SmartTRAVEL: Queens, New York City
Sep 01 2014
Take time off from the swashbuckling sights of the US Open and visit some spectacular sites in and around the tennis venues
PS 1 Contemporary Art Centre
Supported by the Museum of Modern Art, this innovative contemporary art museum is in a former public school building. The conversion left most of the original features of the school — the large ex-classrooms are perfect for installations — and the bathrooms are a blast from the past. PS1 is a few blocks south on Jackson Avenue; the entrance is a concrete slab, which occludes view of the school itself.
Museum of the Moving Image
It showcases movies and the televisual arts, including video games, with revolving exhibitions. Kaufman-Astoria Studios (home of the Sesame Street, among others) stands next door; there’s also a gigantic movie theatre, and a nice new 24-hour diner/bar (which serves pitchers of beer) known as Cup. Take the M/R or the N/Q line.
It is a fine stretch of relatively unpolluted sand on a narrow peninsula linked by bridge (bicycle accessible) and the subway to the rest of Queens. It can also be reached by road from Nassau County, Long Island, and by bridge from Brooklyn. Aside from the still-visible Empire State Building, and the frequent planes landing at nearby JFK Airport, it is perhaps the most pastoral experience in New York City.
Where to EAT
Jackson Hole Diner
For that quintessentially American, hamburger fix, head to Jackson Hole Diner along Astoria Blvd, just west of LaGuardia airport. This is a real diner (formerly the Airport Diner as seen in GoodFellas) taken over by New York City only chain, Jackson Hole. Burgers are good. Imagine a half-pound hockey-puck-shaped meatloaf and you’re pretty close.
Where to SHOP
It is a wonderful artisan market that brings locally made products in one central place: the beloved Bohemian Hall in Astoria. The variety is staggering — you’ll find anything from handmade soap to jewellery to purses to kombucha to knives to soup... you get the picture.
THE PICK: Legal Graffiti Zones
Across the street from PS1 is the fascinating 5 Points building, underground New York at its finest. The entire building is sprayed with graffiti art. Just under the 7 train, which runs overhead on 5 Ptz’s north face, is a large enclosure for truck loading, which features some of the best artwork of all.