Queens is the most diverse borough in all of New York City. These dynamics foster cultural diversity and artistic/culinary creativity.
In celebration of Valentine’s Day, we pay homage to all lovers, past and present alike, and celebrate with you. The famous “Latin Lover,” dancer, actor Rudolph Valentino, frequented the former Astor Room in Queens, next to the Kaufman Astoria Studios, formerly known as the Paramount Studios. His treat of choice became oysters and martinis. During the 1920s, his reputation as a ladies’ man came second to none. So it came to be that thousands of hysterical women roamed the streets at his funeral.
Let’s take a lesson from this Queen’s “Latin Lover” (and all other lovers) and look for great martinis, champagne, and oysters.
The Museum of Modern Art PS1 is located in Long Island City. In 1971, the museum started a collective effort to turn around abandoned and unused buildings. The end goal in mind was to turn the unused spaces into artist studios and exhibition areas.
MoMA’s PS1 mission is “to promote the enjoyment, appreciation, study, and understanding of contemporary art to a wide and growing audience.” The museum focuses on experimental, thought-provoking, diverse, and innovative art. MoMA features artists and exhibitions, the young architect’s program, music series, sculpture, long-term installations, and media art. In addition, the building houses a restaurant and a bookstore for your snacking and shopping pleasure. Mina’s Cafe, under the direction of chef Mina Stone, author of Cooking for Artists, serves Mediterranean/Greek cuisine paired with Devoción coffee, natural wines, craft beers, and Greek-inspired cocktails.
Sometimes the best way to start a date is with a glass, or bottle, of wine. Addictive Wine and Tapas Bar is one of three businesses owned by the sommelier, Francisco B. Diaz. Francisco is also a chef and an interior designer. His skills become apparent when one walks into Addictive Wine and Tapas Bar. His artistic approach is visible in all the details from the wine glasses, branding, decoration, and the menu.
The atmosphere is cozy and romantic with contemporary wooden paneling, electric fireplaces, and a barrel-theme reference. The effect is simultaneously rustic and modern. Wine-glass chandeliers and a beautifully organized, wooden-panel bar add elegance.
Check out their website for happy hour information, special events, paella night, and more. In addition, brunch is served on Sundays from noon until 4 PM (if you start celebrating your date early).
Needless to say, we love the wine selection. Addictive Wine and Tapas Bar offers wines by the glass, flights, or bottles. The Aviary Cabernet is worth a special mention, while the Sin Palabras (Albariño), and the Laurent Perrier champagne is perfect for Valentine’s day.
Terraza 7 is a unique live music venue hosting literary events and film screenings. The folks at Terraza like to think of their establishment as “a community center; the perfect hub for local art, political expressions, and your favorite coffee or mixed drink.” The music is Latin, including Brazilian jazz and salsa. Performances occur every night at 7 PM with happy hour from noon until seven.
Did you ever want to learn how to dance Flamenco? Perhaps a few classes would make a great Valentine’s day gift? Terraza hosts flamenco workshops every Saturday at 1 PM for beginners, 2:30 PM for intermediates, and 4 PM for the experts. Consult the schedule for more information.
Terraza 7 menu features hot/cold tapas, meat and cheese plates, cocktails, coffee drinks, beer, and wine.
Maiella’s contemporary Italian restaurant is an excellent setting for a date night. This waterside establishment fuses casual elegance with effortless style. Located on a picturesque waterfront, Maiella also boasts vast city views. The rustic interior space, designed by the architect firm Bluarch, accommodates 180 patrons.
The must-try creations of the executive chef Giuseppe Agustino include Hamachi Crudo, charred octopus, and Wagyu tartare with black truffle and vinaigrette/parsnip crisps. From the primi menu, try the handmade pasta Cavatelli Sardo or the Strozzapreti ai Rico di Mare (urchin butter, red crab, Calabrese chili, squid ink breadcrumb). For the main course, consider the Long Island duck breast (with parsnips, cherry port mustard, spinach, foie gras) and the Bistecca di Manzo (with artichokes and Wagyu beef salami vinaigrette).
Especially for Valentine’s Day, Maiella will offer extended hours and a three-course price fix menu at $85 per guest.
Doha is a lounge, dance club, and disco in Long Island City’s fantastic and accessible location. The vibe is chill, spacious, and dynamic, with fluorescent lights and spotlights adding to the festive atmosphere. Dance to the latest top 40, or sit back and watch the diverse and beautiful crowd of party-goers. As one of the best clubs in Queens, it’s vibrant with nightlife, music, and culture. In addition, Doha hosts events, concerts, parties, bachelorette parties, and festivals.
If you enjoy cocktails, this is the place to be. Many regulars swear by the incredibly strong drinks, great music, and superb/friendly atmosphere. To avoid getting inebriated, you can check out the food menu for a snack.
If you require a table or come in a larger group, please inquire, as reservations are highly recommended to avoid waiting in line. Also, make sure to check out the bottle service packages and any special events on their website.
This Valentine’s Day, we are grateful to celebrate our neighborhood’s diversity, culture, and people. Particularly during a pandemic, it’s vital to maintain courteous connections with fellow New Yorkers. Getting through present-day challenges and having the privilege to celebrate love, birthdays and other special occasions makes us remember just how special all those who make it possible are. So wish your waitress or bartender a wonderful Valentine’s Day, leave a great tip (not only a kind word), and a bar of chocolate. Remember, people may forget much, but they will never forget how you made them feel.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Queens.
Want to try another borough for a first date option? Check out these other locations!