10 things I now know about Astoria, Queens

  1. It exists. For some reason, not many New Yorkers mention it or seem to know about it.
  2. If you like Greek food but are averse to budget deficits and dodgy politicians, Astoria is the place for you.
  3. It’s a doddle to get into Manhattan, thanks to the E, M, R, N and Q trains. Screw you, Greenpoint and your G train.
  4. You’ll keep your brain on its toes with the street grid system: the avenues go east to west and the streets go north to south (completely opposite and upside-down compared to Manhattan).
  5. It’s been used in a surprisingly large number of TV shows and movies.
  6. Wifi cafes… hmmm. Not many of them to be honest. Although there’s one right by our apartment and judging by the website, it’s aware of its USP.
  7. Residents’ home wifi clearly works fine though – they have a very active online community.
  8. Astoria is home to New York City’s oldest beer garden – at Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden.
  9. If you like guys with beards, plaid shirts and rimmed glasses, I know what sort of person you are and trust me: you won’t like this place.
  10. It was originally called Hallet’s Cove, and was only renamed (in 1839) because that’s what was promised to John Jacobs Astor in return for an investment of $2,000. Astor – then the wealthiest man in America – ended up only investing $500, yet somehow the area was still named in his honour. He never once visited.