Friday, October 7, 2011

Everything's Coming Up Roses?

For the past few months the little shop on Austin, down near Ascan, bearing the name "Sister Unn's" has revealed little about what this store will actually be, remaining all papered over except for the black awning with its name in white letters. But suddenly, the Sister Unn's website has a bit more information. At least I think it does..

The website suggests that this will be a store that sells....roses!

Here is what it says: "We are pleased again to welcome you to Sister Unn's website. Sister Unn's is a store located in Forest Hills, NY and we hope that you will visit us soon. There is so much to do and so much to say and we haven't the most time as winter is on its way. May you ask what Sister Unn's sells? Why we have roses! So many flowers for you to see. In all of Sister Unns favorite colors. We have Faith Lavender Roses, Blue Bird Lavender Roses, Ocean Song, Vendela Ivory, Ecuadorian White Roses, as well as a small sample of Gordon Cole's Blue Rose. Sister Unn's thanks you for your visit and hopes that you will return again."

Quite quirky, mysterious and even befuddling, if I do say so myself. The tone kind of reminds me of the temptress in those old black and white films who holds out her hand and welcomes you into her haunted mansion on the hill as the lightning storm illuminates the dark night... And the look of the website kind of matches that thought perfectly, check it out for yourselves:

Why? (Movie Version)

Since it's Friday, it's a good time to talk movies, right? Unfortunately, this post is another one of my "Why's?" (I believe the last Why? I did was when they came out with the "Arthur" remake, which thankfully bombed big time.

I can understand doing a remake of a movie every, say, 50 years or so. But the first, perfectly fine Tobey Maguire version of Spider-Man only came out 9 years ago!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Local Delicacies

Do you have any favorite local delicacies? I had my second pastrami sandwich from La Boulangerie yesterday for lunch and this question popped into my head. This freakin' sandwich is so amazingly delectable and has become such a fast fave of mine that it started me wondering if other readers of the blog have any other local favorite foods? I know a commenter here has also mentioned in the past couple of days the "Marilyn Monroe Roll" at Sushi Yasu (now on Austin St., btw, in the Austin St. Mall). What are your local favorites?

Rest In Peace Steve

Maybe you're one of those people who is waking up this morning and thinking, "Hmmm, Steve Jobs.. I really don't know what the fuss is all about." Then, try this little experiment. Think of the different products Apple has come out with and then try to guess the year when they came out. For instance, the iPhone. What year did the first iPhone come out? Take a guess if you don't already know. And then Google the answer. I bet you'll be amazed at how recently it actually was.

And that serves to show just how transformational the products from Steve Jobs and Apple have been in the past decade. Today it is hard to remember what life was like without them.

By the way, here's one example. The iPhone. It first came out on June 29, 2007.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Restaurant Update

Some local restaurant news and commentary:

  • A few readers have asked me if I would post something about Oko, the frozen yogurt shop on Austin. I've been told that at this past weekend's street fair they were offering samples from of some new Korean food offerings. One reader wrote: "They were giving out samples on Sunday during the street fair and the items were *tasty*.  I think they provide a great service and their eco-friendly/all natural approach is enlightened." Another reader told me that this place has a variety of freshly made sandwiches and other foods (they were responding to one of my recent posts about the lack of a good place in town to get a really good, higher-end yet simple sandwich!). Anyway, I totally agree with these readers. I have always liked Oko. It is a very nice, modern-looking, clean place and the food I have had there has been quite good. I plan to go back and sample more of their food very soon. Thanks for writing in about them! 
  • I recently tried the new Brownies & Cream store on Austin. I had two of their regular brownies and they also let me sample their ice cream. All of it was quite good. The brownies were quite enjoyable and I plan on going back again when I need my next fix. They had two home-made ice cream samples when I was there and the one I tried--I forget what it was--was excellent and I would definitely get it again. The woman behind the counter could not have been more friendly or helpful. This store is owned by a young, local couple who are just starting this new business. We need more like them in our neighborhood! If you get a chance, visit Brownies & Cream and give them a try!
  • Also, some Austin St. Mall news: I've been told by readers that the make-your-own salad place Energy Green had the same owners as the former Tako Sushi. They had cut the storefront of Tako Sushi in half, tried Korean in the space, which didn't work, and then opened Energy Green. Anyway, as sad as I have been that Energy Green has closed, now comes news that the popular Sushi Yasu (formerly on Yellowstone Blvd.) has taken this space in the Mall. I haven't tried Sushi Yasu but hear fantabulous things about it. I can't wait to try it.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Counting Down to Jet Blue's Departure

Anyone in need of some office space? Like 200,000 square feet of it? Muss tries to land new tenant to replace JetBlue

New Blog Layout - Thoughts?

Hmmmm..... what do ya'll think of the new blog layout? Do you love it? Or miss the old one?....

Update: Thanks to the two of you for your feedback. While there are definitely some advantages to the new layouts I tried last night, it doesn't provide all the functionality I like (such as being able to easily notice the latest comments, as one of you said), and there are also some technical issues behind the scenes that they still have to iron out... So — for now anwyay — I am going back to the way we had it before.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Around Queens This Weekend

Mr. Vino In-Store Tasting Tomorrow

One of Mr. Vino's wine suppliers, Vinifera Imports tells me they will be pouring "three wonderful Italian wines" at Mr. Vino on Saturday 10/01 from 5 pm to 8 pm.  It's a free in-store tasting featuring the following wines:

2009 Barberani Orvieto Classico Castagnolo
2008 Braida Montebruna Barbera
2006 ICardi Barbaresco

Mr. Vino
107-02A 71st Ave
Forest Hills, NY 11375

Thursday, September 29, 2011

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back?

I've been feeling a little frustrated in recent weeks about what is going on with our local food and retail situation. And now comes news that Energy Green, the make-your-own-salad place in the Austin St. Mall has just closed. I haven't confirmed this myself yet because I've been out of town for the past several days. But if it's true, it's really extremely disappointing. Firstly, every salad I ever had from there was really, really good. And secondly, Energy Green represented to me an important trend toward healthier, more moden food offerings in Forest Hills. If it has indeed closed, we have taken a big step backwards and that is a huge shame.

At the same time, there was the mysterious closing of NY Falafel Bar a few weeks ago. I know some people on this blog have said they didn't like it, but having spent a year myself living in Israel I have to say that their chicken shawarma was one of the closest things I have tasted state-side to what I enjoyed in the Middle East.

And then there is the CVS drugstore reportedly coming into the space next to the Key Food on the northern side of Queens Blvd. I agree with others on this blog who have posted their disappointment about that. Is a CVS really the best we can do with that prime retail space? Sure, it could be worse. It will bring a lot of convenience to those who live on the northern side of Queens Blvd. But will it distinguish Forest Hills in any way from just about every other neighborhood in Queens? Nope. Will it make us a more desirable neighborhood to live in in New York City? Nope. Will it serve as a magnet to other attractive new stores and restaurants? Sadly, Nope.

Are national chains like Dunkin' Donuts and CVS really the best a vibrant New York City neighborhood like Forest Hills can do? Are we evolving into some neighborhood that could be easily plopped down into the middle of any midwestern American city where the highlight of a night out on the town is dinner at Applebee's? 

Shanah Tovah !

Happy Rosh Hashanah to all of my Jewish readers. Wishing you a sweet New Year.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

Duane Reade Gets a Facelift

They've finally started to upgrade our Duane Reade on 71st/Continental. If you recall, the chain has been upgrading their stores throughout the city over the past couple of years. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Get Ready to Start Dunkin' !

The new Dunkin' Donuts on 71st/Continental is doing a "dry-run" today. And such a dry-run netted me a delightful free lunch. Such nice things can happen when you're nosey!

The place officially opens tomorrow. But if you go today, they are not only very happy to see you, but you get to eat free!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Brownies & Cream Opening Day


Stadium Update

I have been meaning to post a link to this article, which I think is a really interesting development: Federal Backing to Save Forest Hills Stadium
The Daily News reports that members from President Barack Obama’s historic preservation staffs are interested in saving the stadium.

Friday, September 16, 2011

One Year Anniversary of Tornado

It was one year ago today, around 5:40 p.m., that the tornado tore threw Forest Hills. I am reposting the photos I took that day. It's remarkable that there weren't more injuries or worse given all the destruction and the fact that it occurred during rush hour. Sadly, it did claim one life: that of Aline Levakis, 30, of Mechanicsburg, Pa., who was driving on Grand Central Parkway and had just pulled over near Jewel Ave. when a tree fell on her car.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Work Next to Midway Theater

The rumors are true - there is indeed work going on in the former pizza place next to the Midway movie theater. Couldn't quite tell what is going in there. But there was a truck in front for kitchen equipment - but that could be either coming, or going, I suppose.

Auntie Em! Auntie Em!

Yes, it is almost one year since our twister here in FoHi (The one year anniversary is actually tomorrow, Sept. 16th.)

But here's a fitting photo I dug up from the archives that I thought you'd all enjoy.... Anyone remember this damage that the tornado did to Bob Turner's billboard? It was one of the first things that caught my eye when I emerged after the tornado went over my building...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Kudos to the Midway Theater for the clever way it is promoting the film "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark." Check it out for yourself - after dark of course. My camera didn't do it justice as you can see by my photo, but you can just make out that the theater's marquee is dark only around the name of this movie. Their clever little trick got me interested in this movie so I took a peak at the trailer. And it is kinda creepy... see for yourself... Enjoy!'

By the way, why do they always stay in these houses so long? I freak out when the ceiling fan goes on by itself. For me, at the first disembodied voice telling me to GET THE #$#!! OUT!! of the house, I'm gone! I learned that tip back in the 70s when I saw The Amityville Horror. Oh, you didn't see that one? Let me refresh your memory then.

Truly Bizarre Indian Food News

A friend of mine ran across this story in Gothamist... Lawsuit: Indian Restaurant Forces Indians To Tip, Or Else They'll Get Beaten Up

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Don't Forget to Vote!

Remember, today is the special vote to determine who will take over Anthony Weiner's congressional seat. Be sure to cast your vote for Democrat David Weprin! If you don't love Weprin, at least you'll be voting against the radical Bob Turner! Just what we need, more Bush-era policies to make our economy even worse! Vote for Turner and I predict if you think things are bad today, just wait. Check back on this blog in a couple of years from now. You think things are bad today? More of the Bush-era policies of supporting only the interests of the super rich over the rest of us. My God, these people even had the audacity to try to harm our entire nation by refusing to raise the debt ceiling, all in an attempt to score political points against Obama! Treason if I have ever seen it!

Vote for Bob Turner and I predict your head will be spinning in a couple of years things will be so bad here. You read it here first! :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sushi Yasu Moving to Austin

A reader tells me they were recenty in Sushi Yasu, the popular restaurant on Yellowstone, and was told they are moving to a location near Barnes & Noble on Austin St. in a couple of weeks. They wouldn't give an exact location yet, but said they'd be in their new, larger space by the end of September. Currently, they are located down on Yellowstone across from the retirement home.

"Personally," this reader wrote,  "I feel that Sushi Yasu is not only by far the best in all of Forest Hills/Rego Park, but the quality of their fish puts them near the top of my all time sushi joints.  The fish is a fresh as can be."

Then goes on to say, "The storefront however is a real dump.  They used to also be a fish market, although they got out of that business about a year ago."

 You can check out the write up on eateryROW here http://eateryrowforesthills

 The reader also says when they move in to their new location, they'll have a liquor license. "They're packed now in the evening," says this reader, "their business should explode once they move closer to the shopping district.  People should be excited to hear that they're moving."

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9/11

I thought I'd post some of the photos I took back on that day ten years ago. I hadn't looked at these photos in a long time. But looking at them today reminded me of how everyone who was there that day forgot about themselves. We all became one. You can see it in my photos below.

I remember when the first tower fell. An elderly lady was left howling in the crowd as we all ran away. I didn't even think about it - I put my arm around her and comforted her, telling her it was going to be all right. We took a few steps together and then I looked up and saw a police woman looking at us both. I passed the old lady to her without a word, and kept stumbling up the street, heading away from the destruction.

So we all became one. And if anything the insanity of those who were behind this horrible act had the opposite effect—instead of pulling us apart, it brought us all together.