Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Love Affair With Astoria, N.Y., in 15 Photos

I have lived in the borough of Queens since my arrival to New York City nearly 10 years ago.

I was hell bent on moving into Manhattan after I graduated from St. John’s and was hired by JCK magazine. I wanted to experience what it was like to walk out my door and be in the heart of the city that I was still very much in love with.

That never happened. And it’s all because I met Astoria.

It wasn’t love at first sight. In fact, it took a visit to an apartment claiming to be in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn—but was really smack in the middle of Bushwick—that scared me and my girlfriend at the time into accepting the first apartment we had seen in Astoria.

The place was a little far from the subway, we had to take two trains to get to work, and there was a horrible couple with a yippy dog living downstairs that moved in shortly after we did.

However, the view of the RFK Bridge from our windows was like having an expensive work of art on our walls, Astoria Park was a runner and writer’s paradise, and the food in the area was spectacular.

I began to fall more and more in love with each passing day. I’ll never have gyros anywhere other than BZ Grill, Trade Fair became my favorite grocery store despite its hectic and cramped quarters, and my running route through Astoria and around Roosevelt Island remains my favorite in the city. Did I mention that the Bohemian Beer Garden was a drunken stumble down the street?

Moving out of that apartment was all the more heartbreaking because Astoria was now more than just an address. It had become a loving and trusted friend who never let us down.

I don’t know if I’ll live my whole life in New York, but if I do, I’m sure that Astoria and I will have to resume our love affair. My heart will always consider it home because of the passion, energy, and inspiration that I created and discovered there.

These photos are for you Astoria. I love you, and I miss you.

When I got off the N or Q train to make the five-minute walk to my apartment, the worries of the day seemed to just melt away as Astoria welcomed me home.
The corner of opportunity and dreams…
This is the view of the RFK Bridge I mentioned before. 
RFK lit up as the sun goes down.
All unpacking stopped the first night in Astoria once the Fourth of July fireworks started. It was the first sign that the area was going to yield more surprises than we had anticipated.
Me and my friends Scott, Softball Spud, and Steve-O (left to right). I was overly excited to hand out those birthday cupcakes and the guys still haven’t let me live it down. Also, no one in this picture won any money.
The Bohemian Beer Garden in the rain.
Brick Café is my absolute favorite place to have brunch in New York City. The French toast with strawberries and whipped cream is to die for.
The next six pictures were taken during my last run through Astoria Park as a resident of the area. I still don’t know why or how those shoes ended up there, but they make for a great photo.
This is where my running career started. Originally, I would run one mile and call it a day. It was at this track in Astoria Park that I started to add a little to my run until the night I ran seven miles without stopping.
The trees lining the straightaway of my out and back in full bloom.
My nephew Jack loves this photo of the “train bridge” as he calls it.
I love rocks.
The signal to turn around and head home.
This photo was taken while I was writing my final paper for my grad class on the Church in the Middle Age in Astoria Park last year. The beautiful weather and unparalleled view made writing about a dry topic bearable.
For more cool photos, check out:


  1. Love this post, Dan. Spent my Saturday afternoon at Astoria Park. It's no Carl Schurz Park, but I'll take it.

  2. I read your post and I have to tell you, it brought tears to my eyes. I no longer live in Astoria and feel the same way. Astoria has an indescribable magic that no place else I've in has.