Sunday, February 27, 2011

Blockbuster No More

This probably comes as no surprise to anyone with a Netflix account. Blockbuster is closing its store on 70th Road in Forest Hills.. and they're having a big sale as they do, too. And this means another prime storefront will soon be available on "restaurant row." Do you hear that Shake Shack?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Marianella's New Sign

The sign/awning is up for the new Mexican restaurant, Marianella's Taqueria, at 106-11 71st Avenue.

A reader snapped this pic with his cell phone and sent it in to me...

Medical Hall Pharmacy Closes

After 42 years, the Medical Hall Pharmacy, on the north side of Queens Blvd., near the Key Food, has shut its doors. A sign says all former prescriptions are now being handled by the Rite Aid Pharmacy on Austin St. This is but the latest store along that strip to close. Rumors are something big may be afoot, or it could be nothing at all - just a sign of the still depressed economy.

This was what Cord Meyer had once proposed for that corner. Are the plans back on?

Ahhhhh, Forest Hills living... if it's not the delightful smell of moth balls wafting up from the apartment below, it's the unmistakable screeching of a modem trying to connect!

Spitzer Sans Parker

Well, that didn't take long...

Kathleen Parker Out at CNN's 'Parker Spitzer'

Thursday, February 24, 2011

New Mexican Restaurant's Website Is Up

The Website for Marianella's Taqueria, the new Mexican restaurant opening on 71st/Continental Ave. next to McDonald's (exact address is 106-11 71st Avenue) is now live.

Here is the link to the site, which includes its menu:

Thanks to Mike for posting the link on the new Edge of the City Facebook Page

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Forest Hills High, Meet Broadway

.... via the soon-to-open, $0 Spiderman musical!

Yes, you read that right:

ArtsBeat: A Second Spider-Man Musical Swings Into Town
Published: February 22, 2011
Frustrated by the delays that have engulfed “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” an improv comedian and composer has decided to open his own show about that comic-book wall-crawler one day earlier.

Mr. Moran said his “Spidey Project,” which has a book written by him and Jon Roufaeal and a score composed by Adam Podd and Doug Katsaros, will “100 percent” follow the origin story laid out for Spider-Man in Marvel Comics: “It’s Peter Parker, in high school at Forest Hills when he gets bitten by the spider and all that good stuff.”

Monday, February 21, 2011

This Week's Poll

First, the results from last week's poll.

The question was Which of the Austin/71st Continental drugstores do you prefer? Duane Reade or Rite Aid?

25 votes were cast and here are the results:

As I expected, local NYC chain Duane Reade was the most popular with 13 votes (52 percent of the vote).
Rite Aid came in second place with 9 votes (36 percent).
And 3 people entered other choices:
2 voted for CVS
1 voted for CostCo.

Personally, I find both Duane Reade and Rite Aid to frequently be out of stock on items. When it comes to the overall shopping experience, however, the thing that sticks out in my mind the most are Duane Reade's lines. Even with their new roped-off lines, which have done away with the scary line chaos and near-brawls that used to ensue, the lines are still so intimidating looking and good God they are still ALWAYS long. It is like winning a jackpot to see no one on line at Duane Reade.

I increasingly prefer the Rite Aid on Queens Blvd. near 75th Ave. It feels bigger, kind of like a suburban drugstore, with more space to shop, more stuff in stock and shorter lines.

Now on to this week's poll:

Only in New York?

How about a traveling antique store? As seen on the Upper West Side on Sunday...

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Ok, I've spent a heck of a lot of time in Grand Central, as I'm sure most of you have. Now, am I crazy, but how in the world can Apple open its biggest store in the world there?

Confirmed: Apple To Build Biggest Store Yet In Grand Central Terminal

I especially like the part of the article that says Apple may have to take down walls of Grand Central to fit its biggest store in there. Jackie O must be rolling over in her grave! Of course, they can't take down walls of Grand Central! It's a protected historic structure. But leave it to a technology blog to not have the slightest idea what "protected historic structure" means!

I kid the technology blog (not really).

Supposedly, they say, Apple wants to open a store in Grand Central to alleviate the crowding at its Fifth Avenue store. Now, that I can believe.

Thinking Ahead To Spring

The nice weather has me in a Spring-like mood. Here's one of the things to look forward to this Spring - the opening of the second phase of the High Line. It will extend the High Line all the way up to 30th Street. If you haven't gone to the High Line yet, I highly (pun intended), recommend it! I actually have been wanting it to snow again because I'd like to see what it looks like covered in snow. (Next time it snows, or shortly after, that's where you'll find me!)

Here's a short video tour of phase 2:

Poll Results So Far: Battle of the Drugstores

Here are the results so far from this week's poll, the Battle of the Austin St. / 71st Continental Corner Drugstore chains:

Duane Reade, perhaps as expected given its unique relationship with New Yorkers, is in the lead with 9 votes, giving it 45 percent of the vote so far.

In a close second place is Rite Aid with 8 votes and 40 percent of the vote. I have to admit Rite Aid is holding its own and doing better than I expected it to.

And 3 voters have opted to favor neither of the chains, giving "Other" 15 percent of the vote.

If you haven't voted yet, the poll is still open.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Austin Restaurant Developments

As I wrote in my previous post, a sign is up for the new restaurant coming into the old Piu Bello location at the corner of Austin and 70th Ave. The restaurant will be called Agora Taverna and will serve Greek food.

Meanwhile, across the street, the new Exo Cafe looks like it is almost ready to open. Here are a couple of photos:

New Greek restaurant where Piu Bello used to be is called Agora Taverna.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

PJ's Steakhouse / Grill

I finally finished watching the entire episode of Kitchen Nightmares that was shot here in Forest Hills, at the old PJ's Steakhouse on Yellowstone, and that aired on Channel 5 a couple of weeks ago. I actually found it really touching! I liked Kitchen Nightmares beforehand having seen it a couple of times (actually, the British version), but I have to say that this episode, if you haven't seen it, is a real treat for us Forest Hillers. You have to watch it to see what I mean - it includes interviews with local people on Austin/71st Continental, lots of shots of the neighborhood, and also you just might spot one of your neighbors eating at the restaurant.

It's a real struggle as the two proprietors try to turn this restaurant around. In the end, they end up selling it - their hearts, it seems, were just not in the restaurant business. It was touching because I think anyone can identify with them. Life threw them a curve ball - the death of a close family member - and the restaurant was used as a way for them both to emerge from their grief. Unfortunately, a restaurant is something you have to put your entire heart and soul into - it's not just a therapeutic tool. But I feel for them, I really do.

On the site of the old PJ's today is a German restaurant, Manor Oktoberfest, which has been getting pretty good reviews, according to a commenter on this blog and also Yelp.

Anyway, if you haven't seen the show, here it is below...

Kitchen Nightmares in Forest Hills - Part Two

I finally got around to watching some of the episode of Kitchen Nightmares shot at what used to be PJ's Steakhouse on Yellowstone Blvd. If you missed it, the episode is available here:

Kitchen Nightmares, “PJ’s Steakhouse”: pathetic joke, that’s what it stands for

As I said in a previous post, this brought up so many feelings for me. One of the reasons I started doing this blog was to encourage better quality restaurants to open in Forest Hills. When I moved to the neighborhood more than a decade ago, my God there were some atrocious places. There still are. And you probably know the ones I am talking about. (Feel free to post about your own experiences with them either below or on the Discussion Board of our Facebook Page. )

I watched about 20 minutes of the Kitchen Nightmares episode so far. Here are my thoughts:

1) It's a real eye-opener how a restaurant can look just great and have terrible food. It makes me think of that cool-looking diner that until just a few years ago used to be on Restaurant Row (70th Road) here in Forest Hills. I don't remember the name of it, but it had kind of a retro-diner feel. But the food was horrible.

2) I love the part of the show where he finds plastic in his crab cakes. This always amazes me. A restaurant has one task to do: serve you good food. And this place served the poor guy plastic in his otherwise rancid crabcakes! It would be hysterically funny really, if it wasn't so sad. And this brings up another memory of mine. After I had first moved here I once stopped in at the old bagel place that used to be next to the Key Food (I think it is where What a Deal!!! is now). I ordered a bagel and cream cheese, took a bite and almost broke my teeth. Half of a plastic straw had somehow been placed inside my bagel on top of the cream cheese!

Since I moved here, these horrible restaurants have thankfully closed and some pretty good ones have started to open in and around the neighborhood. I am very hopeful that the restaurant scene here will only continue to improve. I am especially looking forward to the new places on Austin: Exo and the yet-to-be-named seafood restaurant across from it where Piu Bello used to be.

After all, before I lived here in Forest Hills, I lived for several years in Park Slope - and I can assure you the restaurants there back in the 90's were just as bad as the ones described above and now that neighborhood is world-class when it comes to places to eat.

RIP Kenneth Mars

New Facebook Page

By the way, if you haven't already, check out our new Facebook Page where you can post about whatever you'd like. You'll also find a growing archive of photos, including a gallery of The Blizzard of 2010 and The Forest Hills Tornado. There is also a Discussion Board on the Page with a few topics already started - Restaurants, Shopping and In the News. I will also occasionally post to the Page some items that won't appear here on the Blog.

You can reach the new Page either from the link at the right, or by clicking here: Edge of the City Facebook Page

Road Rage

I've received one email about, and have also noticed online, a lot of anger welling up about the state of Forest Hills' streets. The recent thaw has uncovered some dangerous and destructive potholes.

One of the most mysterious is this one shown in the photos below at the corner of 72nd Ave. and 112th Street. On the morning of Thanksgiving Day a road crew closed off the street to traffic and did some major work on the road, digging it up, according to one local resident. And ever since then, this person told me, sections of the road have been sinking. And now this pothole has appeared, which caused cars to have to drive around it.

Now, potholes have always been a problem in the City. I remember years ago, when I used to drive a lot, one of the worst roads was the Cross Bronx Expressway. It was like being on a ship in the middle of a storm - the car just went up... and down.... up... and down.

I don't know if the potholes are any worse than they used to be. But given the economy, I wouldn't be surprised if there is less money being allocated to fixing them.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

I hope everyone's love blossoms today (ew, how corny... I don't even know where that came from.)

This is a bit of a wild Valentine's Day here in The Hills. Let's see, when you walk around you are being buffeted by 65 mile an hour winds, and it is like 60 degrees or something, and there are mounds of dirty snow all over the place...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Revolution, As Seen From Space

This is what Cairo's Tahrir Square looked like from space last week (click on the image for a close-up) :

Taken February 11, 11:18 a.m. local time. Photo courtesy of DigitalGlobe.

This Week's Poll

First, the results from last week's poll:

I am most looking forward to:

The opening of Marianela Taqueria, the new Mexican restaurant on 71st Continental 27.03% (10 votes)

The opening of the new seafood restaurant, in the old Piu Bello location on Austin St. 43.24% (16 votes)

The opening of the new "Ripe"-owned restaurant where Mardi Gras used to be 24.32% (9 votes)

Other: 5.41% (2 votes):
The closing of all medicore, filthy restaurants

Whatever will replace Q

Total Votes: 37

Now on to this week's poll:

Heat Wave

All the heaters have now officially been turned off in the Edge of the City Compound, a sure sign that Spring can not be too far off!

One of the best things I ever did was have the Super fix every single radiator in the apartment when I moved in so that I could turn each one on and off. Of course, like every single other apartment I have ever lived in in New York City, all of the heaters had long before broken to the point where they were all stuck in the on position. So, whenever the temperature outside would suddenly spike like it is doing today and tomorrow, I used to just resort to opening the windows rather than succumb to heat stroke. Of course, a little luck has allowed me the "luxury" of fixed heaters: Until now my Supers have either been extremely incompetent or incredibly unhelpful.

But think of how much energy is wasted by all the thousands of NYC apartments with old heaters stuck on? And how much discomfort, as well, to those of you having to put up with it. It should be a law that every single heater in every single NYC apartment can be turned on and off.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Restaurant news: Sign for Exo now up where Mardi Gras used to be on Austin; Piu Bello, in new location across from Post Office, was closed Saturday night...

Drunk With Power ?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Love / Hate ?

As I watch these amazing images of celebration in Cairo today, I can only imagine the feelings the average Egyptian has towards our country - on the one hand, they must hate the fact that we propped up with billions of dollars the tyrannical regime that kept them from reaching their human potential for the past almost 30 years. But, on the other, we gave them Facebook, Twitter and the Internet, the tools they used to successfully overthrow that same tyrant.

Forest Hills Gardens on HBO

Remember when they were filming in The Gardens some scenes for that remake of Mildred Pierce, this time with Kate Winslet instead of Joan Crawford?

Well, a date for the miniseries to air has been set: March 27th.

Here's a link to the website: HBO Mildred Piece - A Five-Part Miniseries Coming March 2011!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Edge of the Gotham City ?

If you see one of those helicopters hovering over Queens Blvd. the next few days, it may just be for some early filming of the next Batman movie:

Is 'The Dark Knight Rises' Shooting In New York City This Week?

I'm actually kind of kidding. I really can't see why Forest Hills, or even Queens, would be in the next Batman movie.

And besides, we already had this. Check the clip out at around 2:30:

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Brave New World

I believe the ongoing revolution in Egypt - which is spreading this week, not dying off as the pathetic mass media in our country would have you believe by their sudden pulling back in coverage - very well might be the most important news event of our time. We are seeing the rise of the "Internet Generation," and it will probably change the world as we know it. I don't see how repressive dictators like Mubarak will be able to stay in power in a world where all people are connected and are able to freely communicate and see for themselves the truth.

This a lengthy interview, but I highly recommend Part 2 if you can find the time to watch it:

The Lede: Subtitled Video of Wael Ghonim’s Emotional TV Interview
Published: February 8, 2011
Video of an interview on Egyptian television on Monday night with Wael Ghonim, a Google marketing executive who devoted his spare time to a Facebook page that helped spark the protest movement.

Poll Results So Far

Here are the results from our latest poll so far. The poll is still open, so if you haven't voted please do.

The poll asks which of the following you are most looking forward to.

In the lead so far: The opening of the new seafood restaurant in the old Piu Bello location on Austin St., with 12 votes.

In Second Place, The opening of Marianela Taqueria, the new Mexican place next to McDonald's on 71st/Continental, with 9 votes,

Third Place - The new "Ripe" owned restaurant where Mardi Gras used to be, with 5 votes.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Kitchen Nightmares in Forest Hills

Wow, there is just so so much to be said about this that I don't know were to begin... and my other job is calling me right now, so I don't have time to write down all my other feelings about this. Soooo, I will just leave you this link for now to digest (pun intended) this delicious (again) piece of pop-culture related reporting about where we live:

Kitchen Nightmares, “PJ’s Steakhouse”: pathetic joke, that’s what it stands for
Quick Take: Kitchen Nightmares, “PJ’s Steakhouse”
“You know what I know about running a high end steak house? Apparently not much.” – Joe the owner

Poor Spidey

I got immense pleasure from this morning's scouring review of the Spiderman show on Broadway in The Times. I've always hated the very idea of this show, not because it tried to turn theater into a circus of sorts, but because it arrogantly uses $65 million on trying to do so. $65 million!!! And they charge what? $200 or more for seats? In these times? Such excess is disgusting for what is supposed to be a form of entertainment accessible to everyone.

Movies have for a long time had such huge budgets. It's kind of expected. And the budgets sometimes make the movies really really good. But when did all this money being thrown at a Broadway show ever really make it "good" and not just some spectacle. Theater is supposed to enrich us as human beings and that is what is being forgotten in this Spiderman mess.

Good vs. Evil, Hanging by a Thread
Published: February 7, 2011
This show is not only the most expensive musical ever to hit Broadway, but it may also rank among the worst.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Super Bowl Ads

As usual, I watched the Super Bowl, but mostly to see the commercials and the half-time show. The half-time show I thought was awesome. As for the commercials - below are a few of the more memorable ones. ...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

I Still Love You

By the way, so what if you're not mostly made of meat, like that silly little lawsuit claims? You are delicious and I still love you... Taco Bell Forever!!!

Oh, and while I am at it, don't be jealous... I still love you too!!!

New Poll

Friday, February 4, 2011

Worst News for Weather Weary

I just watched this video from one of my most trusted weather persons over at and he is pretty certain that a week from today we will be digging out from another major blizzard. I know, I know... a week away? Forget it! It will never happen. The only problem is he has been pretty on target this winter, especially with these long-term forecasts.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Queens Center Mall Owners Bought Atlas Park

I guess if anyone has a chance of reviving the struggling Atlas Park, it would be these guys:

From The Daily News:

THE FIRM that runs Queens Center Mall, among the nation's busiest shopping centers, landed a struggling rival complex at a recent foreclosure auction:
Qns. Center Mall owners snap up rival at foreclosure sale

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


This article brought tears to my eyes...

Arab World Faces Its Uncertain Future
Published: February 2, 2011
The region is watching a moment in Egypt that suggests it will never be the same again.

I loved the article's opening paragraph:

CAIRO — The future of the Arab world, perched between revolt and the contempt of a crumbling order, was fought for in the streets of downtown Cairo on Wednesday.

“The street is not afraid of governments anymore,” said Shawki al-Qadi, an opposition lawmaker in Yemen, itself roiled by change. “It is the opposite. Governments and their security forces are afraid of the people now. The new generation, the generation of the Internet, is fearless. They want their full rights, and they want life, a dignified life.”

The battle was waged by Mohammed Gamil, a dentist in a blue tie who ran toward the barricades of Tahrir Square. It was joined by Fayeqa Hussein, a veiled mother of seven who filled a Styrofoam container with rocks. Magdi Abdel-Rahman, a 60-year-old grandfather, kissed the ground before throwing himself against crowds mobilized by a state bent on driving them from the square. And the charge was led by Yasser Hamdi, who said his 2-year-old daughter would live a life better than the one he endured.

“Aren’t you men?” he shouted. “Let’s go!”

Taxi of Tomorrow

I would take more cabs just for the pleasure of riding in these:
Futuristic glass roof cab could soon be reality on NYC streets

And for more info, click here:

Chilling, In More Ways Than One

From AccuWeather: Three of Next Five Winters Could be as Cold or Colder
This winter is on track to become the coldest for the nation as a whole since the 1980s or possibly even the late 1910s. According to Chief Long Range Forecaster Joe Bastardi, three or four out of the next five winters could be just as cold, if not colder.

As for now, looking at all my weather sources here in "The Edge of the City Weather Center," it seems like we are in a bit of a lull when it comes to the snow. We may even be getting a touch of Spring which is quite appropriate because of today's latest Groundhog Day news. It's not like it will be warm or anything, but the weekend storm which looked like it would bring snow just a week ago is now looking like more rain and sleet. So, there is a trend towards a bit warmer. And the second half of February is expected to be even warmer than that (Washington D.C. is expected to reach 70 degrees before the end of this month!)

However, what is beyond that - in March - is likely a return to snow and cold as we have to endure the last gasp of Winter before Spring.

5 P.M. UPDATE: Boy, things can change quickly. I just saw one forecaster who is now predicting 3 storms through next week! The one on Saturday - which may have snow with it after all - followed by one Tuesday, and then possibly a big one next Friday, the 11th.
Punxsutawney Phil & Staten Island Chuck agree on Groundhog Day: Spring to come early this year