions between Thais and Americans. This is important for improving relationships between the two nations,” Minister Don added.

The U.S. is home to the largest number of Thais living outside the Kingdom, Don said. The borough of Queens in New York City is where 15,000 to 17,000 Thai expats live.

The three-block stretch of Woodside Avenue in Queens is famous throughout the city for its chock-a-block of top-notch authentic Thai restaurants and shops.