Sightseeing: Queens

Cross the East River for international flavors and cutting-edge art.

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<p>Noguchi Museum</p>

Noguchi Museum

New York City's largest borough, Queens is also the country's most diverse urban area, with almost half its 2.3 million residents hailing from nearly 150 different nations. Not for nothing is the elevated 7 subway nicknamed the "International Express." This ethnic diversity is best sampled at its restaurants. Astoria has tavernas and Brazilian churrascaria; Jackson Heights offers Indian, Thai and South American hot spots; and Flushing boasts the city's second-largest Chinatown.

New York City's largest borough, Queens is also the country's most diverse urban area, with almost half its 2.3 million residents hailing from nearly 150 different nations. Not for nothing is the elevated 7 subway nicknamed the "International Express." This ethnic diversity is best sampled at its restaurants. Astoria has tavernas and Brazilian churrascaria; Jackson Heights offers Indian, Thai and South American hot spots; and Flushing boasts the city's second-largest Chinatown.

New York City's largest borough, Queens is also the country's most diverse urban area, with almost half its 2.3 million residents hailing from nearly 150 different nations. Not for nothing is the elevated 7 subway nicknamed the "International Express." This ethnic diversity is best sampled at its restaurants. Astoria has tavernas and Brazilian churrascaria; Jackson Heights offers Indian, Thai and South American hot spots; and Flushing boasts the city's second-largest Chinatown.

Long Island City | Astoria | Jackson Heights | Flushing

Long Island City

Just across the East River, Long Island City has recently seen an explosion of new condos, luring young professionals with its easy commute to Midtown. In the warmer months, take in the Midtown Manhattan panorama from Water Taxi Beach (Borden Ave at 2nd St), a man-made sandy patch with a bar and volleyball courts. Dining options in the area include the Waterfront Crabhouse, an old-time saloon and oyster bar in an 1880s brick building, and Tournesol, an engaging and affordable bistro. For liquid refreshment, Communitea offers more than 40 loose-leaf teas (and locally roasted coffee). For something stronger, head to new cocktail lounge Dutch Kills.

A few blocks east, on Jackson Avenue, is the contemporary art center MoMA PS1. With several artists' studio complexes lodged in Long Island City, a nascent art scene has taken hold (see licartists.org). SculptureCenter is a great place to see new work as well.


Neighborhood highlights:
MoMA PS1


Astoria

The N and W trains chug north to Astoria, a lively, traditionally Greek neighborhood that in the last few decades has seen an influx of Brazilians, Bangladeshis, Eastern Europeans, Colombians and Egyptians. A 15-minute downhill hike from the Broadway subway station brings you to the Noguchi Museum, on the border of Long Island City, created by the visionary sculptor. Nearby is the riverfront art space Socrates Sculpture Park.

Astoria is known for Hellenic eateries specializing in impeccably grilled seafood. Elias Corner serves meze and a catch of the day in a breezy Aegean setting. Afterward, stop for Greek coffee and pastries at Athens Caf. Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden offers Czech-style dining and drinking. Recently, beer-garden upstart Studio Square opened near the Museum of the Moving Image. The museum is due to reopen in early 2011 following a major revamp.


Neighborhood highlights:
Noguchi Museum
Museum of the Moving Image


Jackson Heights

Jackson Heights' multiculturalism is dizzying. Little India greets you at the subway exit with small shops selling everything from Bollywood DVDs to saris, but the main attraction is culinary. The unofficial headquarters of the Indian expat community, Jackson Diner serves up sumptuous curries.

The neighborhood has also welcomed successive waves of Latin American immigrants. Mexicans, Colombians and Argentinians are old-school in these parts: get a taste of Buenos Aires at the exuberant, ftbol-themed Boca Junior Argentinian Steakhouse, or stop by Taqueria Coatzingo (76-05 Roosevelt Ave between 76th and 77th Sts, 718-424-1977), whose fresh, meaty tacos give it an edge over the other holes-in-the-wall. The Thai contingent is reflected in several fine restaurants including Arunee.


Flushing

The plain wooden Old Quaker Meeting House (137-16 Northern Blvd between Main and Union Sts, 718-358-9636), built in 1694, creates a startling juxtaposition to the prosperous Chinatown that rings its weathered wooden walls. If you don't mind tiny dining quarters, head to White Bear (135-02 Roosevelt Ave, entrance on Prince St between Roosevelt Ave and 40th Rd, 718-961-2322) for exceptional dumplings and wontons. Nearby Sentosa serves Malaysian delicacies.

The most visited site in Queens is rambling Flushing Meadows-Corona Park—home to the Queens Museum of Art—and the Mets' Citi Field, among other institutions.


Neighborhood highlights:
Flushing Meadows-Corona Park
Queens Museum of Art

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