by Adam Kuban, 07/16/2013
Photo: Joe Buglewicz
One of the neighborhood’s gems is its leafy 60-acre Astoria Park. Perched partially on a gently sloping hill that affords sweeping views up and down the East River, the park is home to the City’s oldest and largest swimming pool—which was used for qualifying events for the 1936 and 1964 Olympics—as well as bocce courts, playgrounds, a running track and a skate park. Another of the neighborhood’s beloved outdoor spaces is Athens Square Park, which the park association revamped in 1990 to “create a little bit of Athens in Astoria.” The statues of Socrates, Aristotle and Athena surround the amphitheater that plays host to Greek Night (Tuesdays, 7:30–9pm) as well as Italian Night (Wednesdays); both events entail music and dancing. The area’s Rainey Park, on Vernon Boulevard and 34th Avenue, is also popular (and packed on weekends) and has a riverfront promenade with views of Roosevelt Island.