City Living: Kew Gardens' taste for Tudor

Lefferts Boulevard is teh commercial heart of Kew

Lefferts Boulevard is teh commercial heart of Kew Gardens. (Credit: Lefferts Boulevard is the commercial heart of Kew Gardens (Photo by Marie Claire Andrea))

Out toward the end of the line on the E train in Queens is the sleepy hamlet of Kew Gardens, one of seven planned garden communities built in the first half of the 20th century. With the remaining Tudor-style buildings and eclectic collection of shops and restaurants, the area looks like a college town upstate.

The LIRR, however, gets locals to Penn Station in under 20 minutes and the neighborhood has surprisingly diverse amenities.

Kew Gardens is highly residential, with older German and Russian people living alongside younger families. There’s a strong Jewish community, with several synagogues established for Jewish refugees after World War II. Like the rest of New York, many new residents from Central America and Asia have moved into the neighborhood. It’s also a hot spot for airline employees because it’s a short commute to Kennedy Airport.

Locals love the small-town feel, and enjoy knowing their neighbors and waving hello to them on the street.

The neighborhood is home to interesting eateries and shops, and boasts an art house movie theater for film lovers. Although there are many types of businesses, Kew Gardens lacks the variety of Manhattan and many stores have closed recently because of the economic downturn.

The nearest subway station is a bit of a hike for most, and the LIRR can be  loud if you live close by, but the area is generally quiet and convenient. Maple Grove Cemetery and Forest Park give nature lovers a place to enjoy the outdoors, and beach-goers can drive to Rockaway Beach in about 20 minutes.

TO EAT:

Mood
120-29 83rd Ave.,
718-849-6663
If you’re in the mood to celebrate, head to this elegant eatery. It offers a full wine list and creative menus for brunch, lunch and dinner. Stop in for weekend brunch ($14, with a Bloody Mary or Mimosa) or at night for the artichoke ravioli ($15).

Baker’s Dozen Bagels

81-09 Lefferts Blvd.,
718-847-1930
No New York neighborhood is complete without a bagel place. Baker’s Dozen gets rave reviews from locals for the old-school bagels and spreads, as well as mini and flat bagels. Cash only.

Dani’s House of Pizza
81-28 Lefferts Blvd.,
718-846-2849
This pizza restaurant has been serving fresh slices to locals for more than 50 years. Get 25 percent off lunch during the week or take home $1.50 slices on Wednesday night, part of Dani’s Stimulus Package. 

TO PLAY:

Last Call
81-72 Lefferts Blvd.,
718-441-3838
Look for a string of lights and a dark awning to find Last Call; there’s no sign outside. Once inside, grab a Guinness and sign up for a game of pool.

Austin’s Ale House
82-70 Austin St.,
718-849-3939
Austin’s is a popular spot for happy hour and beyond. There are 20 beers on tap and a full menu for lunch, brunch and dinner. If you’re a fan of the races, Austin’s offers OTB all day, every day.

The Kew Club
119-11 Metropolitan Ave.,
718-441-8100
A favorite of the flight attendants living in the area, the Kew Club offers a typical dive-bar scene. It also has a full menu.

Kew Gardens Cinemas
81-05 Lefferts Blvd., 718-441-9835
Kew Gardens Cinemas is “a mini version of the Angelika” in Queens. The theater offers $7 admission on Tuesdays and Thursdays, as well as the first show of the day on Saturday and Sunday.

TO SEE:

Maple Grove Cemetery
127-15 Kew Gardens Rd.
718-544-3600
Stroll along the paths of this 65-acre cemetery or check out the headstones, some of which date back 150 years. Walking tours, concerts and other events are hosted regularly.

Queens Borough Hall
120-55 Queens Blvd.
Even without an appointment with the Queens borough president, Borough Hall is worth checking out. Built in 1940 in the classical style, architects William Gehron and Andrew J. Thomas didn’t install elevators to keep construction costs down.

Redbird Tourist Information Center
120-55 Queens Blvd.,
718-286-0860
Outside Borough Hall, you can visit a vintage red subway car and get the latest news from local businesses and attractions. The center is open 10 a.m to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.

TO SHOP:

Lefferts Boulevard is the main thoughfare in Kew Gardens, with other shops just off this stretch. Specialty stores offer regulars great service and products.

Potter’s Wheel
120-33 83rd Ave.,
718-441-6614
For handmade plates, mugs and bowls, check out this working studio. The gallery area sells affordable earthenware made in the store. There’s a good chance you can meet the artist and watch her work. Classes are also available.

Comic Den
80-62 Lefferts Blvd.,
718-805-3789
Collectors could spend hours in the Comic Den, leafing through the stories of Superman and Vampirella. The Den also sells other comic memorabilia and will happily track it down for you if they don’t.

Homestead Gourmet Shop
81-45 Lefferts Blvd.
718-849-1366
Locals love the sandwiches and strudels at the shop which is housed in a Tudor-style building. Homestead also offers prepared foods and groceries, but the cherry strudel ($10) is at the top of everyone’s shopping list.

Tags: City Living , Kew Gardens

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