While it’s changed and transformed as I have over my 30+ years, there are several things that are familiar and feel so right as I raise my own child in my hometown on the border of Sunnyside and Woodside. These are a few unique things my family enjoys about living in the neighborhood that are free or cheap.
I’m the first to curse the constant construction on the 7 line, but as a local there is so much to love about the elevated trains in the area. My son loves to sit at the window of the choo choo train so much that it becomes the best part of any trip. I may be 32 but I still love the echo echo echo below the arches of the “els.” Every time my mom and two-year old break into yodeling every time they cross Queens Boulevard, I have to giggle.
As a former yellow and white wearing member of the Sunnyside Drum Corps, I have a soft spot for parades. The area’s love of tradition and celebration is apparent in the yearly and unique NYC Flag Day parade . Local kids usually join the parade to represent their school or as part of the drum corps. Throughout the year, I can treat my son to many smaller parades celebrated annually by local churches that show the diversity of the neighborhood. Our favorites are the candlelit midnight Easter parades by our local Orthodox Catholic churches.
While Calvary Cemetery is the closest thing we have to Central Park (many people take their morning jogs there), there are several playgrounds and some green spaces to enjoy for families in the area. Noonan Park on Greenpoint and 43 Street is my son’s favorite. It’s pretty old fashioned with jungle gyms, slides and swings for all sizes, and plenty of seating for mom and dad. For kite flying, the grass at Windmuller Park between 39th Road and 39th Drive, running from 52nd to 54th Streets, does the trick. The hilly park is also great for rolling down the inclined lawns and for watching as planes depart and land at LaGuardia Airport.
Movies for less than ten bucks
My son’s too young to go to the movies but, when he’s old enough, I’ll be taking him to the New Center Cinema, located at 42-17 Queens Blvd. While there aren’t any stadium seats, and the screens are not Imax-sized, the movies are affordable at $7.50 for adults and $5.00 for kids (even less for a matinee) for non 3D flicks at this no-frills theater. On Tuesdays, they offer even lower bargain prices!
The Annual Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Concert is just one of the local celebrations celebrated under the Sunnyside Arch where children can be exposed to culture and art. This concert celebrating the jazz great of the 1920’s who lived on 46th Street kicks off the local Summer Streets program in August. During the summer, locals are treated to concerts and dancing right on 46th street and Queens Boulevard. Kids can also “rent” jump ropes, chalk, and hula hoops during the events. For more information on the Summer Streets program, click here.