As New York City moves along the road to recovery, more shops, restaurants and attractions—at limited capacity, with new health and safety protocols in place—are opening up. Locals and visitors can help support them, and in doing so remind themselves what makes NYC the most exciting destination in the world. We’ve got a few itinerary suggestions to help you start exploring Queens again. Wherever in the borough you may decide to go, make sure to follow the guidelines from the Stay Well NYC Pledge and check each individual business’ own rules. [Update, 10/7/20: Governor Cuomo’s cluster action initiative of October 6 has placed new restrictions on business activities in areas of Queens, which may affect the status of select venues in this itinerary.]
King Manor Museum is now open. Visit the historic home of Rufus King, who signed the US Constitution, fought in the American Revolution and was a dedicated anti-slavery advocate.
The surrounding neighborhood, Jamaica, is home to a diverse array of cuisines, including great Guyanese and Caribbean food at Sybil’s Bakery and Restaurant.
In honor of the US Open, visit Forest Hills and the West Side Tennis Club, where the modern incarnation of the tournament was inaugurated and held annually until 1978. You’ll need to be a member to play today but not to view the Tudor-style clubhouse or enormous main stadium. While in the neighborhood, explore Forest Park, known for its high hills, views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Long Island Sound and fun golf course. A little outside the park is NYC’s oldest ice cream parlor, Eddie’s Sweet Shop.
Long Island City
Start with: Socrates Sculpture Park, an open studio and exhibition space for artists, as well as a neighborhood park. Once an abandoned landfill, the grounds hold installations and are a great place to picnic with a view of Manhattan’s skyline. Currently on display is Monuments Now, a timely series of pieces that highlight underrepresented histories.
Move south: Explore more of Long Island City, a vibrant neighborhood dotted with turn-of-the-20th-century industrial buildings that have been transformed into galleries, museums and studios. Take in the views from Gantry Plaza State Park, on the East River.
Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Site of two world's fairs, Flushing Meadows Corona Park is full of green space, fascinating relics and a few museums. Though those indoor spaces haven’t reopened yet, one attraction in the park has. The Queens Zoo, home to bison, tiny deer and giant rabbits, is open to visitors—just make sure to reserve your ticket in advance.
Also on the grounds: the Queens Drive-In, behind the New York Hall of Science. Movies on the schedule include Hollywood classics and international arthouse fare; views of the sunset and the Hall’s famous rockets are part of the experience. A portion of every ticket sale will be donated to Elmcor, a local nonprofit organization that provides support for the communities in Queens hardest hit by the pandemic.
Queens County Farm Museum
The Queens County Farm Museum reopened the first weekend of August and will run its Amazing Maize Maze, hayrides and other activities on weekends through October. The grounds are open daily, and a seasonal farmstand takes place Wednesdays through Sundays.
Ride a wave: There’s also nearby Locals Surf School, for those looking to learn or perfect their surf skills. Book lessons in advance of visiting.
The TWA Hotel
The TWA Hotel, in the JetBlue Terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Jamaica, is a destination unto itself. Period music, games, museum exhibits and retro decor lets visitors step back to the 1960s—when Eero Saarinen first designed the structure as the TWA Flight Center—for an evening or longer. An infinity pool overlooks the JFK runway; the pool bar and observation deck are open along with the pool.
Head to Ridgewood to check out Queens Brewery, which has a new, partially covered beer garden.