Fabric Shopping NYC: Astoria Fashion Fabrics

This post is long overdue.  I went shopping here in late September,  hence the short sleeved shirts the people in the pic are wearing.   Part of NYC’s unique culture is the abundance of Mom and Pop stores. This is especially true in the outlying boroughs,   so one day after taking my Grandma to her doctor’s  appt.,  we took a walk over to Astoria Fashion Fabrics,  located at 33-13 30th Ave,  in Astoria Queens.  I wanted to experience a more local and less world famous fabric store while in NYC,  and this was the shop I chose.

Astoria Fabrics 2
A close up of the outside store front.

To say this place is small is an understatement,  however it’s size is typical of local fabric stores I saw while living in Queens.  There are 2 on 37th Ave. in Jackson Heights that are very similar in square footage.  There’s room to stand in the immediate front of the store,  and lucky are you if the fabric you choose comes from there!  The rest of the store has fabric rolls taking up much of the limited walk space,  and you do have to step carefully while perusing.  It’s kind of like a step-over walk that has to be done in order to keep one’s balance and not damage the merchandise.

Astoria Fabrics 3

As you can see,  the place is jam packed full of fabrics,  all the way to the ceiling.   I wanted to buy some kind of plaid fabric for the fall/winter months,  and guess where it was located?  That’s right,  all the way in the back of the store,  right at the center back of the pic where the cardboard ends of the bolts are facing the viewer.  The location of the fabrics I wanted to browse made browsing impossible,  because an employee of the store had to climb up onto a mountain of other fabric bolts to pull out the bolts on the back wall,  a task that was clearly  difficult,  awkward and strenuous.  How could I make this man keep pulling out multiple bolts for me to inspect? Remember,  each one has to be re-shelved if I decide it’s not what I want to buy,  so rather than make him go through all that,  I looked at about 3 of them,  and made a quick decision.  Here’s what I bought:

Plaid 1

Plaid 2
Here’s the plaid taken with a flash.

Aside from the difficulties encountered due to the lack of space,  the store is very affordably priced.  The plaid I bought was $5 a yard (meter).   My Grandma bought 3 large spools of thread for $1.50!  No complaints there. And the lady who ran the cash register at the front of the store was very nice.

All in all,  an unusual fabric shopping experience for me.


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