What to do in Flushing?
July 13, 2016 1:06 PM   Subscribe

We have incoming visitors desperate for decent Chinese food. Answer? Flushing! The only trouble is, we live in CT and have never actually been to Flushing. What should we do when we're not busy stuffing our faces?

My brother, sister-in-law, and I all grew up in the San Gabriel Valley and were deeply spoiled by abundant, delicious Chinese food of all different types. They have since moved to Maine and have been feeling very Asian in a sea of Caucasians, so I invited them to take a break from the whitest state in the Union so we could make a weekend day trip for delicious food where we won't look out of place, aka Flushing.

Our tentative plan was to drive in, park someplace for the day, eat until we want to die, and then drive back to CT, but I feel like it might be a good idea to break up the gorge sessions with some other easy activities. I think I've got a decent idea of where to take them to eat, but I'm happy to hear more personal recommendations. The main problem is what to do with them in between, since I know we mainly want to hit hole-in-the-walls, and they don't lend themselves well to lingering. Plus, it's their first time in NY ever, and I feel kind of bad not taking them to any of the usual tourist sights, but I also know their absolute #1 priority is food, and they will cheerfully cut me if I take them to see anything before getting dumplings.
posted by Diagonalize to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (10 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
You could go to the Queens Botanical Garden, which is smallish but quite lovely. You could visit the Ganesh temple -- and while there, take a break from all the Chinese food by eating some South Indian food. (Note that these are both about a 20 minute walk from the main area of downtown Flushing.) Honestly, not a lot beyond that. The street life is wonderful, and you can spend a bunch of time just wandering around and ducking into stores, but there's not a lot of attractions, per se. There's a new kind of swank rooftop hotel bar, if you wanted to take a break from the crowded streets. Really, just eating continuously is the way to go.
posted by neroli at 1:20 PM on July 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

they will cheerfully cut me if I take them to see anything before getting dumplings.

Um, understandable.

How about that other great Asian past time, shopping? Flushing also has a lot of really awesome Asian grocery stores, like the H Mart and J Mart. They can pick up snacks, instant noodles, cooking supplies, etc., to take back to Maine.

I think the J Mart is part of an Asian mall selling Asian household wares, cosmetics, clothing, 12093812 phone charms, etc. In fact, there are a couple malls like that in the area, but New World is one of the bigger ones and has a pretty good food court, just in case any one has any nook or cranny not filled with DUMPLINGS OMG.
posted by joyceanmachine at 1:42 PM on July 13, 2016

I adore the NY Panorama at the Queens Museum. The museum is almost never crowded, and the changing exhibits are usually worth seeing as well.
posted by Mchelly at 1:45 PM on July 13, 2016 [4 favorites]

If you enjoy baseball, Citi Field is one subway stop (or a reasonable walk) from downtown Flushing - it's easy to take in a Mets game if you're visiting during baseball season. Or the US Open is played right in Flushing if you're a tennis fan and there at the right time. You can also check out Flushing Meadows and the Queens Museum, as well as the Botanical Garden.
posted by unsub at 1:48 PM on July 13, 2016

The New York Hall of Science is not far. So is the Louis Armstrong House.
posted by fings at 1:51 PM on July 13, 2016

Seconding the Queens Museum. I have frequently had day trips with my family from the
'Burbs which consisted of Queens Museum + Chinese food. The diorama is part of a larger exhibit about the World's Fair, and the other exhibits are usually pretty cool contemporary stuff. There's also the Unisphere and the New York State Pavillion (aka the UFOs from the end of Men in Black) right outside.
posted by damayanti at 1:58 PM on July 13, 2016

Yes, the Panorama! It is fantastic.
posted by ocherdraco at 2:02 PM on July 13, 2016

The panorama at the Queens Museum is pretty nifty, and if this floats your boat, there's also a Ramones exhibit until the end of July. Otherwise it's not THAT exciting once you're done with the panorama, but Flushing Meadow Park itself is quite nice to walk through. The park also has a zoo that is pretty small potatoes compared to the other NYC zoos, but it's my go-to spot for goat petting and feeding. I think you can probably keep yourselves busy enough in Chinatown proper, but the park is a nice alternative if you want to get away somewhere a little less hectic.
posted by Neely O'Hara at 3:12 PM on July 13, 2016

If you will be here in the near future on a Saturday night, you might like the Queens International Night Market. You could eat a whole bunch while walking around Main St & Kissena, head over to the park for the museum, and then get yet more food at the Night Market-- not all of it is Asian, they have a little of everything (elotes/corn, lobster rolls, fried ice cream, Caribbean shark sandwiches, waffles with mac and cheese baked into them, etc.) but it's still a great experience.

Serious Eats has a guide to Flushing food that has been pretty reliable for me so far, though I have not tried all these places. You should check on Yelp that they are still open; I have run across a couple that closed between publication and now.
posted by blnkfrnk at 3:30 PM on July 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

I went to Flushing to eat earlier this year and it was deeeeelish. I planned to go to MoMA PS1 but didn't have time; you could check it out if you're into modern art.
posted by tatiana wishbone at 6:38 PM on July 13, 2016

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