Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Twin Value Name Change?

One of the readers sent this photo in this evening. Here's a link to other Fine Fare locations:

Awesome Video

I just love this... My awesome video of the day:

Heavy Weather Moving In

The tropical-like rain continues this afternoon. This was just posted from the National Weather Service:

108 PM EDT WED MAY 18 2011



Time Out Reviews Four New Queens Restaurants

They certainly didn't venture very far into our borough, but, hey, we all know by now what to expect from these outer-borough-phobic-Manhattan-centric magazine types don't we? (I kid the publishing world. I know some of you even live right here in FoHi!)

Restaurant reviews: New Queens restaurants

Another Review of Agora

While I recuperate from one of the nastier colds I've had in a long time, I direct you to a review of one of our new restaurants, Agora Taverna, from fellow blogger eateryROW

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011

Hate to Say I Told You So....

.... but I told you so...

Non-Story They're Trying to Make Into A Big Story

Yes, it seems Donald Trump's hair problems were insurmountable and he has decided not to run for President. Trump Says No to Presidential Run

Boy, seems like hair styling is certainly the theme of this week so far... :)

And my next "Non-Story They're Trying to Make Into A Big Story" award goes to..... Newt Gingrich! Not a chance in hell.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Battle of the Hair Stylists

Yes, somewhere in the back of my mind I have at times thought to myself: "Hmmm, I wonder what life would be like if I cut hair for a living?" Not that I have the slightest bit of talent, or interest for that matter, in this profession. Just that it kind of looks like a fun job: you get to pretty much stand in the same place all day long and gossip and shoot the breeze with your customers. And it seems like you get pretty good tips, etc.. And, at our local Supercuts anyway, you also get to listen to rockin' disco club music all day! What could be wrong with that?

Well, apparently, hair styling can be just as cut throat as pretty much any other business! I hate to be the bearer of bad news but it does indeed seem like the underside of the hairy styling business has recently reared its ugly head on Austin St. Apparently, a former employee of Supercuts must've quit recently and gone to work at another hair salon in the area. Only the employee came up with the enterprising idea of parking a car in front of the Supercuts with a sign advertising their new gig! You have to admit it is enterprising, with a bit of Chutzpah mixed in. And in this tough economy, a little Chutzpah can sometimes go a long way!

Well, Supercuts apparently is not very happy at all with the development. They have posted a note in their store window informing their customers that they have nothing to do with the sign, or for that matter, the car displaying it that has been parked in front of the store for several weeks now. And, the Supercuts notice goes on to state something to the effect that the whole matter is quite beneath them professionally.

So The Battle of the Forest Hills Hair Stylists has commenced! Perhaps not a surprise, given how many there are of them. We must have more hair stylists per capita than any other neighborhood in the country, if not the world. In any case, as a satisfied Supercuts customer for quite a few years now, I have to admit I am rooting for them to emerge victorious!

By the way, while we're on the subject of beautifying ourselves, here's a pic of the Queen's Nails & Spa in their new location on Austin St. They are one of the refugees from the north side of Queens Blvd. near the Key Food, to make way for the CVS or whatever other big retailer they decide to move in there...

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Queensboro Bridge Art Contest

The Queensboro Bridge Art Contest is the LIC Art Open's ( invitation to the students of Queens, ages 5-18, to memorialize the Queensboro Bridge through art. Thanks to the efforts of curator Alyssa Ratkewitch and the Queens Paideia School, art
teachers and parents throughout the borough have mobilized young artists to produce more than 1,500 breathtaking submissions. The result is an unprecedented exhibition of color, imagination, poetry, possibility, and joy.

An awards ceremony for winning submissions representing 4 age categories will be held on Saturday, May 21, at 2:30 p.m. at the Street Festival on 22nd St., between 43rd and 44th Avenues. Council member Jimmy Van Bramer will be on hand to present awards
and personally congratulate the winners (who will be notified in advance).

An exhibition of ALL of the works will be held at the LIC Art Center on May 21& May 22, noon to 6 p.m. Please stop by to view this marvelous display of youthful creativity as well as a documentary about the bridge produced by Queens Paideia’s students especially
for this event.

LIC Art Center / 44-02 23rd St., Long Island City, NY 11101
Children's Art Exhibition: 5th-floor hallway gallery
Queens Paideia School Bridge Docu-Learning: Studio 214

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Around Town: CVS' New Chelsea Store

I passed by this just yesterday and just had to mention it here. It really is the coolest setting for a drugstore I have ever seen. CVS has taken over the old Balducci's location, at the corner of Eighth Ave. and 14th Street in Manhattan, which used to be a bank many years ago:

CVS Gives Chelsea The Most Opulent Drugstore

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Emily's Sugar Rush Pictures

If you haven't yet had a chance to visit Forest Hills' new candy store, located at the corner of Austin and 72nd Ave., here are some photos of the inside. I think it's a cute addition to our main shopping district.

Review of Moca Asian Bistro

I ran across this pretty comprehensive review, just published on Sunday, of one of our better restaurants here in Forest Hills: Moca Asian Bistro, Forest Hills: Contemporary Asian fusion or confusion?

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Little Old World Charm

I, for one, really like what they have already done to the look of the former La Terrazza restaurant site next to the Midway Theater, as they transform it into the Old Vienna Cafe. Notice in the upper left portion of the photo below how they are changing the windows to give them a touch of that old world look and feel... How cozy and European of them! This was taken on Friday and I believe they have already finished these changes to the exterior. I can just imagine myself going to Old Vienna Cafe on a cold, dark day in winter and cuddling up with a hot cup of coffee. I am very intrigued to see what they do with the inside.

And here is a shot of the new store that has come in to where the old Cards N' Such used to be on Austin. Welcome Prima Donna, which from a quick glance, seems to stock many a lady's handbag:

Friday, May 6, 2011

Emily's Sugar Rush Opens Tomorrow

Reposting this comment from blog reader 'Andrew' in case you missed it:

"Yes, Emily's Sugar Rush will be opening tomorrow, Saturday May 7, right on time for Mother's day! and it will be a great place to get all your chocolate, cupcakes and candy needs. :) I will be there for the opening.
I wish them well, Austin needed something like this and it's great to have them."

I, for one, am most definitely eagerly looking forward to this new candy store. I agree with Andy, it's just what Austin Street needed:

Silly Idea of the Day

Do we really need this? It's this new self-parking car I've seen ads for. My first thought upon seeing the commercial was, "It won't work anyway." But, apparently, according to this video. It does. Ok, so my second thought is, "Really, with all the challenges facing humanity, do we really need a car that parallel parks itself?" And then my third thought was, "If I owned a car, would I really trust its parking to a robot? How do I know it won't suddenly just smack the damn thing into the cars in front and back of me? And then I am totally screwed! Thanks robot!!"

Watch the video and notice that quick moment of fear even in this woman who is demonstrating the car's self-parking ability, when her head whips around. That is how I would be, too. So I ponder: which would I choose? The moment of fear and stress that occurs every time I try to parallel park the car myself? Or the newly-discovered moment of fear and stress when I let the robot take over control of the car from me? I ask you...

Happy Friday

Kind of a slow news day here in the Hills. But with temps predicted to reach 70 degrees, who really cares??

Anyway, I thought you all might enjoy some pics I snapped from the tippy top of the Parker Towers yesterday.  I hadn't been to Parker Towers in years, so it was fun to visit them and see what Forest Hills looks like from their perspective for a change...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tennis Stadium Rejected for Landmark Hearing

This is, well, laughable....
Iconic Forest Hills Tennis Stadium Rejected For Landmark Hearing

If this isn't all about politics, big-business connections and that kind of bullshit I don't know what is... it all comes down to development - if they landmark it, the developers aren't free to do anything they want with the site.

What is most offensive about this is their arrogance - they think the public is stupid.

Here's another article about the ruling: Forest Hills Tennis Stadium Denied Landmark Status

For those of you new to this blog, I have always been in favor of preserving this historic stadium. I am all for progress and moving forward, if anything, to an extreme degree. I believe Forest Hills needs more development, not less. We need more modern spaces for big retailers and big restaurants to come in, but at the same time preserving our smaller restaurants and retailers. Any long-time resident who has a problem with that should've taken it up years ago with the City when it plowed its lovely Queens Blvd. through the center of Forest Hills. That fantasy is over and it is now important that we make the best of what we have. We can do that through proper, attractive new developments.

However, as far as I see it, we have a few charming elements left here in Forest Hills:
  • Austin St.
  • Station Square
  • Forest Hills Gardens
  • The Tennis Stadium
  • Many of the coop buildings. I have to say many of them do the best they can to beautify the area with some pretty stunning landscaping and the excellent upkeep of their properties.

If the Tennis Stadium is to be developed in some way, the charm and amazing history of the site should somehow be incorporated. And of course it should be done for common use and hopefully as a tourist draw so our local retailers get more foot traffic on Austin and get more business. That would ripple across the surrounding areas as well, I would think, including the very dilapidated, sad state of affairs along Queens Blvd. heading towards Kew Gardens.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Our New Taxis

Say hello to our next generation of NYC taxi cabs, coming soon to a street near you:

New York City taxis to get suburban look, Japanese nameplate

This last pic is just one I took a couple of months ago when I was in Times Square. Three different versions of NYC cabs just happened to be stopped at a red light and made for a cool shot:

Some Thoughts

Firstly, here's a link to a really cool thing The Times is doing to get a feel for how significant people think the death of Bin Laden is:

The Death of a Terrorist: A Turning Point?
Published: May 3, 2011
President Obama’s announcement Sunday night about Bin Laden’s death produced an outpouring of reaction. But has the killing of the most wanted face in terrorism made the world safer?

Now, some of my own thoughts.

While I think violence of any kind is uncivilized and beneath us as human beings, there are definitely times in history when those who make the innocent suffer should be dealt with swiftly and strongly. I think we could of and should have captured or killed Bin Laden 9 years ago. I don't think Bush and his administration wanted to because it didn't serve their agenda - providing an excuse and distraction to invade Iraq (for what reason, oil? some vendetta? Maybe all of the above? I don't know.) I will never, ever forgive the Bush administration for putting this nation through 8 years of phony "terrorism alerts" for what was obviously political purposes. Spreading such terror among the American population was doing the dirty work of the terrorists themselves. It was disgraceful.

Am I glad Bin Laden is out of the picture? Absolutely. I was down there myself on 9/11 and could have been killed by the first tower's collapse if it weren't for the brave work of the NYPD, who risked their lives in evacuating everyone from the immediate area and did countless other acts of bravery on that day, along of course with the Fire Department.

It also seems to me that Bin Laden's death will come to be grouped by historians in the current context of the revolutions for freedom taking place in the Middle East. Young people by the millions in the Middle East have rejected "Bin Ladinism" in favor of pro-democracy movements. And that is the best news of all.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Bin Laden's Death

What are your thoughts on Bin Laden's death? I'm curious to hear what readers of the blog think... I'm a little busy today with my regular job, so I will hopefully get a chance to share some of my thoughts later today.... All I can say right now, is having been one of the people who had to run for his life as the first tower fell, this brings up a lot of memories again for me.

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011. Seated, from left, are: Brigadier General Marshall B. “Brad” Webb, Assistant Commanding General, Joint Special Operations Command; Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough; Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Standing, from left, are: Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; National Security Advisor Tom Donilon; Chief of Staff Bill Daley; Tony Binken, National Security Advisor to the Vice President; Audrey Tomason Director for Counterterrorism; John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism; and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Please note: a classified document seen in this photograph has been obscured. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Making Progress

New shots of a couple of the new places opening on or near Austin St. The candy store, Emily's Sugar Rush, and the French bakery, La Boulangerie:

Friday, April 29, 2011

FoHi's Salad Days

Salads are busting out all over town as we get into the swing of Spring here in The Hills! I noticed EuroPan has now introduced its own make-your-own salads counter and also seems to be more prominently displaying its variety of sandwiches. Not to say EuroPan is gourmet fair, but, hey, sandwiches and salads are delightfully healthy additions to our choice of foodstuffs.

Not sure, but I would suspect EuroPan may be reacting to the recent opening of Energy Green in the Austin St. mall, and of Exo Cafe right across the street, two places that are heavy on the light fare such as salads and sandwiches.

The well-equipped salad bar at the new Energy Green.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Upcoming Local Event


Queens Botanical Garden
43-50 Main Street
Flushing, NY 11355

By Bus
From the Bronx, Jamaica, or Flushing, Q44 or Q20

By Train
No. 7 subway or Long Island Rail Road (Port Washington line) to Main Street/Flushing. Q44 or Q20 bus, or walk 8 blocks south to QBG.

By Car
Belt Parkway or Jackie Robinson Parkway to Van Wyck Expressway to Exit 12A (College Point Boulevard). Follow College Point Boulevard to Blossom Avenue. Make right. Blossom Avenue becomes Crommelin Avenue. Make a quick right into the Garden’s parking lot.

Click here for more information:

Jersey's Innovative Use of Solar Power

Apparently, that other state across the river isn't just about crazy housewives who pull each others' hair out and overturn tables and young people shacked up in a house on the shore. Actually, I've noticed the panels in this video all along the roadways in Jersey when I go pay a visit to the parental units:

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Spring Scenes

Some pics of the Central Park Conservatory Garden from yesterday. If you've never been, now's the time to trek up to 105th St. and Fifth Ave. in Manhattan and check it out:

Monday, April 25, 2011

Green for Queens Earth Day Fair

2nd Annual Green for Queens Community Earth Day Fair
FREE Environmental Festival for everyone!
Sunday, May 15 – 1-4 p.m.
At the Central Queens YM & YWHA
67-09 108 Street, Forest Hills, NY

For a pdf of the event's flyer: please click here!

Earth Friendly Fun For Kids:
  • Wildlife Children’s Theater of the Central Park Zoo
  • Big Apple “Circus to Go”
  • Music and cooking for kids!
  • Create an edible eco-system & eco-crafts.
  • Learn about worm composting!
  • Snakes & Worms & Other Wild Animals!
Green Vendors, Exhibits, and Talks for Adults:
  • Sustainable Food: local & organic cheese & coffee tastings, vegetarian cooking demonstrations, and more!
  • Bestselling Author Anna Lappe speaking on Diet for a Hot Planet at 3:00 p.m.
  • (Babysitting available during Anna Lappe’s talk.)
  • Learn how you can save energy, save $ & fight global warming!
  • Recycle: cell phones, rechargeable batteries, clothes & shoes.
  • Sign up for a FREE energy audit or for clean wind energy. (Bring one year of your gas & electric bills along)
  • Learn about neighborhood organic food coops, community gardens, white roofs, bike paths, and green walls.
  • Free reusable water bottles, shopping bags, and CFL light bulbs!
And for all: Delicious, healthy snacks!

Presented by Queens Green Alliance & the Central Queens YM & YWHA, with: Ahmadiyya Muslim Center, Bamboomoves, Beyond Oil NYC, Cub Pack 96 & Venture Crew 96, Church in the Gardens, Forest Hills CSA, Forest Hills Jewish Center, Glendale CSA, Green City Challenge, Hillcrest Jewish Center, Israel Center of Conservative Judaism, Marathon JCC, Queens Community for Cultural Judaism, Queens Harvest Food Coop, Queens Holistic Moms, Queens Jewish Center, Queens Jewish Community Council, Queens Mamas, Reform Temple of Forest Hills, Rego Park Green Alliance, Solomon Schechter School of Queens, Sustainable Forest Hills, Transportation Alternatives, Tuv Ha’Aretz CSA

More information:
Get involved! 718-268-5011, ext. 151, or

Hot Time!

Who said it could be summer in April anyway? I guess this fits though with the recent pattern - it seems like all the seasons now start about a month earlier than they used to. So I guess like last summer we can expect August (maybe even July the rate this summer is going) to be pretty mild and most of the heat in May and June. We shall see.

Oh, and a pleasant development that would make Jerry Seinfeld quite happy! The smell of mothballs in my building's hallways which almost had me moving last summer has suddenly today been replaced by the sweet smell of Russian Babka! Delighful!

For lunch today, it was a delectable salad from Energy Green again. The best one I've had so far! A little grilled chicken and very tasty ranch dressing made this one another winner!

By the way, out during lunch this afternoon I walked past the site of the soon-to-be Old Vienna Cafe and noticed several workmen inside remaking the space from its former La Terrazza incarnation. At the pace they were working, and the number of workmen there today, this place should be opening sooner rather than later.

Restaurant Revisits

I've returned to two of our neighborhood's new restaurants in the past several days to see how they are faring a few weeks after they opened:

- Agora Taverna: I ate here over the weekend, actually for the third time. This time I ordered the Greek Salad, the Branzini (grilled, whole fish) with a side order of lemon potatoes and a Greek coffee for dessert. This is the second time I have had the Greek Salad and the Branzini and really liked them once again. So I can report Agora is consistent when it comes to quality - both times these were excellent. The small Greek salad I ordered was actually large enough to have for a main course if I had ordered a little something else to go with it. All the ingredients are very fresh and there is a great blend of different flavors. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that I absolutely loved the lemon potatoes as a side dish. The other sides I have had at Agora - the rice and the Greek fries - were ok, but nothing to write home about. I really didn't think I had the appetite to eat the lemon potatoes but they were so good I ended up cleaning the plate. The Greek coffee, like the last time, was very good as well. The only issue I saw at Agora is that they have a tendency to rush the food a little bit. I ordered the Filet Mignon kabob last time and I had to return it to the kitchen to get it a little more well done. When it came back it was really good. My friend last night ordered the grilled salmon and when it first came out, the middle was pretty rare! When it came back again, he really enjoyed it. But come on guys, even I can cook a salmon! Agora, if you are reading this: I know you just opened and judging by the crowds, you have a lot of people waiting to try you out, but take things a little more slowly and make sure the dishes are cooked to order.
Revisit Grade: A

-Marianella's Taqueria: As I reported last week, this place was actually worse the second time I tried it. Not only did I notice at the counter crusty, old guacamole that apparently hadn't been touched or refreshed in hours, but the lettuce was also still looking old and brown, just like last time. They've had a few weeks to get the freshness issues right, but no progress on that front unfortunately. (By the way, why do they cover your plate with lettuce when you order tacos there? Sometimes restaurants do strange things. This is one of them. Did the manager instruct the workers: 'Oh, and when you give them their tacos, make sure you cover the plate in lettuce!' Uhhh, why?? Give me a salad, sure I might eat it. But a plate filled of dry, bland lettuce? Am I a cow? Am I supposed to graze on this?) The grilled chicken burrito I had this time actually had little if any flavor, and I even found a small bone in it to boot. Unfortunately, It seems I have set my last foot in Marianella's Taqueria. This is one of the bigger disappointments here in Forest Hills in a looong time. Because ever since Green Cactus closed up shop a few years ago on Restaurant Row (70th Road), I have really missed good Mexican takeout food here in Forest Hills!
Revisit Grade: D

Saturday, April 23, 2011

St. Louis Airport Footage

Remarkable video from inside the terminal just before the tornado that devastated parts of the St. Louis area struck last night... They are predicting the coming week to be one of the worst in the Midwest for tornadoes in a long time.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

How Desperate Am I For A Burrito?

A prayer in four verses written by Drake after his second visit to Marianella's Taqueria, this afternoon, for lunch, for a grilled chicken burrito.

Oh, burrito Gods up in heaven, please hear my cry!
How desperate art I for a burrito, oh God??

Desperate enough to eat old, brown lettuce? Yes!
Desperate enough to observe crusted old guacamole at the counter while I wait an inordinately long time for a burrito made with old, brown lettuce? Yes!! YES!
Desperate enough to feel bizarrely out of place as I watch the crowd around the bar (Bar? In a takeout restaurant?) sipping margaritas in the middle of the work day as I wait for the old, brown lettuce containing burrito?? YES!

Oh Burrito Gods up above - why, why hast thou forsaken me and delivered unto me Marianella's Taqueria in my land of Forest Hills instead of the chosen one, blessed be he: Chipotle!!!

Yea! Yes, the grilled chicken burrito I had this day at Marianella's Taqueria was not terrible oh lord! Yes, it only had a small bone in it - not terribly unusual, oh lord. Yes, it barely had any taste come to think of it, oh lord! But, why, why couldn't you bless my village with a normal New York City Mexican take-out place? Are we here in Forest Hills oh so very different from the rest of New Yorkers? I think not Lord!

Crime Rate Flip-Flops Between NYC and Rest of State

The latest stats show the City is now safer than the rest of New York State, at least when it comes to crime:

"In 2010, reports of crime in the counties of outside New York City accounted for 58 percent of all the state’s crime — in the seven major categories of crime, known as index crimes. And the rest of it, or 42 percent, took place within New York City."

While the article says that back in 1990, crime within New York City accounted for 63 percent of all the crime within the state, with the remainder occurring everywhere else in the state outside the boundaries of New York’s five boroughs.

A complete reversal in 20 years!

City Room: Declines in Crime, the ‘Crash Tax’ and Kelly’s Plans
Published: April 21, 2011
One Police Plaza: A report shows that fewer than half of all crimes in New York State are now committed in New York City; the Bloomberg administration drops a revenue plan, and the police commissioner is asked about his future.

To Pay, or Not To Pay

For those of you who care about how The NY Times' new digital subscription policy is faring - as I do, because I really do love The Times and want them to find a profitable way forward to the inevitable: their transition to becoming a purely digital newspaper - there is finally some information about that in their latest quarterly report, just out:

"For the first time, the Times Company provided information on how digital subscriptions were faring. The company said that since it started limiting the number of articles readers could read on for free, it has signed up more than 100,000 subscribers. While it said the program was still too young to judge a success, “early indicators are encouraging.” Subscriptions start at $15 every four weeks, but many subscribers have so far paid discounted introductory rates."

By the way, in case you haven't noticed, I tend to post a lot of links to Times stories and videos. I do this for the simple reason that no one can beat them in terms of interesting articles and multimedia you just won't find anywhere else. As part of their new digital policy, if you click through from blogs like this one to read a Times story that article will ALWAYS be free for you to read, however, it will count as one of your 20 free articles each month. The good thing is even if you surpass your 20-free-articles-a-month limit, you will still not be charged for any articles you read at through blogs like Edge of the City.

Ok, so now I've totally confused you. This Frequently Asked Questions excerpt from The Times website explains it better:
Can I still access articles through Facebook, Twitter, search engines or my blog?
Yes. We encourage links from Facebook, Twitter, search engines, blogs and social media. When you visit through a link from one of these channels, that article (or video, slide show, etc.) will count toward your monthly limit of 20 free articles, but you will still be able to view it even if you've already read your 20 free articles.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What Enterotype Are You?

Just another thing to ask you doctor, and I guess the millions of bacteria living in your gut:

Gut Bacteria Divide People Into 3 Types, Scientists Say
Published: April 20, 2011
Scientists report that the three “enterotypes,” which are unrelated to ethnicity, sex, weight or age, may have discrete effects on people’s health.

Roadie - A New Movie Set in Forest Hills

Here's some information about this movie that debuts at this year's Tribeca Film Festival. The movie stars Ron Eldard, Bobby Cannavale, Jill Hennessy, and Lois Smith: