Taste food from around the globe, watch Mets baseball and US Open tennis, see cutting-edge art and more in the most diverse place on planet Earth (for real). Queens is a lot of fun, surrounded by diversity.
While there is no precise count, some experts believe New York is home to as many as 800 languages — far more than the 176 spoken by students in the city’s public schools or the 138 that residents of Queens, New York’s most diverse borough, listed on their 2010 Census forms.
“It Is The Capital Of Language Density In The World,” said Daniel Kaufman, an adjunct professor of Linguistics at The Graduate Center Of The City University Of New York. “We’re Sitting In An Endangerment Hot Spot Where We Are Surrounded By Languages That Are Not Going To Be Around Even In 20 Or 30 Years.”
So here is our list of (at least) 7 Reasons To Visit This Awesome New York City's Melting Pot.
1. Queens is a 24/7 Food Feast
Queens Is The Place To Go To Explore Ethnic Cuisine In New York City's Most Diverse Borough. You Can Eat Your Way Through The World Cuisine. Take Your Pick: Italian, Indian, Armenian, Brazilian, Greek, Turkish, Colombian, Peruvian, Cuban, Argentinean, Venezuelan, American, Polish, Chilean, Egyptian, And More.
Everyone knows New York City is the culinary epicenter of the United States. and while Manhattan gets Michelin stars and Brooklyn gets blogger hype, real culinary fanatics know that authentic ethnic food experiences happen in the restaurants of Queens. There, New York's celebrated ethnic diversity is the most potent, with more than one million foreign-born residents. This means food lovers can travel the globe without using any vacation time: take a culinary tour of China, sip a frappe in Greece, dine on authentic Italian sausage, make a toast with the original world famous Brazilian Caipirinha—all without ever leaving Queens.
2 – Twelve Minutes From Manhattan
Queens is closer than you think. From Grand Central Station to Long Island City – where you can enjoy awesome views – is a two-minute subway ride on the 7 Train. You can also take the N or W trains and after just 12 Minutes you are in Greece, I mean, in Astoria-Ditmars.
THE CINEMATOGRAPHIC VIEW OF MANHATTAN SKYLINE FROM ASTORIA PARK, QUEENS, BYT THE EAST RIVER WATERFRONT. PHOTO: LUCAS COMPAN
Long Island City
THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST SPOTS TO PHOTOGRAPH MANHATTAN: LONG ISLAND CITY. IN THIS PHOTO: THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING (LEFT), THE UNITED NATIONS HQ (CENTER), AND CHRYSLER BUILDING (RIGHT). Photo: lucas compan.
Watch an inspiring story in Astoria and Long Island City
3 – You Will Find Art and Music
MOMA PS1 IS ONE OF THE LARGEST ART INSTITUTIONS IN THE UNITED STATES DEDICATED SOLELY TO CONTEMPORARY ART. IT IS LOCATED IN THE LONG ISLAND CITY NEIGHBORHOOD IN THE BOROUGH OF QUEENS, NEW YORK CITY. IN ADDITION TO ITS EXHIBITIONS, THE INSTITUTION ALSO ORGANIZES THE SUNDAY SESSIONS PERFORMANCE SERIES, THE WARM UP SUMMER MUSIC SERIES, AND THE YOUNG ARCHITECTS PROGRAM WITH THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART. MOMA PS1 HAS BEEN AFFILIATED WITH THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART SINCE JANUARY 2000 AND, AS OF 2013, ATTRACTS ABOUT 200,000 VISITORS A YEAR. PHOTO: LUCAS COMPAN
MoMA PS1 is one of the oldest and largest art institutions in the United States dedicated solely to Contemporary Art. It was founded in 1971 by Alanna Heiss as The Institute For Art And Urban Resources Inc., an organization devoted to organizing exhibitions in underutilized and abandoned spaces across New York City.
The Noguchi Museum
EXHIBITION IN THE NOGUSHI MUSEUM. IMAGE: COURTESY NOGUSHI MUSEUM
The Noguchi Museum was founded and designed by internationally-renowned American Artist Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988), for the display of what he considered to be representative examples of his life’s work. Opened in 1985, the museum complex was built around a 1920s industrial building, and features indoor-outdoor galleries and a serene outdoor sculpture garden, with two floors of interior exhibition space. Located in the vibrant neighborhood of Astoria/Long Island City, Queens, the museum is itself considered to be one of the artist’s greatest achievements. In building a museum, Noguchi was an early pioneer who led the metamorphosis of the Astoria/Long Island City area into the Arts District it is today, home to cultural institutions such as Socrates Sculpture Park, Sculpture Center, MoMA PS1, and Museum of the Moving Image, among others.
Museum of Moving Image
INTERIOR OF THE MUSEUM OF THE MOVING IMAGE. IMAGE: COURTESY MUSEUM OF THE MOVING IMAGE
Watch: A Vibrant and Magical Museum
4 – Get to Know World Culture
Visit Astoria-Ditmars to listen to Greek music. Or go to Little India and shop for Indian condiments, Hear Bukharam music in Rego Park, smoke hookah on Steinway Street or attend The Latin Festival. Think about any culture in the world and you will find it in Queens. It's the most diverse place in the world.
One of the most diverse neighborhoods in Queens is Astoria, across the East River from upper Manhattan. Astoria has a reputation as New York City's Greektown, but it's more like an urban United Nations. People from nearly 100 countries live there, according to census data.
As Alexandra Starr from NPR says, they coexist pretty peacefully, but that wasn't always the case. The explosion of diversity has helped foster a more tranquil community. No one group dominates numerically. That's a change from a few decades ago, when Astoria's newer immigrants were basically Greeks and Italians – which has changed to accommodate new ethnic groups and new cultures.
The neighborhood isn't done changing. More recently, new luxury housing projects are going up, including two buildings right next to public housing. Would that something to be worried? Well, for Astoria, it would be just one more transformation.
5 – Watch the U.S. Open and visit The Billie Jean King National Tennis Center
The U.S. Open
Image: courtesy The Biliie Jean King National tennis center
The United States Open Tennis championships is a hardcourt tennis tournament which is the modern version of one of the oldest tennis championships in the world, the U.S. National Championship, for which men's singles was first contested in 1881.
Also, visit Flushing-Meadow Park. The Park was created from the former dumping ground, which was characterized as "A Valley Of Ashes" in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. The site, known at the time as the Corona ash dumps, which was being filled with ashes from coal-burning furnaces, as well as with horse manure and garbage, was cleared by Parks Commissioner Robert Moses in preparation for the 1939-1940 World's Fair. The original name for the new parkland was "Flushing Meadow Park."
6 – Watch a New York Mets baseball game at the Citi Field
CITI FIELD IS REACHABLE VIA MASS TRANSIT SYSTEMS SUCH AS THE NEW YORK CITY SUBWAY 7 TRAIN AT THE METS – WILLETS POINTSTATION, AND THE LONG ISLAND RAIL ROAD STATION ON THE PORT WASHINGTON BRANCH ALSO CALLED METS – WILLETS POINT. NEW YORK WATER TAXI OPERATES A FREE FERRY TO THE STADIUM FROM PIER 11/WALL STREET AND THE EAST 34TH STREET FERRY LANDING BEFORE EVERY GAME. IMAGE: COURTESY CITIFIELD
Citi Field is a stadium located in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens. Completed in 2009, it is the home baseball park of Major League Baseball's New York Mets. Citi Field was built as a replacement for the formerly adjacent Shea Stadium, which opened in 1964, next to the site of the 1964-1965 World's Fair.
COMPLETED IN 2009, IT IS THE HOME BASEBALL PARK OF MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL'S NEW YORK METS. IMAGE: COURTESY CITIFIELD
7 – Knockout views on both ways
To go to Citi Field to watch a Met's baseball game or to the U.S. Open to watch a tennis match, to visit The Billie Jean King Tennis National Center and The Flushing-Meadow Park you take the 7 Train – and also enjoy wonderful views of Manhattan skyline like this one below.
THE LEGENDARY 7 TRAIN IN QUEENS WITNESSING AN EPIC SUNRISE. THE 7 TRAINS TAKES YOU TO SEVERAL PLACES IN QUEENS: LONG ISLAND CITY WATERFRONT, CITI FIELD, U.S. OPEN, FLUSHING-MEADOW PARK, AND THE BILLIE JEAN TENNIS NATIONAL CENTER. TO GO TO ASTORIA, TAKE THE N OR W TRAINS. THIS PHOTO WAS TAKEN FROM 40TH STREET STOP BY LUCAS COMPAN
Then take the Manhattan-bound 7 train and get off at Vernon Boulevard/Jackson Ave stop to explore Long Island City waterfront. You will be amazed with the great views of Manhattan and breathtaking sunsets from that spot. Besides, you could always enjoy the variety of cozy bars, small local restaurants, and even a local brew companies to taste great beer.
sunset from Granty plaza state park in Long island city. Photo: Lucas Compan
When you are going to Manhattan from Astoria, this is the view you experience from the N or W trains, between 39th Street and Queensboro Plaza stops – as soon as the train starts turning right pointing to the city.
Queens is a 111% guarantee-lots-of-fun experience. After filling your belly with excellent food, satisfying your soul with art and music, watching baseball and tennis, drinking some of the best local brew companies' beers of New York and also learning one or two words in more than a different language, maybe you won't even take the train back to Manhattan. You will fall in love with Queens. Just because when you think you've seen everything, there'll be more and more. Queens is a never-ending extraordinary experience.