Astoria, Queens is probably best known as the ethnic food mecca of New York City, but eating is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the cultural richness of this vibrant neighborhood. Few neighborhoods garner as much pride from their residents as Astoria.
Stroll down almost any east-west avenue in the community and you’ll find a thriving family owned restaurant from every country imaginable. The area is absolutely brimming with ethnic restaurants whose incomparable flavors and reasonable prices put Manhattan to shame.
In Astoria, national food chains have been almost completely pushed out by local ones, and despite the presence of a giant Costco chain store nearby, most locals still get their kitchen basics at the small, local grocers and butchers along these avenues.
In addition to its incredible food scene, Astoria is endowed with ample parkland; Astoria Park houses New York’s largest public swimming pool and boasts views of the Hell Gate Bridge and New York Connecting Railroad, and Socrates Sculpture Park is an internationally renowned outdoor museum that hosts annual parades, festivals, and other public gatherings, as well as hosting free arts education programs. Other notable attractions include St. Demetrius Cathedral, Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden, the Lent Homestead, and 300-year-old Riker Burial Ground.
Housing options in Astoria include a diverse mix of old two-family houses, converted condos, and newer apartment buildings. Many residents keep up beautiful personal garden and apartment-dwellers can take advantage of the community green spaces scattered across the neighborhood. Living in the area is relatively inexpensive, but due to increasing awareness of Astoria’s charms, prices are slowly rising. Nevertheless, the neighborhood remains one of the most cost-effective alternatives to Manhattan with outstanding 10-15 minute commute times.
Founded in the 1830s by fur trader Stephan Halsey, the neighborhood was named after John Jacob Astor, then the wealthiest man in America, with the hopes of persuading him to invest, which he did not. With the opening of a local piano factory, Steinway & Sons (which is still in operation today) in the 1870s, the community quickly grew. In 1920 the movie studio now known as The Kaufman Astoria Studios opened its doors; in 1988, the studio became the site of the Museum of the Moving Image, which continues to attract tourists today.
In the 1960s and 1970s the area saw a boom of immigration from Greece, and there is still a large Greek imprint on the community today, particularly on 31st Street, where the varieties of olives and olive oils in the bustling Greek cafes are too plentiful to count.
Though there’s some debate about the exact geographical boundaries of Astoria, the roughly 3.5 square miles of Queens borders Long Island City on 36th Avenue and stretches from the East River to 49th Street.
Transportation to Manhattan is a breeze by taking the elevated N or W to Midtown, the R, V and G stop at Steinway Street, and the M60 bus makes for an easy commute to LaGuardia Airport. Transport to Harlem or the Bronx is achieved by simply going over the Triborough Bridge. Bus lines include the 18, 19, 19A, 101, 102, 103, and 104.
|Building Address||# no-fee apts|
|11-07 WELLING COURT||11|
|31 35 Crescent Street||8|
|28 08 35 Street||7|
|28 22 Astoria Boulevard||6|
|11-05 30 ROAD||6|
|26-38 21st Street||5|