There are tons of great aspects of Astoria, Queens. First off, it’s diverse. There are Greek and Middle Eastern parts to it, that I will talk about in future blog posts.
Here is a picture of the view from Astoria Park, a very cool aspect of Astoria and perfect on a warm, summer night. You have the gracious view of the Triborough bridge from it (and also of my soft serve):
Secondly, it’s yuppie central. The active nightlife consists of bars, clubs and lounges. There are interesting museums, cozy coffee shops and one of a kind restaurants. The vibe of Astoria is busy, sort of like the city. But at the same time, cultured and graceful.
Here are some of my favorite places in Astoria:
Located: 4009 30th Ave, Astoria, NY.
Queens Comfort has been open since 2011 and is one of the most interesting restaurants I’ve ever been to. I first heard about it while watching an episode of “Diners, Drive Ins and Dives” on the Food Network (I’m obsessed).
According to Queens Comfort‘s website (which is really cool, by the way), their main goal is to bring comfort food to Astoria, Queens.
On the episode, Guy Fieri was introduced to the Atomic Fire Balls, which are deep fried mac & cheese balls served with sriracha and ranch. They are gooey, spicy, cheesy and just perfect. The chefs always write something on them in sriracha, I saw a post on Instagram of the Atomic Fire Balls with #YOLO written on them. Queens Comfort is very into hip hop.
Actually though, it really is. 90’s hip hop is what mainly plays there. The decor is also fun. Their walls are full of comic books, action figurines, vintage toys and a vintage coke-a-cola machine. The bar stools are vintage too.
In the back of the restaurant there is a projector screen that is always showing movies or TV shows. They were showing the Netflix series “Narcos” the last time I was there.
Their menu is really fascinating. They use different ingredients that one wouldn’t normally consider putting in food. For example, they serve Capt N’ Crunch Chicken Fingers with red chili bacon caramel sauce. You can view their full menu here.
I definitely recommend checking this place out. And it’s BYOB! which is super cool, you are allowed to bring any type of alcohol you want. It’s also cash only.
Located: 19 St. between Astoria Park S. and Ditmars Blvd, Astoria, NY.
This beautiful park sits on the East River, and so you have a breath taking view of the waterfront.
According to the NYC Gov Parks website, Astoria Park is mostly known for their pool. It’s the oldest and largest pool in the city, and admission is free!
The park is between two bridges: the Triborough Bridge and Hell Gate Bridge.
Not only does it have a pool, but it also has outdoor tennis courts, a bandstand, a track, a skate park, multiple trails, basketball courts, wifi hot spots and playgrounds.
Every Monday during the summer they have a “Movies on the Waterfront” in the evening. It starts at 8 p.m. and takes place on the lawn between the two bridges (called the Astoria Park Lawn), a large screen is assembled and anyone can bring lawn chairs or blankets to sit and enjoy the movie. I saw “How To Train Your Dragon 2” this past summer.
They have other events at Astoria Park such as the Concerts on the Waterfront series and the Astoria Park Carnival.
Astoria Park is a perfect place to take a walk in. The view is amazing and the walk path is kind of long. You’ll see of joggers and bikers on the same path, too.
Located: 34-08 31st Ave, Astoria, NY.
Sandwich lovers! This panini place is unlike any other sandwich place I’ve ever been to. You literally can’t go wrong with anything you get on the menu.
According to Il Bambino‘s website, this location opened eight years ago. There is another location opening, in the Greenwich Village in the city. Il Bambino is Italian for “the child.”
The owner’s goal was to establish a humble panino in Astoria, and be able to create magical pairings of unusual ingredients, and still keep things as simple and yummy as possible.
They specialize in panini and crostini. My all time favorite thing on, probably, this whole menu is their prosciutto, olive spread, goat cheese and chive oil crostini. I love olives, so that’s always a plus for me.
They also have this amazing chorizo, apricot butter and goat cheese crostini. I know, apricot butter, chorizo and cheese (a really creamy cheese…) sounds kind of weird together, but TRUST ME. You will not be disappointed. The flavors marry together so well, it’s the perfect balance of sweet and salty. And so satisfying. It’s so, so good.
There’s also a beautiful outdoor patio in the back full of flowers and tapestries and comfy couches where you can sit down and enjoy your meal.
On their menu there’s a wide variety of tasty panini. My favorite is probably the chorizo, romesco, shaved red onion, mozzarella and truffle aioli. As you can probably tell, I like chorizo.
You can view their full menu here. Come to Il Bambino with an open mind and an empty stomach.
Museum of the Moving Image
Located: 36-01 35th Ave, Astoria, NY.
This museum focuses on the appreciation of the art, history, technique, and technology of film, television, and digital media.
According to Museum of the Moving Image‘s website, it is the only museum in the United States dedicated to digital media. It opened in 1988 and is in one of thirteen buildings of the former Astoria Studios complex.
Every year the museum screens about 400 films. The screen they have is gigantic, perfect for a panoramic view of the movie. You can see the list of upcoming films they’re screening here.
There are a bunch of impressive exhibitions here, but there’s one in particular that’s got my attention. It’s called “How Cats Took Over The Internet.”
According to the “”How Cats Took Over The Internet” part of the website, which can be found here, it focuses on the history of cats online, examining phenomena like cat videos, celebrity cats and why images and videos of cats have the whole web hypnotized. I’m very excited for this, only because I love cats and support this phenomena 100%. It is open until January 31, 2016.
General admission to the Museum of the Moving Image is $12 for adults, but $9 if you’re a student with an ID!
I definitely recommend checking this place out especially if you’re a movie (or TV) fanatic. It’s also helpful if you’re a media studies major, like me.
Located: 30-05 Steinway St, Astoria, NY.
They serve Stumptown coffee, a coffee company from Portland, Oregon. They also sell doughnuts from this place called Dough in Brooklyn, and they are so delicious.
The decor is minimalist, it’s vintage and because Kinship is so small, it’s intimate.
They serve fresh cold press juices, espresso, cortados, cold brew and they use almond milk from California.
It’s a great place for an afternoon pick me up. Or for anytime, actually. They also sell the art on their walls, which are made by local artists.
Located: 2905 Broadway, Astoria, NY.
This ramen place has really, really good ramen. It’s the perfect meal to have on a cold fall or winter evening. I’m always on the look out for good ramen and I’m always willing to try new places out. This place is especially yummy.
One afternoon, while strolling around Astoria, I had a sudden craving for ramen. With the help of yelp, I found out about this place and decided to pay it a visit. I’m glad I did so, because this is one of the best ramen places I’ve ever been to.
According to their website, the soup is made daily using a whole chicken and five different vegetables. They are simmered together for fourteen hours, and the end result is this delicious broth.
On each table there are chopsticks, no spoons or forks. I’m sure you can ask for them, but chopsticks are better for practice!
My favorite ramen on the menu is called the miso ramen, and it has more than twelve ingredients and has been fermented for a month. Its topped with chasyu (pork), menma (dried bamboo shoots), egg, corn, scallion, bean sprouts and cabbage.
I watched a video once about how to eat ramen, and ramen chefs recommend you eat it as quick as possible, because it’s important to eat it while its hot. Don’t burn yourself, though.
I definitely recommend checking Tamashii Ramen out, and if you do you should get the pork steamed buns as an appetizer! Soft, pillowy saucey pork goodness.
Located: 34-12 36th Street, Astoria, NY.
Above is a photo of Kaufman Studios, a really cool movie and TV studio that is, unfortunately, not open to the public for tours. It has been a part of making movies and shows for over 90 years. “Orange is the New Black,” “Nurse Jackie” and “Sesame Street were all filmed here.
I just think that it’s so cool how a really important studio is right here in our borough!
I hope you enjoyed reading this post about Astoria, Queens! I hope you enjoy these places as much as I do.
Astoria natives: Did I leave out your favorite place in Astoria? Let me know in the comments below!
Until next time!