The phrase “guided tour” often brings up the conventional image of buses packed with tourists complete with drone like guides spouting out boring facts and pointing out of clouded windows.
The “Lucky 7 Queens Subway Tour” is something completely revolutionary and different. Part of the tour occurs on the last car of one of NYC most iconic and popular subway lines, the Queens 7 Train. The tour stops at key stops (Court Square, QueensBoro Plaza, 40th Street, 61 Street, 74th Street, 82 Street ). Along the way, guests are treated to breathtaking-vistas of both Queens & Manhattan; these vistas are perfect for photos and offer a “Lay of the Land” to Queens so they can stop and return on their return to either Eastern Queens or Manhattan. The 7 Train is one of the few trains that runs above ground and can offer guests a lofty view of this rapidly changing, and growing, Queens & Manhattan skyline.
From the perspective of the elevated train, as well as lifted stations, guests are treated to a fascinating history and “Local” overview of Queens that is both informative and authentic. The White House has designated the 7 Subway Line, also known as “The International Express”, the only living heritage trail representative of the American Immigrant Experience making it a go to spot for tourists and locals alike.
Queens’s historic past comes alive with future visions and plans laid out by our dynamic tour guide and co-founder, 24 y/o Erwyn Diaz, who was born and raised in Jamaica, Queens with family roots in Woodside & Jackson Heights. Erwyn loves Queens and is excited to take visitors on an urban safari through one of the most vibrant and diverse areas in the world, being rightly termed, “The World Boro”. Erwyn charismatically leads tours decked out in a beige sarfai hat by mentioning and exploring the history and current trends of Queens which guests will experience from the confines of the 7 Train as well as from select station platforms with a list of fun facts worthy of a Buzz Feed List.
Guests will join the tour in either Manhattan or Eastern Queens (LIC) by meeting up with the group on the last subway car of the 7 train. Guests will exit the 7 train at the Mets Willets Point stop where the tour will continue by foot thru Flushing Meadow Park, the former World’s Fair Ground, and finish up with a tour of the recently renovated Queens Museum with its famous diorama of NYC. Guests will be given a “tip sheet” of all the great Queens’ facts including suggested restaurants along the 7 Train route. Guests making the reverse trip back to Eastern Queen or Manhattan will be encouraged to stop off at various stops, pointed during the tour, to explore and eat in the many ethnic neighborhoods that are brimming with people, sounds and smells that create a vibrant and exotic sensory experience not found in the over gentrified Manhattan.
This tour will point out such sights along the 7 subway route including:
1. The rise of the luxury office and apartment towers of Long Island City mentioning pricing, exclusive features and resident types. Most notably discussed will be the Pearson building, a new green rental building that has wind turbines on the roof to power all the common areas like lobby and hallways, which stands as a testament to Queens being a future horizon of city expansion.
2. The Ed Koch QueensBoro Bridge – “The Working Man’s Bridge” and how driving across the upper deck should be on your bucket list.
3. 5 Points – With accompaniment of photos to what it looked like as a world famous graffiti park before the wrecking ball and what will rise in its place.
4. PS1 MoMa and pointing out Astoria in the Distance and all the new Hotels in LIC and in particular trendy Hotel Z
5. Court Square Subway Stop one of the subway systems’ cleanest stations and predicted to be as busy as Union Square in the next 10 years.
6. The beautification of QueensBoro Plaza led by landscape architect Margie Ruddick and the story behind the Jet Blue sign including the struggle to get its approval. We show photos on how ugly the area used to be and how the elevated tracks were painted pink.
7. The Sunny Side Rail Yards are also a point of interest. It is one of the last pieces of land left in NYC to build on. One day this area will be built on plates like the city did near Grand Central and now the Hudson Yards.
8. An explanation of the history of the art deco concrete base that currently holds the tracks in Sunnyside and how there is a heated debate over how Queens Residents would like architects to figure out a way to reduce the subway noise from metal over-head tracks.
9. Pointing out various graffiti and street art styles all along the route and the importance to graffiti artists to have work visible from the 7 Subway train.
10. Presenting how, starting from Sunnyside, every new stop is a different little “Blank”; roughly, every 10 blocks the nationality group changes. Sunnyside 40th Street:Turkish, Woodside 61st Street: Irish, 69th Street: Philippine, 74th Street: Indian/ South Asian, 82 Street: Columbian/ Peruvian, 91st Street: Equadorian/Peurevan
Other Fun Facts that are part of the tour:
1. Where to buy unique and bizarre foods in Queens including an advanced embryo duck egg (Balut, a snack in the Philippines), chopped goat balls, lamb brains, live octopus, elephant and gorilla meat and roasted whole guinea pig with the head intact.
2. Queens is truly the melting pot of the world. With currently over 160 languages spoken in its boundaries, it has the greatest linguistic diversity on the entire planet. One of these 160 languages, Garifuna, a hybrid of African, West Indian, and indigenous South American dialects is on the brink of extinction and is only spoken in the mountains of South America and the streets of Queens.
3. Notable musical talents who grew up in Queens: 50 Cent, Ja Rule, LL Cool J, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Salt & Pepa & Noriega.
With the tour billed as being “Lucky”, guests will each be given a fortune cookie and encouraged to play the lotto numbers that day inside the fortune cookie. The Queens “Lucky 7 Subway Tour” is the most entertaining and fresh way for visitors to enjoy all of what Queens has to offer; whether you are visiting New York internationally or a city local this tour will give you the historic and current news on a borough whose diverse culture and art is still exuberant, you just need to know where to look. The tour is also available for private group sessions.
Please visit Lucky 7-Tours for tickets