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Monday, April 21, 2014
The Other Astoria
Astoria city councilor Arline LaMear told the council Monday that some overtures regarding a possible "sister city" relationship with Astoria, New York have been made by the Queens neighborhood. Mayor Van Dusen suggested the idea be forwarded to the city sister city committee. That group normally devotes itself to the relationship Astoria shares with Waldorf, Germany which results in student exchanges and some dignitaries visiting between the two cities annually. Councilor Peter Roscoe says he thinks that the sister city program is intended to improve international relations but he says "rules are meant to be broken" encouraging more discussion about the idea.
While it isn't clear that the idea will go any further, KAST news has discovered some interesting similarities between left-coast Astoria and right-coast Astoria.
Historically, both are named for John Jacob Astor who was the richest man in America in his day with an empire estimated to be worth about $40 million dollars. Astoria, New York is actually a neighborhood in the Burrough of Queens that made a deal with Astor to name the area after him if he made a $2000.00 investment in the neighborhood. Astor invested $500.00 but still had naming rights after a bitter battle. Astor never set foot in Astoria, Queens and, while his descendants have visited our Astoria, Astor never set foot here either. So we have that much in common.
Right-coast Astoria has been used as the backdrop for many feature films and television shows over the years the same as left-coast Astoria. Both communities have film museums. In right-coast Astoria is the Museum of The Moving Image and, in left-coast Astoria we have The Oregon Film Museum. This is remarkable when you consider how few film museums operate in the U.S.
In Queens, Astoria Park is the biggest and most popular and fronts the East River, much as our riverwalk fronts the Columbia. The Park contains a popular Aquatic Center that has had it's issues quite similar to the Astoria Aquatic Center here.
It's not clear at this time whether the matter of a sister city relationship will develop beyond the talking stage.
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