by Elissa Garay
Wonderfully diverse Queens—home to the greatest concentration of cultures not just in New York City, but on the planet—has no shortage of fascinating immigrant enclaves and foodie-magnet international eateries to explore. Nor does the borough lack for its arts appeal, harboring cultural heavyweights like MoMA PS1, the Noguchi Museum, and Queens Museum. Still, the borough's obvious, yet under-the-radar, lures have long been reserved for in-the-know locals and adventurous travelers.
Today, Queens is in the midst of a renaissance, due largely to an influx of the city's creative class; long since priced out of Manhattan and even Brooklyn, they're finding a new haven in this more affordable and space-affording borough, bringing with them a fresh wave of hip markets, microbreweries, comedy clubs, and more. Add to the mix a new crop of affordable boutique hotels, reimagined waterfront spaces, and improved cultural institutions, and you'll see why Queens can no longer be overlooked—so put it on your travel radar now.
The ongoing movement to reclaim NYC's waterfront continues in Long Island City. The two-year-old, 5.5-acre Hunters Point South Park, set on the East River, unveiled LIC Landing by COFFEED last year, serving craft beers, wines, specialty coffees, and healthy fare. The venue comes tucked under a solar-paneled pavilion that generates energy for the park, and features an outdoor seating area and events space. Plans are also underway to expand the park with a kayak launch, toddler play area, and a curving, 35-foot-high footpath along riverfront bluffs by 2018.
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