|A street scene in downtown Flushing, Queens, also the final stop on the No. 7 train.|
Ride the 7 train or ‘International Express’ to experience the multiculturalism of Queens.
If you want to experience New York for the true melting pot that it is, there’s no better place to live or visit than the borough of Queens. What’s more, living along the No. 7 train – also called the ‘International Express’ – provides a relatively quick and easy ride to Midtown Manhattan, a wealth of unique dining options, not to mention lower apartment prices than you’ll find across the river.
Voted the best subway line in New York City, the 7 is one of the cleanest trains in the five boroughs. I might mention that most of the 7 is above ground. (Who doesn’t like riding on elevated tracks instead of beneath city streets in the dark, dingy, tunnels?)
The No. 7 or International Express travels through a selection of the borough’s most ethnically diverse neighborhoods where you’ll discover just about any cuisine you’re craving, and hear locals speak more than 100 languages (according to a US census).
Below, an overview of the neighborhoods you’ll pass through when riding the No. 7 train.
Long Island City, Queens
Stops: Vernon Blvd, Hunters Point Ave, Court Square, Queensboro Plaza
Known for: Silvercup Studios, Isamu Noguchi Museum, MoMA PS1, prominent arts community
Vibe: Industrial but becoming more residential with soaring towers, artsy but has ongoing gentrification
Where to dine: Casa Enrique, Il Falco, Hibino
Where to drink: Corner Bistro, Dutch Kills, Domaine Bar A Vins
Fun fact: Was home to 5Pointz, the world-renowned graffiti-covered building with artist studios that was demolished in 2013.
Stops: 33rd Street/Rawson Street, 40th Street/Lowery Street, and 46th Street/Bliss Street
Known for: The Sunnyside Gardens Historic District, one of the first planned communities in the US
Vibe: Small-town, friendly with residents from Latin America, Asia, Italy, Greece, Romania, and more
Where to eat: Venturo Osteria & Wine Bar, The Alcove, Cemitas El Tigre
Where to drink: Maggy Mae’s Bar, The Courtyard Ale House
Fun fact: Remember all of those charming street scenes in the film Raising Helen? Those were shot in Sunnyside.
Stops: 61st St and 69th St
Known for: Culturally diverse restaurant scene, Little Manila, a stretch of Filipino-owned businesses, hosting the LGBT St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Vibe: Small town/working class – Irish influence, and in recent years, more South Asian and Latin influence
Where to eat: SriPraPhai, Casa Del Chef, Copper Kettle Bar & Restaurant
Where to drink: Donovan’s Pub, the Globe Tavern, Charlie’s Sports Bar
Fun fact: Actor Ed Burns is from Woodside.
Stops: 74th St, 82nd St, and 90th St
Known for: Ethnic restaurants, one of the most diverse areas of NYC
Vibe: International feel; bustling at or near Roosevelt Ave, quieter and more residential deeper into the neighborhood
Where to eat: Pio Pio 2, Juanitas Cafe, Lali Guras, Arunee Thai
Where to drink: Bocaito Wine Bar, Legends Bar
Fun fact: The TV show Ugly Betty was set in Jackson Heights.
Stops: Junction Blvd, 103rd St/Corona Plaza, 111th St
Known for: The Louis Armstrong Museum, Langston Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center
Vibe: Strong Latin-American influence
Where to eat/drink : Rincon Criollo, Leo’s Latticini, Park Side, Cafe Rubio, The Lemon Ice King of Corona
Fun fact: Madonna lived in Corona from 1979-1980.
Known for: Flushing Meadows-Corona Park (pictured below), home of the Mets and the US Open, Chinatown, Lunar New Year Parade, Queens Botanical Garden
Stops: Mets/Willets Point, Flushing Main Street/Roosevelt Ave
Vibe: Strong Asian influence, one of the largest growing communities outside of Asia
Where to eat: White Bear, Joe’s Shanghai, Fu Run, Miss Li Henan Cuisine
Where to drink: A+ Roof Bar, Leaf Bar & Lounge, Kelly’s Pub
Fun fact: There’s a Murray Hill in Flushing, which is often confused with the Murray Hill in Manhattan.
Do you live along the No. 7 train? If not, I would love to know which neighborhood you’d choose…I think I’d pick Long Island City or Sunnyside.
Flushing street scene photo by Yanping Nora Soong via Wiki. Silvercup Studios photo and Jackson Heights photo by Eric Barao.