Sunday, January 16, 2011

New Restaurant Recommendations

Aged - I recently had an excellent NY Strip Steak at this restaurant, located along "Restaurant Row," (70th Road) in Forest Hills. I also ordered the wedge salad as an appetizer. It was very good, but if I was them I'd offer it in an "individual" size as well. At $9, I could barely finish it. And I hate when restaurants do that -- just lower the price and cut the size in half. Also, I ordered just a Coke with my meal, not one of the $10 martinis which are sooooo common now all over the city. Please - give me more than a test tube filled with soda. Anyway, the steak was so awesome that I am willing to overlook what I consider pricing problems with their salads and size problems with their non-alc drinks. Needless to say, they are not at all alone in pricing salads high and under-serving sodas. It's just a pet-peeve of mine that I wish restaurants would focus on. I did notice they had clam chowder for like $4, which is much more reasonable for an appetizer.

EuroPan - (At the corner of 70th Road and Austin St.) Those who have been reading this blog for a while, know I have for a long time been on a quest here in Forest Hills for something many other neighborhoods in NYC take for granted - a simple, delicious, take-out sandwich! (Sorry, folks, the local diners simply do not cut it. And Ripe, while healthy, for some reason feels it has to over-spice and over-flavor their sandwiches. They taste either over-grilled, over-garlicky... well, you get the picture.) Thankfully, I have discovered that EuroPan seems to have finally satisfied this extremely important local need. I've had their grilled chicken sandwich and their turkey sandwich. Both times in a pita, kind of like a panini. They have been very tasty, fresh, satisfying. But most of all - they are SIMPLE! No added, strange out-of-place seasonings. Now, are they on the level of what a New York City restaurant sandwich should be? No way, of course not. I'd rate them maybe a 4 out of 10 on my Shake Shack scale. (What is my Shake Shack scale you ask? Simple - Since I just a couple of days ago had a double cheese burger there for lunch and am still fantasizing about the experience, my Shake Shack Scale is the following: On the bottom of the scale, a 1, would be the now-defunct Twin Donut Teriyaki Chicken Salad. On the top of the scale, a 10, would be a Shake Shack double cheese burger.)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Fund

Here is the link to the memorial fund set up by the family of the little girl who was so tragically killed in the Tucson, Arizona shooting:

The memorial service tonight for the victims of the shooting was remarkably life-affirming. I think the speeches by President Obama and also Daniel Hernandez, the young man who is credited with saving Congresswoman Giffords' life, made the best out of this tragedy - I am sure they instilled in many people watching, especially young people, the importance and gratification that comes from devoting your life to serving your community and your country.

Foot in Mouth Disease

Published: January 12, 2011
Sarah Palin issues a forceful denunciation of her critics in a video statement that accused pundits and journalists of "blood libel."

So, what does this mean? Is she anti-semitic, as some have now been saying? Who knows. Does she consistently display an inability to research just about anything, and learn? You betcha!

After all, a simple Google search of "blood libel" brings up a lengthy explanation from Wikipedia of the significance of this term, and the deep-reaching harm it has done to Jewish people throughout history.

Now, is Sarah Palin responsible for what happened in Arizona? You betcha again! Putting cross-hairs on Mrs. Giffords' congressional district? You're one hateful, irresponsible person, and all of this negative publicity is what you deserve.

Piling Up

... not the snow, the garbage.

As I mentioned yesterday, last night's snowfall has heightened the piles of garbage and recyclables that have been forming on Forest Hills' sidewalks since the Blizzard. And this snow isn't going away for a while, with the temperatures below freezing for days to come, and more snow forecast for as soon as this weekend. So... how high will it go?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

It's Not Your Imagination!

N.Y. / Region
Where Do All the Cabs Go in the Late Afternoon?
Published: January 11, 2011
Just when homebound workers need them, cabs on duty decline by nearly 20 percent. City officials have been unable to prevent it.

Of course, if they did something about this incredibly annoying and seriously stupid fact of life here in NYC, that would take away the small - admittedly evil - ego boost I get each time I see a newcomer to the city or tourist trying to hail a cab at 5 p.m., and walk by them muttering under my breath, "Good luck with that."

City Declares a Weather - But Not Snow - Emergency

Kind of a no-brainer when you are expecting possibly a foot or more. I guess they don't want to be caught with their pants down again. A weather emergency is not as severe as a snow emergency.

Mountains of....

.... garbage! I was just out doing some shopping right before the storm and was surprised to see so many high piles of garbage, especially the recyclables, still on so many corners. I can only imagine what it will look like tomorrow morning if we get anything close to the foot or so that some are predicting. Think of a snow drift covering a pile of garbage that is already a few feet high!

Latest Forecast Worse Than Before

"a storm to rival the Blizzard" - unbelievable.... According to this forecaster, the latest model shows the approaching storm may have been underestimated. Also, all the forecasts I am seeing say the further east you go the worse this storm will be. Long Island (and we here in Forest Hills are not that far away) could get 20 to 30 inches in some places:

Northeast Blizzard to be Followed by More Cold

Did Blizzard Force Mayor to Cut Bermuda Short?

Published: January 11, 2011
Hours after snow began to fall on New York on Dec. 26, the mayor's private plane took off from his island retreat. But was he on it?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Woman Found Dead in Forest Hills Subway Station

.... apparently a suicide.

Her body was found at around 2:45 p.m. Monday in a public bathroom at the Forest Hills stop
From The Wall St. Journal: Woman found dead in NYC subway bathroom

No More Teriyaki-Laced Donuts

Was it all just a very, very, very bad dream?

I hear this monstrosity, on 71st Continental, is apparently ancient history. My cold has kept me out of action for a while so I have not been able to confirm it myself.... please tell me it's true.

UPDATE:  This has been confirmed for me by a friend of mine, who also snapped this lovely photo tonight:

Walmart's NYC Campaign

Walmart launched a New York City-specific website today as part of an opening salvo to win approval for its first store here in the City:

I don't know about this - I am not thrilled with the idea of having Walmart come to town. I think NYC has had puhlenty of its unique character eroded (especially in Manhattan), by the "big box" stores.

Although, I do have to admit that a trip this past weekend to the Home Depot store on the East Side near Bloomies had me voicing out loud something to the effect of: "This is one case where I think having a major chain come into the city has been a great improvement," and then I said some disparaging things about the small mom and pop hardware stores that used to be all over the city. They were kind of gloomy, weren't they? And those Manhattan Home Depots are just awesome stores.

But Walmart? The last one I went to was on Long Island like a year ago - wasn't impressed. The store was a mess and I really wasn't taken by the kind of merchandise they carried.

Snow Storm Update

This most likely will not be a blizzard or anything on the magnitude of the recent blizzard we just had, according to the latest forecast I have just seen. But we could still get up to a foot of snow... it will just be a kindler, gentler snow!

By the way, something has gone a little haywire with my Recent Comments gadget on the sidebar of my blog ---->>>

I am trying to find a way to fix it. It may take some time.... It has not affected the ability for you to comment on posts. It is just affecting how the snippets from the posts show up in the sidebar. So comment on!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Here We Go Again?

Boy oh boy, if this happens this will indeed be a winter to remember. The National Weather Service is saying there's a distinct chance for another blizzard beginning Tuesday night and lasting through Wednesday....

And here's the forecast from Accuweather, pretty much confirming the NWS prediction:

Storm May Unfold into All-Out Blizzard in New England

In My Prayers...

Friday, January 7, 2011

Goose Feathers !

The scene in Forest Hills at 2:45 p.m.

Right on Schedule

Just as the forecasters promised, the heavier snow held off until late morning, starting in earnest here in Forest Hills around 11:30 am. It should be interesting to see if it hangs around for a few hours as they expected, or quickly goes on its merry way and leaves us with just an inch or so....

By the way, the sanitation department is noticeably out in force for this storm. Within 15 minutes of the heavy snow starting I had already heard two plows go by. And look how the streets are being kept clear in Forest Hills. This photo was taken just about 45 minutes after the one above. Given, this is a much weaker storm than the Blizzard. But they are taking the criticism very seriously.

70th Ave. Blockade

As we prepare today for what are expected to be out first snows since the Blizzard, photos from the Blizzard are still trickling in...

Here's one taken by a friend of mine of a tree lying across 70th Avenue in the Gardens between Juno & Kessel Streets. I don't know for sure, but it's probably safe to assume the tree was damaged by the tornado and the Blizzard finally took it down.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Interesting Weather Day Ahead

Friday should be an interesting day for our area in terms of the weather. The forecasters are predicting a rare phenomenon to occur called a NORLUN trough, which is not exactly a snowstorm, but can bring a prolonged period of very heavy snow to a very narrow area. And, of course, NYC is in the bulls-eye of where they expect this trough to set up tomorrow afternoon. It is extremely hard for the meteorologists to forecast exactly where a weather phenomenon of this nature occurs, however, so they have issued a winter storm watch for the entire area. It's the type of situation where one part of our area can get a dusting to an inch of snow, while another gets over a foot. It should be very interesting to see if their forecast plays out.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Common and Going ?

What's up with Common Space, that stylish new tapas restaurant & lounge in the Austin St. mall? Rumors are swirling after it has been closed for the past couple of days....

Enough About Snow... Technology!!

As in, the next iPad! And possibly with that long-awaited camera for video conferencing....

Bits: Apple iPad 2 Rumors Circulate the Web
Published: January 5, 2011
While technology companies descend on Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show, rumors are swirling about the next generation of the tablet.

Snow Update

Snow lovers, rejoice!

"New York City wants to be Ground Zero for the snow storms." He said it, not me....

As I posted yesterday, two snow events on the horizon - one this Friday (potentially a lot, but not written in stone), and then a more classic Nor 'Easter next Tuesday/Wednesday.

Snow Event Friday

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Deja Vu All Over Again?

"While the best chance for greater than 6 inches of snow appears to be over parts of New England, it would only take a small shift in track to bring that corridor of heavier snow into New York, N.Y., andPhiladelphia, Pa."

Hmmm, when did I hear that before? Oh wait. Like just before we got 20 inches!

Winter Returns to Great Lakes, Northeast after Brief Thaw

Biggest Moron of 2011 Award

And the award for Biggest Moron of 2011 (so far) goes to....

Published: January 4, 2011
Sexually explicit videos produced by Capt. Owen Honors will cost him his command, the Associated Press reported.

Let's see now, I'll work hard my entire life and finally get command of my very own aircraft carrier. Yes! Oh, and then I think I'll throw that and my career away because my bigotry is just soooo hard to contain. It hurts! I can't keep my bigotry in! I must share it! It must be released!! Ahhhhhhh.......

Oh! And I have an even better idea! Why don't I film my bigotry too! That way it is guaranteed that it will go viral on YouTube and all the world can see it and I am even more assured to lose my command! Sweet!!

A Tale of Two Storms

This Friday, Storm No. 1. Next Tuesday, Storm No. 2. All next week into the following week - colder! It looks like Storm No. 2 may be the bigger of the two for us....

Monday, January 3, 2011

Woe is Me...

Yes, it has finally happened. After a couple of years of getting lucky and not catching a serious cold, one has finally befallen me. My life now is reduced to one consisting solely of chicken soup and cough drops. Oh, the humanity!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Holiday News Recap

The Bukharian Jewish Center construction site on 70th Ave.
If you've been away, or distracted by shopping or partying over the past week or so, here's a recap of local news I have gleaned from various sources (I cannot vouch for all of these, but the sources of this news do seem reliable. Please post a comment below if you know anything about any of these):
- Q Thai Bistro, a popular restaurant on Ascan, will be closing.
- Wafa, a popular Lebanese food restaurant near Metropolitan Ave., may also be closing soon, word has it.
- The Dallas BBQ in the new Rego Center in Rego Park has opened.
- Piu Bello will be opening soon - or maybe it already did? Haven't had a chance to look - in the space formerly occupied by Positano, across from the Post Office.
- The spot eternally under construction next to the Bukharian Jewish Center on 70th Ave. is reportedly to become at least partly new condos.
- Enterprise Rent-A-Car, which had been on Austin near the Barnes & Noble before moving a few years ago to Rego Park, has now moved back to Forest Hills - in the Pinnacle.
- Vornado Realty Co. reportedly wants to build yet another shopping center near the Rego Center in Rego Park.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year !

I just want to wish all of my readers a very Happy New Year!! I think we have a lot to look forward to here in Forest Hills and vicinity in the coming year and I look forward to sharing it with you all!

- Drake

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Perfect Storm of a Perfect Storm

Yes, I know, annoying headline. But that is what went through my mind today as I read some of the analysis of what went wrong with regard to the city's handling of the blizzard. Here are the main points I have kind of digested -- including some of my own theories -- and will now share with you all. And I will definitely be posting more thoughts on this as more information comes out:

1. Mayor Bloomberg and his administration were coasting on a lot of positive media publicity in recent months (especially since the 2010 midterm elections and Bloomberg's national interviews as a potential future presidential candidate, etc..) and I think the administration had relaxed a bit too much. They let their guard down just once, but unfortunately for them, as we have seen, when you are running a city like New York, that guard can never be lowered - ever.

2. The Blizzard of 2010 was indeed a Perfect Storm, in every way:
Firstly, it was incredibly ferocious - the type of storm we really haven't had in a while here. This is what I was trying to say in a recent post about last year's winter. While we had a lot of snow last year, there just didn't seem to be any "umph" to those storms. This storm had "umph!" I was out in it for a bit -- see my photos if you haven't already -- and can testify first hand that this was a classic blizzard and packed a very mean punch. It was hard for me to walk in it, something I can not really remember in any of our recent snow storms. As a result, many motorists, more used to the types of moderate snowfalls we have recently experienced, thought they could drive during this storm. Many then ended up abandoning their cars, and then that blocked the snow plows from getting through.
Also, this was such a tricky storm to forecast, and it arrived during one of the worst possible times - on Christmas weekend. The blizzard warning by the National Weather Service was not posted until the afternoon of Christmas Day (Saturday) and the blizzard began in earnest by Sunday afternoon, just about 24 hours later. Up until then, there were increasingly worrisome forecasts about the storm. But if you recall, the forecast earlier in the week was that it would mostly miss us. I think they gave it no more than a 20 percent chance of significant snowfall. It's not hard to see how the City government was lulled into a relaxed attitude by these forecasts -- especially with Christmas coming up and everyone's desire to go on vacation, etc.. - and as a result they were so very slow to respond with a Snow Emergency and other appropriate measures.

3. The City's policy of outsourcing much of its snow plowing and car towing to private companies contributed a great deal to the plowing delays. As The Times reported, many of the private companies no longer want to even do these snowstorm jobs for the city. And because of the City's delay in requesting their assistance, some had even been hired by the local airports by the time they were needed to clear the city's streets.

As I said at the beginning of this post, I will offer more of my thoughts on this historic storm as time goes on and as more information about the city's response comes to light. But these are some of my initial thoughts on what happened and what contributed to the lax response.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Forest Hills Incident in Times Blizzard Coverage

From The Times:
"In Forest Hills, Queens, bystanders waited for three hours next to a man lying unconscious in the snow before they were able to flag down help.
Snow Blocked Hundreds of Ambulances
Published: December 28, 2010
Emergency dispatchers tried to triage calls by level of severity, but at least 200 ambulances got stuck on unplowed streets or were blocked by abandoned cars.

Blizzard of 2010: Day Three

We need you to plow, but we also roped off the street! Go figure. On 71st Road/112th St.

One of the more interesting drifts I saw on a car.
71st Road, near the Key Food, remained impassable.

The good news is the temps are rising, causing some snow melt.

Mail service resumed on Tuesday.

The plowed snow created what resembled a sea of undulating waves of snow along Queens Blvd.

Some motorists still had not learned by Tuesday. This car had just driven into a snow bank on 71st Road.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Blizzard 2010: Day Two

Austin Street, though some shops were open, was mostly free of cars.

One of several cars I noticed abandoned. This one blocking the intersection of 71st Ave. and 110th Street.

A different view of the car abandoned at the intersection of 71st Ave. and 110th Street.

Another abandoned car blocking the corner of 72nd Road and 112th Street.

This fellow seems right at home with his huskies as he strolls across Austin, coffee in hand.

Many side streets were impassable on Day Two of the storm.

Icicles dangle dangerously from the Citibank at the corner of 71st Continental and Austin.

One of the more unique aspects to this storm is how the winds kept some sides of the street mostly clear.

One of the bigger drifts I saw.

Crossing Queens Blvd. became an adventure - more like crossing the arctic tundra!

The Library was one establishment closed by the storm, to the dismay of this eager student.

One nice thing - you can walk straight down the middle of the streets to do your shopping!

Shovelers were out in force, searching for that next driveway or storefront to clear.

The Blizzard created many beautiful settings for the holidays. Station Square's tree.

The Blizzard proved too much for even NYC's best drivers, such as this cab abandoned at Ascan and Queens Blvd.

Helping a motorist who thought his car could get through anything. Apparently not.

And I really needed a haircut, too! Drats! 

The Reform Temple of Forest Hills' bushes.

Sudden wind gusts blowing the snow proved quite a challenge the day after the storm.