GIANDO ON THE WATER
400 Kent Avenue
Not just a catering hall, mind you, but a sumptuous Italian restaurant as well, GIANDO ON THE WATER boasts one of the finest views of the Manhattan skyline you’re going to find. Nestled just beneath the Williamsburg Bridge, GIANDO makes exemplary use of its prime location with windows, windows, and more windows. (And no wonder it’s one of the more popular wedding destinations in our area!) So whether it’s the various seafood dishes you came for (Calamari, Gamberoni, Aragosta) or maybe their exemplary veal (Scallopina or Costolleta), make sure you take the opportunity to do as they say here and “put Manhattan in its place – across from your dining table!” It’s an unforgettable view. (And by the way, GIANDO is also open for lunch too, Monday thru Friday, beginning at 12:00.)
JUNIPER VALLEY PARK
Juniper Boulevard N & S between
80th St. and Lutheran Ave.
Something so serene about sunsets in Juniper Valley Park. Especially if you’re up on the hill a bit, like near the playground, you’ve got the broad expanse of the baseball and soccer fields stretched out before you, and just over the trees to the West, the Empire State Building, to remind us that we are after all in New York City. As the days dwindle down to a precious few, the laughter of the children’s voices, the whirring of the Mister Softee truck, the crack of the bat on the diamond will all diminish, especially once it starts getting colder, but for now this crown jewel is one of the most enjoyable places to spend a summer evening.
THE WEST SIDE TENNIS CLUB
1 Tennis Place
Membership does have its privileges, and if you just so happen to be a member of the West Side Tennis Club, or a frequent guest anyway, then certainly you’re well aware of the charms of sunset on the terrace, just overlooking the club’s top-tier grass courts. Especially if those courts are being used at the time, the pop pop pop of the tennis ball almost gets you feeling like you’re at Wimbledon or something. At any rate, this is one of the more exquisite twilight experiences in Queens, and for those fortunate enough to be able to partake, count on some lingering, because it’s a sight you’re not going to want to get up and walk away from too quickly.
THE SHOPS AT ATLAS PARK
80-28 Cooper Avenue
Even though the place looks a little bit like a ghost town these days, the second floor colonnade outside MANOR OKTOBERFEST and JOHNNY ROCKETS is one of the more under-rated destinations in our area. Gaze out onto the ATLAS plaza here come sunset time, and you will definitely develop an instant appreciation for the mall’s California-style origin and design. So whether you’re sitting and enjoying a Spaten al fresco at MANOR OKTOBERFEST, or maybe just wandering about with the latest creation courtesy of COLD STONE CREAMERY, you’re definitely going to appreciate the view from here, something that always makes our last few summer evenings that much more special.
19th Street from
Hoyt Ave. to Ditmars Blvd.
At 65-plus acres, this is definitely one of the largest open spaces in Queens. And it’s situated right on the East River for optimum Manhattan skyline viewing. Longtime enthusiasts have a hard time deciding which bridge they favor more – the behemoth now known as the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge (formerly the Triborough) or the oh-so-quirky Hell Gate Bridge. Regardless, as the sun sets on your swimming, your strolling, your bocce, your summer film screening, this just might be the best place to be to soak it all in.
Long Island City
THE WATER’S EDGE
4-01 44th Drive
Definitely one of the most exquisite restaurants in New York City, and its enviable vantage point across the East River from midtown Manhattan makes it that much more spectacular. (We love their slogan, by the way: The Only Thing We Overlook… is Manhattan!) While service can be a tad slow, the food is quite impressive here, and we particularly like the Scallops (with Truffled Summer Succotash) and the Lobster (accompanied by Tomato Tarragon Risotto). Oh, and try the Lobster Bisque as well – they even have it at lunch. Now, if you’re looking for a very special evening, $75 a person gets you Chef Rory O’Farrell’s seven-course Tasting Menu (Duck, Salmon, and Rack of Lamb). Given the ambience here, it’s one of the better ways around to ensure that your special evening out is even more special than you’d imagined.
FRANCIS LEWIS PARK
3rd Avenue and 147th Street
One of our area’s more under-rated treasures, the pride of Whitestone, is definitely the coastline between the Whitestone Bridge and the Throgs Neck Bridge, easily accessible via the Van Wyck, the Clearview, and the Cross Island. While the pleasures of Bayside’s FORT TOTTEN are well-documented, we just happen to be really big fans of FRANCIS LEWIS PARK, a downright sylvan setting that provides some of the most spectacular views imaginable, as winding paths lead you directly to two scenic overlooks equipped with benches for optimum East River viewing. Certainly you’ve heard of Francis Lewis High School and Francis Lewis Boulevard, but this park is so named because it’s located on the site where the famed signer of the Declaration of Independence once made his home. And if you live nearby, you’ve no doubt made it your second home, as well.
THE BROOKLYN ICE
1 Water Street
Look, we’ve got no quarrel with THE PROMENADE in Brooklyn Heights, but for our money, as summer draws to a close, we always like to make sure we get our last couple of ice cream cones in before school starts back up, our “last licks,” if you will. Consequently, the inherent nostalgia the BROOKLYN ICE CREAM FACTORY provides (its location used to house a fireboat in the ‘20’s), is the perfect recipe for making summer last just a wee bit longer. (Try the Peaches ‘n’ Cream or the Butter Pecan, if you’re looking for recommendations.) Slurping and meandering along the boardwalk, checking out the NY WATER TAXI a bit, slurping and meandering, wondering how much it really costs to go to the RIVER CAFÉ, slurping and meandering, deciding whether or not the GRIMALDI’S line is really worth it, slurping and meandering, and even more slurping and meandering, as the sun slowly sets behind Lower Manhattan. Folks, a summer evening doesn’t get too much better than this…
Got a favorite spot of your own you’d like to share with us? Give us a holler at BestOfTheBest@QueensLedger.com, and we’ll make sure to publish you in an upcoming edition!