Immigrant Communities in Astoria, Queens

The project delves into the history of immigration in Astoria, Queens. Today, Astoria is a unique, prosperous community with immigrant communities from all over the world.

Project summary

This project focuses on the history of immigration in Astoria, Queens. We digitally document the traces of different immigrant communities in Astoria through the use of StoryMaps, walking tours, photo libraries, and podcasting with interviews. We strive to understand the different elements of a place – its people, food, architecture, street art, community organizations, memorials- that make a neighborhood.

Immigrant communities in Astoria include Greek, Italian, Dutch, Czech, Moroccan, Egyptian, Mexican, and Brazilian, among others. We want to know: what cultural traditions have remained after their move to the U.S.? What have their interactions with other immigrant groups been like? In what ways do they feel like they have become Americanized? What was their transition into New York City and the United States like? Do they have any stories that encapsulate this transition? How does Astoria reflect their identity, if at all? In what ways do they feel like their connection to their home country has increased? What do they miss most about their home country? Will they move out of Astoria?

01 Podcasts

02 Walking Tour

03 Photo Gallery

04 Historical Maps

05 Timeline


These podcasts are interviews with representatives of different communities within Astoria. We aim to provide some context for their experiences, but also give others a sense of what it is like to live in this neighborhood as part of an immigrant group.

Episode 1: Introduction

Dana and Ivy explain their project and give us some insight into the story of Astoria.

Episode 2: Nomiki Kastanas and Greek Astoria

Dana and Ivy speak with Nomiki about her family and their experience as Greek Americans in New York.

Astoria Walking Tour

Explore Astoria yourself! This walking tour highlights the different immigrant communities’ impact on the landscape of the neighborhood. Visit parks, restaurants, bakeries, museums, and more!

Queens: 27th Avenue – 9th Street

The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1937

Historical Maps of Astoria

A collection of maps that show Astoria from 1609 to the late 19th century. Once known as Newtown, this small, Dutch farming village grew into a thriving, diverse neighborhood of New York City. Before the Dutch settled here, the Native Americans settled the area of Astoria, focusing on fishing and raising maize.


This timeline documents the general patterns of immigration to Astoria over time, since the seventeenth century to the present day.

Plan of the city of New York in North America : surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767

The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1776.


Dutch settle New Amsterdam


English take over and rename the colony New York

1624 - 1850

New wave of German immigration at the same time that New York industrializes


Jewish, Italian, Irish, and Czech immigration


Greek immigration after the 1965 Immigration Act gets rid of nationality quotas


North African/Arab/Middle Eastern immigration


Latin American immigration


Our research centered on the immigration patterns to Astoria, Queens from the seventeenth to the twenty-first centuries.


In exploring Astoria, we wondered, what makes up a neighborhood? We saw the different faces of people living there, their homes, their grocery stores, their churches, health centers, restaurants, parks, and train stations. All of those pieces contribute to what Astoria is, but none of them fully capture what it means to be part of a neighborhood. The more we thought about it, the more we felt that a neighborhood was made up of the interactions of all these things. They are all interconnected in a web that pulses and changes with each person there. There is community building and conflict. Monsignor Ferrarese, in an interview we conducted, said that immigrants in Astoria live in New York City during the day, but they go home to Ecuador or the Philippines at night. We are trying to document and understand these tensions between groups or within groups, but also how Astorians overlap or come together in their community. We did this by walking the neighborhood, interviewing residents, and researching the history of Astoria.

We utilized a number of sources: resident interviews, historical maps, old photographs, building histories, surveys, census data, and previous research conducted by NYC Park Service.

Resident interviews were recorded and are used at the discretion of the interviewees. The historical maps of Astoria can be found in the NYPL collection. Present-day photographs were taken by researchers. We referenced a number of websites from businesses, museums, OANA, newspapers, and libraries.



Dana Kirkegaard

Dana is a history student at New York University, interested in 20th Century American and Latin American history. She is an editor for NYU’s undergraduate history journal, The Historian. Dana also works in Communications for the United Nations Fund for Population Activities, the UN’s sexual and reproductive health rights agency. She is from Des Moines, Iowa and lives in New York City.

Ivy Johnston

Currently residing in Astoria, Ivy will graduate from NYU in May 2019 with a B.A. in Political Science and History. She hopes to pursue a future in Education and Public History. Her interest in NYU’s VIP stems from a desire to learn more about the community she lives in and to communicate the layered fabric of Astoria to others on a digital platform.

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