A lively, traditionally Greek and Italian neighborhood, Astoria, Queens, has over the past few decades seen an influx of Brazilians, Bangladeshis, Eastern Europeans, Colombians and Egyptians. Eat and drink your way through this diverse cultural legacy, from stuffed vine leaves and spinach pie in a Hellenic taverna to a thick Turkish coffee and shisha pipe in “Little Egypt” (Steinway St between 28th Ave and Astoria Blvd), or a stein of Czech suds at the enduringly popular 1910 Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden. In the early days of cinema, Astoria was a major celluloid star, and Kaufman Astoria Studios—based in the old Paramount Pictures production HQ—carries on the moviemaking tradition, while the recently upgraded and expanded Museum of the Moving Image illuminates all facets of the art form.
Most Manhattanites know Astoria only for its beer gardens, but this large—about 170,000 people—and eclectic neighborhood has much more to offer, including reasonably priced housing, strong ethnic clusters that have weathered the first waves of gentrification, good shopping at both local markets and big-box retailers, and pedestrian-friendly streets. The downside is a lack of foliage and park access, as well as a commute that is reasonable to midtown but cumbersome to lower Manhattan.