A View from the 7

Consider yourself lucky: you live (or at least attend school) in the most diverse (and largest) borough of New York City. That’s why the 7 train is so great; it’s completely reflective of this diverseness. What other subway line offers you a glimpse of Asia, India and South America all under an hour?

The 7, an almost completely above-ground train, winds its way through vastly differing neighborhoods in Queens: Flushing, Corona, Jackson Heights, Woodside and Long Island City. Each area has its own distinct feel and its own unique attractions, so don’t worry about finding yourself bored anytime soon.

For those who aren’t too good at finding their way around, Inferno is here to help. You’re first step is actually finding the 7. fortunately for you, this isn’t difficult. Take the Q46 down Union Turnpike, then take the E/F to Roosevelt Avenue. Follow the signs until you get to the outdoor platform.

Main Street, Flushing: A Hidden Gem
If you don’t feel like traveling all the way to Chinatown to experience authentic Asian culture, then take a trip to Flushing, a vibrant Asian mecca right in Queens. Flushing is, after all, the second largest Chinatown in the U.S. so there is no need to waste your time navigating through crowds in the lower Manhattan tourist hotspot (although if it’s knockoff designer bags you’re in search of, you may just have to make the trek!). With tons of ethnic cuisines (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese and Malaysian come to mind), cheap shopping deals and historical landmarks, Main Street offers a little something for everyone.

I took the train, now I’m hungry
I recently ate lunch with my best friend at Linden Place, an ornately decorated catering hall that also serves small plates of Chinese cuisine called dim sum, located at 3410 Linden Place. The waiter will come around the restaurant with carts containing various dishes: you choose which ones you want and the waiter will stamp your bill each time you get another plate (each plate usually costs $2-4). Dishes range from the typical (dumplings, spring rolls) to the more adventurous (chickens’ feet). My particular favorite dish happens to be called Cha Siu Bao: barbecue-flavored pork inside dough-like buns.

Why is it called bubble tea?
One of my favorite treats is bubble tea: an iced and flavored tea beverage (often mixed with milk) containing chewy balls of tapioca at the bottom. Ok, I know it might sound strange, but trust me, once you try the bubble tea at Sago Tea Café, located at 39-02 Main Street, you’ll fully comprehend the appeal of this tasty concoction. Oftentimes, the tea can be too watery without a strong enough flavor and the tapioca can be too chewy, but the drink at Sago strikes the perfect balance, and it won’t hurt your wallet either. I recommend: Almond Milk Tea.

For the geek at heart
I’ll admit it: I enjoy reading in my spare time. What I don’t enjoy, however, is how much the books I like to read cost. That’s where the Flushing branch of the Queens Public Library comes in. According to Queens Library’s Web site, the Flushing branch, located at 41-17 Main Street, is thought to be the largest library in New York State: it holds more than 350,000 books, videos, periodicals and other materials. It’s no wonder that it attracts more than 5,000 customers a day. What sets this library apart from others, though, is its International Language Collections, including books in Bengali, Chinese, French, Italian, Spanish, Urdu, Russian and Hindi, among others. In addition, you may just want to pay a visit to check out the cool architecture: the four-story state-of-the-art building the library now resides in, which opened in 1998, won the National Honor Award for Architecture from American Institute of Architects in 2001.
Hours
Monday: 10-8, Tuesday: 1-8, Wednesday: 10-8, Thursday: 10-6, Friday: 10-6, Saturday: 10-5:30, Sunday: 12-5.

Cute, cheap fun
For those of us who are currently unemployed, shopping may now seem like a lackluster activity. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be: Banzai 99 Cents Store, located at 133-31 39th Avenue (inside Flushing Mall: check out the whole place while you’re at it) will cure your shopping cravings without the price tag. You can find anything from makeup to stationery products to plastic containers. Sure, these might seem like silly little trinkets, but they won’t cost you much.

Spring fever
Whoever said there wasn’t any nature in New York City? Prove this stereotype wrong by visiting the Queens Botanical Garden, located at 43-50 Main Street. Granted, it may still be a bit too cold now, but with spring right around the corner, the flowers and trees will soon be in bloom. And this 39-acre garden has its “roots” in Queens: it began as part of the 1939 World’s Fair and was located in Flushing Meadow Park until it moved to its current location in 1964.

Hours
April through October: Tuesday through Friday 8-6, ?Saturday and Sunday 8-7, November through March:?Tuesday through Sunday, 8 -4:30, Closed Mondays:?year-round, except legal holidays

Directions
Walk eight blocks south on Main Street, or take the Q44 or Q20.

Willets Point: Not just for Mets’ fans anymore
Shea Stadium may be history, but there’s still plenty to do and see around the Willets Point stop on the 7 train, or more specifically in and around Flushing Meadow Park. Once you get off the subway, walk down pedestrian ramps until you get to the park. From there, check out the U.S. Open tennis stadium (a word to the wise: if you go the day before the U.S. begins, you just may run into some very good-looking tennis stars…) After that, visit the Queens Museum of Art, located in the New York City Building in Flushing Meadow. Exhibition of note: the Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass. Charles Lewis Tiffany was the leading decorative artist of his time. Check out his astonishing lamps (now known as “Tiffany lamps”) on display here. If you have time, see if there are any performances at Queens Theatre in the Park, which recently underwent a $23 million renovation. Before you leave, make sure you get a look at the Unisphere, the 140-foot tall structure built for the 1964 World’s Fair.

111th Street, Corona: We’re not done with Flushing Meadow just yet
You may not be able to enjoy everything that Flushing Meadow Park has to offer in one day, since there are a number of worthy sites to be seen. But before you say goodbye for good, visit the New York Hall of Science, located at 47-01 111th Street (walk south on 111th Street from the subway station to the park entrance on 49th Avenue). There are more than 400 interactive exhibits, which you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy.

Hours
September – March: Tuesday – Thursday 9:30-2, Friday 9:30 – 5 (free 2 – 5),?Saturday and Sunday 10- 6 (free Sunday 10 – 11), closed Mondays
April – June:?Monday – Thursday 9:30 – 2, Friday 9:30 – 5 (free 2 – 5),?Saturday and Sunday 10- 6 (free Sunday 10 – 11)
July and August:?Monday – Friday 9:30 – 5,?Saturday and Sunday 10 – 6

Admissions
Adults: $11, Students: $8

74th Street- Broadway, Jackson Heights: Two continents for the price of one
I bet you didn’t know this: Scrabble was invented in Jackson Heights. Alfred Mosher Butts created the game, first called Lexiko at the Community Methodist Church, located at the corner of 35th Avenue and 81st Street. The 35th Avenue street sign even used to be spelled out in Scrabble letters (sadly, it seems to have gone missing). Once you’re done marveling at the birthplace of the quintessentially American board game, head over to an area of Jackson Heights known to locals as “Little India.” This part of Jackson Heights is located on 74th Street between Roosevelt Avenue and 37th Avenue, as well as the surrounding blocks. While you are there, peruse the many jewelry and clothing stores, containing beautifully craft
ed Indian sarees. There are also many Indian buffets where you can sample delicious curries, among other traditional Indian dishes.

Afterwards, check out the latest Bollywood film at the Palace Theater, located at 73-7 37th Road. But a trip to Jackson Heights wouldn’t be complete without a sampling of Hispanic culture as well. For authentic Colombian cuisine, dine at Seba Seba, a hybrid restaurant and bakery, located at 7928 37th Ave.

Queensboro Plaza: It’s time to branch out
There may not be much to do around this stop on the 7 line, but you can transfer here to the N and W trains, both of which run through Long Island City and Astoria, two neighborhoods where there are tons of sights to see and places to go. Take the N or W to the Broadway stop and visit the Noguchi Museum, located at 9-01 33rd Road. The museum, which was founded in 1985 by prominent Japanese artist Isasmu Noguchi, features his works in stone, metal, wood and clay. The museum is currently undergoing a renovation (don’t worry, it’s still open to the public) and its sculpture garden will be reopening this March, just in time for your visit. On display through April 26 is “Highlights from the Collection,” showcasing more than 40 of Noguchi’s pieces from throughout his career.

Directions
Walk ten blocks down Broadway towards the Manhattan skyline and the East River. Broadway ends at Vernon Boulevard at the Socrates Sculpture Park. Turn left onto Vernon Blvd. Walk past the Socrates Sculpture Park Offices and make a left. The museum is located between Vernon Boulevard and 10th Street.

Hours
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: 10-5, Saturday and Sunday: 11-6, Monday and Tuesday: closed
Admission
Adults: $10, Students: $5, First Friday of every month: pay as you wish

If you are interested in film and how movies are made, Museum of the Moving Image, located at 35th Avenue at 36th Street, is right up your alley; there are objects on display from the different stages of movie-making, including still photographs, production design materials, costumes, publicity materials, and video and computer games. This museum is also located near the Broadway stop of the N and W trains. The museum is currently undergoing a major overhaul, so the entrance during construction is located on 37th Street, near 35th Avenue. While you are there, make sure you check out arguably the coolest exhibit you’ll ever visit at a museum: “Behind the Screen.” Part of this exhibit called “Interacting with the Screen” holds 14 classic arcade video games, which you can play for $1 each.

Directions
Walk east on 36th Street from the train station.

Hours
Tuesday-Friday: 10-3
Admission
Adults and students: $5

45th Road- Court House Square, Long Island City: Scribbles on a wall transformed
If you’ve never thought of graffiti as a serious art form, you may change your mind after seeing 5 Pointz, located at Jackson Avenue at Crane Street and Davis Street. 5 Pointz is an outdoor graffiti exhibit on the wall of a warehouse done by many different artists. Graffiti has a unique urban quality to it, so it is definitely worth checking out in New York City. It is totally free to view and spans the length of an entire block. If you don’t have time to stop, 5 Pointz is viewable from the 7 train, so watch it as it goes by.