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Astoria is comprised of 4 different zip codes, 11102, 11103, 11105, and 11106. The most popular of the 4 is arguably 11103 and 11105. 11103 is the zip code where you will find 30th Ave, Broadway, Steinway, etc. Many consider this section “the heart of Astoria”, however, just north of Grand Central Pkwy there is the 11105 zip code, sometimes referred to as Ditmars – Steinway or the Astoria Ditmars Neighborhood. This section is more residential than the busy areas south of GCP, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t much to do. This area has a busy thoroughfare on Ditmars Blvd with plenty of shopping, restaurants, and entertainment. Most of the action is happening on Ditmars Blvd, between 31st St and Steinway, but you also have Astoria Park to the west, and what was known as “Steinway Village” to the east. In addition, you’ll find a lot of small retail shops, restaurants, and stores on several side streets throughout the neighborhood. Altogether, this small neighborhood of Astoria is lively and very walkable. The lower density gives the area a small town feel so you’re not overshadowed by huge buildings. As you tour the neighborhood, you quickly notice that it is crawling with a mix of young professionals and long time residents. It’s no wonder that this is one of the hippest and fastest growing areas of Queens, so we compiled a list of some fun facts that you may or may not know about the Astoria Ditmars Neighborhood.
1. Beginning in the early 19th century, affluent New Yorkers constructed large residences around 12th and 14th streets, an area that later became known as Astoria Village (now Old Astoria).
2. During the second half of the 19th century, economic and commercial growth brought increased immigration from German settlers, mostly furniture and cabinet makers. One such settler was Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg Steinway & Sons in 1853, which today is a worldwide piano company.
3. Later on the Steinways built a sawmill and foundry, as well as a streetcar line. The family eventually established Steinway Village for their workers, a company town that provided school instruction in German as well as English.
4. Astoria and several other surrounding villages, including Steinway, were incorporated into Long Island City in 1870.
5. Italians were the next significant immigrants after the Dutch Germans in Astoria, and numerous Italian restaurants, delis, bakeries, and pizza shops are found throughout Astoria, particularly in the Ditmars Boulevard area.
6. The 1960s saw a large number of ethnic Greeks from Greece, and immigrants from Cyprus in 1974.
7. The Greek cultural imprint can be seen in the numerous Greek restaurants, bakeries, tavernas and cafes, as well as several Greek Orthodox churches.
8. The eastern end of Astoria, with Steinway Street as its main thoroughfare, is sometimes referred to simply as “Steinway”.
9. The northern end around Ditmars Boulevard is sometimes referred to as “Ditmars”.
10. Ditmars is a middle class section of Astoria bounded by Bowery Bay to the north, 31st Street to the east (boundary with the adjacent neighborhood of Steinway, with which Ditmars is sometimes confused), 23rd Avenue to the south and the East River on the west.
11. The Steinway neighborhood was largely developed as a company town by the Steinway & Sons piano company, and included houses and public facilities that were also available to non-employees.
12. The Ditmars neighborhood was not included in the Steinway & Sons company housing and related facilities project.
13. Ditmars is considered to be a popular neighborhood among young professionals and in some real estate references the adjacent neighborhoods of Ditmars and Steinway are joined as a single “Ditmars-Steinway” reference.
14. The Ditmars neighborhood takes its name from Ditmars Boulevard which was named in honor of Raymond Lee Ditmars, (1876-1942) famed American herpetologist and curator of Reptiles of the New York Zoological Society at the Bronx Zoo.
15. Astoria Heights, or Upper Ditmars, is bounded by Hazen Street to the west, La Guardia Airport to the east, Bowery Bay to the north, and Astoria Boulevard and the Grand Central Parkway to the south. It is mostly a quiet middle class neighborhood of 1 and 2 family private homes.
16. Astoria is served by the N Q trains which run along the elevated BMT Astoria Line above 31st Street.
17. The primary streets running north-south are 21st Street, 31st Street; and Steinway Street (named for Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg (later Henry E. Steinway), founder of the piano company Steinway & Sons).
18. The block of 37th Street between Ditmars Boulevard and 23rd Avenue is sometimes referred to as “the Seinfeld Street.” In the Seinfeld television show, this street is occasionally seen in external establishing shots as the block where George Costanza’s parents live.
Blog and site courtesy of George & Abigail Herrera w/the Queens Home Team at Keller Williams Realty.