21 Things You Need To Know About Queens Before You Move ThereAmazing food, a booming scene throughout a variety of neighborhoods, and of course, the one and only Mets. Find out everything there is to know about the royalty borough of NYC.
1. It’s Easy To Leave The Concrete Jungle Behind
Source: Flickr user The All-Nite ImagesIf you’re looking to get away from the landscape of the city, there are plenty of places to go in Queens. The Queens Botanical Garden offers a nearly 40 acres horticultural experience made up of a variety of small gardens, and the Voelker Orth Museum is a single-family home transformed into a meticulously landscaped urban Victorian era garden offering everything from tours to beekeeping workshops.
2. Queens Has Jazz In Its Blood
Source: Louis Armstrong House Museum FacebookQueens was monumental in the 1940s jazz scene, producing greats like Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker and Ella Fitzgerald who moved to Queens to escape the segregation prominent elsewhere in NYC. You can take a guided tour of the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Corona, to explore why Armstrong spent three decades of his life here.
3. …Not To Mention Hip Hop
Source: Flickr user CharlievdbAlong with playing a major role in the jazz movement, Queens has also produced some of the most recognizable artists in hip-hop. LL Cool J, Nas, Run D.M.C., A Tribe Called Quest, Nicki Minaj and Mobb Deep have all called Queens home, just to name a few.
4. It's All About The Mets
Source: New York Mets MemesCiti Field in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park has been the home of the New York Mets since 2009. Along with home games, the field boasts a big collection of team memorabilia and a Jackie Robinson number “42” memorial. But more importantly, Citi Field is known for some of the most amazing ballpark food in the country. Menu items include everything from burgers and hot dogs topped with gourmet fixings from the Shake Shack to lobster rolls at Catch of the Day.
5. Find The True NYC Slice At Louie’s
Source: Louie’s Pizzeria and Restaurant FacebookWhere to go for the best slice in NYC is a hotly debated issue and there are definitely no shortage of spots for a great pie. But if you’re looking for the best of the best in Queens, head to Louie’s, a local favorite for pizza or a meal. Other top contenders include Boardwalk Pizza and New Park Pizza.
6. Don’t Underestimate The Arts Scene
Source: Queens Museum FacebookIf you think Queens couldn’t possibly have an arts scene to compete with the likes of Manhattan and Brooklyn, think again. Check out the traditional and contemporary exhibits in the Queens Museum as well as the P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center (actually a branch of MoMA) the exhibits of design, sculpture and architecture at the Noguchi Museum, or the contemporary sculptures at the SculptureCenter to name a few.
7. … And Don’t Ever Forget 5Pointz
Source: Flickr user Dan NguyenQueens residents will always wistfully remember the graffiti mecca that was 5Pointz. Artists from around the world came here to put their art up on the walls on this 200,000 square-foot factory, before it was painted over one fateful night last November. There's a 60-foot wall nearby where the graffiti can start over, but anyone will tell you it just won't be the same.
8. It’s Not Hard To Reach Rock… Rock… Rockaway Beach
Source: Flickr user Robyn LeeAs the Ramones used to sing, there’s only one beach to go to and it’s not hard to reach – “Rock… rock… Rockaway Beach” which also has a boardwalk for visitors to enjoy. But Rockaway Beach isn’t the only place to hit the sand in Queens. You can also visit Breezy Point Tip in Jamaica Bay, less crowded since there aren’t any lifeguards here.
9. Stay Fresh In Queens
Source: Down to Earth Markets FacebookLiving in one of the most densely populated counties in one of the largest cities in the world doesn’t mean that you can’t eat fresh from the land. There are at least 13 farmers markets scattered throughout Queens, making it easy for people in any neighborhood to find one. The Astoria Market whichis open every Wednesday 8-3pm from July through November, the Flushings Farmers Market open every Friday from 8:30-4pm in the Botanical Garden from June through November, and the Jackson Heights Farmer’s Market and Forrest Hills Farmers Markets, both open on Sundays year-round.
10. The Best View Is In Long Island City
Source: Flickr user Anthony CatalonoJust a hop, skip and a subway stop from Manhattan, Long Island City has a fast-growing and exciting arts scene, top-rated restaurants and performance venues. If you don’t live in Long Island City, you’ll end up here a lot – even if for nothing other than the spectacular view. Head to Gantry Plaza state park to relax, sit back and take in that classic Manhattan skyline.
11. Find Chinatown And Much More In Flushing
Source: Flickr user Wieland Van DijkNot only is Flushing filled with some of Queens’ best attractions, but it’s also become a Chinatown mecca. The Chinese-immigrant population here surpassed Manhattan's Chinatown years ago, with about two-thirds of the foreign born residents coming from Asia. Come here for authentic Asian cuisine, ancient herbal remedies, and the vast Hong Kong Supermarket with everything from bok choy to exotic candy.
12. Queens Loves Tennis… A Lot
Source: US Open Tennis Championship FacebookThe USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center is located in Queens, just south of Citi Field. Tennis lovers from all over come here for its indoor and outdoor courts which are open to the public every day of the week, 11 months of the year and offer lessons. But it’s most notable for hosting a little thing called the US Open tennis tournament. Maybe you’ve heard of it?
13. Indie Film Nerds Are Welcome
Source: Queens World Film Festival FacebookSpringtime in Queens means the end of winter, the blooming of flowers, and the annual Queens World Film Festival. This six-day event combines a variety of local and international indie films across multiple venues in Jackson Heights. The fun continues throughout the year with events hosted by the film committee including a summer block party, trailer parties, and dinner and a movie nights.
14. Get Dirty With The Only Hands-On Science Center In NYC
Source: New York Hall Of Science FacebookThe New York Hall of Science is New York’s only hands-on science center with over 450 interactive exhibits, workshops and special events. Take the kids to the 60,000 square-foot Science Playground, or catch as show at the large-scale makeshift drive-in movie theater made of old junk cars.
15. Queens Should Have Its Own Walk Of Fame
Source: Wikipedia user Gage SkidmoreAlong with its pride in jazz and hip hop, Queens is home to an incredible array of entertainers. Some of the most notable personalities include business mogul Donald Trump, the legendary Simon & Garfunkel, Johnny Ramone of The Ramones, actor Adrien Brody, actress Lucy Liu. And if (unless you’ve been living in a bubble for the past few months) you’ve heard that song from Frozen - which was sung by award-winning actress and singer Idina Menzel, born right here in Queens.
16. In Fact, It’s A Miniature East Coast Hollywood
Source: Museum Of The Moving Image FacebookThe neighborhood of Astoria is considered to the mini Hollywood of Queens. Silvercup Studios is the largest television production studio in NYC, and don't forget the Kaufman Astoria Studios, formerly the Museum of the Moving Image (home of Big Bird and the filming location of the Marx Brother’s 1930 film "Animal Crackers"). You can also find one of the famous sweaters of everyone’s favorite TV Dad, Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable along with Mork’s spacesuit from the '70s television hit "Mork and Mindy."
17. But Queens Isn’t Just Obsessed With The Silver Screen
Source: Flushing Town Hall FacebookThe performing arts are booming in Queens. To celebrate the massive cultural diversity of the borough, The Queens Theater presents performances by international, national, and local artists to foster cultural awareness such as the Latina Cultural Festival. And the iconic Flushing Town Hall hosts classical, jazz, and world music concerts along with theater and dance performances and art events all year long.
18. Who Needs Starbucks When You’ve Got Martha’s Country Bakery?
Source: Martha’s Country Bakery FacebookWhile it’s become customary to hang out and socialize at coffee shops, a bakery is a great spot in Queens. Whether you’re looking for a dessert pastry or brunch, or just wanting to sit and chat with friends, Martha’s Country Bakery is the place to go. Everyone else generally has the same idea so it does get a little crowded, especially during evenings and weekends, but the food is worth the wait. Especially the sour cream apple pie.
19. Celebrate Your Love Of Beer at Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden
Source: Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden FacebookWhen you want to have a few drinks with friends but don’t feel like being cooped up indoors, head to the Bohemian Bar & Beer Garden. Shaded by trees and complete with live music entertainment, the atmosphere is warm and friendly with a hint of the upscale without the stuffy or uptight. They also know how to party for St. Patty’s Day and Oktoberfest with plenty of everyone’s common interest: good beer.
20. A Grecian Paradise In Astoria
Source: Taverna Kyclades FacebookAstoria is a largely Grecian-influenced community in Queens with the largest Greek population in the area and many amazing Greek restaurants and specialty markets to be found. Taverna Kyclades is a must-do when you’re here, especially for the grilled octopus. Other restaurants worth checking out include Zenon and Bahari.
21. Queens Is A Bigger Deal Than You Think
Source: Flickr user Chris GoldbergJust because Queens doesn’t get the spotlight in the same way as Manhattan doesn’t make it smaller. The county is the second largest county in New York State by population, behind Brooklyn. Think of it like this: If the NYC boroughs were independent cities, Queens would be the fourth most populated city behind Los Angeles, Chicago and Brooklyn. It’s also the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world, with residents representing over 100 nations and speaking over 138 languages. Like a miniature trip around the world, without ever leaving New York. What you love about living in Queens? Tell us in the comments below!