New York: Bronx & Queens

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SEE Arthur Avenue
Bordered by Fordham Rd., Third Ave., Southern Blvd., and Tremont Ave.,
The "Belmont" neighborhood is home to NYC's real Little Italy, and Arthur Ave. is its main street. Check out the covered Retail Market and begin a tasting tour of gelato, cured meats, and other authentic flavors from the Old Country. While you're in the area, skip over to the nearby (and vast) New York Botanical Garden.

EAT Mario's
2342 Arthur Ave., at 184th St., 718/584-1188
For the quintessential Arthur Ave. experience, duck in here for real red sauce dishes from southern Italy. It hasn't changed a lick since the 1950s.

PLAY Gotham Girls Roller Derby
Skate Key, 220th E. 138 St.,
Check out NYC's all-female roller league and get ready to rumble. It's fun, vicious entertainment. The she-skaters, with names like Baby Ruthless, fight like pros. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., bouts start at 8:30 p.m. Open-skate after-party. Check the schedule online. $12.


SEE Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum (Long Island City)
9-01 33rd Ave., at Vernon Blvd., 718/204-7088,
A gem of a museum dedicated solely to the Modernist Japanese-American sculptor. Its prolific collection includes landscape projects made with R. Buckminster Fuller, dance sets for Martha Graham, and organic 3-D works in granite and basalt. Contemplate the universe in its enclosed Zen garden. Closed Mon. and Tues. Admission: $5.

SEE P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center (Long Island City)
22-25 Jackson Ave., at 46th Ave., 718/784.2084,
An under-the-radar MoMA partner that shows a wide range of contemporary art in its galleries, housed in a converted public school. Shows often smack of controversy. It's worth the trip. Open Thurs.-Mon. 12-6 p.m. Suggested admission: $5.

EAT Elias's Corner (Astoria)
24-02 31 St., at 24th Ave., 718/932-1510
Don't wait for a menu at this lively Greek taverna, because you'll never get one. Instead, hop up and take your pick from the glass case full of daily catches (or just ask for the lamb chops). Also order the yogurty tsatsiki and skorthalia (potatoes with garlic) dips, and the tender marinated and grilled octopus. Cash only.

DRINK Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden (Astoria)
29-19 24th Ave., 718/274-4925,
A charmingly dusty (and authentic) Czech social club. You don't have to be a member to sample pilsners, such as Staropramen, Czechvar, Kozel, and Radegast. There's no better place than its massive garden for lolling away a summer afternoon. Closed Tues.

DRINK Cafe Bar (Astoria)
32-90 36th St. at 34th Ave., 718/204-5273
A comfortable, funky lounge with stained-glass windows and a light largely vegetarian menu that's popular with hipsters as well as local Greeks. It pours ouzo drinks at its sidewalk tables in the summer.

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