There are so many places and things to do in Queens that it’s hard to single out those not mentioned elsewhere in this edition. But the Queens Chronicle editors have come up with a few choices to add to your list. These places also help to define Queens and make it the special place that it is.
Of all the museums in the borough, none is more intriguing to us than the Louis Armstrong House in Corona. It’s a real time warp back to the 1960s, when the jazz great lived in this typical Queens house with his wife, Lucille, and entertained neighborhood youngsters on his horn.
It has been lovingly restored and is run by Queens College, which manages the Louis Armstrong Archives. Here you will see where Satchmo kept his numerous awards, his elaborate recording devices, a turquoise kitchen, silver-wallpapered bedroom and marble-laden bathrooms. For information on hours, call 718-478-8274. The house is located at 34-51 107th Street.
If you’re looking for some fun and a historical site as well, be sure to stop off at the Bohemian Hall and beer gardens at 29-01 24th Avenue in Astoria. It is one of the last remaining beer gardens in the city, dating back to a time when lack of air conditioning meant people spent a lot of time outdoors trying to catch a cool breeze.
In the summer months, people who visit here call it a magical place, where you can have a beer, hearty Slovak food and good conversation under the moon and stars. You can actually hear the rustling of leaves on the garden’s trees as they shade and cool you. Be sure to visit during the hall’s annual Czech and Slovak Festival in the summer. There is music, dance and of course the traditional food and drinks.
Can’t wait until summer? Visit the hall’s wood-paneled indoor bar, where the beer and food flow all year. It is a popular place with the hip younger crowd as well as those who have lived in the neighborhood for years.
It’s hard to overlook the Lemon Ice King of Corona as a favorite haunt. Located on 108th Street and 52nd Avenue, the store has been serving the public Italian ices since 1944. Here you will find 29 flavors including licorice, rum raisin, peanut butter and pineapple.
It’s a favorite before and after nearby Mets games and is open year-round. Just don’t ask for a napkin. They don’t provide them.
Just a short walk away in Flushing Meadows Park, is another favorite—the carousel. It and another one in Woodhaven’s Forest Park hark back to a simpler time when the merry-go-round was a rite of passage for all children and their parents.
The one in Woodhaven was built in 1910 by premier American carousel maker Daniel Mueller. It was damaged in a 1960s fire and eventually restored.
The Flushing Meadows carousel was set up for the World’s Fair in 1964 near Meadow Lake in the entertainment area of the fair and is a combination of two carousels from the late 1800s that were originally in Coney Island—the Stubbman and the Fabulous Feltman. It was moved to its current location, near the Queens Zoo, after the fair closed.
Both carousels operate from April to October. The price this year was $1 a ride.
We can’t end this article without mentioning Queens’ premier site—the Unisphere. Located in Flushing Meadows Park and designed for the 1964-65 World’s Fair, this giant steel globe has become Queens’ Statue of Liberty.
It is the first thing many immigrants see before landing at Kennedy Airport. The Unisphere embraces the multicultural elements of the borough and has become a familiar site in commercials and shows.
It has also become a magnet in the park, drawing skateboarders, bicyclists, strollers and the curious to witness this massive undertaking. In the summer, fountains around it are lit up at night. The Unisphere is majestic, and it’s all ours.
If you have a favorite, out-of-the-way or unusual spot in Queens, let us know and we will write about them in a future edition. E-mail your picks to LizR@qchron.com or write to Queens Chronicle, Favorite Places, P.O. Box 74-7769, Rego Park, NY 11374.