The largest in area of the five boroughs of New York City and the second-most densely populated, Queens sits on the western portion of Long Island and is home to about 2.3 million individuals. At 178 square miles in size (69 of those are water), this eclectic borough boasts a variety of living options, from very urban areas to suburban-like neighborhoods lined with trees.
The borough of Queens was established just before the turn of the 20th century and began a great period of growth when the Long Island Railroad was electrified in the area in the early 1900s. Connected to the NYC subway system since 1915, it was a logical place to make a home for those who worked in the city, but didn’t want to live there. Before long, Queens was a vibrant and exciting place to live, full of things for families to do. Today, Queens still has a plethora of interesting neighborhoods full of history as well as a very diverse population both culturally and demographically.
Queens is essentially divided into four regions – Northwestern Queens, Northeastern Queens, Southwestern Queens and Southeastern Queens, which also includes the Rockaway Peninsula. Each region has many small neighborhoods that have their own unique identity, thanks to their diverse populations. As a matter of fact, Queens has been dubbed the most ethnically diverse county in the U.S., with an estimated 135 languages spoken.
Living in Queens provides residents with close proximity to the city. More than half of those who live there travel into Manhattan for work via public transportation, and only about 60 percent of the residents of Queens own a car. Because twelve subway lines run into the city, getting there is quite easy, whether traveling to a job in one of Manhattan’s skyscrapers or heading to the theater, dinner at one of NYC’s fine restaurants, or for a visit to a museum or two.
For those who want to escape the urban trappings of life in New York City’s boroughs, there are several parks and a number of beaches that are ideal for fun in the sun during the warmer months. Seven mile-long Rockaway Beach, for example, is known for its good surfing waves while Jacob Riis Park Beach tends to attract families.
There are plenty of other leisure pursuits for singles, couples, and families to enjoy in Queens as well, including taking in a game or two at the Mets’ new Citi Field, or watching the horse races at Aqueduct Racetrack or a tennis match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center home of the US Open Tennis Championships.
Many great musical acts have come out of Queens since the middle of the 20th century. The borough was once a center for jazz, and now boasts a thriving urban music scene.
Queens also has its own museum of art, a handful of performing arts centers, a few theaters, a sizeable science museum, a botanical garden, and a number of historic attractions that are well worth a visit.
In addition, a ride to Manhattan from most any part of Queens takes less than 30 minutes on the subway, so residents have easy access to the city’s many arts and cultural attractions.
No matter what kind of cuisine you seek, you’re sure to find it in Queens. Because of the amazing diversity of the borough, you’ll find ethnic foods here that you may not even be able to locate in Manhattan. There are plenty of Italian and Irish eateries, along with a growing number of places catering to various ethic groups represented in Queens such as: Chinese, Ecuadorian, Indian, Filipino, Greek, Mexican, Korean, Haitian, and Vietnamese.
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