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Image source: Adam E. Moreira on Wikimedia Commons

We recently read A Newbie’s Guide to Bushwick Subway Stops from Bushwick Daily and we liked it so much, we decided to do our own version for Astoria. Here, we present a brief subway stop by subway stop breakdown of where to live and why. We start with the N/Q in Astoria (Astoria is also served by the M/R – more on that at another time).

In general, rents throughout Astoria run about around $1,600 for a one bedroom and $2,000 for a two bedroom, but of course there are exceptions to that on either end of the pricing spectrum. New construction tends to be more expensive than older construction, and rather than big developments, Astoria has a lot of infill construction, which affects rents as well.

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Nestled in the northern reaches of Astoria lies the Steinway & Sons piano factory – yes, that’s right, the Steinway & Sons, makers of some of the most glorious pianos in the world. And did you know that you can take a tour of the factory itself? Indeed you can – Forbes has rated this factory tour one of the top 3 factory tours in the country, and we agree that is is pretty awesome.

So here’s how to tour the factory. These guidelines are the most up-to-date ones, as of October 2012.

Factory tours are offered from September through the end of June; factory tours are not available in July and August.

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Welcome home, Coley the osprey!

We checked in with the Osprey’s Journey folks, and learned that Coley – the osprey that scientists have been tracking all these months – is back in NYC at his home in Jamaica Bay! He was in South America during the winter, but as of 5:20pm on March 20, Coley was spotted by Jamaica Bay naturalist Don Riepe. Coley was “sitting in the marsh by his nest with his mate while she was eating a fish.” Welcome home, big bird!

Maybe that elevated rail line won’t be the Queensway after all

We’ve learned that those who want to see the now abandoned LIRR line in Queens (it goes from Rego Park to Ozone Park) turn back into a working rail line, are stepping up their efforts to make it so. Two Congressmen representing southern Queens – Representatives Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn) and Greg Meeks (D-Jamaica) plan to “endorse the proposal and push to allocate federal transportation subsidies to study a plan for bringing rail service back.” Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Park) also supports turning the line back on. This could really throw things in another direction. It will be interesting to see what happens.

Green attractions in Queens – Astoria/LIC, Floral Park, Flushing, the Rockaways, and Douglaston

Joanna Eng wrote up an interesting article about green attractions in the borough of Queens. They include the Steinway & Sons piano factory in Astoria, the Queens County Farm Museum in Floral Park, the Queens Botanical Garden in Flushing, the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in the Rockaways, the Alley Pond Environmental Center in Douglaston, and the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria/LIC. It’s very cool to see the environment be considered at all of these places.

Andre’s Hungarian for delicious kosher sweets

Anne Shisler-Hughes wrote about her love of Andre’s Hungarian, a kosher bakery in Forest Hills. They make some of the most amazing, delicious sweet things, that happen to be kosher. Check out their delicious macaroons and rugelach. They also sell traditional Hungarian sweets like strudel and kuglóf (enjoy it with coffee). Their baked goods can be enjoyed all year round, so stop in and taste the magic.

Dance at the Hell Gate

Take a look at this lovely, short modern dance, performed on Shore Blvd near the Hell Gate Bridge in Astoria. It is part of a series of dances called Under One, “a dynamic internet-based project built around a series of short videos featuring professional dancers.”

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/62303678]

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The LIRR line in question, when it was active

After hearing about the feasibility study RFPs issued by the Trust for Public Land, we’ve learned of a concerted push for the alternate plan for the abandoned rail line – turning it back into a working train line. Two Congressmen representing southern Queens – Representatives Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn) and Greg Meeks (D-Jamaica) plan to “endorse the proposal and push to allocate federal transportation subsidies to study a plan for bringing rail service back.” 

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Here are some of the properties we’ve featured in QueensNYC this week – three co-ops and a condo in Bayside, Jackson Heights, Beechhurst, and LIC.

23-35 Bell Blvd, #5J, Bayside, NY 11360 (GMAP) – This 1 bed/1 bath co-op in the Bay Country community in Bayside is priced at $249,000. There is a lot of sunlight and newly refinished hardwood floors throughout the unit. The kitchen is a good size for a galley kitchen, with stainless steel appliances, and has an eat-in area, and a breakfast bar. There is also a separate dining room. The building even has its own tennis courts for residents to use. The unit has winter water views and has ownership of two parking spots. The building is right across the street from the big Bay Terrace shopping center, and is convenient to a numer of bus lines (Q13, Q28). It’s located a little over a mile from the Bayside LIRR station.

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Image source: Ranger Dave Taft, Gateway National Recreation Area

We learned via the Osprey’s Journey blog that Coley, the osprey that scientists have been tracking throughout the winter, has made it back to Jamaica Bay! He was in South America during the winter, but as of 5:20pm on March 20, Coley was spotted by Jamaica Bay naturalist Don Riepe. Coley was “sitting in the marsh by his nest with his mate while she was eating a fish.”

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A photowalk in Forest Park

We love these photos from a recent walk though Forest Park that the Project Woodhaven folks did. So many great photos, and reminds us that there are still wild areas in Queens. Glad they are repairing the bandshell, too. And hello ducks! Definitely check it out – the photos are fab!

Ran Craycraft of Why Leave Astoria?! did leave Astoria

The NYDN wrote up a story on Ran Craycraft, the founder and editor of Why Leave Astoria?!, and how he actually did leave Astoria for sunny Los Angeles. He left because he wanted to spend more time in his job as the general manager of entertainment for AOL. He believes the site is “in a good place where it can maintain itself.” Ran made an imprint on Astoria and he will definitely be missed. And while WLA?! can maintain itself, we do wonder – will he run it from CA or will someone else, locally, step in…?

Queens in Jeopardy

No, no, we’re not talking about danger, we’re talking about the game show, Jeopardy! Turns out earlier this week Queens had a whole category devoted to itself in the second round. Astoria was the subject of the final question (worth 2,0000 bucks!) – “It ain’t no Waldorf, but this neighborhood has lots of Greeks, & Telly’s Taverna–To Die For.” Of course that’s “What is Astoria?” So. Awesome.

Street Eats U.S.A. visits Queens

Last summer Joe DiStefano took the Street Eats U.S.A. folks all around Queens to sample the delicious noms that the borough is full of. He was reminded of the show (“It was so long ago I almost forgot about it.”) and is happy to say that it will air on the Travel Channel this Saturday at 3pm EDT. Tune in and see Queens (and Joe) in all its glory!

Rockaway skate park

Scenes from the Rockaway skate park two years ago when it was in better condition (it has been trashed by two hurricanes – Irene and Sandy – at this point). Many people wish it could be rebuilt (all concrete), but of course, that takes $$$. It would be a nice outlet for the skaters in that part of the city – fresh air and exercise is good for most everyone.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/11641676]