Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year !!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Signs of Gloria...

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and Chanukah...

So, after weeks of online rumors and speculation, finally a sign confirming that your former Flushing favorite, Gloria Pizza, will indeed be making its new home right smack in the center of Forest Hills, right next to the Midway Theater.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

An Edge of the City Profile: Local Artist Nicholas Ruiz

Nicholas Ruiz
From time to time I will be featuring Q&A’s with interesting residents of Forest Hills. I recently had the chance to sit down with Nicholas Ruiz. This 23-year-old Tampa, Florida transplant is a budding local artist/fashion designer who has been designing bow ties with some, shall we say, rather interesting twists. So far he’s made bow ties from guitar picks, soda cans, computer parts, film negatives and wine corks, just to name a few.
As you will see, our conversation covered not only his passion for his unique designs, but also his ongoing passion for Forest Hills. In fact, he ties the two together in his website Made In Forest Hills. Who knows, some day you may soon see Nicholas behind the counter of his own store selling his bow ties and other men’s accessories right here on Austin Street.

Edge of the City: How’d you come up with the idea for your bow ties?

Nicholas Ruiz: In November of 2010 we had our annual Film Benefit at the Museum of Modern Art, where I work in the Special Events Department.  At the event I met singer Janelle Monáe, who wears this fantastic bow tie in her music video "Tightrope.”  She told me a friend (singer Erykah Badu) purchased it at a shop in London and I was immediately jealous.  I started looking for a similar bow tie around NYC – but couldn't find one that spoke to me - so I decided to just make one myself.  I planned on making the first bow tie out of guitar picks for the opening of the Picasso: Guitars 1912-1914 MoMA exhibition in February 2011.  
It was a blast to make and I received such a great response from colleagues and friends that I decided to continue making bow ties inspired by the different exhibitions and events at MoMA throughout 2011.  There are style and design influences from the artists' works  and also a sustainable aspect with each each bow tie because the materials are found and recycled from my day-to-day life.  
This past November we held our 2011 Film Benefit, for which I wore a bow tie inspired by our honoree, Pedro Almodóvar.  I just recently completed the entire Bow Tie Collection with our final exhibition of the year and the 11th bow tie for Sanja Iveković: Sweet Violence.  
What began as a fun way to look sharp at my events, turned into a year-long project where I could combine my passion for art and love of fashion.  Some could say I've become a little bow tie obsessed, but really, who doesn't love a bow tie?

E.O.T.C.: Any plans for your bow ties to actually be exhibited at MoMA, or anywhere else perhaps?

N.R.: They’re not being exhibited at MoMA, but a gallery in Connecticut will be showcasing the eleven bow ties from the Bow Tie Collection next year.  Although every bow tie is wearable, the originals will be shadow box framed for the gallery display.  A series of bow ties from this Collection will also be available to buy framed or unframed, and because each one is hand made by me and will vary slightly in material design, there will be a bit of a waiting period for each order.  I've also chatted with Art World, which is a neat frame store on Metropolitan Ave. (formerly on Austin St.) about displaying them.  The Collection is really important to me, so it's excited that they're catching people's eyes. 

E.O.T.C.: I find it interesting that you play up the fact that you are from Forest Hills, even calling your website “Made in Forest Hills.”

N.R.: The name of my website is pretty literal.  I make all of my bow ties right here in Forest Hills.  I grew up visiting my uncle every year in Forest Hills, and then eventually moved here in March of 2010 after graduating from college.  When I first arrived I spent a lot of time fixing up my apartment while exploring the neighborhood.  There are so many hidden gems like the vintage shop, Instant Replay, where I found the brooch for the last bow tie in the Collection or Bangkok Cuisine, which serves hands down the best papaya salad.  Also, nothing beats an indie flick at the Cinemart followed by an ice cream sundae at Eddie's on Metropolitan. 
 I'm also a supporter of preserving the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium, which is such an iconic landmark to the community.  The neighborhood has directly influenced most of the bow ties in the Collection because many of the materials were found right here in Forest Hills.  The chandelier crystals for the Party in the Garden 2011 are from a local lighting store and the wire casing for Diego Rivera: Murals for The Museum of Modern Art is from my hardware store around the corner.  Even the de Kooning: A Retrospective bow tie is made from a Queen's Chronicle newspaper, and the parts for Talk to Me are from an old computer I found on Queens Blvd.  I'm always telling friends not to judge FoHi until they've been – I even made an About Forest Hills section on my site so people could plan their visit.

E.O.T.C: So what would you say is your ultimate goal with your bowties?

N.R.: It would be a dream to be able to make bow ties from when I wake up to when I go to bed.  Who knows, maybe one day I'll have a little bow tie shop here in Forest Hills.  All of my bow ties are unique and speak to different people for different reasons.  A wine lover may like the one I made out of wine corks for German Expressionism: The Graphic Impulse or a kid at heart would dig the one made out of Legos for The Armory Show 2011 after-party. One of my personal favorites was made out of expired Acetaminophen pills for the Contemporary Galleries: 1980-Now exhibition.  Right now, I'm developing a clasp system to make them easy to wear and working on designs for a limited edition Forest Hills Collection, which will be available in early 2012.  I'm also always searching for new materials, and people can email me at with ideas. 

You can follow Nicholas on Twitter at @bowtieboy, check out his Bow Tie Blog, or visit his website, Made in Forest Hills:

Are you interested in being profiled on this blog, or know someone who is? Shoot me an email at

Sunday, December 18, 2011

More Bareburger Details

The folks at Bareburger shared some info with me about plans for their new Austin St. location here in Forest Hills:

  • Our Bareburger will indeed be a sit-down restaurant, with about 50 seats.
  • It will have the same menu as their other locations. 
  • They also confirm it will open sometime this Spring.

See my previous posts about Bareburger for more information, and my review of one of their other locations.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

On My Mind...

Just a few random things on my mind (very) early this Saturday morning:
  • European Debt Crisis: I know, I know. It's the weekend. What am I doing thinking about such things? Can't help it. Scary shit! Europe's financial situation is looking increasingly dire, and the shockwaves could hit here very hard (and pretty much everywhere else):  New York City Faces 'Extreme Downside Risk' From European Debt Crisis: Report
  • That's Impossible!! Oh, sorry, I am thinking now about Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol. What?? This freakin' movie is like the best reviewed movie of the year?? A Tom Cruise movie?? How is this possible I ask you??!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Bareburger Review

My review of Bareburger, the burger place that is coming to Austin St. this Spring, in the space where Lee Martin Salon used to be.

I visited the location on Laguardia Place at NYU in the Village last weekend.

I'd give the place an A+, pretty easily. The food was great and so was the atmosphere.

Quite frankly, this is just the kind of place Forest Hills has been lacking. A place to get a healthier burger, sandwich or salad, and drumroll please, the food is effortlessly delicious. Do you know what I mean by "effortlessly delicious"? It's hard to put it in words. It's more of a feeling actually. You feel it when you walk into a place and just know this is a really well-run business. That's the feeling I had walking into Bareburger. Before the food even came out, I started getting very excited just looking around, thinking of what this place will add to our neighborhood - how it will take things up a notch.

In some ways it feels like Forest Hills has been stuck in 1972 when it comes to its casual food offerings.  We've been doing quite well when it comes to more formal dining options—places like Agora Taverna, Aged, etc. But when it comes to more casual, or takeout food, we have sorely lacked. Europan just doesn't cut it.

With Bareburger, we finally enter the modern era. We will be getting an upscale, yet casual, place to take out high-quality, healthier but great-tasting, burgers, salads and sandwiches. You know, the kinds of places that you find, oh, almost anywhere else? :)

Here's my pictorial review of the NYU location:

The outside is very inviting and at this location they have outdoor seating. Ours won't though because it's on Austin St.

The NYU location is extremely popular with a younger crowd. It's very upscale, fun and relaxed. 

Stylish, too.

Everyone seemed to be having a really good time. It was obviously a local favorite.

Bareburger is very modern in explaining the thinking behind its food offerings. It treats its customers like they have a brain and want to learn. Hey, isn't that a novel concept for restaurants in Forest Hills??

Stylish, yet fun.

It's the little things that can add so much. A basket of sauces to choose from;  water in a caraffe at every table; descriptions of their artisanal brews.

One of my favorite things they offered: an appetizer with three different flavors of pickles and cole slaw. I've been trying to lose a few pounds these days, and this really was awesome! Pretty much guilt-free indulgence (if there is such a thing!)

I decided to go with the turkey burger, and also tried the regular burger. The regular burger was great. I'd give my turkey burger an A-. It wasn't the best turkey burger patty I've ever had, but what boosted it way up was all the fixin's and the great, fresh bun.

I'd give their milkshake an A. Loved the presentation! It was served really cold and nice and thick. And they let you customize it pretty much any way you like it.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Top 5 Pizza Places in Forest Hills

Here are my top five. Obviously, these are my based on my own opinion. And I have not tried all of the pizza places in Forest Hills, so feel free to add your own (and I will try them soon if you do. I promise. Like it's very hard work).

1. Tuscan Hills
2. Nick's*
3. Portofino
4. Lillian
5. A J's

*I have to note one thing, though. If I was going by pepperoni pizza, I would have to put Nick's first. They have amazing pepperoni pizza, right up there with the best I have ever eaten, anywhere. But, I have not tried the pepperoni at the others on the list, so can't speak for those.

Oh, and I am eagerly awaiting the opening of Gloria's Pizza next to Midway. Such a loyal following! Can't wait to try it.

One other thing I just realized. Tuscan Hills is kind of new, having opened just a few years ago, and many of you may not yet know about it. While all of their food is simply phenomenal, I swear to you I am not exaggerating when I say I almost cry when I bite into their pizza. It is simply one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten, anywhere. I don't know how they do it. You know those books of lists of things to do before you die? If you know you are going to die (come to think of it, I do, just don't know when), you really must have a pie from Tuscan Hills before you do. Does that make sense?

Yes, Thar Be Pickles

Chalk the strange headline up to my writing this post at like 2:30 in the morning. I have Monday off, so I can. Anyway, the real point of this post is to tell you I visited the Bareburger in the Village over the weekend. I will post a full review soon of this new burger joint that is coming to Austin, but for now I just wanted to tantalize y'all with the flavored pickle appetizer Bareburger has. I am still thinking of them, days later...

Friday, December 9, 2011

Bareburger For Austin Confirmed by Company

Bareburger has indeed confirmed on its website that it is coming to Forest Hills.  Now the bad news: It says we will have to wait until the Spring! 

I made the terrible mistake of reading the review here, and now I am starving beyond belief (is that slaw on that burger? I think I have all but died and gone to heaven) :

Movie Quickies

Haven't done this in a long time, mostly because the movies have been rather sucky. But, suddenly, I've seen some good ones...

Moneyball: I give this one an A+. Totally enjoyed this baseball film. I caught it in the Village at the Quad Theater, where it was still playing as of a week ago. Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill are both really great. Philip Seymour Hoffman is fantastic as usual, in a supporting role this time. It's a really interesting look at baseball today.

Margin Call: This one gets an A from me. It's a bit of an odd movie, kind of a half-fiction, half-real look at the financial meltdown. But Kevin Spacey is great, as is Jeremy Irons as the corporate CEO. Heck, I even liked Demi Moore in this one! It moves fast and is very enjoyable. Even if you're not into business/finance movies, this one is very entertaining.

My Week With Marilyn: I'd give this is a B+. Michelle Williams really steals this movie as the title character. And Kenneth Branagh does a spot-on impression of Sir Lawrence Olivier. I caught this in Kew Gardens, followed, of course, by dinner at Mood, my local favorite restaurant there.

J. Edgar: This one gets a B- from me. Not bad, but could have been sooo much better. Clint Eastwood, who directed, chose to try to stuff way too much of this amazing person's life into two hours. This easily should've been a mini-series or HBO series of several episodes to do it justice. And Leonardo DiCaprio, while much better than I've ever seen him, still has his "Tom Cruise" moments -- you know, the one's where try as he might he is just not that great an actor. Sorry Leo!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Monday, December 5, 2011

Bareburger Coming to Austin St.

Hooray!! This may just be some of the most awesome news I have had a chance to report in the two years I have been doing this blog: Bareburger Rising

Heres' the link to Bareburger's site: I have never been to Bareburger, and don't know anyone who has. But that's not the point. The fact that this new burger place has chosen Austin St. as one of its locations, along with Astoria, Park Slope, Chelsea and the NYU neighborhood in the Village, says tons about our neighborhood and how it is changing. :)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Organizing a Blood Drive in Forest Hills

I was recently contacted by the person below who is interested in organizing a blood drive here in the Forest Hillls/Rego Park area. Please read on for details. They are looking for volunteers.
Potential organization of a blood campaign drive in Forest Hills/Rego Park area in or around end of January 2012. We are looking forward to creating an awareness amongst the community and stress the importance of having a healthy community. It would be great if we could get sponsors for the campaign in terms of location, set up etc. and also any one interested in volunteering, please contact us. I can be reached at We are keen on making the event a great success and working towards a better, healthy community.

The Forest Hills High Line?

Incredibly, it may just happen... Renewed Hopes for an Elevated Park in Queens

A group of civic leaders in Queens is proposing once again to turn an old rail line that runs through Forest Hills into an elevated park. Several community leaders proposed the idea a few years ago, but the project stalled.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Openings and (Temporary) Closings

Looks like YogoMonster, in the Austin St. "Mall", is on a winter hiatus...
While there's some construction getting started next to the Midway Theater, the site of what we believe will be Gloria's Pizza (formerly of Flushing)...