How to have fun in Queens without breaking your bank

     To St. John’s students who have realized the strains of taking a bus and a subway for a combined 45 minute trip into “the city,” you might want to check out some closer, cheaper, and more exciting options right here in Queens.

     What few students realize is that Queens County is home to some 138 spoken languages. Also it plays home to 100-plus nationalities with almost half of its citizens (46 percent) born outside of the United States. It is no wonder that it is by far the most diverse county in the country.

     Ever since playing host to its first World’s Fair in 1939, Flushing Meadows Park in Corona has been well known throughout the world. But it was the 1964 World’s Fair that left the park with its present day appearance, which is centered around the 140-foot postcard staple, and Fair remnant, “Unisphere.” The sprawling park is the size of one and a half Central Parks covering 1,225 acres. It holds within its confines Shea Stadium, the USTA National Tennis Center, the Hall of Science, and the Queens Museum of Art, along with many other attractions both new and old.

     Another popular park surrounds the shady tree section of Myrtle Avenue where the street meets Hillside Avenue. Forest Park, the former home for Rockaway, Lenape, and Delaware Native Americans was transformed into the present day 538 acre park by Central Park landscape architect Frederick Olmsted. Today the park’s biggest attraction is the Daniel C. Mueller Carousel as well as its war reenactments. Horse paths, a golf course, and running trails are also a healthy and entertaining way to spend an afternoon.

     You don’t even have to go far in order to see the area. You can run through the neighborhood and then through Alley Pond Park until you get to the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center. You won’t even be able to tell you are in a city with the 47 acres of farmland that lay less than a mile away from the Creedmoor.

     The 405-year-old farm is not only the only working farm in New York City, but also the largest farm in the entire state. As a museum, it offers tours and plays host to both small birthday parties as well as large corporate events, all while planting, plowing, and picking. The Q46 bus will take you less than four blocks from this free museum. Be sure to be in attendance for the 27th annual Pow Wow which features three days of intertribal dance competition in the apple orchard.

     For the music lovers, and jazz in particular, a day trip to the Addisleigh Park section of St. Alban’s is just the thing. Record stores and wall murals show the leavings behind of a town in which some of the greatest jazz musicians and singers of all time lived.

     John Coltrane, Lena Horne, and Ella Fitzgerald lived there in the late 1940’s along with bandleader Count Basie and pianist Fats Waller.

    Addisleigh Park’s high claim to the music capital of Queens can only be overshadowed by Satchmo himself. One of the most popular tourist attractions in Queens every year is still the home of legendary musician and singer Louis Armstrong. The Corona home to which he returned after months on the road is today kept the same as when Armstrong left it. The 40-minute house tours are six dollars with student ID.

     For a quirky adventure head on over to Glendale’s Machpelah Cemetery and visit upon Hungary’s prize and our most beloved contortionist Harry Houdini. The escape artist, whose death is recognized to be on or around Halloween, still attracts a crowd in late October as people continue to try to reach Houdini’s ghost, just as his wife had done every year.

     Take notice also of the lavish $15,000 refurbishment done after vandals ruined the tomb. The Society of American Magicians (SAM), with some help from David Copperfield, raised to money to honor their famed ancestor.

     Long Island City, being one of the oldest cities in Queens, has also become one of the most modern and artistic.

     From the top of certain buildings on campus you can make out the CitiBank skyscraper that stands in the heart of this ever-changing community.

     The popular modern art museum within the old P.S. 1 is the largest draw to the city, but there are many museums in the town. The Noguchi Museum ($2.50 with student ID) holds more than 200 of famed Japanese-born artist Isamu Noguchi’s sculptures.

     Not far down the road is the Socrates Sculpture Park, which is also world renown for its exhibits. The former landfill is today one of the most important large scale outdoor exhibits for sculpture. This free park also plays movies every Wednesday night.