Here’s my short list of three destinations in Queens worth visiting even if you live outside the borough. They all offer some great outdoor scenery, whether in the form of street art, architecture or beautiful green space. Two are parks.
Welling Court Mural Project
Missing 5Pointz in Long Island City? That renowned graffiti spot may be no more, but you can get your fill of grassroots urban art at Welling Court, where the Ad Hoc Art Group has been curating public street art since 2010. There’s some fantastic stuff here, and it’s all free to enjoy.
The art display is in Astoria near East River, at the spot where Vernon Boulevard becomes Main Avenue and it intersects with Welling Court. You can find it right here.
Hang Out at Hell Gate
Feel like you need to see some big sky? While you’re in Astoria, why not swing over to Astoria Park to chill for a while? You’ve got great views of the East River’s Hell Gate section here, with the Hellgate and Triborough Bridges looming overheard.
There’s also a variety of Parks Department amenities found here, including everything from a skate park to a pool. And Astoria is one of the city’s choicest spots for a weekend brunch.
First Calvary Cemetery
Founded in 1848 by the Roman Catholic Church, this bucolic burying ground is sited near the Newtown Creek. You’ll find the entrance where Greenpoint Avenue intersects with Gale Avenue, near the Long Island Expressway.
There are a few miles of paved roads in here, which cross the hilly landscape. No dogs allowed, but joggers and bicyclists are often spotted. Be respectful if you see a funeral under way, it’s still a quite active cemetery, despite its age.
Fun fact: There are more dead people in Queens than living ones.
Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman lives in Astoria and blogs at Newtown Pentacle.