New York City sure has a reputation of having hot, sticky summers. 2010 in particular was surely a scorcher. Finding ways to cool down in the warmer months can become almost a part-time job. Here are some way to beat the heat in Astoria.
Astoria Pool is gigantic. Built by the Work Projects Administration (WPA) pool and opened in 1936 it is New York City's largest pool. It measures a whopping 333 feet in length. That's approximately the size of four Olympic-size swimming pools.
The pool was designed to hold 3,000 people, and it's often at capacity in the summer. There is recreational swimming during the daytime (with a break mid-day) and adult lap swimming at 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Admission is free! Be aware that to enter you must have a lined swimsuit and a combination lock with you (to store your belongings in the locker rooms).
Astoria Park Pool in the center of Astoria Park, north-south between Shore Blvd and 19th St and east-west between 23rd and 24th Aves, Astoria, NY, 11105
Astorians are fortunate to have two movie houses, amply air conditioned theaters that are definite safe havens for getting out of the heat and humidity. The Museum of the Moving Image shows a variety of films - animation, indie films, foreign films, and Hollywood films. A short walk away is the UA Kaufman Studios Cinema 14 theater, which shows blockbusters and other commercial movies.
Additionally, Socrates Sculpture Park presents Outdoor Cinema Series each summer in the evenings. The films are engaging, and the location is excellent - on the open lawn at the park, right along the East River.
Museum of the Moving Image, 3601 35th Ave, NY, 718-784-0077
UA Kaufman Studios Cinema 14, 35-30 38th St, Long Island City, NY, 800-326-3264 ext. 623
Ice Cream, Gelato, and Frozen Yogurt
Astoria is full of frozen sweet treats, which are perfect prizes in the quest for a cool down on a hot summer day. Delicious gelato can be found at both La Guli Bakery and Martha's Country Bakery; Cold Stone on Broadway serves sweet conventional American-style ice cream; and Astoria is home to both a chain and independent frozen yogurt - Red Mango and Twirlz.
Other frozen treats include the Watermelon Icy at Waltz Astoria - watermelon and ice ground up together for a naturally sweet frozen treat. Delicious and refreshing Italian ices can be found at La Guli, as well.
La Guli Bakery, 29-15 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria, NY, 718-728-5612
Martha's Country Bakery, 36-21 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria, NY, 718-545-9737
Cold Stone, 3420 Broadway, Astoria, NY, 718-204-7298
Red Mango, 30-58 Steinway St, Astoria, NY, 347-738-4197
Twirlz, 28-17 Astoria Blvd, Astoria, NY, 718-204 1462
Waltz-Astoria, 23-14 Ditmars Boulevard, Astoria, NY, 718-956-8742
Astoria's Beer Gardens
Astoria's beer gardens are true urban oases in the warmer months. Both the beer garden at Bohemian Hall and Studio Square offer large open spaces, perfect for gatherings big and small. Beer flows freely at both beer gardens, with the addition of sangria on tap at Studio Square.
Food-wise, Bohemian focuses on delicious Czech and Slovak food along with an outdoor grill for burgers, dogs, and fries. Studio Square also serves familiar American grilled food, along with sushi, tuna salad sandwiches, and pulled pork.
Both places are superb in the summer.
Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden, 29-19 24th Ave, Astoria, NY 11105, 718-274-4925
Studio Square, 35-33 36th St, NY, 11106, 718-383-1001
Astoria and Long Island City’s Waterfront Parks
A leisurely walk or bike ride along the Astoria/LIC waterfront is a great way to cool down, especially if the breeze is blowing off the East River. There are plenty of places to explore along the way. Highlights include the WW I monument along Shore Boulevard in Astoria Park (you might even catch a bocce game nearby); the leafy waterfront walk at Socrates Sculpture Park; and great views of Manhattan hidden behind Costco (benches available).
Be sure to head to Astoria Park Shore Fest in August, which closes down Shore Boulevard on three successive Sundays. Lots of great activities and ways to connect to the community will be available to all.
Western Queens East River Waterfront, West until you hit the water, Astoria and Long Island City, NY