It's in Queens Weekly Column
Let's dance, or better yet, vamos a bailar. The borough hosts upcoming chances to experience or learn tango, salsa, merengue, bachata, and cha cha cha. There are also some interesting panel discussions on everything from the history of storefront signs to media depictions of African Americans as well as live music and inspiring art activities. Here's the rundown.
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
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
"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
January Picks by Chris
Good Eats: If we meet at Queens Taste 2015, your first impression of me will probably be: "I bet this guy knows where to get a good meal." And you know what? You'll be right. I'm lucky to have a job that takes me all over the borough and even luckier to be able to sample the provisions wherever I go. When people seek suggestions, I usually respond by asking about their favorite cuisines, because we've got something for every taste bud and mood. You want Mexican? Tortillería Nixtamal. Indian? Jackson Diner. Cajun? Bourbon Street. Korean BBQ? Kum Gang San. But my first tip for anyone who wants a nice, hot, quick, filling meal is JoJu in Elmhurst. I love their take on the Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwich, and I'm proud that I have tried all their "original" sandwiches. I plan to move on to the "adventurers" menu in 2015 and I never leave without an order of kimchi fries. Bonus points for the loyalty card that rewards frequent Queens is also a haven for Mediterranean cuisine, but if you ask 100 people for their favorite restaurant, you'll get 100 different answers. Mine is Okeanos in Astoria. They offer fresh seafood and perfect versions of Greek specialties in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. No self-respecting Queens native can forget the diner, our staple. Here's what a quality diner has to have: Parking, great coffee, fast breakfast, a menu too long to read, 24-hour service, great salads and burgers, and a cast of characters working and running the place who make you laugh and feel at home. Far and away, Astoria's Bel Aire has it all.
Wander Streets: Flushing Meadows Corona Park. "Oh my, Chris, way to go out on a limb with great inside knowledge. You picked the largest park in the center of the borough." Well, I'll ignore the quiet voice in my head because this green space is tremendous. Not only is it a great spot to walk, run, hike or bike, it's home to some real treasures: New York Hall of Science, Queens Zoo, Queens Theatre, Queens Museum, a first-class aquatic center and ice-skating rink, and so much more. When the weather warms up, I love the pitch-and-putt golf course and getting some court time at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, where I make grunting noises as I hit the ball -- not to intimidate my opponent, but because it takes that much energy to move. (See Good Eats section.)
Unique Treats: I'm a frustrated musician. Frustrated that I've never been able to master an instrument or carry a tune. Lucky for me -- and for your ear drums -- Queens has a vibrant live music scene. There are plenty of establishments that present truly talented performers doing popular covers or their own deftly crafted originals. However, if you have the itch to rush the stage, check out Open Mic at the GlenLo Tavern on the third Thursday of each month. One of the ways I scratch my itch is at the Live Band Karaoke shows by the Revivers. These guys rock the house, but on karaoke night you can be the front man for a song. Also, I would be remiss (and in trouble) if I didn't mention Crimson Street, my father-in- law's amazing cover band.
Historic Feats: The Daily News recently reported on efforts to list John Bowne and the Flushing Quaker Meeting houses as national parks. I'm no expert on this, but my friends at the Queens Historical Society are. So check them out at the Kingsland Homestead. If you don't know where you're from, how do you know where you're going? Lastly, we're heading to the 30th anniversary of the World Series-winning 1986 Mets. If you were in Queens then - heck, if you were in the TriState Area -- you remember that magical season. Take a stroll down memory lane with an old VHS copy of 1986: A Year to Remember or wait for the new documentary to come out. The season launched sports talk radio in 1987, and even though I'm a Yankees fan (insert boo sound effect here), it was great time in Queens. I hope it happens again soon.
Chris Donovan is the Queens Advertising Executive at the New York Daily News.
The Flushing man is a former resident of Jackson Heights, Sunnyside, Woodside, Astoria, Elmhurst, and Rego Park. He was educated at P.S. 152, Our Lady of Fatima, Archbishop Molloy, and Queens College, but hopes you don't hold that against these fine institutions. He congratulates QEDC and the Queens Tourism Council as Lonely Planet recently listed the borough as the best tourist destination for 2015. (Chris was aware of this fact for years.)
Read more about these and other monthly picks.
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