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The Game Plan
What to do
After a week spent staring at a screen, don’t you want to do something with your hands?
Put them to use at the Queens County Farm Museum.
The farm dates back to 1697 — 322 years if you do the math — and spans 47 acres, making it New York City’s largest uninterrupted tract of working farmland. Since the city acquired the farm and opened it to the public in 1975, it has become a place for New Yorkers (and mostly kids) to learn about agriculture, and on Tuesdays and Sundays from spring to fall, it welcomes volunteers to help weed, mulch and harvest the land.
If you like to get your hands dirty, throw on sturdy shoes and work clothes, and get yourself to Floral Park. There’s no need to sign up in advance; just show up any time between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and you’re free to dig in for an hour or stay all day. Around noon, the staff and volunteer crew, which will no doubt include some regulars, break for lunch. It’s B.Y.O., but the farm will often supplement your meal with a salad, picked that day from its vegetable and herb gardens.
When you decide it’s time to throw down your gloves (provided by the farm), you can visit the farmstand to buy fresh honey, vegetables or eggs. Or meet the resident hens, sheep, alpaca, heritage-breed pigs, and Dexter and Jethro, the farm’s very small steers. You’re even allowed to feed the goats — a sweet ending to your day of fresh air.
Get directions to Queens County Farm Museum. Admission is free outside of special programming.
Where to eat
Bundu Khan is a Pakistani kebab house with a commendable menu of hard-to-find dishes, such as paya, a cozy braise of cow or goat feet with a silky, peppery sauce. Even if you’re not “hot to trotter,” this sauce is ideal for dipping flaky paratha and airy naan, which are both made to order and nothing short of dreamy. The biryani and pulao are also worth your time, and the ground-meat kebabs are more than solid.
Sagar Chinese is a less overtly meaty option. The Bellerose branch of a local chain, it specializes in Indian-style Chinese cuisine: sweet and tangy chili prawns, masala fried rice, and gobi Manchurian, a mash-up of cauliflower florets dredged and deep fried like chicken chunks, then tossed in a wok with soy sauce, onions and spices. The chicken lollipops are like an upsized version of popcorn chicken and impossible to stop eating.
See the restaurants on our Google Map.
Where to drink
Mumbai Xpress doesn’t serve beer or liquor, but in a neighborhood effectively devoid of bars, it’s the curious drinker’s best bet. In grand Indian snack-bar tradition there are milkshakes, juices, lassis and falooda. Their cold coffee, a beloved Indian treat that’s basically an extra-strong coffee milkshake, is a salve on a scorching summer afternoon, and if you like savory drinks, you’ll love the surti chaas, a frothy glass of salted buttermilk spiced with cumin, green chile and cilantro.
See the bars on our Google Map.
What to check out nearby
The Adriance Farmhouse, built in 1772, is open for free tours on the hour and half-hour from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Duck over for a quick learning break.
Alley Pond Park is the perfect spot for a hike before or after you volunteer. As you follow the trails, keep an eye out for an array of birds, and see if you can locate what might be the city’s oldest tree.
Real Usha Sweets & Snacks sells some of the best Indian milk sweets you’ll eat outside an auntie’s kitchen. The mango burfi are particularly good, and the tiny wedges of nut-paste watermelons are just delightful. Tiny cardamom seeds in place of watermelon seeds complete the tromp l’oeil effect.
See these nearby spots on our Google Map.
3 Quick Things
Something free or cheap
Go on a moonlight bike ride through Central Park. “Time’s Up,” an environmental group that is not affiliated with the other organization by the same name, leads the ride on the first Fridays of June, July, August and September. Meet the group at Columbus Circle at 10 p.m., and enjoy a guided cruise through the park’s roads and paths. The ride will be leisurely and won’t exceed 10 miles, and you’ll finish back where you started by midnight. B.Y.O. bike, and remember that if you use CitiBike, you’ll have to dock midway through the ride. Lights and a helmet are also encouraged.
Something for the weeknight
Check out New York’s new park. Pier 35 is now open by the Manhattan Bridge, and it’s pretty spectacular. Next to a geometric screen wall, an “urban beach” features dunes and a landscaped lawn, and the shoreline is a habitat for mussels. (Don’t worry, they’re already calling it “Mussel Beach.”) Once you’ve poked around a bit, kick back on the swings overlooking the East River, and take in the view.
Something from a reader
Get on the water in Gowanus. “The Gowanus Dredgers are a group of intrepid boaters who take to the fetid Gowanus Canal in canoes launched off a dock at the end of 2nd Street in Brooklyn,” writes Nicole V., a Summer reader from Gowanus. The group offers free canoeing most Wednesdays and Saturdays during summer (though donations are encouraged) and hosts art shows and musical performances at its boathouse. Nicole also flagged that “one of the best events they run,” the SuperFUN Canoe Race, is taking place from 2 to 5 p.m. this Saturday. Swing by to see which team finishes first — or wins “best dressed crew” or “coolest team name.”
Share your secret or not-so-secret things to do this season at firstname.lastname@example.org, and your idea might be featured in our next newsletter.
Happening This Week (and Beyond)
Friday: Catch Kaia Kater and her mix of jazz, folk and bluegrass at Flushing Town Hall.
Friday: The Climate’s a Drag party unites drag and environmental advocacy on Governors Island.
Saturday: The Indonesian Food Bazaar is going down in Elmhurst. Bring cash to sample dishes from a host of vendors in the St. James Episcopal Church.
Saturday: For Walt Whitman’s 200th birthday, join the Walt Whitman Beard and Moustache Competition in Fort Greene Park. Yes, there are prizes.
Saturday: It’s Belmont Stakes Day. Grab your hat, and head to the racetrack.
Tuesday: Take advantage of the Museum Mile Festival. All the Fifth Avenue museums from 82nd Street to 110th Street in Manhattan are free and open from 6 to 9 p.m.
Tuesday: Hit the Sweat Sessions in Hudson River Park at 14th Street for free fitness classes from boutique fitness studios. This week’s schedule features instructors from Solace, Barre3 and Flex Studios.