Your Guide to a Perfect Day in Jackson Heights
Did you know that just blocks from the hustle and bustle of Roosevelt Avenue, you’ll find prewar co-ops with private garden oases, coffeehouses masquerading as flower shops and the busiest farmers’ market in the borough? Get thee to this enclave in northern Queens on the E (or, if that’s not running, the F, M, R or 7), where the locals speak over 150 languages and offer some of the best (and cheapest) food in the city.
Get Acquainted with the Neighborhood at Diversity Plaza
Diversity Plaza has been a gathering space for Jackson Heights residents since its formal installation in 2012. The square hosts political demonstrations, pop-up reading rooms, food crawls, music performances and more. Currently undergoing a $4.45 million restoration project, the plaza will have new trees, raised planters and bike racks by June 2018.
37th Rd. between 73rd and 74th sts.
Gawk at the Architecture in the Historic District
Take a stroll past landmarked buildings, most of which were constructed in the early 20th century, which boast Tudor and Second Empire elements and beautiful interior courtyards that take up an entire city block—though you’ll need a resident to grant you access, save the one summer weekend a year these secret gardens open to the public.
Historic District, 76th to 88th sts. between Northern Blvd. and Roosevelt Ave.
Feast On the Neighborhood's Famed Cheap Eats
You've got places to go and delicious foods to eat, so—in geographic proximity from the subway—our favorites include: steamed-pork momos and other Himalayan eats ($5) at newly refurbished hole-in-the-wall Lali Guras; potato masala dosas ($6) at vegetarian specialist Samudra; chicken empanadas ($1.90) at Colombian-Mexican hybrid El Rico Tinto; giant almond croissants ($2.50) at Lety's Bakery; cheese arepas ($5) at former food truck Arepa Lady; and tuna-filled onigiri at Japanese café 969 NYC Coffee. On Sundays, visit the year-round Greenmarket (the largest and busiest in Queens) at Travers Park. Needless to say, come hungry.
Explore South Asian Markets and Boutiques
Forget about international airfare or vacation days—with one MetroCard swipe, you can stock up on Indian spices and frozen samosas at Patel Brothers, gorge yourself on the $12.95 lunch buffet at Jackson Diner, admire the elegant lenghas and saris at Bombay Bridal and pick up some incense or books on spirituality and religion at Butala Emporium.
Stop and (Literally) Smell the Flowers
Take a midday break to wander through Pauglina, a quirky local shop that sells freshly cut blooms, scented soaps, artisanal French preserves, Japanese incense—and did we mention it doubles as a coffee shop? Indulge in the full self-described "cross-genre experience" by sitting back on one of the comfy couches to leaf through the collection of gorgeous design books while nibbling on cookies at this pop-and-pop business.
75-26 37th Ave.; 718-899-3010 or pauglinany.com
Enjoy Live Music and a Glass Of Wine
Arrive early at Espresso 77 for the New Orleans cold brew and scones from Alice's Tea Cup or Balthazar at this independent coffee shop—and come back at night for live music, poetry readings, artist talks or just to sip some rosé while admiring the rotating gallery of works from local artists. Don’t be surprised if you strike up a conversation with one of your neighbors, especially during the weekends when the café becomes a laptop-free zone.
35-57 77th St.; 718-424-1077 or espresso77.com