111 Places in Queens That You Must Not Miss

We asked Joe DiStefano, author of 111 Places in Queens That You Must Not Miss, to share his favorite locations in Queens that embody the spirit of the holidays. Be sure to visit them, bring your friends and family, and enjoy some holiday cheer!

Diwali at Gurdwara Sahib
This Sikh religious and community center, which offers free vegetarian meals throughout the year, always reflects the values of giving and openness. It is especially festive during Diwali, the festival of light, which takes place on November 7th. At that time of year, oil lamps, or deepas, shine through the wintry evening. 95-30 118th Street, South Richmond Hill

Gottscheer Hall
Thanks to a great lineup of brews and a menu full of hearty wursts, potato pancakes, and pretzels as big as your face, every day feels like Oktoberfest at this German watering hole, set amid a tree-lined block christened Gottscheer Avenue. The one-time social hall still hosts events like the Cozy Corner Fishing Club Spring Dinner Dance. These days, it is also home to Gott Market, a monthly craft bazaar, where local artists sell their wares. 657 Fairview Avenue, Ridgewood

Flushing Free Synagogue
Built in 1926, the Flushing Free Synagogue’s entrance stands atop a staircase flanked by bronze menorahs that have taken on a green patina. Four columns support an architrave inscribed: “For mine house shall be called a house of prayer for all people.” Above the central double doors is a stained glass Star of David and in stone the words “Free Synagogue of Flushing.” The doorway is crowned by a semicircle engraved with the Tablets of The Law, more commonly known as the Ten Commandments. The sanctuary is topped off by a huge stained glass dome in the pattern of the Star of David, an extravagant blend of Judaica and Georgian neoclassicism. All are welcome during Friday evening Shabbat at 7:15pm, and the synagogue is a wonderful place to observe Hanukkah. 41-60 Kissena Boulevard, Flushing

Vander Ende-Onderdonk House
Built in 1709, New York City’s oldest Dutch Colonial stone house is especially scenic during the fall and winter holidays. Don’t miss St. Nicholas Day on December 4. During the Dutch Christmas celebration, St. Nicholas, outfitted with a miter and staff, hands out gifts to children. The house is bathed in candlelight and holds a yuletide feast at night. 18-20 Flushing Avenue, Ridgewood

Old Quaker Meeting House
Downtown Flushing is a hive of modern commerce. However, just east of Main Street is a site steeped in history, quietude, and spirituality— the Old Quaker Meeting House. Built in 1694, the American Colonial edifice sits with its back to the roaring traffic. You wouldn’t know the rough-hewn structure was a house of worship, were it not for a sign that reads, “Friends Meeting. Silent Worship. Sundays 11 AM. All welcome,” with translations in Korean, Chinese, and Spanish. Take in a Sunday meeting and stick around for the tour of the house and graveyard, which takes place at noon. 137-16 Northern Boulevard, Flushing

This is just one of the great stories you can read in the November/December 2018 issue of Queens Library Magazine. Other articles you may find interesting: