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Move Over Williamsburg, Astoria Is The New Hottest Neighbourhood In NYC

Ask anyone who has visited, and they’ll tell you Williamsburg in Brooklyn is the home of the hipster. Artsy folk with a penchant for Bon Iver have been flocking to the New York City hot spot for years now and as a result, it’s become synonymous with all that’s “cool” and unashamedly Instagrammable.

Naturally, the suburb’s rep has seen a wave of people turning up in search of dive bars, flea markets and live music gigs. And that’s great in some ways, but it also means higher prices and longer waits for brunch… which isn’t everyone’s vibe.

This combined with the news that Williamsburg’s main subway line is shutting down in a matter of months has seemingly led to whispers of a new, less-crammed haunt that’s on its way to taking NY’s hipster crown.

That area is Queens ‘burb Astoria.

Why you need to check out Astoria

 

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If this is the first you’ve heard of Astoria, let us give you a quick introduction. The neighbourhood is 15 to 20 minutes from Midtown, it’s home to a large multicultural community – mainly Greek – and it’s very well known for its food.

According to real estate website StreetEasy, Astoria has recently experienced a spike in young residents because of the affordable rent. This has given the nabe a huge boost in its “cool-factor” and new venues have been popping up all over since.

On hearing about the hype around the Queens suburb, we decided to take a peek around Astoria. Here’s what we found:

Their coffee is great:

 

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Start out with Kinship Coffee Cooperative. There’s a communal table in the centre of the space where you’ll find creatives with their laptops, and it has a bar that faces the front window; perfect for people-watching. They also serve seriously good coffee (between AUD$4.50 and $5.50).

Where: 30-05 Steinway St, Astoria

Hours: Mon–Fri 7am–9pm, Sat 7am–8pm, Sun 8am–8pm

You should come with an appetite:

 

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For a boozy Friday with friends, The Bonnie is where you want to be. The stylish spot has established itself as a clear favourite for its beer garden, food and cocktail selection. Standouts for us were the mac and cheese ($18), the golden beet and strawberry salad, ($28 with chicken) and the frosé blanc ($15).

Where: 29-12 23rd Ave, Astoria

Hours: Mon–Thur 3pm–2am, Fri 12pm–4am, Sat 10am–4am, Sun 10am–2am. Food is served until 1am.

 

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If you’re keen to taste the Greek food (you should be) try Taverna Kyclades for the kind of meal people are willing to wait in line for. The portions are colossal, the restaurant is filled with the deafening sounds of plates crashing and people chatting, but one taste of the grilled octopus ($33) and you’ll feel like you’re in Santorini.

Where: 29–12 23rd Ave, Astoria

Hours: Monday – Thursday: 12pm – 11pm, Friday – Saturday: 12pm – 11.30pm, Sunday: 12pm – 10.30pm

The bars are fun:

 

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To start, let us clarify that Astoria is not the place to go looking for a rager. But, what they do have is laid-back bars with great music and late-night food (always a plus).

Our favourite was “neighbourhood cocktail bar” The Ditty. Head here any night of the week, pull up a stool at the bar, enjoy a few bevvies (beers are $10, cocktails are $17), and close out your night with a few hundred games of giant Jenga.

The cosy spot has been stocked with the board games that defined your childhood and on Tuesdays, they screen classic flicks like Batman in their backyard.

Where: 3503 Ditmars Blvd (between 35th & 36th St), Astoria

Hours: Mon–Fri 4pm–4am, Sat and Sun 12pm–4am

The cool goes beyond food and drink:

 

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If you’re after a killer view of that Manhattan skyline, your best bet is Astoria Park.

The space, which is famous for being home to New York’s biggest pool, stretches out to the East River and is the perfect spot to snap yourself a new desktop background if you need one. You’ll also spot a familiar icon – the Hell Gate Bridge is the spitting image of Sydney’s own Harbour Bridge.

Additionally, you can get a culture hit at the Museum of the Moving Image or check out the local comedy at places like The Astorian or Q.E.D.

Where:

Museum of the Moving Image: 36-01 35th Ave, Astoria. Hours: Wed–Thur 10.30am–5pm, Fri 10.30am–8pm, Sat and Sun 10.30am–6pm

The Astorian: 28–50 31st Street, Astoria. Hours: Mon–Thur 5pm–2am, Fri 4pm–4am, Sat 12pm–4am, Sun 12pm–2am

Q.E.D: 27–16 23rd Ave, Astoria. Hours: Mon–Wed 6pm–11pm, Thur 6pm–1am, Sat and Sun 12pm–1am

Want more?

Hell Gate bridge in Astoria, New York City.

Not the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Hells Gate Bridge in Astoria, New York City. Image: Dean Hall / Flickr

There are reported plans to open an industrial-style food hall packed with different cuisines, coffee roasters and microbreweries in late 2018 and, in case you were wondering, there is already a flea market in the area.

…If you ask us, it looks like we have a hipster haven in the making.

(Lead image: Krissa Corbett Cavouras / Flickr)