Pine resin flavored wine and “to die for” grilled seafood: Astoria Queens
Rediscovering one of NYC’s greatest ethnic enclaves that you won’t want to miss
As an Italian-American man living in the New York metropolitan area, if you asked me what are my favorite places to visit in the area, I would most likely and consistently answer that Astoria, Queens was one of them. Sure, the island of Manhattan is fantastic, especially for first time visitors coming from aboard. It’s got everything: museums, cultural activities , yellow cabs, the NYC subway, noise, grime, countless Starbucks, and of course, a super diverse night scene. It’s layout is somewhat regular, so getting disoriented may take more effort than in other cities where streets and avenues do not criss-cross at ninety degrees. Have you ever seen a map of London ? Ask their cabbies. I have heard that it takes two to four years to become a licensed one in London.
But there are also places that New York offers that should be on your list. Some these places include ethnic enclaves such as Little Italy, historic districts such as Brooklyn Heights and New York’s Greenwich village. These are all great places but there is one that I visit with family and friends routinely, as often as every six weeks. That place is Astoria Queens.
For those of you who need a refresher, NYC is organized into five boroughs. While Manhattan is the most commercial and the richest, Queens is the most diverse, a collection of neighborhoods with a population that has representation from virtually every country on Earth. Astoria Queens, is known as an ethnic enclave.  While many ethnicities call Astoria New York, home, one area of Astoria is rich in Greek culture and background. The Ditmars Boulevard area and its nearby park, is a place painted with cultural Greek influence. As you walk the streets, you will find countless restaurants, tavernas, bakeries and cafes serving Greek specialties. If you look at the signs that adorn the walls of homes and businesses, you will see so many Greek names. You will come across jewelry stores that pay tribute to Thessaloniki , Greece’s second largest city. While walking, chances are you will across many professional businesses, offices with Greek surnames. You will see signs for dentists by the name of…