Serene and unpretentious, Queens is possibly the most underrated borough in sprawling NYC. The city’s epicenter for cultural multitude, it is the searing urban landscapes and off-the- hook ethnic eats that make for a borough that is entertaining, diverse and real! Replete with historic buildings and an abundance of natural spaces, Queens is home to some seriously overlooked hidden niches.
At Vertoe, we are committed to serving you across the New York City area and with this we have added another luggage storage location in Queens. Our latest location is central and only about 15 min. from JFK Airport or LaGuardia, so when you need luggage storage and want to be a short distance from the airport, this is your spot. And meanwhile, while your luggage is stored safely with us, here are some of the very interesting things that you can do in Queens this month
THE ORIGINAL BEER GARDEN
If Kafka had to pick his favorite bar, Bohemian Hall would be it. A massive time warped relic, holding the distinction of being the oldest beer garden in New York city, Bohemian Hall is a laid-back outdoor space with a labyrinth of side rooms and antechambers branching off the main bar. Managed by the Czech and Slovak society, with cultural favorites such as pierogies, schnitzel and klobasa on the menu and a wide selection of fine draught beer, kick back in a garden chair at this authentic Astoria staple.
CURIOUS OPEN SPACES
Built over ‘the valley of ashes’ and chock-full of exciting things to do, Flushing Meadows Corona Park hosts a world-class aquatic center, the Queens Museum, the New York Hall of Science and CitiField, home ballpark of the Mets, where you can get sporting, try a scavenger hunt, go fishing at Meadow Lake and get your barbecue on — all in one day! Formerly home to the United Nations, two World Fairs and the annual US Open, the park proudly wears its iconic past on its sleeve. Be it the now-derelict New York State Pavilion reminiscent of flying saucers, or the 12-storey high Unisphere, the world’s largest globe structure or the Panorama of the City of New York, a 9,335-square-foot scale model of the five boroughs and containing over 895,000 individual structures — the park is a haven for enthusiasts of all tastes.
Rarely as crowded as Manhattan or Brooklyn, stroll along the East river pathway, with gorgeous views of Hell’s Gate and Triborough bridges, or take a dip in New York city’s oldest and largest swimming pool, in Astoria Park. Or Stand amidst the rugged beauty of restored gantries and watch the sun go down over midtown Manhattan, at Gantry Plaza State Park.
One of the city’s most dynamic institutions, the Museum of The Moving Image is home to much-loved classic arcade games and the largest collection of film artifacts in the nation. Be sure to witness ‘Behind the Screen’, an immersive exhibition showcasing the creative process of filmmaking, with one-of-a-kind professional demonstrations — a mecca for cine aficionados. *
The Noguchi museum is an open-air sculpture garden ensconced within a building that houses ten galleries. Created as a celebration of the best work of Japanese-American artist Isamo Noguchi, the contemplative space is immersive, reflective and distinctive in its appeal.
FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE
A small fraction of the sprawling necropolis of Queens, the Machpelah Cemetary is certainly off-beat; a spooky monument to Harry Houdini, the master escape artist. Nestled in the 2.5 mile Cemetery belt — so vast it is visible from space — the gravesite has played host to the ‘Broken Wand Ceremony’, marking Houdini’s death, witnessed repeated theft and recovery of Houdini’s bust and entertained patrons at his death anniversary over Halloween, every year.
One of the last remnants from the old Steinway village, the Steinway Piano Factory is a testament to how pianos shaped the history of Astoria. Heralded among the top 3 tours in the country, take the free tour of the factory and observe lofty 19th century machines, handmade parts and enduring processes, responsible for the creation of over 2000 grand pianos annually.
SAY A LIL PRAYER
A stunningly gorgeous piece of architecture and art, the Valencia Movie House now serves as a tabernacle of prayer –covered in intricate detail inspired by Spanish and Mexican styles. A 3,500-seat theater that gives the illusion of sitting in the center of a Spanish town, the façade has a fairly aquatic theme, with everything from the ticket booth to the organ in the lobby lending the space a majestic charm.
Hidden underneath the right-side legend on the MTA subway map is the location for this abandoned Civil War fort, now a city park with a strange and remarkable array of structures. With an Area 51 feel and troops training behind fences, Fort Totten is dotted by ruins from the Civil War fortifications and a beautiful neo-gothic building — the Castle — at its center.
THE ‘MUST HAVE’ DUMPLINGS
And of course, the best-kept secret in Queens is all the food! Head to Flushing for the finest soup dumplings and smashing Korean fare, or take your pick from the scores of authentic Greek and Mediterranean restaurants, all over Astoria. You will be hard pressed to find a better selection of bona fide Latin cuisine, and for street foodies, the smattering of Halal carts can satiate all cravings.
Absorb the flavor of laid-back Queens and choose from a wide selection of walking routes, if you have the time. But don’t let your bags weigh you down. Let Vertoe help you with that!
Do check out our How It Works video for 3 easy steps.
Submitted by Shwetha Shanthakumar. To discover her work, you can check her blog here.