Art, Coffee, Featured, Food and Drink
Jul 22, 2016

Tell Us: What Are You Grateful For?

With all of the bad news circling these days, it’s nice to take a moment and reflect on what we’re thankful for. Living in such a wonderful, vibrant community is (…)

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With all of the bad news circling these days, it’s nice to take a moment and reflect on what we’re thankful for. Living in such a wonderful, vibrant community is definitely something we can all take a step back to appreciate, and one man has teamed up with local businesses to share this notion.

Artist Teddy Droseros recently published an eco-friendly gratitude journal: his artwork adorns the cover and his personal thoughts about happiness are reflected in the pages. He had the idea to start a gratefulness initiative, leaving journals in local businesses (with the owner’s permission, of course!) and encouraging customers to jot down their happy, positive thoughts. The response has been overwhelmingly encouraging!

The books have been left at local favorites like Ginger Organic, Astoria Coffee, and OK Cafe. We spoke to a few of their owners, who are big fans of the initiative.

From Giselle, owner of OK Cafe:

“Teddy was a customer and he reached out to us with this idea because we are a community hub and his project is very community based, but with a universal appeal. OK Cafe is a place where people really enjoy connecting with their neighbors and this is a natural extension of that.”

And what makes Giselle grateful?

“I’m grateful to be able to live and work where I really love to be. I’m a huge Astoriaphile. 
It’s a true 3 dimensional, multi generational neighborhood that embraces many cultures and its a thrill to call home. Astoria has its own gregarious attitude that’s so welcoming. New comers are as much of its fabric as long time residents. There is so much to do, and so many great restaurants. I really have fun! I’m also grateful for all of the new friendships I’ve made through the cafe. We have amazing guests and an incredible staff. Im thankful that we’ve been been well received. I guess I’m grateful for a lot!”

Another fan of the initiative is Dennis Lee, the friendly owner of Astoria Coffee. He says,

“It’s certainly been a good fit for our cafe but I also think it’s universal. Any situation that a person is allowed a moment to reflect on their lives and externalize their gratitude is I’m sure a good fit for the project….It’s been great to see customers notice the journal while waiting in line or for drinks and to see that they are compelled to think about the things they are grateful for. I see that people also enjoy reading the other entries. The journal itself is nicely put-together and Teddy’s cover design is eye-catching; I think people are drawn to that as well.”

And what is Dennis grateful for?

“We live and work in Astoria, so there’s a lot to be grateful for. We’re incredibly fortunate to be able to form and deepen relationships with the residents and businesses in the neighborhood every day. Our customers are so supportive of us and we’re beyond flattered by that response. The neighborhood has created an opportunity to grow roots in this community and we’re very thankful for that.”

For more information on the Grateful Peoples Initiative, check out their official website here.

Your turn, Astoria! What are YOU grateful for? Share with us on Facebook and in the comments!



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.



Great subway access, restaurants/bars/cafes, Astoria Park. That all goes without saying! But what I really love is the ethnic diversity, and the fact that Astoria still has some of that old-school outer-borough vibe (which I hope can remain despite rapid gentrification). I love all the new establishments that have opened up…some really great coffeeshops…endless high-quality dining options…but I also love the long-standing markets, diners and mom-pop shops, which I think it is very important we all support; otherwise, they will not be able to afford their escalating rents, and we will lose some of Astoria’s character.

When people learn that I live in Astoria, I have to temper some of my enthusiasm when talking about it, as I don’t want Astoria to become ‘too popular’ or fall victim to Williamsburgization. ;-)

Sketkh Williams

This is gonna sound hokey, but Astoria has created such a safe haven for my friends and I to foster a safe place for us to exist.
It really is home to a specific type of tribe of New Yorkers that we can’t always explain what we all have in common other than we simply love Astoria, and the people in it.


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