The Chinese Year of the Horse has arrived. One of the best places to celebrate is among the Chinese community in Flushing, Queens, a quick hop from Manhattan on the 7 train. One of the three largest Asian communities in New York City, along with Sunset Park (Brooklyn) and Chinatown (Manhattan), Flushing will embrace the Lunar New Year with their annual Lunar New Year Parade, starting at 10am on Saturday, February 8. Join the crowds enjoying dragon dancers, steel drummers and fireworks. People line the route which begins at Union Street and 37th Ave. and ends near Main St. and 39th Ave. Viewing stands are placed at Flushing Library (Main and Kissena streets) and at the parade’s end. For more information about the parade, Queens, and other NYC neighborhoods, NYC & Co. provides information through its Neighborhood x Neighborhood site, nycgo.com/neighborhoods.
What to do after the parade:
Flushing is a lot more than LaGuardia airport.
Go shopping at The Shops at Queens Crossing, sampling dim sum and bubble tea in-between store visits. (Main Street and 39th Ave., http://www.queenscrossing.com/index.php/shopping)
Eat, eat, eat – Joe’s Shanghai (136-21 37th Ave, http://www.joeshanghairestaurants.com/flushingstore_eng.html) still has, in my humble opinion, the best soup dumplings in New York City. The no-reservations policy guarantees a wait, but it’s usually fairly quick. Cash only. Save room for dessert at Tai Pan Bakery (37-25 Main Street, www.taipanbakeryonline.com) – just point to what you might like to try and explore. Spicy & Tasty (39-07 Prince St., spicyandtasty.com/) is rated as one of the most authentic and least inexpensive restaurants in Flushing. I suggest that you bring a large group so you can try a variety of dishes, from tame to killer Szechuan hot.
Bring the kids – the New York Hall of Science (47-01 111th St., Corona, nysci.org) is a favorite for hands-on exploration, as is the newly renovated Queens Museum of Art (www.queensmuseum.org/) with its mammoth panorama of New York City. If the weather isn’t too chilly, you can also walk through the Queens Botanical Garden (43-50 Main St., Flushing, www.queensbotanical.org/) for a taste of winter vegetation (and a beautiful park setting). For more outdoor fun, Flushing Meadow Park is always a favorite with its imposing remnant of the 1964 World’s Fair, the Unisphere.
History and the Arts – The Voelker Orth Museum (14919 38th Ave., www.vomuseum.org/) is an 18th-century house and museum, bird sanctuary and Victorian garden. Another landmark home, the Kingsland Homestead, depicts farmhouse life of the 18th century and also houses the Queens Historical Society (http://queenshistoricalsociety.org/).
Feel like making a “getaway” of it? Several neighborhood hotels area available including the Hotel de Point in College Point (http://www.hoteldepoint.com/), a contemporary property with eco-friendly amenities, and The Parc Hotel in Flushing (http://www.theparchotel.com), an upscale boutique hotel which opens in March. More choices lie closer to LaGuardia Airport.