Garden City is buzzing with chic restaurants, casual pubs and eateries offering unique fare from around the globe, plus historic landmarks and some of the best shopping on Long Island.
It is no surprise that this tony village with stately homes, manicured lawns and picture perfect tree-lined streets has attracted movie stars, pro athletes, politicians, and famous writers through the decades. Its lure has drawn the likes of best-selling author Nelson DeMille, actress Susan Lucci and Good Morning America co-anchor Lara Spencer, who graces this month’s cover. It is also home to Roosevelt Field, the former airport where Charles Lindbergh departed on his historic 1927 solo transatlantic flight — a site that is now a LI shopping mecca.
“This quaint village not only offers beautiful and bustling downtown shopping districts but [also] acres of playing fields, parks and recreational areas,” says Garden City Mayor Brian Daughney.
Garden City was one of the first planned communities in the country. Successful Irish entrepreneur Alexander T. Stewart founded Garden City in 1869 on an empty plain. The village was incorporated in 1919 by its four property owners’ associations.
Garden City is also the location of Adelphi University’s main campus. The university is the oldest institution for higher education on LI. Alumni include American jazz drummer Steve Reid and American composer and playwright Jonathan Larson.
The village has also served as a backdrop for movies and TV shows, including Person of Interest. With all of that and a recent downtown revitalization, Garden City is waiting for your arrival.
LOTS TO LEARN
The unincorporated part of the village known as East Garden City is home to Museum Row, where there’s no shortage of things to do for visitors young and old. For the kids, check out the Long Island’s Children’s Museum (11 Davis Ave, 516-224-5800, licm.org), features interactive exhibits designed to make learning fun for the little ones. Next door, the Cradle of Aviation Museum (Charles Lindbergh Blvd., 516-572-4111, cradleofaviation.org) pays homage to the many aviation firsts made in the area, such as Lindbergh’s historic flight. The Planetarium Dome Theater inside the museum offers daily films that are all in a 70mm-film format, 10 times the size of a conventional film frame.
Tucked between those two museums is The Nassau County Firefighters Museum and Education Center (1 Davis Ave., 516-572-4177, ncfiremuseum.org), where visitors can learn about the proud history of local firefighters and enjoy hands-on displays. Museum Row is also home to the old Nunley’s Carousel, where riders can reach for the brass ring for old times’ sake.
Garden City is additionally home to Nassau Community College, the largest single campus community college in New York State, and the Adelphi University Performing Arts Center (1 South Ave., 516-877-4927, pac.adelphi.edu), a venue that features dance, music and theater productions. This month two events on deck include a film screening of Rossini’s classic opera, La Cenerentola and a performance by West African vocalist, Abdoulaye “Djoss” Diabaté and his group, Super Mande.
Back in Garden City proper is the Cathedral of the Incarnation (50 Cathedral Ave. 516-746-2955 incarnationgc.org), which opened in 1881 and is on the National Register of Historic Places as a designated landmark. It is an excellent example of Gothic Revival Architecture, says Dennis Donnelly, Executive Director of the Garden City Chamber of Commerce, the largest local Chamber on Long Island with more than 500 business members. Guided tours of the cathedral are available by appointment and visitors can go on self-guided tours 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tues.-Fri.
PLENTY TO EAT
It’s hard to go hungry at any hour when you are on Seventh Street in Garden City. Compared to the Southampton of Nassau County, Seventh Street and nearby Franklin Avenue offer fare for any discerning palate. Some of these fine dining restaurants to indulge in include the Polo Steakhouse and Polo Lounge (perfect for pre-and post-dinner cocktails, located in the Garden City Hotel), La Nonna Bella, Calogero’s, Revel, Waterzooi Belgian Bistro & Oyster Bar and Novita Wine Bar & Trattoria.
The more casual pubs that serve up some hearty American grub include Walk Street and B.K.Sweeney’s Uptown Grill, The Burger Spot, Prost Grill & Garten and Leo’s Midway, which stays open until 4 a.m. The ethnic eateries are plentiful. Some of these are Go Greek, Taku, Kinha Sushi, Plancha Tapas & Wine Bar, the Wild Fig, Sushi Ya, Kaji Sushi, Orchid, Asian Moon, Garden City Pizza and Grimaldi’s Pizza.
For the patron looking for a healthier option, Food for Thought, B. Good and Garden City Bistro aren’t too far. That isn’t all, according to Donnelly: Perennial, a farm-to-table restaurant, the Guac Shop casual Mexican Eatery, and the French Workshop Bakery are currently under construction.
SHOP AND GO
Seventh Street is lined with charming boutiques that can rival the likes of any East End store. For the trendiest fashions and accessories, there’s Envie and Coquette. For the kids, there’s Pink Island: A Lilly Pulitzer Signature store and Pear Tree and Madison’s Niche for unique gifts. On Franklin Avenue is Lord & Taylor, which has been a staple of the community since its opened its doors in 1956, and Sears.
MUSE Paintbar (837 Franklin Ave., 516-874-3500, musepaintbar.com) offers group painting classes all year long. A popular class taking place this month is Paint Your Pet. There’s also a brunch every Saturday and Sunday at the Seventh Street Café (126 Seventh St., 516-747-7575, seventhstreetcafe.com), which has been part of the community for more than two decades.
The perfect place to get away is The Garden City Hotel (45 Seventh St., 516-747-3000, gardencityhotel.com), which Stewart built for $150,000 in 1874. His goal was to make the hotel a destination to attract high-society figures. And, they did. The Astors, the Vanderbilts, and the Pierpont Morgans reveled there, among others. Despite the hardships – a devastating fire that burned it to the ground, several different owners and later bankruptcy – the hotel endured and is thriving. In 2012, the hotel underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation. Today, it is a AAA Four Diamond rated property. It offers High Tea on Saturday afternoons and a Sunday brunch. Or enjoy some “me” or couple time with a massage, facial, manicure and pedicure at The Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa located in the hotel.
WHERE TO STAY
La Quinta Inn & Suites
821 Stewart Ave., Garden City, 516-705-9000. laquintagardencity.com
5 North Ave., Garden City. 516- 222-6277. gardencity.place.hyatt.com
1 North Ave., Garden City, 516-227-2720, hamptoninn3.hilton.com
The Garden City Hotel
45 Seventh St., 516-747-3000, gardencityhotel.com
WHERE TO DINE
The Capital Grille
630 Old Country Rd., Garden City, 516-746-1675, thecapitalgrille.com
630 Old Country Rd., Garden City. 516-248-5252. seasons52.com
Grand Lux Café
630 Old Country Rd., Garden City, 516-741-0096. grandluxcafe.com
987 Stewart Ave., Garden City, 516-222-0295. thecubanny.com
Mac & Melts
684 Stewart Ave., Garden City, 516-246-9610, macnmelts.com
2 South St., Garden City, 516-357-8300, theakbar.com
Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas
1002 Old Country Rd., Garden City, 516-285-5400, spuntinowinebar.com
920 Old Country Rd., Garden City, 516-222-0060, tocolocantina.com
Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
600 Old Country Rd., Garden City, 516-222-0220, ruthschris.com
45 Seventh St., 516-877-9385, polosteakhouseny.com