New Yorkers are notorious for moving as quickly as we can from point A to point B. But what are we missing in the hustle and bustle? Sometimes, even uber-busy New Yorkers should take time to be a tourist in their own city. You already know Queens is a terrific borough, but just how much do you really know about it? The best way to learn about a place is by looking at it as though it’s the first time. Let go of your primal, New Yorker “must hurry” instinct, grab your camera, and pack up the family for a little Queens exploration.
No doubt you’ve seen this 12 story stainless steel model of the earth in passing, but it really deserves an up-close visit. The only official landmark in the park, the unisphere was created as the symbol of the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair. It is massive, and really a great place to kick off your day touring Queens, not to mention it’s a great photo-op.
Citi Field (formerly Shea Stadium)
Whether you’re a Mets fan or not, the history that has taken place at this stadium cannot be denied. Opened in 1964, the stadium hosted much more than sporting events, including countless concerts, and even an appearance by Pope John Paul II. Now you can tour these hallowed grounds. Citi Field offers guided tours, which are free for season ticket holders and active military personnel, through the clubhouse, field, dugout, production area, press box, suite levels, and the Mets Hall of Fame and Museum. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for children 7 and under. Children under 32 inches are free.
Roosevelt Island Tram
Although technically not in Queens, the Roosevelt Island Tram is possibly the closest you can get to the city skyline. It has been a unique form of transportation, and the only tram in North America that is used for mass transportation, since 1976. It has just finished a major renovation. All you need is a Metrocard to ride it, as the fare is the same as a subway train ride. Children under 44 inches tall can ride for free. For directions or more information, visit www.rioc.com/transportation.
Louis Armstrong House Museum
34-56 107th Street, Corona
40 minute guided tours are given of the jazz legend’s home in Corona. You can see just how he lived with his wife, and listen to his homemade recordings as you walk through the national and New York City landmark house. Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for children 4 and up. Children under 4 are free. For more information visit www.louisarmstronghouse.org.
Visiting Neighborhoods Other Than Your Own
Queens is an incredibly diverse borough. Over 135 languages are spoken here! Go on your own culinary tour of a different culture by visiting another neighborhood. Jackson Heights, Flushing, Astoria… the list is long. Take your pick and let your taste buds introduce you to a new culture.
The rich history of Queens extends back over 300 years. There are tons of landmarks around town, and fun places to explore. You just may find yourself falling in love with this happening borough all over again.