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Astoria, New York

Astoria, New York is a neighborhood in the northwestern part of Queens, New York. Astoria is next to Long Island City, Sunnyside, and Woodside, along the East River. Astoria has traditionally been known as a predominantly Greek and Italian neighborhood, and one with a concentration of restaurants and bakeries. The Greek influence is still very present, especially through the many Greek restaurants, bakeries and cafes. However, Astoria has seen an influx of many new immigrants (for example, from the Middle East, Bangladesh, Latin America, and Eastern and Southern Europe) and young Manhattan urbanites in recent years, making the neighborhood even more diverse.

There are several main thoroughfares/streets running east-west in Astoria, each of which has its own subway station on the N or W line (see below). Furthest north is Ditmars Boulevard, which remains very residential and very Greek. Moving south is Astoria Boulevard, which flanks the Grand Central Parkway on both sides (providing access to Manhattan and the Bronx via the Triborough Bridge, and to LaGuardia and Kennedy Airports and Long Island via the Grand Central). Next is 30th Avenue, a lively commercial street with a wide range of restaurants, stores and cafes. Two avenues south is Broadway, also full of stores, restaurants and cafes. Furthest south is 36th Avenue, another commercial strip. The primary streets running north-south are 21st Street, a major traffic artery with a mix of residential, commercial and industrial character; 31st Street, which carries the N and W subway lines on an elevated track; and Steinway, a major commercial street with many retail stores, and a very prominent Middle Eastern section between Astoria Blvd. and 28th Avenue.

Astoria was apparently named after the famous millionaire John Jacob Astor in order to persuade him to invest in the neighborhood. Apparently, this plan never succeeded, but the name stuck.

Attractions in Astoria include the Isamu Noguchi Museum, Socrates Sculpture Park, and MOMA QNS, the temporary location of the Museum of Modern Art. Astoria Park, along the East River, is Astoria's largest park.

Suggestions for authentic Greek restaurants include: Uncle George's (Broadway and 34th Street), and restaurants along 31st Street between Ditmars Blvd. and 24th Avenue. Omonia Cafe (Broadway and 33rd Street) and Athens Cafe (3oth Avenue and 32nd Street) are great for dessert. However, there are plenty more cuisines, and restaurants, mostly located around the major streets discussed above.