Things to do in Queens: New World Mall, MoMA PS1, Rockaway Beach, more

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Queens may play second fiddle to Brooklyn in the battle of New York City’s outer boroughs, but perhaps not for long. In 2015, it was listed as the country’s No. 1 travel destination by the travel guide book publisher Lonely Planet. There’s a reason growing numbers of microbreweries and boutique hotels are popping up to serve visitors throughout the borough. Though it may feel like our backyard, there’s plenty for Long Island “tourists” to explore, starting with these 10 attractions.

MoMA PS1 in Long Island City

MoMA PS1's Warm Up is back June 27,
(Credit: Charles Roussel)

Queens in the vanguard of contemporary art? It may be so. The borough has an art institution dedicated to displaying the most experimental art in the world — housed in a century-old Romanesque Revival public school building. MoMA PS1, which became affiliated with the Museum of Modern Art in 2000, has no permanent collection, but does have several long-term installations by such renowned artists as William Kentridge, James Turrell and Lawrence Weiner. INFO Suggested admission $10; 718-784-2084, momaps1.org 

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

The New York Hall of Science, at 47-07
(Credit: Linda Rosier)

The New York Hall of Science (pictured, admission $16; nyscience.org), established as part of the 1964 exposition, has 450 exhibits and is the city’s only hands-on science and technology museum focusing on biology, chemistry and physics dedicated to educating children. The nearby Queens Museum (suggested admission $8, queensmuseum.org) holds one of the city’s most alluring sights: a panorama of the City of New York, a 9,335-square-foot model of the five boroughs, initially created for the 1964 fair.

Billie Jean King National Tennis Center

Tennis fans walk in and out of the
(Credit: AP/Peter Morgan)

The Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, pictured, in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park has been home to the U.S. Open since 1978, which this year runs from Aug. 28 to Sept. 10. The tennis complex is situated on more than 45 acres of land and offers 12 indoor DecoTurf courts with seating areas and even more field courts. The center is undergoing renovation, and there will be three stadium courts by 2018, including Arthur Ashe Stadium, the largest tennis stadium in the world with a seating capacity of 23,200 people. INFO usopen.org, ustanew2.gotennissource.com

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Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

People cool off in the fountains under the
(Credit: Michael Falco)

The largest park in Queens is also one of the borough’s more popular attractions, in part due to picturesque relics from the 1964 World’s Fair (the Unisphere, pictured, and the New York State Pavilion). However, a stroll through the 898-acre Flushing Meadows-Corona Park reveals plenty of other sights. The Queens Zoo (admission $8; queenszoo.com) is on 18 acres with more than 75 species of animals, most native to the Americas, and the Queens Botanical Garden (admission $6; queensbotanical.org) is a 39-acre oasis offering about 28 gardens, including a Victorian-style wedding garden, a bee garden and a compost demo garden. INFO 718-760-6565, nwsdy.li/flushingmeadows

Billie Jean King National Tennis Center

A pedestrian passes the Louis Armstrong House Museum
(Credit: AP/Alex Brandon)

For years, attendance has been topping 700,000 at the U.S. Open. For the crowd-shy, the qualifying matches prior to the main tournament (Aug. 22-25) provide world-class tennis at a hard-to-beat price: free. The tennis center is open to the public, offering court rentals, summer tennis camps and 60- to 90-minute behind-the-scenes guided tours of the facility.

Louis Armstrong House Museum in Corona

The Den is on display at the Louis
(Credit: AP/Frank Franklin II)

The founding father of jazz, Louis Armstrong, and his wife, Lucille Wilson, lived in a two-story house at 34-56 107th St. in Corona from 1943 until his death in 1971. The Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation gave the house to the City of New York, and it has been designated a National Historic Landmark and a New York City landmark. INFO Admission $10; 718-478-8274, louisarmstronghouse.org

Louis Armstrong House Museum in Corona

The Noguchi Museum at 9-01 33rd Rd., in
(Credit: AP/Frank Franklin II)

Today, the modest home is a museum dedicated to the revolutionary trumpet player’s life, and he’s buried in Flushing Cemetery, just a few miles away. The museum archives contain books, recordings, writings and other memorabilia, while a tour is enhanced by audiotapes from the great Satchmo’s homemade recordings.

Noguchi Museum in Long Island City

This April 20, 2013 photo shows a visitor
(Credit: Linda Rosier)

The Noguchi Museum in Long Island City displays the works of the eminent Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi. Formerly a gas station and a photogravure plant, the museum was founded and designed by Noguchi in 1985, kicking off the metamorphosis of Long Island City into an arts district. The museum now displays the artist’s architectural models, drawings, furniture designs and sculptures. Noguchi designed the museum as an open-air sculpture garden tucked within a building with galleries. INFO Admission $10; 718-204-7088, noguchi.org 

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Noguchi Museum in Long Island City

Emissary Forks at Perfection by Ian Cheng, live
(Credit: AP/Beth J. Harpaz)

The structure now has 27,000 square feet of gallery space and a gift shop (pictured) in a two-story building. The ground floor displays Noguchi’s permanent exhibits, and the second floor displays permanent works and temporary exhibits, such as the works of designer Robert Stadler (through Sept. 3).

MoMA PS1 in Long Island City

Outside the Thakali Kitchen, a Nepalese and Tibetan
(Credit: Ian Cheng)

Until Sept. 25, MoMA PS1 exhibits artist Ian Cheng’s Emissary Trilogy, a series of live simulations of open-ended animations exploring the history of cognitive evolution. Pictured: Cheng's Emissary Forks at Perfection

Himalayan Cuisine in Jackson Heights

Momos -- Tibetan dumplings -- are served at
(Credit: Linda Rosier)

Long a magnet for South Asian immigrants, particularly from India, Jackson Heights has gained renown for its dizzying array of curry restaurants and shops for saris and Indian bridal jewelry. But over the past decade, an influx of Himalayan peoples into the area has made the cuisine of Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan ascendant. At Dhaulagiri Kitchen (37-38 72nd St.), try Nepalese specialties such as sukuti (a dried jerky of beef, buffalo or goat) or goat stomach curry. There's also Thakali Kitchen (pictured, 74-14 37th Ave.), a Nepalese and Tibetan restaurant. 

Himalayan Cuisine in Jackson Heights

Part of a new installation of work called
(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)

Try the momos (pictured, steamed Tibetan dumplings filled with meat or vegetables) and dropa khatsa (beef tripe in fiery chili sauce) at Phayul (37-65 74th St.). Down your food with a rich butter tea. Bhutanese Ema Datsi (67-21 Woodside Ave.) serves the national dish of Bhutan: chili peppers and curds made from yak or cow cheese.

Socrates Sculpture Park in Astoria

Abraham Marchi, 2, plays near " Scapegoat," part
(Credit: Linda Rosier)

A group of art enthusiasts led by artist Mark di Suvero created Socrates Sculpture Park, a nearly 5-acre spot on an abandoned riverside dump in Astoria in 1986. Now, it’s an internationally renowned outdoor space for the exhibition of monumental works of sculpture. Open year-round, it has lush open spaces, pathways and stunning Manhattan skyline views as a backdrop to the giant sculptural and multimedia installations, while also offering a greenmarket, yoga and tai chi classes, and more. INFO Free; 718-956-1819, socratessculpturepark.org

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Socrates Sculpture Park in Astoria

The beach at low tide between Beach 90-92
(Credit: Linda Rosier)

On exhibit through Sept. 4 will be six newly commissioned outdoor artworks by Nari Ward in “Nari Ward: G.O.A.T., again.” Pictured: "Scapegoat," by Nari Ward

Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk

The Rockaway Beach Surf Club at 302 Beach
(Credit: Linda Rosier)

Catch some waves at “Rock, Rock, Rockaway Beach,” the strip of sand on Beach Third Street saluted by the Ramones. With a 5.5-mile resilient-design promenade, begun after Superstorm Sandy damaged the boardwalk in 2012 and soon to be completed, the largest urban beach in the country has come back to life with more surfers, swimmers and day-trippers than ever. INFO nwsdy.li/rockawaybeach

Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk

An Oct. 13, 2015 photo shows the eatery
(Credit: Linda Rosier)

The area has become popular with scuba divers who want to view sunken ships at the so-called Wreck Valley or explore a sunken ship from Pier Five. There are also a variety of concessions, playgrounds and other outdoor activities. Pictured: Rockaway Beach Surf Club (302 Beach 87th St.; rockawaybeachsurfclub.com

Flushing Chinatown

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 18: A waitress
(Credit: AP/J.M.Hirsch)

Identifying Flushing as a Chinatown is a bit of a mischaracterization: It has a diverse Chinese population, along with Koreans, Taiwanese, Malaysians, Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese. Around every corner and in every niche are different Asian traditions and customs to experience, including Chinese herbalists, table tennis clubs, Asian art galleries, Japanese comic-book stores, bubble-milk tea cafes, dim sum restaurants and Asian mega- markets. The area’s nerve center is the intersection of Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue, but it’s now sprawled north of Northern Boulevard and southeast down Kissena Boulevard as well. The New World Mall at 136-20 Roosevelt Ave. — billing itself as the largest East Coast Asian mall — is a place to shop, then visit the food court to watch fresh Chinese noodles being pulled. Pictured: Lanzhou Handmade Noodle (136-20 Roosevelt Ave.) INFO 718-353-0551, newworldmallny.com  

Flushing Chinatown

YOU ARE THERE. Astoria's Museum of the Moving
(Credit: AP/Melanie Stetson Freeman)

At the New World Mall (pictured), savor steamed pork soup dumplings and relish the cool flavors of Earl Grey-flavored Thai rolled ice cream, little rolls of ice cream covered in extras popular in Southeast Asia that are almost as fun to watch being made as they are to eat.

Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria

The new video screening amphitheater at the Museum
(Credit: Travel Channel/Peter Aaron)

The Museum of the Moving Image is the highlight for tourists in the 24-block Kaufman Arts District in Astoria. The museum screens more than 400 films annually and maintains the country’s most comprehensive collection of artifacts pertaining to the art, history and technology of moving pictures. It’s just across the street from Kaufman Astoria Studios, around since the early 20th century during the silent-film era, providing the filming locale for the Marx Brothers’ first feature-length films. INFO Admission $15; 718-784-0077, movingimage.us

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