Thursday, June 30, 2011

Edge of the City Review: Liang's

I paid a visit to Liang's tonight for some Chinese takeout and to try to solve one of the biggest mysteries in Forest Hills in recent weeks: is Liang's really just the former Peking Duck Palace disguised by a new name? Or is this really, truly a genuine new restaurant?

Well, while having not actually asked the proprietors, I can only report what I see with my own two eyes, and, of course, taste. And my suspicion after actually eating the food and comparing it to Peking Duck's is that Liang's food is just too damn good to still be Peking Duck!

Yes, I am happy to report that a decent Chinese restaurant appears to have finally set up shop in the heart of Forest Hills! Imagine that?

For about $27 (yes, quite a lot for Chinese food, but I wanted to sample a wide range of offerings), I took home the hot and sour soup; an egg roll; BBQ spare ribs and Moo Shu Chicken. Oh, and a can of Pepsi.

Here's my review of each:

I started with the Hot & Sour Soup: This was ok, not great. It was very peppery but lacked the sour part to any noticeable degree. Even so, it was still a pretty good soup and I would order it again. (I ordered the meat version, by the way. They offer it without meat as well.) Grade: B

Egg Roll: This I enjoyed a lot more than the soup. It had a perfect crunch and starts off hitting your tongue with just a hint of cinnamon flavor, followed quickly by all the nice veggie and pork flavorings of a good egg roll. And it wasn't overly greasy, either. Grade: A

BBQ Spare Ribs: Now this was the biggest surprise for me. These were delectable. I even breathed an involuntary "Yum!" as I ate the first one. The most noticeable feature was how tender they were. Quite different than an everyday spare rib. And the tangy flavors were spot on. Grade: A+ for some of the best spare ribs I have ever had. (And I cannot believe I just wrote that about a Chinese restaurant in Forest Hills!)

Moo Shu Chicken: This was a pretty good version of the popular Moo Shu Chicken dish, which is served with pancakes and hoisin sauce. I found it to be lighter on the eggs than other Moo Shus I've eaten and more heavy on the veggies, which is a very nice change in these health-conscious days. And it wasn't overly greasy either. I also liked the smoky flavor that came through. My only complaint was the chicken itself seemed a bit light on flavor. But overall, not bad. Grade: A

Overall grade for the new Liang's: A

Liang's is located at 107-12 70th Road (Restaurant Row) in Forest Hills. Here is their menu:

Kew Gardens Gets Some Press

Our quiet, yet distinguished, neighbor to the East has just gotten a nice bit of press from the blog Curbed under its "Gentrification Watch":
Kew Gardens Might Live up to "Next Big Thing" in Queens

I have a bit of a crush myself on Kew Gardens. A pleasant walk down Austin to that quaint little community to take in an excellent meal at Mood and then a flick at the arty Kew Gardens Cinemas — what can make for a better Saturday or Sunday afternoon than that?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

From FoHi Patch: MacDonald Park To Be WiFi Enabled

This is really great news (maybe not for Starbucks, I guess)...

MacDonald Park To Be WiFi Enabled
The New York City Parks Department announced earlier this month that three Queens Parks — including MacDonald Park in Forest Hills — will be outfitted with wireless internet access this summer.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Shyness - The New Disorder?

Here's a link to an awesome article in The Times that takes a close look at shyness and the pharmaceutical industry's attempt to make even this, the most normal of personalities, into an illness that needs to be treated with drugs.

Shyness: Evolutionary Tactic?
Published: June 25, 2011
The tendency to see shyness as an illness does society a disservice, because being shy has benefits.

I remember thinking about this many years ago. I am pretty outgoing with small groups of friends, but I used to really dread the thought of talking in front of large groups of people. I only got over that by actually doing it. But the more important point here is why did I have to ever do it in the first place? Because in our society we don't respect enough those people who are more introverted or just plain shy. Everyone, it seems, is supposed to be Reality Show material these days.

But have you seen the stadiums filled with screaming people trying out for American Idol? If you ask me, we have enough extroverts. As this excellent article points out, many of the greatest people who ever lived were shy and introverted. Now imagine a world where the brilliance of these people was never allowed to develop because their parents were told when they were young they had a disorder and had to be put on social anxiety medication? Now that's crazy.
And very scary.

New Restaurant Updates

My sources tell me the new French bakery, La Boulangerie, is just about ready to open, so it could be any day now... I also have noticed they are really putting a lot of work into that Old Vienna Cafe, next to Midway Theater -- certainly not rushing that restaurant. I am really looking forward to both these places. They are refreshingly original and will add just the kind of variety we need in this neighborhood. I was just saying to my friends over the weekend how I long for an independently-owned cafe to hang out in instead of the sameness of Starbucks all the time.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Asian Residents of NYC

Here's a really cool interactive map of where the different segments of the Asian population of the City currently reside:
Asians in New York City
Published: June 23, 2011
An interactive map showing the population of Asian groups throughout New York City and their growth since the year 2000.

Forest Hills in New Film: Love Etc.

A new award-winning documentary called Love Etc. follows several couples in New York City, exploring the nature of their relationships. It opens July 1st here in the City.

From a review on
"Jill Andresevic is in love with New York, both the city’s physical attributes and the demographics. Her photographer, Luke Geissbuhler, trains his camera on a variety of neighborhoods including Soho, Forest Hills, Jamaica Hills, Coney Island, Canarsie, Midtown Manhattan and Broadway."

Here's a link to that full review: Love Etc. Movie Review

And here's the film's website:

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

La Boulangerie on Facebook

The beginnings of this new bakery/cafe's Facebook page, with tantalizing details such as "breakfast, lunch and coffee":

I walked by last week and saw some folks in there with the door opened and it looked bright and very welcoming. I'm very much looking forward to the opening of this place! Anyone know when exactly?

Please Vote for Max !

A longtime reader of the blog asked me if I would help him out a little, so I said, of course! He is trying to get votes for his child to appear on the cover of Parent's magazine.

Here is the link where you can add your vote for Max:

(By the way, he tells me the extremely delicious-looking cookie Max is enjoying is from Martha's on Austin St.)

Scenes from The High Line

I paid a visit to The High Line over the weekend to check out the new section that opened a couple of weeks ago. It doubles the park's length, connecting three neighborhoods along Manhattan's West Side.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Wafa's Expands Delivery

I saw a post on Queens Central this morning about the Mediterranean & Lebanese restaurant Wafa's now delivering to all over the Forest Hills area, including Kew Gardens and Rego Park. I have had a craving for a falafel for the past couple of days for some reason, so I could barely contain my excitement. After all, I heave heard nothing but good things about Wafa's, but have yet to try it. I went in there once a few years ago (I think they were in a different location, near Metropolitan) and was told their delivery to the north side of Queens Blvd., where I reside, was spotty at best. But now apparently it isn't... so I think the universal falafel forces are converging to make this happen for me in the near future! I look forward to reveling in Wafa's culinary delights very soon!

Here's a link to their very nice-looking and inviting, even tantalizing, website:

Mon, Wed-Thu, Sun 11:30 am - 9 pm
Fri-Sat 11:30 am - 10 pm

100-05 Metropolitan Ave
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 880-2055

View Larger Map

NYSERDA's Power Breakfast Series for Multifamily Buildings

Event on June 21 in Forest Hills

NYSERDA's Power Breakfast series for multifamily building owners, developers, property managers, condo and co-op board members is a great way to learn how to make your building a lean, mean, energy-optimizing machine.

At this session learn how to:

    * Upgrade your energy performance with NYSERDA incentives toward a whole-building assessment and energy upgrades ($600 per unit or $1.50/sq. ft. on new construction) and low-interest loans on remaining energy upgrades.
    * Submeter electricity in all of your units, with incentives of up to 50% on the submeters, plus incentives on energy-efficient appliances and lighting
    * Switch from #6 heating oil to cleaner alternatives with NYSERDA incentives of $30 per ton of reduced carbon emissions, up to $175,000!
    * Meet the requirements of new NYC benchmarking laws with energy tune-ups and incentives; NYSERDA will pay up to $3,000 for an operational review

The first half-hour is a light breakfast and a chance to network, followed by presentations, Q&A, a case study panel, and another half hour for networking with energy partners who can get you started.

Dates and Locations:

    * Queens: Tuesday, June 21st, 8:00am - 11:30am,
      Central Queens Y, 67-09 108 St., Forest Hills, NY

Power Breakfast 2011 is FREE! But space is limited.

Register today: /2011

Friday, June 17, 2011

Austin St. Fire

A reader writes that there was some kind of a fireball and smoke on Austin St. near 71st Continental, in front of the Citibank about an hour ago... I'm hearing it's possibly a manhole cover explosion. Let us know if you saw anything.

Also told Austin St. is completely blocked off as ConEd, firefighters and EMT on the scene... Smoke is still billowing out of the manhole.

People in stores along Austin report lights flickering...

Lulu's Boutique Closing

From a reader: "Lulu's Boutique store closing sign displayed. Wonder what will take its place at this highly trafficked area of Austin St. (next to Verizon Wireless)"

Thanks for the tip!

View Larger Map
I have a love/hate relationship with this video. Sorry, just being honest.

Thunderstorm Music

A tune to help you enjoy the thunderstorms moving through this afternoon...

More Dinosaurs? Spielberg on Jurassic Park 4

Since it's Friday, that makes it an excellent time for some movie news! My favorite movie news of the week (aside from the news that they will be making 4 movies, count 'em 4, out of my new favorite sci-fi books, The Hunger Games):

Steven Spielberg Brainstorming 'Jurassic Park 4' with Writer Mark Protosevich

God Help Me

It's funny how all of a sudden Republicans are in favor of more regulation, not less..

Republicans Urge Cuomo to Alter Same-Sex Marriage Bill
Published: June 16, 2011
With 31 of 62 members of the New York State Senate in support of same-sex marriage, Stephen Saland of Poughkeepsie is emerging as a pivotal voice.

.... because, of course, religion is such a victim compared to, say, ummm,, I don't know, gay people??? And I thought they worshipped an omnipotent being
But I guess God can't quite match the power of the Republicans.

State Senator Shirley Huntley
Please.... puhlease!!!.... pass Same-Sex Marriage already, if only so that fake pollster stops calling my house every day asking me if I'm registered to vote and if I believe marriage is between a man and a woman! That dude is driving me nuts! He calls like three times a day, on every phone line in my house no less!

Oh, and by the way, kudos to State Senator Shirley Huntley, who reversed herself on this issue and did the right thing -- agreeing to vote to end discrimination against gay people when it comes to marriage.

Old Subway Cars to Get Upgrade?

Transit Agency Weighs a Digital Upgrade for Aging Subway Cars
Published: June 16, 2011
The upgrade, if put into effect, would bring automated station announcements and digital route displays to more than 1,700 aging subway cars.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

New HBO Series Filming in Forest Hills reports that Girls, a new HBO series, is filming at Parkway Hospital in Forest Hills

Weiner's Resignation

What more can I say about this other than what my Twitter comment from earlier today already did?

So we lose one of the peoples' real champions. A sad day for Forest Hills, and our country. 

One Year Anniversary

Today marks one year since I started Edge of the City. I just checked the stats and in that one year it has gone from zero readers to 7,420 (not counting the original site, which is still there by the way). I am really glad that this blog has found an audience. And a loyal audience at that - according to the stats, many of you are very loyal readers indeed, returning pretty often. So, I would just like to say a big Thank You to all of you. I especially love that many of you have spoken up over the past year, sending me emails and posting comments. (For those interested, the topic you all seem to be the most interested in is candy stores. Go figure.)

I didn't realize it when I started, but this blog came along at a very exciting time in Forst Hills' history. There are so many changes taking place here. It really seems like our neighborhood is going through a resurgence, with so many new restaurants and stores opening. (And this, despite the pretty lousy economy.) I guess it makes sense. It's already happened to pretty much every other part of New York City. We're one of the last areas to get some TLC. And with many empty stores still around, and plenty of commercial blocks in the area looking pretty run-down, I predict many more exciting changes to come.

Just a reminder, for those of you who want to be alerted whenever I update the blog you can subscribe to my very controversial Twitter feed (Just kidding! It's rated G!) or my new Facebook page. You can find links to both on the right side of this page. 

So thanks for a great first year and I look forward to sharing Year Two with all of you!

- Drake

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Night Falls on Queens Blvd.

.... guest starring a full moon, and a very fast fire truck....

A Day At The Beach?

Kind of a slow period here in FoHi between openings - and closings - of places. So why not take the day off and head to the beach? Probably because it's just not hot enough. But here's another reason: Men In Black 3 is filming today at Jones Beach!

I loved these movies starring Will Smith and am eagerly looking forward to the next installment which also stars Tommy Lee Jones again, and for the first time Josh Brolin. They've been filming it all over the NYC area, including Williamsburg. The movie is due out May 25, 2012.

Until then, enjoy this little diddy:

Work Resuming on 70th Ave.

I noticed that construction is once again taking place at the long-dormant site next to the Bukharian Jewish Center on 70th Ave. If I recall, a small apartment building of some kind is going in there?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Museum Mile Tonight

This very cool event happens tonight from 6 to 9 p.m. along 5th Avenue's Museum Mile.
What's wrong with a little free culture? Check out The Museum Mile Festival for more info!

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011, 6pm - 9pm 

  • FREE ACCESS 6pm - 9pm
    to all the museums along the mile
  • 23 car-free blocks
    5th Avenue between 82nd & 105th
  • Live bands
  • Entertainment
  • Art-in-the street
    activities for kids

One day a year, for the past 32 years, nine of the country's finest museums, all ones that call Fifth Avenue home, collectively open their doors from 6pm - 9pm for free to New Yorkers and visitors for a mile-long block party and visual art celebration. This traffic-free, music- and art-filled celebration fills the street and sidewalks of Fifth Avenue from 82nd to 105th street, the mile now officially designated as Museum Mile. Over 50,000 visitors attend the festival annually.
Neue Galerie New York kicks off the festival on the steps of its 1914 landmark building on 86th street at 5:45pm.
Museum Mile welcomes its newest member, the Museum for African Art, slated to open in September 2011. Be sure to stop by their table at Fifth Avenue and 105th Street.
Plus, follow the mile with street muralist De La Vega – grab a piece of chalk and make your mark!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Outdoor Seating

The great new restaurant Agora Taverna on Austin has set up its outdoor seating.... Very nice indeed.

Also, my top-notch reporter noticed this sign below on the soon-to-open Old Vienna Cafe. This is kind of expected given that the previous restaurant in this location near the Midway Theater also had outdoor seating. By the way, the ominous, Independence Day-like countdown clock website now lists 2 days remaining:

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Outside Congressman Weiner's Residence

Some pics of the media circus which continues outside Congressman Anthony Weiner's residence on Ascan. These photos were taken Saturday night. Notice all the garbage overflowing the garbage can and onto the sidewalk in the last picture. Isn't it enough already? Do they really need to be yelling questions and taking pictures of him every single time he leaves his apartment?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Baldwin for Mayor?

It's kind of surprising that we haven't had a real "celebrity" mayor yet, given how many celebrities we have living in the city! I think we are overdue for one and this native Long Islander might just be the man!

Jennifer Garner, Ben Affleck Endorse Alec Baldwin for Mayor (Video)

Awaiting Old Vienna

I am very curious to see what the new Old Vienna Cafe is like when it opens in the space next to the Midway Theater. So far I have run across an application for the place's signage that calls it "Old Vienna Cafe & Bakery."

I've also found a website, which seems authentic, except for the plural "s" at the end...The website has an ominous "Independence Day" movie—like countdown clock, announcing the arrival of either this website, or the restaurant itself, in something like 5 days and touts: "Bringing Classic Viennese Cafe Traditions to Forest Hills, NY 11375"
See for yourself at:

I also ran across a help wanted ad for a waiter or waitress describing Old Vienna as "an upscale restaurant," and an application for a liquor license.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Is this new subway widget too depressing to look at? Or do you find it useful? Let me know! ------>>>>>

Mr. Vino's is Looking Good

Really liking what they have done so far with this new wine shop moving in to 71st Continental...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hazy, Hot & Humid

Today's weather has gotten me into a particularly good summer mood. And what says summer better than one of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite summer movies of all time. Enjoy!

Get Your Free Tree This Sunday

Monday, June 6, 2011

My Thoughts on Weinergate

Congressman Weiner's actions were not private - these x-rated tweets were sent to people over his public Twitter account, which seems to reveal an official whose behavior has been, quite frankly, completely out of control.

Also, his lying to the media and the public was absolutely disgraceful.

However, I would really like to hear what the women who received these tweets think about the whole situation. That would really help, I believe, in understanding just how serious this whole scandal is. So, until we have that information, if ever, I can only take a stab at forming some sort of opinion about the whole matter.

Just because he is an elected official does not make him perfect. We all have our issues. If he deals with whatever caused him to carry out these self-destructive acts, then I think he should keep his job. He has been an outspoken voice for progressive causes at a time when we need MORE of them, not less.

Congressman Weiner has been, until this incident, an outstanding public official. This is a man who has devoted years of his life to public service. Before you form your own conclusions, I invite you to pay a visit to this page and see for yourself: We should not be rash in discarding a local official of Anthony Weiner's caliber and abilities.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Peek Inside La Boulangerie

Here are some photos taken today of the inside of the new French bakery/cafe under construction near the corner of Austin St. and 72nd Road. Last I heard it is supposed to open this month:

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Congressman Weiner - Where We Stand

The video contains a good wrap-up of where the controversy over that tweet from our local Congressman and Forest Hills resident Anthony Weiner currently stands. The story is by no means over... lots of mystery remains. It should be interesting to see what other facts about this emerge over the next few weeks. As I previously alluded to, I am a big fan of the Congressman and think he has been a hero, a defender of the liberal ideals that are so necessary to help get this country moving again. So this whole incident has been extremely disappointing and I hope he emerges from this as powerful a voice for the people as he was before:

Friday, June 3, 2011

Edwards Indicted

So John Edwards was indicted today. The charges, if true, are quite disgraceful. But not to sound shallow or anything but what really irritates the hell out of me is what he is doing in this photo— that little hand gesture that was so popular with a lot of these politicians for a while. There was that little Kennedyesque gesture they all started doing, and there was also this Buddhist-like hands together bow that Al Gore, John Kerry and a bunch of the others started doing at one time also.

Why do I bring this up? Partly because admittedly I am a little nuts, sure. But also because I think it is these smaller, seemingly insignificant gestures that always say so much about a person's character. If a politician starts mimicking the physical gestures of other politicians, the "gestures of the moment," so to speak, what does that reveal about his or her character? For one thing, that they are probably a follower, not a leader.

Do you remember when John Kerry was told during one of his debates to promise he won't raise taxes? I'll never forget how he looked directly into the camera and did as told. That moment revealed just as much about his character as the thousand and one times George W. tensed his shoulders when he said just about anything, because deep down he knew he didn't have what it took to be President, that his whole presidency was a scam and he'd rather be somewhere else raking brush.

Notice how you never, ever see President Obama make any of those "political gestures of the moment" bows or hand pointings.

Card Store Humiliations

I usually don't "piggyback" on other message board's postings, but I really want to call attention to this particular one on Queens Central because I had a similar irritating experience with this Austin Street merchant:

Sounds like this person is really getting out of control, that is if these other posts are also true...

Nero Tweeted While Rome Burned

Hiring in U.S. Slowed in May With 54,000 Jobs Added
Published: June 3, 2011
The unemployment rate rose to 9.1 percent, raising concerns once again about the underlying strength of the economic recovery.

For some reason, I woke up today with this post's headline in my head, knowing this morning they were issuing the closely-watched monthly unemployment report. I guess I am partly thinking how sad it is that with all the problems facing this country, much of the week was spent obsessing over whether or not our local Congressman tweeted a lewd picture of himself. But I have to admit I am torn. I am also extremely disappointed with Congressman Weiner's response to valid questions about this controversy. If he is indeed spending his time taking these photographs of himself when he should be focusing on getting our country back to work, then, yes, he is indeed one of today's Neros in my headline above.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Weiner Controversy Takes A More Serious Turn

This Congressman Weiner thing has suddenly taken on a much more serious turn. I was just dismissing it as not worthy of even posting about here, that is until this...

Published: June 1, 2011
Mr. Weiner told MSNBC news he "can't say with certitude'' that a lewd photo sent from his Twitter account does not depict him, though he said he was not the one who sent it.

By the way, I really did not mean the double entendre in this post's headline when I wrote it, but, hey, as they say, if the shoe fits, wear it.

Tornado Watch in Effect Until 8 p.m.

Tornado Watch Until 6/1/2011 8:00:00 PM
106 PM EDT WED JUN 1 2011