By Carlotta Mohamed
Flushing community leaders are hoping visitors to the US Open Tennis Championship inn Flushing Meadows Corona Park will experience a love match of their own.
The Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce is launching “Discover Flushing,” a free walking tour program open to the public during the two weeks of the US Open Tennis Championship, from Aug. 27 to Sept. 7.
Queens Borough Historian Jack Eichenbaum, designed the route and stops for the walk, which will take place daily from Monday to Friday. Each one-hour tour will run from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., except for extended tours starting at 4 p.m. on Fridays that highlight Flushing’s vibrant food culture.
“Too many tennis fans come to the US Open and never discover the world-class restaurants, shopping or history right next door,” said John Choe, executive director of the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce. “The chamber designed this pilot tour program so tennis fans can get back in time for the evening games, enjoy some of the best food in New York or kick back with a craft cocktail at one of our rooftop lounges.”
The “Discover Flushing” initiative is part of the chamber’s Flushing Fantastic district marketing campaign to promote the local business community and connect visitors to unique attractions and authentic experiences, including places to eat and shop.
“Everybody knows that the US Open is the country’s biggest and best tennis tournament, but it’s also a great contributor to tourism in Queens,” said Rob MacKay, director of marketing at the Queens Tourism Council. “Thousands of people from all over the world come to our borough to enjoy top-notch sports drama, but they also enjoy our equally top-notch hotels, restaurants, and cultural venues. This year they will be able to take top-notch tours of Flushing, too, with top-notch guides.”
Students from LaGuardia Community College will also be a part of the program, gaining exposure and experience in the hospitality and tourism field.
Tours are free, but space is limited and advance registration is required at flushingfantastic.nyc/tours.
The tours will meet at historic St. George’s Church and focus on the commercial corridors on Main Street, Roosevelt Avenue, Union Street, and Northern Boulevard.
On Fridays, from Aug. 31 to Sept. 7, a food guide and the author of “111 Places in Queens That You Must Not Miss,” Joe Distefano, will offer special two-hour walks with food stops that begin at 4 p.m. and end at 6 p.m.
“The US Open draws thousands of sports fans and tourists from all over the world to Flushing Meadows Corona Park every summer to enjoy world-class tennis. Unfortunately, many of them never set foot in downtown Flushing and miss out on the hidden gems – historic, cultural, and culinary – of this vibrant neighborhood, which is why I’m so very pleased to participate in this year’s Discover Flushing pilot program,” said Distefano.
City Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) said the walking tour will help build the bridge between the Open and the community, which can share in the economic prosperity of the world renowned sporting event.
For more information about “Discover Flushing” contact John Choe, executive director of Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce at (646)-783-8985 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Reach reporter Carlotta Mohamed by e-mail at cmoha