Many visitors to New York don’t stray off Manhattan, but if you’re staying a while, choose to investigate the outer boroughs and you’ll be well rewarded. Brooklyn is certainly worth a trip, primarily for Brooklyn Heights just across the East River, bucolic Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Museum. For inveterate nostalgics, Coney Island and its Russian neighbour, Brighton Beach, lie at the far end of the subway line. Few indeed make it to Queens, though the borough holds the bustling Greek community of Astoria, the increasingly hip neighbourhood of Long Island City and the Museum of the Moving Image. The Bronx, renowned for the desolate and bleak environs of its southern reaches, which are in fact slowly improving, has the city’s largest zoo, Yankee Stadium and another glorious botanical garden. Staten Island is primarily a sleepy residential community, with little in the way of sights (the Staten Island ferry).Read More
Named in honour of the wife of Charles II of England, Queens was one of the rare places where postwar immigrants could buy their own homes and establish their own communities (Astoria, for example, holds the world’s largest concentration of Greeks outside Greece). Other than exploring the ethnic neighbourhoods here, the major attraction in Queens is the American Museum of the Moving Image, in the old Paramount complex in Astoria, at 35th Avenue and 36th Street (M or R to Steinway; call or check website for new hours t 718/784-0077, w movingimage.us). The museum, devoted to the history of film, video and TV, just completed a major renovation that added an adjacent three-storey building with a theatre and education centre. The core exhibit, “Behind the Screen”, contains more than 125,000 objects, including old movie cameras and special-effects equipment; early televisions; all kinds of costumes and props, including the chariot from Ben Hur; fan magazines, posters and enough Star Wars action figures to make an obsessed fan drool with envy. There’s a real focus on interactivity, too, as you have the opportunity to create a short animated film, make a soundtrack and see how live television is edited.
- The Bronx