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Queens, NY is the biggest borough in New York City and has the second largest population in New York City (behind Brooklyn). Of all the people that live in Queens, almost half are from somewhere else. That means this county is incredibly diverse, varied and colorful.
With so many different people come a plethora of options available to the after-5 crowd (and believe me: there are a lot of them in Queens!). If you are in New York City for work, you’re bound to find something to do.
You can get to Queens by taking any number of subways. The A, E, F, G, M, N, R, W, and 7 can take you to a wonderland of variety whether you want drinks, food and/or a place to relax.
So, because this borough is so damn big, it can be very overwhelming deciding on a place to go.
I have to recommend my ‘hood first and foremost:
Astoria is packed with food that is Greek, Egyptian and everything in between. I think this area is a great place for a young couple looking for a cheap date that will give them huge portions and not bum-rush them out of the restaurant.
I love walking along Ditmars Blvd. and picking a bar to go into for a happy hour (The Ditty – open 4pm-4am- is great, as well as Jack Jones – open 2pm – 4am). Then, I might head over to Taverna Kyclades (open 12pm- 11pm) for a massive Greek seafood dinner because that food is heaven.
After I’m ready to roll myself home, I’ll take a walk down to the East River at Astoria Park and take in a fantastic view of the city.
This is a massive immigrant community that is teeming with life, delicious smells, and lip-smackingly good food. You want Chinese? You came to the right place.
I’m a huge fan of soup dumplings and Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao (open 8am- 12am) is a damn good restaurant to get your chopsticks on them (just get there early because that place fills up!). It’s cash only and I’ve never had a bad dish there.
Walking over to the Ganesh Hindu temple (open 8am-9pm) is another good way to walk off a few of the calories and gives you a chance to see the oldest Hindu temple in the USA where they constantly have events happening throughout the year.
Long Island City is a boom-town at the moment. There are high-rises going up faster than spring daisies. That said, one of my favorite speak-easies in the city is there.
Dutch Kills Bar (open 5pm- 3am) looks like a seedy little watering hole from the outside, but if you go in you’ll get smacked with a prohibition-era, jazz-age bar that’s a riot. The cocktails are awesome.
There are plenty of diners in LIC that are old-school as well. Go and get yourself a burger and fries with a milkshake.
Want Indian food? Nepalese? Tibetan? You came to the right place. The air is thick with the smell of curry and the clothing shops are stuffed with sparkling saris, bangles, and headdresses that’ll make your jaw drop.
I love this area. It’s a great neighborhood to walk around in because it is so unapologetically itself. Right off the 7 train, it’s a cluster of so many different people jostling, moving, yelling and eating around each other. I think this is where the “real” New York City lives and I love to witness it.
No McDonalds here, folks. This is like grandma’s cooking gone store-front.
I’d recommend going into Jackson Diner (open 11am – 10pm) – they have an all-you-can-eat lunch and dinner Indian food buffet that is very reasonably priced.
Gantry Plaza State Park
Located on the banks of the East River, Gantry (open 8am – 10pm) has some wicked views of New York City’s East side. It’s a beautiful place to go for sunset because there are very few tourists, it’s got a ton of benches to sit on, and a lovely boardwalk to stroll along that has a similar vibe to the High Line Park – just without the masses.
This park is free and open to the public.
Queens is cool. I mean, people talk about going to Brooklyn (and that’s fine), but Queens isn’t done being its old authentic self – not by a long shot.
New York City is fast paced and huge but the food here can be fantastic, especially in Queens but also all over the city.
Queens has nothing to prove. You can still find a ton of mom-and-pop shops, diners, old-school bakeries and restaurants, and family-owned stores. I think this is where globalization has come and hit a wall. In a city that created and reinvents what is fashionable – Queens is home to what is the fundamental bedrock to NYC: it’s diversity.
Visiting New York City and looking for after work adventures?
- Head 10 minutes outside the city with Hoboken After Five
- Explore Manhattan in New York After Five
- Enjoy Broadway and Time’s Square in New York’s Midtown After Five
- Go further south to New York’s Financial District After Five
- Take a trip to New York’s capital in Albany After Five