I’m always so relentlessly Manhattan-centric, as if nothing else exists in New York, but a recent train voyage to Queens proved my self-imposed limitations have been a bit silly.
First off, The Queens Zoo is an enjoyable open-air experience where the bison, pumas, and Andean bears look positively comfy and the goats and pigs love you for life if you allow them to lick some 50-cent feed off your hand (though I didn’t; squeamish).
Best of all is the Aviary, set in a geodesic dome built by Buckminster Fuller for the 1964 World’s Fair, where it was the Winston Churchill Pavilion.
Now it’s an airy, tree-filled home to all sorts of wacky winged creatures, and as you walk the long, high ramp through it, the feeling is very Discovery Channel meets Lost Horizon.
Walking distance from the zoo is the Queens Museum of Art, where there’s an exhibit of old World’s Fair memorabilia, plus the longtime big attraction–a panoramic recreation of the five boroughs which painstakingly uses 895,000 little buildings to eye-poppingly visualize our city’s terrain.
By finally going back to Queens, I managed to see the whole city.