Queens/Long Island City and Astoria

Long Island City and Astoria are two adjoining neighborhoods in Queens, a borough of New York City.

Understand

Long Island City and Astoria encompass a very large and increasingly diverse section of Queens that stretches along the East River.

Long Island City was traditionally an industrial area and often still feels like Manhattan's unkempt broom closet, with its train depots, factory buildings, school bus parking lots and the like. But since the early 2000s a burgeoning art community has grown like a weed through the cracks in a sidewalk and is now quite strong, with multiple art galleries, performance spaces, a formal museum that acts as a branch of MoMA. This in turn has attracted a stretch of quality restaurants and bars along Vernon Boulevard north of the bridge, which has in turn brought new housing development and a growing community of young families along the river.

Astoria is named after fur magnate John Jacob Astor, who acted as front-man investor for development of a village here in the early nineteenth century. In the 1910s Astoria became home to the first American silent film studios -- a heritage celebrated at the Museum of the Moving Image -- but today the neighborhood is more locally famous for the large Greek community that began its migration here in the 1960s and have bestowed it with an embarrassment of excellent Greek food in its tavernas and ethnic grocers. Astoria's plethora of reasonably priced rental housing has today attracted a new migration of young artists and hipsters, and there is also an increase in migration of people from across the world here. Most notable in that respect is the large Middle Eastern community that centers itself around Steinway Street just south of the RFK Bridge Expressway.

Get in

By subway

Get to the heart of Long Island City by taking the EM or R trains to Queens Plaza, the NQ or 7 to Queensboro Plaza, the EGM or 7 to Court Square, or the 7 to Hunters Point Avenue.

Get to the busiest parts of Astoria by taking the N or Q train to Broadway, 30th Avenue or Ditmars Boulevard, or the M or R train to Steinway Street.

By LIRR

There is a lonely LIRR terminal at Long Island City (officially, it's not even a station, but rather a "passenger yard"), as well as a somewhat busier station at Hunterspoint Ave. They are only served by a handful of trains during rush hours, and not accessible from Manhattan, but can be handy if you are traveling to/from those areas at that time. The Long Island City station is worth a visit if only to see how laughably huge it is given how little traffic goes through it (it was the main LIRR terminal before Penn Station).

See

The new highrise luxury condominiums in Long Island City have created a new skyline and raised housing prices for miles around

Do

Buy

Eat

To the north, Astoria is notable mostly for the bevy of outstanding Greek restaurants which draw crowds from all boroughs. Further south in Long Island City there are two major restaurant strips of note, the trendy stretch of Vernon Boulevard just north of the Midtown Tunnel entrance with its many delicious, multi-ethnic food offerings, and the four-block section of Steinway Street just south of the Grand Central Parkway that's host to dozens of Middle Eastern restaurants and hookah lounges.

Drink

The Bohemian Beer Hall is the most notable bar in the area, a place to which many New Yorkers make a pilgrimage at one time or another. But LIC's heady mix of multi-ethnic immigrants and artsy hipsters means there are a range of other great nightlife options to check out, including swish retro speakeasies, underground comedy clubs and smokey Egyptian hookah lounges.

Sleep

Long Island City and Astoria are not destinations for high quality hotels, but there are some good budget options here within minutes of midtown Manhattan and easy reach of LaGuardia airport.

Connect

Go next

Routes through Long Island City and Astoria

Theater District Midtown Manhattan  W  E  Jackson Heights Flushing
Theater District Midtown Manhattan  W  E  Jackson Heights Jamaica
Midtown Manhattan Upper East Side (F)  W  E  Jackson Heights Jamaica
END  N  S  Williamsburg, Brooklyn Downtown Brooklyn
Theater District Upper East Side  W  E  Jackson Heights (R)
END Jackson Heights  N  S  Brooklyn Staten Island


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, October 03, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.