Where is the Long Island City-Astoria border? (response to LIC talk)

So we’re finally discussing this. On July 8, LIC Talk posted, “Where is the Northern Border of Long Island City?” The blog is right that there is no easy answer. The situation of the ambiguous border has complicated my life since I’ve moved here. 

When I moved here, my apartment on 36th Avenue near 10th Street was listed online as “LIC-Astoria border.” I soon came to find “LIC” signage along the street and as north as Broadway, which LIC Talks insists is the border. My address came up alternately as Long Island City or Astoria in Google Maps. Certain websites listed my neighborhood as Astoria based on my zip code (11106.) My roommates used either name for their mailing address. At that time DNAinfo ran a crowdsourcing piece finding there was little consensus on the south Astoria border. I read a 2008 NYTimes piece placing the Ravenswood Houses in LIC. And I overheard someone by 36th Ave and 21st Street say she was going to Astoria. I read a Gothamist piece referring to the area I lived in as “South Astoria.” At an Astoria writers group at Panera Bread on 35th Avenue, someone said that actually, we were in an area traditionally known as Long Island City, when Broadway was the border. A book in the back of the Noguchi museum referred to the area as LIC. A famous 1980 NYMag piece declared the Queensborough Bridge as the upper Long Island City border. A 2011 NY Daily News piece said Little Brazil, centered on 36th Avenue, is in Astoria, while a 2017 NYTimes piece placed it in “a pocket of Queens.”

By the time I started this blog, I had already concluded that I lived in Long Island City, or a place traditionally known as Long Island City. But I knew that we had moved into an age where much of the area south of Broadway is thought of as Astoria. Also, when I told people I lived in LIC, they would say something about the area being up and coming. I would have to explain I lived in a corner heavy with South Asian and Mexican or Central American immigrants, who by the way, seemed to run the local businesses and have the largest presence in Rainey Park, which I think is different demographically than Queensbridge or Socrates. (We’ve also got Greek and Brazilian immigrants, which sounds like Astoria). I would say I lived within a field of warehouses and small factories. I’d say I lived by three public housing complexes. I explained there were few restaurants or bars here. In any case, it wasn’t the “LIC” people tend to think of. And it wasn’t the “Astoria” they think of either.

The problem, it seemed, was rooted in the fact that what traditionally separated LIC from Astoria was not a street, but the clustering of residential pockets with much industrial area in between. That industrial area was long sprinkled with homes and some fully residential strips such as Crescent Avenue as it runs through Dutch Kills. And I lived in a residential pocket within a greater industrial area. Adding to that, is how the upper rim of the Queensbridge Houses on 40th Ave feels like a solid border because it’s followed abruptly by an industrial zone. And as Queensbridge is known to be solidly in LIC, it’s easy for any residential areas north of it to seem like – well, now we’re in Astoria, or something. 

I named this blog Corner of Astoria because it rolled off the tongue well. But I never felt satisfied with that designation. And I possibly never will.

 

Corner of Astoria still exists!

It’s been one week since you looked at me I started this blog on my phone while eating a sandwich in a Subway restaurant on 7th Avenue. I have posted every day. (Sometimes after midnight though). Saturday, I covered the 44th Drive rezoning protest in Hunters Point. I see little other post-coverage of that other than on NY1. And this was not a bad alternative for getting that news (IMHO).

A few notes:

  • It’s hard to choose a seat at the new/reopened Love Cafe on Steinway Street. I tried popular Kinship Coffee but it was too crowded. Next door at Love, hardly anyone was there. But there are so many types of spots to sit it took a while to choose. Wait, is this a metaphor for the world?

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Continue reading “Corner of Astoria still exists!”

Let me clear my throat

This is a blog I finally started: a notes from the edge of Queens sort of thing.

First, a quiet roll out.

A few notes…

  • That Green Apple supermarket on 21st Street by Queensbridge closed and, of course it did. I’m not sure when it happened and, it always looked closed. (One sign just says it’s being renovated but another sign says For Rent.) Meanwhile, another hotel is going up in the vicinity, next to Exile.
  • Exile, or the James Paretti Hall building is an event space now called Tammany House.
  • Flor de Azalea Café opened by Rainey Park on 34th Ave. It’s cute.

You can probably guess which corner of Astoria I’m blogging from: Ravenswood. Some call it South Astoria. I often call it Long Island City. But I intend to cover much more than my corner of Astoria. There’s too much interesting stuff all the time not to. Like, did you hear about the dead baby in the Dutch Kills Playground and the bonkers signs the NYPD plastered around the playground saying “Dead Baby”? Or the stripper strike last year and ACES closing or the Cafe Benne on Steinway being replaced by slightly hipper (IMHO) Kinship Coffee? I can’t figure out why it’s hipper (IMHO), other than perhaps the paint job and they play A Tribe Called Quest (homage to Queens?)

I know, there’s already people covering these areas without DNAinfo (wait, is that coming back, or just Gothamist?) W/e. Anyway, maybe I’ll actually really do this.