Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Trouble With Vienna

I spent some time at the relatively new Cafe Vienna over the past couple of days, the restaurant/cafe/wine bar next to the Midway Theater. My friends and I talked a lot about the place while we sat there and our conclusion: while this is certainly a very nice restaurant, with a bit of an overhaul it could be a smashing success.

The restaurant wasn't very crowded this past Saturday night - and perhaps that is not a surprise. Cafe Vienna lists a Coca-Cola on its menu for $4.50. I point that out because it is kind of symbolic about the things that are wrong with this new restaurant -- for one thing a menu of rather exotic desserts and food offerings at often steep prices that kind of seems more at home in Vienna itself, than here in New York City.

What does Cafe Vienna get right? They did a really nice job in renovating the space. It's airy, inviting, pleasant. But it could also be better. Our conclusion: Cafe Vienna should remake itself along the lines of Ozzie's Coffee in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Inside Ozzie's on 5th Ave. in Park Slope.
If you haven't been to Ozzie's this photo gives you kind of the idea of what we are talking about. It's a relaxing coffee shop where people can find a spot on a sofa or a comfy big chair, spend time reading, chatting, spread out with a newspaper and kick back for an hour or so. It's eclectic, hip but fun, relaxed - just the kind of spot we could use here in Forest Hills. And what's more, the space next to the Midway Theater where Cafe Vienna is right now would be ideal for this type of place.

Cafe Vienna has begun to embrace the nice weather this time of year brings with it - its big windows were open Saturday night to their outdoor seating area. Good move! But change up the place by throwing some comfy couches into the mix, lose the Viennese-style and go with more of an American coffee house feel with a more classic American coffee house menu, scatter around tables with books and magazines and newspapers. And I really do think, this place would be a huge hit.

If you want to see one new local place that has already captured this feel, check out La Boulangerie. I hear that Saturday morning its comfortable, inviting new space was packed with people just hanging out and enjoying this French bakery's freshly made offerings.

Blue Bloods in Forest Hills

Ah, so that's why he's always here...

“We have a house that we use in Forest Hills for Donnie Wahlberg’s character,” he says. “In Bay Ridge, we shoot mainly on Narrows Avenue and Shore Road. There are also great views from the 69th St. pier. Throw on a long lens and you’ve got this amazing view of New York City.”

Read more:  On the lookout: ‘Blue Bloods’ combines domestic and crime locations

Defeat Bob Turner Sept. 13th!

Let's hope Bob Turner does not win the special election on Sept. 13th. I actually wasn't very motivated to write about this special election to fill Congressman Anthony Weiner's seat, until that is I received Republican Bob Turner's latest flyer stating his position that religious education should receive more funding!

My God! That's one of the most radical, dangerous positions an American politician can stress! Why would he do that?? With all the problems facing this country today, we are supposed to turn to religion to solve them? Does he want us to reenter a Dark Ages? Jesus!

Defeat Bob Turner Sept. 13th
So, thank you Mr. Turner for clearing that up for me, and motivating me to blog about this election! Edge of the City supports Democrat David Weprin for Congress on Sept. 13th. We certainly have enough problems without having to drag God and one of the most personal things a human being can treasure, his or her faith and spirituality, into it.

Here is some information about Mr. Weprin's political position, pretty much all of which are progressive and sound:

Weprin's views are generally characterized as liberal. He generally supports increased revenue to balance the budget instead of reducing spending or cutting government. He opposed the Budget Control Act of 2011 which raised the debt ceiling and created the super-committee to find spending cuts because he favored an increased revenue approach He believes in man-made global warming and supports cap-and-trade.

Elect David Weprin on Sept. 13th.
He supports gay marriage, and voted in favor of the law legalizing same-sex marriage in New York while noting that it was the right thing to do. Weprin is opposed to privatization of social security or any other changes to the program. David Weprin has been very supportive of gun control by the government. He has supported or sponsored legislation to outlaw the purchase of firearms for people involved in a domestic violence incident in New York, and legislation to end the sale of toy guns in New York to prevent accidental shootings by cops.

State Assemblyman Weprin practices Orthodox Judaism and is a strong supporter of Israel and the US-Israel relationship. He was critical of President Obama's comments that Israel should consider returning to pre-1967 borders in an effort to engender peace with the Palestinians. He also objected to President Obama's treatment of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He opposes further Israeli concessions and land-for-peace deals.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

If anyone is looking for a nanny or asst. preschool teacher, feel free to contact Lynn Mendelsohn at Lmendel530@gmail.com . She says she has over 7 years of experience working with children along with a Masters in Elem. Education and Working with Students with Disabilities. She will be moving to the area soon.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Place Your Bets...

... on what will eventually move into the abandoned OTB space here in Forest Hills. But until then, you can read the following article. All I can say is that is one prime piece of real estate here in town...
N.Y. / REGION At OTB Parlors, Ghosts of Wagers Past Linger By DAVID W. DUNLAP Published: August 28, 2011 The 50 or so Off-Track Betting Corporation parlors across the city have been closed since December, but very few of the spaces have found new tenants.

View Larger Map

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Good Ground Zero Overview

Confused about what is going on at Ground Zero, what is being built there, and when things will be finished? Here is a good video that pretty much explains it all:

Brownies & Cream Update

Brownies & Cream, the new store on Austin, says it expects to open on September 8th or 9th.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Irene Visits Forest Hills




Damage in Forest Hills

A tree down on 75th Ave. this morning in Forest Hills...


It looks like the center of the hurricane will pass almost right over Manhattan by around 8 a.m. or so this morning. We may get some even stronger winds as it does since we will be on the eastern side of the eye.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

From AccuWeather forecaster Henry Margusity: "The HRR model shows the hurricane force winds that are off the coast slamming Long Island at 9am Sunday. Very Bad to 70-80 winds coming into that area."
Virtually all of New Jersey is now getting hit by very heavy rain.
Latest weather reports says Irene remains on track to come ashore somewhere in the NYC/Long Island area tomorrow morning. From the National Weather Service:

Tonight...Tropical storm conditions expected with hurricane conditions possible. Rain with isolated thunderstorms. Rain may be heavy at times. Lows in the lower 70s. East winds 30 to 40 mph with gusts up to 55 mph...increasing to 45 to 55 mph with gusts up to 65 mph after midnight. Chance of rain near 100 percent.

Sunday...Hurricane conditions expected. Rain with isolated thunderstorms in the morning...then rain in the afternoon. Rain may be heavy at times in the morning. Humid with highs in the upper 70s. Northeast winds 55 to 75 mph...becoming northwest 50 to 70 mph in the afternoon. Gusts up to 85 mph. Chance of rain near 100 percent.

Sunday Night...Tropical storm conditions possible with hurricane conditions also possible. Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers in the evening...then mostly clear after midnight. Less humid with lows in the lower 60s. Northwest winds 25 to 35 mph with gusts up to 45 mph...diminishing to 15 to 20 mph with gusts up to 30 mph after midnight. Chance of rain 50 percent. 
What's amazing looking at the radars now is that the center of the hurricane isn't even expected to reach Atlantic City until 6 a.m.! They have been having torrential rains down there for hours already.

Hurricane Irene Update

It looks like we are just about to get into the first sustained rain from one of the larger outer bands of the hurricane... So far we've just had a few fast-moving squalls. The computer models are now showing the eye of Irene moving somewhere over our area Sunday morning, either just to the west of the City or somewhere in the vicinity of the Queens/Nassau County border. So we are essentially right now kind of in the bullseye here in Forest Hills. Thankfully, the hurricane has lost some of its power so instead of 100 mph winds we will get gusts up to 80 and sustained winds of 50 to 65 or so. Which is pretty bad but could be much worse!

 From AccuWesther Meteorologist Henry Margusity:
"We pulled the track west so Irene moves over Atlantic City and by Sunday 8am, the left eye wall be sitting right over New York City."

Friday, August 26, 2011

Mass Transit Suspended As of Noon Saturday

From NY Times:
New York City to Shut Down Mass Transit on Saturday at Noon

With Hurricane Irene pushing relentlessly toward the East Coast, officials made plans to shut down New York City’s sprawling subway and bus system beginning at noon on Saturday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said.

The commuter rail lines that serve Long Island, Westchester County and Connecticut will also be shut down.

Officials decided to go ahead with the transit shutdown, which they had first mentioned on Thursday as a possibility at a City Hall briefing on Thursday, as the city was evacuating hospitals and nursing homes in low-lying areas. State officials continued arrangements for coordinating emergency services and restoring electricity if the storm does the kind of damage many fear.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hurricane Irene Update

From one of the meteorologists I closely follow, Accuweather's Henry Margusity. This was posted about an hour ago:
Track is now worse case for Mid-Atlantic. Damaging winds and flooding from eastern NC to New England including DC to NYC corridor. Very bad.
It looks like this will probably be the first of many posts I will be doing about this Hurricane, which could go down as a historical storm for New York City if the forecasts materialize.

The New York City/Long Island area has been way overdue for a major hurricane. They are saying this one may be on the magnitude of the famous 1938 "Long Island Express," which caused a lot of devastation on Long Island. Since that year the population on Long Island has expanded to the millions.

Forest Hills is on high ground and pretty far inland, so we should be able to ride out the hurricane pretty well. I would say if it does go to our West, more over New Jersey or Manhattan, expect mostly damaging winds here and flooding rains. But we would not be impacted by the devastating storm surge like other areas of the City and much of the south and north shores of Long Island.

Steve Jobs Steps Down

I am exceedingly sad about the news thats Steve Jobs has resigned as CEO of Apple. It's almost like saying goodbye to a parent or good friend. I spent a big part of my childhood as a mild computer geek, breathlessly following the next personal computer innovations.

I won't go into all the details, but there is a very long, wonderful history about Steve Jobs versus Bill Gates and how their rivalry helped shape personal computing today. One of my earliest computers was an Apple, a Mac Plus. And I remember the day when Windows (I think it was 3.0) came out for the PC. I was in the CompUSA at Roosevelt Field on Long Island and saw all the boxes of Windows piled up to the ceiling. And I remember thinking to myself, "What is all the fuss about? Windows just copies what my Mac has been able to do for years!" 

It left me realizing that in this world things can end up quite backwards sometimes. The good guy doesn't always win. The real innovator - Steve Jobs - saw his share of the computing market vastly overtaken by laughably inferior Windows-based computers.

But what was really amazing is that the story didn't end there. Jobs returned to Apple and made it the amazing success that it is today. 

But I guess what I most think of when I think of Jobs is optimism. So many people in this world seem to go through their lives so negative about just about everything. All they do is complain, constantly complain, about what is wrong with this or that. Jobs is one of those rare individuals -- thank you God for them!! -- who never complained. He envisioned. He created. He did. And he gave all of our lives a whole new dimension as a result of it.

NY Falafel Bar Closes

I've been contacted by several readers who were surprised to see NY Falafel Bar on Austin St. shut down shop quite unexpectedly a couple of days ago. I am just as surprised as anyone! I had just recently tweeted about how I had become addicted to their chicken schawarma sandwiches! I have no idea what happened. The place seemed popular, the owner was friendly, the food was delicious. I only hope that if they open up somewhere else they are successful.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Attention all Forest Hillers: The earthquake shifted Forest Hills a bit further to the east. Your commute into Manhattan will now take a few minutes longer. (: ... But your trip to The Hamptons will now be a few minutes shorter. :)

Enterprising Earthquake Specials

Join Us to Take the Edge Off!

All specialty cocktails at  BR Guest Hospitality Restaurants in NYC are just $5.90  all night starting at 5pm. So, come ease your fears  with a post-quake cheers!

Raw Video of White House During Earthquake

Watch the reaction of the rooftop snipers who guard the White House...

Here's an MTA email update you don't see everyday: "Due to an earlier Earthquake in Virginia, there is no effect to train service."
I don't recall the last time New Yorkers were this concerned about each others' feelings. ba dum chhh!

Earthquake!

There was just an earthquake! Quite a shaker felt here in Forest Hills for about 30 seconds or so!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tornado's Damage Still Being Brought to Light

N.Y. / REGION  City Room: When a Tornado in Queens Becomes an International Incident  By COREY KILGANNON  Published: August 21, 2011  Nearly a year after it was blown off the Unisphere in Flushing-Meadows Corona Park, Sri Lanka was put back into place. 
I thought this was a really interesting article from The Times yesterday, partly because it shows just how powerful the tornado was that hit Forest Hills last September. But perhaps even more interesting to me is the fact that damage from the tornado is still being brought to light through news articles like this one. I mean, almost a year has gone by and we first hear that this world-famous landmark was damaged by the tornado? Why am I not very surprised that this little fact is only first being publicized a year later? I was pretty amazed by the dreadful job the news media did in covering the tornado's destruction when it rolled over Forest HIlls and other areas nearby last year. None of the coverage I saw portrayed the full impact of the event. Heck, I remember friends who lived in Manhattan weren't even aware anything had happened here even weeks later! This irks me because I think it is reflective of the poor job the news media is doing. There is a big hole when it comes to local coverage that something like this gets scanty if any coverage. Probably due to the extreme budget cutbacks the local news media has been facing for years now.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Favorite Local Commercials

The Times had a great post today about New Yorkers' favorite local commercials. Here's the link: A Tribute to Ads That Made an Impression and Then Wouldn’t Leave

 And here is my favorite:

Verizon Strike Coverage

Verizon workers have been picketing on 70th Road for the past couple of weeks... Here's some coverage explaining what's going on: Verizon Strike 2011: Workers in Queens, N.Y. Fight for Jobs

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Toll Bros. Looking at Tennis Stadium Site

"Luxury builder Toll Bros. is one of several developers looking into the redevelopment of a historic tennis stadium just outside of Manhattan." 
--- Toll in Play at New York Tennis Stadium, The Wall Street Journal

Monday, August 15, 2011

Marriott To Build New York's Tallest Hotel

Marriott is giving Manhattan hotels a run for their money. Marriott International and Granite Broadway Development signed an agreement last week that will create the tallest hotel, according to Marriott.
-- Pack Up Blog

It Could Be Worse

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Local Filming...

The website Onlocationvacations.com reports that the television show Blue Bloods was filming today around Metropolitan Ave and 71st Drive in Forest Hills.

Not sure if they will still be there Friday. It seems like they film this show a lot in Forest Hills.

Harold & Kumar 3 Trailer

It seems like just yesterday they were filming some of this movie here in Forest Hills, near Ascan if I recall.... Well, here's the trailer. Just one viewing makes it pretty obvious that it will take its place among the most refined classics of our era. I'm thinking Merchant Ivory caliber (you know, A Room With A View, Howards End, The Remains of the Day, and so on...)

Ground Zero Photos

Thought you might like to see some of the progress they've made at Ground Zero, one month away from the 10th Anniversary of 9/11.




Still Searching...

While the number of places offering quality food here in Forest Hills has certainly taken an upswing in recent months, I was realizing the other day that a place to get just a simple, really good sandwich still remains stubbornly elusive. And I'm not talking about Subway. I mean a quality sandwich, made with fresh, wholesome, upscale ingredients and designed by a creative person who really knows and is passionate about good food. If someone was to open such a place here in Forest Hills, I predict they would have a huge hit on their hands.
Also, I think what makes the new French bakery La Boulangerie so awesome, and such a welcome addition to Forest Hills, is that you can't find it anywhere else. It is not part of a big chain with locations all over the place. The owners are passionate about what they make and seem to care about every crumb. You can really taste the difference.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I think this is a rather fitting commercial for the past couple of weeks....


The only thing I would change is I would lose the dog at the end and add "The Financial Meltdown!" Or maybe, "The Debt Ceiling!" Or maybe just "Michelle Bachmann!" Or heck, "Sarah Palin! Calgon, take me away!!!"

Our Newest Pharmacy

Continental Pharmacy is located on Austin, across from Banana Republic


Monday, August 8, 2011

Forest Hills to Get 'First Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream Parlor'

Wow, just found this.... look at the last graph ... says it's coming into Forest Hills too.

New York's First Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream Parlor Opens Two Stores on Long Island

Nitro Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt announces its two flagship stores now open. Nitro is the ‘Terminator in an Ice Cream Cup’ and attempts to provoke associations between cutting edge Science, Ice Cream and iPads. Nitro is the way to characterize a science lab for Ice Cream blended with a Hollywood production for a unique flavor experience. New York's First Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream Parlor!

Nitro lets customers pick your base, flavor, color and mix-in! Patrons are allowed to order an ice cream base (regular, organic, low-fat, soymilk, non-fat yogurt, low-fat yogurt, or sorbet), flavors (chocolate, vanilla, pistachio, wasabi, bacon, snickerdoodle, chip, kitchen sink, pomegranate, gaga and more), colors (hot pink, neon blue, green, yellow, orange, purple, and more), and hundreds of mix-ins/ toppings. Nitroticians wearing goggles and cryogenic protection gloves will assemble your mix- ture, readying it for the ice cream process.

Everything is poured into Nitro's patented-process machines that are connected to a stream of liquid nitrogen at -320F. About halfway through the process, the liquid nitrogen is dispersed resembling Han Solo-frozen blasting in carbonite. Fog is everywhere resembling a Heavy Metal concert. Nitro Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt Parlors are the first Ice Cream Stores to not have any freezers.

The Ice Cream production looks like some science project gone mad or an over- worked fog machine on the set of “Dancing With the Stars.” Nitro's Ice Cream process is safe, it allows the Ice Cream to contain a smoother, richer creamier texture by eliminating ice particles found in everyday desserts. Nitrogen is naturally found in the air we breath making up almost 80 % of our atmosphere.

 Each Nitro location is now fully equipped with a Toppings Bar. Unlike other Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt Shops, Nitro's Toppings Bar is All You Can Eat. Nitro was founded by NBA Basketball Player Sebastian Telfair. Sebastian Telfair is one of the NBA brightest stars. Sebastian plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves and was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Sebastian developed the idea with fellow Ice Cream lover Sean Pomper. Sean Pomper, co-creator of “Flavor Spray” which was among Time Magazine’s Most Amazing Inventions of 2005.

 Nitro Head of Franchise Development Neal Menashe, Esq. states, “In Todays economy we at Nitro developed an affordable way for people to license and franchise stores. We kept our start-up costs affordable and franchise fee’s at minimums, so in turn our store owners can evoke a profit as quickly as possible. An Ice Cream store doesn’t have to hurt your pocket in order for you to become a store owner anymore.”

 Nitro Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt stores are coming and looking to open everywhere. Nitro Merrick at 2326 Merrick Road and Nitro Syosset at 15 Jackson Avenue are New Yorks first locations with developments in Staten Island, Oceanside, Forest Hills and Manhattan.

Some Sweet News

What can we all use on a day when the stock market is tanking? How about some more news about the brownies store opening soon on Austin? The owners sent me an email with lots of delectable details:
"We are making everything onsite daily. Some flavors of Brownies are S'more, Chessecake, Espresso, Caramel and much more. We will also have homemade ice cream and French Macarons. The ice creams will range from Raspberry White Chocolate Ribbon to Peppermint Chocolate Chip.  For the French Macarons we will have Lemon Curd, Dulce de Leche and a few other yummy fillings. We will also serve coffee.  The opening date should be August 25 (hopefully), or anytime 1 to 2 weeks after that."
Thanks for the update guys!