previous sub-section
The Muslim World Day Parade and “Storefront” Mosques of New York City
next sub-section

Masjid Al-Falah, Corona, Queens

This same theme is evident in the building of a second Hanafi Sunni mosque located in Corona, Queens, a lower-middle-class neighborhood populated primarily by Spanish-speaking immigrants from Central and South America. Masjid Al-Falah, at 42–12 National Street, began as a rented storefront carved out of a three-story wooden house in 1976. (The storefront is now occupied by a Pakistani restaurant, the Mi‘raj, whose proprietor is active in the mosque.) The mosque membership then purchased the lot across the street, where a single-story mosque structure was completed in 1982.

Masjid Al-Falah was given a building prize by the Borough of Queens. It holds approximately seven hundred and fifty people, but there are plans for two additional stories, a dome, and a forty-foot-high minaret. Only the base of the minaret has been laid out, because a forty-foot minaret is not certain to obtain a borough building permit. Although the Queens Muslim Center has received borough permission for minarets and domes, its muezzin and the sounds of the call to prayer must remain electronically unamplified, and out of deference to the secular authorities, the Corona mosque’s imam likewise uses only the power of his voice to summon worshippers.

In this case, the architectural goals derive not from the membership but from the builder, William Park, a Korean construction engineer who was at one time chief engineer of Korean construction crews in Saudi Arabia and Iraq. (The architect named on the billboard outside the project, Jone Jonassen, is in fact a “front,” since a valid architect’s license is needed to file the plans.) Park says his designs are based on his own impressions of the composite mosque architecture that he saw and helped to construct in the Gulf states. Thus, the architectural tastes of the oil-rich countries, filtered through the sensibilities of a Korean crew working in Saudi Arabia, have also immigrated on a smaller scale to New York.


previous sub-section
The Muslim World Day Parade and “Storefront” Mosques of New York City
next sub-section