By ARIEL HERNANDEZ
This week kicks off the beginning matches of the U.S. Open, the country’s largest tennis tournament, in Flushing Meadows Corona Park at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
Last Friday, the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce launched “Discover Flushing,” a free walking tour that will run during the two weeks of the tournament. The program’s aim is to persuade Queens residents to not only explore Flushing, but also to learn about the history of the bustling community.
The Discover Flushing initiative is part of the chamber’s Flushing Fantastic district marketing campaign to promote local business and encourage people to visit Flushing.
“Everybody knows that the U.S. Open is the country’s biggest and best tennis tournament, but it’s also a great contributor to tourism in Queens,” said Rob MacKay, who is the director of public relations for the Queens Tourism Council. “Thousands of people from all over the world come to our borough to enjoy top-notch sports drama, but they also enjoy our equally top-notch hotels, restaurants and cultural venues. This year, they will be able to take top-notch tours of Flushing, too, with top-notch guides.”
The walking tour will run from Aug. 27 to Sept. 7. Tours will be available from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday through Thursday and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Fridays.
On Fridays, the tour will be led by Joe DiStefano, who is the author of 111 Places in Queens That You Must Not Miss, and will stop at the neighborhood’s best restaurants.
DiStephano said that although thousands of people come to Queens for the tennis match, they typically don’t stop in downtown Flushing, ultimately missing out on all that neighborhood has to offer.
Queens Historian Jack Eichenbaum designed the route and stops based on his lifetime spent in the neighborhood.
“I’m a Flushing native and am excited to have the opportunity to tell visitors to Flushing about the remarkable changes I’ve seen over the last 70 years,” said Eichenbaum.
John Choe, the executive director at the Greater Flushing, said that he doesn’t expect more than 30 attendees per tour and hopes that the pilot program will be a success.
The tour begins at St. George’s Church, located at 135-31 38th Ave., and will focus mostly on the commercial corridors on Main Street, Roosevelt Avenue, Union Street and Northern Boulevard. Space is limited, so the chamber of commerce asks that guests register in advance at flushingfantastic.nyc/tours.
Reach Ariel Hernandez at (718) 357-7400, ext. 144, firstname.lastname@example.org or @reporter_ariel.