The neighbourhood of Astoria is located in the North West of Queens in New York City. It is linked to Randall's and Ward's Islands by the Hell Gate Bridge which runs over the East River and, due to its great arch, is said to have been the inspiration for Harbour Bridge in Sydney. The tower of the Hell Gate Bridge is actually situated in Astoria Park in the Ditmars area of town. This area which surrounds Ditmars Boulevard is famous for the number of Greek residents living here but it is actually also home to a thriving Italian community.
There are many Italian run establishments in the neighbourhood including delis, bakeries and restaurants, however the area is especially renowned for its abundance of pizza places which offer an amazing selection of pizza pies and slices.
The residents of this neighbourhood are very proud of Astoria Park, which stretches down to the waterfront and boasts an outdoor swimming pool - the oldest and largest in the city - a butterfly garden and a court for the popular Italian game of bocce. The park is also often used by movie film crews, as is the entire Astoria neighbourhood. The 1990 Martin Scorcese film 'Goodfellas' starring Robert de Niro, Joe Pesci and Ray Liotta was actually filmed on location here.
Sicilian Connections first heard about the Ditmars Boulevard Italian community when reading about the Chickalini family in Wendy Markhams's enchanting book 'That's Amore'.