2006-08-23 / Editorials

Queens Offers Summer Delights For All

As has been the case for the past several years, Borough President Helen Marshall recently launched her annual "Discover Queens in August" campaign. This year, "Discover Queens" was linked to another effort, "Power Up Queens". While Discover Queens is aimed primarily at people who live in the borough but who seem to spend most of their spare time and discretionary income elsewhere, Power Up Queens is intended to bring residents of the other boroughs into Queens to sample the many delights and diversions to be found here-and to assist some of the businesses that suffered losses during the blackouts that plagued the borough recently.

Both programs are deserving of notice and participation in and of themselves. But we hope Queensites and visitors from the rest of the city, and beyond, will find themselves sampling the myriad activities and entertainment venues to be found here for reasons beyond altruism or curiosity. From Gateway National Park to Flushing Bay, from Little Neck to the Hell Gate Bridge, Queens has restaurants, theatres, libraries, parks, museums and other ways to amuse, entertain-and incidentally and painlessly educate-any and everyone.

There is no end to the number and variety of free events happening all over the borough. Queens is the place to be in August, with awesome music and cultural festivals, street fairs and a host of other

fun activities. Just check this newspaper's Calendar, call the Queens Council on the Arts or visit www.discoverqueens.info.

Take a ride on the International Express (the No.7 subway line) to get to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, where many of these activities are held. The park, the site of two World's Fairs, is also home to many more attractions, including the New York Hall of Science, the Queens Museum of Art, Queens Theatre In the Park and the Queens Zoo. The Queens Botanical Garden is a few blocks away and well worth a visit. Many of these attractions are either free or very low-cost, so a family outing won't break the budget.

Of course, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park is far from the only such venue in Queens. Astoria Park, on the banks of the East River, holds an Olympic-size pool. Cunningham Park, Forest Park and Juniper Valley Park are only three of the many green spaces found throughout Queens. Some of these hold historic buildings and Queens' only working farm, again, well worth a visit and at no or nominal cost.

Queens is the most diverse county in the United States. In Astoria and Long Island City alone, nearly 130 different languages spoken by people who have come here from more than 120 countries can be heard. The situation is the same in the rest of the borough. All these new denizens have, of course, brought their cultures

with them. It's possible to travel around the world without leaving the city-and at far lower cost and certainly much more easily.

The league-leading Mets have frequent home games at Shea Stadium and there's phenomenal tennis, with some of the world's greatest tennis players competing at the 125th U.S. Open, the highest-attended annual sporting event in the world. Both Shea Stadium and the US Tennis Center, to be renamed for champion Billie Jean King at opening day ceremonies August 28, are also in Flushing MeadowsCorona Park. The Tennis Center is available for public play the rest of the year, another bargain for Queens residents and visitors.

The wonders of Queens are here for all who seek them, and most of them won't break the average budget, either. After all the borough has endured in the past weeks, including blackouts, gas price hikes and increasingly arduous preliminaries to air travel at the borough's two airports, residents and visitors alike are more than entitled to a break. We're fortunate to be living in Queens, where rest and recreation venues are readily available to all. We urge our readers to spend what remains of officially designated summer taking advantage of as many of the borough's wonders and delights as possible. All these marvels are here for the taking, so let's do just that.

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