NFT New York Elmhurst / Corona

Elmhurst / Corona

Once known as "Newtown," Elmhurst was renamed in 1896 so that no one would confuse it with Newtown Creek, which stunk then as it does now. Nestled amidst South Asian Jackson Heights, Latino Corona, the middle-class neighborhoods south of Queens Boulevard and the co-op-heavy area near Rego Park, Elmhurst pulls together the best of multicultural, multiethnic Queens. It's not quite the geographic center of the borough, but Elmhurst certainly feels that way. Evoking that spirit, the Queens Center Mall opened in 1973 at Queens Boulevard and Woodhaven Boulevard. Queens' first enclosed mall, the area's great transportation - - via either the Long Island Expressway or the IND Queens Boulevard subway lines - - bring in throngs of shoppers to Queens Center. If you're originally from out of town, pay a visit - - you'll find that you didn't miss a thing. Just down the street along the LIE sits the hulking See more.

>LeFrak City, a 1960s development consisting of twenty 18-story towers and 5,000 apartments for middle-class families.

Corona, just across Junction Boulevard from Elmhurst, was settled in the 1850s after the Long Island Rail Road began service there. Light industry followed, including the Tiffany Glass Works, which operated in Corona from the 1890s until the 1930s. Today, Corona is home to what seems like nearly every nation south of the Rio Grande, especially in the neighborhoods north of the Long Island Rail Road tracks. Meanwhile, a vestigial Italian-American community thrives south of the LIRR tracks, the epicenter of which is William F. Moore Park, also known as "Spaghetti Park," whose bocce courts get heavy use in the summertime. The famous Lemon Ice King of Corona is just across the street from the park in Corona's Little Italy. Provocative television producer Norman Lear used Corona as the fictional home of television's Archie Bunker, even though the establishing shots for the television series were filmed on Cooper Avenue over in Glendale. (Speaking of exterior shots, Ugly Betty's house is located near 92nd Street and Elmhurst Avenue in the no-man's land between Elmhurst, Corona and Jackson Heights.) Jazz lovers and fans of kitschy design must see the nearby Louis Armstrong Museum, located in Armstrong's Corona house where he lived from 1943 until his death in 1971. Major shopping corridors around Corona include Roosevelt Avenue underneath the 7 train tracks, 108th Street (especially south of Roosevelt Avenue), Northern Boulevard and Junction Boulevard (especially north of Roosevelt Avenue).

Corona, you may have noticed, is also the namesake for neighboring Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, where each year millions converge to see the Mets, the U.S. Open or to play on the athletic fields. The "Corona" was added to "Flushing Meadows-Corona Park" in 1964 by the New York City Council to "salve the wounded pride" of Corona residents, who were for many years saddled with the site's former name - - the "Corona Dumps." At any rate, Corona is a nice way to enter the park. The New York Hall of Science and Queens Zoo both sit on the Corona side of the Grand Central Parkway, which cuts through the 1200-plus-acre park. And if you want to avoid paying through the nose to park at Citi Field, consider ditching your vehicle along the street at Hinton Park and using the pedestrian walkway along the Whitestone Expressway to get to the left field gate; it's only about 10 minutes!

There's not a lot of nightlife, per se, in Corona and this part of Elmhurst, though you can certainly spend hours at Green Field Churrascaria. The slightly more upscale restaurants that ring William F. Moore Park can be destination venues as well.

Leo's Latticini (Mama's) makes Italian heroes bigger and better than the ones they sell over at Citi Field. NueveNueve up on Northern Boulevard made the extra effort with the décor. Tortilleria Nixtamal gets folks making a special trip and Green Field Churrascaria is where your circulatory system goes to die.

Queens Center Mall is the black hole of shopping in Elmhurst. Tulcingo Deli is a small, well-appointed Mexican grocery store off of Roosevelt. Lemon Ice King of Corona just owns ices. And when you need beer, stop by the geographically fuzzy Forest Hills Beer Distributor over on 108th.


This Neighborhood Featured in...
Four Zoos and an Aquarium

By Diana Pizzari
Animals! They're not just for slaughtering anymore. Diana Pizzari's got a thing or four to share about her favorite city zoos and aquarium. Open your ears and clear your minds of meat lust as she details some little-known factoids about bison, breeding and the Bronx.


On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Jennifer Keeney Sendrow
Photo:  Courtesy Roomorama

Corona has its fair share of good chicken joints, but only one offers a window onto an international phenomenon. Central American favorite Pollo Campero is almost always crowded with locals of all ages. The chain’s setup is straight out of KFC, but the food and the atmosphere is definitely not. Take your pick from a menu of fried chicken-focused meals, then choose sides that range from typical American (French fries, cole slaw) to Latin-inflected (spicy rice, plantains, and their signature Campero Beans). Beverages options include horchata and Mexican sodas, there’s flan for dessert, and there’s an unlimited salsa bar with four different styles to try. On a Sunday afternoon, couples feast on trays of chicken, children parade with logo balloons, and a crew of young employees keeps all the tables clean and tidy while swaying to merengue music playing in the in the background. It’s fast food, but like its iconic logo of a smiling cowboy chicken, Pollo Campero is fun.

Posted By:  Diana Pizzari
Photo:  Diana Pizzari

Queens Zoo Wildlife Center
The Queens Zoo is dedicated to protecting and breeding endangeredspecies, with a focus on North American animals. I can honestly say that I’ve never seen so many ducks in one place before. The bears, eagles, and coyotes were fun, but the ducks definitely blew me away. The small loop circuit of the zoo can be completed in less than an hour (if you don’t accidentally get lost in one of their many “Authorized PersonnelOnly” areas) And if you end up making the trip all the way out to Corona Park to visit the zoo, you might be interested in coupling the experiencing with some other attractions in the area. The interactive New York Hall of Science is located right next door (adults $11/kids $8), then there’s the Queens Museum of Art (adults $5/kids $2.50), the Queens Botanical Garden (free for all), the Unisphere, World’s Fair towers, an ice skating rink, and the Playground For All Children.

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