Travel

Neighborhood Highlight: Astoria, Queens

by Sabrina Moscola

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Traditionally known for its Greek food and neighborhood vibe, Astoria, Queens has managed to simultaneously keep its roots while progressing with the demands of hip new renters in the area. Decades-old, family-run businesses sit next to trendy, new shops. The neighborhood is a short, 30-minute subway ride from midtown Manhattan, and home to restaurants with a robust variety cultures and flavors. But the biggest draw is the sense of community and support that even competing businesses in Astoria foster. Small businesses support each other through collaborative pop-up shops and selfless recommendations. Markets are held for local artisans to showcase their crafts. Neighbors become friendly through run-ins at parks and shops. One thing for sure is that the residents of Astoria really, truly love Astoria. Feeling the spirit of this neighborhood gave us a complete sense of awakening.

The NYYLM team took a ride out to the borough to frolic. Here’s a taste of what a daytrip in Astoria looks like…but don’t limit yourself to the places where we played. Take your next Staycation over the bridge and see how Astoria can awaken you!

Start your day by getting off at the 30th Ave subway stop. Just one block west you’ll find a quaint little coffee shop tucked off the main street. Astoria Coffee has a chill vibe, infamous dueling tip jars that change daily, and playlists that always seems to be just what you need at the moment. While the baristas fix you up a beautifully crafted beverage, you’ll be tempted to purchase a souvenir: coffee plants in mugs, logo totes, or merchandise for sale by local entrepreneurs.

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After caffeinating, a short walk will lead you to Astoria Park. This quiet oasis draws runners to the quarter mile track, families to the public pool, and dog-owners to walk along the river. Lay down for a picnic and nap on the main lawn, and feel free to spill your deepest darkest secret if you’re with a friend – without the crowds of Manhattan, having a private conversation on your blanket is totally possible.

After lazily lying in the grass, bring some movement into your day. When it comes to yoga, there is one option that is rather special. You don’t often see a type of studio like Yoga Agora. A true drop-in experience, where class packages and monthly memberships don’t exist, there is no prior sign up needed. Nestled on the second floor on the corner of 34th Street and Broadway, the studio is equal parts In the heart of it all and Above the hustle and bustle. With flowing, white curtains layered over tall, glass doors opening to Juliet balconies, the space is quite remarkable. The studio turns magical on Friday evenings, when the Yin class is accompanied by live music – a local cellist or pianist sits in the corner, playing soothing melodies to accompany the poses.

After you breathe and flow, take a few steps next door to Lockwood Shop where you’ll find kitschy ornaments and accessories showing Astoria love and local support, like the Astoria Key Ring or Queens Coloring Book.

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When you’ve worked up an appetite, Sek’end Sun just a block west will help you to continue the local pride. If you’re lucky enough to score a seat in their backyard, you’ll be transfixed. Queens: the big, bright neon sign reminds you exactly where you are, just in case the cocktails make your memory hazy.

Feeling the spirit of this neighborhood gave us a complete sense of awakening. In a city that can sometimes be isolated, observing the sense of community in Astoria is the perfect elixir of nostalgia, comfort, and satisfaction.Take your next staycation or day trip over the bridge and see how Astoria can awaken you.