Home to "Sesame Street," this proud Queens community reels in visitors with comfort food, mom-and-pop shops and relics of early movie production.
Spirit of Queens
Just off the main drag of Broadway, a bustling gift store celebrates its hometown pride with artistic subway map prints, Big Apple puzzles, Astoria tote bags and “I Heart Queens” T-shirts, bibs and onesies. Inspired by her stomping grounds of more than a decade, owner Mackenzi Farquer opened Lockwood (32-15 33rd St., btw 34th Ave. & Broadway, 718.626.6030) in September as a place for chic apparel, modern furniture, crafty stationery, whimsical kitchen gadgets and toys. The emporium also supports the work of NYC artisans by offering their locally made tonic syrups, nut-based spreads and handmade jewelry.
Chow down on late-night snacks and then return for all-day weekend brunch at The Queens Kickshaw (40-17 Broadway, at 41st St., 718.777.0913). The home-cooking café reinvents the classic grilled cheese sandwich with Asian flavors, local cheeses, tangy pickles and fruit spreads for unforgettable combinations during lunch and dinner. The restaurant’s extensive beverage menu, featuring coffee and espresso, vinegar cordials known as “shrubs,” beer, mead, wine, locally made kombucha and dozens of ciders, makes pairing a breeze; diners also keep coming back for live music.
Once the East Coast hub for Paramount Pictures in the 1920s, Astoria still plays a role in Hollywood by hosting the studios for "Nurse Jackie," "Men in Black 3" and other movies and shows. The Museum of the Moving Image (36-01 35th Ave., at 37th St., 718.777.6888) honors this tradition with displays of antique cameras, iconic costumes (including Bill Cosby’s sweater) and audio-visual material. Hands-on exhibitions, including "Indie Essentials: 25 Must-Play Video Games" (thru Mar. 2), offer playful ways to interact with moving images, while visitors can also create their own flip books and animations at computer-based stations.
Locals Love It
Sip on creative cocktails at the cozy Sweet Afton (30-09 34th St., at 30th Ave., 718.777.2570), where house-infused liquors burst with flavor.
How to Get There
By Subway: Take the M/R to Steinway Street, or the N/Q to Broadway