Fresh Meadows, New York dates back to a long time ago. In fact, back during the American Revolution, British troops were encamped in the area and Benedict Arnold drilled his soldiers where M.S. 216 currently is. A farming community known as ‘Black Stump’ would eventually develop the area in the 19th-century and begin turning it into what it is today. And a fun fact about the Black Stump forest is that people used to think it was haunted, as strange sounds were often heard coming from the forest at night, until 1908 when it was discovered that the sound was coming from a recluse who lived in a small hut in the woods and sang Irish folk songs at night. With a unique and interesting history such as this, it’s obvious that this small city will be great to spend a day in.
1. Hit the shops on the Union Turnpike
At the southernmost boundary of the city you can find the Union Turnpike. This is where you can enjoy the commercial strip, lined with a diverse array of shops, such as kosher supermarkets, Barnes & Noble bookstore, salons, and many other department stores. Everybody involved will be able to find something they enjoy with the large variety of shops to choose from. Plus, the shops are outside instead of being shoved into one building like a normal shopping mall. This helps you avoid the large crowds and allows you to enjoy the sunshine and get some much needed fresh air. After all, you’re cooped up in the office all week so the last thing you want is to be cooped up inside when you’re not at work. So when you’re looking for something that the entire family can agree on, look no further than the shops on the Union Turnpike.
Address: 176 - 60 Union Turnpike, Fresh Meadows, NY 11366
2. Enjoy a nice day at Cunningham Park
This 358 acre (144 hectare) park lies between Grand Central Parkway and the Long Island Expressway. Cunningham Park is perfect for bikers as mountain biking trails run 6.5 miles (10.4 kilometers) throughout the northern areas of the park that can be used to get to neighboring areas, such as Kissena Park and Alley Pond Park. The bike trail has different areas for different biking difficulties, so it is considered perfect for both beginner bikers and experienced ones. Other amenities at Cunningham Park include barbecuing areas, areas for basketball, baseball, football, volleyball and tennis and also a playground for children and a dog-friendly area. Even WiFi hot spots for the people who can’t go without their technology are available here. Since 1928, this area has become a staple of the Fresh Meadows area and a hot spot for countless athletic leagues. It’s a great place to spend a day with the family and enjoy what nature has to offer in the company of some great people.
Address: 196-10 Union Tpke, Fresh Meadows, NY 11366
Website: Cunningham Park
3. See the exotic animals at the Queens Zoo
Nothing gets children (and adults, if we’re being honest) more excited than a trip to the zoo. At less than five miles (8 km) from Fresh Meadows, the Queens Zoo is full of many exotic animals, including bears, lynx, sea lions, pumas, coyotes and many more. This zoo has many different features that are certain to please, such as the aviary where you can see many different species of birds up close and personal in a large dome. Also a great feature for children is the petting zoo, complete with farm animals. Some animal sections even include an animal feeding session. Reasonably priced at only 8 USD for adults and 5 USD for kids, children and adults of all ages will love it and be able to spend an entire day here and never get bored.
Address: 53-51 111th St, Corona, NY 11368
Website: Queens Zoo
4. Take in a movie at the AMC Loews Theater
It may seem like something that everybody does, but a night out at the movies is always a good night. The AMC Loews Theater is a state-of-the-art movie theater featuring all of the current popular movies that you hear everybody talking. How often do you say to yourself ‘I really want to see that movie’ or 'that movie looks great’ but never actually get around to seeing it because you don’t have someone to watch the kids or just don’t have anybody to go with? Well, odds are that if you’re reading this article then you have free time now. And there’s no time better than the present. Even if you have nobody to go with, it could be even more relaxing because you don’t have to share your popcorn. And the best part is that this theater now contains NEW reclining seating, RealD 3D, and reserved seating. Treat yourself to that movie you’ve been dying to see.
AMC Loews Theater
Address: Fresh Meadows Shopping Center, Shopping Center 11365AA, 190-02 Horace Harding Expy, Fresh Meadows, NY 11365
Website: AMC Loews Theater
5. Bike down the old Long Island Motor Parkway
The Long Island Motor Parkway is an old freeway, completed in 1910, that was the first freeway to be designated for motor vehicle use only and was directly responsible for the way you drive today as it was the first freeway to use overpasses and bridges to avoid the use of intersections and, therefore, maintain the flow of traffic. It was sadly closed in 1938 and taken over by the state of New York in lieu of back taxes. Most of the road has been demolished to make way for housing and other structures and some of it has simply been reclaimed by nature, but what remains of the old Motor Parkway is now a pedestrian and bike path from Cunningham Park east to Winchester Boulevard. So whether you’re an automobile historian, American historian, or just looking for a great place to enjoy a nice day, the Long Island Motor Parkway is a great place to spend an afternoon and witness a part of American history at the same time.
Long Island Motor Parkway
Address: Roughly Alley Pond and Cunningham Parks, between Winchester Blvd. and Clearview Expressway, between 73rd Ave. and Peck Ave., Queens, New York City, New York
Enjoy your time in Fresh Meadows, New York
Just because you’re near New York City doesn’t mean you need to be surrounded by the thousands of other tourists crammed into one area. Take a break from the crowds and pop over to Fresh Meadows and experience the history, nature, and shops that this town has to offer. Take in a movie by yourself, enjoy the open space at Cunningham Park and the Long Island Motor Parkway, and visit the exotic animals at the Queens Zoo. Most of all, enjoy the freshness of Fresh Meadows.