10 things to do in Queens NY will make it worth the subway ride
There is so very much to see when you come to visit New York City. The list of Manhattan attractions alone is enough to leave you reeling, and if you allow yourself to travel to an outer borough, you will most likely venture to Williamsburg in Brooklyn or perhaps Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. While every borough has loads to offer, I would like to make a case for my own personal favorite, and often the underdog: Queens.
I first moved to Queens in 2006 with my first ever teaching job (with it’s ridiculous commute involving 2 transfers and the G train), but with a lot of excitement about my first ever apartment all on my own. It was a one-bedroom apartment in Sunnyside, on the 7 train and the train stopped at Bliss Street. How could you go wrong? I spent 2 years living in that apartment before moving to Spain, and now, back in the city with my husband, we’ve chosen to call Jackson Heights home. So, it seems only fitting that I share with you my own personal top 10 things to do in Queens NY:
1. MoMA’s P.S. 1
The MoMA PS1 is a modern art museum is actually one of the oldest and largest nonprofit contemporary art institutions in the United States. Every time I’ve gone to an exhibit here I’ve been challenged to view the world in a new way. The building is an old school, renovated inside to form gallery spaces, but as a teacher, the spirit of the place adds another level of interest. This is a must see on any modern art lover’s list!
2. The Unisphere at Flushing Meadows Park and the Panorama of NYC at the Queens Museum of Art
This is that huge metal globe sculpture that you see in all the movies! Originally built for the 1964-65 World’s Fair, this globe is found in Flushing Meadows Park, a great park in New York to spend a day outside! While you’re there, you can check out the huge scale model of NYC at the Queens Museum of Art. The detail is amazing, and it’s neat to see the city from a new perspective.
3. The Annual Dragon Boat Festival and Downtown Flushing
For over 20 years this festival has been going on, where teams compete to row Chinese dragon boats in races around the lake in Flushing Meadows Park. There is also live music, delicious bites to eat, and performances by dancers and martial artists. Not here during the festival? That’s ok. Downtown Flushing is New York’s “other china town.” The neighborhood is great for some authentic Chinese cuisine and culture.
4. Food. From EVERYWHERE!
Queens is the most multicultural county in the world, and the restaurants here are proof. In our neighborhood alone there are cuisines from India, Afghanistan, Italy, Mexico, Colombia, Japan, Thailand, Argentina…just to name a few. This was one of the things I missed most while living abroad. Delicious dishes made by the people who know the culture and the best recipes. Come hungry, you will want to try a bite (and another, and another!)
5. The homes you didn’t think existed in NYC!
Sunnyside Gardens is a historic area within the neighborhood. These homes were based on the Garden City Movement from the early 1920s and each of the 60 or so homes has a small front garden and a backyard as well. Here is the fabled white picket fence. These streets always make me feel like I’m home in West Reading. A perfect walk to think, enjoy the weather and the company. Guarenteed, you’ll forget you are in New York City!
6. Studio Square in Astoria
This bar/restaurant has a HUGE outdoor seating area. In the summer and early fall they show sporting events including the World Cup, College Football and soccer games. This is a great place to meet friends and watch the game. Who wants to be crammed in a bar when you can watch the game outside?!?
7. The Museum of the Moving Image
With free admission on Fridays from 4-8pm, this is a museum that is worth your subway fare. The museum offers film screenings, as well as exhibits. You can make your own stop motion video, record the sound for a well known movie scene, and see the original Chewbacca mask! It is actually the nation´s largest collection of art, history and technology related to the moving image.
8. The Mets at Citifield
I come from a family of Pittsburgh sports fans, and I must admit that I am a Buccos fan through and through. That being said, between the Mets and the Yankees, I have to go with my “hometown” team. If you are in town during baseball season, Mets games are a lot of fun, and if, like me, you wind up in the “nosebleed” seats, you can see the glittering lights of Manhattan in the distance.
9. The ice cream at Jahn’s Diner
The ice cream at this diner (conveniently located in our neighborhood of Jackson Heights) is well known in the area. Jahn’s used to be a chain, but this is the last location standing. Some of their famous ice cream creations include the “kitchen sink sundae” which is designed to serve 6 people and the “flaming desire” with five scoops of ice cream and a flaming sugar cube. Got a sweet tooth? This is the place for you!
10. Louis Armstrong House Museum
Armstrong lived in Corona, Queens with his wife in a modest house. The home has been turned into a museum with 40 minute guided tours, every hour on the hour. There are also recordings, artifacts and photographs on display. If you are a jazz fan, or a music buff, this is a stop you won’t want to miss.
There are many more reasons to venture into Queens, but we hope these favorites have enticed you! Whether you are traveling from Manhattan or from farther away, there are lots of things to do in Queens and it is well worth the trip. Rusko promises you.