Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sweet Summertime Reads Roadtrip with Estelle!

Hello, and welcome back to another edition of Sweet Summertime Reads Roadtrip!  Each Wednesday this summer I'll be taking you on a virtual roadtrip to various places on the map and hopefully introduce you to some new reads along the way as well.  We're heading east this week to check out Queens, NY with Estelle from Rather Be Reading.  I'm very excited for this virtual trip because it's a different side of NYC that I have yet to see.  So grab your subway pass and take a seat as Estelle shows us around her pocket of the Big Apple.

Welcome to Queens, New York!

When Ginger asked me to participate in her Sweet Summertime Reads Roadtrip series, I wanted to challenge myself in two ways: stay out of Manhattan and try to keep us as cool as possible in the concrete jungle. (One of the biggest adjustments to city living, let me tell ya.)

First, a quick subway lesson. I live right off the 7 train line (which you can catch at Grand Central or Port Authority) so as I like to tell people: grab a book, take a seat, and enjoy the lovely ride (maybe look up from your book from time to time to check out the views too).

photo credit: Estelle

Our first destination today is only 1 stop from Grand Central.

Welcome to Long Island City.

photo credit: Estelle

Places of interest: 1) Alewife (5-14 51st Avenue): totally laidback restaurant and bar that features happy hours even on the weekends + an amazing brunch (30 dollars for a meal + select unlimited drinks for 3 hours) on Sundays. 2) Hunter’s Point South: grab your blanket, book, and an iPod for perfect people watching / laying down / walking along the boardwalk with views of the East River skyline. We love to come back here around sunset. 3) Coffeed (Hunter’s Point South): we’re all about supporting local businesses + this small café just expanded to be the only food destination at this park. Great caffeine, local beer, and even burgers.

Feeling a bit more adventurous? Take the 7 to Queensboro Plaza and switch to the R. Get off at Steinway Street.

photo credit: Estelle

Now we are in Astoria. You could definitely do some shopping on Steinway Street and walk around for a bit. But how about 1) Museum of the Moving Image (36-01 35th Ave): if you love film and technology, this museum has some great exhibits and special events happening every weekend. (We head over for a ton of Muppet-themed events during the year.) 2) Sunswick 35/35 (35-02 35th Street): Ready for a bite to eat and a nice selection of beer? (Are you sensing a theme?) The staff is lovely and it’s a really comfortable place to kick back after walking around Astoria and the Museum. 3) Astoria Bookshop (31-29 31st Street): Sadly, Queens is not known for its bookstores but this is an ADORABLE Indie that is worth walking to. Pretty great YA section too.

If you have a little bit of time to kill + want to plan ahead, take the 7 straight to Mets-Willets Point stop. (It’s the second to last stop on the line.)

photo credit: Estelle

It’s true I’ve been a diehard Yankees fan since the womb but (1) Citi Field is one of the best places to experience a baseball game (and I’ve been to plenty of stadiums in my life). It has such a cozy feeling, the concessions are great (Shake Shack, Blue Smoke BBQ, etc.) and hey, you may even want to watch the game after that. Tickets are pretty inexpensive these days too. (2) If you are a bit of a historian, you may want to check out Flushing Meadows Corona Park. It’s easily walkable from Citi Field (there are stairs + a boardwalk between the two). This is the site of the World’s Fair from 1939 and 1964; some of it is still standing (like the Unisphere) but you could also check out the Queens Museum if you wanted to. You can easily walk a few miles in this park. (3) Hungry? Let’s try some dumplings, shall we? Joe’s Shanghai (136-21 37th Ave, Flushing) comes highly recommended from a friend!

I’m going to take a cue from my lovely pals Andi + Lisa and recommend some books that are bound to get you in the New York summer spirit! (Sunscreen not included.)

Dreamland Social Club by Tara Altebrando; One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva; Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin; The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith; How to Kill a Rock Star by Tiffanie Debartolo;

Thanks so much to Ginger for hosting me, and thank YOU, readers, for letting me share a little bit of my surrounding neighborhood and favorite spots with you today!

Have fun out there!


Who's hungry & craving a beer after that tour around Queens with Estelle?! I know I am!  When people think of NYC, the Empire State building and Lady Liberty come to mind, but there are so many different boroughs throughout the city, offering tons of culture and experience.  Thank you, Estelle, for sharing your neighborhood with us!  The next time I travel up north, we're definitely getting together for a beer.

My Sweet Summertime Reads Roadtrip GIVEAWAY is still going strong! Click the image below to enter (open to international friends, too).  Next week we'll be escaping to a lovely beach cottage in Wisconsin with Anna!


  1. I love this and know exactly where to have Estelle take me when I come and visit. :-)

    This is a great series Ginger. I get so excited to see where you will have us going next.

  2. Love it - I actually stayed in Long Island City one time when I visited New York, and it's really great, urban and cool and full of local businesses. I haven't really been to Astoria much, but on my next trip, I plan to stay a little longer and explore more of Brooklyn and Queens. Thanks for the tour, Estelle, and thanks for this great series, Ginger!

  3. Great and different tour of New York City! Love this series :)

  4. Thanks for the tour, Estelle! I've only been to NY a few times (my parents are actually from there but moved to KY before I was born) so I know there's so much there I haven't gotten to experience. I hope to be back next year for BEA. :)

  5. I'm definitely interested in a beer & burger with Estelle now!


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