We Manhattanites like to boast about our own 5* borough. But, these days, we have to admit that discovering the far-flung neighborhoods of Queens (also known as Richmond), one of the “Outer Boroughs,” is actually great! Crossing the East River doesn’t mean we need a passport or currency exchange–it’s actually part of our home city! Astoria’s neighborhood is our destination–we’ve heard lots of good things and are really excited. Gather the Metrocard, a credit card, camera, print a map online–GO!
BRIEF HISTORY of Astoria (population 85,000) With the East River bordering the west, three other Queens neighborhoods join Astoria: Long Island City, (astonishing new growth of young residents) Sunnyside and Woodside. Until this 21st Century, largely Italian and Greek immigrants chose Astoria as their home in the New World. Following generations left for everywhere, but now with city rents at sky-high levels, younger renters and buyers are returning. Of course, gentrification and modernization accompany a good part of that movement, especially along the stunning river views. But small-town neighborhoods in Astoria reflect new arrivals from everywhere: North Africans, Mexicans, Ecuadorians, Tibetans, Chinese, Japanese, Indians, Bangladeshi! That means–working constantly at keeping harmony…but, also, great food stores and diners, uplifting music, soccer, beautiful babies!
Visitors from everywhere enjoy “discovering” Astoria, a “really special place,” and an unexpected highlight of The Big Apple. Wikipedia covers just about everything
- Museum of the Moving Image in the former Kaufman Astoria Studios building and now one of NYC’s best places to visit. Pass through every element and history of the movie and television industry, with fascinating permanent and changing exhibits. You’ll be unexpectedly surrounded by active sound stages of a vibrant East Coast film industry. Warm weather welcomes outdoor flea and food stalls among the studios. Small restaurants and pubs are easily discovered in the neighborhood.
- Isamu Noguchi Museum Small, unique, with permanent and visiting exhibits.
- The oldest beer garden in NYC, Bohemian Hall, founded in 1910 when Astoria was largely Irish, Italian, Bohemian (Czech), and Slovak.
- Socrates Sculpture Park Everything and Anything seems to pop up here.
- Astoria Park along the East River, is Astoria’s largest park, with its major city public pool open to all in season.
- The Hell Gate Bridge and New York Connecting Railroad/Northeast Corridor viaduct rise high above Astoria. Pretty impressive and very busy.
- The Greater Astoria Historical Society in the Quinn Memorial Building on the corner of Broadway and 36th Street serves as a valuable historical resource.
BOAST.NYC translates to BEST OF ASTORIA, a recommendation-filled blog on their favorite neighborhood. They leave nothing out when judging restaurants and diners. And we add to this site for DINING AND SHOPPING
Each link brings out the colors and tastes of Astoria:
It’s always a pleasure for many New Yorkers to rediscover our city in unexpected ways. Parisians and Romans et al share such feelings. The internet has opened a vision of our undiscovered neighborhoods, and we join with overseas visitors. Astoria bids us all — WELCOME!