Queens

Queens is a crescent-shaped (with a tail) borough traversing the north-to-south width of Long Island and including two of the major New York City area airports, LaGuardia (LGA) and John F. Kennedy International (JFK). It also carries the largest ethnic diversity in its area of any region in the world, divided into small enclaves. Jackson Heights, for example, includes a huge Indian area, followed by a Colombian area, and then a Mexican area. Each offers a wide array of authentic shops, native-style cuisine, and festivals modified only slightly by the generally colder New York City experience.

Understand

The geographical center of New York City is actually in Queens and the borough is home to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, the site of the 1939 and 1964 World's Fairs. The area around the park still includes an interesting museum and some architectural and artistic relics of the events (including the Unisphere, a 300 ton spherical grid of steel, the world's largest globe, as featured in "Men In Black"). The northern end of the old fair grounds includes Citi Field, home of the New York Mets professional baseball team, and the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, home of the U.S. Open (tennis); further north one can walk along the edge of the marina along the Long Island Sound. The park also includes a science museum, a zoo, and pedal-boats, and hosts frequent special events.

Visitor information

Districts

Queens has many distinct neighborhoods, some of which are ethnically diverse.

Queens' districts
Long Island City and Astoria
Traditionally industrial, LIC is now home to a rising arts community. Astoria is known for its large Greek population. This population is accompanied by Asians, Latin Americans, and Europeans. Many trendy restaurants and shops are located in Astoria, with Steinway Street being a primary shopping district.
Jackson Heights
A large South-Asian neighborhood with numerous Indian restaurants, groceries, and shops, including a Bollywood movie theater, is centered around 74th St. and Roosevelt Av. The rest of the neighborhood is an incredibly diverse Latino community, with nationalities all the way from Mexico to Chile and Argentina represented. Other diverse communities, such as Woodside, with its famous Thai restaurants and Filipino markets, and Elmhurst, where almost every Southeast Asian community is represented, along with Chinese, Koreans, South Asians, and Latinos, are also included in this article.
Flushing-Northeast
At the end of the 7 line is a very large and diverse Chinese community; important Korean and Indian communities are also to be found, further from the subway stop.
Forest Park
A large park in the center of Queens and the surrounding neighborhoods.
Jamaica
Transportation hub, primarily Black community, King Manor Museum, and unique cultural venues geared toward African American art.
The Rockaways
A popular summer resort area since the 1830s, The Rockaways have become a mixture of lower, middle, and upper-class neighborhoods.

Get in/Get around

By foot or bicycle

For information on how to walk or bicycle to and from Queens, check out the Transportation Alternatives website. Except for the Whitestone and Throgs Neck bridges, all the bridges can be crossed by pedestrians and bicycles. Be prepared, however, for long walks, and don't forget that Queens is very big and not well-designed for a walking tour. A map is necessary, and one of the best is available for free at any bike shop.

By car

Sadly, most Queens visitors spend their visit on a bus to or from LaGuardia Airport or JFK Airport. A proper tour of Queens is worthwhile. It can be conducted by a stalwart driver; others may find the roads tough to navigate.

By subway

A lot of Queens can be seen by subway. A trip on the 7 train, made nationally famous by the contempt of former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Rocker, is a cultural experience in and of itself. The 7 runs elevated through most of Queens, so you'll be able to get a good sense of much of the borough through its windows. A good tour of Queens should include at least three meals in three different ethnic enclaves.

Other subways for getting around (and in and out of) Queens include the A, E, F, G, J, M, N, Q, R, and Z.

By Long Island Rail Road

The Long Island Rail Road makes several stops in Queens: the main line runs through central Queens and the Port Washington line runs along the north shore (including a stop in Flushing).

By bus

Express buses stop in places in eastern Queens and the Rockaways, usually in places where the subway doesn't stop. Main arteries for express buses (that are closer to Manhattan) are Queens Boulevard and Woodhaven Boulevard.

Local buses that go into Midtown Manhattan include the Q32, Q60, and Q101. The M60 goes to upper Manhattan from LaGuardia Airport.

The Q48 is a great bus for going to eastern Queens from LaGuardia Airport. It leaves you at the Flushing-Main Street station. Other buses from LaGuardia Airport include the Q33 and Q47 to the Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue subway station, the and the Q72 to the Rego Park and Junction Boulevard subway stations.

The Q10 and Q3 go from JFK Airport. The Q10 goes to Lefferts Boulevard and serves the A train, J/Z trains, and E/F train subway stations. The Q3 goes out towards eastern Queens and goes into Northern Jamaica to the 179th Street F station.

See

Queens is quite diverse in density and character. While western Queens (closer to Manhattan) is urban, much of eastern Queens is relatively suburban. As in every borough, the closer you get to Manhattan, the more rare it is to find a stand-alone house. The more urban clusters are in the northwest: Astoria and Long Island City (LIC). LIC also contains Queens' most prominent skyscrapers, including the "other" Citibank building, located directly across the East River from the more prominent angled-roof skyscraper in Manhattan. Rising 50 stories, the building, the result of Citibank's attempt to create a new business district in LIC, is the tallest building in New York State located outside of Manhattan.

A number of museums are located in Long Island City and Astoria, including the Isamu Noguchi Sculpture Museum in Noguchi's former sculpture studio, the Museum of African Art, Sculpture Center, and the Museum of the Moving Image which includes interactive exhibits on the history of video games. The area also includes two free places to view art, Socrates Sculpture Park which overlooks the East River (next to Price Costco on Vernon Blvd.), and the Fisher Landau Center showing a private collection of contemporary art.

(A general tip on NYC Museums: if you work for a large company such as IBM, GE, or Citigroup, check to see if your company is a member --this goes for all museums in NYC; different museums have different sponsors of course.)

In Flushing Meadows Corona Park (also on the 7 line; exit at Shea Stadium), the Queens Museum offers visual art, cultural events, Worlds' Fair Memorabilia, and a sprawling scaled-down Panorama of the entire city. It's incredibly accurate, except they've yet to remove the World Trade Center.

Just off Northern Blvd in the area between Astoria and L.I.C, at 35th Avenue and 36th street, you'll find the Museum of the Moving Image, which showcases movies and the televisual arts, including video games, with revolving exhibitions. Kaufman-Astoria Studios (home of the Sesame Street, among others) stands next door; there's also a gigantic movie theater, and a nice new 24 hour diner/bar (which serves pitchers of beer) known as Cup. Take the R/V/G or the N/W line.

Do

Citi Field

Visit farmers' markets at:

Buy

Records

As New York City is the birthplace of hip-hop culture, there are hundreds of records stores scattered around the boroughs, and some are in Queens. Also, though vinyl has disappeared from the shelves of regular record stores, many stores still sell used and new vinyl.

Eat

The snobby feel of Manhattan may not always make it to Queens, which is one of its great appeals for those who live there. There are a few top-notch bars in Queens, but it's the restaurants that really shine, for a simple reason: If Manhattan food is Yuppie food, Queens food is created by and aimed towards genuine ethnic inhabitants. To put it another way, come here if you like spicy food. If you want a real taste of Hong Kong--or Tibet, Indonesia, Colombia, Peru, India, Argentina, or just about anyplace (including France)--you'll find it in Queens.

Suggested general areas for culinary roving:

Drink

If you like bubble tea with sago and tapioca, there are several good spots within a few blocks of the Flushing - Main St stop on the 7 train. One of the best is on the corner of Main St. and 39th Av.

Queens is home to one of the most entertaining and pleasant places to sip a brew, the Bohemian Hall (known citywide simply as "The Beer Garden"), near the Astoria Boulevard subway stop. This bar, popular in the summer, covers an entire city block, is walled and filled with trees, indoor and outdoor picnic tables and a cool crowd, and serves great Czech and German beer. Drink ales by the pitcher at wooden picnic tables under leafy canopy, surrounded by hundreds. 29-19 24th Avenue, just west of 31st Street. N/W to Astoria Blvd.

Woodside is home to an Irish population and is loaded with bars and cheap happy hours, as well as drinking festivities before a Mets baseball game. There are several Irish pubs by the Woodside train station. Check out the burger at Donovan's.

Sleep

There are a number of hotels in Flushing that serve LaGuardia Airport, including a Sheraton. There are also many hotels near Kennedy Airport in Jamaica, but the location is generally considered undesirable for visitors, except for its proximity to the airport. Some hotels in Jamaica are listed as three stars but are nevertheless poorly kept. Other hotels are scattered through Kew Gardens, Forest Hills, Elmhurst, Long Island City, and various other neighborhoods.

Connect

Unlike in the rest of New York, addresses include the neighborhood rather than the borough in Queens (e.g., Flushing, NY; Woodside, NY).

Go next

Routes through Queens (by car)

Elizabeth Brooklyn  W  E  Bronx Merges into N
Secaucus Becomes Manhattan  W  E  Plainview Riverhead
New Haven Bronx ← Becomes  N  S  END
END Manhattan  W  E  Floral Park Mineola
Ends at Brooklyn  W  E  Valley Stream Freeport


Routes through Queens (by commuter rail)

END Brooklyn  W  E  Splits into Babylon, Far Rockaway, and West Hempstead branches
Merges with Atlantic Branch  W  E  Lynbrook Babylon
Merges with Atlantic Branch  N  S  Valley Stream Queens (Far Rockaway)
END Manhattan  W  E  Floral Park Hicksville
Merges with Main Line  SW  NE  Manhasset Port Washington
Merges with Atlantic Branch  W  E  Malverne West Hempstead



This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, January 12, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.