Astoria, My Astoria
Jul 02, 2013

My Astoria- Adam Kuban

Welcome to the latest WHA series, My Astoria, where we ask prominent Astorians what they love about the neighborhood. Today I’m thrilled to share Adam Kuban’s Astoria. While I’ve never (…)

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Welcome to the latest WHA series, My Astoria, where we ask prominent Astorians what they love about the neighborhood. Today I’m thrilled to share Adam Kuban’s Astoria. While I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting him in person, I’ve long admired his Astoria world view from afar. So please give a warm WHA welcome to Adam & My Astoria! -Mackenzi 

Rosario’s Deli

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I feel like a broken record when it comes to Rosario’s, because I ALWAYS recommend it to fellow Astorians and visitors alike. Basically, anyone who will listen. Standout slices here, really. But I mostly get the sandwiches, which are always well-balanced and reasonably priced. The Italian combo is especially good. All the guys who work there make fine sandwiches, but I think Giuseppe (the youngish Italian guy with a bowl cut) really has a way with Italian combos. (Side note: Rosario also carries a lot of random–but good–products, including Hungry Bites granola snacks, which are apparently made here in Astoria by some mysterious folks.)

Rosario’s: 22-55 31st St., Astoria, NY 11105, (718) 728-2920

46th Street Between Ditmars and 21st Avenue

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If there’s one block in Astoria that consistently gives me real estate envy, it’s this one. The homes on this stretch are cute and nicely landscaped. I like to daydream about buying on this block and building a wood-fired pizza oven in the backyard. I always make a detour down this street on the way home from Forno Siciliano (whose focaccia I love).

The View from the N/Q

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Spend some time living in a neighborhood whose trains run underground and you’ll never take for granted the sunlight and scenery (and cellular service) of the elevated section of the N/Q. To emerge from the tunnels of Manhattan into a deluge of sunshine is the one of best Welcome Home greetings there is after a long day at work. I like to look at the businesses, homes, and apartment buildings along the line and imagine myself inside them or grilling out on one of the many, many balconies facing the train. (I’ve also been Instagramming the heck out of them lately.)

The People Who Party Out of Their Garages on 20th Avenue

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I’ve thought about renting a garage along this strip of 20th Avenue near the East River just to PARTAY from it, like the handful of tenants do who I’ve seen out on warm weekends as I make my way to “Purple Park.” My guess is that these garages come with the apartments in the adjacent complex and that some residents without cars outfit their bonus space with grills and lawn chairs. I swear I’ve even seen one guy with one of those small portable bars in there. I wish I had a photo of this unique Astoria scene.

The New York Connecting Railroad Viaduct

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The New York Connecting Railroad Viaduct is to me just a hair’s breadth behind the I-refuse-to-call-it-RFK-it’s-the Triborough and Hell Gate bridges as a visual icon of upper Astoria. Sometimes I take it for granted that there’s this hulking structure cutting its way across the neighborhood carrying passengers to and from Penn Station and freight trains to points north and west. What really fascinates me, though, are the spaces around the viaduct’s anchorages. Where the structure touches down among houses, people have built sheds and ramshackle lean-tos against it and parking lots beneath it. Again, here’s me with the real-estate fantasies. How neat would it be if you lived next to it? You could build a little bocce court under there (and maybe a wood-fired pizza oven) and have the best yard parties in summer.

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Adam Kuban is perhaps best known as the founder of the long-running pizza blog Slice, which he sold in 2006 to Serious Eats when he signed on with that website as its founding editor. He now works for nycgo.com, NYC’s official visitor website. He has lived in Astoria since December 26, 2009, when he moved in with his then-fiance, now wife. (“I was renting in Park Slope, she owned in Astoria. There was no question who would be doing the moving,” he says.)

“I feel at home in Astoria in a way I never have in other neighborhoods I’ve lived in,” Adam says. “I’ve only been here a few years, so sometimes I feel like a newcomer, but I like to think of myself as a longtime Astorian via the transitive property–my wife has lived here for 13 years, and our 11-month-old daughter is a native Astorian. She’s our Astoria anchor baby.”

You can find Adam on TwitterInstagramFoursquare, where he sometimes dispenses nuggets of Astoria intel.

8 Comments

Stephanie

SO appreciative of your focus on “Upper Astoria,” my little corner of our neighborhood, too! We bought a place here in 2010 after living here since 2007 (myself) and even earlier for my other half. We’re not going anywhere!

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Adam

@Erin: I KNEW I wasn’t hallucinating that bar into one of those bays. That’s how I see them, too, either riding my bike to the park or walking.

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TRXFreely

“Astoria anchor baby” !!! What a treasure. Thanks for the Astoriatastic post. Love the Kublr – adamkuban.tumblr.com

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Erin

Great post! I always see the 20th Avenue BBQers when I am out riding my bike on the weekends. They definitely have a full bar set up in one of those garages. Thanks for sharing.

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Adam

Hahah. I’m just razzin’ yah. It was truly an honor to be the inaugural interviewee.

And I just realized that in my comment above I meant UPPER ASTORIA, not “Upper Ditmars,” which is something else entirely and maybe not even Astoria but part of Jackson Heights and/or East Elmhurst, even though I always count it as Astoria anyway.

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Adam

Thanks so much for including me, though “prominent”—ha ha. I’ll let you keep thinking that. ;)

It was fun to share my list. It’s maybe less traditional than you probably were expecting, but these are the things that I enjoy time and again in the Upper Ditmars area. Can’t wait to see other folks’ favorites fives. Great series.

Hope to meet you at some sort of Astoria event or at the new store when you open it. Thanks, Mackenzi!

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mackenzi

Well, prominent means lots of things to lots of people, and to us you’re an Astoria blogger/social media treasure! I’m sure we’ll certainly cross real life paths soon.

Reply

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