I was homeless for one month in August last year (not really, just waiting for my new roommate's lease to run out, but I did not have a home of my own) and bunked with a very nice gentleman in Astoria, Queens. It's really a great place, very neighborhoody, with great coffee shops and creperies up and down Broadway below Steinway street.
My favorite find out there, however, is a cute vintage clothing store called Loveday 31. The woman who owns the shop finds vintage pieces and remakes them into something modern. They also have jewelry and bags, for reasonable prices, and you can usually bargain with her to get the prices even lower.
Loveday 31st Avenue, just East of 33rd Street.Just read in the NYTimes that a furniture version of Loveday opened up, and can't wait to check it out!
Site Design 35-11 34th Ave., Astoria (they're webiste's not quite up yet, but check back soon if you're not located in NY!)