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!

An All-Around Tragedy

From The NY Post: Qns. man run over twice on pizza run

This is one of those stories that are just so sad all around. Regular readers of this blog know by now how I feel about the incredible disadvantage pedestrians have in Queens when it comes to most all of their interactions with motorists. Queens Blvd. is a daily disaster where pedestrians have to hurry across lest they be struck down by one or another cars turning this way or that. And now this horrific incident on 108th St., and a previous one just recently on Yellowstone.

It's not really that hard to make our streets safer for pedestrians, is it? Not if the political will is there to take on the interests that are only concerned with the speedy flow of automobile traffic. We never did find out, by the way, who shortened the walk signals on Queens Blvd. a year or so ago so now it is virtually impossible to make it across without walking fast or even running. And no, new countdown clocks do not change the fact that there is not enough time for the average pedestrian to walk across with total and complete safety. The onus should not be on just the pedestrians, as it is now. And yet, not a peep from our local politicians about lengthening the time for pedestrians to cross Queens Blvd.

Why is that?

There is more to a city than just enabling cars to move as fast as they can. You have to make sure its people can move about safely on foot as well. They should not have to be risking life and limb when it comes to doing so.

Holiday TV Schedule

Yes, there is plenty to have angst about this holiday season - making sure you get that last copy of George Bush's memoir before they are all sold out, pre-flight pat-downs, Bristol Palin - but the one that really is in the back of my mind all holiday season long is did I miss Rudolph? Was the Heat Miser one on already?? Did I miss NBC's single showing of It's a Wonderful Life?! Of course, all of these holiday must-sees are available on DVD and have been for years. But you know it is only really good to see them when they are actually on TV. So, here is a list I stumbled across of the dates of these and other holiday shows:

"CMA Country Christmas," 9:30 p.m. Monday on ABC: Performances by Sheryl Crow, Sugarland and more.

"Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer," 8 p.m. Tuesday on CBS: The classic about that reindeer, Santa and the Island of Misfit Toys.

"Christmas in Rockefeller Center," 8 p.m. Tuesday on NBC: annual celebration from New York City.

"How the Grinch Stole Christmas," 8 p.m. Tuesday and Dec. 23 on ABC: Boris Karloff narrates the one and only original (sorry, Jim Carrey).

"Santa Claus is Comin' to Town," 8 p.m. next Thursday on ABC: An animated classic about the origins of Santa.

"A Christmas Carol" (1938), 6 a.m. Dec. 4 with repeats through December on TCM: This version stars Reginald Owen as Scrooge.

"Kung Fu Panda Holiday Special," 8:30 p.m. Dec. 4 on NBC: For the kung fu kiddies.

"A Charlie Brown Christmas," 8 p.m. Dec. 7 and Dec. 16 on ABC: The Peanuts gang discovers the true meaning of Christmas.

"Prep & Landing," 8:30 p.m. Dec. 9 on ABC: From the Walt Disney Animation Studios, a tale of "an elite unit of elves."

"White Christmas" (1954), 8 and 10:45 p.m. Dec. 11 with repeats through December on AMC: Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and some wonderful music.

"Meet Me in St. Louis" (1944), 5 p.m. Dec. 11 with repeats through December on TCM: The Christmas scenes in this set-in-1904 Judy Garland musical are a heart-tugger.

"It's a Wonderful Life" (1946), 8 p.m. Dec. 11 and Dec. 24 on NBC: Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey in the Frank Capra classic about a fateful Christmas Eve in small-town Bedford Falls.

"Holiday Inn" (1942), 1:30 a.m. Dec. 12 with repeats through December on AMC: Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire star in the movie that introduced the song "White Christmas."

"Prancer" (1989), 10:30 p.m. Dec. 13 on AMC: If you've never seen this charmer about a little girl sheltering a reindeer, do yourself a favor and watch it.

"Christmas in Washington," 8 p.m. Dec. 17 on TNT: Performances by Mariah Carey, Annie Lennox and Matthew Morrison. Hosted by Ellen DeGeneres.

"A Christmas Story" (1983), 24-hour marathon beginning at 8 p.m. Dec. 24 on TBS: In the 1940s, Ralphie goes on a Christmas quest for a Red Ryder air rifle and ... oh, you know the rest ("It's a major award!").

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Signs of the Season

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. My top-notch roving reporter captured these scenes of the arrival of the holiday season on Austin St. earlier this morning.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Hairy Situation?

While most of the rest of us were feasting on turkey, my top-notch, roving reporter was pounding the pavement and came up with this latest retail development. It looks like the Renegade hair salon at 71-44 Austin St., is expanding into the store next door. Sorry I couldn't bring you more exciting news. But, as we have seen time and time again, every new development on our main shopping strip can have far-reaching impact, sometimes where you least expect it! So I may soon be writing a follow-up post to my "Organic Wars" item entitled: "Salon Salvos"? Maybe?? I'll think about it.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

New York Rated Worst City for Traffic

Is it possible to have driven anywhere in our city and be surprised by these results? NAVTEQ Study: Worst Traffic In U.S. On New York City Freeways

I recently took a car trip upstate on a Saturday and it must've taken about an hour just to get out of the city. The last time I had driven up that far was almost a year before (I don't own a car, so don't do this very often, obviously.) I couldn't believe how much worse the traffic situation had gotten in just one year! I have never seen it so bad. I really don't know how people who drive in the City do so and still retain their sanity.

Or why they do so. If you have to go out to the burbs for work, I can maybe understand it. But drive in the City? When the public transportation system is so easy to use and usually so efficient, and so much more affordable than having to park somewhere in Manhattan? It's beyond me why anyone would want to put themselves through that anguish.

Kudos to Mayor Bloomberg for trying to alleviate this dreadful situation several years ago with his brilliant attempt at congestion pricing. Too bad there was so much opposition to even trying it. I predict we have not seen the last of that intelligent proposal, which has already alleviated horrendous traffic -- and pollution -- in other major cities around the world.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Movie News

Those who have been reading this blog since I started it in June know that I am a HUGE Steven Spielberg fan and have spent much time whining on and on about the recent drought of any Spielberg blockbusters for me to sink $10 or $12 into the box office over and over again.

So, you can imagine how happy I now am to report that the drought is rapidly coming to an end. Daniel Day Lewis has signed on to play Lincoln in Spielberg's upcoming epic based on Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals book. The movie has had a bumpy road so far. At one point Sally Field was rumored to about to sign on as Mary Todd Lincoln. Also, playwright Tony Kushner (Angels in America) was working on the screenplay.

What do you think? Will DDL make a good Lincoln? For one thing, he's British. For another, he stands at 6'1 while Honest Abe was about 6'5 I think. But heck, DDL is a great actor so I am quite optimistic.

Party All The TIme

Thanksgiving week is one of my favorite weeks of the year as the holiday season officially gets underway. I just really like the warmth of the holiday season (actually, I think I kind of like the contrast of the cold outside and the warmth the holidays generate in many people, but anyway, I'll save that mush for another post perhaps).

One of the holiday traditions that has found its way into my life over the past few years is a pre-Thanksgiving trip to the Party & Gifts Super Store on the block between 70th Ave. and 70th Road across from MacDonald Park. I go to stock up on all the stuff I need because Thanksgiving has been held at my house over the past few years.

If you've never experienced this store, I have found it to be one of those kinds of places that look kind of tired and rundown on the outside, but are a neighborhood treasure on the inside! I mean, this place has EVERYTHING you could need for entertaining guests, and just about everything to celebrate the holidays.

Walking through its aisles of products is quite an experience. It's chaotic but somehow it all just works! I highly recommend you pay this place a visit at least once this holiday season.

Pat Down Panic

My two cents about the Pat Down Panic currently raging in the country as we enter the busiest travel time of the year:

Having traveled to Israel a few times, I strongly agree with others who say that that is one country that doesn't fool around when it comes to airline security. They go up and down the line and interview every single passenger before they board the plane, trying to weed out those they deem suspicious. And they then take those people into another room for a more intensive interview.

My conclusions about the controversy currently raging about the pat downs and full body scans:
1. We should adopt the Israeli method. It is the only true way to really deter terrorists from getting on our planes.
2. We most likely will never adopt that method because the airlines (and maybe even the passengers themselves?) do not want to reduce the number of flights that are now available and I would assume interviewing every passenger would have to lead to more spacing between flights. Less flights would hit the airlines' profit centers and many of them are already struggling. Also, having less flights is just not as convenient. And let's face it.  We as Americans expect a certain level of convenience in flying. It's supposed to be the fastest way to get from point A to point B!
But the truth is I don't think we can have both the level of security really necessary to deter terrorists and the convenience we are already used to.
And finally,
3. The chances of a terrorist being on your plane are so much slimmer than you meeting your demise as a result of a health issue like heart disease or cancer that I just have to add: isn't this issue being completely overblown? The threat is so incredibly minimal. Our exaggerated fear of terrorism has taken what used to be a rather pleasant way to travel and made it so incredibly stressful that virtually all the fun has been sucked right out of it. And that is a big shame, and, in a way, a victory for the terrorists already.

Intriguing Cable News

In case you haven't heard, Time Warner is launching a pared-down package of channels it is calling TV Essentials (which just so happens to include it's own CNN in lieu of Fox News and MSNBC) for around $50.
Firstly, this is very smart. Cable TV is way too expensive, especially considering most of it consists of a vast wasteland of crappy programming being spewed out 24 hours a day that we have no choice but to pay for if we want to get certain other decent channels.
The idea of this pared-down service appealed to me. But for me, the game-stopper was when I heard it would only include CNN and not MSNBC and Fox News. I can't do without my occasional dose of Rachel Maddow to bring clarity, sanity and truth to my world, and I certainly can't do without my occasional doses of Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly for just plain out uproarious laughter!
I guess I could just suck up free doses of Beck and O'Reilly via YouTube whenever I need a good laugh. But I don't know. I guess the jury is still out on this whole deal and I have to ponder it some more.

In the meantime, here's the press release Time Warner issued about the deal:

Nov. 18, 2010, 6:45 p.m. EST
Time Warner Cable Launches TV Essentials
New Video-Only Package Targets Customers Hit by Tough Economic Times

NEW YORK, Nov 18, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Time Warner Cable today announced the launch of Time Warner Cable TV Essentials, a new video-only package designed to address the video needs of customers facing difficult choices during these tough economic times. The Time Warner Cable TV Essentials Package will begin commercial trials in the coming weeks in Time Warner Cable's New York City and Northeast Ohio divisions, with further launches planned for 2011.

"We understand that people are under pretty serious economic duress and would like to have more choice and the option of paying for less programming," said Glenn Britt, President, CEO and Chairman of Time Warner Cable. "This video-only package isn't for everyone, but we hope that some of those most hard-hit by the current economic conditions find it to be a helpful option."

The Time Warner Cable TV Essentials package includes:

Time Warner Cable's Basic tier (including local channels from ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and PBS) 12 of the top 20 Nielsen-rated cable channels, plus other channels Representative channels from each major genre: news/information, sports, kids, music, lifestyle, shopping, and general entertainment Two standard-definition digital cable set-top boxes, featuring an on-screen guide and Music Choice Enhanced TV features including StartOver(TM) and LookBack(TM) (where available) Access to the library of new release movies through Time Warner On Demand (paid VOD only; no free VOD)

The package, valued at $49.99 per month, will be discounted to $39.99 per month in New York City, and $29.95 per month in Northeast Ohio, for a promotional period of 12 months.

About Time Warner Cable Time Warner Cable is the second-largest cable operator in the U.S., with technologically advanced, well-clustered systems located in five geographic areas -- New York State (including New York City), the Carolinas, Ohio, Southern California (including Los Angeles) and Texas. Time Warner Cable serves more than 14.7 million customers who subscribe to one or more of its video, high-speed data and voice services. Time Warner Cable Business Class offers a suite of phone, Internet, Ethernet and cable television services to businesses of all sizes. Time Warner Cable Media Sales, the advertising arm of Time Warner Cable, offers national, regional and local companies innovative advertising solutions that are targeted and affordable. More information about the services of Time Warner Cable is available at www.timewarnercable.com, www.twcbc.com and www.twcmediasales.com.

SOURCE: Time Warner Cable

Things Not To Do in Post 9/11 NY

Running through the Lincoln Tunnel in combat fatigues is one of them. But, hey, they're not from the Big City. How were they to know? Running Through Lincoln Tunnel in Camouflage Not Ideal

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Slow and Steady on the Stadium

The West Side Tennis Club is not rushing things when it comes to finding a suitable use, or buyer, for the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium, according to this article from Patch:
Offers Roll In For Tennis Stadium
By Matthew Hampton
Between seven and 10 potential new plans on structure at early stage, according to club president.

Truly Frightening

How people can do something like this and sleep at night is simply beyond me.
Published: November 19, 2010
An investigation by the inspector general of the Metropolitan Transit Authority found safety workers had deemed the signals safe even though the inspections had never taken place.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thanksgiving Snow Update

So it looks like our Thanksgiving Weekend snow storm has been canceled. Sorry snow lovers. WE will have to wait!
AccuWeather.com - WeatherMatrix | The Latest Models on Thanksgiving NE Snow

Tawk Like Me

The Times has a good article this morning on the New York accent and how some people are ashamed of it and try to shed it:
N.Y. / Region
Unlearning to Tawk Like a New Yorker
Published: November 19, 2010
After being mocked or criticized as unintelligible, some New Yorkers have turned to speech therapists to reduce or eliminate their distinctive accents.
Being a Lawng Islandah myself, I usually like my accent, even when others sometimes kid me about it. But I also notice when I am meeting people for work who are not from the City I sometimes automatically make an extra attempt to curve my R's a bit more (or remember to use them altogether!)

Also, when I hear others speaking with the same accent, I have to admit I sometimes immediately draw conclusions about them - did they ever spend a significant amount of time away from the New York area, like go away to college?  (Some of my accent was softened by my years living in other states and also living abroad.)

But this article describes what I think is a sad attempt by some New Yorkers to force themselves to completely get rid of their accents for work-related reasons. Boy, I don't like that idea. How you speak is part of who you are. And I always believe that it's what kind of a person you are inside and in your mind that matters,  how you treat others in your life, and whether you try to do your part to make this world that we all share a better place that matters, not how you appear or how you sound.

And besides, why would you want to throw this away? From the article:
"The New York accent is a distinctive amalgam of Irish, German, Yiddish and Italian — now infused with black and Hispanic dialects and a Caribbean lilt — that was identified at least as far back as the early 19th century."
 In other words, we New Yawkers are walking parts of history.  We should treasure that, not be ashamed of it.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

More Details About New Mexican Restaurant

From Craigslist:


Looking for a Restaurant Manager for a new 50 seater Mexican Restaurant which is about to open in Forest Hills, New York. The ideal candidate should be excellent in analyzing the neighborhood, should be experienced in creating a breakfast, lunch and dinner menu for the restaurant. The ideal candidate should be highly experienced and should be capable of hiring and firing staff, creating specials, etc. This opportunity offers a salary plus commission and is an ideal opportunity for a manager who is interested in establishing a chain of restaurants with the investor. Experience in working with fast food restaurants preffered. Please e-mail resume to Gurhan@gehilaw.com


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Other Restaurant News...

In other intriguing restaurant news, the folks over at Patch report that the space on Austin where the popular restaurant MG's or Mardi Gras was until it suddenly closed Nov. 1st has been bought by the owner of Ripe in the Austin St. Mall. A new place will open there in 2011 - Read all the details here: A New Local Eatery Where MG's Used To Be

A Peek Inside the New Mexican Restaurant

My top-notch roving reporter just snapped this shot of the interior of the new Mexican take-out place they are building near the McDonald's on 71st/Continental. The workmen said they "did not know the name" of the place so that remains one of the best kept secrets in Forest Hills! Click on the image for a closer look...

AccuWeather.com - Meteo Madness | We Flipped Right Back to a Thanksgiving Snowstorm in the Northeast

AccuWeather.com - Meteo Madness | We Flipped Right Back to a Thanksgiving Snowstorm in the Northeast

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tennis Stadium Update

From The Wall St. Journal: Tennis Stadium in Forest Hills Still Seeks Savior
"Ken Parker, the club’s president, said that several commercial brokers had responded to the latest call for ideas, as did a group interested in exploring restoration. An official request for proposals — which essentially asks for more detail and financial qualifications — will be sent to those who expressed interest."

First Casualty of Organic Wars?

It's interesting how developments in one part of town can sometimes have unforeseen impact on an entirely other area. Case in point, I am not sure but it seems as if the small mom and pop fruits and vegetable store next to the Key Food on the northern side of Queens Blvd. is kaput. I've passed it over the past week or two and noticed it was closed. But it was always such a quiet, unassuming little place I never paid it much attention. In any case, I am pretty sure that after years of doing business from that location it has now closed. If you know any differently, please let me know by commenting below or sending me an email.

The strip of stores to the north of Queens Blvd.
I named this post what I did because this is a rather unscientific assumption, but I wonder if this small mom and pop just couldn't hack it any more because of the competition from the three organic/natural food stores that are now just several blocks away, Natural, Organic Market and the newest of the lot, Greenline Organic, and of course the Key Food right next door and the newer Twin Value Supermarket that is just a couple of blocks away.

Get The Big Picture

 Some great aerial views of Forest Hills and Rego Park have been posted this morning on the Rego-Forest Preservation Council website: Photo Series: Eye Above Forest Hills & Rego Park

Monday, November 15, 2010

Lunchtime Observations

Just a few things I noticed while walking around Forest Hills at lunchtime today:

This is really disgraceful. These are the steps leading down to the subway from the north side of Queens Blvd., near the corner of 71st Continental. The 71st Continental Station, already in a terrible state of disrepair, reaches a new low in littering brought to you by some moron who tore open a package of lunch meats and just threw it all over the steps.

Isn't a little late for enormous sections of trees damaged by the tornado to still be dangling precariously over the heads of pedestrians? This dangerous situation can currently be found in front of 109-05 72nd Ave, at the corner of Queens Blvd.
And finally, just when did you have to be rich to afford paper towels?? Is it just me or does it seem like the size of most packages of paper towels is shrinking, and if you want to buy a package with any heft to it it will cost you an arm and a leg? 

Queens Doorman of the Year

Published: November 15, 2010
Carlos Cruz, named Queens doorman of the year, helps grease the wheels for sales in the building where he works.

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like...

Personally, I love this time of year - when you start to see the holiday season gathering steam all around you. I know, I know. Many people don't like it when it finally gets going in full-force. It can indeed feel overwhelming some times. But, hey, the pay-off is worth it, isn't it? It is one of the nicest times of the year.

Anyway, here is another sign that the holidays are busting out all over. This just arrived in my in-box:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Forest Hills in the News

Just a couple of mentions of our 'hood that I have found, in case you missed them:

  • The Daily News has an article on a new exhibit featuring Depression-era art and specifically cites the Forest Hills Post Office's terra cotta relief called the "Spirit of Communication," visible from outside  the entrance to the building. I have walked by that relief many times and never appreciated its historical significance: Depression-era art stock's on the rise
  • And Business Week has a short mention of the indictment of Forest Hills resident Mark Holzwanger on wire fraud charges. He is alleged to have defrauded clients out of more than $3 million in payroll tax payments that were never turned over to the IRS: Ex-exec of NY payroll services firm indicted in NJ

First Timer ?

.... Then welcome! Please visit our original site, at edgeofthecityblog.com, to get a feel for our blog, and catch up with us. But then be sure to return here as we will be posting to this site going forward.

Problems Commenting?

I know of at least one user of this new site who has been having trouble getting his comments to show up. As a favor, if anyone reading this can post a test comment to this post below that would be great so I can see if the issue is more widespread. You can post anonymously or using a name, however you like.

If you too are having problems, please let me know by dropping me an email at edgeofthecity@gmail.com.


Voices of the Subways

You know that pleasant voice you hear while standing on the subway platforms telling  you when the next train will be arriving? Here's an article about the lady behind that voice,  from The NY Times:
Published: November 14, 2010
She's the voice of the subways, but she prefers to take a cab.

This reminds me of some of the other "voices" I've gotten to know over the years during my many subway travels. My personal favorite was when I used to take the R train every morning to a job I held down in the Village.  (I remember I was on that train the morning of 9/11 as the train inched forward every few seconds and they told us there was "police activity" at the World Trade Center. But I digress.) The conductor, who I only caught glimpses of over the years, had apparently devised his own signature phrases over the God-only-knows-how-many-years he had been doing the job. And he was extremely confident in using the same announcements each and every morning, peppering the ride with a quick reminder every so often, or barking an order when the subway doors opened at the next station.

My favorites of his that I still remember clearly today:

"Step in on the R!"


"Panhandling on the subway's illegal, that's-a.... panhandling on the subway's illegal."

And then there was that plea for riders to respect the elderly and disabled, ending with a clipped, "Give up your seat!"

Some Changes...

I am trying out a new hosting site for my blog that I believe will offer the blog some exciting new functionality. Other than that, I expect things will be pretty much the same. So let me know what you think.

Thanks very much for your continued support and readership,


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Downright Balmy

The weather this afternoon here in Forest Hills has been just spectacular for approaching the middle of November and this weekend is looking like more of the same, with sunny skies and temps in the 60's. Today's beautiful weather offered up a great opportunity to capture some exceedingly pleasant photos of our neighborhood as the sun set on another work week.