From The Lips Of A Local

Each week we feature a different local, sharing their unique experiences on what makes NYC the best place, ever.  Hey, we never said New Yorkers weren’t cocky.  

This week we’re delighted to be chatting with poet and Queens resident, Astoria Haiku!  We’ve been following him on Twitter for a long time now, and refer to him as “our resident expert on all things Astoria.”

Name: Astoria Haiku

Occupation: Poet, social media hack and Queens neighborhood enthusiast

New Yorker since: Forever (30+ years)

What hood do you live in? Ditmars Boulevard, Astoria

Where do you get your morning coffee?  This is a tricky question. For a very long time, Astoria (especially the Ditmars area) has been the coffee/espresso vacuum of Queens, and the nearest decent cup required a trip into Brooklyn or Manhattan. My wife and I used to make that trip every weekend until we had kids. This coffee-void is still alive and well on Ditmars (unfortunately Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts are the prominent suppliers) but a trip down to 30th Avenue/Broadway and further into Long Island City can yield a very solid cup.

Short answer: I love the espresso and pour-over coffee at The Queens Kickshaw (40-17 Broadway, Astoria, NY) but when that’s not possible, it’s our trusty old Keurig, cause THREE KIDS.

Restaurant you’d be really, really sad bordering on clinically depressed if they closed: If I can only pick one, it has to be the world famous Peter Luger Steakhouse (178 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY). There’s just no substitute for the old-world, here’s-your-steak-now-GTFO-charm. My wife and I go there once or twice a year for special occasions, so it has sentimental meaning as well as serving the best steak in NYC.

Every tourist must visitThe B&H Superstore, (9th Avenue and 34th Street, New York, NY). Their photography selection is second to none, their prices are always competitive and what happens after you commit to buy something (baskets, conveyor belts and warp-speed-checkout) is mesmerizing.

NYC trend you’re currently loving/hating: I’m loving the craft-beer scene that’s emerging in the outer boroughs, especially Queens. If you look back even just one year, we’ve come so far in terms of what’s available. Consumers have come a long way as well, educating themselves and demanding only the very best. Astoria/LIC is leading the charge with several small breweries making names for themselves, and on a larger scale, SingleCut Beersmiths, (19-33 37th Street, Astoria, NY) a micro-brewery which brews/self-distributes amazing craft-beer and is as local as it gets. Everything they do, top-to-bottom, is done in-house on 37th Street in Astoria.

Favorite way to while away a (non-workday!) NYC afternoon: As cliche as it sounds, the quickest and most satisfying thing for us to do is grab a newspaper, coffee and a bagel and head to Astoria Park (21 Hoyt Avenue North, Astoria, NY) or Gantry Plaza State Park (4-09 47th Road, Long Island City, NY) with the kids. Tired children are (usually) well-behaved children.

I’m also a golf-junkie so whenever I have a free moment during the week and the kids are in school, I’ll head to Douglaston Golf Course (63-20 Marathon Parkway, Douglaston, NY) for a quick 9-holes before work or 18-holes on my day off. It’s a short golf course but one of the better municipal courses in New York City.

NYC’s best kept secret: I’ll give you two: The Kissena Park Velodrome (Booth Memorial Drive at Parsons Boulevard, Flushing, NY) which is a 400-meter banked asphalt bicycle track, and Socrates Sculpture Park (32-01 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City, NY) for a little serenity and culture right next door to the ever-bustling Costco Warehouse.

To connect with this awesome New Yorker, visit him on Twitter, Facebook, and his blog.



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