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