When I did the first interview on this site, with Vesta’s Giuseppe Falco, my journalism skills were rather rusty.  One thing I asked was a put-you-on-the-spot question, “can you think of three words or phrases you would use to describe the neighborhood?”

Giuseppe came up with a fabulous first word, “devoted”.  But I didn’t continue the thread with a follow-up question.  “Why devoted?”  “Devoted to what?”  etc.

Now I am glad that the word devoted stands on its own, un-elaborated and unqualified.  The rest of the interviews on the website will fill out the answer by themselves.  They are already doing so.

Giuseppe’s other two phrases were “close-knit” and “arts-oriented”.  At first I was surprised that he didn’t mention Astoria’s ethnic diversity.   Of course one of the most interesting things is that he didn’t mention diversity.

Astoria may be among the most ethnically-diverse neighborhoods in the world but that is not first and foremost in the minds of many people who live here.  It’s so much part of the fabric of the streets that people take it as a given or, as Teofila Cambeiro said, “feel like I am all nationalities.”  Many people are a mix of several ethnicities and feel American above anything else.  Or for some others, their own immediate community is so extensive and  yet close-knit that there isn’t a need (or time) to explore beyond it other than for interactions in the shops and on the sidewalks.

There are also so many different types of diversity at play.  That  is what makes the neighborhood work well as a whole.  There is, at the moment, diversity of age, of income, of profession, of interests.  Long may it stay that way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *