O, Astoria!

In the light of Lonely Planet’s recent pick for #1 destination to travel within the US, I shall talk about how much I loved Queens – specifically Astoria, home to the Ranch – when I lived in New York.

photo courtesy of New York Times

photo courtesy of New York Times

Let the hipsters in Brooklyn condescend Queens and let Manhattanites act like the civilization ends with the Queensboro Bridge and you need to commute with donkeys after. I’m a proud former Astorian.

Yes, Brooklyn may have the hippest, coolest places, can it compare to the niceness of Queens people? And the commute… The places you can actually afford now in Brooklyn are so far that it’s really difficult for people who work in the city. Don’t even get me started on the L or the G train… I love the N train! Commute is so convenient to the city if you live on the N line that you start planning your social life based on whether or not where you’re going is close to N,Q line. Both Central Park and Prospect Park are on the N or Q line, I worked in Midtown, and Herald Sq Stop was 20 min. away, Union Sq, East Village, Soho, Chinatown… And it’s on the major transfer hubs, so if you do need to transfer, it’s not difficult.

When I lived at the Ranch, it was at the last stop (Ditmars) of the N/Q trains, so if and when I fall asleep on the train, kind strangers would gently wake me up so I wouldn’t find myself going back and forth and finally at a strange & bad neighborhood (I’m not saying it didn’t happen anyway at 4 AM one night, but it happened much less than any other places).

30th Ave after Greece's win of a game in the FIFA '14

30th Ave after Greece’s win of a game in the FIFA ’14

Astoria has the nicest, friendliest people. There is this shared feeling of ‘I know I live in the coolest neighborhood, but it’s hard for other people to understand’. The local bodegas, laundromat people, coffee shops, waiters and bartenders are always so friendly and give you some slack if you are short on money by dimes or nickles.

And Astoria Park? Just pretty!

Don’t even get me started on the food! Ah, the food. So so delicious. I may be partial to the food because I’m Turkish, and it’s a Greek neighborhood, which is basically the same food (sorry Turks and Greeks, we gotta just admit we eat the same stuff and get on with our lives without caring who came up with what).

Not just the Greek food, almost everything is more delicious there. So here are some of my humble recommendations if you go to Astoria (and you should).


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Of Concepts and Content…

The Ranch and some of its inhabitants

The Ranch and some of its inhabitants

Hello again!

As Ece mentioned in her post, we lived in a little place called The Ranch. As the name suggests, its one of those eccentric places that only exists in NY.

After spending 3 months in NYC, the lease at my first place (a room with a lovely view of the opposing building that I rented from a lady who looked astounding like my mother. I know, it was so odd!) So back I went to Criag’s List, to hopefully find a sublet with someone who scored at least a 5 or below on the creeper scale.

Enter Craig’s List Ad 437895.

Visiting the place with a friend, I loved the co-op feel of the place and decided to move in on the spot. It might also have helped that they gave me ice cream and chocolate syrup to welcome me. I’m such a sucker for ice cream.

Our Alter Egos!

Our Alter Egos!

When I moved in, we had 3 other roommates: a Greek artist, a Korean exchange student and an editor at BroBible.com. Just a snippet of our eclectic gang.

The Ranch rapidly became home, and we went through a multitude of adventures: surviving both Hurricanes Irene and Sandy, introducing Bubble Tea to a Frenchman, arguing the origins of Tzatziki, hunting down an organic turkey for our Italian Thanksgiving chef, among others.




Pillow Fight @ Washington Square Park. Beware the angry roommates!

Pillow Fight @ Washington Square Park. Beware the angry roommates!


losing at Yahtzeeeeeee


we went looking for Shepard Fairley and found Flushing ;)

We went looking for Shepard Fairley and found Flushing 😉

This blog is a reflection of the people that we are, a concept board of everything that we’re interested in. You’ll see us wax lyrical about travel, book reviews, cool projects that we think are worth looking at, etc. So make with it what you will and leave us comments and reviews.