Astoria, Queens

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Neighborhoods of New York City
Aerial view of the Triborough Bridge (left) and the Hell Gate Bridge (right) spanning Astoria Park and the Astoria Pool
Aerial view of the Triborough Bridge (left) and the Hell Gate Bridge (right) spanning Astoria Park and the Astoria Pool
CountryUnited States
StateNew York
CityNew York City
European settlement1659
Named forJohn Jacob Astor
 • White47.0%
 • Black4.1%
 • Hispanic26.6%
 • Asian14.2%
 • OtherN/A
ZIP code11101–11106
Area code(s)718, 347, 917
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Neighborhoods of New York City
Aerial view of the Triborough Bridge (left) and the Hell Gate Bridge (right) spanning Astoria Park and the Astoria Pool
Aerial view of the Triborough Bridge (left) and the Hell Gate Bridge (right) spanning Astoria Park and the Astoria Pool
CountryUnited States
StateNew York
CityNew York City
European settlement1659
Named forJohn Jacob Astor
 • White47.0%
 • Black4.1%
 • Hispanic26.6%
 • Asian14.2%
 • OtherN/A
ZIP code11101–11106
Area code(s)718, 347, 917
Astoria, Queens is located in New York City
Astoria, Queens
Location of Astoria in New York City
Night view of the Triborough Bridge and Manhattan from Astoria Park.

Astoria is a middle-class and commercial neighborhood with a population of 154,000[2] in the northwestern corner of the New York City borough of Queens. Located in Community Board 1, Astoria is bounded by the East River and is adjacent to three other Queens neighborhoods: Long Island City, Sunnyside (bordering at Northern Boulevard), and Woodside (bordering at 50th Street). Astoria is patrolled by the New York City Police Department's 114th Precinct.[3]


The area now known as Astoria was originally called Hallet's Cove, after its first landowner William Hallet, who settled there in 1659 with his wife, Elizabeth Fones. Beginning in the early 19th century, affluent New Yorkers constructed large residences around 12th and 14th streets, an area that later became known as Astoria Village (now Old Astoria). Hallet's Cove, founded in 1839 by fur merchant Stephen A. Halsey, was a noted recreational destination and resort for Manhattan's wealthy.[4][5]

The area was renamed after John Jacob Astor, then the wealthiest man in America with a net worth of over $40 million, in order to persuade him to invest just $2,000 in the neighborhood. He only invested $500, but the name stayed nonetheless, as a bitter battle over naming the village finally was won by Astor's supporters and friends. From Astor's summer home in Hell Gate, Manhattan – on what is now East 87th Street near York Avenue – he could see across the East River the new Long Island village named in his honor. Astor, however, never actually set foot in Astoria.

During the second half of the 19th century, economic and commercial growth brought increased immigration from German settlers, mostly furniture and cabinet makers. One such settler was Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg, patriarch of the Steinway family who founded the piano company Steinway & Sons in 1853, which today is a worldwide piano company. Later on the Steinways built a sawmill and foundry, as well as a streetcar line. The family eventually established Steinway Village for their workers, a company town that provided school instruction in German as well as English.[6]

Astoria and several other surrounding villages, including Steinway, were incorporated into Long Island City in 1870. Long Island City remained an independent municipality until it was incorporated into New York City in 1898. The area's farms were turned into housing tracts and street grids to accommodate the growing number of residents.[4]

Astoria also figured prominently in early American filmmaking as one of its initial centers, a heritage preserved today by the Museum of the Moving Image and Kaufman Astoria Studios.[citation needed]

Today, much of the Astoria waterfront is being redeveloped and underutilized industrial sites in forgotten historic neighborhoods are being revived. Hallets Point is one of five former industrial sites on the waterfront being transformed, and will bring seven new mixed-use residential towers, including 2,000 market-rate units and 500 affordable units, into the neighborhood. [7] The development will also include new waterfront parks, a supermarket, retail shops and restaurants, and two new schools. These waterfront projects were designed by a New York architectural firm, in conjunction with private developers, city agencies and landscape architects. [8] [9]

In March 2013, Astoria's Broadway N/Q stop served as the first in the city's pilot commuter composting program, where commuters could drop off compost on their way to work.[10] The program continues from 8 to 10 am on Tuesdays.[11]


Fruit market on Broadway, a major neighborhood thoroughfare and retail area.

Astoria was first settled by the Dutch and Germans in the 17th century. Many Irish settled in the area during the waves of Irish immigration into New York City during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Italians were the next significant immigrants in Astoria. Numerous Italian restaurants, delis, bakeries and pizza shops are found throughout Astoria, particularly in the Ditmars Boulevard area.

Jews were also a significant ethnic and religious group. The Astoria Center of Israel, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1925 after outgrowing the former Congregation Mishkan Israel, which was built in 1904.[12]

The 1960s saw a large number of ethnic Greeks from Greece, and immigrants from Cyprus in 1974.

The Greek cultural imprint can be seen in the numerous Greek restaurants, bakeries, tavernas and cafes, as well as several Greek Orthodox churches. While the population of Greeks in Astoria was 22,579 in 1980, it dropped to 18,127 by 1990 due to decreased immigration and lower birth rates. Greek organizations in the area include the Hellenic American Action Committee (HANAC) and the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York.[13]

Arab shops on Steinway Street

Beginning in the mid-1970s, the neighborhood's Arab population grew from earlier immigrants from Lebanon to also include people from Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria. In the 1990s, Steinway Street between 28th Avenue and Astoria Boulevard saw the establishment of many Arabic shops, restaurants and cafes, which is unofficially called "Little Egypt".

Many Maltese people also live in Astoria, around 20,000, and although this population has steadily been emigrating from the area, there are still many Maltese, supported by the Maltese Center of New York.

Astoria's South American and European population has seen significant growth since the early 1990s, including a large population of Brazilians, who reside in the 36th Avenue area. Albanians, Bulgarians, and Bosnians have also shown a rise in numbers.

Many Spanish Americans live in Astoria, with most of them being of Galician heritage from Northwestern Spain; this community being supported by the Casa Galicia, or Galicia House.

At a period many Bangladeshi Americans settled in Astoria, Queens. Many had originated from Sylhet. By 2001 many of the Bangladeshi American people who had settled in Astoria had been moving to Metro Detroit. A survey of an Astoria-area Bengali language newspaper estimated that, in an 18-month period until March 2001, 8,000 Bangladeshi people moved to the Detroit area. However, as of 2010, the Bangladeshi American community in Astoria has been increasing, as Bangladeshi immigrants are increasingly settling in Astoria.[14]

Population losses in Queens were particularly high in immigrant neighborhoods such as Astoria, which suffered the greatest population loss in the city—it lost over 10,000 residents between the years 2000 and 2010.[15]



Detail of 1896 map of Long Island City, showing Astoria and Ravenswood, from the Greater Astoria Historical Society.

There is some debate as to what constitutes the geographic boundaries of Astoria. The neighborhood was part of Long Island City prior to the latter's incorporation into the City of New York in 1898, and much of it is still classified as LIC by the USPS.

The area south of Astoria was called Ravenswood, and traditionally, Broadway was considered the border between the two. Today, however, many residents and businesses south of Broadway identify themselves as Astorians for convenience or status, since Long Island City has historically been considered an industrial area, and Ravenswood is now mostly a low-income neighborhood. Some of the thoroughfares have lent their names to unofficial terms for the areas they serve. For instance, the eastern end of Astoria, with Steinway Street as its main thoroughfare, is sometimes referred to simply as "Steinway", and the northern end around Ditmars Boulevard is sometimes referred to as "Ditmars".[16] Banners displayed on lamp posts along 30th Avenue refer to it as "the Heart of Astoria".[17]


Ravenswood is the name for the strip of land bordering the East River in Long Island City and is part of Astoria.[18]

The land was acquired in 1814 by Col. George Gibbs, a businessman from New York City who developed it. Gibbs died in 1833, and the land was divided into nine parcels by three developers. From 1848, there were several mansions built on this land, but the high class housing did not survive. The spring of 1853 brought the opening of a post office of its own and country store "run by Messrs. Moore & Luyster, and Mr. Samuel H. Moore of that firm received the appointment of postmaster, handling the mails in a corner of the store."[19]

Ravenswood, unlike Astoria, never became a village; there was no disposition at any time to become independent as there was insufficient population or commercial activity to justify such a move. Ravenswood remained an exclusive hamlet within the Town of Newtown until its absorption with the Village of Astoria] and the hamlets of Hunters Point, Blissville, Sunnyside, Dutch Kills, Steinway, Bowery Bay and Middleton in Newtown Township into Long Island City in 1870.[20] In 1870, Ravenswood, along with several other hamlets and the Village of Astoria, merged to form Long Island City.[19]

In 1875, the first commercial buildings were erected, and the mansions were converted into offices and boarding houses. In 1879, the Long Island Terra Cotta Company was established in Ravenswood, by Rudolph Franke. By 1900, Ravenswood was heavily commercial, and remains so to this day. However, the name has retained its residential character through the New York City Housing Authority project that was built in 1949 to 1951 with this name between 34th and 36th Avenues, and 12th and 24th Streets.

The name also identifies the large electric power station established along the shore of the East River, just south of the Roosevelt Island Bridge. The Ravenswood No. 3 Generating Station was built by Con Edison in 1963-65 but, due to deregulation, has subsequently been owned by KeySpan, National Grid, and TransCanada. The power plant can generate approximately 2,500 megawatts of power, which is about 20 percent of New York City's electricity demand.[21]


A street in Ditmars (2012)

Ditmars is a middle class section of Astoria bounded by Bowery Bay to the north, 31st Street to the east (boundary with the adjacent neighborhood of Steinway, with which Ditmars is sometimes confused), 23rd Avenue to the south and the East River on the west. The adjacent Steinway neighborhood was largely developed as a company town by the Steinway & Sons piano company, and included houses and public facilities that were also available to non-employees.[22] However, the Ditmars neighborhood was not included in the Steinway & Sons company housing and related facilities project. Ditmars is considered to be a popular neighborhood among young professionals and in some real estate references the adjacent neighborhoods of Ditmars and Steinway are joined as a single "Ditmars-Steinway" reference. The neighborhood takes its name from Ditmars Boulevard which was named in honor of Raymond Lee Ditmars, (1876-1942) famed American herpetologist and curator of Reptiles of the New York Zoological Society at the Bronx Zoo.[23]

Places of interest[edit]

Museum of the Moving Image on 35th Avenue in Astoria
The historic Eagle Electric company warehouse in Astoria (left), now a condominium development.


Astoria is served by the E M R trains of the New York City Subway that stop at Steinway Street and 46th Street stations on the underground IND Queens Boulevard Line as well as the N Q trains which run along the elevated BMT Astoria Line above 31st Street.[29]

The primary streets running north-south are Vernon Boulevard along the East River; 21st Street, a major traffic artery with a mix of residential, commercial and industrial areas; 31st Street; and Steinway Street (named for Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg (later Henry E. Steinway), founder of the piano company Steinway & Sons),[30] a major commercial street with many retail stores, and a very prominent Middle Eastern section between Astoria Boulevard and 28th Avenue, the area is full of Middle Eastern food restaurants which present some local types of food from Lebanon, Egypt and Morocco, most food in these restaurants is Halal to suit the Muslim residents who are main customers in this neighborhood.

The 21st Street – Queensbridge subway station (F train) also serves the area.


Shops along Broadway, Astoria.


The New York City Department of Education operates Astoria's public schools.[31]

Astoria also has several private schools, many of which offer parochial education:

Astoria Boulevard library
Night view of the Hell Gate Bridge from Astoria Park.


Queens Borough Public Library operates three branches within Astoria's ZIP codes:[32]


Notable residents[edit]

Born and raised in Astoria[edit]

Born in Astoria[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

The neighborhood has often been featured in various media; in film and television, the area is either featured as Astoria or as a setting for another location in New York City.

In film[edit]

31st Avenue, Astoria.

In games[edit]

Notable grave sites[edit]

In literature[edit]

In music[edit]

In television[edit]

In culture[edit]

Because of its proximity to Manhattan and semi-reasonable rents, Astoria has become home to an ever-increasing number of fledgling actors lending to the nomenclature,"Actoria" — a term coined by Astorian actor/writer Jason Arcaro who moved to Astoria in the 1990s before the thespian "coup de main."[60]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 2000 Census
  2. ^
  3. ^ 114th Precinct
  4. ^ a b "History Topics". Greater Astoria Historical Society. Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  5. ^ "The Neighborhoods of Long Island City". Greater Astoria Historical Society. Archived from the original on 8 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  6. ^ "Neighborhoods: Steinway". Greater Astoria Historical Society. Archived from the original on 10 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  7. ^ Brosh, Brendan (June 16, 2009). "Waterfront development in the works for Hallets Point". The New York Daily News. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
  8. ^ Montefinise, Angela (March 1, 2009). "QUEENS GETTING A ROYAL UPGRADE". The New York Post. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
  9. ^ Gordon, David (June 24, 2009). "Plans to develop Hallets Point in Astoria". The Queens Courier. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
  10. ^ "The Neighborhood News," New York magazine, March 11-18, 2013.
  11. ^ "NYC Compost Project hosted at BIG!Compost Food Scrap Drop-off Locations". Build It Green! website. 
  12. ^ The Jewish Community in Long Island City; The Queens Jewish Historical Society (Greater Astoria Historical Society)
  13. ^ Williams, Solange; Stephanie Mejia (2001). "Astoria: 'A Little Greece' in New York". New York University. Retrieved 6 February 2010. 
  14. ^ Kershaw, Sarah. "Queens to Detroit: A Bangladeshi Passage." The New York Times. March 8, 2001. Retrieved on February 28, 2012.
  15. ^ "NYC2010". Results from the 2010 census. City of New York. Retrieved 31 March 2013. 
  16. ^ Jones, Delmos J.; Joan Turner and Joan Montbach (December 1992). "Declining Social Services and the Threat to Social Reproduction: An Urban Dilemma". City & Society 6 (2): 99–114. doi:10.1525/city.1992.6.2.99. 
  17. ^ O'Donnell, Michelle. "Life Limps On for Powerless in the Heart of Astoria", The New York Times, July 23, 2006. Accessed January 30, 2008. "Gary Lyons shook his head. He pointed to welcome banners that had been affixed to lampposts. “See the flag?” he asked. “The heart of Astoria,” it reads, “Welcome to 30th Avenue.”"
  18. ^ Forgotten New York: Ravenswood
  19. ^ a b Seyfried, Vincent F. (1984). 300 Years of Long Island City: 1630-1930. USA: Greater Astoria Historical Society. 
  20. ^ *Neighborhoods: Ravenswood from the Greater Astoria Historical Society
  21. ^ Massey, Daniel (June 23, 2009). "Labor fight could unplug Queens power plant". Crain's New York Business. Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  22. ^ Jackson, Kenneth T., The Encyclopedia of New York City, Yale University Press, 1995, p. 335.
  23. ^ Neighborhood Gudies. 29 June 2010.
  24. ^
  25. ^ "Bohemian Hall History". Archived from the original on 2006-10-25. Retrieved 2006-07-20. 
  26. ^ "St. Michael's Cemetery". Retrieved 2009-07-03. 
  27. ^ "Steinway & Sons official site". 
  28. ^ "NYC Cycling Map 2001". 
  29. ^ Transportation in Astoria
  30. ^ Street Necrology of Astoria, accessed December 31, 2006
  31. ^ A complete listing searchable by ZIP code can be found on the Department's official website.
  32. ^ "Queens Library". Archived from the original on 23 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  33. ^ Bridges, Peter. "An Appreciation of Alvey Adee". 
  34. ^ Frank Bonsangue at the Internet Movie Database
  35. ^ Berkow, Ira. "ON BASEBALL; Ford Highlight Film Started Early", The New York Times, August 17, 2000. Accessed November 3, 2007. "Vivid in my memory is Stengel's shrug, palms up at his sides, gesturing in response to the mixture of cheers for Ford and boos for his removal. It was a display of sympathy for the kid from Astoria, Queens, who just a few years earlier was playing in street stickball games, and now under a national spotlight and World Series pressure had pitched so beautifully."
  36. ^ "Stars of TV's 'Route 66' working on opposite coasts.", Albuquerque Journal, November 16, 2003. Accessed November 30, 2007. "George Maharis was born Sept. 1, 1928, in Astoria, N.Y."
  37. ^ Van Fossen, Anthony (2006). "A New Howard Hughes: John Meier, Entrepreneurship, and the International Political Economy of the Bank of the South Pacific" (PDF). In Ivan Molloy; Ron Reavall. The Eye of the Cyclone Book 2: Governance and Stability in the Pacific (Noosa Heads, Queensland: The University of the Sunshine Coast and Rock Mountain Publishing) 2: 129–162. Retrieved 2008-03-06. 
  38. ^ "Astoria native anchoring Greek parade". 2010. 
  39. ^ a b c Jackson, Nancy Beth. "If You're Thinking of Living In/Astoria; Accessible, Affordable and Highly Diverse", The New York Times, October 19, 2003. Accessed October 17, 2007. "Local celebrities in addition to Mr. Bennett include Christopher Walken and the late Ethel Merman."
  40. ^ "Funny Pages", Queens Tribune. Accessed October 23, 2007. "A part of Astoria funnyman Ted Alexandro could be seen in the July issue of “Maxim” magazine."
  41. ^ Photos: Tony Bennett in Astoria, Newsday, September 13, 2006.
  42. ^ Cadillac Man. "The Story of Cadillac Man and the land of the Lost Souls", Esquire, 1 May 2005. Accessed February 8, 2009.
  43. ^ Cowan, Coleman. "Sweeping Him Off His Street", The New York Times, 18 March 2007. Accessed February 8, 2009.
  44. ^ Petsalis-Diomidis, Nicholas (2001). The Unknown Callas: The Greek Years. Amadeus Press. ISBN 1-57467-059-X. 
  45. ^ Chester's Dream: The Genesis of the Modern Photocopier, Industrial Market Trends, April 9, 2001
  46. ^ Coppock, Kristen. "Filmmaker brings ‘The Camden 28’ to the nation’s attention on PBS", Burlington County Times, September 11, 2007. Accessed May 19, 2008. "A graduate of Holy Cross High School in Delran, the self-professed history buff, who lives in Astoria, N.Y., said he was especially curious why such an important event had happened so close to his hometown, and no one he had grown up with knew about it. He wanted to change that."
  47. ^ Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume,1607-1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1963. 
  48. ^ "Jack Kelly". Matinee Classics. Retrieved February 2014. 
  49. ^ Bennetts, Leslie. "McGoohan To Star In 'Pack of Lies'", The New York Times, December 26, 1984. Accessed March 8, 2008.
  50. ^ Metaxas, Eric. "About Eric", 2012. Accessed January 17, 2012.
  51. ^ Litsky, Frank. "Al Oerter, Olympic Discus Champion, Is Dead at 71", The New York Times, October 2, 2007. Accessed November 19, 2007. "Alfred Oerter Jr. was born Sept. 19, 1936, in Astoria, Queens, and grew up on Long Island, in New Hyde Park. At Sewanhaka High School, he was a sprinter and then a miler."
  52. ^ Spelling, Ian. "Melanie's new songs lend their vigor to her old hits", The New York Times, October 12, 2007. Accessed December 20, 2007. "Born Melanie Safka in Astoria, N.Y., Melanie won over tens of thousands of fans at the legendary Woodstock concert..."
  53. ^ Weber, Bruce. "Franz Schurmann, Cold War Expert on China, Dies at 84", The New York Times, August 26, 2010. Accessed August 27, 2010.
  54. ^ "Five Corners". 
  55. ^ "Rockstar Games: Grand Theft Auto IV: Steinway Beer Garden". Retrieved 2008-02-08. 
  56. ^ "St. Michael's Cemetery:Events Archive". Retrieved 2009-07-18. 
  57. ^ "Cosby". Internet Movie Database. 
  58. ^ McCormack, Simon (August 23, 2010). "Seinfeld's Jerry Stiller Visits 'Costanza House' in Astoria". Huffington Post. 
  59. ^ "Stous 31 dromous (2007)". IMDB. Retrieved 6 February 2010. 
  60. ^ "Actoria". U.S. Copyright Office. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°46′28″N 73°54′15″W / 40.77444°N 73.90417°W / 40.77444; -73.90417