BY JOE MARVILLI
While Queens offers its residents so much diversity, culture and history, seeing it all can be a challenge. With so much to do, where should you start? Fortunately, a new walking guide to the Borough should help anyone with this problem.
“Walking Queens: 30 Tours for Discovering the Diverse Communities, Historic Places, and Natural Treasures of New York City’s Largest Borough,” by Adrienne Onofri, offers readers a diverse number of paths to traverse that will let you see the best of the Borough.
The tours are designed to pass near the best of each neighborhood, starting and ending by public transit stops. The book goes over nearly every community in the Borough, from Long Island City to Far Rockaway and from Little Neck to Howard Beach.
Onofri said that she generally came up with the routes by just exploring Queens. While roaming around was a fun step, she said the challenging part was creating out the exact paths she wanted to use for the book.
“On some of the walks, I wanted people to come upon a certain sight early on or definitely before or after another sight on the tour,” she said. “I put a lot of thought into creating each walk so it presents the story of the neighborhood past, present and future. That doesn’t mean readers are seeing things in the order that they were built, but just that the route really paints a vivid picture of the people and events that have shaped the neighborhood over time.”
Another difficulty she ran into was the sheer size and scope of Queens. In order to keep the walks manageable, some sections had to be left out. However, “Walking Queens” includes sidebars on these noteworthy attractions or areas that fall outside of the guide’s paths.
Onofri’s personal favorites have variety that touch on several fields at once.
“I’d say my favorite walks are those with a bit of everything: historic landmarks and nature and pretty residential areas and ethnic culture and local icons or curiosities. Forest Hills, Kew Gardens and Richmond Hill are some of the walks like that,” she said.
The author is well-suited to write a tour book about Queens, as she lives in Elmhurst. Previously, she was a resident of Astoria for 20 years, calling it the “coolest neighborhood in New York City.”
When someone reads “Walking Queens” and goes on one of its tours, Onofri said she hopes that person gets to know the neighborhood itself, rather than the individual places.
“I also hope it will encourage more people to choose Queens for whatever it is they like to do — whether it’s going to a concert or art museum, or playing ball, or walking along the river, or visiting centuries-old buildings, or whatever,” she said.
“Walking Queens” is available at major book retailers.
Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @JoeMarvilli.