No Passport Needed: Travel the World in Queens, NY

No Passport Needed: Travel the World in Queens, NY

Travel the world through Queens on the 7 line with just a Metrocard!

No Passport, No Problem

It’s no secret that New York City is one of the best cities in the world. Being one of (if not the most) diverse cities in all of the United States, you can find anything your heart desires here. Then, it’s no secret that Queens, being dubbed as the world’s borough is the best borough in NYC (Brooklynites, don’t even start with me!)

Queens is the most ethnically diverse borough in all of New York (and according to the most recent census study, the most diverse county in the whole United States). A proud immigrant community, with 48% being foreign born – Queens also is home to the two major NYC airports LGA and JFK.

Queens has the largest Colombian, Ecuadorian, Mexican, and Peruvian concentration, as well as the largest Asian population (Asian which consists of Chinese, Korean, Indian, Filipino, and Bangladeshi and Pakistani groups) Last but not least, according to the Endangered Language Alliance (ELA), Queens speaks roughly 800 different languages and dialects!

The world in our own backyard

With so many different cultures in Queens, you don’t need to take the AirTrain to JFK and hop on a flight to explore. All you need is a Metrocard and the 7 train to start your journey around the world.

First stop: Flushing, NY

Being the first (or last) stop on the 7 train, what better place to start than Main Street, Flushing. Flushing’s Chinatown is often a better (and cheaper) version of the Manhattan neighborhood, offering delicious and authentic Asian food choices. Make sure you stop by the New World Mall which boasts 26 different food stalls to satisfy your cravings.

Next Stop: Corona, NY

Oh Corona, my hood. I grew up in Corona since I arrived to New York as a baby and boy has it been through a lot of changes! Corona is most known for being the home of Citi Field and Flushing Meadows Park, which also holds the US Open every year. Back in the day, Flushing Meadows also held The World’s Fair, which held exhibits from over 80 nations.

Corona is very diverse in itself, the neighborhood used to be primarily Italian, but now is home to many Ecuadorians, Mexicans, and even Dominicans – let’s just say you can never run out of things to eat here! Let me break it down to you….

Italian: Corona used to be home to an influx of Italian-American families. While those numbers are changing, there are still high quality Italian restaurants and remnants in Corona. The most famous being Parkside Restaurant – across from Spaghetti Park and The Lemon Ice King on 108th Street. Frequented by celebrities and politicians alike, rumor has it Parkside was once a mob hot spot, but you didn’t hear it from me!

Dominican: There have been a number of Latin American restaurants and food trucks popping up around Corona. If you’re in the mood for some delicious Dominican food, try La Cabaña right off of the 7 train at 103rd.

& my favorite….

Ok, I may be biased BUT Corona actually has arguably the best Cuban restaurant in all of NYC – Rincon Criollo!

The only Cuban spot my family will go when Abuela doesn’t want to cook!

Rincon Criollo is definitely the most authentic Cuban food in all of NYC. Don’t let these other places fool you, they may be good, but they have nothing on this little restaurant off of the 7 line at Junction Boulevard.
This restaurant has gotten my Abuela’s seal of approval – and is the ONLY Cuban restaurant my family will frequent when no one feels like cooking. If you think their Cuban sandwiches are good, try their croquetas, rope vieja, rabo encendio, actually – you can’t go wrong here! Fair warning – it is a small spot so be prepared to wait around lunch/dinner times on the weekends!

The Melting Pot: Jackson Heights

Jackson Heights is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Queens! It is the most culturally diverse neighborhood in New York, and home to many LGBTQ movements including Queens Pride. Here, you will find some of the best Colombian, Peruvian, Mexican, Indian, Bangladeshi, and Nepalese restaurants. There are also a few “little’ communities such as Little Pakistan, Little India, and Little Colombia within the same neighborhood.

If you’re looking for somewhere to eat, look no further than 37th Avenue. This large stretch starting in the mid-70’s all the way down to almost 90th street is home to SO MANY restaurants to choose from.

In the mood for Colombian? Try Seba Seba or the 3-4 Pollos Marios in the area. Peruvian – try Don Alex, Urubamba, or a short walk away the infamous Pio Pio on Northern Boulevard. There’s La Uruguaya which has a bakery and restaurant as well, and several sushi spots such as Tomo. Travel down to 74th Street for Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi restaurants and supermarkets.

My personal favorite? I don’t even want to tell you! Okayyyyyy, I will because sharing is caring.

Taqueria Coatzingo is, by far, the best tacos you will ever eat. Thank me later. While their menu is huge, I always end up stuck with their tacos, so much that I’ve often dreamt about them. You can’t go wrong with three tacos de cecina. Again, thank me later!

Just a short walk or train ride to the next stop: Woodside

Woodside is definitely stepping up with restaurants and bars popping up along Roosevelt Avenue. Although there are so many to choose from, I need to highlight one in particular…

Renee’s Kitchenette & Grill

If you’re in the mood for some amazing Filipino food, or if you’ve never even had Filipino food – GO TO RENEE’S!
My first visit was with a Filipino friend – so you know it had to be good. I absolutely positively recommend the Sisig and some garlic rice, and some lumpia, the BBQ pork – you know what – just go crazy! To finish it off order some halo halo for dessert!

Fair warning, with about 10 tables expect a wait – but it is worth it!

Sunnyside:

Sunnyside has changed a lot, and many bars have opened up in the area, there are some great spots (like The Alcove) that cater to almost any taste. If you’re from Queens, especially if you’re Latinx, you probably know about Los Verdes! Famous for their Colombian burgers. If you’re never had a Colombian burger I suggest you go try it now and on an empty stomach, because these burgers are HUGE! Another great and underrated spot is I Love Paraguay, because truth is there aren’t too many famous Paraguayan restaurants around.

Lastly: LIC

Now, the closer we get to the city, you’ll find less culturally diverse, or at least authentic restaurants (here’s looking at you LIC). While Long Island City boasts some top restaurants, that are no doubt delicious – they are far from authentic. However, if you want to feel fancy and pay more than you should, check out Blend and Blend on the Water for some delicious Latin Fusion dishes, or Joya for some delicious and upscale casual Peruvian.

You see, you don’t need a passport to travel far and wide – just an empty stomach! Queens, being the most diverse borough has so much to offer in terms of cultural activities, and they don’t stop at food. If you’re lucky enough to be around in the summer, check out the many parades down Northern Boulevard like the Colombian Independence Parade, Bolivian Parade, the many performances in the Queens Theater in the Park & best of all the Queens Night Market, which runs from April – October. It boasts about 100 vendors selling food and art from all over the world, & just a short walk from the 111th St stop!

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