queens design guide

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[world’s fair unisphere, queens, image via planetware]

today’s city guide is all about queens, new york! of all the boroughs in new york, it’s one of the ones i know the least so i’m thrilled to get an insider’s perspective on where to shop, eat, hang out, and check out great artwork. i hope the next time you visit new york you’ll give this great borough a chance- there’s so much to see and do in queens.

the d*s queens guide was written by queens local, anne-marie scali. anne-marie is a freelance fashion and relationships writer with a national newlywed column and a wedding blog, perfect bound perfect bound. thanks so much to anne-marie for her hard work on this guide! (as always, if you have a favorite spot that’s missing from the list, please feel free to add it in the comment section below)

CLICK HERE for the full guide after the jump!

Queens

If you never venture beyond Queens your entire life, you will still feel as though you’ve traveled all over the world! The borough has enclaves of almost every nationality imaginable and restaurants that rival those in the country they represent. Don’t come to Queens unless you love to eat and don’t leave, well ever. As the the largest of New York’s five boroughs, Queens is a perfect medley of urban commerce along side suburban landscape. Like Brooklyn, residents of Queens often closely identify with their neighborhood rather than with the city as a whole.

My husband and I moved to Astoria shortly after we were married. After living in 6 other cities, Astoria is easily the place that excites us the most. My family grew up in the same neighborhood where we now live so I’ve been coming to Queens all my life. Only now that I live here do I truly understand how unique and accommodating the area is. There is something for everyone and the trouble is not finding it, it’s trying to fit it all in. When I tell people we live in Astoria, they usually make mention of the famed Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden that draws people from all five boroughs. But they seldom know how much more there is to do and see beyond the beer garden’s walls. Like any other urban dweller who takes pride in their city, sometimes I like that my little neighborhood is considered a “hidden gem” but overall, there’s too much good stuff happening in Queens to keep it hidden much longer.

ASTORIA

Things to do

5 Pointz
Jackson Avenue and Crane Street and a few blocks from P.S. 1
This place lost a little speed after there was a tragic accident here but admiring from a safe distance is still strongly encouraged and wildly moving.

- Museum of the Moving Image
36th Street at 35th Avenue 718-784-4520
A great place for anyone who loves movies or movie making. Hands-on exhibits make it kid and adult friendly. Check the calendar for special screenings and guest appearances.

Shopping

-Candy Plum
30-98 36th Street, (718) 721-2299
One-of-a-kind designer clothing from independent designer and style makers not afraid to cross the bridge. Noted for its collection of vintage-inspired accessories, the shop represents more than 25 designers that have designed and sold their lines of handbags, hats and jewelry-all in a shoebox sized space.

-The Furniture Market
22-08 Astoria Blvd., (718) 545-3935
If you experience déjà vu upon walking into The Furniture Market, it’s likely you’ve already been there in spirit. The 5000 foot space holds over 10,000 items and has been a main furniture supplier to the movie and television industry for over 15 years. Gossip Girl, 30 Rock, Cashmere Mafia, Sex and the City and Flight of the Concords all found their sets outfitted with knick-knacks and collectibles from this Astoria spot. Feel free to negotiate.

-KrisTEES
24-01 23rd Avenue at 24th Street (718) 204-503
Nestled on a quiet neighborhood block close to Astoria Park, KrisTees houses contemporary unique styles from the likes of Mike & Chris, Margarita Saplala and Deneer. Owner Kristie Foster-Chapman has scoured Japan, Italy, and Scandinavia to fill her shop with one-of-a-kind items as well.

-Loveday31
31 33-06 31st Avenue near 33rd Street (718) 728-4057
High-quality vintage clothing, accessories, and designer goods mixed in with local designers like Sulu Designs and Rebel Chic Jewelry.

-Mimi’s Closet
21-10 31st Street near 21st Avenue, (718) 726-097
Japanese designer Motomi (Mimi) Yamanobe designs delicate dresses and silk blouses assembled from vintage kimonos. The stores stocks an enviable collection of one-of-a-kind gemstone accessories and textile handbags.

-Site
35-11 34th Avenue at 35th Street (718) 626-6030
A design*sponge favorite, Site is one of the city’s best (and least-known) new home decor emporiums. Every second Saturday of the month, SITE spills out onto the sidewalk for a rotating collection of fantastic local artists offering everything from jewelry and decorative objects to fine art, furniture and more.

-Rosario’s
22-55 31st Street (718) 728-2920
Stopping for a jar of Nutella is too easy at this Ditmars Italian deli where the occasional supply of super-soft burrata mozzarella sells out in no time. Imported olive-oil-packed tuna, dry and fresh pasta and the best deli selection around make Rosario’s the closest thing to home.

-Rose and Joe Italian Bakery
2240 31st Street ((718) 721-9422
Fresh cookies, pies and seasonal treats. Don’t buy your Italian butter cookies anywhere else.

Dining

- Aegean Cove
20–01 Steinway Street at Twentieth Ave.
Taking it’s name from one of Greece’s most beautiful natural resources, the food is as beautiful as the scenery. Skip lunch to make room for all of the excellent appetizers and entrees. Chocolate baklava, you say? Don’t mind if I do.

-Arcos 33-05
Broadway near 33rd Street (718) 204-2142
Arcos may sound Greek but there’s no mistaken the Portuguese menu for anything but. Rustic and hearty items such as pork and clam stew settle nicely against a glass of house-mixed sangria. The bacalhau codfish fritter is served Astoria style with a side of feta.

- Fatty’s Cafe
25-01 Ditmars Blvd. at Crescent Street (718) 267-7071
A great neighborhood bistro with an unexpected Latin-themed menu. Serious mojitos and a super friendly vibe make the $12 brunch almost unbelievable.

-Off The Vine
4421 30th Avenue (718) 728-4142
Offering free wine tasting events and a vast selection of bottles, this little spot competes for one of the best wine shops in Astoria.

- Taverna Kyclades
33-07 Ditmars Blvd. Near 33rd Street (718) 545-8666
Well worth the wait and yes, there is always a line. If you skip the lemon potatoes, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Sit outside under the strategically placed heat lamps even if the weather’s iffy.

Coffee Shops

-Cafe Bar Astoria
32-90 36th Street
Artsy in the best sense of the word. A truly engaging place to enjoy coffee along side vegetarian-friendly dishes and traditional Greek favorites.

-Cafe Soleil 37-14 Astoria Blvd. (718) 777-1015
Warm and inviting with free wi-fi. Comfy couches and authentic espresso.

-The Chocolate Spoon 37-03 31st Ave (718) 204-0780
Cheap treats and a delicious wait staff serving up good coffee.

-Egyptian Coffee Shop 25-09 Steinway Street 718-777-5517
Hard-core hookah like nothing you’ve ever seen…unless you’ve been to Egypt, of course.

-Waltz Astoria
23-14 Ditmars Boulevard
A performance space with light fare. Great live music from around the world and an open mic night on Wednesdays.

FLUSHING

Things to do

-Queens Botanical Garden
43-50 Main Street (718) 886-3800
After a a $22 million environmentally friendly renovation to the Visitor’s Center, the Gardens boasts not one but two composting toilets. Oh and there’s 39-acres of green goodness to enjoy as well. The Queens Botanical Gardens is often called out for being a quieter and less-frequented version of the other two NY gardens.

-Queens Museum of Art
49th Avenue at 111th Street
Home to New York World’s Fairs Archive and the Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Art although the best known permanent exhibition at the Queens Museum is the Panorama of the City of New York.

-Queens Theatre in the Park
111th Street near 53rd Avenue 718-760-0064
Located next to the Queens Museum of Art, the Theatre specializes in multi-cultural programming and boasts a large auditorium, a small black box space and a new Cabaret space. They also host a They host an annual Asian Cultural Festival every Spring.

- Queens Zoo
5351 111th Street (718) 271-1500
I’m not a big fan of zoos but this place does a lot for global conservation and education. Great for kids and fans of smaller zoos that are well cared for and socially-conscious.

Shopping

- Durso’s Pasta & Ravioli Company
189-01 Crocheron Avenue, (718) 358-1311
You’ll need to hail a cab to get to macaroni mecca but the trip will be well worth it. Voted “Best Ravioli” by The Food Network, this family-owned oasis is a must for anyone who values Italian food as much as they do Italian fashion. Homemade dishes and fresh mozzarella make Durso’s a favorite for food lovers all over Queens and well into the outer regions of NY and CT.

- MNG by Mango
13617 39th Avenue (718) 713-0828
Spain’s answer to H&M. The only New York location and it belongs to Queens! Visit in the winter or summer for further discounts of up to 70 percent.

Dining

- Kum Gang San
138-28 Northern Boulevard Between Main and Union Streets
Mostly Korean clientele for a reason. This is the place to try something new and fresh, literally. If you order a few bbq dishes, the wait staff will fire up the grill built into your table and cook it in front of you.

- Crazy for Animals
The Shops at Atlas Park , 80-16 Cooper Avenue, Glendale (718) 366-3310
An eco-friendly haven for pet lovers and their fashion-conscious pooches. The store stocks dog fashion from lines like Cloak and Dawgie, Fairytale Couture, and K9 Duds and houses a 100% cage free grooming salon. Pets are treated to bakery goods such as peanut butter biscuits and Jimmy Chew treats while pet owners can relax over a cup of coffee and take it all in.

Long Island City

Things to do

-Fisher Landau Center for Art
38-27 30th Street, Long Island City; 718-937-0727 (pictured above)
Much less crowded than the MOMA and arguably better. Pieces by Jasper Johns, Ed Ruscha and Cy Twombly are among the 1,500 part collection.

- Noguchi Museum
32-37 Vernon Blvd.718-204-7088
Between First Fridays and Second Sundays, there’s really no excuse not to visit this den of Zen where stone, metal, wood, and clay pieces built by Isamu Noguchi are on display. Don’t think just because you’ve shopped DWR you’ve seen the extent of Noguchi’s genius.

-P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center 22-25 Jackson Avenue (at the intersection of 46th Avenue) 718-784-2084
Housed in a former public school, this MoMa affiliate is every bit as impressive as its Manhattan counterparts. A little cafe and a lot of room to relax makes this one of my favorite places to spend a sunny afternoon.

-The Chocolate Factory
5-49 49th Avenue, between 5th Street and Vernon Blvd.
A brilliant space dedicated to experimental multimedia and performance art.

- Socrates Sculpture Park
3205 Vernon Blvd.
The bigger the better. This outdoor space is dedicated to large-scale sculpture that is best enjoyed while spread out over a large blanket.

-SculptureCenter
44-19 Purves Street at Jackson Avenue (718) 361-1750
A cozy space where emerging and well-known contemporary sculptors showcase their work.

- The Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Program
11-03 45th Avenue at corner of 11th Street (718) 937-6317
Admission is always free at this not-for-profit contemporary art gallery. Frequent lectures and symposiums help to foster the public’s appreciation of contemporary art.

- Water Taxi Beach
2 Borden Avenue
“Beachside” local where warm spring and summer nights are spent water-side with a big drink in hand. The ferry is close by and the dancing continues long into the night. Before the sun goes down, this is a great family friendly spot where admission is free.

Shopping

-Hunter’s Point Wines & Spirits 47-07 Vernon Blvd.
Thursday and Friday night tasting and a well-priced selection of wines accompany the unthinkable, a temperature-controlled wine vault where residents can rent space for their most precious bottles. Sorry, studio apartments not available.

-Steinway Salvation Army 34-02 Steinway Street 718-472-2414
Stay away Manhattanites; you have your own SalVal (somewhere) but ours is bigger and arguably better.

Dining

- Café Triskell
An affordable little BYOB spot that will have you feeling like you touched down in France for the evening. The onion soup is a no-brainer.

-Lounge47 47-10 Vernon Blvd, Queens, NY – (718) 937-2044
The outdoor patio has been a point of much controversy but the food is still making people smile. Mac and cheese is a must as are the wasabi deviled eggs, if you’re into that sort of thing.

-The Creek
10-93 Jackson Blvd. (718) 706-8783
The theatre house next door brings the crowds while the outdoor patio and no-fuss bar menu makes this one of the areas best places to enjoy a beer.

Drinking

- Cronin and Phelan’s
38-14 Broadway at Steinway (718) 545-8999
A traditional Irish pub nestled in a quintessential Greek neighborhood. Everyone gets along mostly because the beer keep flowing no matter what. Home to the Queens Dart League and a famed strawberry-rhubarb pie. Go figure.

-Domaine (718) 784-2350
Live jazz in Long Island City. This place is two steps away from the subway and for good reason. fresh Oysters, stuffed olives and cheese plates are just a front for delicious wines poured with professor-like precision.

laura

thanks for doing this; the workaholic that i am, i don’t do nearly as much exploring where i live as i should!

Sarah

Great to see this guide. I just went to Long Island City for the first time over the weekend (and loved it!). In addition to visiting many of the galleries listed here, I had lunch at Sage General Store, which I think is worth mentioning: sagegeneralstore.com

Mackenzi

Yeah QNS!!! I love working and living here in Astoria so much and am glad to see so many of my friends and neighbors included on this amazing list!!!

(ps- Try Bare Burger on 31st ave and 34th street for amazing all organic treats and amazing eco friendly decor, or the new massive StudioSquare for a more modern beer garden experience!)

LM

While I’m so pleased to see my adopted borough represented on D*S, this column is totally confusing! Most of the places listed under ‘Flushing’ are nowhere near there – maybe a little google maps action could help non-Queens folk navigate. (Oh, and there’s a Mango location in SoHo.)

Monica

Love it! So great to see this wonderful write-up on my neighborhood! Below are a few other great spots to try out:

Crescent & Vine
(cozy little wine bar)
25-01 Ditmars Blvd., Astoria

Sparrow Bar
(low-key rock bar)
24-01 29th St., Astoria

Blooming Company
(clothing boutique)
22-75 31st St., Astoria

diane

There are LOTS of fantastic resturants and cozy bars in Forest Hills & Kew Gardens as well! Only 15 minutes away from Midtown on the Long Island Railroad.

Johnny P

I second Sparrow Bar, nice and calm and dingy. And I am falling all over Studio Square Beer Garden, its enormous.

Lately I have been into eating Bosnian food. Try Cevabdzinica Sarjevo on 34th ave just west of Steinway.

katie

Woohoo Queens! I lived in Astoria for several years and have been in Jackson Heights for about a year and a half. I love Queens!

More gems:

Brick Café
(great restaurant with outdoor seating)
30-95 33rd Street, Astoria

Il Bambino
(amazing panini, tapas, and wine; yummy baked goods; and the most amazing peanut butter hot chocolate ever! [they do Nutella hot chocolate too!])
34-08 31st Avenue, Astoria

S’Agapo
(dare I say the best Greek restaurant in Astoria, a neighborhood that is overflowing with Greek restaurants)
34-21 34th Avenue, Astoria

Mimi’s Closet
(clothing and accessories boutique)
21-10 31st Street, Astoria

Espresso 77
(great local coffee shop)
35-57 77th Street, Jackson Heights

Take a stroll around the Jackson Heights historic district. The block-long gardens and pre-war architecture will surprise you.

katie

Oh yeah, and you can’t forget the fancy new beer garden:

Studio Square
35-37 36th Street, Astoria

Janet

I grew up in Queens, and I love the shot you took in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.,

Courtney

Yay for Queens! Thanks so much for bringing some attention to my under-appreciated borough! I also have lots of new places explore now—exciting!

Cassandra

No one has mentioned the best Thai spot in nyc, SriPraPhai. Seriously! Amazing. Very affordable, and if you spend a little extra on the specials (like the soft shell crab curry!) you get what you pay for. Its nestled in the quiet community of Woodside.

Liz

I must add Mundo in Astoria as one of my favorite restaurants in the neighborhood. Wonderful atmosphere, fantastic food! Just off Broadway on 32nd street.

Pia

Having visited the fancy new beer garden Studio Square, I’d recommend skipping it and heading over to Bohemian Hall, the last remaining original beer garden in NYC. It has all the charm that Studio Square lacks.

CattyinQueens

Thanks for the Queens love! It’s so rare that anybody talks about us–Brooklyn gets all the attention! I’ll put a plug in for Thai Pot in Forest Hills, which I think is as good as SriPraPhai (which is pretty awesome!). Also, visit the Wednesday Chef’s blog–she’s a Queens local too!

Rosanna

This is great! I think a Bronx Guide is in order.. It’s such an overlooked borough! I know I’d love to know more about it.

Monica

A few more great additions to the list…

Nook n’ Crannie
(furniture and antiques)
29-18 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria

Trattoria L’incontro
(Italian restaurant with attached wine bar, long list of daily specials)
21-76 31st St, Astoria

Rapture Lounge
(bar/lounge with great big Mojitos)
34-27 28th Avenue, Astoria

Brooke

YAY! im so happy about this post!!! astoria has so much to offer and it always gets overlooked! ive loved living there and watching it “grow up” over the last few years…i cant imagine what it will have to offer in even a few more!

i wanted to also mention LOCALE, (http://localeastoria.com/main.html) which is an amazing for brunch (um hello nutella stuffed french toast) with gorgeous decor on 34th AVE in Astoria (It’s close to SITE (boutique) – so grab a bite to eat and do some shopping!!!)

Lauren

SO happy to see Queens on here!

I live in the Sunnyside Gardens neighborhood (yes, that’s really its name.) which is certainly worth a 7 train detour if you’re in the borough. (40th St or 46th Bliss St. stops) It’s gorgeous, first of all—tree lined is an understatement—and there are some pretty good picks for restaurants, vintage shops, etc. in the area.

Quaint is one of my all time favorite restaurants. Aptly named, with an amazing Sunday brunch, and not a bad meal on the menu, it’s certainly worth a visit.

Quaint
46-10 Skillman Avenue
Sunnyside, New York 11104
(917) 779-9220

Stray Vintage is right down the street….there are a lot of really good (and reasonably priced) vintage finds here, ranging from furniture, to record players, to glassware. They also carry a decent amount of locally made jewelry, queens-oriented crafts and t-shirts, postcards, vinyl, etc. The couple that owns it are good people.

Stray
http://strayvintage.com/
48-09 Skillman Ave. Sunnyside NY 11104

On Tuesday nights, Center Cinemas 5 on Queens Blvd (at 43rd st.) has $4 movies. If you’re old, a student, or there for a matinee it’s always $5. It’s admittedly a little grimy, but still smells like popcorn, and the movies are current releases. I wouldn’t recommend it for seeing films known for their stunning visual effects, but it’s usually a good time.

If you’re in the neighborhood, make sure you keep heading north a little more and walk through the residential areas. (45-48th streets past Skillman, in particular) It’s like being magically transported to some sort of European fairy tale land. But just the cottage/birds/flowers bit—not the bizarre, slightly disturbing stuff that tends to happen in European fairy tales. It’s a nice little break from the hustle and bustle and concrete of “typical New York.”

Enjoy!

Fiona

YEAH, QUEENS! I also live in Jackson Heights (which I urge people to check out, and don’t be put off by Roosevelt Avenue under the 7; it is not pretty there, but many great restaurants, and the rest of JH IS pretty).

I second Katie’s recs, esp. Espresso 77 and I also love Rajbhog Sweets

Fiona

(Posted accidentally)

Rajbhog is not beautiful, but has GREAT vegetarian Indian food and plays Bollywood videos.

La Flor in Woodside is fantastic, too.

Joan

Awesome list. I would add Tournesol in LIC – fabulous French bistro with a partner wine bar next door; and Poodam, the best Thai food we have EVER had.

Monica

A few more to add to the growing list…

Martha’s Country Bakery
(yummy baked goods)
36-21 Ditmars Blvd. Astoria

718 Restaurant
(Spanish-French fusion)
3501 Ditmars Blvd., Astoria

Agnanti
(Greek food, outdoor seating, right by Astoria Park)
1906 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria

Mezzo Mezzo
(Rustic atmosphere, Greek food)
31-29 Ditmars Blvd., Astoria

kelley@myislandwedding

I lived in Queens for years (Bayside, Fresh Meadows and Forest Hills)… I’m sure things have changed alot since I’ve been there…, but I’m going to ask a friend that knows EVERYTHING cool and get back to you!

Dina

Anyone know about a vintage market in Queens? I saw it on the travel channel and am dying to go. Thanks!

Amelia

I’m so glad folks have already mentioned Brick and Il Bambino, my fave restaurants in Astoria. I’m not a pizza fan, but the only place I really enjoy the pizza is Sac’s place on Broadway & I think 29th. Good pasta too. The Steinway Salvation Army & the Goodwill, as well as Nook & Crannie are my usual shopping stops, but I love Site for something fancier. La Guli on Ditmars is great for Gelato, Cannoli, and other delicious treats. Astoria park is quite lovely, especially walking along the water on a nice day, though you need a certain amount of tolerance for motorcycles. Also, Whiskers is a holistic pet store on Ditmars near the park if you’re into that sort of thing.
I love Astoria, and I’m glad to see it featured!

LaurenCarol

Hooray! I also live in the Sunnyside / Woodside area. It’s gorgeous and there is plenty to do here. I agree with the other Lauren about Quaint and Stray being “must gos”. Here are a few more:

There is an upcoming international film festival (Sept 12) in the gorgeous Sunnyside Gardens park.
http://www.sunnysideshorts.net/

Also the opening of Claret Wine bar has been a blessing. They have great salads and small dishes paired with a craft beer or wine and open windows to take in the fresh air of the gardens, count me in.
http://www.claretwinebar.com/

For anyone close by to the neighborhood there is also a really good Farmer’s Market every Saturday on 42nd st and Skillman Ave. It’s smaller than Union Sq obviously but has all the goods. Fresh fruits, veggies, lettuces, cheeses, breads, seafoods, desserts and hand made soaps. I haven’t noticed if there is anyone selling meats but it’s very likely.

Sunnyside Farmer’s Market
42nd St at Skillman Ave

The absolute BEST thai food you have ever had in your life is in woodside. They also topped NYMag’s list for Best Thai in the city

Sripraphai
64-13 39th Ave nr. 64th st.

Also I have a favorite vintage store in Astoria that I don’t think was mentioned. It’s called The Second Best Antiques and Thrift, the name is very funny. The store is a little grimey and dusty and the whole basement is packed with clothes floor to ceiling that defy the laws of gravity by not toppling over on you. But the real finds are the furniture and household items upstairs. I have found some absolutely one of a kind stunning Dutch style or just amazing looking vintage pieces here. They don’t charge too much either. $100 range for an amazing desk or dresser.

The Second Best
3007 Astoria Blvd

Gemma

Nook n’ Crannie is a great shop. Lots of unique pieces at good prices. You do have to visit regularly, though, as they are frequently changing their stock.
It also contributes to a great cause – a residential program for recovering addicts (Betel of America). Great place to go if you decide to redecorate!

Eneida

You have to try Uvarara in Middle Village and Wafa’s in Forest Hills, both are on Metropolitan Avenue and the food is out of this world.

Brett | Astoria Restaurant

I recomend William Hallet, in Astoria. Is an American Bristo Bar.

36-10 30thAve, Astoria, NY 11105.

Located on 30th Avenue, ‘the heart of Astoria’, William Hallet is an American Bistro & Bar.

Cheers!

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