In NYC’s Neighborhoods

The SculptureCenter in Queens has recently been expanded and renovated by Andrew Berman Architect.
The SculptureCenter in Queens has recently been expanded and renovated by Andrew Berman Architect.

New York City’s outlying neighborhoods are getting trendier and evolving into cultural hubs. Venture from Manhattan during your next Big Apple visit and check out these hip communities in Queens and Brooklyn, which are filled with top eateries, noteworthy museums and historical experiences.

Museums

Queens has several A-list art collections that range from sculptures to iconic film artifacts. We’ve rounded up some of the most exciting exhibits from across the borough that must be seen this fall.

Queens Museum will host the “Zhang Hongtu” exhibit this month. “Chairmen Mao, 1989” is part of the exposition.
 
Queens Museum will host the “Zhang Hongtu” exhibit this month. “Chairmen Mao, 1989” is part of the exposition.

The Queens Museum is the perfect way to spend an afternoon in New York. Take the 7 train from Manhattan and get off at the Mets-Willets Point (the second to the last stop). This month, the museum is hosting several exhibits, including “Zhang Hongtu,” the first U.S. survey of the China-born, Queens-based artist. Hongtu is best known for his “Mao” series, a group of images that focus on the leader Mao Zedong. The exhibit has more than 50 pieces, ranging from the late 1950s to today and runs from October 18 to February 28. Clients that are traveling with children should feel free to bring them to the museum, where there are a variety of kid-friendly workshops throughout the year based on the permanent and traveling exhibits. Private tours can be arranged by contacting Claudia Dishon at [email protected].

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Hop back on the 7 train toward Manhattan to Court Square in Long Island City. Set along this subway stop, inside a former trolley repair shop is the SculptureCenter. Founded  by artists in 1928, this art center is dedicated to experimental and innovative works in contemporary sculpture. The first thing visitors should take note of is the building, which was originally renovated by artist and designer, Maya Lin. Next, for an out-of-the-box experience, gaze at the exhibit, “Anthea Hamilton: Lichen! Libido! Chastity!,” which is on display until January 4. Hamilton’s work explores the world of pop culture, music, fashion and design. “Project for Door,” the centerpiece of the exhibit, is edgy, as it is a doorway created in the image of a man’s naked body. For a different vibe, clients interested in design and geometry will want to view the “Gabriel Sierra: Numbers in a Room” exhibit. Sierra’s works focus on design logic and the functions of interior spaces. Tip: Fitting this museum into a custom itinerary is simple with a pre-arranged, private tour. Contact Steven Mayer at [email protected].

Museum of the Moving Image has a large collection of movie memorabilia.
 
Museum of the Moving Image has a large collection of movie memorabilia.

Astoria is home to one special museum that will excite both adults and children. The Museum of the Moving Image, on the campus of the historic Kaufman Astoria Studios, is an absolute must for fans of the TV and film industries. Visitors will learn about film, TV and digital media through exhibits, artifacts and interpretive programs. The exhibit “Behind the Screen” has more than 1,000 items relating to film, including classic video arcade games (the kids will love it), masks and makeup worn by Robin Williams in “Mrs. Doubtfire,” vintage film cameras, licensed merchandise from “Star Wars” and “Star Trek,” and, our favorite, interactive experiences, where guests can create their own animation and sound effects. Still looking for some more film fun? We know diehard cat owners out there won’t want to miss the fun exhibit “How Cats Took Over the Internet” and the Cat-vantGarde Film Show, starring, of course, cats, which will be shown on October 11. Groups and families can arrange a private tour by contacting Leigh Wells at [email protected]

The Noguchi Museum has three inside-outdoor galleries.
 
The Noguchi Museum has three inside-outdoor galleries.

Clients who are coming to Queens to escape Manhattan’s congestion should head to the Noguchi Museum, which is located across from the East River and offers an oasis full of serenity. The best way to travel to Noguchi is to take the N or Q train to the Broadway stop in Queens. From there it is either a 10-block walk or a ride on the Q104 bus towards the river. Once there, guests should wander through the indoor-outdoor galleries and the sculpture garden (make sure to bring a coat). The museum is devoted to the works of Isamu Noguchi, one of the most influential sculptors of the 20th century. The museum was founded by Noguchi, and houses his work as well as exhibits that mesh together in a larger context. One such exhibit, “Museum of Stones” opens on October 7. This collection highlights about 50 works by 30 modern and contemporary artists, including Noguchi. There are public tours of the museum that take place at 2 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday and are free with museum admission (private tours are not available). Quick Tip: The Socrates Sculpture Park is almost across the street from the Noguchi Museum. This park was created by sculptor Mark diSuvero in 1986 and covers four acres with nice view points of the East River.

Queens PS1 opens “Greater New York 2015” on October 11.
Queens PS1 opens “Greater New York 2015” on October 11.

Public Spaces

One of the best parts about Queens is the stunning view it has of Manhattan. We suggest you enjoy the refreshing fall weather and head for Gantry Plaza State Park, which touts a beautiful view. Once an abandoned industrial waterfront, Gantry is now a manicured, 12-acre park along the East River in Long Island City. The highlight of this adventure will be the unobstructed views of the east side of Manhattan — make sure to pose for a picture.

If you’re looking for more outdoor fun, but want to skip Central Park, head to Astoria Park in Astoria, Queens. This 60-acre park offers a great place to see the leaves change color and has views of the East River. Astoria Park is also historically relevant, as it was used for qualifying events for the 1936 and 1964 Olympics. For a truly unique outing and a little exercise, head to William F. Moore Park in Corona, Queens. Spaghetti Park, as the locals call it, is known for its public bocce court, which always attracts players and spectators alike. The triangle-shaped court has a brick-dust surface, where adults and children can both try their hand at the game. If you’re more into watching, we suggest you sit at one of the sideline benches and enjoy the show.

History buffs and those wanting to relive exciting memories should head to one of the most famous public spaces in all of Queens, Flushing Meadows Corona Park and the site of the two world’s fairs. A prime photo opportunity is in front of the Unisphere, the 12-story globe that was the iconic image of the 1964’s World’s Fair. Continue south through the park and you will come across the largest lake in New York City, Meadow Lake. Kids will want a quick stop (or a longer visit) at The Playground for All Children located on the opposite side of the park. Nice Touch: This playground was built to be accessible to children with disabilities.

Sports Action

In the beginning of October, baseball fans should catch the end of the 2015 season at Citi Field in Flushing, Queens. The Mets call the 42,000-seat ballpark home, and there is also 200,000 square feet of meeting space available for special events. Another sporting hot spot is the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows/Corona Park. Most known for hosting the U.S. Open in August, this tennis center is open to the public the other 11 months of the year with indoor and outdoor courts for rent; you can even play on the same courts as the pros. Insider Tip: It can be hard to find an open court during peak hours. We suggest going in the early morning on a weekday; this is also when prices to rent are at a low.

Places to Eat

After a day of visiting all the top places in Queens a good meal and dessert is well deserved. The trendy neighborhood of Astoria, in northwestern Queens, is traditionally a Greek neighborhood, so indulging in some Greek cuisine is part of the experience. Head to Ditmars Boulevard, which runs east to west and is located near the N and Q lines on the subway. Here, you will find an array of Greek dining options, but we suggest Taverna Kyclades. This seafood restaurant is known citywide for its delicious dishes. For an appetizer, try the pan-fried Greek cheese, saganaki or the fried calamari, and for a main meal, order the swordfish or sea bass with a side of lemon potatoes. The line at TavernaKyclades can be long and reservations are not accepted, but large (very large) portions, a lively atmosphere and complimentary Greek custard for dessert make it a gratifying dining experience.

For brunch, Queens Comfort and Burnside Biscuits are worthy options (both located in Astoria). Burnside Biscuits focuses on southern cuisine — its brunch menu offers two-, four- and eight-piece fried chicken meals. While, Queens Comfort serves, of course, comfort foods like the buttermilk pancakes and maple cheddar sausage gravy in a relaxed family-friendly environment. Visitors will want to note that Queens Comfort only accepts cash and cannot seat parties larger than eight. Also, these spots are popular with locals on the weekends, so be prepared for a wait during brunch hours.

For dessert or a refreshing snack, head to Corona, Queens, where The Lemon Ice King of Corona serves famous Italian ice. Located near Citi Field, this ice stand always has a steady flow of visitors. There are more than three-dozen flavor options, which the servers will refuse to mix, but our favorite flavor is mango.

 

 

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