Why visit Astoria?

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions
the Sheik

The Sheik that made a star of Rudolph Valentina was shot at the Astoria studios in New York

This isn’t a cinema or a theatre although it sounds like one and that’s because a major film studio was founded here almost 95 years ago.

This is one of the suburbs in New York as anyone who has travelled on the subway network can testify. Two of the lines end at Astoria which is in the borough of Queens.

This suburb is the next in New York’s promotion of its various suburbs and regions. Recognising that most visitors just head to Manhattan and explore little else, the “Neighborhood x Neighborhoodcampaign has been going for eighteen months

Why don’t our cities adopt a similar approach?

One reason you might visit the area is for that film heritage. The Kauffman Astoria Studios as they are now called was where over 100 silent films were made with stars like Gloria Swanson and Rudolph Valentino. Two Broadway hits of the Marx Brothers were made here in the 1920’s and early 1930’s because the brothers could appear on stage at night and film during the day. The Astoria studios were designated as a National Historic Landmark by the federal government in 1976. Today, television series such as nurse Jackie, Orange is the New Black, Alpha House and Sesame Street are made here. It is nearby that you’ll find the Museum of the Moving Image which, in 2015, will house  a new Jim Henson gallery that will include nearly 400 puppets, props and costumes donated by The Jim Henson Company and Henson’s family.

Another reason is that of the restaurant and café scene. Although there were a large number of German settlers originally, today it is for the Greek influence that visitors come and some claim that thebest Greek food this side of Athens can be found in places like.  Ovelia, Taverna Kyclades, Telly’s Taverna, BZ Grill, MP Taverna and the Artopolis Bakery. Fancy a different cuisine? How about Malagueta for a taste of Brazil, Mombar for traditional Egyptian fare, Le Gamin Astoria for French delicacies, Piccola Venezia or Trattoria L’Incontro for Italian specialties or Arepas Cafe for treats of Venezuela.

Two other features of Astoria that visitors should see are the  Socrates Sculpture Park which exhibits large-scale sculptures and multimedia installations and which has panoramic skyline views and the Noguchi Museum, an open-air sculpture garden tucked away inside a converted industrial building that houses a collection of this internationally known e artist’s life work.

For more about Astoria, click here.

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