Arts and Culture, Astoria, Television
Jul 02, 2015

Astoria’s Meta Moment in Orange Is The New Black

UPDATED POST! Thank you to readers Allie and Kim for giving us the heads up on two different Astoria moments! (NOTE: This is a SPOILER-FREE POST. While the article will (…)

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UPDATED POST! Thank you to readers Allie and Kim for giving us the heads up on two different Astoria moments!

(NOTE: This is a SPOILER-FREE POST. While the article will contain shots and tidbits from OITNB Season 3, nothing of importance will be divulged for those who haven’t watched yet. Feel free to read, no matter how far along you are!)

Are you all caught up on Orange Is the New Black? I’ve finally gotten my binge-watch on, and while I certainly enjoyed catching up with the ladies of Litchfield, I was a little disappointed in the small number of Astoria sightings. Season 2 was full of Astoria moments, which we documented, from first dates at the Astor Room to the purchase of 40s at Sion Grocery. Our neighborhood played a huge role in the sophomore season, while this year, not so much. If there are any neighborhood sightings I missed, please let us know and I’ll update the post!

There was a major Astoria moment in Episode 3, “Empathy Is A Boner Killer,” where we learn a little bit about the backstory for Nicky, played flawlessly by Natasha Lyonne. When pre-prison Nicky is out with her friends plotting how to score some drugs, they are waiting in front of what was formerly Athens Cafe (soon to be Burnside Biscuits) on 30th Ave and 32nd Street.

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This is a pretty meta moment: while they don’t mention Astoria by name, both Nicky and her friend comment on the rapid gentrification of the neighborhood, specifically mentioning the number of fro-yo shops that have recently arrived. I moved to Astoria in the summer of 2011 , and within two years, three different fro-yo shops popped up: Mama Yogurt, (now Sunberi) 16 Handles, and Fresk’O. The influx resulted in this article from the Daily News in 2013. Fresk’O in particular is in the background of this scene, which is clear when Nicky jumps in a cab, and later when the car is in motion.

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WHA reader Allie pointed out that Episode 5, “Fake It Till You Fake It Some More,” features St. John’s Prep on Crescent and 21st Ave prominently, while giving us insight with Flaca’s backstory.

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We received another great tip from reader Kim, who noticed Hellgate on the Park (19-19 Ditmars) in Episode 11, “We Can Be Heroes.”  In one of my favorite scenes of all time, the COs gather outside of work, and eventually erupt into a singalong that had me grinning from ear to ear.

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Whenever the location switches from prison to somewhere in the outside world, I always lean forward and look a little harder, hoping to see a familiar Astoria haunt. I dug into a few additional outside locations, and found that many of them are in Rockland County. A fictional doughnut shop that is featured prominently, Trudy’s Donut Shop, is actually Le Gateau Suisse, an upscale bakery in Orangeburg. Also, a scene focusing on Big Boo’s backstory takes place at a New Rochelle sports bar called Spectators. With all of the fantastic bakeries and pubs in Astoria, wouldn’t it have been awesome to see some Martha’s action, or maybe Astoria Tavern?

So let’s talk: What did you think of this season? Who were your favorite characters? (I was all about Sophia and Pennsatucky this year.) What Astoria spots did I miss? Share in the comments below!

About Lindsay Goyette

Lindsay has been eating and drinking her way through Queens since 2011. A casting director by day and Astoria explorer by night, you can usually find her checking out live music, theatre, or the newest neighborhood spot to enjoy a craft beer.

4 Comments

GersonK

There’s a brief glimpse of 34th Ave at the end of ep 4. There’s a character making a call while crossing 41st street late in the episode. You can sort of make out the giant tap on Twist & Smash’d (formerly Bud’s) in the background. The new murals on US Furniture can also be spotted. They went up right after the no parking filming permits went up. On the one hand, the murals so inessential to the shot, it seems weird that Netflix would’ve shelled out to commission them, on the other hand, it’s a pretty good on the painter’s part that they’d show up on camera if they didn’t.

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LindsayG

Great catches! I’ll be updating the post frequently with all comments. Thanks for contributing :)

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Allie

The episode with the Flaca flashback has a whole lot of St. John’s prep on Crescent and 21st ave! I remember when they were filming last year, they were there all day!

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Kim Celenza

You missed Hellgate on the Park. 19-19 Ditmars. It was the bar scene with the CO’s during their “union meeting”.

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