Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Another Local Eatery on TV

If you missed it, the awesome Jewish deli Ben's Best on Queens Blvd. in Rego Park was featured on the Food Network show Diners, Drive-ins, Dives last night. The segment, which must've been about 15 minutes or so long, was really entertaining and By God it made me want to have one of Ben's' delicious sandwiches! (My favorite is their combo - Turkey, Pastrami and Corned Beef on hero bread - it has fed many a party at my place and I have gotten raves about it!)

Now, why exactly Ben's was picked for a show called Diners, Drive-Ins, Dives I cannot tell you for it is neither diner, drive-in nor dive. But who cares - all I can think of is pastrami right now!

The show is on again this Wednesday at 11pm on Food Network. (I assume it will be the same episode as last night's but not 100 percent sure.)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Disaster Relief

Here is a pretty comprehensive list I found of ways to help Japan:

Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: How to Help
Published: March 11, 2011
Organizations providing aid and assistance to victims of Friday's earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the Pacific.

We're All Fu*@ed

I'm definitely beginning to think that nuclear power is not the best idea.

Second Explosion at Reactor as Technicians Try to Contain Damage
Published: March 14, 2011
The second explosion on Monday underscored the difficulties Japanese authorities are having in bringing several stricken reactors under control.

These Commercials Are Making ME Sick

Enough already with the extremely graphic television commercials detailing people's brushes with death! It was bad enough that I've had to sit through all those depressing commercials for battling depression and other horrible things (the one where the people have to be wound up like toys in order to function is a particularly annoying one). But now, have you seen this latest crop of ads? The most disturbing (definitely not for the squeamish like yours truly) is the one with the close up of a woman in a vegetative state from a smoking induced stroke where she just breathes for like a minute. I am also tired of hearing that other woman tell me "These are my lungs.." I really couldn't care less about you or your lungs, keep it to yourself. I am taking notes and I will make sure to NOT GO to the hospitals that force me to have to watch these horrible ads. No matter how much I try - fast-forwarding the DVR, rushing to change the channel - they are aired so incredibly often I cannot seem to avoid them.

Look, I know some of these ads - like the woman in the coma - are supposed to be important public service announcements. I get it. But if you don't know by now that smoking will kill you, I doubt this ad is going to make much of a difference. But I do know one thing for sure - the stress it is causing me is shortening MY life!

Sorry, had to vent!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Spring Ahead

It definitely felt like the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring at Central Park this weekend...

The China Syndrome

Reading the news about the potential nuclear catastrophe now looming in Japan reminded me of the following scene from the movie The China Syndrome. In this scene, starting around 2 minutes in, a scientist explains just what "The China Syndrome" is. Obviously I'm no expert, but I assume this is precisely what they are currently desperately trying to prevent from happening in Japan. Keep in mind this is only a movie so the actor's statement about the size of the impact from a nuclear plant meltdown may be an exaggeration.

Exo Cafe Tweets

Just passing along the first couple of tweets from the new Exo Cafe on Austin. They give you some info about the menu there:
Exo Cafe is now open in Forest Hills, New York! We offer delicious appetizers, paninos, salads, and smoked burgers! Come and join us today!

Exo offers an extensive Craft Draught Beer Menu. We have light lager such as Radeberger and darker lager such as Kelso Nut Brown Lager.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Earthquake Videos

Just a couple of videos I found that are pretty amazing:

and this one of the skyscrapers swaying is pretty incredible:

Friday, March 11, 2011

Terrible Devastation in Japan

The footage of the tsunami sweeping through northern Japan is some of the most horrifying I have ever seen on TV (I happened to switch CNN on around 1 a.m. and actually watched it all happening live, which made it even more scary.) Let's all say a prayer for the people of Japan and all the other areas impacted by this massive disaster.

Here are some of the more surreal photos of the quake that I found on Twitter. Tokyo Disneyland was one of the landmarks impacted. Everything came to a halt and parts of the park were flooded.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

No Late Fees — Forever!

Strolling through the Blockbuster video store on 70th Road in Forest Hills the other evening was a bit depressing indeed. With the store closing virtually everything is being sold off - even the store shelves and a TV hanging on the wall (it was going for something like $400).

I spent many a lazy afternoon combing the aisles of Blockbuster searching for just the right video (remember when we called them that?) As the world goes digital it definitely means amazing advances - we can call up a library of information into our living rooms via the Internet, and you know it's not too far off when virtually any movie ever made will be available to stream to our TV's or computers whenever we want them as well. So, yes, life gets easier. But will all this stuff being piped into my home through the cable line turn me into the Ultimate Couch Potato?

Will I soon look like one of those guys on WALL-E's space ship?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

More on New Exo Cafe

I stopped into the new Exo Cafe just to see it for myself and take a look at their menu. I didn't have the time to eat there yet, but I did speak a bit to the hostess. She told me they don't have a take out menu yet, so I am only going by memory here with these menu observations:
  1. The place is definitely a good fit for our neighborhood. It has a lounge feel, a cool place to get together with friends for a quick bite or a drink.
  2. I was impressed that they are trying to have a strong selection of craft beers. Almost half of the back of the menu was devoted to craft beer. 
  3. The menu is very reasonably priced. Burgers, sandwiches, salads all seemed to top off around $12.
  4. The burgers were quite creative - Hawaiian Burger anyone?
  5. They also have a large selection of appetizers.
  6. The moody lighting makes this place not a "family-friendly" restaurant, which I was kind of hoping it would be. Why not an upbeat place for brunch like we desperately need here in Forest Hills? Instead, another moody, more night-life oriented venue. Hey, I'm not really complaining because God knows we need some good food in Forest Hills! Now, let's just hope the food is good!
Click here for a couple of reviews from Yelp! 


This extremely frightening development in our national affairs, where this irresponsible public official from Long Island is singling out one group of our fellow Americans as traitorous to our country is repugnant and a threat to all of us eventually. I am sure every single one of us, at one point in our ancestral history, had members of our families who were persecuted just for whom they were. And we must never forget that it is the responsibility of every single freedom-loving American to fight this ugliness whenever it rears its head.

From The NY Times:
Peter King’s Obsession
Published: March 7, 2011
The House Homeland Security Committee’s hearings on American Muslims seem to be more about stoking fear than healing ethnic misunderstanding.

Of course, nothing casts a reflection on us better than excellent science fiction. If you can, please take the eight and a half minutes to watch the clip from Star Trek below. If you don't have that much time, I would suggest starting at around 7 minutes into it, almost near the end. Vigilance!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Exo Cafe Opens

I haven't tried it yet, just walked by Sunday evening and noticed it was fairly crowded. But I did find this pretty comprehensive first review from someone on the Queens Central Message Board: Exo Cafe - First impression and review Overall, the person liked it and thinks it's a good addition to the neighborhood. I look forward to trying it out sometime in the next week or so...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

New Exo Cafe looked fairly crowded late this afternoon. Has a loungey feel to it.

Good Reading for a Rainy Sunday Morning

In case you missed it, today's Times real estate section's cover story focuses on 'It’ Buildings of the Other Boroughs and singles out just two buildings in Queens, both of which are right here in Forest Hills: the Kennedy House and Twenty Continental Avenue aka The Inn Apartments.

‘It’ Buildings of the Other Boroughs
Published: March 4, 2011
Boldface apartment buildings aren’t for Manhattan only. Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens also have addresses with bragging rights.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Agora Taverna Side View

My roving reporter was busy today around town. He shot this photo of the side of the Agora Taverna, the new Greek restaurant moving into the old location of Piu Bello on Austin. It is looking nice. They will be able to open these windows on nice days, a touch I always like when dining...

What's Up With Greenline Organic?

My reporter shot these pics today of the inside of the relatively new Greenline Organic store on Austin St., wondering why the shelves were so bare? He has been of the opinion that they would have a tough time making a go of it here in Forest Hills given the immense popularity of Natural and Natural's size and selection given that Greenline is quite smaller. I have also noticed that Greenline has seemed to really limit their selection in recent months. But I wonder what is up with the bare shelves? Are they getting ready to close?

Friday, March 4, 2011

New CVS for North Side of Queens Blvd.?

... that's what I hear... but this is unconfirmed at this point. Today brought the news that What A Deal!!! will be closing in 6 days, and the jeweler on that block is also closing its doors. So, there is a whole row of stores on that block next to the Key Food either vacant or soon-to-be.

What a Deal!!! next to Key Food closing in 6 days (at least sign says "6 Days Left"). Latest on that strip to close.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

New Austin Restaurant Pics

My top-notch roving reporter snapped these this morning:

The new sign for the Agora Taverna is up (this is the Greek restaurant moving into the old Piu Bello location).

A quick peak into the new Exo Cafe showed it is nearing completion. 

The (kinda scary) Birds of Forest Hills

How about a little wildlife break? It's sometimes hard to forget that New York City is actually situated on Mother Earth and has things like animals, plants, and yes, even birds. I ran across this cool blog post/video of a Red-tailed hawk munching away on something not very appetizing in our very own MacDonald Park: Red-tailed hawk luncheon in Forest Hills, Queens

Oh, and of course you know I couldn't pass up a post about birds without including one my favorite movie scenes ever:

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

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.