JACKSON HEIGHTS — Hillary Clinton joined local politicians and immigrants at the famed Jackson Diner on Monday on her continued tour throughout the city — and made sure to take some of the Indian restaurant's legendary buffet to go.
Rep. Joe Crowley hosted Clinton and said she met with some of the borough's newest residents from countries including Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and India — the "new Queens," he said.
Speaking outside the diner after her appearance, which was only open to limited press, Crowley said residents told Clinton about their mixed experiences in Jackson Heights, one of the most diverse places in the world.
Some said they personally encountered racism, Islamophobia and hate while here, and expressed fear about the similarity in the rhetoric perpetuated by Republican candidate Donald Trump, who is from Jamaica Estates, Crowley said.
"I think [Trump] is a great contrast to what Queens represents, which is diversity, which is inclusion, which is the immigrant experience that his family experienced, which he forgets," he said.
"The rhetoric that's used in this campaign impacts their lives tremendously."
He said Clinton assured residents that she plans to oppose the hate and institute immigration reform if elected president, although it's not clear it she provided many other details.
Clinton didn't eat while at the diner, but she did take two to-go bags packed with freshly-made version of what was offered at Monday's lunch buffet — including chicken makhani, goat curry, Tandoori chicken, Thai mixed vegetable and bhindi aloo, among other dishes — according to restaurant management.
People were lined up on 74th Street to catch a glimpse of Hillary Clinton. (DNAinfo/Katie Honan)
The trip was a return to 74th Street for Clinton, who visited the diner with Crowley in 1999 when she was running for senate.
"It was sort of a homecoming for us," he said.
Agha Saleh, co-founder of non-profit SUKHI New York, met with Clinton back in 1999 at the diner, when he was in his third year as a resident of the United States.
He gave her a letter then outlining some of his experiences as an immigrant. At Monday's event, he said a lot of what he told her then was the same now.
"I explained to her how I feel about being in America, how we pursued the dream," he said.
"People come to this land for the opportunities and for the safety, and I'm proud to have come here."