Manhattan Beach Park
Ocean Ave & Mackenzie St., Manhattan Beach
Significantly less hectic than nearby Coney Island (though both the beach and the boardwalk are worth a visit), Manhattan Beach is an excellent option if you want the sand-and-ocean experience without having to go too far outside the city, to say, Fire Island or Asbury. There are basketball courts and lots of space for picnicking and barbecuing—plus, there’s usually a Mr. Softee ice-cream truck parked at the entrance. Keep in mind that it’s a bit of a walk from the Sheepshead Bay Q-train station, so pack as light as possible.
135-58 Lefferts Blvd., Ozone Park
The out-of-way location of this family restaurant in suburban Queens adds to its old school cred. Don Peppe has been in the business of serving homestyle Italian classics since 1978. Mario Batali turned us on to their scungilli ala marinara and linguine with clams, which is an easy favorite.
L&B Spumoni Gardens
2725 86th St., Bensonhurst
This South Brooklyn institution has been slinging their Sicilian-style "squares”—red sauce-smothered pizza with the Mozzarella cheese baked right into the fluffy, crust-y dough and sliced into, you guessed it, squares—since 1938. The only menu item that eclipses the pizza is the spumoni: a rainbow of vanilla, chocolate, and pistachio ice cream served old school, in a paper cup, and best enjoyed on the bustling outdoor patio. The L&B Italian ices (the lemon is a summertime essential) are slightly lighter than the spumoni and definitely worth sampling.
21-24 44th Ave., Long Island City
This 40-year-old business founded by Jared Bark has made frames for some of the greatest artists of all time, including Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly, and Robert Rauschenberg, to name a few. At Bark, the framers are more than happy to collaborate with the client to make exactly what you’re looking for. With so many years in the business, they have a vast catalog of styles, but can also create something completely unique for particular specifications.
Bespoke Millwork NYC
44-61 11th St., 3rd Fl., Long Island City
Bespoke Millwork fabricates, finishes, and installs fine cabinetry and custom architectural woodwork. They work on everything from historic restorations to unique home renovations. (And they did the handsome custom cabinetry for our NYC goop mrkt.)
Best & Company
44-61 11th St., 3rd Floor, Long Island City
After leading us step-by-step through the goop mrkt installation, we’d trust Best & Company with our lives, so a kitchen remodel is really no big deal. They’re reliable, consistent, and seamless. Plus, they work across categories: residential, retail, and hospitality.
Spa Castle NYC
131-10 11th Ave., College Point
This mini-chain of mega spas offers something called Sauna Valley: You’ll find every conceivable temple—gold, Himalayan Salt, infrared, far infrared, color therapy—and an equal number of pools to match. The Texas outpost is open twenty-four hours a day, while the Queens location is open from 6 a.m. to midnight, making this a fun pilgrimage (and a good girls-day activity). There’s an on-site cafeteria and even a kiddie pool.
Johnson Trading Gallery
47-42 43rd St., Sunnyside
This store/gallery was established in the last few years and has a full rotation of exhibitions by artists, craftsmen, designers, and architects. At the same time, the gallery also functions as a store with an inventory of vintage and contemporary pieces by artists and designers, both classic and contemporary.
22-25 Jackson Ave., Long Island City
Housed in a renovated public school, PS1 has been a beacon for contemporary art lovers since the 60s, though it officially only became part of MoMA in 2000. With the unerringly avant-garde Klaus Biesenbach as its director, PS1 has presented many groundbreaking shows including Francis Alÿs, Ari Marcopoulos, and Confetti System, a timely Mike Kelley retrospective shortly after his death, and the “Greater New York” series. In the summer, the Warm Up series—where great DJs play in the museum’s courtyard—draws a fun crowd. There's also an on-site cafeteria, M. Wells Dinette.
Falchi Building, 31-00 47th Ave., Long Island City
For many years Mark Israel’s plain glazed doughnut recipe was enough to draw crowds to this Lower East Side foodie destination, but more recent additions, like Mexican churros, house-made jelly filled doughnuts, and cake doughnuts have made Doughnut Plant legitimately legendary. While you can find Doughnut Plant on the menus of many hotels and restaurants throughout NYC, there's also a location in the Chelsea Hotel, Brooklyn, and now Long Island City.
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