Friday, November 18, 2011

Tennis Stadium Poll Results

Well, it looks like the Stadium Arts Alliance's plan to renovate the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium, using it for major tennis matches, concerts, art exhibits and ice hockey, is proving the most popular choice as to what to do with the iconic landmark.

Here are the results of our latest poll so far.

  1. Ice skating during the winter and music events during the warm weather - 42 
  2. A new Farmer's Market - 30 
  3. Tennis again, or other sporting events - 16 
  4. Demolish it to make room for new condos - 7 
  5. A tennis museum - 5 
  6. Other - 3 
  7. A hotel - 2
Among the "Other" write-in choices were the rather creative: Bodega, Jail and Helipad. :)

You can still vote in the "Polls" section of the blog if you haven't already.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Enjoying Duane Reade

I can't believe I am saying this, but I really am falling in love with a drugstore! Our revamped Duane Reade on 71st/Continental is really such a vast improvement that when I went in to get just a couple of things tonight I found myself meandering around the place, really enjoying the experience! And they aren't even finished yet - they are still expanding their food section. It's a small supermarket in there now.

I also really am impressed with their store brand "deLish" stuff. I impulse-bought a package of dried fruit snacks and they not only taste great, but they are actually all-natural and the perfect healthy snack. Keep it up DR! :)

A Walk Through Occupy Wall Street

I had been meaning to post this video I took when I visited the Occupy Wall St. encampment at Zuccotti Park about a month ago. I was watching CNN this morning and during banter between two of the anchors they said the removal of the protestors was done partly because of sanitary reasons: "piles of trash and feces" were in the park. When I visited there was absolutely no sign of either and I can't imagine they would have let that change in a few weeks. Why would they? That would give the City the excuse it was looking for to remove them.

The piles you see in my short video are just belongings. There was no garbage, no foul smells, nothing that would hint of unsanitary conditions.

Whether you agree or disagree with the Occupy Wall Street movement is one thing. But I try very hard with this Blog to at least keep the facts about things straight. Let's make sure we are all in "reality." CNN should do the same if it considers itself to be a major news organization. After all, this is an extremely important fact to get straight. The Right Wingers have tried to paint this protest movement as nothing more than a bunch of radicals and outcasts who do not even know how to clean up for themselves. Sure, some of the movement's members are just that. But many more are productive members of society who are uncomfortable with the fact that the voices of the many are being drowned out in our government by the power of the very few.

I have more video footage I shot that day which I will try to post in the near future, but there's a limit to the file size here, so here you go....


Watch live streaming video from occupywallstnyc at

Monday, November 14, 2011

Kill The Batman

That is apparently what many New Yorkers want to do these days: "The Dark Knight Rises" filming causes major delays in New York City

A Radical Shift in Subway Maintenance

Ok, so I was ranting to a friend the other day about how the MTA shouldn't do all of its construction work on the weekends. "I am so sick of this!!," went my rant. "I bet the heads of the MTA don't even live in the City! If they did, they wouldn't always do all of the construction on the weekends! When are they going to start making the suburbanite commuters feel some of the pain and do some construction on the weekdays!"

My friend vehemently disagreed, saying that would be an even bigger inconvenience! How would we all get to work??

Apparently, someone from the MTA was walking behind us and I must've frightened him or her with my anger. My sincere apologies to all of New York City for bringing this on all of you.

N.Y. / REGION Experiment on Subways Will Shift Pain to Weekdays
Published: November 14, 2011
New York City Transit will test an approach next year to do major construction work on weekdays between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., potentially improving weekend service.

(Just kidding. Kind of. At least it will be taking place at night. Oh yea, but then there is this: "For more complex repair work, the agency would consider closing some track segments for up to 16 days at a time, with no service day or night." Oy vey.)

New Turkish Restaurant

Blog reader Jeff sent in this photo tonight of a new Turkish restaurant, Taci's, opening up on Metropolitan near 71st Ave. I definitely look forward to trying it out. Thanks for the photo Jeff !

Awesome books, awesome cast, and now awesome trailer.... really looking forward to this in March:

Occupy Wall St. Comes to Forest Hills

Apparently there was some commotion over at Bob Turner's swearing in here in Forest Hills yesterday. This post over at Gothamist has the story (and strikes the perfect tone, if I do say so myself :) )

Occupy Wall Street Protester Interrupts Bob Turner's Swearing-In, Gets Bounced By NY Post's New Hero

By the way, this is what is known as a "Turner Toss."
Protester Tossed Out Of Turner's Forest Hills Swearing-In: Report

Elevators Coming to Forest Hills Station?

Here's some photos of what we think are preparations for the installation of elevators at the 71st/Continental Ave. subway station.

Reports the photographer: "These photos were taken at the upper and lower level of the Queens-bound side of the station. And a mysterious blue structure is on the upper level of the Manhattan bound side as well."

Friday, November 11, 2011

Another Stadium Development

Here's another new development in the ongoing Tennis Stadium saga — potentially bringing its renovation and reuse one step closer to reality! And I love the fact that all of a sudden Karen Koslowitz is sounding very positive about the Stadium Arts Alliance's plan! Suddenly, it looks like we have some real movement on the future of the Stadium. So far I have heard no opposition from the powers that be.

From The Daily News:
Councilman Recchia backs plan for taxpayer dollars to rejuvenate West Side Tennis Stadium
A nonprofit group that hopes to bring back tennis to a Queens stadium that long hosted the U.S. Open may get taxpayer cash for its ambitious plan, the Daily News has learned.

The chairman of the City Council’s Finance ommittee has proposed a public-private partnership to back what he calls a “beautiful” plan to rejuvenate West Side Stadium in Forest Hills.

Brooklyn Councilman Domenic Recchia hailed the nonprofit Stadium Arts Alliance for its vision to host major tennis matches, concerts, art exhibits and ice hockey in the aging landmark.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Stephen King Does it Again

I've been reading Stephen King since I was but a toddler (well, almost)... When I heard about his latest book I was quite intrigued. The premise is simple and captivating: Imagine if you could go back in time and prevent the Kennedy Assassination? Well, the book, 11/22/63 is now out and it is getting some pretty rave reviews. Here's one, from The Times:

  ‘Save Kennedy’
Published: November 10, 2011
 Stephen King’s time traveler tries to undo some painful history.

 Usually I don't post about book reviews, but this part of Morris' review grabbed me:
It all adds up to one of the best time-travel stories since H. G. Wells. King has captured something wonderful. Could it be the bottomlessness of reality? The closer you get to history, the more mysterious it becomes. He has written a deeply romantic and pessimistic book. It’s romantic about the real possibility of love, and pessimistic about everything else.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Closing Time ?

Sadly, or perhaps not sadly depending on how you look at it, there's been a bit of a backlog of news about local stores and restaurants closing. Here's a quick rundown:

- Q Bistro, the restaurant on Ascan that used to be Thai and then reopened with a kind of an eclectic-modern style menu, closed about a week or so ago. I quite possibly was among the last guests at this restaurant. And I was left a bit unnerved by the experience, I have to say. While they had done a nice job of redesigning the restaurant, there really wasn't a lot of logic to what they were doing. For one thing, when you create an open kitchen for your guests to watch the food being made, shouldn't that enhance the dining experience, and not make the visitor uneasy? I sat right across from the open kitchen area as I ate and watching what looked like short-order cooks dump what I swear was cans of tomato sauce into what they were preparing was really not the most dinner-enhancing experience.

And here are a couple of other goners, Clear, an interent service provider on Austin St., and Austin Chemists, a small drugstore on Austin right near Ascan (my friend who lives near there said it seemed they spent more time constructing the store than actually being open.) 

I have a very good feeling about what is happening down on Austin St. near Ascan, by the way. Is it just me, or is that area becoming very interesting, between the amazing La Boulangerie, the very enjoyable Brownies & Cream (I just treated myself tonight to some more of their delectable home made Coffee Brownie ice cream - Boy, they have huge chunks of brownies in there, delish! :) ), and the bizarre, yet conversation-generating Sister Unn's. 

Could my dreams of a cute little independent cafe be next down that way? We've already come awfully close with La Boulangerie. Wouldn't the Q Bistro space make for the perfect little indie cafe, ala Park Slopes' Ozzie's, to hang out in? 

Monday, November 7, 2011

More on Tennis Stadium

Here's a link to an article in The Daily News from Sunday that includes a drawing of the proposal for its use as an ice skating rink and arts and music center:

Queens' West Side Stadium, longtime home of U.S. Open, could reopen as venue for arts, concerts and hockey if non-profit's plan is approved

I love Karen Koslowitz' comment in the article.... She expresses absolutely no enthusiasm, but only trepidation, for this great idea, and one of the first to be backed by people powerful enough, with the City-wide connections, to actually make it happen! Doesn't she care about the health of local businesses all along Austin St., who would all benefit greatly from the added foot traffic if this wonderful historic stadium was brought back to life for public use? And what about the property values throughout the Forest Hills area which would all rise from the opening of an upscale attraction such as this? How short-sighted can you possibly be?? Jeez! What a waste of a public office :(

Here's another link, to a video on NY1 about the proposal: New Proposal Aims To Bring Sports Back To Historic Queens Stadium

And here's very comprehensive coverage, with loads of details about this new proposal—and previous ones—from the great blog by Rego-Forest Preservation Council Chairman Michael Perlman: Forest Hills Tennis Stadium May Have A Sports & Entertainment Future

Perlman's piece explains that the Club's membership will eventually have to vote on any proposals for the site: "For a proposal to materialize, it would be subject to a review by the Stadium Committee, and in 2012, it would need to pass by a 2/3 vote of WSTC voting-eligible members, followed by approval of the Forest Hills Gardens Corporation."

But perhaps most importantly, Perlman also points out this latest development at The Club: "A seemingly greater path towards the stadium's restoration and creative reuse was discovered on November 3, 2011, when the WSTC elected Roland Meier as their new President over Kenneth Parker, who was reportedly anti-preservation."

Friday, November 4, 2011

Free Wine Tasting Tomorrow

Mr. Vino is having a free tasting again tomorrow 11/05 from 5pm - 8pm.  Here's the line up:

Soligo Prosecco
2000 Sant' Elena Merlot (This is a really nice older vintage)
2008 Villa Medoro Montepulciano D'Abruzzo 

This delightful, and relatively new, wine shop in Forest Hills is located at 107-02A 71st Avenue, between Cohen's Fashion Optical and Radio Shack.

New Poll: The Forest Hills Tennis Stadium

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Ice Skating for Stadium Site?

A lot of is  happening over at The West Side Tennis Club this week. They're the one's who hold the fate of the historic Forest Hills Tennis Stadium in their hands.

Tonight, they are voting on a new president, the results of which could influence any future decision on what to do with the Stadium, which has just sat there mostly unused for years now.

Then on Friday is another deadline for the latest proposals for what to do with the Stadium.

The Daily News reports that one proposal would have a non-profit group turn it into an indoor ice skating rink during the winter and an art and music events venue during the warm weather. The idea would preserve much of the historic building at the same time.

As a Forest Hills resident, the proposal to turn it into an ice skating rink and music events venue sounds like the right one to me. It would draw people into the area from all over the City, helping our local businesses, some of whom are struggling in this weak economy. And it would also be a great new attraction for local residents to enjoy. And all while preserving the Stadium itself, which is a historic landmark in so many ways it is absolutely laughable that it is even possible that some are thinking of tearing it down. Jackie O (who saved Grand Central Station from the sad fate of the glorious old Penn Station which was demolished to make room for the ugly series of underground mole-like tunnels we call a Station now) must certainly be turning over in her grave at the thought.

Here's a link to the Daily News story: Fate of Historic Forest Hills Stadium May Rest on Crucial West Side Tennis Club Vote

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Performance Art on Austin?

The Sister Unn's mystery deepens even more, if you can imagine that. As a commenter here on the blog just said, it seems to be performance art of some kind. And that would fit with their mysterious website.

Here is what I found at the website the comment linked to ( :
Winter is approaching "Sister Unn's, a thriving flower shop froze dead in its tracks after the disappearance of a young girl." Viewable November 2011 thru February 2012. Event date: November 5, 2011 10:00 am - 10:00 pm Directions by Subway: - Take the E, F, R or M train to Forest Hills / 71st Av Continental. - Make a left on Austin St. walk until you see our awning. Located on the right side of the street. Google Maps: "The girl is the rose that melts in the ice in the store in the back where no one will look for years." by Filip Olszewski and Bunny Rogers
And here are some photos from this morning of the place:

Recommended Restaurants Updated

I just updated the Recommended Restaurants Page and also noticed that Blogger has finally fixed it so that readers can once again also post comments to that page. So, if you have an area favorite and don't find it there, be sure to add it! :) Or, for that matter, if you just want to agree, or disagree, with one of the recommendations already there.

I will be cleaning that page up soon - it is getting a little unwieldy with all the comments we have at the bottom so far. So while I'll keep the comments, I'll also try to create a secondary list of "Readers' Recommendations" so it is easier to read.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Boo !

This to me will always be the ultimate Halloween treat. There have been many copies, but nothing is like the original (at least I don't think so. I've never seen the copies.):

But I have to say for creepiest movie I have ever seen, there is this one. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. But not with the lights off!:

And, I'm sorry, but this one really scared the hell out of me when I had the unpleasant experience of stumbling on it late one night on cable and watching it all alone. I had no idea just how genuinely scary it would be (maybe it was because of all those camping trips I've been on?):

But in terms of plain gross-out, creepy, scary unpleasantness, nothing really has ever beaten this in my opinion:

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Occupy Wall St. Live Feed...

This is some cool stuff... Those of you who follow this blog know I visited the Occupy Wall St. camp last weekend... I am going to run some of their live feed from time to time. I'm not trying to promote their movement by doing this. I think both those who support them and those who don't and those who are somewhere in the middle all have valid points of view. That's democracy. The debate needs to be ongoing and our discourse needs to be energetic and passionate. We are all Americans and all of our opinions matter, whether you are part of the so-called One Percent, or the so-called 99 Percent. Everyone is just as important to our country as everyone else. So, why am I running their live feed from time to time? Just to further the debate and because I've been watching some of this feed and I think it's really, really interesting. So, give it a try if you have some time to spare:

Watch live streaming video from occupywallstnyc at

By the way, here's a photo I took of their Media Tent. They have a camera set up inside where they do a lot of their live broadcasts:

Friday, October 28, 2011

An Early Snow...



From The Times:

At the Metropolitan Museum, a New Wing, a New Vista
Published: October 27, 2011

On Nov. 1, after eight years of renovations, the Metropolitan Museum of Art will open its new Islamic wing.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I haven't read the book, so I don't know anything about this movie, but I really like this trailer - it's both heartwarming and exhilarating at the same time:

Oko Update

I finally tried Oko's food on the suggestions of some of my readers. I had the spicy tuna wrap yesterday. I really, really liked it! Even the side salad that came with it had a delicious asian ginger dressing.

Thanks for the recommendation guys!  :) I'm looking forward to going back and trying more of their food. They have a very interesting tofu stew on the menu that looks like it will be just the thing to get me through the winter! 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Damages Filming in Forest Hills

The TV show Damages, starring Glenn Close, will be filming here in Forest Hills on Friday. The signs are up on 71st/Continental Ave. (from Queens Blvd. to Austin St.), and then all along Austin heading towards Ascan. I am sure we are all hoping for a "Close call" on Austin St. (Sorry, my friend who tipped me off to this really wanted me to fit that pun in somewhere! :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sister Unn's Website Gets More 'Interesting'

I see they have updated the website of the curious new shop opening at 72-32 Austin St. (in the vicinity of Ascan). And the result is even more mysterious.

In case you didn't see the previous posts about Sister Unn's, one commenter said they spoke with some workers there who said it will be an art gallery.

 In any case, the mystery will end soon. The website says it will be opening in November:

My Visit to Occupy Wall Street

This past Sunday I finally visited the Occupy Wall Street encampment down at Liberty Square. It was really great to finally see it for myself, especially after hearing all the disparaging rumors about it. I wasn't surprised to find the rumors are completely false. The encampment is pretty clean, for instance. It isn't unsanitary from what I can see. Also, the mood was pretty much one of peaceful coexistence -- or at least using peaceful methods to overturn a system the protesters believe has become unjust.

There are indeed a ton of sleeping bags. But interestingly, you never feel really crowded while you are walking around. The paths are pretty wide and everything is very well organized.

Overall, I highly recommend you take the E train down to the WTC and see if for yourselves. The people are for the most part pretty friendly and happy to explain to you what they are doing there.

I really found it fascinating how they have created for themselves a mini-city. As you walk around you see all the different parts that are needed for a self-sustaining community to operate, from First Aid, to a  clothing shop, a kitchen, to even a growing library!

Here's some photos I took. I'll post some short videos in the next day or so as well.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

More on New Pizza Place

The comment posted on this blog back on Oct. 10th has been confirmed! The popular pizza place Gloria's Pizza, which used to be in Flushing, is indeed moving into the space next to the Midway Theater. And boy, Gloria's seems to have a lot of devotees! I am really looking forward to trying it when it opens in a couple of months.

The confirmation is on Facebook and also on the Chowhound website:
(see the last comment on the Chowhound page)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sushi Wars

The inside of Sushi Yasu in its new Austin Mall location.
The game is on! Sushi Yasu's recent move from Yellowstone Blvd. to the space formerly occupied by the make-your-own salad place Energy Green (in the lower level of the Austin St. Mall), has taken the local Sushi Wars up a notch.

Not that we ever lacked for sushi. In fact, Forest Hills very well may have more pieces of sushi per capita than any other neighborhood in New York City.

Well, that might be a bit of an exaggeration. But we do indeed have a whole lot of Sushi to choose from.

Here are just a few of the sushi places I know about:
  • Jade, at Station Square
  • Moca, on 70th Road
  • Suhsi Oh! on Austin
  • Sushi Yasu in Austin St. Mall
And I know there are plenty of others... My personal favorites are Jade and Moca. Let me know what other sushi places you like and maybe I'll post a Sushi Wars poll to see who emerges the ultimate people's choice!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Willets Point Redevelopment

From The Times:
Real Estate
In Queens, Neglected Sector Attracts Big Developers 
Willets Point has long been home to an unsightly jumble of auto shops, but New York City officials say they have made progress on a $3 billion revitalization proposal.