Old Astoria Shop Owner Coins New Name for the Neighborhood
by Clare Doyle
Natassa Contini, owner of local business the pet store/café Chateau Le Woof, has a new name for the part of Astoria west of 21st Street, between Astoria Park and Broadway—it’s “Westoria.” DNAInfo reports that Contini started to use the hashtag #Westoria on Chateau Le Woof’s Instagram posts “as a way to draw attention to the stores, restaurants and local landmarks in the area, which has traditionally seen less foot traffic than other parts of Astoria.”
Richard Khuzami, President of Old Astoria Neighborhood Association, is quoted by DNAinfo the following: “I don’t mind (Natassa’s actions). I’m glad that people at least are taking part in where they live, regardless of the name. That shows that they’re proud to be from this area.”. Also, this is an indication of the promising economic prospects for “Old Astoria”. However, to avoid any confusion, Mr. Khuzami and OANA state that the legitimate name of this area is “Old Astoria”, and neither he nor OANA endorse or intend to support any name changes.
Some have suggested that since “Astoria” covers a large geographic area, new nicknames can promote a feeling of identity and pride in one’s immediate community. But others might counter that the old names for sections of Astoria—Dutch Kills, Ravenswood, Hallets Cove, Ditmars—are still used by many and familiar to most residents. Local historian Mitch Waxman could even make a persuasive case for reviving the former Sunswick Creek.
What do you think? Will “Westoria” as a concept take off? If you had to come up with a new nickname for your own particular part of western Queens, what would it be? Leave your suggestions in the comments!
Ravenswood Houses, photo credit Jackie Strawbridge
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