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Global Queens: An Urban Mosaic
Empire State Series, Fordham University Press, 2023.

Winner of the David R. Coffin Publication Prize from the Center for Landscape Studies Supported by a generous grant from the Zolberg Institute for Migration and Mobility


From the back cover:  Remade by decades of immigration, Queens, NY, has emerged as an emblematic space of social mixing and encounters across multiple lines of difference. With its expansive subdivisions, tangled highways, and centerless form, it is also New York's most enigmatic borough. It can feel alternately like a big city, a tight-knit village, a drab industrial zone, or a sprawling suburban community. Through over two hundred contemporary photographs, Joseph Heathcott captures this multifaceted borough and one of the most diverse places in the United States.

Advanced Praise for Global Queens

Global Queens gives us a close and intimate look at a world built by immigrant communities over multiple generations. Heathcott's gift is to provide a panoramic view of this dizzyingly expansive and profoundly complex place, showing how diverse landscapes and social relations don't just happen, they are the result of hard work by millions of people adapting the city to suit their lives.  ---Hitomi Iwasaki, Head of Exhibitions and Curator, Queens Museum

Joseph Heathcott’s poignant images of everyday life capture the fragile and persistent way we make meaning together. This lively document of Queens neighborhoods offers a nuanced and necessary view of a spirited social mosaic, formed amidst the pervasive politics of racial violence and reactionary nationalism.  ---Suzanne Hall, Professor in Sociology, London School of Economics & Political Science, UK

From shops, street markets, and festivals to single family homes and high-rise apartments, the many dozens of photographs in Global Queens give a wonderful sense of how Asian, Caribbean, and Latin American immigration has transformed the landscape of what is now the most diverse county in the nation.  ---Nancy Foner, Professor of History, CUNY Graduate Center


With kaleidoscopic views into the raw and eclectic urban landscapes of Queens, Global Queens takes us on a journey through the making of the most ethnically diverse place in the nation. As an immigrant and a former resident of the borough, the visual journey makes me realize that each of us, past and present, has played a part in its becoming, including its unique sense of multiplicity and belonging.  ---Jeff Hou, University of Washington


Global Queens challenges us to think about the personal and economic ties that connect places near and far, crossing national borders on all parts of the globe, and about how we define a city and its people.  ---Steven T. Moga, Smith College

With vision and hard political work, Queens could become a template for what many cities might be, in its fortuitous confluence of almost everyone and everything, creating a spaciousness for and from practices of all kinds; a rough and tumble world worth living, whose images Heathcott offers as a gift.  ---AbdouMaliq Simone, Research Professor at University of Sheffield and University of Witwatersrand


It’s easy to overlook Queens. Lacking Manhattan’s glamour or Brownstone Brooklyn’s charm, it can appear to the casual observer as a jumble of unremarkable working- and middle-class neighborhoods glimpsed through a Taxi window on the way to the airport. Yet this is a mistake. In recent decades Queens has emerged one of most diverse and fascinating places on the planet. Joseph Heathcott’s remarkable photographs and rich, evocative descriptions capture the borough’s dense urbanism in all of its vibrancy and layered complexity. For anyone interested in the future of superdiverse cities, this is a must read.  ---Philip Kasinitz, Presidential Professor of Sociology, CUNY Graduate Center

Heathcott’s treatment of the ‘World's Borough’, with all its shapes, faces, and overlapping presents and pasts—there are so many!—is impressively researched, and dynamically photographed. As a transplant moving through his adopted hometown with camera, informed curiosity, and a clear, deep respect for its residents, Heathcott has created a super-informed walking-tour-style prismatic portrait of an ever-changing Queens as it stands today—or yesterday in some cases! On each page, another fascinating fact and/or image leads to more and more questions about the center-less borough of neighborhoods that has organically become the most diverse city on earth. Even in the most banal-seeming of streetscapes, Heathcott’s love of Queens is charismatically catching.  ---John Wang & Storm Garner, co-authors of The World Eats Here: Amazing Food and the Inspiring People Who Make It at New York’s Queens Night Market
In a perfect world, every city borough and neighborhood would benefit from a treatment as learned and gorgeous as Global Queens. Joseph Heathcott’s introductory essay is both lyrical and deeply informed; and his more than 150 photographs (each with a paragraph-length caption) are simply magnificent: they depict not just the borough’s most breathtaking vistas, but also everyday scenes of busy stores and restaurants, community festivals, industrial waterfronts, well-patronized parks, and places of worship and learning. This truly is a field guide to the kinds of people and places that make the nation’s cities great.  ---A. K. Sandoval-Strausz, author of Barrio America: How Latino Immigrants Saved the American City
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