TODAY IN QUEENS

Mon 12/22/14

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It's in Queens Weekly Column

Last week, the well-respected Lonely Planet travel media company selected Queens as the best tourism destination of 2015. The stakes seem a bit higher now. Luckily, this week is jam-packed with awe-inspiring, unique, and enriching activities…and things will only get better next year. Here's the rundown.

Click here for December 18 through December 21

'Tis the Season to be Jolly

Santa Claus, menorahs and fruit baskets return to Queens neighborhoods this December. Brighten your holidays with a lighting ceremony, a community festival, holiday markets, and more.

See a list of Holiday Fun in Queens.

Indoor Markets

Find unique gifts at one of Queens markets.

LIC Flea & Food, the largest outdoor Queens market, is now open indoors. 5-25 46th Ave.

Ridgewood Market, an artisan market where you can shop and enjoy some brunch, too. Next market: November 23, 11 am-6 pm at Gottscheer Hall, 657 Fairview Ave.

Highlights of the Month

Featured Hotel

Only 2 miles from Times Square and 3 minutes from the 39 Ave. train station, Nesva Hotel offers rooms with free Wi-Fi, cable channels and a work desk. Select rooms offer views of the New York City skyline. Breakfast is served each morning, and a business center is always available.

39-12 29 St., Long Island City
(917) 745-1000

See details or book hotel


Featured Exhibit

"To Jack Bradley, the 'Greatest' Photo Taker": Treasures from the Jack Bradley Collection celebrates the legacy of Louis Armstrong through the private access that long-time friend and photographer Jack Bradley had of Satchmo on stage, back stage, on the road and at home.

Louis Armstrong House Museum
34-56 107th St., Corona
(718) 478-8274  |  See website
Museum admission: $4-$10.

December Picks by Adrienne

Good Eats: Enjoy a generous assortment of Spanish cheeses, sausages, and other treats imported by Despaña at the free tastings (which include wine) held every Saturday at their tiny Northern Blvd. shop. A dish I only discovered by living in Elmhurst-at Patacón Pisao-is the cachapa, a Venezuelan sweet corn cake folded over for a sandwich filled with pork, chicken, beef and/or cheese. Stamatis is my go- to Greek place in Astoria. In Flushing, I like the lamb noodle soup at theGolden Shopping Mall, where you watch them pull the noodles while you wait for your order. I was thrilled to see Dani's House of Pizza, a Kew Gardens institution known for its "sweet sauce," named best pizza slice in NYC by the Village Voice. Du Bois Pastry Shoppe recently made my wedding cake, but stop in any time for some of their delicious cookies.

Wander Streets:  I love only-in-Queens blocks like National St. off 43rd Ave. in Corona, where you find a Buddhist temple, a mosque and a Jehovah's Witnesses hall that serves Latino, Ghanaian and Filipino congregations. Or 48th Ave. between 45th and 46th Sts. in Sunnyside, one block containing a Romanian Orthodox church, Korean and Spanish-speaking churches, a mosque, a Mexican restaurant and an Irish pub. My other favorite type of Queens street is one where you just wander and admire (envy?) the homes and landscaping, such as Murdock Ave. in St. Albans, Bay St. in Douglaston, Croydon Rd. in Jamaica Estates...and plenty of other streets in those neighborhoods, too!

Unique Treats: People flock to Gantry Plaza State Park and Hunters Point South in LIC, but what about the borough's other waterfront parks? Like Hermon A. MacNeil Park in College Point, where the view stretches from the Verrazano Bridge to the George Washington Bridge; Whitestone's Francis Lewis Park, which offers a magnificent view of Whitestone Bridge and a small beach; and the World's Fair Marina (separated from the rest of Flushing Meadows Corona Park by Grand Central Pkwy.) with its mile-long promenade. In the Rockaways, Tribute Park, at the top of Beach 116th St., has lovely mosaic and glass-cupola 9/11 memorials along with a view of lower Manhattan, or follow Mott Ave. all the way north to secluded Bayswater Point State Park on Jamaica Bay. For another type of waterway, check out glacial ponds like Oakland Lake, off Northern Blvd. in Douglaston; Golden Pond in Bayside's Crocheron Park; Strack Pond, near the Woodhaven entrance of Forest Park; or those in Captain Tilly Park in Jamaica Hills or Kissena Park and Bowne Park in Flushing.

Historic Feats: I'm going to go with something holiday-related for December. One of the founders of Elmhurst-back when it was a colonial settlement named Middleburg-was Rev. John Moore, the great-great-great-grandfather of Clement C. Moore, author of The Night Before Christmas. It is believed young Clement spent much time at the family estate that is now the Moore Homestead Playground on Broadway in Elmhurst. Moores owned the land from the 1660s to the 1930s, and the church that John Moore established around 1652, First Presbyterian, still stands on Queens Blvd. Generations later, Queens would produce another work in the Christmas canon: Run-D.M.C.'s "Christmas in Hollis," which immortalized their southeast Queens neighborhood for carolers everywhere.

Adrienne Onofri, a tour guide and journalist, is the author of the new book Walking Queens: 30 Tours for Discovering the Diverse Communities, Historic Places, and Natural Treasures of New York City's Largest Borough, now available at stores andonline. If you'd like to sell the book at your business, contact Adrienne (walkingqueens@gmail.com) for a specially priced offer from the publisher, Wilderness Press that includes a countertop stand.

Read more about these and other monthly picks.