Cool Street: Steinway Street
The name Astoria is synonymous for many with the bustling shopping street, Steinway Street. Spanning from Northern Boulevard to Berrian Boulevard, the 2.4 mile street is teeming with local shops and eateries. While Astoria is purported for being the Greektown of New York City, the busiest parts of Steinway Street (from 34th Ave. to Astoria Blvd) adequately showcases the multicultural diversity of the neighborhood. Check out exquisite Turkish crafts, imported straight from Istanbul at the Grand Bazaar; enjoy Colombian cuisine at the quirky dining space of El Basuero; or perhaps smoke some hookah while drinking tea in the numerous Middle Eastern-style cafes along a stretch of Steinway Street which has been dubbed “Little Egypt”.
The history of Steinway Street is deeply intertwined with the eminent Steinway and Sons piano company, with the street being a central part of what is historically known as Steinway Village. Spanning from Ditmars Blvd to the East River, and from 36th St. to Hazen St., with Steinway Street at the heart of it, Steinway Village was effectively a city unto itself; according to Steinway and Sons, it “had its own foundries, factory, post office, parks and housing.”
To this day Steinway Street upholds its original name, a homage to the economic growth induced by the company. Astoria is a like an urban United Nations, with people from nearly 100 countries living there, and Steinway Street is at the center of this multicultural neighborhood–a diversity that is evident as you move your gaze from one store window to the next.