Parkchester is a better place to live in New York city, says Bangladeshi Community leader
One of the most popular leaders of Banglashi Community in Parkchester, Abdus Shahid, has said that Parkchester is a better place to live in New York city.
He said this in an interview with a Parkchester Times correspondent, Moses Kuwema, while exploring how the Bronx has changes over the years.
"When I came over here 35 years ago, there were only five Bangladeshi families in the entire Parkchester neighborhood but now it's a totally different story. We have a number of businesses run by business people from Bangladesh especially around Olmstead and Starling Avenues," explained 62 year-old Abdus Shahid, the President of American Bangladesh Welfare organisation.
Shahid migrated to the US as a teenager back in October 1976 and settled in downtown Manhattan and later to Queens Jamaica before he eventually made Parkchester his home.
"In 1985, I bought a condo in Parkchester behind Macy's. There were only five Bangladesh families in Parkchester. When I came in, all these businesses around Parkchester were being run by the Jewish. If we wanted to buy halaal meat, we had to go to Brooklyn. There were no groceries here. The first Bangladesh businesses started opening up after 1988. Now the Bangladesh community is the second largest here," Shahid said.
Shahid recounted how scary the Parkchester neighborhood was back in the days.
"When I moved here, Parkchester wasn't that good. Taking the subway going to work was scary those days. I was never attacked but I heard stories of others who were robbed. The security cameras we have in the buildings were not there and we had to push Parkchester management to have them installed and better security is something we have to constantly push for even now. It was a bit scary but now slowly all different communities moved in," remarked Shahid.
"Before, people used to be scared when I told them that I lived in the Bronx but nowadays every time someone hears that I live in The Bronx, they want to find out if there are any apartments for rent and sale available. Now we have too many Bangladesh and The Bronx accounts for the largest Bangladesh community in New York after Queens. After a few years, The Bronx will take over as the number one borough with the largest Bangladesh community," he added.
Shahid was full of praise for the neighborhood he has called home for that 35 years saying it was the better place to live in.
"Parkchester is a better place to live in New York city. But we have to maintain that and to do that, we have to maintain the peace. The community leaders need to constantly preach the message to people not to be blocking the sidewalk when they link up for a chat. Community leaders need to look into this. Everybody has to work together for the betterment of our community," he said.
Shahid also had a message for the young people that have recently moved to the US from Bangladesh: "My advice to them is to talk to us. They need to learn English for better communication. We can help them with that. They also need to co-exist with other people in society. They should not cause trouble. They should look at bettering themselves instead."
Shahid is married with four children, some of them are already living the American dream and enjoying a chunk of the big Apple.
"I am married. I have four Children. My older daughter has an MBA. My son also has an MBA and is working for Columbia University. My second daughter works for Citibank. My fourth one is studying in College," concluded Shahid.
The Parkchester neighborhood in the Bronx has seen a surge over the years in Bangladesh immigrants settling in the area. The Bangladeshi community has established itself as one of the lead players in the development of the Parkchester neighborhood.