I’m getting nostalgic again, as I have just taken another long walk through Astoria, and, like always, fought the urge to eat at all the little odd restaurants I walked by, like the unpronounceable place called Djerdan advertising “the best burek in town” (as if there’s stiff competition). I also got yelled at by some construction men on 30th Ave, west of the hospital, for not crossing the street where they were working. (NYC has a law that sidewalks have to be maintained during home building, but, of course, construction laws in Queens were meant to be broken). It’s not a real walk unless you have some sort of run-in with all the ugly new construction going up at a breakneck pace in Astoria.
Astoria has its good points (the food) and its bad points (the ugly new apartment buildings). Yet, it is pretty much the only thing I’ll miss about NYC. It’s really charmed me, over and over, as the most neighborhoodly of neighborhoods in the most diverse county (Queens) in the United States. I told Brendan once “If we hadn’t moved to Astoria, I’m not sure I would have wanted to stay here much longer.”
I ponder often how the population of Astoria — roughly 300,000 peeps — is equal to that of my hometown, Corpus Christi, Texas. But Astoria is crammed into about a 5-mile-wide square space, while Corpus Christi is at least 10 times larger. Like all of NYC, the extreme urban density in Astoria means that you can get all your stuff done in one small block near your apartment. (We have a big grocery store, pharmacy, diner, post office, gas station, etc, all down the street from our house). So, when you finally just let yourself wander around, you’ll find new places, and in Astoria, that usually means new food, too.
I hope I can make it back to the burek place before we leave, but the clock’s ticking pretty fast these days.
Where I’ve been in Astoria (in green). I’ve really only just begun…