05.23.13Our $2.50 trip to China

For $2,500 you could fly all the way to China. For $2.50, you could train all the way there… practically.

Flushing

Flushing, Queens is the largest urban center in the borough, and the Flushing Chinatown is one of the largest and fastest growing ethnic Chinese enclaves outside of Asia. The moment you step off the train, it truly feels like you’ve stepped into another country. Even the signs in the subway platform read in Chinese. The downtown sidewalks pulse with people – of all nationalities but predominantly East Asians. All the storefronts and signs are in Chinese, but the McDonald’s sign I spotted was perfectly understandable.

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Unfortunately, the weather was miserable, so we didn’t spend a ton of time exploring the streets. We ducked inside a restaurant for an authentic Chinese lunch at Spicy & Tasty, a local place highly recommended by our trusted NY Magazine. We sipped on hot tea, and shared dumplings in red chili sauce, steamed rice, Szechuan chicken, and lamb in red chili sauce. Holy moly. We were a bit hesitant when ordering from their menu (many of the dishes had things like “tongue” or “kidney” in the name), but our choices were fantastic. We’ve been hitting home runs lately with our dining choices!

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The Queens Museum of Art is located in Flushing Meadows Corona Park – right across from the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center – in the most diverse county in the United States. One of the first things that made it on our New York City “to-do” list was to visit the Queens Museum of Art in Flushing, Queens and check out an incredible exhibition: the Panorama of New York City, featured in the 2011 rom-com “New Year’s Eve.” Despite the hour commute to Flushing and the hour commute back, it was well worth the trip.

The Panorama is the “jewel in the crown” of the collection at the Queens Museum of Art. It was built when NYC hosted the 1964 World’s Fair. This 9,335 square foot architectural model includes every single building constructed before 1992 in all five boroughs. That’s 895,000 individual structures! Some post-1992 structures have been updated, like the Goldman Sachs building in the Financial District. Must be a work in progress. But it’s truly astounding to see the panorama and try to grasp how huge this city is, especially beyond Manhattan’s towering skyscrapers. Here’s a YouTube clip that might portray this amazing exhibition better than my pictures:

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