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New York's Next Neighborhoods - South Astoria

04/03/2011, By

14. South Astoria

Because it’s the Bowery in 2007.

Sometimes, it takes a museum—or, rather, the much-hyped renovation of one—to retrain the spotlight on a neighborhood. (Just look at the Bowery post–New Museum.) Since Astoria’s Museum of the Moving Image unveiled its bombshell $67 million makeover this January, there’s been a noticeable spillover of activity onto the surrounding blocks. A 5 Napkin Burger expanded from Hell’s Kitchen to a location across the street last year, followed by popular Mexican-barbecue hybrid MexiQ, a few blocks north on 30th Avenue; the clubby Astor Room, in the former commissary of the old Kaufman-Astoria Studios; the locally sourced Mex joint Pachanga Patterson, on 31st Avenue; and grilled-cheese-and-gourmet-coffee palace the Queens Kickshaw, on Broadway. Most of the new condominiums—flashy affairs like the Santorini on 30th Street, with its “crystallized glass countertops” and designer baths—are due north or west of the museum, but renters and buyers aren’t coming here just for them. Astoria remains scruffily charming, determinedly international, and relatively affordable. Bond New York’s Kelly Killian says you can still rent a brand-new one-bedroom for as little as $1,800 a month.

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