"A quiet internationalism"
The fact that it shares the same name as Manhattan's Broadway invites comparison, but there are few similarities. You know what you're getting with a street in Astoria, and it certainly isn't flashing signs, dinner theater, and girls kicking up their legs in a choreographed line. Broadway in Astoria is made up of mostly two-and-three story buildings, a mix of residential and commercial. It is a vein of sorts for Queens, since it's a long street that provides a commercial focus for residents from the even quieter residential side streets. But it has the feel of a main street in a small town, rather than a central line in a major metropolis. Distinctive here is the relatively low rate of mega-chains, and the high rate of mom-and-pop establishments. You get the impression every nail salon, every martial arts school, every diner and bakery, has an owner who lives right around the corner. The ethnic and cultural diversity of the residents is really impressive. Unlike neighborhoods in Manhattan and Brooklyn, where various immigrants settled in uniform clumps—Chinatown, or the Polish Greenpoint in Broolyn, or the Lower East Side's Jewish settlement—Astoria is a truly diverse place, with a mix of cultural backgrounds on every street.