The man, originally from Marrakech, who runs the wonderful, just-opened café where I'm presently sipping a delicious café latté explained to me that it has only been since 9/11 that people have discovered the advantages of living in Astoria. Judging by the minimal level of gentrification, that must be the case. But it begs the question of why it took so long. It's not like the Ditmars Ave. line opened yesterday, after all. And there's a hint of sea in the air here that is hard to come by in Midtown. God, I'd come here every day if I lived here.