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.
Image source: Atomox on Wikimedia Commons – leafy Ditmars
In case you’re wondering, this neighborhood is part of Astoria – at times Google Maps (and some old timers) would place to northern border of Astoria at the Grand Central Parkway, but the reality is that Ditmars is part of Astoria. This subway stop is at the northern terminus of the N/Q, and one of the bonuses of being at this stop is that during the morning commute, you’ll find a seat about 98% of the time (MTA freakiness will sometimes thwart that).
The area is considered more residential and *gasp* suburban than other parts of Queens. It is quieter, that’s for sure. There are large apartment buildings and houses split into flats. It has a major amenity of Astoria Park down by the waterfront, Astoria’s green jewell, which includes an all-weather track, skate park, the largest WPA pool in the city, lots of grass and trees, and views of the magnificent Hell Gate Bridge.
Ditmars Blvd. is proving itself as a draw for some great new restaurants – Australian (The Thirsty Koala), Neapolitan Pizza (Tufino), and ramen (HinoMaru) and it’s the home to excellent established spots like Taverna Kyclades and L’Incontro; MP Taverna is moving in soon, too. And then further up north is SingleCut Beersmiths.
The Greek community is strong here, with three Greek Orthodox Churches. The annual epitaphios on Orthodox Good Friday is a sight not to be missed, complete with a brass band, costumed children, chanting, and incense.
The bottom line: if you are looking for a quieter part of town, with great restaurants and easy access to Astoria Park, this is the place for you.
Image source: Youngking11 on Wikimedia Commons – the entrance to the pedestrian overpass
Sometimes this area feels a little un-neighborhoody, since the area has the large and loud Grand Central Parkway barreling down its middle. The station has a pedestrian walkway above the parkway mess and on the western overpass, you can catch a great shot of the Triboro/RFK bridge. This station is the only other express stop until Queensboro Plaza.
Commercial areas include 24th Avenue and Astoria Blvd. As for restaurants and bars, on 24th Ave Sparrow Tavern is shabby chic gastropub that serves one of the best burgers in Astoria, as well as tasty cocktails. Astoria Park Wine & Spirits is a lovely wine shop, and Mosaic, a wine bar, is up at 26th Street. Astoria Park is still reasonably accessible from here. On Astoria Blvd both Basil Brick Oven Pizza and BZ Grill are standouts, and one of the best taquerias in town, La Herradura, is also in the western reaches of Astoria Blvd; Chilean hot dogs can also be found on Astoria Blvd at San Antonio Bakery #2.
Probably the most well known place in this part of town is the Bohemian Beer Garden, which was really the only game in town for many years, before the beer garden boom happened. Around the corner from the Beer Garden is a new 7 story development that will add 28 new apartments to the area, that may actually look down on the beer garden itself.
The bottom line: if you want to be near the Beer Garden, access to Astoria Park and a somewhat quiet atmosphere (save the GCP), this is the place for you.
Image source: robnguyen01 on Flickr – cafe seating on 30th Avenue
These days, it seems like more people get on and off at this station during the morning and evening commutes than any other stop along the N/Q in Astoria. 30th Ave is a bustling, vibrant, diverse place in Astoria. The diversity is striking – in an article in National Geographic, scientist Spencer Wells talks about how he and his colleagues discovered that 30th Avenue’s population holds “genetic markers for virtually all the major migrations that peopled the continents.” That is really something.
30th Avenue is known for its Greek cafes – Athens, Avenue, and Grand, just to name a few – as well as its various restaurants, salumerias, and bakeries. Here, you can find everything from Halal pizza to sustainably raised meats (raw and barbecue), Maltese pastizzi to Thai food, burgers to bubble tea, and much, much more. Athens Park is nearby at 30th Street, which is a great meeting spot and home to a small collection of beautiful statues of Greek gods.
Additional commercial areas include 31st Street and 28th Avenue. In this part of town there are more apartment buildings than houses.
The bottom line: if you want to live in a diverse, vibrant and popular part of town, and like to spend time at cafes, this is the place for you.
Socrates Sculpture Park at the west end of Broadway
The southern end of Astoria is amorphous, and some folks might tell you that this is the southern end of the neighborhood, but you don’t have to believe them if you don’t want to. Broadway is often called “the heart of Astoria” so it doesn’t make sense to put the heart in the feet. Anyway, Broadway is probably the busiest part of Astoria, and is filled with restaurants, bars, and markets. At its western end is the marvelous Socrates Sculpture Park, which is home to giant art, beautiful waterfront views, and a seasonal greenmarket, and the fantastic Noguchi Museum is just a hop, skip, and a jump away.
Nearby 31st Ave is also quite the food destination, with the intersection of 34th Street as a sort of “food nexxus.” Neighboring 34th Ave is less filled with shops, but there are some quality offerings – Thymari and Cevabzinica Sarajevo for restaurants, and SITE for shopping.
The area of Broadway near 35th Street is in what is called “The Golden Triangle” – it’s close enough to the N/Q as well as the M/R at the Steinway stop (it used to be even nicer when the G ran all the way to Forest Hills), allowing for extra flexibility in your transportation options. Some believe that Broadway should be an express stop, since so many people get on and off there, but we doubt that will happen (the express tracks don’t have a way to stop at Broadway since they are in the middle of the two local tracks).
The bottom line: if you want to live in the liveliest area of Astoria, with ample night life, this is the place for you.
Image source: MrShah2012 on Wikimedia Commons – the front of Kaufman Astoria Studios
We consider 36th Avenue to be the southern end of Astoria; south of it gets into Dutch Kills, a section of Long Island City. This seems to be a less traveled avenue compared to the others but it has its share of awesomeness. That would include the Arepas Cafe, and Cafe Triskell, in particular. Its neighbor to the north, 35th Avenue, sure has blossomed, though. MOMI is there, along with 5 Napkin Burger, the bar Sunswick, and the Frank Sinatra High School for the Arts as well.
Between 36th and 35th Avenues is the UA Kaufman 14 theater, a big multiplex that shows commercial films. It is a big draw to the area, and is here in part because of Kaufman Astoria Studios, a working TV and film studio, who has been in the news recently about their plans for 36th Street (a hotel, restaurant, and possibly condos), which they now own (it was de-mapped in 2012).
This area is home to a number of people from south Asia, including a robust Bangladeshi community, and it is also the location of “Little Brazil.” One “hidden” spot is the New Yorker Bagels, which serves good Mexican food, including chilaquiles, something that is not easy to find in Astoria. They also have a steam table in the back filled with tasty Mexican dishes; the bright red trip soup sticks out in our mind’s eye.
The bottom line: if you are looking to live in a quieter location closer along the line to Manhattan, this is the place for you.
We hope this survey of Astoria via its subway stops has been a help!
Editor’s Note: This post has been updated since its original publication in 2013