Astoria, Featured, Food and Drink
May 02, 2018

Amidst a Major Subway Shutdown, #WHABacksTheBusiness

This article is also featured in Volume VI of The Paper! Every Astorian has been affected in some way by the MTA-mandated shutdowns of the 30th Ave and 36th Ave (…)

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This article is also featured in Volume VI of The Paper!

Every Astorian has been affected in some way by the MTA-mandated shutdowns of the 30th Ave and 36th Ave stations. For many residents, it’s meant a longer commute, more crowded stations, and an overall disruption to your routine.

While the shutdowns have certainly caused headaches for residents, the impact they’ve had on businesses have been even more profound. Many business owners have reported a decrease in foot traffic, resulting in lower customer turnout and shrinking profits.

But this is NOT another “gloom and doom” article. What is this? A call to ACTION!

Visiting Astoria Coffee is just one way to take part in our challenge! Photo Credit: Niki Loki

To support our friends and neighbors who keep our neighborhood buzzing, we’re launching #WHABacksTheBusiness. The goal is simple: we want Astorians to lace up those sneakers and visit our neighborhood small businesses that we all know and love, but are maybe currently a little out of the way. Who’s up for a fun challenge?

Here’s how it will work: For the month of May, cut out the fancy Bingo Card in Volume 6 of The Paper, or (or simply print out a screenshot of the graphic above!) and stop by as many of the participating businesses as possible.  Once you’ve enjoyed your drink, meal, haircut, or grabbed a great bottle of wine, get a signature at your point of purchase. Once you’ve received four or more stamps, take to social media and (humble)brag about your adventures! Post a photo of yourself (clearly showing the number of signatures you’ve received) and include the hashtag #WHABacksTheBusiness. We’ll be raffling off some sweet prizes, including gift certificates from the participating businesses!

We all know and love so many incredible businesses throughout the neighborhood, so get out there and support them, Astoria!

To give you a taste of the people you’ll be supporting, here are some local business owners reflecting on our Astoria community, and what it means to have the support of the neighborhood….

Grand Wine & Liquors owner Bob Battipaglia:

Photo Credit: Niki Loki


“My store has been here in Astoria for over 75 years. I am the third generation running this business. My Grandfather started as a small neighborhood store.  My Dad expanded it and grew it to the business it is today.”

“The highlight for me in owning a business on 30th avenue has been meeting and getting to know many of the other business owners on the avenue.  We have formed a bond that is very strong. The subway shutdown has forced us to get together and in doing so we have found that we all have the same challenges and the same goals. There are so many wonderful people I have met and that has truly been the silver lining during this terrible situation.”


Katch Astoria General Manager Roesann McSorley:


“Our customers make 30th avenue a special place to own a business. They are so wonderful and supportive – 30th Avenue is a special place because of the people that live around the area.”

“The MTA needs to consider helping the business owners who are losing business every day due to the closures- some are down as much as 70 percent and others are closing shop.”


William Hallet owner George Rallis:


Photo Credit: Niki Loki

“Since the shutdown we are down 30% compared to the same time last year. You would think those in charge would have put more thought into the effect this shutdown would have on the community as a whole, not just businesses but those who have to walk the extra distance to get to a train. “


The Chela & Garnacha crew and family:

Photo Credit: Niki Loki

“We love 36th Avenue because of the diversity of people, cuisines and ideas. On 36th Avenue between 31st street and 36th Street you have the option of eating Mexican, Brazilian, French, Venezuelan, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Italian, American, Spanish food and more. There are so many wonderful options to choose from. The culture diversity is what makes 36th Ave so special.”

“The main highlight of being an Astoria business owner is the great customer base. Whether we are doing deliveries, take out or serving in our restaurant, our customers are warm, friendly and patient. We couldn’t ask for a better group of people to provide delicious food for.”

The shut down on 36th Ave harshly affected our late Autumn & Winter months severely. The foot traffic around the area was noticeably different. January was one of our worst months since we opened in Summer, 2014.  We are lucky to have phenomenal customers, loyal enough to stick by us through this rough patch.”


Astoria Coffee owner Elizabeth Wick:


Photo Credit: Niki Loki

“Ever since we moved to Astoria, we’ve lived on or near 30th Avenue. With the coffee shop right there too, the proximity fosters a real closeness and connectedness with our neighbors and our friends. There’s always someone around to celebrate some achievement with, or to lend a helping hand if need be. We are so grateful for the relationships we’ve fostered thanks to 30th Ave and Astoria as a whole.

“While it’s been difficult to lose the regular traffic, it’s been an incredible feeling to see our regulars coming in still. They no doubt go out of their way to include us in their day. Many have been coming in for years or even since we opened. It’s been these kinds of things that have characterized much of this experience with the subway closure.”


Thank you to all business owners for participating; we are here for you! All right, Astoria: are you up for a challenge! (I’m pretty sure the answer is HELL YEAH.) So get out there and support these wonderful businesses!




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.

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