An Off-The-Beaten-Path Guide to Queens, New York City
Fraggle Rock posed gallery photo. Jim Henson with the Fraggle Five (Gobo, Red, Mokey, Wembley, Boober).
Sure, you’ve rooted for the home team at Citi Field and partied with artists at MoMA PS1, but there’s more to Queens than dugouts and DJs. From unlikely foodie destinations to unique outdoor experiences, New York City’s biggest borough boasts plenty of under-the-radar attractions. Here’s our guide to the road less traveled in Queens, New York.
Temple Entrance on Bowne St., | courtesy of The Hindu Temple Society of North America
For 40 years, Ganesh Templehas served the Queens community, regardless of religion. Brought to you by the non-profit Hindu Temple Society of North America, the temple offers daily poojas and special services to its religious visitors and awe-inspiring architecture and decor to all.
As any in-the-know New Yorker can tell you, the stores at The Golden Shopping Mall are not its main attractions. The real draw of this Flushing establishment is its basement (bear with us), where countless food stalls cram in to delight hungry locals. Adventurous appetites are sure to savor the destination’s lamb burgers, bone marrow soup, and Chinese-style snails.
Home to renowned venue Citi Field, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park may not strike you as being an under-the-radar attraction. However, off the field, not much is known about this Queens green space, which boasts more than just ball games. A U.S. Open-approved tennis stadium, several golf courses, a science museum and Queens Botanical Garden all call this park home.
A Civil War-era fort-turned-public park, Fort Trotten Park offers one of the city’s more unique outdoor experiences. Visitors are free to explore the former officers’ quarters, hospital and laboratories, which lie in ruins after being abandoned in the 1970s. To top off the already unforgettable destination, the park is also home to a gorgeous neo-Gothic building known as the Castle, a pool, and superior bird-watching.
With curious exhibitions like DOLLS VS. DICTATORS and The GIF Elevator, Queens’ Museum of the Moving Image is an institution for a new generation. As the only American museum dedicated to the moving image, this establishment breaks new ground by treating electronic materials with the same respect as their tangible counterparts. Through ‘highly interactive’ exhibitions, discussions and online projects, the Museum is changing the way audiences think about art.
Nowhere is New York City’s celebrated diversity more apparent than in Flushing, Queens. Tour the world without ever leaving the city in this neighborhood, home to numerous ethnic groups, vibrant cultural celebrations and what many consider to be the city’s superior Chinatown.
Nearly five acres of landfill form the base of Queens’ Socrates Sculpture Park, lending an urban edge to the waterfront green space. Happily for local park-lovers, this attraction is all treasure and no trash. Offering free fitness classes, open-air film screenings, art installations and picturesque plant life, there’s plenty to absorb at Socrates Sculpture Park.
Think gardening’s got no edge? The down-and-dirty farmers at Smiling Hogshead Ranch invite you to think otherwise. Boasting some questionable beginnings, this volunteer-run urban farm started off as a ‘guerilla garden’ whose founders occupied its land without permission. Situated on an abandoned Long Island Rail Road rail spur, the garden – which is named after the old pig skeleton discovered on the site – brings an urban edge to a classic country pastime.
Witness the final resting place of a 20th-century icon, who maintains a magical air of mystery even in death. Gone but certainly not forgotten, escape artist Harry Houdini has continued to inspire curiosity since his death on Halloween of 1926. Today, the illusionist’s grave is a popular spot for seances, secretive ceremonies by magician societies and visitors hoping to catch the greatest escape act in Houdini’s history.