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    Astoria: guide to the multicultural neighborhood of Queens

    Who I am
    Joel Fulleda
    @joelfulleda
    SOURCES CONSULTED:

    wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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    integral part of borough of Queens, the district of Astoria was once purely inhabited by Greek immigrants (proof of this are still today the numerous restaurants and taverns with a clear Hellenic imprint). Today, however, it presents itself as the home and the preferential choice of various ethnicities, well blended together (from Italians to French to South Americans, to name a few), each of which has added, over the decades, touches of color and traditions of its own making Astoria a wonderful cultural melting pot.



    Walking through its streets surrounded by low buildings, terraced houses, small well-kept parks, boulangeries and family-run shops, you can really breathe an air that recalls that typical of the countries overlooking the Mediterranean, with all its colors and aromas. With touches of stars and stripes given by the numbers film studios, some of which have made American history (with excellent names such as Rudolph Valentino and Marx Brothers). Finally, one of the things that makes Astoria a unique neighborhood is the possibility of enjoying a wonderful view of New York from above: in fact, part of the subway that goes into this area is elevated.

    Index

    • Where is it and how to get there
    • What to do and see
      • Museum of the Moving Image
      • Kaufman Arts District
      • Steinway & Sons
      • Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden
      • Noguchi Museum
      • Socrates Sculpture Park
      • Astoria Park
      • Athens Square Park
      • Murals of Astoria
    • Where to shop
      • Lockwood
      • Loveday 31 Vintage
      • Astoria market
    • Where to eat
      • The Pomeroy
      • Astoria Beer & Cheese
      • The Guli pastry shop
      • The Bonnie
      • Ovelia Psistaria Bar
    • Accomodation

    Where is it and how to get there

    Broadway Metro Station

    Located at the north-west end of Queens, the borough is between the East River (north and west), Sunnyside and Long Island City to the south and Woodside (another borough of Queens) to the east. Although the district is a little off-center from Manhattan, it is easily reachable from the center by subway taking the N, W, M and R lines.The stations near the main attractions of the district are as follows:



    • 36 Avenue e Steinway Street: vicino al Museum of the Moving Image e al Kaufman Arts District
    • Broadway: near the flyover, with many shops nearby, an area similar to that of Marcy Avenue in Williamsburgh
    • 30 Avenue: near Athens Square
    • Astoria Blvd: more or less equidistant from Athens Square and the Bohemian Hall
    • Ditmars Boulevard Station: the northernmost station in the neighborhood, suitable for reaching Bohemian Hall, Astoria Park, the Steinway & Sons factory and also a number of interesting restaurants that we will talk about shortly

    I refer you to our guide on how to use the New York subway to better orient yourself.

    What to do and see

    Museum of the Moving Image

    The watchword of this museum is multimedia. Located inside a building that until the end of the 80s housed the Kaufman Astoria Studios (which today are located next to the museum), this pole aims to make art, the history of television and cinematographic techniques known to anyone through both permanent and temporary installations, as well as amazing multimedia corners.

    Every year, al Museum of the Moving Image Over 400 films are shown through a clever and fun mix of classic and contemporary films, some (the silent ones) accompanied by background music, others restructured and brought back to their former glory, still others coming from emerging film festivals. In addition, more than 130.000 artifacts related to the world of cinema in general are collected inside the museum, with a focus also on actors and actresses through stage clothes, objects that belonged to Hollywood stars, memorabilia and much more. The museum is open on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10.30 to 17, on Fridays from 10.30 to 20.00 (with free admission from 16.00 to 20.00), on Saturdays and Sundays from 10.30 to 18.00. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Tickets cost $ 15 for adults, $ 11 for over 65s, and $ 9 for ages 3-17. However, always check the official website in case times and prices change.



    • Where: 36-01 35 Avenue, Astoria, NYC.

    Kaufman Arts District

    Designed and created to promote the Astoria area in cultural terms, the Kaufman Arts District combines design, creativity and different artistic forms through the liaison of cultural institutions that support and sponsor the works of emerging artists. The District is between 31st Street (to the west), 34th Avenue to the north, Steinway Street to the east, and 37th Avenue to the south. During the year, various events are organized, from concerts to exhibitions, from street art to permanent graffiti exhibitions, up to the inclusion, in the circuit, of public spaces such as cafes, restaurants, markets.

    • Where: 35-2 36th Street, Astoria, NYC.

    Steinway & Sons

    One of the most famous piano manufacturing factories in the world has a headquarters right here in Astoria as well a dedicated road. Present on site for decades, this area around the factory was once known as Steinway Village, a name that also outlined a community of inhabitants of the area that arose around the 19th century, a period in which Steinway moved the small Manhattan office to the Astoria neighborhood.

    The pianos produced here are the result of craftsmanship that takes at least 9 months of finishing and details applied strictly by hand. A visit to Astoria cannot therefore be separated from factory tour, which allows you to discover the best kept secrets of the Steinway production. The visits, which take place from September until the end of June, are organized on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 9.30 am to noon, and can be accessed by a maximum of 16 people at a time. The admission ticket to the tour costs $ 20 per person, with a fixed rate. Official site.



    • Where: One Steinway Place, Astoria, NYC.

    Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden

    Open for over a century (a rarity in New York), this place is the oldest beer garden in the Big Apple. A large outdoor space, with long wooden tables to be used during the summer, to socialize, but also just to relax, the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden is an incredible mix of Czech and Slovak culture in which to taste the best beer produced in these two countries.

    Originally founded as a meeting place for Czech and Slovak immigrants, over time it has also become a way for these two ethnic groups to keep their ancestral traditions alive and strong, while immersing themselves in the local way. Not only excellent beers, however, but also a large and varied menu, based on local and non-local specialties, from pancakes with potatoes to klobasa (typical dry or smoked sausage), from grilled meat and fish to goulash. During the summer, the huge garden hosts a dense program of musical events and DJ sets. The Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden is open Monday to Thursday from 17pm to 1am, Friday and Saturday from 17pm to 3am, Sunday from 12pm to 1am.

    • Where: 2919 24th Avenue, Astoria, NYC.

    Noguchi Museum

    Founded by the American artist of Japanese origin Isamu Noguchi, this museum was inserted in an industrial context in which the master collected his works, using it both as an office and as a studio. Opened to the public in the 80s, it soon became an artistic center of great value, spread over 8.000 square meters, in which to admire Noguchi's works of art, mostly sculptures, but also design objects.

    The peculiarity that makes it unique is the indissoluble union between inside and outside: art is put on display starting from the huge and well-kept garden and the emotional journey continues inside, on two exhibition floors. The museum is open Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 10 to 17, Saturday and Sunday from 11 to 18, closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. The entrance ticket costs $ 10 for adults, $ 5 for over 65s, free for children under 12 years of age. Also, it should be remembered that the first Friday of each monthadmission to the museum is free for all throughout the year.

    • Where: 9-01 33rd Road, Queens, NYC.

    Socrates Sculpture Park

    Unmissable stop both for those who live in Astoria and for visiting tourists, the Socrates Sculpture Park is a neighborhood institution, facing the East River. Designed for emerging (and non-emerging) artists, the park organizes exhibitions, artistic presentations, events such as festivals and performances, outdoor film screenings.

    Housed in expertly reclaimed land (there was a landfill until the end of the 80s!), Today the park is an open-air studio and museum, in addition to an exhibition space that, in rotation, allows multiple artists to exhibit their works thanks also to the support provided to them through funds, materials, various equipment. Of course, in the park you can also practice classic activities, from morning jogging to yoga, to simple relaxation. Open all year, from 9 to sunset.

    • Where: 32-01 Vernon Boulevard, the main entrance is at the intersection of Vernon Blvd. and Broadway.

    Astoria Park

    Vista su Hell Gate Bridge e Triborough Bridge

    A paradise for young and old, this city park is well known for its gorgeous outdoor pool, the oldest and largest in the city, but there is much more besides the stretch of water (not to mention that here there are also indoor ones…). Full of services such as tennis courts, a cycle path surrounded by greenery, several paths to be done on foot or on rollerblades, basketball courts and play areas for children, the Astoria Park also enjoys spectacular views over the East River, the Triborough Bridge and the Hell Gate Bridge, and therefore also on the imposing skyscrapers of Midtown Manhattan.

    There is no doubt that spending a few hours here allows you to admire the multifaceted New York views, while remaining “still” in one place. The park is open every day from 6 to 21.

    • Where: 19 Street at the intersection of Astoria Park Street and Ditmars Blvd.

    Athens Square Park

    Another green lung of Astoria, this park takes its name from Athens in honor, also, of the large "colony" of Greeks who first inhabited this area. Consisting of three distinct areas, a central square with an amphitheater and sculptures, a recreational space and an area full of benches that run all around the perimeter, the park also features a bronze statue depicting Socrates.

    It goes without saying that every decorative element of the park tells the story of Greece (from the statue of Athena to that of Minerva, to the Doric and Corinthian columns), not only its inhabitants who emigrated to America, but also as a sign of respect for one of the civilizations that created and promoted values ​​such as culture, sport and philosophy. Finally, Athens Square Park is very famous for the events organized there, especially with the arrival of summer.

    Two out of all are the Greek Night and Italian Night, which are both held in the summer. The Greek Nights consist of a series of concerts of typical Greek music, first of all sirtaki, with free admission, which animate the park from July to the end of September. The Italian Nights last from July to the end of August and offer events dedicated to songs, dances and concerts, not only pop music, but also rock and hits from the 60s, 70s and 80s.

    • Where: 30th Street and 30th Avenue, Astoria, NYC.

    Murals of Astoria

    Over a hundred graffiti and murals decorate the buildings around Welling Court in Astoria. This is the now known Welling Court Mural Project, which invites a number of artists each year to develop new creations to beautify the neighborhood.

    • Where: 11-98 Welling Ct, Astoria, NYC, off 30th Avenue and 12th Street.

    Where to shop

    Lockwood

    Everything you want, you get it: this is how this shop could be briefly described. Here you can find really everything, from scented candles to furnishing accessories (take a look at the decorations, they are super!), From designer jewelry to toys for children, from jute bags to elegant and classy favors, but outside the box. And if you are looking for unusual, stylish, colorful gift cards… here is definitely the one for you. All this, a very reasonable prices. The shop is open every day, all day, from 11 to 20.

    • Where: the flagship store is located at 32-15 33rd Street, Astoria, NYC.

    Loveday 31 Vintage

    Picturesque, colorful, a fashionista's paradise, the Loveday 31 is a wonderful boutique where you can find jewels by American designers, but also vintage clothes and accessories (bags, bracelets, belts, the inevitable fedoras, and much more, with pieces from the 50s , '60 and '70). The absolute must? The bands of the New York designer Wink & Flip in perfect Gatsby style. Be warned, though: being all original pieces, it's good to dig deep to find the real deal and not spend a fortune. The boutique is open non-stop from Monday to Saturday from 12 to 20, Sunday from 12 to 19.

    • Where: 33-06 31st Avenue, Astoria, NYC.

    Astoria market

    Another location not to be missed to buy accessories, clothes, works of art, antiques and jewelry, as well as excellent street food, is the Astoria Market. Open every Sunday, it's a one-of-a-kind opportunity to meet local artists, bakers, designers, chefs and emotion makers. The market is held at the Main Hall del Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden. Admission is obviously free.

    • Where: Main Hall in Bohemian Hall (vicino al Beer Garden), 29-19 24th Avenue, Astoria, NYC.

    Where to eat

    The Pomeroy

    At the helm of this place not just any one, but Lady Gaga's chef. The atmosphere is welcoming and informal, the dishes tasty and abundant. Among the house specialties, to order, the Pomeroy burger, with Pat LaFrieda meat, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and special sauce (from the very secret recipe), accompanied by potato croquettes and fries. On request, slices of avocado or halloumi can be added. Cost per person, at dinner, excluding drinks: from $ 28. The restaurant is open from Monday to Sunday, at different times, for lunch, dinner, happy hour and brunch.

    • Where: 36-12 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria, NYC.

    Astoria Beer & Cheese

    The only place in all of Astoria (and one of the few in New York) where you can taste them excellent wines, craft beers and sublime cheeses and cured meats from all over the world. Entering the shop one is amazed by the quantity of beer bottles, all different from each other, arranged in neat order on the shelves. Without forgetting the tasting menus offered in combination with beer or a glass of wine, ideal for quick but very tasty lunches.

    Among the culinary specialties of the house, the main dish is The Figgy Piggy, a delight made up of san daniele raw ham, Taleggio, rocket and figs. The cost of lunch starts at $ 17 per person, including beer. Astoria Beer & Cheese is open from Monday to Thursday, from 12 to 23, Friday and Saturday from 11 to midnight, Sunday from 11 to 22.

    • Where: 35-11 Ditmars Blvd., Astoria, NYC.

    The Guli pastry shop

    Italian pastry, Guli has been in business for over 70 years. Almost a historic place in Astoria, at least for us Italians. Although trying to speak with the descendants of the owners in Spanish is not so obvious (they just say a few words), what you find and can buy there is a small bridge between America and Italy. Not only biscuits, but also very fresh pastries, Sicilian cannoli, cakes and cake design, handmade Easter eggs.

    A great idea is to buy a box of excellent anise-scented chocolate chip cookies as a souvenir, which costs $ 15. The pastry shop is open from Monday to Saturday, from 7 to 21. Sunday is open from 7 to 20.

    • Where: 29-15 Ditmars Blvd., Astoria, NYC.

    The Bonnie

    Cool and design place, between walls with exposed bricks, hanging plants and furnishings in a typical industrial-chic style, The Bonnie is one of the must-haves if you pass by Astoria, not only for the swanky environment, but also for the Possibility of to dine even at very late hours. Among the top dishes of the restaurant we recommend ordering the superlative Bonnie Burger, based on Pat Lafrieda meat, lettuce, tomato, onions, pickled cucumbers and smoked gouda cheese, and the sweet "sandwich with ice cream", a chocolate paradise, covered from strawberries, cocoa cookies, strawberry ice cream and a sprinkling of chocolate grains. Cost of dinner, per person, from $ 25, excluding drinks. Dinner is served from Monday to Thursday from 15 to 23 pm, on Fridays from 16 to 23 pm, Saturday and Sunday from 17 to 23 pm, with the possibility of a very late dinner, until 1 am.

    • Where: 29-12 23rd Ave., Astoria, NYC.

    Ovelia Psistaria Bar

    Inevitable, then, a typical greek place. Ovelia offers practically only typical Hellenic dishes, with menus strictly written in Greek (but for mere mortals, there is a small translation…). With a small but delicious outdoor area to be exploited in the summer, here you can order organic eggs fried strictly in Greek olive oil, grilled halloumi cheese (typical of Cyprus), grilled pita bread seasoned with salt, pepper and oregano and Tzatziki, Greek yogurt with cucumbers, dill and garlic. The prices are competitive and honest: you eat around $ 15 per person, including drinks. The kitchen is open Monday to Thursday from 17pm to 23pm, Friday and Saturday from 10am to midnight, Sunday from 10am to 23pm.

    • Where: 34-01 30th Avenue, Astoria, NYC.

    Accomodation

    The hotel offer will not be as rich as that of Manhattan but sleeping in Astoria is not such a bad idea given the good connections with the subway (the decentralized position could also give you a few more chances to find a good opportunity). Sleeping in this neighborhood is for those who want to find out how to live in a suburb of New York, one of the most suitable for coming into contact with the melting pot of the city.

    To search for accommodation in this area I suggest using both Booking and Vrbo, in order to expand the availability of the facilities on site. Here is the list of facilities available on both platforms:

    • All accommodations available on Booking
    • All accommodations available on Vrbo

    For all the other areas recommended for sleeping in the city you can read our dedicated guide by clicking on the button below:

    Our tips for sleeping in New York 

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