Grand Avenue Pizza is not on Grand Avenue but it is on an avenue that used to be Grand. I’ll explain in a minute.
Today I got out of the cage for my first extended walk west of the Flushing River since March 2020, when the Covid Crisis struck. I’m at the stage where I’ll take a Long Island Rail Road train from home base in Little Neck to Woodside and strike out from there, while still avoiding the subway, which I’m not quite ready for yet. This means I won’t be in Norwood, Eltingville, Georgetown, or Inwood any time soon, but Astoria, Jackson Heights, Maspeth and Glendale are all attainable. We’ll see how far I can go as the weeks pass by.
I was skulking down 30th Avenue in Astoria, which, like most Astoria avenues, I’ve visited before. At 35th Street, I spied a Swiveling Corvington. New repro versions of the long-armed Corvington lamppost (first used in 1915 or so) come in two pieces, with the base and the shaft and then another piece holding the upper shaft and the arm above that. In windy weather, the breeze can catch the upper section and swivel it around, so the light fixture isn’t over the street anymore. I call these the Swiveling Corvingtons. I hope a cover band adopts the name someday.
Anyway there’s something else in the picture that interested me, Grand Avenue Pizza. Now kids, we’re nowhere near Grand Avenue, which is a good 3 or 4 miles away, running from the Grand Street Bridge over the noxious and noisome Newtown Creek generally northeast through Maspeth and Elmhurst to where Queens Boulevard meets Broadway.
So why is this pizza palace named Grand Avenue Pizza? It’s all about history. As explained on the above link, all Queens numbered streets had names until the 1920s, when the Queens Topographical Bureau united all Queens neighborhoods with a single house and street numbering system. And 30th Avenue in Astoria had been Grand Avenue, duplicating the street name in Maspeth. The pizzeria owner knows his Queens history, it seems.
I’d like to go in for a slice and a coke, but let’s not go crazy, now.