detour: to the crown of queens

Many Manhattanites rarely venture out of the borough to explore the rest of New York City’s treasures. But just a short 7 Train ride away, Queens boasts some of the most charismatic, charming, authentic and robust enclaves in our country, let alone city. One of these neighborhoods, is Corona or the “crown” of Queens as referred to by the areas large populations of Italian and Latin immigrants.

Mixed in with the usual turf wars and poverty of low end immigrant areas is a long history of culture and passion. No where is this perhaps more visible than in Corona’s food. Long time establishments share street space with new comers and all of which highlight the specialties of the various cultures that call Corona home.

first stop on the Corona food tour: Leo’s Latticini aka Mama’s of Corona. This specialty food shop (which makes no efforts to hide their baseball team affinity) is legendary on the Italian food scene and is a favorite of the borough’s discriminating lunch set. Must have items include home made mozzarella, fresh pastas and out-of-the oven baked goods.

ladies of the latticini: Irene on the left, is daughter of the original Mama

lunch-counter madness: the locals know best

Mama’s Special: prosciuttini, salami, fresh mozz, mushrooms and peppers

cannoli: freshly filled and delicious

mama’s backyard: a Corona establishment

second stop: Tortilleria Nixtamal for freshly made tortillas and tacos. 100% corn, 100% authentic, soaked in lime and freshly ground. Any good tortilla you’ve eaten in Manhattan was actually made here.

because it’s the real deal: it’s packed at lunch.

where the magic happens: amazing how such a small kitchen can produce such big and bold food

working hard: to bring authentic Mexico to Queens

chips and salsa: made in house, made just now

taco time: (clockwise from top left) steak sauteed with onion and cilantro, vegetarian with a chile marinade, chicken in a carrot vinegar sauce and al pastor rotisserie pork with pinapple cilantro and onion

chow down: a two taco tasting

time for something sweet: you can’t come to Corona without a visit to the Ice King. The Lemon Ice King of Corona is a neighborhood institution serving 100% water ices to the neighborhood since the 1940’s. The 40 plus flavors on offer are a mix from the traditional lemon to more modern peanut butter, but no matter which you chose don’t plan on getting a combo.

life lessons: from the owner of the Lemon Ice King

ice king: close up

order’s up: traditional lemon ice at The Lemon Ice King of Corona. The perfect end to a day in Corona, Queens

Leo’s Latticini Mama’s of Corona, 46-02 104th Street, Corona Queens, 718 898 6069, Tues-Sat 10AM- 6PM, Sun 10AM- 12PM

Tortilleria Nixtamal, 104-05 47th Ave, Corona Queens, 718 699 2434, Sun-Wed 11AM- 6PM, Thurs-Sat 11AM- 9PM

The Lemon Ice King of Corona, 52-02 108th Street, Corona Queens, 718 699 5133, daily 10- 12 AM

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Finding your way through Corona can be difficult for those who don’t know where to go. Luckily, Andrew from Streetwise New York Unique Walking Tours puts together a great one through this lively neighborhood (he took us around to all the places above). Sign up for the Corona or one of the many other tours on offer to explore and taste New York neighborhoods with someone “in the know”.

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