Day Five: Queens and North Brooklyn

Christina Parrella


Queens is widely recognized as one of the most culturally diverse destinations in the country, full of a variety of international cuisines, museums large and small, and acres of sprawling parkland. Accessible via a short train ride from Midtown, Long Island City is a great place to museum hop, anchored by MoMA PS1, a former city schoolhouse showcasing experimental contemporary art and summertime outdoor DJ sessions. The serene Noguchi Museum houses the work of Japanese-American sculptor and landscape architect Isamu Noguchi, while the nearby Socrates Sculpture Park is a wonderful spot to survey regularly changing installations while strolling along the shore of the East River.

In Astoria, a neighborhood with deep roots in film and TV production, the Museum of the Moving Image explores all facets of these industries with immersive, interactive exhibitions for the whole family. Astoria is also known for its strong Greek influences and delicious, affordable Mediterranean food. Try Ovelia for traditional moussaka (a meat and eggplant casserole) or BZ Grill for a tasty gyro.

Downtown Flushing is New York City's largest Chinatown, home to some of the most authentic Asian cuisine this side of the international date line. Hunan House specializes in spicy dishes like steamed fish head with chopped chilies and sautéed spicy frog with cumin, while Spicy & Tasty features a few exotic dishes such as stinky tofu along with less experimental Szechuan delights like fried spare ribs with fresh garlic. At the Anthony Bourdain–approved Golden Shopping Mall, discover shops and tucked-away eateries that serve all kinds of quick-eating dishes: Taiwanese beef noodle soup, lamb face salad, assorted dumplings and the like.

Flushing is also home to some of the City's best-known recreational attractions, including Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the borough's largest park. Snap a selfie beneath the iconic Unisphere, erected for the 1964 World's Fair, before popping into the recently renovated Queens Museum, the kid-friendly New York Hall of Science or the Queens Zoo. If the timing's right, consider a trip to Citi Field, where you can catch a New York Mets home game (spring and summer), or a tennis match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, home of the US Open (late summer).

Looking for the Brooklyn of mustaches, vintage clothing and artisanal cocktails? Step right up to Williamsburg and Greenpoint. While you could spend a whole day exploring the shops and dining spots of these neighborhoods, you'll really want to experience their exceptional nightlife, which caters to almost every whim imaginable. Spaces that feature live bands almost every night include Music Hall of Williamsburg, the music venue-cum-bowling alley Brooklyn Bowl and the Knitting Factory, which showcases experimental acts as well as Sunday night comedy.

Get a taste for Williamsburg's grungier side at one of its remaining Bedford Avenue dive bars. Turkey's Nest Tavern serves up giant frozen margaritas and sports games; The Charleston is a punk holdout that has a long happy hour featuring complimentary pizza with drink purchases, and Rosemary's Greenpoint Tavern boasts giant cups of beer and year-round holiday lights. For a more upscale experience, try the speakeasy-styled Hotel Delmano, where bartenders take their libations seriously. The Richardson is also known for its artisanal cocktails, as is the The Shanty, which is set in a distillery and complements its mixed drinks with a selection of craft beers.

Up in adjoining neighborhood Greenpoint, Bar Matchless, St. Vitus and No Name Bar offer a low-key vibe and cater to heavy music crowds (bands play regularly at the first two). Other area watering holes include the beer hall Spritzenhaus, Nights and Weekends and piano bar Manhattan Inn.


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