By Dave & Deb Bouskill, on February 21, 2014

Open space in Queens

For years, Queens, New York, was one of those places we didn’t know a lot about. Because we aren’t from New York (or even from America, for that matter), our knowledge of Queens came from the TV show, “The Nanny,”

That all changed on a recent visit, when we had the chance to explore New York City in more depth. As part of this trip, we managed to get out of Manhattan and into some of the outer boroughs. As it turns out, Queens surprised and delighted us. Here are a few of our recommendations from our time exploring there.

Nature in the city

What surprised us about staying in Queens was how relaxed it felt. Our accommodation had a view of the Manhattan skyline, but was removed enough to enable us to feel like we were visiting cottage country.  Nearby was Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, one of the most significant bird sanctuaries in the northeastern United States. With boats in the water and people out relaxing on their decks, we felt like we could have been on chilly Lake Michigan as opposed to a short subway ride from one of the largest and busiest city in North America.

The Nature Reserve in Queens

Stroll the beaches

We never expected the beaches of Queens to be so spectacular. Rockaway Beach is actually the largest urban beach in the United States. The boardwalk was washed away during Hurricane Sandy in 2012, but when we visited, It was under construction for renovation and restoration.

Catch a Baseball Game

It’s the all-American pastime: baseball. The New York Mets make their home at Citi Field in Queens. (While the Metropolitans aren’t quite as successful as that other professional New York baseball team (the Yankees), you have a better chance of scooping up a good ticket if you come to Queens. 

Tennis Anyone?

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park is a large green space that is home to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The U.S Open happens on these asphalt courts in late August each year, and is one of the four events that comprise the Grand Slam of tennis. The Tennis Center is open to the public seven days a week.

Viewfinder Tip: Because of the cost of living, stuff in New York costs more than it would elsewhere. Be sure to bring lots of cash.

Flushing Meadows Park 

In addition to Citi Field and the National Tennis Center, the 900-acre Flushing Meadows park has dozens of attractions. This part of New York has hosted not one, but two World’s Fairs! A series of structures–including the iconic Unisphere–remain from the most recent fair, which was held in 1964. The park also boasts gardens, ponds, an aquatic center, and the New York Hall of Science, This science museum is an interactive  learning and technology center; It’s an excellent place to spend the day. If you stick around in the evening during the summer, you even might be able to catch some theater in the park, too. 

The Museum of the Moving Image

If you love movies even remotely as much as we do, you’ll love the Museum of Moving Image. The museum is the only place in the Big Apple dedicated to the art, history, technique, and technology of the moving image in all its forms. It’s an interactive experience that enables visitors to immerse themselves in the movie-making experience. You can even watch classic films there on the weekend.

Queens may not have the flare or fame of Manhattan attractions, but it definitely is a place that’s worth more of your time. It’s hard to believe that this sprawling borough is just a short trip away! 

What’s your favorite borough in New York City, and why?