New York City is constantly evolving, so no matter how well you think you know it, there’s always something new to explore: A fabulous watering hole. A funky boutique. An up-and-coming part of town. Although Manhattan has long been the stuff of dreams (Broadway! Central Park! SoHo!), thanks to TV shows such as Girls, Brooklyn has become just as much of a tourist attraction. But don’t stop there. Long Island City, in Queens, is giving it a run for its money, rife with under-the-radar museums, restaurants galore and a truly multicultural vibe.
1. LEAVE: Trek across the Brooklyn Bridge to Dumbo, Brooklyn’s bohemian enclave of old warehouses, artist studios, performance spaces and a waterfront park with killer views of Manhattan. Have a picnic with a grilled cheese, taco or other local fare from one of the food trucks. Or grab a slice at Grimaldi’s and a scoop (or three) at Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory.
2. VISIT: The Noguchi Museum in Long Island City features the work of sculptor Isamu Noguchi, including furniture and lighting designs and ceramics. The Socrates Sculpture Park (great views), Fisher Landau Center For Art (free admission) and MoMA’s PS1 outpost are also worth a stop. Nearby, John Brown Smokehouse has the best BBQ this side of Kansas City.
3. WANDER: Stroll the High Line, an elevated railroad track-cum-urban park in the sky. Begin at 34th Street between 10th and 11th avenues and make your way south toward Gansevoort Street. See how many of the 210 species of plants you can identify. Afterward, cruise around the Meatpacking District and into Diane Von Furstenberg and other shops for another kind of landscape design.
4. READ: The Strand has been selling new, used and rare books—18 miles worth!—since 1927. You could spend almost that long browsing through them. Once you’re done, head up two blocks to Union Square and check out the green market for fresh produce, flowers and homemade goodies.