October 25, 2016

The Astor Room’s Old Hollywood Charm


Hollywood isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Astoria. But Kaufman Astoria Studios, a massive complex in Queens with all the gray charm of a penitentiary, has been producing films for nearly a century, beginning with silent pictures, in the nineteen-twenties, and continuing into the streaming age—“Orange Is the New Black” is filmed there today. A door on the west side of the building opens to a marble staircase that Groucho Marx, Rudolph Valentino, and Gloria Swanson once descended to dine in the studio commissary, a space that, in 2014, was refurbished into a speakeasy. But the atmosphere is far from clandestine—the Astor Room has become a popular watering hole for gregarious locals.

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