Astoria, formerly seen as a largely Greek outpost in northwestern Queens, has lately gone through slight change of wardrobe. This culturally rich and diverse neighborhood is now known, in some circles, the "new bohemia," attracting residents from India, Pakistan, Thailand, China, and other parts of America.
It isnt surprising that Astoria is one of the hottest spots in NYC right now. One has many options here: shopping on Steinway, drinking on Broadway, or picking up great fresh fruit and vegetables on 31st Ave. No matter what your train stop, youre sure to find something to please in Astoria. Serviced by the N/W and R/Q trains, its a short, fifteen-minute ride from midtown Manhattan. Otherwise, you could be perfectly comfortable not commuting once you settle into some cozy digs. Astoria is fast becoming a self-sufficient neighborhood in more ways than simply food and necessities. Young and old members of the community can always find some type of diversion or leisure activity, be it bars, clubs, gyms, boutiques, or community centers. The diverse ethnic population is supported by a variety of specialty stores catering to foodies and video junkies alikea big plus for everyone since it brings a great multicultural draw to the area.
One of the biggest pulls for outsiders coming to Astoria is the discount shopping on and around Steinway Street. Here youll find sneaker outlets a la downtown Broadway, bargain basement thrift stores, unique lingerie shops, coffee houses, and every fast food chain imaginable. The street holds a constant buzz of activity, both on the street and pouring into and out of the Steinway Street R/Q station.
Another great thing about Steinway, and Astoria in general, is the huge number of cute, comfortable bars for a mixed bag of drinkers and socializers. Low-key joints like McLoughlins cater to the jeans and t-shirts set, while more trendy places like Tupelo and Caf�Bar pull in the fashion-forward crowds visiting from Manhattan and Brooklyn. Tupelo in particular seems to be a spot on the rise; its dark, red-lit interior and cozy booths are perfectly conducive to a long night of gossiping or band-watching. For those who get claustrophobic from dungeon-like bar surroundings, however, the Polish Beer Garden near Astoria Boulevard provides an enormous outdoor seating area replete with picnic tables, a decrepit band shell, and plenty of plastic cupped cheap brew. Any night of the week is fair game to erupt into an enormous round of off-key "She-Bop" from the overeager guitar wielding patrons, but its all in the name of good fun.
Also fun, but more for the stomach than the ears is Astorias collection of top-rate restaurants. Great Greek is a given, especially at lauded establishments like SAgapo, but the neighborhood holds its own in a number of culinary arenas. For inexpensive Thai, head to Ubols Kitchen, where the waitresses tell it like it is and carry trays of some of the best duck around. Yeah it looks cheesy from the outside, but Pinocchio on 30th Avenue whips up some of the best gourmet pizzas in New York City. Theyve got the basics as well, all within wood-paneled and homey ambience.
The best part of living in Astoria, however, is just relaxing in your own padwhether it be made of brick on a tree-lined street or fortified with siding along Astoria Boulevard. The comfortable and intimate style of living goes hand-in-hand with the number of amenities Astoria has to offer, often at a very reasonable price. As a rule, wherever you choose to settle down in this northern Queens neighborhood, you wont often feel coaxed to go anywhere else.