I haven’t done much on Astoria; it just seems as if I have. I recently walked Broadway in Queens, which cuts across the neighborhoods. And, it seems as if I’m always visiting theGreater Astoria Historical Society for book readings and exhibits. I’ve done a number of pages on Astoria Village, an unprotected 19th-Century area just south of Astoria Park, whose Queen Anne style cottages, ignored by the Landmarks Preservation Society and sold off by gtheir owners, are being gobbled up by developers as sharks devour chum bait.
Astoria is vast — if you include Ditmars and Ravenswood, it runs from the Con Ed complex along the East River south to Sunnyside Yards, and from the East River again east to the yards.
I’ve been asked why I haven’t yet “invaded” several neighborhoods like Bedford-Stuyvesant, say, or New Utrecht-Bensonhurst, and the answer is usually that these areas are so big that I’m trying to research the more potentially interesting spots, so as not to wander about aimlessly, hoping I’ll hit on the right place. Their turn is coming.
Just the other day I had just emerged from GAHS headquarters. Since it was too late in the day to do the walk I really wanted to do, Greenpoint Avenue from Sunnyside to Greenpoint, I went down the nearest side street that looked interesting, 36th. There are some facsinating buildings in Astoria’s side streets. In Windsor Terrace and Park Slope, which I have covered recently, you can find unbroken lines of brick or brownstone buildings. But, in Astoria, you have miniatures of these styles — there’s a tiny Tudor here, a slice of a brownstone there. Plopped in between, you have these little one-story buildings — almost bungalows.
Ever present in Astoria, and other NYC neighborhoods, is the Fedders Special, with exposed air conditioners and rust-prone balconies. The picture at left is a perfect illustration of multifamily houses as builders envisioned them in the early 20th Century and the early 21st. RIGHT: if you discount the smeared graffiti, this is a beautiful 3-story small apartment building with arched doorways and windows and multicolored bricks.
These examples are all on 36th Street between Broadway and 35th Avenue. There are these smallish brick apartment buildings that I enjoy — I lived in a place like these, in a railroad flat apartment in Bay Ridge, from 1982-1990 and it’s still my favorite all-time dwelling.
I really do not know the history behind the low-rise one-story buildings, and I wonder if anyone does.
I don’t often visit Kaufman-Astoria Studios, and the Museum of the Moving Image (I was last in there about 4 years ago as of 2009) but, like all other NYC cultural attractions, I’m glad they’re there. The 36th Street entrance opens to WFAN Sports Radio 66.
On 35th Street, some handsome heavy-linteled windowed adjoined apartment buildings. Across the street is another of Astoria’s one-floor specials and some very old parking spaces.
Photographed February 21; page completed Feb. 23, 2009