When traveling to New York, make a stop to Flushing, Queens to experience the home base of the Mets through with multicultural cuisine, artsy institutions and artifacts from the 1964 World’s Fair.
Relics from two 20th-century World’s Fairs stand in all their fading glory at Flushing Meadows Corona Park (Grand Central Pkwy., btw 111th St. & College Point Blvd., 718.760.6565). Celebrate the anniversary of the 1964 event by touring the monuments that still remain, including the Unisphere. The park is also home to Citi Field, the New York Hall of Science and the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
According to the 2010 census, more than half of the population of Flushing is Asian, making this area a cultural melting pot. Get a taste of the Chinese influence at tucked-away dumpling houses, such as Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao (38-12 Prince St., at 39th Ave., 718.321.3838), or pick up traditional tea at Ten Ren’s Tea and Ginseng Co. (135-18 Roosevelt Ave., btw Prince & Main sts., 718.461.9305). Indians also make up a significant portion of the community, and there’s no better place to experience their culture than Ganesh Temple (45-57 Bowne St., at Holly Ave., 718.460.8484). This living center of religion welcomes guests, but they should dress conservatively, remove their shoes upon entering and maintain silence while observing the flower-adorned idols. Don’t miss the chance to indulge in authentic South Indian meals at the canteen, located in the basement.
Room with a View
Though not built up with towering skyscrapers, Flushing actually has one of the best views of the city at the Queens Museum (Flushing Meadows Corona Park, 718.592.9700), home to the Panorama of the City of New York. The mesmerizing, 10,000-square-foot structure maps every street, park and building constructed in the five boroughs by 1992, the year of its most recent update. Local kids love trying to find their homes, while visitors gain perspective on just how dense the Big Apple really is. Tip: Bring a laser pointer to help indicate places of interest.
Harlem hosted the jazz movement during the 1920s, but Queens also had a hand in the development of the genre after Louis Armstrong moved to a modest house just outside Flushing in 1943. Jazz lovers can step inside the preserved home and listen to homemade recordings, see his instruments and learn more about the man behind the trumpet at the Louis Armstrong House Museum (34-56 107th St., btw 34th & 37th aves., Corona, 718.478.8274).