Traditionally industrial, LIC is now home to a rising arts community. Astoria is known for its large Greek population. This population is accompanied by Asians, Latin Americans, and Europeans. Many trendy restaurants and shops are located in Astoria, with Steinway Street being a primary shopping district. English is the primary language, but many residents in this area speak secondary languages as well.
Get to the heart of Long Island City by taking the E, M, or R trains to Queens Plaza, the N, Q, or 7 to Queensboro Plaza, the G to Court Square, the E or M to 23rd Street-Ely Avenue, or the 7 to 45th Road or Hunterspoint Avenue.
Get to Astoria by using the N and Q trains, which make several stops in that neighborhood.
There is a lonely LIRR terminal at Long Island City (officially, it's not even a station, but rather a "passenger yard"), as well as a somewhat busier station at Hunterspoint Ave. They are only served by a handful of trains during rush hours, and not accessible from Manhattan, but can be handy if you are traveling to/from those areas at that time. The Long Island City station is worth a visit if only to see how laughably huge it is given how little traffic goes through it (it was the main LIRR terminal before Penn Station).
Fisher Landau Center for Art, 38-27 30th St (between 38th and 39th Aves), ☎ +1 718 937-0727, . Th-M noon-5PM. Free.
Museum of the Moving Image, 35th Ave at 37th St, ☎ +1 718 784-0077, . Currently closed for renovations; will reopen January 2011.
The Noguchi Museum, 9-01 33rd Rd (at Vernon Blvd), ☎ +1 718 204-7088, . W-F 10AM-5PM, Sa-Su 11AM-6PM (open until 8PM on the first Friday Jun-Sep). $10 adults, $5 seniors/students, free for children under 12. Pay what you wish on the first Friday of the month.
P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, 22-25 Jackson Ave, ☎ +1 718 784-2084, . Th-M noon-6PM. Supported by the Museum of Modern Art, this innovative (and cheap) contemporary art museum is in a former public school building. The conversion left most of the original features of the school - the large ex-classrooms are perfect for installations - and the bathrooms are a blast from the past. P.S.1 is a few blocks south on Jackson Avenue from the Citibank tower; the entrance is a concrete slab (how fitting) which occludes view of the school itself. P.S.1 also has a nice cafe and outdoor seats where every able-bodied New Yorker can enjoy a smoke.Suggested admission $10 adults, $5 students and seniors.
SculptureCenter, 44-19 Purves St (at Jackson Ave), ☎ +1 718 361-1750, . Th-M 11AM-6PM. Suggested donation $5 adults, $3 students.
Socrates Sculpture Park, 32-01 Vernon Blvd (at Broadway), ☎ +1 718 956-1819, . 10AM-sunset daily. Free.
Steinway & Sons Pianos, 1 Steinway Pl, ☎ +1 718 721-2600, . They offer free guided tours during fall and spring to see the skilled craftsmen at work. Phone ahead, a month in advance is recommended, to reserve a place on these popular tours, and to check the days and times. Otherwise take the online factory tour on their website.
Museum for African Art, 36-01 43rd Ave, ☎ +1 718 784-7700, .
The Chocolate Factory, 5-49 49th Ave (at Vernon Blvd; Subway: 7 train to Vernon Blvd-Jackson Ave or G train to 21st St-Van Alst; LIRR: Long Island City), ☎ +1 718 482-7069, .
Euromarket Astoria, 30-42 31st St (between 30th Ave and 30th Dr; Subway: N/Q trains to 30th Ave), ☎ +1 718 545-5569. 7AM-midnight daily. Grocery market serving many specialty European foods that are difficult to find in the US. Outstanding collections of international meats, cheeses, wines, and beers.
Bare Burger, 33-21 31st Ave, ☎ +1 718 777-7011. Innovative burger joint that offers organic burgers made from a choice of beef, ostrich, elk, and lamb. Very good milkshakes.
Koliba Restaurant, 31-11 23rd Ave. (N train to Astoria Blvd.), ☎ +1 718 626-0430, . Czech and Slovak restaurant serving traditional cuisine along with a variety of fine Czech and Slovak beers and a full bar to accompany your meal. They lean slightly towards Slovak, but their Czech cuisine is very good also. Try their bryndzové halušky.
Bohemian Hall Beer Garden, 29-19 24th Avenue (N train to Astoria Blvd.), ☎ +1 718 274-4925, . Enjoy a large outdoor beer garden (the oldest in New York City), as well as a fine selection of German and Czech beers to accompany food fresh from the grill. Live music frequently appears here also.
Beer Garden at Studio Square (Studio Square), 35-33 36th Street (M, R to Steinway St.; N to 36th Ave.), ☎ +1 718 383-1001, . New German style beer garden features a lively indoor and outdoor atmosphere of music, celebration, and dancing.
Queens Library (Astoria branch), 14-01 Astoria Blvd (at 14th St; Subway: N/Q trains to Astoria Blvd), ☎ +1 718 278-2220, . M 1PM-8PM, Tu 1PM-6PM, W-Th 10AM-6PM, F 1PM-6PM.
Queens Library (Long Island City branch), 37-44 21st St (at 37th Ave; Subway: F train to 21st St-Queensbridge or N/Q trains to 36th Ave), ☎ +1 718 752-3700, . M 1PM-8PM, Tu 1PM-6PM, W 10AM-6PM, Th 1PM-8PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5:30PM.
Queens Library (Maspeth branch), 69-70 Grand Ave (at 69th Ln), ☎ +1 718 639-5228. M 1PM-8PM, Tu 1PM-6PM, W 10AM-6PM, Th 1PM-8PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5:30PM.
Queens Library (Steinway branch), 21-45 31st St (between 21st Ave and Ditmars; Subway: N/Q trains to Astoria-Ditmars Blvd), ☎ +1 718 728-1965, . M 10AM-8PM, Tu 1PM-6PM, W 10AM-6PM, Th 1PM-8PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5:30PM.
Queens Library (Sunnyside branch), 43-06 Greenpoint Ave (at 43rd St; Subway: 7 train to 46th St-Bliss St), ☎ +1 718 784-3033, . M 1PM-8PM, Tu 1PM-6PM, W 10AM-6PM, Th 1PM-8PM, F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-5:30PM.