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It's In Queens! A guide to the World's Most Diverse County

New York City Queens | Arts & Culture , Entertainment , Festivals & Annual Events , Food & Drink , History , Hospitality , Nature , Outdoors , Shopping , Sights & Attractions , Sport & Games , Tourism , Tours

  Jan. 11, 2018, 4:54 p.m. | By: Queens Tourism Council

Diverse, exciting, historic, trendy, a great place for families…all of it's in Queens! We hail from more than 120 countries and speak more than 135 languages. This global reach is on full display in our neighborhoods, cultural institutions, restaurants, and sporting and entertainment venues. From world class museums, tranquil parks, and historic homes to surfing, tennis, gaming, and shopping, Queens is truly one of today’s most fun-filled tourism destinations.

As a borough of unique neighborhoods, visitors can explore Long Island City, our fastest-growing urban center, bustling with energy that includes new parks, shops, luxury apartment buildings, comedy clubs, and restaurants. Flushing, one the country’s most historical districts, has opened its arms to immigrants since the 1600s and still does today as the Eastern Seaboard’s largest Asian business and residential community. Jamaica is a multi-cultural crossroads, where recreational, entertainment, and shopping opportunities mix happily.

But don’t listen to us. Lonely Planet, an internationally renowned travel media company, selected Queens as the best tourism destination in the United States in 2015. Click here to read about it.

Tours, Attractions, Cultural Institutions, Performing Arts

Enjoy Major League Baseball at Citi Field or watch the world’s racquet greats every summer at the U.S. Open Grand Slam Tournament at the USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center. Flushing Meadows Corona Park is home to the New York Hall of Science, Queens Botanical Garden, Queens Museum, Queens Theatre, and Queens Zoo — all legacies of the 1939 and 1964 World Fairs. (Another vestige, the New York State Pavilion, was named a National Treasure by the National Trust in 2014. It is currently undergoing a total restoration under the auspices of Borough President Melinda Katz and will soon be a standalone tourism destination.)

Our world class cultural institutions include the Museum of Moving Image in the Kaufman Arts District, MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, and Flushing Town Hall. In Western Queens, the Noguchi Museum, SculptureCenter, and Socrates Sculpture Park are awash in gorgeous artwork. The Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning organizes mind-expanding exhibitions and events, while Corona’s Louis Armstrong House Museum is a Mecca for those who want to pay homage to jazz’s greatest musician. Bowne House, Lewis H. Latimer House, King Manor, and Kingsland Homestead are about historic landmarks that also serve as museums.

In other spots, Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City offers cinematic views, including the East River, Empire State Building, and United Nations, while Rockaway Beach has miles of beautiful sand and surf.

Information on all these venues and more is available on It's in Queen's.

Press and News

The New York Times published an article on Queens and its growing popularity as a tourism destination on Aug. 25, 2015.

The New York Post published an article on Queens tourism on Dec. 10, 2014.

Daily Mail UK published an article on Dec. 12, 2014.

Conde Nast Traveler wrote about the borough on Dec. 13, 2014.

Probably the most widely read article was posted by the extremely popular Chinese-language blog We Chat on Dec. 18, 2014.

Unique or Little-Known Facts

  • Queens is the most diverse county in the world. About half of its 2.3 million residents were born in a foreign country, and roughly 135 languages are spoken on its streets.
  • The neighborhood Flushing has more Chinese residents and businesses than Chinatown in Manhattan.
  • Hotel rooms in Queens are about $100 cheaper per night than comparable rooms in Manhattan.
  • Citi Field, home of the New York Mets baseball team, and the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, which hosts the US Open, are so close that they share the same subway stop.
  • Six restored historic houses -- from the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries -- are within a five-minute walk from each other in Flushing.
  • Neir’s Tavern, which is located in Woodhaven, is the longest-operating-at-the-same-spot bar in New York City. It was established in 1829. (Other long-operating taverns either went out of business for a period or relocated.)
  • Two working film companies -- Silvercup Studios and Kaufman Astoria Studios – are in Queens. They have worked on such TV hits as Sesame Street, The Sopranos, Sex in the City, and Nurse Jackie.
  • Jazz legends Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Fats Waller, and Bix Beiderbecke lived in Queens. So did barrier-breaking baseball player Jackie Robinson.
  • Queens hosted an official World’s Fair in 1939-1940 and an unofficial one in 1964-1965.
  • The Rockaway Peninsula has great beaches and waves. It hosts various surf camps and international surfing competitions.
  • The oldest Hindu temple in the United States is the Sri Maha Vallabha Ganapati Devashtanam (aka NY Ganesh Temple) on Bowne Street in Flushing.
  • The exact geographical center of New York City is in the vicinity of 59th Street and Queens Boulevard in a neighborhood called “Woodside.”
Annual Events (A Sampling) Sporting Events

Queens is where you can observe great sports…and play them as well. Flushing Meadows Corona Park is home to the New York Mets, who play professional baseball at Citi Field from April until September (October if they make the World Series), and the U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Stadium during the last week in August and the first week in September.

Belmont Stakes, one of the Triple Crown horse races, takes place every June at the Belmont Park Race Track, which spans from Queens Village to Elmont in Nassau County (aka Long Island).

The St. John’s University men’s basketball team plays in the top-notch Big East conference. The team has home games, scrimmages, and open practices from October to March at the Lou Carnesecca Arena on the college campus in Jamaica.

But you can also swim or skate in the state-of-the art aquatic center only a few yards from the tennis courts. Plus, Forest and Kissena parks are wonderful places to play golf, and some of the best surfing on the East Coast is at Rockaway Beach. Finally, bird lovers flock to Jamaica Bay Wildlife Center and Alley Pond Environmental Center during migration times.

Dining

Do you like to try new cuisines? Yearning for the flavors of home…wherever that might be? Or are you simply hungry after a day of exploring? As the world’s most diverse county, you will find tasty treats from every corner of the globe that define the three As: Authentic, Affordable, Amazing.

A few hundred restaurants are listed at It's in Queen's, and the borough’s premier dining blog is www.chopsticksandmarrow.com.

Shopping

Queens Center is the busiest mall in the world, per capita. The borough also has almost 40,000 small shops spread across many neighborhoods.

Accommodations

Queens has experienced an unprecedented hotel boom (and various related echoes) over the last few years and currently has more than 100 lodges. Major chains and boutique hotel operators have realized that due to our great regional location — with two major airports, great transportation systems, and proximity to the entire Metropolitan Area — the borough is a destination for business and recreational travelers. Many new hotels have excellent amenities and restaurants as well as easy access to the subway.

A thorough listing is on It's in Queen's.

Nightlife

Queens has dozens of ethnic night clubs catering to Caribbean, Chinese, Greek, Korean, Russian, and West Indian populations. It also has a few neighborhood strips with popular bars and comedy clubs. Hot spots include Vernon Boulevard in Long Island City, Bell Boulevard in Bayside, Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights, Broadway in Astoria, and Main Street in Flushing.

Seasonality

No matter the time of year, there’s always something to do in Queens. During the warm weather months, the borough has beaches with waves, athletic fields, parks, sports arenas, a botanical garden, the city’s only bicycle vellodrome and even a zoo. When it is cold outside, there are plenty of museums, performing arts centers, theaters, historic houses, a casino, and an indoor ice-skating rink.

Event Spaces

Queens has countless, unique event venues. Rooftops, gardens, patios, museums, catering halls, golf courses, colleges, theaters, sports arenas, and restaurants have spaces of varying sizes to host gatherings. A full list is at www.itsinqueens.com.

Famous People from Queens

Is there something in the water? Queens is a breeding ground for outstanding individuals who became famous for their contributions to society. Here is a list of famous native sons and daughters. It’s listed alphabetically by first name.

  • Film: Adrien Brody; Al Roker; Barbara Bach; Bernadette Peters; Carol Ann Alt; Carol O’Connor; Christopher Walken; David Caruso; David Schwimmer; Debi Mazar; Dick Van Patten; Don Rickles; Drea de Matteo; Ethel Merman; Fran Drescher; Francis Ford Coppola; Hank Azaria; Howard Stern; Ja Rule; James Caan; James Cagney; John Leguizamo; John Turturro; Judd Apatow; Lucy Liu; Mae West; Martin Landau; Martin Scorsese; Michael Landon; Patty Duke; Ray Romano; Richard Dreyfuss; Rodney Dangerfield; Susan Sarandon; Tony Bennett; Zoe Saldaña.
  • Music: A Tribe Called Quest (Phife Dawg; Q-Tip); Art Garfunkel; Burt Bacharach; Capone-N-Noreaga; Curtis Jackson (50 Cent); Cyndi Lauper; Dee Schneider; Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis; Gene Simmons; Kool G Rap; LL Cool J; Marley Marl; Marvin Hamlisch; MC Shan; Mobb Deep (Prodigy & Havoc); Nas; Nicki Minaj; Paul Simon; Paul Stanley; Ramones (Johnny; Tommy; Joey; DeeDee) Robert Moog; Roxanne Shante; Run-D.M.C.; Russell Simmons; Salt-N-Pepa; Tony Bennett.
  • Politics: Andrew Cuomo (Governor); Antonin Scalia (Supreme Court Justice); David Horowitz (Pundit); Donald Trump (President); George Tennet (CIA director) Geraldine Ferraro (congresswoman; Democratic candidate for vice president in 1984); Harry Van Arsdale Jr. (union president); Nancy Reagan (First Lady).
  • Athletics: Anthony Mason; Bob Beamon; Bob Cousy; Chris Kanyon; Dick McGuire; Ernie Grunfeld; John McEnroe; Kenny Anderson; Kenny Smith; Lamar Odom; Mark Jackson; Metta World Peace (Ron Artest); Nancy Lieberman-Cline; Phil Rizzuto; Ronnie Harmon; Roy Campanella; Royal Ivey; Tommy Agee; Vitas Gerulaitis; Whitey Ford.
  • Scoundrels: Bernard Madoff; Carlo Gambino; David Berkowitz; Donald Manes; John Gotti; Harvey Weinstein; Lucky Luciano; Salvatore Maranzano; Vito Genovese
  • Business: Carl Icahn; Estée Lauder; Donna Karan; Estee Lauder; Michael Repole; Sam LeFrak.
  • Writer: Art Buchwald; Clement Clark Moore; James Breslin; Gwen Ifill.
  • Science: Charles Camarda (astronaut); Jonas Salk (discovered polio vaccine); Joyce Brothers (psychologist); Marie M. Daly (Country’s first African-American woman to receive a Ph.D. in chemistry); Richard Feynman (inventor; physicist); Stephen Jay Gould (paleontologist).
  • Food: Rocco DiSpirito.
Accessibility, Distance, Travel Times and Maps

Two of the three major airports serving New York City are located in Queens: JFK International, which is about 45 minutes from Manhattan by train and car; and LaGuardia, which is closer to Manhattan by car, but not accessible via subway.

From JFK, the AirTrain connects to Howard Beach (A train) and Jamaica (E, J, Z trains and the Long Island Rail Road) in 10-15 minutes. Many hotels near the airport have free shuttle service to and from JFK.

From LGA, buses offer quick links to many hotels and attractions. The M60 connects to Astoria in 15 minutes; the Q70 connects to Jackson Heights (when one can transfer for 7, E, F, M, R subways) in 10 minutes; the Q48 connects to Flushing in 25 minutes. Many hotels in Flushing offer free shuttle service to and from LGA.

By car the borough is connected to Manhattan via the Queensboro Ed Koch (formerly the 59th Street) and RFK Triboro bridges. It is connected to the Bronx via the RFK Triboro, Whitestone, and Throgs Neck bridges. It is connected to Brooklyn via the Pulaski, Kosciuszko, Grand Avenue, Greenpoint Avenue, Marine Parkway bridges.

By subway: Lines connect to Manhattan, Brooklyn, and internal Queens destinations.

  • The 7 train runs from Manhattan’s Times Square to Flushing, Queens, in about 30 minutes, passing through Grand Central Station (Manhattan), Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside, Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, Corona and Citi Field, USTA, and Flushing Meadows Corona Park along the way.
  • The A train connects Manhattan to Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, Rockaway Beach, Aqueduct Racetrack and the Resorts World Casino New York City. The ride from Rockaway Beach to downtown Manhattan takes about one hour.
  • The E and F trains connect Manhattan to Long Island City, Jackson Heights, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Briarwood, and Jamaica. It’s about 30 minutes from Manhattan to the Jamaica terminal.
  • The J and Z trains connect Manhattan to Woodhaven, Richmond Hill, Jamaica and some Brooklyn destinations.
  • The M and R trains run local between Long Island City and Forest Hills making stops in Astoria, Woodside, Elmhurst, Queens Center and Rego Park along the way.
  • The N and Q trains connect Long Island City to Astoria and Manhattan.
By bus: Some routes are attractions in themselves!
  • The Q44 connects Jamaica, Central Flushing and the Bronx Zoo with a view of the Manhattan skyline from the Whitestone Bridge along the way.
  • The Q58 connects Flushing with Ridgewood following a colonial era route through Corona, Elmhurst and Maspeth.
  • The B62 connects Long Island City with Brooklyn’s artsy shorefront neighborhoods using the Pulaski Bridge.
By Long Island Rail Road: Scheduled, comfortable commuter trains are the fastest and smoothest way between stations.
  • From Woodside access stations in Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Jamaica, Flushing Meadow Corona Park (when baseball or tennis events are scheduled), Flushing, Murray Hill, Broadway/Flushing, Auburndale, Bayside, Douglaston and Little Neck.
  • From Jamaica access stations in Forest Hills and Kew Gardens, St. Albans, Laurelton, Rosedale, Hollis, Queens Village, Floral Park, Far Rockaway. On weekends there are deeply discounted CityTickets for destinations within NYC.
Motor Coach Information

The rule in New York City is that motor coaches can legally travel on expressways, but not on parkways. So motor coaches are invited to ride on the Long Island, Van Wyck, Brooklyn-Queens and Whitestone expressway, but are banned from the Grand Central, Cross Island, Belt, and Jackie Robinson parkways.

Motor coaches can legally park at various spots, including the New York Hall of Science, Flushing Town Hall, Jamaica (at 89th Avenue and 150th Street), Citi Field, and three Mutual Parking venues in Long Island City.

We suggest two websites for the most up-to-date parking and traffic information: www.parkitnyc.com and www.nyc.gov/dot.

Tour Guides

Official Queens Historian Jack Eichenbaum leads walking tours of the borough on an ongoing basis. He focuses on history, demographics, ethnicity, and change. He holds a Ph.D. in urban geography from University of Michigan, 1972, and his dissertation was titled Magic, Mobility and Minorities in the Urban Drama. Plus, the Bayside native worked in the Property Division of the NYC Department of Finance, collecting data and modeling valuation of tax parcels. In June 2010, he was named the official historian of Queens.

Richard Mumith runs Queens Food Tours, a culinary and cultural walking tour company that focuses on Long Island City. Suitable for all age groups and fitness levels, customers experience an exclusive taste from some of the best eateries and hidden gems in Queens. In between the food tastings, they receive an insider’s view of the culture, history, and architecture that defines the area.

Claudia Toback and her company, Cititrek Tour & Guide Services, offers three scheduled Queens walking tours: art-focused Long Island City/Astoria; Jackson Heights food (or not); Flushing’s Little Asia. Cititrek can assist with private tours or customized packages.

Corey Taylor from Food on Foot Tours takes clients on eating and walking adventures around New York City by subway, foot, or private bus. With a relaxed manner, he likes to work in non-touristy neighborhoods. Guided private group, public tours, and self-guided tours are available.

The Guides’ Association of New York City consists of independent, professional tour guides based in New York City. Each member is licensed by the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs, and they provide a number of services for the visiting public, including tour guide education, familiarization tours, professional advice and workshops.

Main Contact Info

It's in Queen's - Queens Tourism Council: Rob MacKay; 718.263.0546; [email protected]

Check out the New York State Tourism Directory



Check out the New York State Tourism Directory


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