There are many reasons why Queens is unique.
Some might argue that there are 138 reasons why the county—often referred to as the “world’s borough”—is special, since that is the number of languages spoken in Queens. Others might argue that there are 1.06 million ways in which Queens is unique, since that is the number of immigrants who live in our diverse borough.
Those who have visited all of the borough’s neighborhoods might believe that there are approximately 60 reasons why Queens is special, while some might pinpoint that number at 62—that is, if they have visited every branch of the Queens Library.
For the 48th anniversary of the Queens Tribune, we are celebrating 48 things that make Queens unique—from museums and houses of worship to a holiday parade that ranks as the nation’s largest and a sweet shop that is often cited as one of the best in the United States. In our special section edition, you’ll find some familiar spots—Citi Field and the Museum of the Moving Image—as well as some-lesser known, offbeat places.
“Queens is a character, an attitude,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “You don’t really know New York until you’ve experienced Queens.”
Katz noted that, at 108 square miles, Queens is the largest borough and that its residents hail from more than 190 countries.
“We’re world renowned for being a destination for foodies and offering authentic cuisines from every corner of the globe,” Katz said. “We are the place to be. Folks want to visit here, stay here, make their money here, build their futures here. Yet, we are still a borough of families in every sense of the word.”
Katz noted that the borough was once home to such legends as Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Count Bassie, John Coltrane and Fats Waller. But other entertainers who were born in the borough include Tony Bennett, Cyndi Lauper, Christopher Walken, 50 Cent, LL Cool J, Susan Sarandon, Martin Scorsese and Art Garfunkel.
Queens is also the final resting place for famed magician Harry Houdini—whose tomb can be found in Machpaleh Cemetery with a memorial from the Society of American Magicians—and the place where the Flushing Remonstrance—which is considered a precursor to the U.S. Constitution’s provision on freedom of religion in the Bill of Rights—was signed. And in 1947, the United Nations—at that time housed in the Queens Museum—voted in the borough to establish the State of Israel.
In 2015, internationally renowned travel media company Lonely Planet selected Queens as the best tourist spot in the United States.
“We offer the best surfing on the Eastern Seaboard, the best tennis in the world, the busiest mall per capita in the United States and the next World Series champions,” said Rob MacKay, director of public relations, marketing and tourism for the Queens Economic Development Corporation. “But we are also a borough of unique residential neighborhoods. Long Island City is our fastest-growing urban center, bustling with energy that includes new parks, shops, luxury apartment buildings, comedy clubs and restaurants. One of the country’s most historical districts, Flushing has opened its arms to immigrants since the 1600s and still does so today as New York City’s largest Asian business and residential community. Jamaica is a multicultural crossroads, where recreational, entertainment and shopping opportunities mix happily.
Every area has its charm.”
There are clearly more than 48 reasons why Queens is a unique and special place to live, work and visit. But in honor of the Queens Tribune’s 48th anniversary edition, we’ve selected 48 places to see or things to experience in the borough.
We hope you enjoy our anniversary edition and we look forward to covering the borough’s neighborhoods for another 48 years—and more.