Health and Fitness

Jennifer Weil

This month’s Meet Astoria profile is about Jennifer Weil or known to some on Instagram as @Astoriabout. Born in Houston, TX, Jennifer calls Atlanta home, after Astoria. Jennifer and her mom picked up and moved every two or so years when she was growing up, mostly between Tennessee and Georgia. She went to high school in a town outside of Atlanta, called Decatur, then moved to Florida to attend the University of Florida. After she graduated from college in 2007, she made a beeline for New York, landing first in LIC, then in Astoria in 2008, and has lived here ever since.

QS: You work for Queens Community House (QCH), tell me a little about that.

JW: I first heard about Queens Community House when I was on a job hunt in 2008. My bachelor’s degree is in Family, Youth and Community Sciences so I’d been searching for nonprofit work. Right off the bat, I was very impressed with the organization’s mission and wide variety of programming. I got the job and ran their Forest Hills Afterschool Program for about five years. In 2013, I left QCH for a nonprofit job in the city, but found my way back “home” this past year in an entirely new role. Because of the positive feedback I’d gotten from my Instagram page, Astoriabout, and other projects throughout my career, I decided to try my hand at Communications and Marketing. Now I’m QCH’s Communications Coordinator, meaning I get to celebrate its 50 free social service programs located in 32 sites across Queens – as a job! It’s nonstop, but highly rewarding, work. (Shameless plug: to learn more about Queens Community House, visit our website at www.qchnyc.org or visit our Instagram page at @qchnyc.)

QS: Where did the name “Astoriabout” come from?

JW: Astoriabout started as a Blogspot blog, which only my mom subscribed to (thanks mom!). I think I wrote one entry before I realized blogging wasn’t for me and abandoned it. The idea behind the name was to tell “a story about” something in the neighborhood.

A few years later, I wasn’t on any form of social media when a friend opened an Instagram account for me as a joke. I remembered the old blog “Astoriabout” and used it as my handle. I was planning to use a picture of myself as my profile picture, but couldn’t find a good one, so I temporarily used a classic smiley face as a placeholder, and it ended up sticking.

QS: What are some of your favorite things about Astoria?

JW: My favorite thing about Astoria is its community. It’s the feeling of belonging. With bustling Manhattan right across the river, Astoria feels like the small town I always dreamt of growing up in. My favorite thing to do in Astoria is walk around alone. That's when I feel it the strongest. It's the front yards, and the roses, and the window displays, and the holiday decorations, the gardeners, the business owners, the quiet streets, the bridges, the park, the smells – oh my goodness the smells! When you get off the train after midnight at Ditmars Blvd, the air smells of freshly baked bread, and you know tomorrow morning you can visit Rose and Joe’s for a cup of 99-cent drip coffee and a batch of fresh biscotti.

I love that you can walk around and know people. And I’m surrounded by creative and passionate neighbors who are quick to support each other. You can do anything you set your mind to in Astoria, and your neighbors will support you.

Oh, and all the grilled octopus! And the $3 cappuccinos from Coffee Pot. And the fresh, warm mozzarella from Rosario’s. And shopping at Parrot for olives and grape leaves. And the $2 empanadas from La Sabrosura. And the feta selection at Titan! And the feta cubes appetizer at Ovelia – I am starving! Follow me on Instagram @astoriabout to hear a story about all the many things I love about this neighborhood.

—Melissa Mennona

  
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2018-11-01 digital edition