Dramatic views of Manhattan, convenient transportation options, and the sprawling Astoria Park — these are just a few of the reasons people move to condos in Astoria. But beyond the practical perks of living in this bustling neighborhood, newcomers also quickly discover what longtime residents already know: The best part of Astoria is its vibrant character. According to a recent NPR report, census figures reveal that the people who call Astoria home come from almost 100 different countries, a fact that makes this community one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the U.S. — and in the world. This diversity, and the feeling of community that accompanies it, is one of the factors that makes Astoria such a spirited, unique neighborhood. From busy little corner markets to world-class museums and restaurants, Astoria is a one-of-a-kind place to call home.
Let’s start with the food. Astoria is known primarily as a hub for authentic Greek fare. There’s a seemingly endless supply of top-notch Greek tavernas and cafes around virtually every corner. They range from modest, unpretentious mainstays like Gregory’s 26 Corner Taverna, with its plastic checkered tablecloths and royal-blue awning, to slightly more upscale, fish-focused spots like Taverna Kyclades, which has a menu boasting 18 different seafood options.
While the Greek tavernas may get most of the glory, they’re not the only spots making a splash on the restaurant scene. On Astoria’s quaint blocks, you’ll find everything from Egyptian street food to family-style Italian cooking. The sheer range of options is staggering. At the colorful Sugar Freak, with its mismatched, vintage dinette sets and grand chandeliers, you can find genuine Cajun and Creole standards, including gumbo and shrimp po’boys, along with creative takes like chicken-fried pork and sausage gravy atop a cornbread waffle. If the rain comes down sideways and you need a restoring bowl of ramen to warm you back up, get your fix at HinoMaru Ramen, and don’t neglect to try a side of their grilled shishito peppers. Brunch devotees will feel right at home in The Bonnie, where one can munch on French toast sticks while sipping on one of the many creative cocktails at which the bar excels. (You probably can’t go wrong with the Frosé Blanc, which is made with sauvignon blanc, gin, citrus, and tropical fruits.) And, of course, any roundup of good eats would be incomplete without mentioning The Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden, the oldest and, frankly, best beer garden in the city. There, you can sip your Czech or craft beer under the swaying canopy of old-growth shade trees — an experience that feels like an old-time picnic.
Besides the lively restaurant scene, Astoria is also home to an important cultural institution: Museum of the Moving Image. As the only museum in the country wholly dedicated to exploring the impact made on culture by television, film, and digital media, Museum of the Moving Image presents a unique opportunity to experience this art form from different perspectives. It probably won’t come as a surprise that screenings play a vital role in the museum’s programming. Every year, they show around 400 films, covering a wide range of genres, from classic silent films to the truly obscure to buzzy movies fresh off the international festival circuit. Drop in to see a movie, check out one of the ever-changing interactive exhibits, or peruse the exhaustive collection of artifacts. The museum is constantly updating and refreshing its offerings, meaning you can return for a new experience, again and again.
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