Enjoy All The Summer Still Left
It seems as if just yesterday we were contemplating the long, lazy stretches of summer that lay ahead of us. There seemed no end to the days that we could fill with all the things we wanted to do— or with nothing at all.
Suddenly, though, we realized that while we thought we were on the local, we were on the express, charging down a track lined with “Back to School” and “End of Summer” sales. Store aisles held lists of supplies parents were meant to buy for their children. Children realized that the summer reading list urgently required their attention. Reality tapped everyone on the shoulder and commanded, “Wake up!”
The reality to which we alerted ourselves is not quite as terrifying as first thought. While autumn and the start of school or the resumption of normal business hours and the sad relinquishment of sleeping away those few more hours before reality steps in, let us take a few moments to realize that yes, the resumption of our normal schedules and workloads looms, but all is not yet lost. Plenty of summer still awaits our delectation.
From August 27 to September 9, the US Open will draw visitors from around the world to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. During “down” time between matches visitors can enjoy a plethora of other attractions in the park, such as the Panorama of New York City in the nearby Queens Museum, Queens Theatre In the Park and the Queens Wildlife Conservation Center, better known as the Queens Zoo. The Queens Botanical Garden is a short walk away, as are three historic sites: the John Bowne House, the Quaker Meeting House and the Kingsland Homestead, all of which were the scene of events significant in the history of New York and the United States as well. Also a short walk away are excellent restaurants offering cuisine to suit every taste and prices to suit every budget. The rest of the borough offers equally varied and colorful dining, shopping and entertainment opportunities. 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.
Of course, summer would not be complete without an excursion to the nearest pool, or for Queens residents, the beach. Besides the many excellent private and public pools that dot the borough, we have the privilege of stretching out on the coast and dipping our feet into the cool waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Many people in most other states have to travel a good distance away from home to reach any beach. We have beaches in the heart of the greatest city in the world. There are very few things more relaxing than a day at the beach, where one can reunite with nature and forget about everyday stress. The sound of waves crashing over and over against the beach are nothing short of therapeutic. The smell of the salt water and sunscreen, the feel of the sand beneath one’s feet and the hypnotic pull of the waves all create an atmosphere of serenity— and we have it all, literally in the city’s back yard.
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. 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. Many of these attractions are either free or very low-cost, so a family outing will not break the budget.
The wonders of Queens are here for all who seek them. There is still a great deal of summer left, and we urge our readers to spend their time taking advantage of as many of the borough’s wonders and delights as possible. All these marvels are here for the taking. Let us all do just that.