While Queens is undoubtedly the most culturally diverse place on Earth, all cultures are not represented evenly throughout the World's Borough. Case in point: Portuguese (and no I'm not speaking of Brazilian folks, because Brazil is adequately represented in Astoria's Liitle Brazil.) I am speaking about the Portuguese people of Portugal. As far as I am aware, there isn't an annual Portuguese parade or celebration in Queens, and I always wondered why.
Just this past Saturday, while walking in my home neighborhood of Queens Village, I discovered the Queens Village Portuguese American Soccer Club on Jamaica Ave and 220th Street. The existence of this establishment immediately piqued my interest because of the close proximity (2 blocks away) to Mateus' Restaurant & Bar, one of Queens' most signature Portuguese locations.
Did the proximity of these two Portuguese cultured locations signify the markings of a once Portuguese dominated neighborhood? Or was it just a coincidence? I figured if anyone would know the answer it would be at a typically culturally rich location like a soccer club.
Attempting to reach out to the folks over at the Queens Village Portuguese American Soccer Club proved to be a dead lead, as the phone number provided has been disconnected. A semi-thorough Google search reveals however that this establishment was opened in 1997, but has existed as a not-for-profit entity since 1979.
Or maybe, like most cultural soccer clubs in Queens, this one was like so many others, primarily a an invite only social club of older members of Portuguese descent, that watched soccer on weekdays, and used the location as a rental space on weekends.
Either way, I'll keep snooping around until I get more answers. As the Portuguese proverb goes, A curiosidade matou o gato.
Words and photo by Adolfo Steve Vazquez