Saturday, July 23, 2011

Rest in Peace Amy

Maycomb was an old town, but it was a tired old town when I first knew it. In rainy weather the streets turned to red slop; grass grew on the sidewalks, the courthouse sagged in the square. Somehow, it was hotter then: a black dog suffered on a summer's day; bony mules hitched to Hoover carts flicked flies in the sweltering shade of the live oaks on the square. Men's stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o'clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum.  
People moved slowly then. They ambled across the square, shuffled in and out of the stores around it, took their time about everything. A day was twenty-four hours long but seemed longer. There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with, nothing to see outside the boundaries of Maycomb County. But it was a time of vague optimism for some of the people: Maycomb County had recently been told that it had nothing to fear but fear itself.
-- To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

Friday, July 22, 2011

The "Great" Heatwave of 2011

It's 101 degrees right now in Forest Hills, for anyone keeping score...

3:45 pm UPDATE: Just had a momentary interruption of power in Forest Hills. But it quickly came back on.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Sorry, but I am a huge fan of the books and this was just unveiled so I cannot resist sharing it. If it scares you all I will take it down.

Breaking Blockbuster News!

.... although perhaps not the kind anyone expected. It appears our famed Restaurant Row street is getting a.... drumroll please...... Charles Schwab. So, after having a delicious meal you can now go and do some investing. Or perhaps the restaurants can now co-brand themselves with Chuck and offer "investment specials" for lunch or something. In any case, the really big news here is that my dreams of a Shake Shack replacing the Blockbuster video location have been dashed by Wall St.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lulu's Boutique Closes

I don't know much about this retailer on Austin, but it certainly looked cute as a button. Does anyone know when this store closed? Has it been a long time and us males just didn't notice til now?

La Boulangerie Coverage

Boy oh boy, Forest Hills' new French bakery La Boulangerie is really racking up the coverage!

Here's how they handled the opening at the Edible Queens Blog: La Boulangerie Brings a Taste of France to Forest Hills "Crunchy on the outside," Edible Queens says, "with the flaky crust giving way to a buttery interior this croissant is surely the finest to ever be made in Forest Hills."

And here's a review from Eatery Row: Forest Hills "Should any of you readers ever ask yourself "why does Manhattan get all the Le Pain Quotidien's?" you need hunger for one no longer. Now, we have one."

And Jon ends his review by saying: "It's a relaxing place where you can go, have an espresso, read the Times, and smile in the knowledge that Forest Hills is finally becoming a little more refined."

Sunday, July 17, 2011

By the way....

.... I'm all for new restaurants coming in to Forest Hills, but can the next one please open in no more than a month at least? My waist line is really starting to expand. ;)

Early Impressions: Old Vienna Cafe

I stopped by the Old Vienna Cafe on its opening night Saturday. I really liked this very original and unique new restaurant. You really get the feel you are visiting a restaurant in Vienna or Eastern Europe, from the table in the center loaded with small pastries, to the accordion player serenading you, to the decorative chandelier. It all makes for a very cool place to relax and unwind with friends. Oh, and did I mention the coffee and cake are delicious?

The menu includes a variety of small plates and sandwiches such as a cheese platter, and assorted tea sandwiches; entrees like mixed grill kebabs, bratwurst and weiner schnetzeil; salads; wines and imported beer; teas and coffees, and a variety of desserts like fruit tarts, vienna cheesecake and creme brulee.

Also, though the atmosphere in Old Vienna Cafe is very relaxed and fun, I would characterize this as a fairly upscale restaurant. The prices can be a bit steep ($8 for the slice of cake in the photo below, $23 for weiner schnetziel, $5 for a cappuccino and $8 for some of the beers.) But, hey, you get to listen to a fabulous accordion player as you soak up the Eastern European vibe. So I guess you're paying some for the unique atmosphere. I only tried their dessert and coffee, which were really good, so can't vouch for the entrees or appetizers.

Here are some pics I snapped. I will scan and upload their entire takeout menu soon.

Friday, July 15, 2011

La Boulangerie's Hours

In case you were wondering, these signs were  in La Boulangerie's window earlier today:

Location of La Boulangerie

Since people keep asking, maybe this will help... in the window below, as you scroll forward La Boulangerie is on your right, where the law office used to be.

View Larger Map

New Opening Day for Old Vienna Cafe

I was told last night that this new cafe, next to the Midway Theater, will actually now be opening this Saturday, FYI. Originally, the Grand Opening had been planned for Thursday.

By the way, just a few comments about other restaurants here in town. I walked by the new Agora Taverna Greek restaurant last night at around 8:30 p.m. and it was packed with tables inside and outside all taken. That place is a huge hit.

Also, by now I have had both breakfast and lunch at the new La Boulangerie French cafe/bakery. Yesterday I tried their croissants and coffee and both were top notch. As many have already said, this is such a nice addition to our neighborhood, and the proprietors are so welcoming and friendly. I wish them all the best of luck.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

TV News: A Sad Day for Gleeks

Surprising news this a.m. for fans of the Fox show Glee. Three of the leads - who many would consider the heart of the show - are leaving. From The Hollywood Reporter: "Glee regulars Lea MicheleCory Monteith and Chris Colfer will not be back for the fourth season of the Fox musical hit."

Read all about it here:
'Glee' Exclusive: Lea Michele, Chris Colfer, Cory Monteith Not Returning for Season 4

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Photos of La Boulangerie

Some pics from today's grand opening of the exceedingly charming La Boulangerie. As I write this I am munching on a ham and cheese sandwich from this new place and having an ice coffee. Both quite good and the bread is excellent. As a friend of mine said, "You can't get bread like this anywhere in Forest Hills."

New Brownies Store for Austin

A new store, Brownies and Cream (not sure of the exact spelling) will be going into the empty storefront location on Austin Street near Ascan, across from the Church.

I was told the store will be selling brownies and other delightful treats such as homemade ice cream and macarons.

This is the location where Cabana used to be I believe.

British Tabloid Phone Hacking Scandal

I hadn't been paying much attention to this ongoing scandal in the UK. It has been kind of like when I have the TV playing in the background. I have heard bits and pieces but haven't paid too much attention. But I finally took the time to read up on it this morning and can't believe how seedy and sad the entire affair is. I wonder how far it will go? Do these illegal practices stretch all the way to Murdoch's papers here in the US?

Anyway, if you are interested in a good way to gain an understanding of what the whole sordid mess is about, here is a good place to start:

British Phone-Hacking Scandal (News of the World)

From Maureen Dowd: Hitler's Talking Dogs

“At a Nazi study course, a talking dog was once asked ‘Who is Adolf Hitler?’ and replied ‘Mein Führer!”

Hitler’s Talking Dogs
Published: July 12, 2011
Pick your poison: killer sausages, talking dogs or toxic schnapps?

Manhattanhenge Tonight

If you're in Manhattan Wednesday evening try to remember to glance down one of the cross streets, like 14th St. for example, just as the sun is setting. If you haven't seen the phenomenon known as "Manhattanhenge" you will be in for a treat. It happens twice a year when Manhattan's building grid aligns perfectly with the setting sun...

Here's more info about it:


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Something For The Kids This Weekend?

How about taking them to see the new Winnie the Pooh which opens Friday? I love how they incorporate Keane's Somewhere Only We Know into this trailer... I love that song.

New Tintin Trailer

Eagerly looking forward to this movie, from my favorite director, Steven Spielberg, produced by Peter Jackson and scored by the genius John Williams. What more can a movie fan want I ask you?

Filming Nearby Tonight?

From the blog
The Sitter, starring Jonah Hill, is filming (reshoots) around Forest Park Dr and Woodhaven Blvd in Queens on Monday and Tuesday night.

So if you didn't have enough of the heat today, maybe you want to take a walk over there? :)

Forest Hills' Bukharian Jewish Community

Israel's Jerusalem Post newspaper recently had this write-up:

Bukharan Jewish community thrives in NYC
FOREST HILLS, New York – In this quiet part of New York City dubbed Queensistan, no signs of economic woe were visible last week even as US job growth remained stagnant and unemployment remained high – on the contrary.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Weekend Subway Crowding Rivals Rush Hours

I'm glad The Times has pointed this out. It's always amused me how the MTA acts as if the only people who seem to matter when it comes to subway service are commuters from outside of the City. It is so rare, for instance, to have a weekend where every other train isn't re-routed somewhere. I understand that they are just picking the option that will impact a smaller number of people, but it is still very annoying. What about all of us who actually live here? Where do they think we go on the weekends—to the suburbs??

Subway Crush No Longer Gets Weekends Off
Published: July 10, 2011
The rush speaks to improvements in a transit system once seen as a national symbol of urban blight, but it also points to the shifting cultural and economic picture of New York.
"As crime has receded and an older fleet gave way to brighter, newer trains, a generation of city dwellers has never experienced the subway’s darker, grittier era. Many do not think twice about a wee-hour ride after a night on the town."

A Peek Inside Old Vienna Cafe

Judging by the size of the tables, looks like this will mostly be a place for coffee or light fare... It opens this Thursday.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Friday, July 8, 2011

Found in FoHi: One Green Parrot

Are you missing your green parrot? If so, you are in luck!

From a reader: A green parrot has camped out on my windowsill this morning. It is obviously domesticated and has a name tag on it's leg. I am an Forest Hill resident and just wanted to put the word out there if anyone is missing their pet parrot. Contact me at

92-Year-Old Woman Struck By Minivan

Holocaust Survivor Critically Hurt by Minivan in Queens

MYFOXNY.COM - A 92-year-old Holocaust survivor was fighting for her life Thursday night after she was hit by a minivan in Queens.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Weiner Moving to Manhattan?

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this is that it is being reported by E! Online, as if this is somehow entertainment news:
No Love Lost as Anthony Weiner & Wife Huma Have a Happy Fourth

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.