It has been an interesting few days. I got together with DJ Belladonna at The Quays this weekend to discuss the state of nightlife in Astoria. Her regular Subkulture and Grooveskool nights at Hell Gate Social have been growing every month. She's also a Queens native, which made me feel a bit less self-conscious about wanting to see my kind of nightlife in Astoria. There is always this sort of fear that working in that direction would make me one of those transplants. An interloper who ruins what's good about a neighborhood. Having first-hand confirmation that there are people who've lived here all of their lives want a stronger nightlife makes me less wary about working towards that.
We discussed a lot of the positive growth seen over the last year or so. Why Leave Astoria?, a social networking site for the neighborhood, run by Ran Caycraft, has played a key role in connecting Astorians with others in the community who are interested in the same things. The site seems to largely cater to the 20s to 30s crowd, but it does so very well. They've recently introduced a Perks Card, which gives access to discounts throughout Astoria.
I think the part I like most about WLA is that it is building community amongst the people who haven't lived here all of their lives. It is very easy to live in a neighborhood like Astoria, enjoy the restaurants and shops, and never really know your neighbors. But that leaves out crucial parts of the Astoria experience. You're not really a part of the neighborhood if you don't participate. You just live here.