A lot of things were up in the air when I moved here right after graduating from UC Berkeley. I was still in the process of interviewing for jobs. I had to take the OATs (optometry admissions test) and finish up my application for optometry schools. I had to find new housing because my dad got a new position in Washington D.C.. Therefore my parents were going to move out of Manhattan in a few days.
Five months have passed since then and I am amazed and thankful at how everything turned out. I am especially glad that I had a chance to live in Astoria, Queens. Although it is a 20 minute subway ride away from mid-Manhattan, I had never heard about Astoria until I visited a room that was out for sublet. My first impression of the neighborhood was that it was a small town with still a lot of development to go through.
However, the more I explored the more I was surprised by the dynamics of Astoria. There is a large Greek, Italian, and Arab population in the area, so it is perfect to try out new ethnic cuisines. The most memorable one I went to was Kebab Cafe (Featured in Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern’s No Reservations: New York City (2007)). It’s a small Egyptian restaurant located in the “Little Egypt” area of Astoria where the chef himself explains all the specials of the day and dishes to you.
Aside from great foods, there are also a lot of lounges, local shops and markets to explore in this diverse neighborhood.
Now that I moved to the upper west side of Manhattan, I am further away from Astoria but I am definitely going to go back to try all the restaurants I had my eyes on.