OHNY 2007: Hindu Temple Society of North America

Saturday, October 6th, 2007 | All Things, Events

Mom had been wondering what it is I do on the weekends after I leave Queens, so since I didn’t have to pick up the tickets for tonight’s Arcade Fire show for a few hours, I invited her along to the first of my openhousenewyork weekend tours.

The Hindu Temple Society of North America is nestled among multi-family houses in a predominantly nondescript middle-class residential neighborhood. As we turned the corner onto Flushing’s Bowne Street, we were met suddenly with its looming grey architecture, gilded Ganesha and bright red doors.

The ornate temple is rumored to be the continent’s oldest and with 20,000 devotees, certainly one of its largest. The building was designed and built in India and moved to Queens in the mid-1970s, where it was reconstructed by master craftsmen in full accordance with Hindu principles.

The site is also notable for its community center and basement canteen, which according to The Times’s reviewer Peter Meehan, serves “some of the best dosas in the city.”

I never confirmed that, however. Shoes are not permitted inside the temple, and as I considered wandering through the grounds barefoot, my dreaded fear of the fungorrhea™ got the better of me. It may be entirely irrational (or maybe not) but although I did very much want to see the temple’s famed carved black granite shrine, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it this afternoon. These shots were taken from outside the perimeter.

Hindu Temple Society

Hindu Temple Society

Am I a mycophobe? Or does that term pertain only to mushrooms, and not to fungi generally? Perhaps verminophobe (germs) or automysophobe (being dirty) would be more apt?

I did remove my shoes to tour the Wat Arun in 2004, but maybe because I sensed then that it would be some time before I would find myself in Bangkok again. I know I’ll be back in Flushing, though, soon enough.

There's 1 comment so far ... OHNY 2007: Hindu Temple Society of North America

October 20, 2007

That’s why anywhere that requires bare feet is a playground for fungi! You may know your feet are clean but there’s no telling if someone just came from the gym and was sans flip flops there and before you know it germs and the like are attacking your bare and succulent feet. boo. I would insist on no bare feet venues. So gross.

Go for it ...