A visit to Queens might bring to mind lazy beach days at the Rockaways, a trip on the 7 train through many fascinating neighborhoods or just sluggish airport-bound traffic, but this borough’s real charm lies in its diversity. Queens has one of the most ethnically diverse residential populations of any urban area in the world. That diversity is vividly evident across the borough’s cultural scene, as well as in its culinary offerings. Read on to learn more about three of Queens’ iconic cultural destinations and how they accommodate visitors with disabilities.
Flushing Town Hall
This historical landmark, built in 1862, hosts exhibits, dance and musical performances of all kinds. It also offers educational programming for all ages, and free admission to performances for 13-to-19-year-olds through its Teen Access Program.
• Monthly Jazz Jam
Listen—or hone your playing skills—to big band jazz on the first Wednesday of each month.
• The Sport of Kings in Queens: Celebrating 350 Years of Thoroughbred Horse Racing
Located in the hall’s Greenroom and at the Queens Historical Society, this exhibit celebrates the role that this sport played in the founding of Queens and its history. (Through June 30)
This venue is easily accessible by subway (a five- to ten-minute walk from the 7 train) and via multiple bus routes. Visit flushingtownhall.org for directions.
• There is a lift for access to the front entrance and an elevator inside the building, so wheelchair users should find it fully accessible.
• Services for those with hearing, visual or other impairments are not readily available, so we recommend calling for further information: 718-463-7700 x222.
New York Hall of Science
A destination for kids of all ages, New York Hall of Science offers an array of over 450 interactive, hands-on exhibits that encourage its primarily school-age audience to explore science, technology, engineering and math. In addition to its rotation of featured exhibits, NYSCI holds a maker space; a mini golf course that propels players into the exploration of motion; a 3-D movie theater that shows educational and feature films; and even a science playground. NYSCI has found ways to make the sciences appealing to visiting youngsters—even those who are not scientifically inclined.
• Nikon Small World
An exhibit that celebrates the small stuff, displaying the winning entries in a photomicrography competition. (Through February 23)
• Science Inspires Art: Ocean
Collaborative works between artists and scientists that reimagine the ocean. (Through February 25)
• Geometric Figurative Works
A fascinating exhibit of Karl Szilagi’s black-and-white puzzles of artworks. (Through April 14)
NYSCI is served by multiple local bus routes and is three blocks south of the 111th St./Roosevelt Ave. stop on the 7 train. Visit nysci.org for directions. Not all of the exhibits are accessible to visitors with disabilities, but the number of hands-on activities offered suggests that everyone may find something that engages them.
• Wheelchair users: All of NYSCI’s exhibits, the 3-D theater, playground and mini golf course are accessible via wheelchair, and chairs are available for guests who need them.
• Hearing impairments: Receivers are available at the front desk for use in the 3-D movie theater. Call in advance about other interpreter services.
• Visual impairments: Though exhibits and activities are interactive at NYSCI, many possess visual elements. The sports exhibits are recommended as being the most tactile and physically engaging. In addition, there are always NYSCI employee “explainers” stationed throughout the exhibits to help all visitors understand and enjoy the displays.
• For further information, call 718-699-0005.
Located in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, adjacent to the giant steel Unisphere, the Queens Museum offers a refreshing dose of culture and is one of the borough’s signature arts venues.
Panorama of the City of New York
• This famed 10,000-square-foot model of NYC offers a view of the City in miniature. Stroll the perimeter, marveling at tiny versions of neighborhoods and landmarks. Each of the City’s 895,000 buildings (as of 1992) are represented. (Ongoing)
• Julia Weist with Nestor Siré: 17.(SEPT)
A look into the way art has been included in El Paquete Semanal, a weekly digital file collection that is shared throughout Cuba in place of Internet connectivity. (Through February 18)
• Patty Chang: The Wandering Lake, 2009–2017
A deeply personal multimedia exploration of life and death from the Los Angeles–based artist. (Through February 18)
• Sable Elyse Smith: Ordinary Violence
A multimedia examination of the physical and emotional effects of incarceration on prisoners and their families. (Through February 18)
• Anna K.E.: Profound Approach and Easy Outcome
In this site-specific commission—the third in a series celebrating women artists—Anna K.E. considers her position in the male-dominated canon. (Through February 18)
• A Passion for Tiffany Lamps
A collection of decorative glass lamps by 20th-century Queens artist Louis C. Tiffany. (Through April 30)
Though it is possible to access the museum via the 7 train, the building is 15 minutes by foot from the nearest stop–a circuitous walk, not ideal for those with mobility or visual impairments. Visit queensmuseum.org for more details. General information about accessible programs for all ages can be found on the museum’s website or by contacting Mitra Dejkameh (firstname.lastname@example.org, 718-592-9700 x136).
• Wheelchair users: The museum is fully accessible, including the Panorama of the City of New York exhibit.
• Visual impairments: A raised map with large print and braille marking permanent exhibits is available, as are large print booklets and braille transcriptions for special exhibitions on occasion. Inquire at the information desk for details. Tactile tours can also be arranged with two weeks’ notice.
• Hearing impairments: Sign language interpretation can be arranged for museum tours with two weeks’ notice.