With the US Open set to serve up its usual volley of tennis thrills and spills, we’ve decided to call out the home of Arthur Ashe Stadium—Queens, New York!
One of the most ethnically diverse areas in the world, Queens will unsurprisingly offer you some pretty diverse options when you next explore its one hundred square miles of authentic New York attitude! (Of course, I know the best thing ever to come out of Queens is a certain five-foot-one brunette of Northern Italian descent—also known as my lovely wife—but I may be a tad biased. Love you, honey!)
So, for a tantalizing taste of Queens, here’s a quick tour of this exciting New York borough—all in a New York minute!
1.) Play Ball!
Queens is home to many great sporting events, including one of the premier tennis events of the calendar year, the US Open. Running for a couple of weeks in early September, you’ll find all the stars coming out day and night, on and off the court!
The USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center is an incredible venue, with views of Manhattan and nearby parklands, all easily accessible by car or rail. Located in Flushing Meadows – Corona Park, this is where tennis meets baseball, with New York’s other baseball team (sorry Mets fans), the New York Mets, playing in Citi Field (formerly Shea Stadium), right next door!
After a family-friendly day of fun and foot-faults, why not leave the grunts and groans behind as you tour the Manhattan skyline by boat? Skyline Cruises Lunch, Dinner and Party tours leave from the World’s Fair Marina, directly opposite Citi Field on the Long Island Sound. Once aboard, you can watch take-offs and landings as you sail past La Guardia, one of the world’s busiest airports. Only in New York!
2.) World’s Fair!
Just a tennis ball’s throw away from the stadiums is beautiful and expansive Flushing Meadows – Corona Park. Site of the 1964 World’s Fair, the famous Unisphere has become one of New York’s most iconic symbols, appearing in countless movies, including Men in Black!
Whether you visit the park for the Zoo, the Botanical Gardens, the ice rink, the swimming pool, the New York Hall of Science (take a breath), or the Queens Museum of Art with its famous and fascinating model of Manhattan (not full size!), there’s something for everyone in this huge park. Make sure you enjoy a nice stroll, taking in the scenery and sculptures. Other highlights include renting a row boat on Meadow Lake, or getting your culture on at the Queen’s Theatre in the Park. Allow yourself plenty of time to enjoy it all!
Nestled up against Flushing Bay, this is the fourth largest public park in New York City, so don’t “fuhgeddaboudit” when you’re planning your stay!
No, we’re not talking about Lower Manhattan! Flushing, Queens is home to one of the biggest and ever expanding Chinese communities outside of Asia! Main Street is alive with Chinese dialects and filled with cuisines from no fewer than ten unique Chinese regions.
One of the highlights of Flushing’s Chinatown calendar is the annual celebration of the Chinese New Year. Streets are decked out in red and gold while over four thousand participants dance and wave as the traditional “Lion and Dragon” dance weaves its way from Union Street down to Main and 39th. Fireworks, martial arts, good luck lanterns, and food all ring in the New Year, making Flushing a memorable must-see at this time of year! The Chinese New Year in 2016 is on Monday, February 8th, and it’s the year of the Monkey! Find out what Chinese New Year Zodiac animal you are!
4.) Get Artsy!
Long Island City, Queens, is an incredible area that is undergoing a regeneration process. With amazing views of Manhattan and affordable (for some), warehouse style accommodation, this hip city has been growing in coolness for the past decade. Check out the amazing MoMA PS1 Contemporary Arts Center, a gallery inside an abandoned public school, where you’ll find art works hidden everywhere from the rooftop, to the custodian’s closet!
Out in the gallery’s courtyard, prepare to be amazed by live bands, DJs, producers and energetic crowds as Warm Up at MoMA PS1 kicks into life on Summer Saturdays. Experimental local and international music, spanning virtually every genre, floods the space as music, art, food, and drink come together in perfect harmony! While you’re waiting for next summer, check out the amazing line-up of exhibitions waiting to be admired at MoMA PS1. This is one place where you’ll be glad it’s a school day!
This historically Greek neighborhood in Queens is home to Kaufman Studios, often referred to as “the Hollywood of the East Coast.” How come? Famous shows including “Sesame Street” and “Orange is the New Black,” among many others, are featured on this studio’s resume!
Also be sure to check out the magnificent Museum of the Moving Image on 35th Avenue, with live screenings, events, and exhibitions that will fascinate and delight all movie goers. If all that big screen excitement makes you thirsty, catch a slice of European Culture at the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden. Situated on 24th Avenue, the oldest beer garden in New York is a favorite all year round! Serving a huge selection of beer and food with a strong influence from Slovakia and the Czech Republic, and with enough outdoor seating for you and all of your buddies, you simply must Czech it out. Try the Schnitzel or the Slovak sheep cheese!
Queens is a great and affordable alternative to Manhattan and with so much to see and do, you may want to plan more than just a day-trip! Did you know that both of New York’s major airports, JFK and LGA, are located in Queens? Talk about convenience!
Let us know your favorite Queens neighborhood in our handy comments section below. We’d love to spread the word!