One of the first things people notice upon visiting New York City's borough of Queens is the sheer diversity of the people residing here, in New York State's second most populous county. For generations people have been coming from nearly every corner of the world and settling in Queens, and these patterns of immigration are very evident in neighborhoods across the borough, in the faces you see on the subway, and in the myriad languages heard on the street. Queens.
With 48% of the population born outside the United States, and being home to people from over 100 different nations, speaking over 138 languages, Queens has been called the world's most ethnically diverse urban area. Though there are numerous bustling neighborhoods in which to experience this mix of many vibrant cultures, some of the areas where the borough's diversity is most apparent include; Astoria, Corona, Elmhurst, Flushing, Jackson Heights, Jamaica, and Richmond Hill.
With a level of cultural diversity unmatched in any other urban on the planet, comes an equally astounding array of culinary diversity. In short, Queens is a great place to eat.
From upscale New American cuisine and fusion restaurants in Long Island City and the trendier parts of Western Queens, to Brazilian Churrasquerias and Middle Eastern Fare in Astoria; from Colombian dinning in Elmhust, to Bengali cuisine in Jackson Heights, to many different styles of Chinese in Flushing, the culinary options in Queens will fill anybody's appetite no matter where in the world their stomach feels like traveling. According to New York Magazine, in just one seven block stretch in Sunnyside, Queens there is a range of "30 cuisines from 27 countries and five continents."
3. Sporting Events
While Yankee Stadium, Barclays Center, and the sports mecca of Madison Square Garden reside in the neighboring boroughs of the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Manhattan respectively, Queens also has a range of stadiums and sporting events to choose from.
For baseball fans, Major League Baseball's New York Mets play their home games between April and September at the five-year old Citi Field Ballpark off the 7 Subway Line in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. For those more intrigued by the most popular racket sport, the US Open, Tennis's final Grand Slam is held each year in late August and early September at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, also located in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.
The park, the former site of the 1939/1940 and 1964/1965 New York Worlds Fairs, is the fourth largest in New York City, a major blessing to the dense, crowded neighborhoods surrounding it, and of particular interest to soccer fans is home to lively fútbol matches during much of the year.
Arial View of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park with the Unisphere and USTA Tennis Center in the foreground and Citi Field and LaGuardia Airport in the Background
4. Museums & Cultural Institutions
Queens is also home to many museums and cultural institutions that draw visitors from the greater New York area and from around the world. Some of the most visited of these destinations include; MoMA Ps1 Contemporary Art Center, the Noguchi Museum, The Louis Armstrong House Museum, New York Hall of Science, and the Queens Museum.
Another important cultural center and reason to head to the vibrant immigrant community of Flushing, Queens is the Hindu Temple Society of North America, the first traditional hindu temple in the United States and a beacon of the Hindu religion across the New York Area. Parts of the temple are open to visitors and there is also a popular vegetarian restaurant located in the basement of the center.
The New York City Panorama at the Queens Museum is one of the city's hidden sightseeing gems, featuring roughly 895,000 buildings, streets, parks and bridges it is the world's largest architectural model.
The New York City Panorma at the Queens Museum
5. The Beach
When most out-of-towners think of New York, they think of the Manhattan tourist destinations, the museums, parks, great buildings, and bustling streets that they know well from previous visits or from portrayals on TV and in movies. However, one quintessential New York destination is far from the the hustle of Midtown and can be both a relaxing and exhilarating place to visit. I'm talking of course about the city's urban beaches. While there are several beaches across New York City, one of the most visited is Queens' own Rockaway Beach, located on the Rockaway Peninsula along the South Shore of Long Island and the Atlantic Ocean.
Rockaway Beach is the largest urban beach in the United States, and together with neighboring Jacob Riis Park, the second most popular beach in the city after Brooklyn's Coney Island. Designed and built in the 1930s the park's amenities were intended to give the city's poor some breathing room and a break from the cramped tenements and crowded city streets, and for people of all walks of life it still serves that purpose today.
Rockaway Beach Boardwalk