Queens Together, a restaurant advocacy group launched in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, has launched a new effort to support local support of cultural institutions, shops and eateries in western Queens with its “KAD Passport,” an online guide to 15 of the very best attractions in Astoria’s Kaufman Arts District.
The KAD Passport features the neighborhood’s culinary and cultural institutions such as the performing arts high school founded by Astoria’s favorite son Tony Bennett; New York City’s only ukulele emporium; and a host of restaurants, including Mexican cantinas, late-night Desi kebab stands, a bistro featuring French crepes from Brittany and Astoria’s only Nigerian eatery. The guide was written and compiled by Joe DiStefano, a local food guru, tour guide and the author of “111 Places in Queens That You Must Not Miss.”
“This is home for me. I moved to Astoria in the mid-90s and immediately started doing craft service and catering for film and TV studios in New York City,” Queens Together Executive Director Jonathan Forgash said. “For 25 years I worked in and around Kaufman Astoria Studios. They are an anchor in the neighborhood. Kaufman provides jobs, supports families and sponsors events for all to enjoy. The district and its cultural and culinary institutions are living, breathing history. I’m excited to share it.”
The online KAD Passport is available to download for free at queenstogether.org. Participants are encouraged to start their KAD tours at the Kaufman Astoria Studios iconic Main Gate at the corner of 35th Avenue and 36th Street.
“As Queen’s first cultural district, we have always banded together to support the arts and our neighborhood,” Kaufman Arts District Board of Directors President Tracy Capune said. “Today, as many restaurant owners struggle in our district and around Kaufman Astoria Studios, we are happy to join Queens Together to promote and provide assistance to unique restaurants that you can only find in the Kaufman Arts District.”
The district is home to a community of cultural institutions that support emerging artists. Founded by the Kaufman Astoria Studios, the Museum of Moving Image and the Queens Council on the Arts, KAD spans more than 24 blocks and serves to advocate for the arts in the neighborhood.
For more information visit the Kaufman Arts District website here.