Astoria NYC by tram, foot and ferry
January 25, 2018 12:54 PM   Subscribe

Help me explore Astoria NYC by tram and ferry and foot on a Saturday or Sunday this winter.

I plan to take the Roosevelt Island tram to Roosevelt Island, get a coffee and see the Tom Otterness sculpture in the water. Where shall I get the coffee and what else should I see? I'm not interested in the memorial at the south end of the island, it looks bleak.

I'll walk across the island and catch the new ferry to Hallets Cove in Astoria. I've been to Hallets Cove briefly before and saw the Socrates Sculpture Park, the Noguchi Museum and the food court at Costco. How do I find the more Astoria part of Astoria? Where should I have lunch? I like places that have been around for awhile more than twee artisanal mayonnaise cafes. I don't drink beer so the Bohemian Beer Hall doesn't appeal. The Museum of the Moving Image doesn't interest me.

Then I'll either walk or take the ferry from Astoria to Long Island City / Gantry Plaza State Park and have a drink and a snack. Walk or ferry? And what to see along the way and eat and drink in LIC? Then I'll ferry to 34th Street.

I'm a compulsive urban explorer and can easily walk 8 miles. I'll be hunting for my souvenir refrigerator magnet and the best dive bar. Live daytime music is a plus. Somewhere I can climb to the top of a tall place and look out is a plus. Somewhere I can buy a great paper map of Astoria is a plus. Not interested in pizza or Chinese food or fried food.

Hit me up.
posted by jointhedance to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
The more Astoria part of Astoria is east, by the train. I'd walk east along 30th Ave from the ferry. 30th Ave. has a bunch of shops and restaurants, as do the parallel 31st Ave. and Broadway. The Brooklyn Bagel Company (locations on 30th Ave and Broadway) is delicious. I also like Il Bambino and Djerdan Burek on 31st Ave. (a few doors apart) and King of Falafel and Shawarma (restaurant is on Broadway but there are a number of food truck locations around the neighborhood; if falafel is too fried the shawarma is also excellent). If you don't mind walking a bit further east you can hit the Steinway retail strip—lots of chain stores but also local (not trendy) shops.

I would walk down to LIC vs the ferry but that's just me—it's definitely a bit of a walk but I kind of enjoy seeing the industrial buildings between Astoria and the condo-ified parts of LIC. Forgotten NY has some stuff about this area. LIC Bar at 46th Ave. is maybe too nice to be a dive per se but it's a nice friendly old-fashioned neighborhood bar. I'm also a big fan of Dominie's, which has a location in LIC and one in Astoria on 30th Ave. Again, not really a true dive, but a friendly unpretentious neighborhood place (no TVs!).
posted by enn at 1:32 PM on January 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Take the train to Broadway (assuming the train is running, oy vey) and walk along Broadway west as far as Steinway Street; then walk up Steinway to whatever the next big avenue is, I've forgotten, 30th or 39th, and back along it to the train. Everyone will be speaking Greek, Spanish, or Arabic depending what block you're on.
You can have lunch about six times over. A favorite Greek place from way back is the unassuming Bahari Estiatorio, right next to the Broadway station; then go to the Omonia Cafe for dessert. If you have a chance for another meal, take the train up to Ditmars Boulevard and go half a block south to the Balkh Shish Kebab House, the best Afghan food I know of.
Astoria is great. Enjoy!
posted by huimangm at 2:06 PM on January 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

The museum of the moving image now has a permanent Jim Henson exhibit.
posted by brujita at 2:08 PM on January 25, 2018

Sorry! East, walk east along Broadway. I had my directions backward. Nothing wrong with walking west along Broadway either, but it won't get you to Steinway Street. Walk away from Manhattan, is what I mean.
(Also, report back after your trip and let us know what you did!)
posted by huimangm at 2:52 PM on January 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Mission creep: The Newtown Creek Nature Walk

Would you recommend walking down Vernon Boulevard or 21st Street to LIC?
posted by jointhedance at 4:03 AM on January 26, 2018

Definitely not 21st, it's a high-traffic speedway, you have to wait every block for a light to cross, it's all strip malls and gas stations, etc. I'd take Vernon.
posted by enn at 7:37 AM on January 26, 2018

If you still have foot-power left at the end of your exploration, walking back to Manhattan via the 59th Street Bridge is pretty excellent.
posted by rikschell at 8:23 AM on January 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

At the very end of Steinway Street is the Steinway Mansion. It's a long walk from the west side of Astoria/LIC, so maybe do it another day. But it's a fascinating relic of a bygone era, once very grand, now surrounded by run-down buildings, and opposite a sewage treatment plant. I really enjoyed the walk all the way down Steinway Street to find it, though. It goes from chain stores and smaller businesses to Little Egypt, and then to old-timey Queens. You can't go in the Steinway Mansion, but can get a pretty good view of it from outside.
posted by essexjan at 5:24 PM on January 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

The northern tip of Roosevelt Island has a lighthouse and nice views. Just south of that on the west side of the island is a sort of outdoor gym/park with interesting playful exercise equipment.

31st Ave. near 34th Street has Zenon Taverna, which is a great place that has been around for quite some time -- Cypriot food, I believe. I think it's cash-only.

Sometimes there's live music at Strand, the barbecue-type place on Broadway near Crescent.

If you walk along the residential streets, e.g., 36th Street, between the big avenues, you'll likely see at least one fallout shelter sign, in case that's something you would like to see.

On 33rd Street just south of Broadway is Lockwood, a good store for Astoria souvenirs -- I bet they have refrigerator magnets.

There's an under-appreciated (in my opinion) place called Crescent Grill basically around 39th Avenue that has farm-to-table food in a location where one wouldn't expect.
posted by brainwane at 2:35 PM on January 30, 2018

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