Fodor's New York City 2016 - Fodor's (2015)

Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island

Welcome to Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island

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Updated by Josh Rogol

Many tourists miss out on Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island—the three boroughs of New York City other than the biggies, Manhattan and Brooklyn—and that’s a shame. There are some noteworthy restaurants, museums, and attractions, and the subway’s handful of express trains means that they’re closer than you might think.

Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island

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MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR TIME

Queens is rich with museums. An afternoon in Long Island City and Astoria enables you to take in the PS1 Contemporary Art Center, the Museum of the Moving Image, and the Noguchi Museum. Then jump on the 7 train and have dinner in Jackson Heights or Flushing.

It’s easy to spend a full day at either of the Bronx’s treasures: the New York Botanical Garden or the Bronx Zoo. To visit both, start early and plan a late lunch or early dinner in the Arthur Avenue area.

Many tourists’ only sight of Staten Island is during a round-trip ride on the ferry, but the borough also holds unexpected offerings in its small museums and historic villages. Set aside a few hoursto explore Snug Harbor and St. George, or venture deeper into the island for a visit to Historic Richmond Town and the Museum of Tibetan Art.

GETTING HERE

Queens is served by many subway lines. To get to Astoria, take the N or Q train. For Long Island City, take the E, M, G or 7 train. To get to Jackson Heights, take the 7 train to the 74th Street–Broadway stop. You can also take the E, F, M, or R train to Jackson Heights–Roosevelt Avenue.

The Bronx is serviced by the 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, B, and D trains. The attractions in the Bronx are spread out across the borough, though, so you need to take different lines to get where you want to go, and it’s not necessarily convenient to make connections across town. The B, D, and 4 trains all go to Yankee Stadium, and the B and D continue uptown to the vicinity of Arthur Avenue. The 2 and 5 trains take you to the Bronx Zoo and Arthur Avenue.

From the scenic (and free) Staten Island Ferry you can catch a local bus to attractions. Tell the driver where you’re going, and ask about the return schedule.

TOP EXPERIENCES

Ethnic eats in Queens

Catching a game at Yankee Stadium or Citi Field

Taking a free ride on the Staten Island Ferry

CRAFT BEER AND QUICK BITES

Adobe Blues.
Just two blocks from Snug Harbor, this popular joint serves decent Mexican and Southwestern food if you’re looking for something before heading back to Manhattan. | 63 Lafayette Ave., at Fillmore St., New Brighton | 718/720–2583 | Station: S44 Bus from Staten Island Ferry terminal.

SingleCut Beersmiths.
Named for a body style of guitar, this craft brewery has a tap room that also serves food, free tours, and weekly live music. | 19-33 37th St., Astoria | Brewery is slightly less than a mile from subway | 718/606–0788 | www.singlecutbeer.com | Closed Mon.–Wed. | Free tours weekends at 3 and 4 | Station: N, Q to Astoria–Ditmars Blvd.

Taqueria Coatzingo.
Order an al pastor taco and take a seat among the locals in this authentic Mexican taquería. | 7605 Roosevelt Ave., Jackson Heights | 718/424–1977 | Station: 7 to 74th St.–Broadway; E, F, M, R to Jackson Heights–Roosevelt Ave.

White Bear.
The wontons at this tiny hole-in-the-wall are worth the trek to New York’s other Chinatown, in Flushing. Order the No. 6: a dozen wontons with hot sauce for $4.50. | 135-02 Roosevelt Ave. (entrance on Prince St.), Flushing | 718/961–2322 | Closed Wed. | Station: 7 to Flushing–Main St.

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Queens

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Astoria | Long Island City | Jackson Heights | Flushing and Corona

Just for the museums and restaurants alone, a short 15-minute trip from Midtown on the 7, E or M train to Long Island City or a slightly longer ride on the N or Q train to Astoria is truly worth it. In Long Island City, major must-sees are MoMA PS1 and the Noguchi Museum. No trip to Astoria—once nicknamed “Little Athens”—is complete without sampling some of the city’s finest Greekand Mediterranean fare and a stop at the Museum of the Moving Image.

Jackson Heights boasts a diverse cornucopia of culture and cuisine and is home to one of the city’s largest Indian populations. It’s a wonderful place to spend an afternoon browsing shops and dining in one of the many authentic ethnic restaurants.

Tips for Queens Addresses

Addresses in Queens can seem confusing at first. Not only is there 30th Street and 30th Avenue, but also 30th Place and 30th Road, all next to one another. Then there are those hyphenated building numbers. But the system is actually logical. Sequentially numbered avenues run east-to-west, and sequentially numbered streets run north-to-south. If there are any smaller roads between avenues, they have the same number as the nearest avenue and are called roads or drives. Similarly, smaller side roads between streets are called places or lanes. Thus, 30th Place is one block east of 30th Street. Most buildings have two pairs of numbers, separated by a hyphen. The first pair indicates the nearest cross street, and the second gives the location on the block. So 47-10 30th Place is 10 houses away from the corner of 47th Avenue and 30th Place. Logical, right? If this all still seems confusing to you, there’s good news: locals are used to giving directions to visitors.

Top reasons to trek out to Flushing and Corona include seeing a ballgame at the New York Mets’ stadium, Citi Field, spending time at the expansive Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, especially if traveling with kids, and devouring a wide array of Asian dim sum in downtown Flushing’s Chinatown.

Long Island City and Astoria

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ASTORIA

Head to Astoria for authentic Greek restaurants, shops, and grocery stores. Here you can buy kalamata olives and salty sheep’s milk feta from storeowners who can tell you where to go for the best gyro or spinach pie. Taverna Kyclades is well known for its classic Greek seafood dishes that attract diners from all five boroughs, while just a few blocks up the road, SingleCut Beersmiths run free brewery tours and pour some tasty ales and lagers. Astoria, named for John Jacob Astor—America’s first multimillionaire—was the center of Greek immigrant life in New York City for more than 60 years. Today substantial numbers of Arab, Asian, Eastern European, Irish, and Latino immigrants also live in Astoria. The heart of what remains of the Greek community is on Broadway, between 31st and Steinway streets. Thirtieth Avenue is another busy thoroughfare, with almost every kind of food store imaginable. Astoria is also home to the nation’s only museum devoted to the art, technology, and history of film, TV, and digital media. The Museum of the Moving Image has countless hands-on exhibits that allow visitors to edit, direct, and step into favorite movies and television shows.

TOP ATTRACTIONS

Fodor’s Choice | Museum of the Moving Image.
Like switching to a widescreen television, the Museum of the Moving Image is twice as nice as it was before the 2011 expansion and renovation. The Thomas Lesser design includes a three-story addition and a panoramic entrance to this museum full of Hollywood and television memorabilia. Exhibitions range from “Behind the Screen,” which demonstrates how movies are produced and shot, to watching the live editing of Mets baseball games as they happen on SportsNet New York. Classic family films are shown as matinees on Saturday and Sunday, while the museum also has a section devoted to video artists for visitors looking for some culture. Film buffs love the film retrospectives, lectures, and other special programs. | 36-01 35th Ave., at 37th St., Astoria | 718/777–6888 | www.movingimage.us | $12 (free Fri. after 4) | Wed. and Thurs. 10:30–5, Fri. 10:30–8, weekends 11:30–7 | Station: M, R to Steinway St.; N, Q to 36th Ave.

QUICK BITE: The Queens Kickshaw.
Run by a local husband and wife team, the menu at this cozy spot uses fresh, high-quality ingredients in every recipe. Come here for specialty coffee, a vast variety of grilled cheese sandwiches, and craft ales. It’s close to the Museum of the Moving Image. | 40-17 Broadway, at 41st St., Astoria | 718/777–0913 | www.thequeenskickshaw.com | Station: M, R to Steinway St.

LONG ISLAND CITY

Long Island City (LIC) is the outer-borough art capital, with MoMA PS1, which presents experimental and innovative work; the Noguchi Museum, showcasing the work of Japanese American sculptor Isamu Noguchi in a large, peaceful garden and galleries; and the Socrates Sculpture Park.

TOP ATTRACTIONS

Fodor’s Choice | MoMA PS1.
A pioneer in the “alternative-space” movement, PS1 rose from the ruins of an abandoned school in 1976 as a sort of community arts center for the future. MoMA PS1 focuses on the work of currently active experimental and innovative artists. Long-term installations include work by Sol LeWitt, James Turrell, and Pipilotti Rist. Every available corner of the enormous 100-room building is used; discover art not only in galleries but also on the rooftop, in the boiler room, and even in some bathrooms. Also inside the museum is M. Wells Dinette, a café designed to resemble a school classroom, with daily specials listed on the chalkboard and lunch served at your “desk.” On summer Saturdays, MoMA PS1 presents “Warm Up,” an outdoor dance party series that attracts a hip art-school crowd, held in the courtyard noon–9. Similarly, their “Sunday Sessions” are held in the Dome and include various artistic installations, scholarly lectures, and special performances. | 22–25 Jackson Ave., at 46th Ave., Long Island City | 718/784–2084 | www.momaps1.org | $10 suggested donation (free with MoMA entrance ticket, within 14 days of visit); Warm Up $18 in advance, $20 at the door | Thurs.–Mon. noon–6 | M. Wells Dinette closed Tues. and Wed. | Station: 7 to Court Sq.; E, M to Court Sq.–23rd St.; G to 21st St.

The Noguchi Museum.
In 1985 the JapaneseAmerican sculptor Isamu Noguchi (1904–88) transformed this former photo-engraving plant into a place to display his modernist and earlier works. A peaceful central garden is surrounded by gallery buildings, and there are more than 250 pieces in stone, metal, clay, and other materials on display. Temporary exhibits have examined his collaborations with others, such as industrial designer Isamu Kenmochi. The museum is about a mile from subway stops; check the website for complete directions. | 9-01 33rd Rd., at Vernon Blvd., Long Island City | 718/204–7088 | www.noguchi.org | $10 (free 1st Fri. of month) | Wed.–Fri. 10–5, weekends 11–6 | Station: N, Q to Broadway.

WORTH NOTING

SculptureCenter.
Founded by artists in 1928 to exhibit innovative contemporary work, SculptureCenter now occupies a former trolley repair shop renovated by artist Maya Lin and architect David Hotson, not far from MoMA PS1. Indoor and outdoor exhibition spaces sometimes close between shows; call ahead before visiting. | 44-19 Purves St., at Jackson Ave., Long Island City | 718/361–1750 | www.sculpture-center.org | $5 suggested donation | Thurs.–Mon. 11–6 | Station: 7, G to Court Sq.; E, M to Court Sq.–23rd St.; N, Q to Queensboro Plaza.

Socrates Sculpture Park.
In 1986 local artist Mark di Suvero and other residents rallied to transform what had been an abandoned landfill and illegal dump site into this 4½-acre waterfront park devoted to public art. Today a superb view of the East River and Manhattan frames changing exhibitions of contemporary sculptures and multimedia installations. Free public programs include art workshops and an annual outdoor international film series (Wednesday evenings in July and August). Socrates is open 365 days a year, but the best time to visit is during warmer months. Check online for a list of current and upcoming exhibitions. | 32-01 Vernon Blvd., at Broadway, Long Island City | From subway, walk about 8 blocks west on Broadway | 718/956–1819 | www.socratessculpturepark.org | Free | 10 am–sunset | On weekends May–Sept. 12–6 pm, the LIC Art Bus provides free shuttle service between Socrates, the Noguchi Museum, SculptureCenter, and MoMA PS1 | Station: N, Q to Broadway.

JACKSON HEIGHTS

Much more than just a hub for traditional Indian delicacies, Jackson Heights resembles a giant international food court. Even in the diverse borough of Queens, it stands out for being a true multicultural neighborhood. In just a few blocks surrounding the three-way intersection of Roosevelt Avenue, 74th Street, and Broadway are shops and restaurants catering to the area’s strong Tibetan, Bangladeshi, Colombian, Mexican, and Ecuadorian communities. Built as a planned “garden community” in the late 1910s, the area boasts many prewar apartments with elaborate block-long interior gardens as well as English-style homes. Celebs who grew up in the area include Lucy Liu and Gene Simmons. It’s also the birthplace of the board game Scrabble.

QUICK BITE: Kababish.
For freshly baked naan (Indian style flat bread) and grilled kebabs, pop in to this wee New York City eatery. Kababish churns out authentic Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi take-out. Everything is made to order, so consider calling ahead to avoid a wait. | 70-64 Broadway, | 718/565–5131 | Daily 9–5 | Take-out only | Station: 7 to 74th St.–Broadway; E, F, M, R to Jackson Heights–Roosevelt Ave.

FLUSHING AND CORONA

To New Yorkers, making the trip to Flushing usually means catching a baseball game at Citi Field or hunting down the best the Far East has to offer in NYC’s “other” Chinatown. The historic town of Flushing is a microcosm of a larger city, including a bustling downtown area, fantastic restaurants, and the bucolic Flushing Meadows–Corona Park nearby. Flushing may seem like a strange name for a town, but it’s an English adaption of the original (and hard-to-pronounce) Dutch name Vlissingen. The Dutch named it for a favorite port city in the Netherlands.

Next door, quiet Corona could easily be overlooked, but that would be a mistake. Here you find two huge legacies: the music of Satchmo and the cooling simplicity of an Italian Ice.

Flushing and Corona

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TOP ATTRACTIONS

Fodor’s Choice | Citi Field.
Opened in 2009, the Mets’ newest stadium was designed to hark back to Ebbets Field (where the Dodgers played in Brooklyn until 1957), with a brick exterior and plenty of bells and whistles, from a batting cage and Wiffle-ball field to the original giant apple taken from the team’s old residence, Shea Stadium. Even those who aren’t Mets fans but simply love baseball should come to see the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, a soaring multistory entrance and history exhibit dedicated to the Dodgers player who shattered baseball’s color barrier. While here, don’t miss the chance to taste your way through the more-than-fabulous food court behind center field, where you find Shake Shack burgers, Blue Smoke ribs, close to 40 beer varieties at the Big Apple Brews stand, and even lobster rolls and tacos. Though it seats fewer people than Shea by about 15,000, tickets are not hard to come by, especially later in the season. Still feeling nostalgic for the old Shea? Stop by the Mets Hall of Fame & Museum, or pay your respects at the plaque in the parking lot. | 123-01 Roosevelt Ave., 126th St. and Roosevelt Ave., Flushing | 718/507–8499 | newyork.mets.mlb.com | Station: 7 to Mets–Willets Point.

Flushing Meadows–Corona Park.
Standing in the lush grass of this park, you’d never imagine that it was once a swamp and dumping ground. But the gleaming Unisphere (an enormous 140-foot-high steel globe) might tip you off that this 897-acre park was also the site of two World’s Fairs. Take advantage of the park’s barbecue pits and sports fields, but don’t forget that there’s an art museum, petting zoo, golf and minigolf course, and even a model-airplane field. There’s way too much to see here to pack into a day, so aim to hit a few primary spots, noting that while several are clustered together on the northwest side of the park, visitors should be prepared for long peaceful walks in between. The flat grounds are ideal for family biking; rent bikes near the park entrance or Meadow Lake from March to October. Although the park is great in daytime, avoid visiting once it gets dark; there has been some crime in this area. | Between 111th St./Grand Central Pkwy. and Van Wyck Expressway at 44th Ave., Flushing | www.nycgovparks.org/parks/fmcp | Station: 7 to 111th St. or Mets–Willets Point.

New York Hall of Science.
At the northwestern edge of Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, the New York Hall of Science has more than 400 hands-on exhibits that make science a playground for inquisitive minds of all ages. Climb aboard a replica of John Glenn’s space capsule, throw a fastball and investigate its speed, or explore Charles and Ray Eames’s classic Mathematica exhibition. | 47-01 111th St., Flushing | From subway, walk 4 blocks south | 718/699–0005 | www.nysci.org | $11 (free Fri. 2–5 and Sun. 10–11 Sept.–June) | Weekdays 9:30–5, weekends 10–6 | 3-D Theater, Rocket Park Mini Golf, and Science Playground require additional admission fee | Station: 7 to 111th St.

Queens Museum of Art.
Between the zoo and the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park lies the Queens Museum of Art. Don’t miss the astonishing Panorama, a nearly 900,000-building model of NYC made for the 1964 World’s Fair. Many unsuspecting park visitors looking for a bathroom instead find themselves spending hours exploring the intricate structures that replicate every block in the city. There are also rotating exhibitions of contemporary art and a permanent collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany stained glass. The museum recently doubled in size after a major expansion project, which resulted in more exhibitions and education departments, a café, bookstore, and places for children’s activities. There are free guided tours on Sunday afternoons. | Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, New York City Building, Flushing | 718/592–9700718/592–9700 | www.queensmuseum.org | $8 suggested donation | Wed.–Sun. 12–6; call for extended hrs in July and Aug. | Free guided tours Sun. afternoon | Station: 7 to 111th St. or Mets–Willets Point.

Queens Zoo.
Behind the Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park lies the intimate Queens Zoo, whose small scale is especially well-suited to easily tired young visitors. In only 11 acres you find North American animals such as bears, mountain lions, bald eagles, and pudu—the world’s smallest deer. Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome from the 1964 World’s Fair is now the aviary. Across the street is the tri-state’s largest petting zoo. | 53-51 111th St., at 53rd Ave., Flushing | From subway, walk south to park; from bus, walk east to 111th St. | 718/220–5100 | www.queenszoo.com | $8 | Apr.–Oct., weekdays 10–5, weekends and holidays 10–5:30; Nov.–Mar., daily 10–4:30. Last ticket sold 30 mins before closing | Station: 7 to 111th St., Q58 to Corona Ave.

USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
Each August, 700,000 fans come here for the U.S. Open, which claims the title of highest-attended annual sporting event in the world. The rest of the year, the 34 courts (19 outdoor and 12 indoor, all DecoTurf, plus 3 stadium courts) are open to the public for $24–$68 hourly. Make reservations up to two days in advance. | Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, Flushing | 718/760–6200 | www.ntc.usta.com | Daily 6 am–midnight; closed major holidays and 1 month around U.S. Open | Station: 7 to Mets–Willets Point.

WORTH NOTING

Louis Armstrong House Museum.
For the last 28 years of his life the famed jazz musician lived in this modest three-story house in Corona with his wife Lucille. Take a 40-minute guided tour, and note the difference between the rooms vividly decorated by Lucille in charming midcentury style and Louis’s dark den, cluttered with phonographs and reel-to-reel tape recorders. Although photographs and family mementos throughout the house impart knowledge about Satchmo’s life, it’s in his den that you really begin to understand his spirit. | 34-56 107th St., at 37th Ave., | 718/478–8274 | www.louisarmstronghouse.org | $10, includes guided house tour | Tues.–Fri. 10–5, weekends 12–5; tours hourly (last tour at 4 pm) | Station: 7 to 103rd St.–Corona Plaza.

Queens Botanical Garden.
Adjacent to Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, these 39 acres include rose and herb gardens, an arboretum, and plantings especially designed to attract bees and birds. An environmentally friendly visitor center uses solar energy and recycles rainwater. | Queens Botanical Garden, 43–50 Main St., Flushing | 718/886–3800 | www.queensbotanical.org | $4 (Free Wed. 3-6 and Sun. 4-6; Free Nov.–Mar.) | Apr.–Oct., Tues.–Sun. 8–6; Nov.–Mar., Tues.–Sun. 8–4:30 | Station: 7 train or LIRR (Port Washington line) to Main St.–Flushing; Q44 or Q20 bus.

QUICK BITES: Lemon Ice King of Corona.
If you’re looking for an authentic Queens experience, there are few as true as eating an Italian ice from the Lemon Ice King of Corona on a hot summer day. There are no seats and the service can often be gruff at this neighborhood institution of more than 60 years, but none of that matters after your first taste. And yes, there are plenty of flavors other than lemon. | 52-02 108th St., at 52nd Ave., | 718/699–5133 | www.thelemonicekingofcorona.com | Daily 11–8 | Station: 7 to 111th St.

New Park Pizza.
$ | ITALIAN | Conveniently located just off the Belt Parkway in Howard Beach, this is the ideal pit stop on the way to JFK Airport or the Rockaways. Firing up pies in their brick oven since 1956, New Park Pizza dishes out some of the best slices in Queens. | Average main: | 156-71 Cross Bay Blvd, | 718/641-3082 | newparkpizza.com | Daily 11 am-12:30 am | No credit cards | Station: A to Howard Beach-JFK Airport.

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The Bronx

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Whether you’re relaxing at a ballgame, indulging in fresh mozzarella and cannoli on Arthur Avenue, or scoping out exotic species at the zoo, there’s plenty of fun to be had here. Named for the area’s first documented Europen settler Jonas Bronck, the Bronx is often the city’s most misunderstood borough. Its reputation as a gritty, down-and-out place is a little outdated, and there’s lots of beauty if you know where to look. There is more parkland in the Bronx than in any other borough, as well as one of the world’s finest botanical collections, the largest metropolitan zoo in the country, and, of course, Yankee Stadium.

The Bronx

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TOP ATTRACTIONS

Fodor’s Choice | The Bronx Zoo.
When it opened its gates in 1899, the Bronx Zoo had only 843 animals. But today, with 250 acres and more than 4,000 animals (of more than 650 species), it’s the largest metropolitan zoo in the United States. Get up close and personal with exotic creatures in outdoor settings that re-create natural habitats; you’re often separated from them by no more than a moat or wall of glass. Don’t miss the Congo Gorilla Forest, a 6½-acre re-creation of a lush African rain forest with two troops of lowland gorillas, as well as white-bearded DeBrazza’s monkeys, okapis, and red river hogs. At Tiger Mountain an open viewing shelter lets you get incredibly close to Siberian tigers, who frolic in a pool, lounge outside (even in cold weather), and enjoy daily “enrichment sessions” with keepers. As the big cats are often napping at midday, aim to visit in the morning or evening. In the $62 million exhibit Madagascar!, the formality of the old Lion House has been replaced with a verdant re-creation of one of the most threatened natural habitats in the world. Here you see adorable lemurs and far-from-adorable hissing cockroaches.

Go on a minisafari via the Wild Asia Monorail, May through October, weather permitting. As you wend your way through the forest, see Asian elephants, Indo-Chinese tigers, Indian rhinoceroses, gaur (the world’s largest cattle), Mongolian wild horses, and several deer and antelope species. Try to visit the most popular exhibits, such as Congo Gorilla Forest, early to avoid lines later in the day. In winter the outdoor exhibitions have fewer animals on view, but there are also fewer crowds, and plenty of indoor exhibits to savor. Also note that there is an extra charge for some exhibits. If you want to see everything, you’ll save money by purchasing the Total Experience ticket. | 2300 Southern Blvd., near 187th St., | 718/220–5100 | www.bronxzoo.com | General admission $16.95–$19.95 (extra charge for some exhibits); Total Experience $23.95–$33.95; free entry Wed. ($15 suggested donation). Parking: $15 cars, $18 buses | Apr.–Oct., weekdays 10–5, weekends and holidays 10–5:30; Nov.–Mar., daily 10–4:30 Last ticket sold 30 mins before closing | Check website for seasonal discounts available when purchasing tickets online | Station: 2, 5 to West Farms Sq.–E. Tremont Ave., then walk 2 blocks up Boston Rd. to Asia entrance; 2, 5 to Pelham Pkwy. or BxM11 express bus to Bronx River entrance. Metro-North (Harlem line) to Fordham, then Bx9 bus to 183rd St. and Southern Blvd.

Fodor’s Choice | The New York Botanical Garden.
Considered one of the leading botany centers in the world, this 250-acre garden is one of the best reasons to make a trip to the Bronx. Built around the dramatic gorge of the Bronx River, the Garden is home to lush indoor and outdoor gardens and acres of natural forest, and offers classes, concerts, and special exhibits. Be astounded by the captivating fragrance of the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden’s 4,000 plants of more than 650 varieties; see intricate orchids that look like the stuff of science fiction; relax in the quiet of the forest or the calm of the Conservatory; or take a jaunt through the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden: a 12-acre, indoor-outdoor museum with a boulder maze, giant animal topiaries, and a plant discovery center.

The Garden’s roses bloom in June and September, but there’s plenty to see year-round. The Victorian-style Enid A. Haupt Conservatory houses re-creations of misty tropical rain forests and arid African and North American deserts, as well as exhibitions such as the annual Holiday Train Show and Orchid Show. The All-Garden Pass ($20–$28) gives you access to the Conservatory, Rock Garden, Native Plant Garden, Tram Tour, Everett Children’s Adventure Garden, and exhibits in the library.

The most direct way to the Garden is via Metro-North Railroad (www.mta.info/mnr) from Grand Central Terminal (Harlem Local Line, Botanical Garden stop). Round-trip tickets are $12.50–$16.50, depending on time of day. A cheaper alternative is to take the B, D or 4 train to Bedford Park Boulevard, then walk southeast. | 2900 Southern Blvd., | 718/817–8700 | www.nybg.org | Grounds only $13 (free Sat. 9–10 and all day Wed.); All-Garden Pass $20 ($28 during special events). Parking $12 weekdays, $15 weekends and during special events | Tues.–Sun. 10–6 (mid-Jan.–Feb. 10–5); some holiday Mon. 10–6 (check online) | Station: B, D to Bedford Park Blvd.; 4 to Bedford Park Blvd.–Lehman College; then walk about 8 blocks downhill to the Garden (or take the Bx26 bus). Metro-North (Harlem local line) to Botanical Garden.

Fodor’s Choice | Yankee Stadium.
Fans are still nostalgic for the original, legendary Yankee Stadium, which saw its last season in 2008. The new $1.5 billion Yankee Stadium, however—right across the street from “the House that Ruth Built”—got off to a good start, with the Yankees winning the World Series in its inaugural year. Tickets can be pricey, but the experience is like watching baseball in a modern-day coliseum. It’s incredibly opulent and over-the-top: a traditional white frieze adorns the stadium’s top; inside, limestone-and-marble hallways are lined with photos of past Yankee greats; lower-level seats have cushions, cup holders, and easy accessto a boffo meatery, NYY Steak. Like the team, amenities don’t come cheap. History buffs and hardcore fans should visit the Yankees Museum and Monument Park (closes 45 minutes prior to first pitch), with plaques of past Yankee legends, by center field—it survived from its original left-field location at the old stadium. Aside from the subway, you can also get here by taking Metro-North to the Yankees–E. 153rd Street Station. | 1 E. 161st St., at River Ave., | 718/293–6000 | newyork.yankees.mlb.com | Station: 4, B, D to 161st St.–Yankee Stadium; Metro-North (Hudson line) to Yankees–E. 153rd St.

WORTH NOTING

Arthur Avenue (Belmont).
Manhattan’s Little Italy is sadly overrun with mediocre restaurants aimed at tourists, but Belmont, the Little Italy of the Bronx, is a real, thriving Italian-American community. Unless you have family in the area, the main reason to come here is for the food: eating it, buying it, or looking at it fondly through windows. A secondary(but just as important) reason is chatting with shopkeepers so you can steal their recipes.

Nearly a century after pushcarts on Arthur Avenue catered to ItalianAmerican workers constructing the zoo and Botanical Garden, the area teems with meat markets, bakeries, and cheese makers. There are long debates about which store or restaurant is the “best,” but thanks to generations of Italian grandmothers, vendors here don’t dare serve anything less than superfresh, handmade foods.

Although the area is no longer solely Italian—many Latinos and Albanians share this neighborhood now—Italians dominate the food scene. The covered Arthur Avenue Retail Market is a terrific starting point. It houses more than a dozen vendors. Regulars mostly shop on Saturday afternoon; many stores are shuttered on Sunday and after 6 pm. | Arthur Ave. between Crescent Ave./184th St. and 188th St., and 187th St. between Lorillard Pl. and Hughes Ave., Belmont | www.arthuravenuebronx.com | Station: 4, B, D to Fordham Rd., then Bx12 bus east; 2, 5 to Pelham Pkwy., then Bx12 bus west. Metro-North (Harlem local line) to Fordham, then 15-min walk.

OFF THE BEATEN PATH: Wave Hill.
Drawn by stunning views of the Hudson River and New Jersey’s dramatic Palisades, 19th-century Manhattan millionaires built summer homes in the Bronx suburb of Riverdale. One of the most magnificent, Wave Hill, is now a 28-acre public garden and cultural center that attracts green thumbs from all over the world. Along with exquisite gardens, grand beech and oak trees tower above wide lawns, while an elegant pergola overlooks the majestic river view, and benches on curving pathways provide quiet respite. Wave Hill House (1843) and Glyndor House (1927) now host art exhibitions, Sunday concerts, and gardening workshops. Even England’s Queen Mother stayed here during a visit. It’s worth the schlep. | Independence Ave., at W. 249th St., Riverdale | 718/549–3200 | www.wavehill.org | $8 (free Tues. and Sat. 9–noon) | Mid-Mar.–Oct., Tues.–Sun. 9–5:30; Nov.–mid-Mar., Tues.–Sun. 9–4:30; closed Mon. except holidays. Free garden tours Sun. at 2 | On-site parking $8 | Station: 1 to Van Cortlandt Park–242nd St. (free hourly shuttle service between 9:10 am and 3:10 pm); 1 to 231st St., then Bx7 or Bx10 bus to 252nd St. and Riverdale Ave.; A to Inwood–207th St., then Bx7 or Bx20 bus to W. 252nd St. Metro-North (Hudson line) to Riverdale (free hourly shuttle service between 9:45 am and 3:45 pm).

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Staten Island

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A free 25-minute ferry voyage from the southern tip of Manhattan to Staten Island provides one of the city’s best views of the Statue of Liberty and the downtown Manhattan skyline. Upon arrival, it’s hard to miss the Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George, the home of the Staten Island Yankees, where minor leaguers in pinstripes affectionately known as “baby bombers” dream of one day playing in the Bronx. When venturing beyond the borough’s northernmost tip, you will find that Staten Island is full of surprises. Along with suburban sprawl, there are wonderful small museums, including a premier collection of Tibetan art; walkable woodlands; and a historic village replicating New York’s rural past. From the ferry terminal, grab an S40 bus to the Snug Harbor Cultural Center (about 10 minutes) or take the S74 and combine visits to the Tibetan Museum and Historic Richmond Town.

Legally part of New York City since 1898, Staten Island is in many ways a world apart. The “Forgotten Borough,” as some locals refer to it, is geographically more separate, less populous, politically more conservative, and ethnically more homogeneous than the rest of the city.

Staten Island

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TOP ATTRACTIONS

Fodor’s Choice | Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden.
Once part of a sprawling farm, this 83-acre community is now a popular spot to see maritime art, frolic in the Children’s Museum (www.sichildrensmuseum.org), or take a stroll through lush gardens.

Made up of 26 mostly restored historic buildings, Snug Harbor’s center is a row of mid-19th-century Greek Revival temples. Main Hall—the oldest building on the property—is home to the Eleanor Proske Visitors Center ($5, including Newhouse Center), which has exhibits on art and Snug Harbor’s history. The adjacent Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art (718/425–3524$5, includes visitor center) shows multidisciplinary videos, mixed media, and performances. Next door at the Noble Maritime Collection (718/447–6490www.noblemaritime.orgsuggested donation) an old seamen’s dormitory is now a museum of ocean-inspired artwork.

From the Staten Island Ferry terminal, take the S40 bus 2 miles (about seven minutes) to the Snug Harbor Road stop. Otherwise grab a car service at the ferry terminal (the ride should cost $5–$8.) | 1000 Richmond Terr., between Snug Harbor Rd. and Tysen St., | 718/425–3504 | www.snug-harbor.org | Grounds and gardens free; $5 New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden, $5 art galleries, $8 Chinese Scholar’s Garden and gallery combo ticket; $6 Children’s Museum | Grounds and Botanical Gardens daily dawn–dusk; Chinese Scholar’s Garden Tues.–Sun. 10–4; visitor center and galleries Tues.–Sun. 10–5; Noble Maritime Thurs.–Sun. 1–5 or by appt.; Children’s Museum school days noon–5, summer, weekends, and holidays 10–5. Check website for more info | Packing a picnic is recommended.

Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art.
At the top of a hill sits this replica of a Tibetan monastery containing one of the largest collections of Tibetan and Himalayan sculpture, paintings, and artifacts outside Tibet. Meditate with visiting Buddhist monks, or just enjoy the peaceful views from the terraced garden. | 338 Lighthouse Ave., | 718/987–3500 | www.tibetanmuseum.org | $6 | Apr.–Dec. 22, Wed.–Sun. 1–5; Feb.–Mar., Fri.–Sun. 1–5; Jan., by appt. only | Station: S74 bus to Lighthouse Ave. (30- to 45-min ride from Ferry Terminal) and walk uphill 15 mins.

WORTH NOTING

Historic Richmond Town.
Think of a small-scale version of Virginia’s Colonial Williamsburg (the polar opposite of Brooklyn’s scene-y Williamsburg), and you’ll understand the appeal of Richmond Town. This 100-acre village, constructed from 1695 to the 19th century, was the site of Staten Island’s original county seat. Fifteen of the site’s 27 historic buildings are open to the public; more than $12 million has been raised for ongoing renovations to many of the structures. Highlights include the Gothic Revival Courthouse, the one-room General Store, and the Voorlezer’s House, one of the oldest buildings on the site. It served as a residence, place of worship, and elementary school. Also on-site is the Staten Island Historical Society Museum, built in 1848 as the second county clerk’s and surrogate’s office, which now houses Staten Island artifacts plus changing exhibits about the island. Audio tours are free with admission.

You may see staff in period dress demonstrate Early American crafts and trades such as tinsmithing or basket making, though the general era meant to be re-created is 1820–1860. December brings a monthlong Christmas celebration. Take the S74–Richmond Road bus (30–45 minutes) or a car service (about $25) from the ferry terminal. | 441 Clarke Ave., | 718/351–1611 | www.historicrichmondtown.org | $8 (free Fri.) | Wed.–Sun. 1–5; guided tours Wed.–Fri. at 2:30, weekends at 2 and 3:30 | Free parking; if visiting from Midtown by public transportation, expect about 90 mins of travel time each way | Station: S74 bus to St. Patrick’s Pl.