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Queens, New York – Historical Sites, Secrets, and Unique Experiences

USA Interstate Highway Sign

New York City is the great, big, shiny beacon of New York. It gets most of the glory when it comes to travelers. Everyone wants to see the Empire State building, Times Square, and Yankee Stadium. But there is a borough that holds historical sites, secrets, and unique experiences. Avoid NYC tourist traps; visit Queens for an amazing taste of New York that won’t break your budget.

HISTORICAL SITES

Fort Totten is a legitimate and well-preserved Civil War fortress. It is a former U.S. Army base turned public park that boasts historic exhibits, the Bayside Historical Society, playing fields, amazing views, walking, swimming, and even canoeing. You can find this must-visit piece of history north of Bayside, on the East River / Long Island Sound.

The Vanderbilt Motor Parkway – aka the Long Island Motor Parkway – was the America’s first road solely used for cars. Some of it still exists in Queens. Oddly enough, it is now a quiet patch of walking/jogging/cycling trail located in Oakland Gardens’ Cunningham Park.

At the terminus of the 7 train in Flushing, Queens, you’ll find the “Flushing Freedom Mile.” It is loaded with historic sites including Friends Meeting House – the oldest house of worship in New York State and the second oldest Quaker meeting house in the nation, and Kingsland Homestead – the only surviving example of 18th century architecture in Flushing.

SECRETS

Combine history and secrets in a single stop…

The Queens Museum is packed with secrets. For example, the building was used as the headquarters for the United Nations General Assembly between 1946-1950. Some of the most monumental decisions in history were made in the building. UNICEF was created and key decisions regarding the partition of Palestine took place inside the walls of this museum.

This is how to order a genuine New York-style slice of pizza…

It’s a right of passage that every tourist and traveler has to experience – the New York-style pizza. Chicago has thick, deep-dish nirvana, but NY has a simple slice of hand-tossed heaven. Each vendor will claim to have the best slice in town, but New Park Pizza in Howard Beach is the place to get the real deal. The local will know to ask for it “well-done” and savor the flavor-packed char with the crispy bits of cheese. The Queens favorite also tosses salt on the pie as it bakes…brilliance.

The best cup of coffee…

Finding a great cup of coffee seems like it’d be easy as every place in the Big Apple boasts being home to the best cup of java. However, a fancy little bodega on the corner of 23rd Ave and 29th Street in Astoria will be hard to beat. The Coffee Pot uses Segafreddo coffee to create coffees, lattes, and cappuccino that will make shopping for toilet paper something to look forward to.

Unique Experiences

The best views of New York, (arguably, of course) are Jamaica Bay and Brooklyn. To be more precise, watch the sunset and get a breath-taking views of the area from the Wharf Bar & Grill’s deck, located in Rockaway. Thrillist.com promises the restaurant, hidden behind a gas station at 416 Beach 116th St. delivers a unique view of New York you’ll never forget.

If you are still up at 4 a.m. hit up Curry Leaves in Flushing. There, you’ll dine with cabbies over a bowl of noodles, and no doubt, hear a few real-life cab confessions. The people are friendly and you’ll never forget this breakfast.