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Tour Queens via the 7 Subway - Neighborhoods and Sites on the 7 Train

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What To Do, See, and Eat Along the International Express
Queensboro Plaza

The view from Queensboro Plaza with the Silvercup Bakery sign and New York City skyline of Midtown Manhattan.

Photo (c) GMPicket
Welcome to Queens. It's a big place, the biggest borough in New York (soon to be the most populous) and growing fast, a bit like your ungainly teenage nephew. It's not the prettiest part of NYC, but this place has real New York written all over it.

Want to see it? There are lots of subway lines radiating out from Midtown Manhattan into western Queens, but only one is a National Millennium Trail. Hop aboard the "International Express," or #7 Flushing Local, to get a flavorful taste of this diverse borough in one afternoon.

The subway's got its nickname by serving a span of interconnected neighborhoods bustling with immigrants and new Americans from across the globe -- literally everywhere -- from Pakistan to Ireland, from Ecuador to China. It has been a corridor of immigration for almost a hundred years since the subway opened in 1913.

The nationalities represented may have changed (and expanded), but a ride on the 7 train is a great journey into the American experience of immigration, past and present. This is why the #7 was honored by the White House as a National Millennium Trail, right up there with the Appalachian Trail and the Iditarod.

So, why visit? The food -- the honest ethnic eats -- is the number one reason by far. The art and jazz museums and the area's history are all worth it, too.

Start your journey on the 7 in Grand Central Station. What follows are the neighborhood highlights as the train rolls through western Queens. Can you do it all in a day? I wouldn't. Choose a couple areas to visit that sound interesting and plan to spend a few hours.

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