Why Everyone Should Visit Astoria, Queens

     When most people visit New York, they never leave Manhattan. However, what I’m about to say might surprise you- Queens is just as exciting as Manhattan. Yes, I said it. I am very glad I decided to live across the water because 1) it’s way less crowded 2) it’s way less crowded and 3) it’s way less crowded. By the time my day at work and my commute comes to an end, I am ready to escape the hustle and bustle of the Garment District and go home to peaceful Astoria, Queens. Living in Astoria (and by the water!) lets me come home to a place as tame as New York City can possibly be. Something most people don’t realize is that Astoria is a very artistic and creative area. If you know me well, you know that I love both art and museums, so I promise that the following list of the must-visit art museums and galleries in Astoria will be worth a try.

     Astoria is home to MoMA PS1, the Museum of the Moving Image, the Socrates Sculpture Garden and Park, and the Noguchi Museum (to name a few). Take note: I have just given you a list of the most diverse art museums ever! MoMA PS1 is a division of MoMA that houses a ton of great contemporary art. The gallery is right outside of Astoria, and it is actually an old public school that was transformed into a contemporary art space in the 1970s. If you’re feeling weird, this is by far the best place to be. Last time I went, there was an exhibit where you walk in the room, and the art is real people that dance and interact with you. I don’t get it, but I like it. MoMA PS1 also hosts amazing events, such as HalloQueens, a drag queen Halloween party, which featured out-of-this-world costumes and was at one of the most unique places in Queens. So obviously, Rachel Anderson and I attended (as seen above- and yes, I am wearing clothes and not just leaves!).
     The Museum of the Moving Image is a museum all about film, television, and digital media. So if you watch way too much Netflix like I do, take a break and go check out this museum instead. You will understand film and watch your beloved Netflix shows in a whole new light.
     The Socrates Sculpture Garden and Park is my personal favorite since it’s in my backyard! If you’re bored of Central Park and the million other parks like it in the city, this is a fun alternative. The sculpture garden is right on the water and is full of very strange sculptures that you could stare at for hours, which I admittedly do frequently. It’s my favorite place in Astoria because it’s quiet, full of art, and has a spectacular view of the skyline.
     Finally, if you’re into sculpture, furniture design, and architecture (especially the minimalist kind) the Noguchi Museum will not disappoint. Artist Isamu Noguchi founded the Noguchi Museum and it houses ten art galleries and a sculpture park. Even though when I heard the name Noguci Museum, I was expecting a Gucci museum, I will say I was pleasantly surprised by the Japanese artist’s furniture and sculpture designs. Everything in the museum has a modern aesthetic, but is made with natural materials, such as rocks and wood. This is a calm, tranquil escape from the city, and I recommend a visit!
     Another great spot to visit in Astoria is an area a block away apartment that is covered in beautiful street art. Everywhere you look there is a beautiful mural, and I’m not talking tags- I’m talking massive, beautiful works of art (like the image to the right). The exciting part about this area is that the art can be taken down at any time, so each visit brings something new to look at.
     The best part about the list I just gave you is that Astoria is relatively small. This means that if you wanted to, you could hit all of these awesome museums in one day or over a weekend. If I haven’t convinced you to visit my ‘hood yet, I don’t know what will. Astoria is a vibrant section of Queens that is rich in art and culture, and I hope everyone will give it a visit.


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