Astoria is one of the best neighborhoods in Queens, home to a diverse community of middle-class residents. Over the last few years, many young professional types (and some hipsters) have discovered the neighborhood. But unlike what's happened in parts of Brooklyn, they're not really transforming the area completely. While they're increasing the demand for housing, there hasn't been a major inflow of new businesses, leaving room for the family-owned spots that have been there for a generation or two—which is one of the many reasons why Astoria is a great place to live.
Astoria is 15 minutes or less from Midtown Manhattan. The N and W subways lines run through the heart of the neighborhood. It's also a hop, skip, and short drive over the Triborough Bridge to Harlem and the Bronx. Why waste your non-work hours in a commute?
Sure, real estate in Astoria has boomed, but it's nothing like Manhattan. As of April 2019, you easily find one-bedroom apartments for less than $2,000 a month. Of course, the more desirable locations in Astoria command higher rents, and they keep climbing. But for an affordable price (at least in NYC terms), you can definitely find a spot in a small building on a quiet street, just down the block from a great Greek café.
What a great place for a park! Astoria Park is set on the East River with gorgeous views of Upper Manhattan and the Queensboro and Hellgate bridges. Come home to your apartment and walk on down to the riverside for an evening stroll (though always be careful at night alone). And Robert Moses' Astoria Pool is the king of all outdoor city pools in the summer.
The food scene is incredible.
Astoria has always been known for Greek food (it is the Greek capital of NYC), and recently, it has gained a reputation for fine dining and innovative cooking. Manhattan transplants have opened up new stars like 718. So whether you're looking for a home-cooked delight or a gourmet masterpiece, you'll be able to find it easily in Astoria.
The only old-school, big beer garden left in New York City, Bohemian Hall is wonderful. Turn off crazy urban 31st Street—the subway runs directly overhead—and escape into this huge beer garden with its shady trees, picnic tables, pitchers of icy beer, and platters of hearty Czech food and barbecue. It's a must on summer weekends, when activities include stein-thumping live folk music on many afternoons. Bohemian Beer Garden is a true urban oasis for families, visitors, and a cast of neighborhood regulars.
The arts are picking up steam in Astoria. Local culture is led by the innovative Museum of the Moving Image. It is one of the finest museums in New York City for kids and adults—and especially for movie aficionados.
Yes, fresh cannoli is enough to get lots of people to consider moving. The cannoli at the Italian bakery La Guli are some of the best in NYC. Go to La Guli; you will not be disappointed. It's at 2915 Ditmars, close to 31st Street and the final stop of the N subway line.