Astoria is one of the hippest neighborhoods in Queens, NY. Located in the northwestern side of Queens, only 15-minutes drive from Midtown Manhattan, Astoria maintained its ethnic diversity and community despite its recent gentrification.
Astoria was named after John Jacob Astor, who was the richest man in American, and served as a recreational resort for the affluent Manhattans. During the late 19th century waves of Irish, Jews and Italian immigrants flood Astoria. Later on, during the 1960s and 1970s, came the Greeks, and their influence is still reflected in the numerous Greek taverns and bakeries. In recent decades the neighborhood was housed by immigrants from Arab countries, Malta, Brazil, Spain, Bangladesh and many others.
credit: Gabe Shore
Things to Do in Astoria Queens
Kaufman Astoria Studios
Astoria provides several attractions for movie fans. The historic Kaufman Astoria Studios (KAS) started in 1920, before Hollywood was the center of movie industry. It has the only backlot, an outdoor filming location, in New York, and many movies and TV shows were shot in its studios including Sesame Street, The Cosby Show, Orange is the New Black, as well as hundreds of silent movies and the first “talkie” movies.
The Museum of Moving Image is located in the Kaufman Arts District, and it displays the largest collection of TV and movie memorabilia including vintage cameras and movie equipment, customs, movie posters, still photographs, movie sets and more. There’s also a huge collection of video computer games, where you can play classic games such as the original Pac-Man and Space Invaders, movie screenings, activities for kids and guided tours.
Museum of the Moving Image
36-01 35 Avenue
credit: Jason Eppink
The Noguchi Museum
The Noguchi Museum displays the art and design works of the famous Japanese-American sculpture, designer and landscape architect Isamu Noguchi. The museum was established in 1985, 3 years before Naoguchi’s death, and was renovated from an old industrial site. The comprehensive collection of Noguchi’s sculptures, designs, drawings, models and sketches are displayed in the museum’s 13 galleries and the sculpture garden. There’s also a cafe and a shop offering Noguchi’s furniture, lamps, books and objects.
The Noguchi Museum
9-01 33rd Road (at Vernon Boulevard)
Long Island City, NY
Astoria Park is mostly known for its free outdoor swimming pool, but that’s not the only reason to visit the 60-acres public park. Astoria Park offers variety of sports activities including outdoor basketball and tennis courts, running tracks, playgrounds for kids and an amazing view to the East River.
Greek Food and other Things to Eat
Astoria is mostly known for its Greek restaurants, and the neighborhood offers plenty of opportunities to taste classic, authentic Greek cuisine to modern takes on classic dishes. Taverna Kyclades, on 33-07 Ditmars Blvd., is one of the best places in Astoria to have Greek sausage, grilled fresh sea food and fresh vegetable salad with real Feta cheese and lots of olive oil. For Greek pastries visit Artopolis, located on 31st Street between 23rd and 24th Avenues at the Agora Plaza, for the rosemary flatbread and sweet and savory filo-dough pastries.
In addition to Greek food, Astoria offers rich diversity of kitchens, and you can taste Middle-Eastern, Brazilian and Mexican food, drink beer in the various beer gardens or visit one of the new hip cafes and restaurants that were opened in the neighborhood in the last few years.