One of the loveliest businesses in Astoria is the La Guli Pastry Shop on Ditmars Boulevard. Family-owned, this store has been dispensing handmade sweets, pastries and gelato since 1937, always at the same location. The family is hands on, the old owner there when I visited, busy straightening chairs and making sure everything was running smoothly.
La Guil presents a particularly attractive facade to the street, what with its curving display windows, attractive displays and delicate neon signs advertising Gelato and Spumoni. I can see from old pictures inside that the store did lose, at one point, a marvelous neon sign that sat directly above the store. It has been replaced by an awning.
Inside there are old dark wood wooden cabinets along the left hand wall, and a small seating area in the back. It's as charming and welcoming as you might expect.
The place was founded by Palermo native Paolo Nataro, who had two pastry shops in Manhattan from 1920 on before moving to the wilds of Astoria in 1937. Paolo's son Rosario now runs the shop with his daughter, Maria. Rosario grew up in the apartment above the shop. I'm a bit confused about the name of the place, since the founding family's name is Nataro.