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Gift Shopping, Film Screenings, and Beer Gardens in Astoria

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Driely S.

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Astoria manages to do the impossible by continuing to grow as a desirable spot for young professionals, but not booming into an area with streets you can barely push through on Saturdays. It's close to midtown Manhattan but still feels removed from the chaos, plus there's a mix of under-the-radar restaurants, shops, and culture—no wonder more and more people are moving there.

Tomorrow, hop an N train across the East River for a day of brunching, shopping, and exploring that just might have you contemplating a neighborhood change.

Snowdonia is a Trappist-style gastropub that refers to the Belgian orders of monks that make beer. You’re in for a menu of Northern and Western European comfort dishes that hit the spot for essential brunch cravings, like an English breakfast, a smoked salmon plate, crispy skate and eggs, or a burger with smoked gouda.

Patrons of Astoria Bookshop (31-29 31st Street) praise the store's selection and the staff's service—two things that go a long way in making a bookstore visit both successful and enjoyable. The shop's cozy environment is the perfect setting to get lost in the stacks, take a relaxing reading break, and leave with exactly what you were looking for.

Lockwood (3215 33rd Street) is one-stop shopping in the most eclectic way. You’ll find unique home décor, locally made accessories, tees and jewelry, irresistible apothecary items and quirky kitchen gadgets. Perfectly arranged to avoid that overwhelming effect, the store offers the kind of inventory you could spend hours poring over, deciding whether you’re getting something for yourself, as a gift, or both.

For the flea market experience condensed into one store, head to The Furniture Market (22-08 Astoria Boulevard). The shop is packed with both beautiful antiques and quirky reminders of more recent pop culture. And bargaining is par for the course here, so you can pay as close to what you want for that mid-century dresser, Victorian mirror, kimono-print couch, or record player as possible.

Beloved vintage haven, Loveday 31 (33-06 31st Avenue) is one of Astoria’s best-kept secrets. Masterfully displayed to make the something-for-everyone selection easy to shop, the store has plenty to offer in specific areas like sequined items and clutches. Make sure to leave time for the shoe section (where you can find pairs from the likes of Versace) and the party-ready jewelry picks.

Throw yourself into film, TV, and digital media at The Museum of Moving Image (36-01 35th Avenue) by exploring behind-the-scenes magic and watching the finished products. Exhibits going on right now include a look at how films are made, the animation of "Looney Tunes" artist Chuck Jones and the work of the legendary Jim Henson. And not to be missed is what the museum does best: screenings. This Saturday, catch "The Muppets at the Movies" or "Teddy Girls."

Astoria inhabitants know the joy of taking it easy on the great lawn in Astoria Park (19th Street between Astoria Park South and Ditmars Boulevard). On your way, swing by Sweet Jane’s (27-17 24th Avenue) for a delectable frozen treat —there are dairy-free options, Italian ices and traditional ice creams in not-so-traditional flavors like blueberry lavender and avocado tequila lime. After enjoying your ice cream on your stroll to the lawn, check out the park’s pool, walking trails, and tennis courts.

Before the boom of beer halls and gardens, Bohemian Beer Garden (29-19 24th Avenue) was drawing crowds with its traditional Czech atmosphere and welcoming outdoor area—stepping through the doors makes you feel like you’ve left the five boroughs. Linger the afternoon away at the communal tables out back with pitchers of beer and pretzels while enjoying live music.

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Loveday 31

33-06 31st Avenue, Astoria, NY 11103 (718) 728-4057 Visit Website