Shop, Dine, Enjoy Holidays In Queens
For the past week, the Internet and broadcast media have echoed with stories about the shopping stalwarts who have planted themselves at the doors of their favorite big-box retailers, some longer than a week in advance of the day after Thanksgiving so as to give themselves the best chance of being first in line to grab the bargains they are sure await them. Some have neat little tent campsites set up, still others have issued strict orders to their loved ones to bring their meals, including Thanksgiving dinner, to them at their bivouacs lest they lose their place at the head of the line to charge into stores as soon as they open in the wee hours of November 26.
We who live here in Queens can laugh at such folly. All we need to meet every wish on our holiday gift lists is right here, if not at our fingertips, then no farther away than a short walk or ride, the latter preferably on safe, inexpensive and convenient public transportation. This borough, the most ethnically varied county in the United States, offers another advantage over the homogenized, cookie cutter shopping venue loaded with chain stores-the diversity found in every corner of the borough. If the shops catering to one particular culture do not meet your needs or those of the people on your gift list, walk a few blocks. At the holidays or, indeed, at any other time of year, in the stores that line the borough’s major shopping streets, gift items can be found to meet all needs and all tastes. All over the borough, houses of worship hold holiday fairs at which more gift bargains can be found. What’s more, some of the best bargains in hot items are to be found in Queens. With the new initiative, Small Business Saturday, November 27 was a step in the right direction. We in Queens know the advantages of our local stores and all that they have to offer.
Shoppers who can eschew delivery to follow the adage that the package you carry gets home first may find full shopping bags to be awkward and somewhat heavy, but there are plenty of places to sit down and rearrange one’s bundles and reorganize one’s thoughts, among them conveniently located vest-pocket parks and benches placed on streets by civic improvement groups or local business organizations. If shopping puts an edge on your appetite, you can travel the world gastronomically and never leave the borough. In some cases, it is not necessary even to leave a neighborhood to find restaurants serving cuisines from the world over. Like the shops and stores that are their neighbors, restaurants, from corner delis and three- and four-table hidden gems to white-tablecloth eateries, line every major thoroughfare and are found on many a side street. And not only is it convenient to dine at a Queens restaurant, be it for a snack, lunch or full dinner, but prices are also considerably kinder to patrons’ wallets.
Queens shopping streets in and of themselves are enough to put anyone in a holiday mood. Merchants’ associations, local chambers of commerce and business improvement districts bring the holiday spirit to life with lights, music and visits from Santa at which parents can foster yet another family tradition by photographing their children with Saint Nick.
The holiday spirit is not found only in the borough’s shopping districts. Concerts and programs take place almost everywhere, performed by everyone from children in elementary school auditoriums to professional organizations such as the Queens Theatre in the Park, the Queens Symphony Orchestra and the Oratorio Society of Queens. Performing arts groups in Queens match, and easily surpass, their counterparts elsewhere. Nor will admission to these events put a hole in one’s wallet.
One need not travel the world to find shopping bargains and holiday celebrations. We who live and work here in Queens have the world at our fingertips in this, our home borough. We wish all our readers the very best of holiday seasons and trust that they will find their needs and wants met right here at their doorsteps and fingertips. Good hunting and Happy Holidays to all!