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Photos courtesy of Unified Queens
Photos courtesy of Unified Queens

Enchanted by the intricate history of our borough, one Astoria company decided to make it into a T-shirt line.

And so World’s Fair 1964 or Astoria Diving Club 1936 are back on T-shirts and canvas bags thanks to Unified Queens, a company launched this past July.

When designing his first products, the founder Robert Duffy worked with a premise: “If people learn about new bands from commercials these days, maybe they can accidentally get a history lesson with a T-shirt?”

 

Duffy told QNS that when he moved to Astoria last year, he was struck by how expansive the history of the borough was.

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“I’d visit Astoria Park and be mesmerized by the abandoned diving board at the pool. When I learned that it was used to conduct Olympic trials in 1936, it sent me down a history rabbit hole! I felt like this, and other historic events and symbols from Queens’ great past would make great designs on clothing and apparel,” Duffy said. “From there we designed a shirt to honor the World’s Fair and also used symbols from an old Queens borough flag on our ‘Queen of Unispheres’ design,” he continued.

Besides designing and selling apparel, Unified Queens decided to document their journey as a small business on a company blog and thereby to connect with other small business in the area to share ideas, learn best practices, and be a great neighbor to everyone around.

“As part of our journey with Unified Queens, I wanted to list every decision we’ve made that has led up to launching our online shop,” Duffy wrote in a blog dedicated to the selection of suitable e-commerce platform. “I’m not saying what we did was the right way, I’m just saying it’s the path we went down.”

While they are selling several vintage Queens-themed products on their website, if you prefer shopping IRL, you can swing by Artist and Fleas Market at 70 North Seventh in Williamsburg on Aug. 13 where Unified Queens has a stand. On Sept. 18, look for them at Ridgewood Market at 657 Fairvew Ave. in Ridgewood.

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