Monday, December 13, 2010

The Last Day At The Forest Hills OTB

....  told beautifully, and quite sadly, by The Times:

N.Y. / REGION
A Hole in Old Routines After OTB Parlors’ Last Day
By MICHAEL WILSON
Published: December 13, 2010
As bettors collected their winnings, regulars mourned the loss of a favorite hangout in one of the last New York City OTB parlors to close.

For those of you who are so eager to see OTB close, think of it this way—instead of heading on down to the OTB, the next generation will most likely do their gambling in the confines of their own homes, via their computers, over the internet. Probably without the friendly camaraderie that comes from years of the same old daily routine. Possibly with no one to warn them when it's time to stop.

Holiday Scenes

Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center

Inside our very own Irish Cottage.


The Plaza Hotel

Lincoln Center

Walmart Won't Waver

From The Times:
Published: December 12, 2010
Despite previous retreats in the face of community opposition, Wal-Mart is seeking sites in the five boroughs. 
Wal-Mart is looking at properties in each of the five boroughs and has hired Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s former campaign manager, Bradley Tusk, to help coordinate its lobbying efforts.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Harold & Kumar Go To Forest Hills

The shoot for Harold & Kumar 3 will be taking place on Austin St. near Ascan this Tuesday.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

12/17 Christmas Fundraiser Concert To Help Restore The Historic First Presbyterian Church of Newtown - Relic of Lost History of Queens!



The historic First Presbyterian Church of Newtown NEEDS YOUR HELP! All are invited to a Christmas Concert & Restoration Fundraiser on Friday, December 17th at 7:30 PM at the church, on the south side of Queens Blvd & 54th Ave in Elmhurst, near the Grand Ave subway entrance. For more information, contact: 

Church Historian Marjorie Melikian: (718) 897-5668 
Preservationist Michael Perlman, Chair of Rego-Forest Preservation Council & Queens VP of 4 Borough Neighborhood Preservation Alliance:
 (917) 446-7775, unlockthevault@hotmail.com http://regoforestpreservation.blogspot.com/2010/12/1217-christmas-fundraiser-concert-to.html

This church is endangered not by developers which have recently undermined the integrity of historic religious institutions, but is endangered since it is in need of some major repairs to its 1895 building, including weatherproofing, electrical work, roofing, refinishing, and the cleaning and repair of stained glass. Although there is no admission fee, a free will offering will be collected, to benefit the restoration and upgrades of one of Queens' greatest "Landmarks at heart!" Please help by spreading the word, and bringing your family and friends.

The concert is a joint venture of the First Presbyterian Church of Newtown choir with another choral group, known as the Harmonious Chorus. It will be directed by Victor Lui, and the organist is Kiyomi Kimura. Refreshments will be served afterwards.

The First Presbyterian Church is a greatly intact Gothic brownstone masterpiece with a bell tower, has a 358 year-old congregation, and was an engineering marvel as the 5 million-pound church was moved 125 feet in the 1920s, to spare it from demolition during Queens Boulevard's widening.

At the conclusion of the concert, the church's old bell from 1788 will be rung. It was installed in their 4th  church building, erected in 1791, just after the American Revolution. It replaced their 3rd church, which was desecrated by British soldiers and demolished. The bell survived the destruction of that church by fire, and the moving of the present church a half block in the 1920s, which caused the loss of its original huge steeple. The bell has witnessed significant historic moments in Queens. The bell was originally in an edifice on a single-lane dirt road, with horses going by. The current church was built on a double-lane dirt road. Both the single and double lanes are now bustling Queens Blvd.

The congregation began in 1652, and is one of the oldest in New York City. Originally a community church, it became officially Presbyterian in 1715. It was founded in the wilderness (now Elmhurst) of the Dutch Colony of New Netherlands, and has survived war, invasion, and religious and political persecution. The bell and church are symbols of the lost history of Queens, and have withstood the test of time. Your help is most crucial towards preserving this historic site for future generations to cherish.

A rare and unique history of the First Presbyterian Church of Newtown, composed by Church Historian Marjorie Melikian of Rego Park, NY: http://www.fpcn.org/history/

Postcards and photo documentation by Michael Perlman, Chair of Rego-Forest Preservation Council & Queens VP of the Four Borough Neighborhood Preservation Alliance, is below and on flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/8095451@N08/sets/72157605752409722/

Interior of the Gothic sanctuary towards the altar.

Looking out from the altar towards the balcony.

One of the church's many enriching stained glass works.

The 1895 First Presbyterian Church of Newtown is moved during the 1920s, and Queens Blvd is expanded to its current size today. The congregation and riggers worked diligently to spare the church from demolition, and this could potentially be the largest and heaviest building ever moved in New York!
A rare glimpse of rural Queens Boulevard with the First Presbyterian Church of Newtown & humble frame houses. The church's original huge steeple doubled the height of the building, and was sacrificed during the move. ~ Courtesy of the Michael Perlman Postcard Collection.

More stained glass beauty of the 19th century. They sure don't make 'em like they used to!

Spiritual scenes transcend from the artist's vision to reality.

An 1895 Gothic masterpiece is a one & only encounter on Queens Blvd! Visualize farmland with frame houses mere steps from this edifice 115 years ago.

John Goldsmith Payntar left $70,000 in his will for the new 1895 church building. "Payntar Memorial" is inscribed above the entranceway. Stained glass windows and Gothic ornamentation create an empowering entry, which is complemented by its hand-carved wood doors with intricate brass handles. These are a few of many authentic features which merit restoration, before they are lost forever.

A closer eye on the Gothic facade with stained glass overlooking Queens Blvd.

The charming 1931 limestone & brick Church House annex on Seabury St consists of recreational facilities, performance space, and classrooms. It is also in great need of restoration and upgrades.




Friday, December 10, 2010

Rabble Rousers

What a perfect symbol of the mess we are all in, wasn't it? I mean, two of the richest people in the world driven blindly into the very heart of the global economic convulsions caused by the greed and selfishness of the richest people in the world? It's just too bad that it happened to Prince Charles because I happen to like him. He seems to be a decent man from what I have seen.

Why couldn't it have happened to W.? He's the one who lost all those British kids their free tuition by dragging the UK into his trillion dollar folly for oil, helping to bankrupt both us and them in the process. Think of how much that trillion dollars could have done - no need to raise tuition on the British kids, money for our schools and other crumbling infrastructure. The list goes on and on....

Thursday, December 9, 2010

OTB Update

For those of you wondering about the status of our OTB (the one off of Queens Blvd., near the T-Bone Diner), it is open today, and here is the sign on their door:

New Thai Restaurant

Snapped a couple of shots of the new Thai place, Mint's Thai Kitchen, on the lower level of the Austin St. Mall, and grabbed a menu. It looks nice. But I have yet to try their food. I hope to in the next few days. Sorry for the blurry pics, I was in a rush! But at least you can get a feel for what it looks like. If you click on the menu scans they will open larger so you can read them more easily.



Snow Still Possible, Then Bundle Up Weather

I just looked at the latest weather info and word is that we just might get enough cold air rushing in after Sunday's rainstorm to bring us some snow or ice Sunday night into Monday morning. We shall see.

But one thing that is pretty certain is that after the weekend storm departs, we get hit with arctic air - mid to upper 20's next Tuesday and Wednesday.

The First Cyberwar?

From The Times:

Hacker Threatens More Attacks on WikiLeaks Foes

LONDON — In a campaign that had some declaring the start of a “cyberwar,” hundreds of Internet activists mounted retaliatory attacks on Wednesday on the Web sites of multinational companies and other organizations they deemed hostile to the WikiLeaks antisecrecy organization and its jailed founder Julian P. Assange.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I'd Vote for Him in a Heartbeat

I have thought more and more that Mayor Bloomberg might be just the solution this country needs right now:

From The Times:
N.Y. / REGION
Bloomberg Urges Centrist Solutions to Nation’s Economic Woes
By MICHAEL BARBARO
Published: December 8, 2010
A speech in Brooklyn intensifies speculation about the New York City mayor’s political ambitions.

Koch Bridge

Hmmm... I guess I can get used to that. He deserves it.





I'm no expert on his accomplishments, but I do know it is hard to find a man who cares more about his city and its people:

New York bridge to be renamed for former Mayor Ed Koch

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Two Forest Hills

Just what the hell is going on with this horrible incident that happened at Bartini's bar at Station Square, the almost unimaginable beating death of Rosedale resident Haroon Walfall on Nov. 27? I have been browsing online and can't believe how an already horrible tragedy is starting to balloon into calls for more violence and bloodshed.

There are two Forest Hills - one that myself and every civilized person I know inhabit, and then another that seems to emerge late night/early morning at certain establishments in and around Austin St., especially on the weekends.

Someone is not doing their job here - whether it is law enforcement, our Chamber of Commerce, our local politicians, I don't know who. But I do know one thing: there is no room in Forest Hills for this crap. We all work too damn hard to live in this neighborhood to have people smearing its fine name with incidents of violence like this. Take it elsewhere if you have to do it. And Bartini's, move your freakin' bar somewhere else if this is the kind of environment you are going to be bringing to this neighborhood.

It's hard to find a neighborhood in New York City more peaceful or family-friendly than Forest Hills. It's one of the nicest parts of the city and its fine, hard-working citizens should NEVER have to be concerned for their safety as they walk the streets of their neighborhood, whether it is during a late night stroll on Austin on a Saturday night, or any other time.

So Long Salon?

My top-notch reporter sent me this today:

"The hair salon on the corner near 5 Burros looks like it has closed.  I've noticed the shelves looked empty the past few weeks and this morning I noticed all the fixtures have been removed. You know the economy is bad when a hair salon closes in Forest Hills."



Not To Be Missed....

From The NY Times:
MOVIES
By LARRY ROHTER
Published: December 6, 2010
Claude Lanzmann, director of the landmark 1985 documentary “Shoah,” discusses his enduring views on the Holocaust.

I had the opportunity to view this film, Shoah, in college, and see that it is now being re-released in theaters 25 years later. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. Believe it or not, it is something like 9 hours long, and when I saw it we went back two nights in a row in order to see Part 1 and Part 2.

It is unlike any other movie I have seen - the story of the Holocaust is told not through any actual historical footage, but purely through interviews with people who experienced it. The most chilling parts to me: the filmmaker goes into towns just outside the concentration camps and speaks with the villagers. Words really can't describe these scenes, you just have to see it.

It's one thing to hear about man's inhumanity to man. But this just might be as close -- hopefully -- most of us will ever come to actually experiencing it. Somewhere midway into this movie, I remember feeling like suddenly all the air was just sucked right out of the theater, it all just really hit me.

Here is a link to the DVD on Amazon if you want to purchase a copy for you and your family: Shoah [A History of the Holocaust] 4 DVD Set , Import, All Regions

File Under "Quite Useful Indeed!"

An iPhone app for the TKTS booth that tells users what Broadway shows are available in real-time:
New York's discount theater booth goes high-tech

Hey, We Can Dream Can't We?

An interesting take on the dream transit system of the future for New York: Transit Fantasyland: Improving service across NYC


Somehow, I think this is not on the list of the MTA's priorities though. However, I did notice that some of the escalators have finally been fixed. So maybe they can get cracking on that new subway line to Forest Hills!

69 Years Ago Today

Snow Update, or Lack Thereof

Well, for those of us wishing for a White Christmas or a whitish remaining day or two of Chanukah, etc.., the longer-term forecast is promising. But that mother of a snowstorm that was promised for later this weekend looks like it will be rather wet instead of white.

I am an extreme "snow enthusiast," you might say, having always loved snow since a kid growing up on Long Island. And, I suppose like NY Jets fans, of whom several members of my family have the misfortune of being, I am always continually frustrated each and every year.

I just said to a friend last night: "Sometimes it feels like New York City is the only place in the world where you can have bitterly cold air for weeks and weeks and no snow!" And to make it extra annoying, when the storms do arrive, suddenly it warms up and you get rain! Blech!

Oh, and one more thing... I know many people think last year was a snowy winter for us. I disagree. Sure, we had a series of Nor' Easters which gave us a lot. But there was just something off about it. It was like it would snow and then it would all melt in a few days, and then snow again. Uh-Uh. I want a Dr Zhivago snowy winter here. Where it snows every few days, even just an inch, and piles up...and piles up... slowly.... I can hear that theme song now....

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Big Daddy of a Storm?

My favorite weather man blogger is getting his Big Daddy hat out for the possibility of a major snowstorm in these parts around the middle of the month... We shall see! But I can barely contain my excitement!
18z GFS gives me Hope that I am on the right Track for a Major Big Daddy

And... it has a name!

The next Mexican-restaurant-to-be, next to the McDonald's on 71st/Continental, is called (drum roll please)...


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cascading Closures

After we reported to you a couple of weeks ago about the closing of the long-time mom and pop fruit and vegetable store next to the Key Food on the north side of Queens Blvd., today we bring you an update to the story: the long-time deli next door to the mom and pop has gone up and vacated the adjacent premises as well. Leading to a rather intriguing possibility.... now, hmmmm, what can fit in a bigger space in an albeit rather worn and seen-better-days strip of stores? We will try to find out asap!


Movie Quickies

Some holiday movie quickies:

Burlesque - Horrible! But go to see Cher's immoveable face. During the time that I was not bored off my ass and would awaken long enough to start watching this conglomeration of like 25 movies I have already seen (Stanley Tucci plays the exact same character he played in The Devil Wears Prada by the way, it is freaky. It is as if they just pasted the cutting room floor footage of him from Prada into this one), I was confused as to what time period this movie was supposed to be taking place in. Some parts feel like it is taking place in 1930, others 1970, and then the exterior shots in LA, today. Whatever... a really bad movie.




Morning Glory - More Devil Wears Prada stuff here! Why are all of these films trying to just copy that one? I always love Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton, so at least they are in it. It is a nice distraction of a movie, enough to take a break from holiday shopping without having to concentrate too much. But the storyline really did remind me of Prada once again, young upwardly mobile heroine whose only real concern is making it in New York, etc., etc..






My favorite recent movie was The Social Network. This has been out a while, but you can still catch it at the Kew Gardens Cinemas. A great cast, great story. When I first heard about it, I thought to myself "why would I want to see a movie about some kid who made a billion dollars?" But the movie is much better than that.

File Under 'Creepy, But I Guess Necessary?'

From The Times:

N.Y. / REGION
City to Deploy Ambulances to Save Organs
By ANEMONA HARTOCOLLIS
Published: December 1, 2010
Specially trained teams will save emergency patients’ organs if the primary ambulance fails to save their lives.

This is Rather Nuts

This is a great story - it says so much about our values today as a society. Or, it is just an example of people being stupid (as in the management at the 92nd Street Y!) Read it and then you decide. If anything, it is a really great article. It grabbed me from the beginning and I couldn't wait to find out what happened...

From The NY Times:

N.Y. / REGION
Comedian Conversation Falls Flat at 92nd Street Y
By FELICIA R. LEE
Published: December 1, 2010
A conversation with Steve Martin resulted in a refund being offered to all audience members. Apparently, he and his interlocutor talked about art too much.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Brutal Beating at Local Bar

The mother of the victim of Friday night's fatal attack at Bartini's at Station Square is asking for any witnesses to her son's killing to come forward. Here is a link to the NY1 report: http://queens.ny1.com//Default.aspx?ArID=129714

Happy Chanukah!

Guest Post: Why I Am Anti-Martin Luther King Day

By Jeff Newman

Wow, how’s that for a provocative title! I do have a message here however, and what better way to drag you in! December 1st always makes me think about why MLK Day was a poor choice for a National Holiday and why I think today, December 1st, should be National Civil Rights Day, instead.

55 years ago today, Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat, in a segregated bus, in Montgomery, Alabama. I always picture an older African American woman, tired after a hard days work, simply stating, “I’m not moving.” No anger, no fuss, just a person after a hard day at the office, saying, “My dogs are tired, I’m keeping this seat”. Like all things viewed through the lens of history, there is probably a romantic aura I put around this incident. Ms. Parks herself has said that wasn’t the way it happened at all. What I find the most compelling about it, no matter how it happened, was that it was not theater for political purposes. It wasn’t somebody going up a tree to stop it from being chopped down, knowing their bills were paid with their trust fund. This was someone who finally had had enough. She was a regular Joe, like you or I, a member of the proletariat standing up against an injustice. As Ms. Parks said in a 1992 radio interview with NPR, “I did not want to be mistreated, I did not want to be deprived of a seat that I had paid for. It was just time... there was opportunity for me to take a stand to express the way I felt about being treated in that manner. I had not planned to get arrested. I had plenty to do without having to end up in jail. But when I had to face that decision, I didn't hesitate to do so because I felt that we had endured that too long. The more we gave in, the more we complied with that kind of treatment, the more oppressive it became.”

There are a few other incidents such as Lizzie Jennings, who in 1854 helped to de-segregate street cars in NYC, but Rosa Park’s refusal to move led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott. In my opinion, the Montgomery Bus Boycott was the tipping point that set the Civil Rights Movement in motion. It started the fires that swept the South and helped to end Jim Crow. It gave Martin Luther King his first national attention and helped propel him into the Leader of the Civil Rights Movement, into someone who people of all colors knew, and listened to whether they agreed with him or not.

National Holidays that focus on one person, even someone with the stature of MLK detract from all the other heroes of the movement, the people at the groundswell who were the true impetus for change, not the elitists at the top. Martin Luther King shouldn’t be the focus, anymore then Rosa Parks, Emmett Till, Ralph Abernathy, the Little Rock Nine, James Peck, Medgar Evans, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, or Michael Schwerner, to name just a tiny segment of the people who helped move America into the country it could be instead of the country it was, should have holidays named after them. Every one of them, and so many more, most whose names we will not even know, are the true heroes of the movement. Not instead of Dr. King, but right along side him.

I’d like to imagine that Dr. King himself would agree with me. In the I have a Dream speech, he closed with these famous words: “"Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring—when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children—black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics—will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!" Dr. King believed in Civil Equality, without regards to race or religion for all people. We still have so far to go in this country to achieve equality for all people. As I mentioned in a previous article regarding our local representative, Shirley Huntley, until we recognize that Civil Rights means equality for all people, regardless of sex, race, religion, or sexual orientation (or anything I may have missed) none of us are truly free.

True change comes from the masses, and is a bottom to the top movement, not the other way around. As much as I hate to say it, the Tea Party movement, before it got co-opted by Palin and her ilk was one such movement. The real heroes are the people who come out and listen and not the people who give the speeches. They are the struggling masses who yearn to be free, crying out together in one voice and not the person who puts it all together into one statement who make the changes we feel forever.

Changing MLK Day to National Civil Rights Day would allow us to examine all the ways America has furthered the cause of Civil Rights and Equality and how far we still have to go. To honor all the heroes, from Thomas Jefferson to Richard Baker and James McConnell, who were the first people to apply for a same-sex marriage in 1970. By making it about one man, instead of one idea, we devalue Dr. King and what he believed in. By making it about one man, albeit a Great Man and a True Hero, we don’t do justice to all the other Heroes. Let us remember them all, every unknown martyr, everyone who took a blow, physical or spirtual for Civil Rights. Let us take today to reflect on what we have done and what we can still do to make the dream of Equality for Everyone Complete.

Jeff Newman is a Life Long NY Resident currently residing in Queens, who has lived in 4 out of 5 Boroughs, though who really counts Staten Island, as well as Nassau County. He is known to be opinionated, witty, clever, very handsome and exceptionally humble, in addition to being too lazy to write his own blog. That’s why we will occasionally let him ramble with his thoughts here, at Edge of The City. 

Have a guest post you'd like to see appear on Edge of the City? Please send it to edgeofthecity@gmail.com

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The First of the New Trees

It's nice to see the City planting new trees in town, especially on a street like 71st Road which was hammered by the tornado. But as I walked by this little one I thought to myself, I will be loooong gone by the time it ever reaches the heights of its predecessors.
Makes one think.


Monday, November 29, 2010

First, You Have to Crawl...

.... I guess... that is, if you are launching this super-ridiculously expensive Broadway show! If you haven't heard about the new Spiderman show, you should read this account of the first preview performance. It is pure chaos.


Published: November 28, 2010
Catcalls and technical problems marred the preview performance of the most expensive production ever staged on Broadway.

Whatever happened to just writing something that was witty and brilliant and then performing it?

What is with all this special effects hoopla?

I don't know about you, but for $150 or whatever Broadway seats cost these days, I don't want to have to worry about an actor falling on my head. Stay on the frickin' stage where you belong!