The U.S. Open is upon us. Throughout the annual two week tennis tournament, fans will flock into the heart of Queens, N.Y., to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center to watch the world’s best players duke it out on the courts. Here’s a look at where to eat and where to go in the area when you need a break from the main attraction.
Luckily for the hungry masses, the culinary options at the U.S. Open are remarkably gourmet. From today through Sept. 11, an impressive lineup of chefs have brought their talents to Queens through an array of pop-ups at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Marcus Samuelsson helped craft the Latin-inspired menu at Mojito Restaurant & Bar; “Iron Chef” Masaharu Morimoto will be preparing sushi alongside Ed Brown’s seafood creations at Aces, and David Burke has re-created his BLT Steakhouse concept at Champions Bar & Grill. (For the latter two, reservations are required.) More casual dining options, located at the “U.S. Open Food Village” include Pat LaFrieda Meat Co., David Chang‘s Fuku, BLT Fish Shack, Prime Burger, and a pop-up of Chicago-based restaurant Café Spiaggia. You won’t leave hungry.
If you’re feeling more adventurous for a taste of old New York, venture over to The Lemon Ice King of Corona, located one mile from the stadium. The family-run storefront has been serving Italian ices on the block since the Forties. Across the street, stop and observe a bocce match going on in William F. Moore Park before heading back over to catch Rafael Nadal’s latest match.
DO AND SEE
Looking for a break from all the matches? Walk over to the Queens Museum, mere steps from the stadium — and iconic Unisphere — in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Exhibits on display include Nari Ward’s “Breathing Flag,” part of Creative Time’s “Pledges of Allegiance” public art project, as well as Anna K.E.’s large-scale installation “Profound Approach and Easy Outcome.” The museum’s highlight is the Panorama of the City of New York, a model of the city built for the 1964 World’s Fair.
Perfect for any youngsters in town, the nearby Queens Zoo may not be the most wild place, but it is home to an aviary, pumas, sea lions, oh my! The zoo also incorporates educational hands-on activities, with a focus on conservation.
For a breath of fresh air, wander over to the Queens Botanical Garden, where 39 acres of flora and fauna stretch away from the stadium toward Flushing. The gardens are open Tuesdays through Sundays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Slightly further away in the park is Meadow Lake. If you’re in need of some physical activity after watching all of the athleticism, take advantage of your last chance to rent a paddle boat for this season, located on the north side of the lake. And if not, there’s always next year.