The ABC’s of Astoria, Queens

image - Flickr / 'Nino" Eugene La Pia
image – Flickr / ‘Nino” Eugene La Pia

A is for Astoria is the best neighborhood in NYC.

B is for the Bel Aire Diner, the best diner in Astoria, and therefore, in the whole city.

C is for Christos Steakhouse, the greatest steakhouse in the history of steakhouses. Yes, it’s better than Peter Luger. Yes, it’s better than whatever other steakhouse you think might be better than Christos. It’s not. Christos is incredible.

D is for Ditmars, second only to Broadway in being the most awesome thoroughfare in the entire borough of Queens.

E is for the Everything bagel that I always get when I go to Brooklyn Bagel on Broadway.

F is for the Free can of Coke that I always get when I order a combo meal at Fatima’s Halal Kitchen, the best Chinese food place on planet Earth.

G is for Gleason’s Pub, where one time, my trivia team almost finished in third place. (We blew it by wagering too much on the last question. This team called the Havana Maccabees wins every time. I think they’re cheating.)

H is for the Hellgate Bridge. It’s so fucking cool. Just listen to that name. Hellgate. How badass is that? And it’s in Astoria. Did I mention how awesome Astoria is?

I is for Icahn Stadium, where I saw the Warped Tour when I was in high school. It’s really close to Astoria. You just have to take the Triboro Bridge and get off before entering Manhattan or the Bronx.

J is for my friend Jim, he lives on 36th Street in between Broadway and 31st Ave. He has this ridiculous setup in his apartment with a gigantic projection screen and an XBOX Kinect. We have so much fun playing video games together. Hey Jim, if you’re reading this, what’s up man? You want to play some DDR later tonight? (If you don’t have plans already, that is. If you do, don’t worry about it, we’ll catch up later, it’s cool, for real.)

K is for Kans, a sports bar on Steinway. I think I had a beer there like three years ago. It’s OK … just OK.

L is for Loukaniko, some sort of a Greek sausage. They have it all over Astoria, tons of Greek restaurants. It’s delicious.

M is for Manhattan, currently in a four-way tie for second-best borough in New York City. (A distant second, I might add.)

N is for the N train, which takes you to Astoria, by far the coolest place in the city.

O is for Omonia, the Greek bakery that made the wedding cake featured in the box office hit, My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

P is for Passion Hair and Nails on Broadway, where they just raised the price of a men’s haircut from ten to twelve dollars. (It’s cool. It was ten for like six years, and I only get my hair cut like every two months, so I’ll be OK.)

Q is for the Q train, which also takes you to Astoria. (Just not late night or on the weekends.)

R is for the R train, which has several Astoria stops. It’s also for the Rite-Aid on Broadway and 21st, which just had a massive renovation, and is now open 24 hours.

S is for Socrates Sculpture Park, where one time I let my dog off his leash, and he started terrorizing some neighborhood kids. A park guy came up to me and was like, “Hey man! Get your dog under control!” and I was like, “What do you mean? I thought this was a leash-free park!” and he was like, “Nah man, not until nine. Either before nine or after nine,” and I was like, “Isn’t it always technically either before nine or after nine?” and then he just got really pissed off.

T is for the taco truck on Broadway and 36th Street. They make the best tacos in North America.

U is for Uncle George’s (RIP.)

V is for the V train (RIP.)

W is for the W train (RIP.)

X is for X-Men: Days of Future Past, which I saw last spring at the Regal Theaters on 38th Street in Astoria, the best movie theater in the Northeast.

Y is for Your favorite neighborhood in America, Astoria, Queens.

Z is for Zenon Taverna (I’m not sure if it’s spelled with a Z or an X, but you pronounce it Zenon Taverna.) Get the meat pikilia. Don’t ask what it is. Just go there, order it, and then come home and immediately start writing me a thank you email. You’re welcome. TC mark

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