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...
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):
It's funny how all of a sudden Republicans are in favor of more regulation, not less..
N.Y. / REGION Republicans Urge Cuomo to Alter Same-Sex Marriage Bill
By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE and DANNY HAKIM
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.
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!
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.
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 Featuring:
FREE ACCESS 6pm - 9pm to all the museums along the mile
23 car-free blocks 5th Avenue between 82nd & 105th
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!
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: http://oldviennacafes.com/
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?
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!
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: http://oldviennacafes.com/
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.
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: http://www.weiner.house.gov/photo_gallery.aspx We should not be rash in discarding a local official of Anthony Weiner's caliber and abilities.
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:
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.
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:
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.
Here's an idea - since the owner of Magnolia Bakery grew up in Forest Hills, maybe he can open one here, too? Don't worry Martha's... with the insatiable appetite Forest Hillers seem to have for sugar, I am sure you would still do more than fine.
Well, that is apparently the end of Greenline Organic.... As a commenter posted here this afternoon -- and I just confirmed with my own two eyes -- the organic grocer has been taken over by the marshalls. It's a sad development, but probably not a huge surprise given Natural and the Organic Market so close by... nevertheless, it is always sad to see a business try and fail, especially here in Forest Hills.
Um, not sure how to be diplomatic about this - but the Mothballs are driving me freakin' crazy!
It is 2011. Who, might I ask, buys mothballs any more?
Well, apparently someone in my building, in one of the other apartments quite close to mine, too! If you are a long-time follower of this blog then you know I have been waging a low-grade mothball battle in my apartment building for quite a while now. Unfortunately, over the past few months the sickening smell has only worsened. But we may be coming to a turning point, an end to the mothball stalemate as I believe one of the suspect apartments recently became unoccupied and not necessarily through the choice of the rather long-term occupant (if you get my drift.)
In any case, I am off to the store to buy some Glade or something. And in the meantime, for all you mothball owners out there, please...please.... this is 2011.. I beg of you... Please go and invest in some cedar chips for your closets instead! They do exactly the same thing, but without the stomach-turning, lung-scorching side affects.
4:02 P.M. Update:
Well, I have two Glades now installed in the affected area. My apartment is rapidly beginning to smell like a French brothel. But is is indeed better than the mothballs. And good God, what a to-do they have made over these air fresheners in the, oh, 25 years or so since the last time I bought one! You have to plug them in and put batteries on them and this and that. Some even just activate when you walk by them thanks to motion sensors! Ridiculous! I bought the one you just pull open and it seems to be working just fine.
"Political clubs are the stuff of New York legend - smoky, wood-paneled rooms where deals are cut and public careers are made or broken. Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi said he is trying to change that image by revamping his old political club into a quasi-civic association. The new group, the Community Empowerment Democratic Association, held its inaugural meeting Tuesday at Manor Oktoberfest in Forest Hills."
From my sick bed I am being told by a few folks that the store has remained shuttered for the past couple of days, mail is piling up inside and the fruit and what-not is still visible just sitting there.
If they have closed, this is indeed a sad ending to what had originally looked like a nice store. Although some had speculated from the beginning it would be tough to make it with Natural so close by and the cute Organic Market on 71st Road just a couple of blocks away.
The tropical-like rain continues this afternoon. This was just posted from the National Weather Service:
108 PM EDT WED MAY 18 2011
...TORRENTIAL RAIN AND THUNDERSTORMS WILL MOVE INTO THE NEW YORK
CITY AREA INCLUDING NORTHEASTERN NEW JERSEY STARTING AROUND 2 PM AND
CONTINUE THROUGH AT LEAST THE FIRST PART OF THE EVENING RUSH
AT 100 PM EDT...A LARGE AREA OF SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS EXTENDING
FROM PHILADELPHIA TO ATLANTIC CITY AND WELL OFF SHORE WAS MOVING
NORTH AT 30 MPH.
THIS HEAVY RAIN WILL LIKELY RESULT IN PONDING ON AREA ROADWAYS FOR
THE EVENING RUSH HOUR.
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!)