Monday, December 31, 2012

Reflections on 2012

So looking back on the past year, how has Forest Hills done? I think we've had a pretty good year. The starred items on the list below are establishments that opened in 2012, and there are plenty of them as you can see. It makes sense, given the influx of younger residents who have been drawn to our neighborhood from other parts of the city mainly because of the spacious yet affordable apartments, safety, and good schools.

Unfortunately, 2012 also came with its share of disappointments as well, and they've been some biggies. First and foremost, the West Side Tennis Club's decision to reject the proposal to use the Stadium for pubic arts and entertainment events. The Stadium is the one iconic structure (unless you consider The Gardens as a whole) that Forest Hills is home to, the one thing that has put us on the map, so to speak. It sits there crumbling with barely any use. What a terrific waste.


*1. Bareburger - How about that? A burger joint where thinking actually goes into the food, making simple things as salads and burgers delicious — and healthy — culinary experiences.
*2. Forest Hills Farmer's Market - Its popularity just built and built with every week that went by, to the point where it was extended all the way until just before Christmas.
3. La Boulangerie - It continued to expand its delicious offerings through the year, and the crowds continued to grow as well. "We're going to need a bigger boat?"
4. Mr. Vino - Modern, upscale, central, one of the first things you see in FoHi. Just the kind of place we need.
* 5. Jack & Nellie's - A huge hit with local residents.
* 6. The Sunday Wafels & Dinges truck - A taste of Manhattan hits FoHi's streets and the neighborhood can't get enough of it.
7. Emily's Sugar Rush - Charming.
8. NY State grants Queensway (Queens High Line) half a million, bringing it closer to reality - Wow.
9. New "Windsor 2" construction gets underway for new condo on north side of Queens Blvd. - Much better than what was there, that's for sure!


1. The West Side Tennis Club blocks use of historic Stadium for public arts and entertainment
2. Queens Blvd. remains a deathtrap, giving pedestrians a scant 30 seconds to cross 8 lanes of traffic, and make it across with their lives. Like WTF??
3. Staples closes, leaving local community — especially the many of us who don't have cars — high and dry when it comes to basic office supplies
4. CVS is supposedly going into the ground floor of "Windsor 2" — Another drugstore? Is that the best we can do with that prime space? So very, very sad...

Happy New Year !!

Fox removed my favorite New Year's clip from Youtube, so we'll just have to make do with this. Oh well. Happy New Year!!

First Casualty of the Forest Hills Burger Wars

..... is.... Johnny Rockets! And I can't say I am sorry to see this one leave the nabe. As the friend who sent me this pic asks, "Could 2013 be the year we get our Shake Shack?" I can only dream....

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Wall St. Journal: Queens 'High Line' On Track

New 'High Line' on Track
Grant Jump-Starts Plans for Abandoned Rail in Queens

I have to say the amount of coverage of this in today's Wall St. Journal caught me by surprise. The chances of it happening have always seemed like such a longshot to me just because if it happened it would be so awesome and how often do awesome things happen?

True, this grant is just for a study. It doesn't mean it's actually going to happen. But put it together with the Journal's fantastic coverage of the possibility and I am suddenly thinking this just might come together.

There is one part of the article today which I found really interesting and which I am so glad they point out, the part when they talk about how so much of the public park space in Queens is virtually impossible to get to on foot, unless you are brave enough to trek across busy highways. This Queensway would be a solution to that, giving easier access by foot to Forest Park, for example. That alone is why I truly hope this project succeeds.

From the article:
Queens enjoys an image as a bucolic borough where even neighborhood names evoke a pastoral pride: Fresh Meadows, Woodside, Floral Park. The streets of Sunnyside Gardens and Forest Hills are dotted with small private gardens.
But the borough ranks third out of five for parkland per resident, and much of the green space—particularly Forest Park and Flushing Meadows Corona Park—can't be reached by pedestrians who are unwilling to cross busy roadways in what can amount to an act of bravery.

A Cute Debate

Personally, I loved Lincoln, and I love Spielberg's films - well, most of them. It's interesting that David Carr in this video doesn't mention Schindler's List, which I think is one of the most remarkable movies ever made. Watch this scene below, if you can stomach it...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Rainbow Over Kennedy House

Caught this after this afternoon's unusual wintertime thunderstorm. Click for a better view.

More Chipotle Pics

70-30 Austin Street 
Coming Soon!

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HoursMon-Sun 11am-10pm
70-30 Austin Street
Forest Hills, NY 11375

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Live Coverage of Connecticut Vigil

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

There really are no words to describe the horror of what has happened. If there is any slim beam of light to cling on to though it is how these tragedies always seem to also bring out the most admirable qualities in people — in this case, the unbelievable heroism of the school's principal, Dawn Hochsprung, and the school's psychologist, Mary Sherlach, both of whom reportedly rushed into the face of danger to try to save these children and gave their lives doing so.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My Fave So Far...

Reader "Jess" sends in this one. The pooch adds that special touch...

By the way, while we're in the holiday spirit, here's an interesting list from the website I thought you'd enjoy: Top 10 Holiday Movies To Watch With Your Kids

Monday, December 10, 2012

More FoHi Holiday Decorations

Erica sends these in from the Windsor House, explaining:
"Our super's wife did a great job decorating our foyer here at Windsor house. And here is my tree and my cool wreath I made out of wrapping paper."

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Holiday Decorations

Here's one of the nicer ones, on 71st Road, north side of Queens Blvd. Send me your holiday decoration photos and I'll post them ( email them to ). Indoors or out, it's all good. Maybe we'll even put them up for a vote for "Best of 2012." Happy Holidays!

Bareburger's New Menu

My favorite Forest Hills burger joint has updated their menu. You'll notice they've added some new types of burgers and salads to their already extensive menu. (Click on the images to read)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Movie Quickies - Early Holiday Edition

Lincoln - Seen it twice so far and liked it even better the second time. And I'm up for a third, which is pretty amazing considering the movie is like 2 1/2 hours long. It goes so fast. The performances all around are spectacular, from Daniel Day Lewis as Lincoln, to Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln, to Tommy Lee Jones as the staunch abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens. Even James Spader is incredible. Truly one of the best films I have seen—ever. Early prediction: Daniel Day Lewis nabs Best Actor (really that's a no-brainer). A+

Argo - It is going to be an awfully hard call come Oscar time as to which walks away with Best Picture, Argo or Lincoln. Argo is thrilling and absorbing from beginning to end. Just thoroughly entertaining. Wow, who ends up winning Best Supporting Actor this year is going to be a really tough bet to call: Alan Arkin in Argo, who is so memorable in this movie, or Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln (I even thought James Spader should at least be nominated for Lincoln).  A+

Skyfall - This was disappointing. I'd heard so many great things about the latest James Bond movie. But, aside from Javier Bardem's terrific villain - you just can't take your eyes off of him every time he's on the screen - the rest was a pretty formula Bond flick. Critics are calling this like the best Bond film ever. I'd pick Casino Royale (the second one, with Daniel Craig). This might grow on me if I saw it again, but after seeing it once, it was just ok... B-

Chipotle - Another View

Here's a better pic of the inside of the Chipotle under construction on Austin St. It's impressive how much more space they were able to create through combining the two former businesses at this location...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Chinese / Mexican Take Out, or Something

By the way, last evening, having survived some type of stomach illness I had since Thanksgiving, I decided to celebrate by opening up my extensive binder of Forest Hills takeout menus and ordering from that unique eatery most dear to the heart of all of us New Yorkers - the "no-name Mexican/Chinese food takeout place!" You know, the place that somehow manages to give you a lot of food and the check always comes out to about $2 somehow?

I ordered nachos with everything on it and two hard shell chicken tacos.

I have to say, in a still Chipotless Forest Hills, or shall I say, pre-Chipotle Forest Hills? Whatever... that Chinese/Mexican place is just what the doctor ordered!!! (The one on Austin anyway. Can't vouch for the one on Queens Blvd. Even I am not that crazy.)


Wow there's shit on TV these days, isn't there?

By the way, there's a lot of hype about this new show on NBC, Revolution. I've been watching it and I don't exactly know why I continue to except that there is so little on TV to watch, and I am soooo starved for anything like sci-fi that I still watch it. But honestly, here's the show in a nutshell: They get cornered, fight their way out, get cornered again, fight their way out, get cornered, fight their way out... pretty much it. Oh wait. They get cornered AND threatened by someone who looks scary, fight their way out...Oh, wait, they get cornered again, threatened by someone scary, shot at by someone who has just terrible aim or is maybe partially blind and hits the wall instead, and then they fight their way out.... repeat...

I have been really, really liking the new webisodes of the Battlestar Galactica spinoff prequel, Blood & Chrome, that has been showing on Youtube. Now that's some awesome shit. Here's the first episode for ya'all...

Oh, and I was either dreaming or I actually read somewhere that NBC is planning a new TV drama about, drumroll please, George Washington, to debut sometime next year I think. WHAAAT??? Now that is an amazing idea if I ever heard one. I've been waiting for them to do an historical drama of some type. Seems like we haven't had it on network TV like, I don't know, maybe since I was born?? I think AMC is also readying some other period dramas as well that look really interesting... So, I guess TV sucks big-time now, but maybe thinks are picking up...
Oh, and there's always The Walking Dead. That show continues to kick ass. I also always have my DVD collection of the entire Star Trek TNG series. That always comes in handy in a pinch. Engage!

Jack & Nellie's

Here's some vittles from my visit to Jack & Nellie's, our new restaurant/night spot over on Ascan. These were taken quite a few weeks ago, and I was just about to post them then and then Hurricane Sandy struck.

Overall, I like Jack & Nellie's. My friends and I agreed it's not really a place for dinner, unless you have a fat wallet and are willing to fill up on a lot of small plates. The food we had, and the wine, was very good. But it's more of a place you go with friends for some light snacks/dinner, drinks and good conversation in a very nice, laid back atmosphere.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Inside Forest Hills' Chipotle

This is going into the space where Martha's Country Bakery and Ariana's pizza used to be ...

Mr. Vino's Cucina Sign

Eagerly awaiting this new gourmet food shop on Austin. They put the sign up within the past few days...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving !

Just wanted to wish all my readers a very Happy Thanksgiving!

With my recent trip out of town and now preparations for the holiday, I haven't had that much time to post very much. Things should settle down after Thanksgiving. Enjoy the holiday!

(By the way, I am in an especially good holiday mood this year. I don't quite know why. Some years I am kind of blah about the holidays, others I get really excited. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that a very snowy holiday season is forecast for us. That certainly can only help put us in the mood—if it indeed pans out. Lord knows they've been wrong before.)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Green Market's Winter Break

12:30 p.m. Update: I just found out the Green Market has been extended until December 23rd!!

If I'm recalling correctly, the much-loved Forest Hills Green Market goes on winter break after today, returning in the Spring. It will be greatly missed. I, for one, will be paying it a visit shortly to stock up on as many of their delicious apples as I can carry. They are so much better than any I can find in the local stores.

It was so great to see how our Green Market was embraced by the neighborhood, especially after the failed attempt a couple of years ago to start it up down on Metropolitan Ave. If there was ever a case of "location, location, location," this was it. Simply moving it to the front of the post office, where the vast majority of Forest Hills residents now have easy access to it, made all the difference in the world.

It was also so nice to see how it gradually built on itself, going from several vendors selling mostly veggies that first weekend, to vendors selling everything from fruit to bread to meats and wines to dairy. I loved that weekend where there was even a local musician playing there as well.

And last weekend saw it start to expand to housewares, with this charming new Lavender vendor. What a great addition to our neighborhood the Forest Hills Green Market has been.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Death Spiral

A depressing headline! Deal with it!

So, Hurricane/Nor 'Easter Sandy destroyed thousands of trees. Trees breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen (the latter of which we thank them kindly for, since we humans breathe that). Oh, and then we humans produce too much carbon dioxide by our cars and stuff, which in turn is warming the planet, which in turn creates humongous storms like Sandy, which in turn destroys thousands of trees which are no longer there to breathe in the extra carbon dioxide (and give us oxygen to breathe), and all that extra carbon dioxide which these nice trees are no longer there to breathe in creates the global warming which creates the humongous storms which destroys more trees...(rinse and repeat)

From The NY Times:
Sandy Uprooted Trees by the Thousands in NY, NJ They fell by the thousands, like soldiers in some vast battle of giants, dropping to the earth in submission to a greater force.
Freakin' fast zombies! I don't know what the hell is happening here, but it looks great!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

At Least We Don't Have One of These... Yet

This has got to be the worst restaurant review I have ever read in my entire life...

As Not Seen on TV
What the food and service at Guy Fieri’s Times Square establishment conjure is pure bafflement, among other things.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Salad Days

Salads! You can't live with 'em, you can't live without 'em. Actually, yes you can. Whatever. But this post is about salads in Forest Hills. I was talking with a friend over the weekend who enthusiastically declared that the chicken salad at 5 Burros has rapidly become one of his staples. I agree -- it is indeed an awesome salad.

All that salad talk must've made an impression on me, because on Sunday, I took a leap of faith and tried the Nicoise Salad from La Boulangerie. Of their three salads: Garden, Chicken and Nicoise, this had been the only one I still hadn't tried. While I am a big fan of the other two, you can only have the same salad for so long before you need a change.

I remember the friendly, helpful owner of La Boulangerie had once suggested I try the Nicoise salad. If only he hadn't asked me: "Do you like anchovies?" Just so happens anchovies are one of the few foods I have not only disliked, but actually feared. Along with these little fish, the Nicoise Salad contains hard boiled egg, roasted potatoes, tuna, string beans, onions, tomatos, lettuce and topping it all off a house vinaigrette dressing.

But feeling adventurous on Sunday, I took the Nicoise Salad plunge. I decided 'what the hell? What's the worst that can happen?'

I must say I was pleasantly surprised. Not only was this salad exceptionally delicious, but I even conquered my fear, actually eating it with most of the anchovies. And I'm really glad I did. All the ingredients come together perfectly to make for one of the more memorable salad-eating experiences I have ever had. Special kudos for their perfectly-flavored vinaigrette dressing which really serves to unite the flavors of all the ingredients, complementing them all without overwhelming them.

As an extra bonus, I felt pretty full for much of the rest of the day and realized this is one of those rare meals that is pretty healthy, and filling, at the same time.

I look forward to my next Salad Nicoise from Boulangerie. Magnifique!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Snow on Sandy Damage

A friend of mine sent this from last night of snow on damage from Sandy in the Gardens...

Follow by Email

You'll notice I added a spot where you can enter your email address so you can be notified when this blog is updated (when one reader requests something, I always assume there are others who also want it!). However, I have heard that it doesn't always work. So... if you want to, give it a whirl and then let me know if it is working for you. Thanks!

Latest on Old Vienna

According to a commenter on this blog a week or so ago, in case you missed it (kinda got buried in the storm coverage):

Old Vienna Cafe on Queens Blvd is turning into an Irish bar/ restaurant in a few weeks. Same owners as lately. The "new owners" in the window.

Very Much Looking Forward To This...

From The NY Times Review today of Lincoln:
Go see this movie. Take your children, even though they may occasionally be confused or fidgety. Boredom and confusion are also part of democracy, after all. “Lincoln” is a rough and noble democratic masterpiece — an omen, perhaps, that movies for the people shall not perish from the earth.

What Happened to the Aquarium?

I had been wondering about this, a favorite of mine since I was a kid...

Hurricane Filled New York Aquarium With Dangerous Substance: Water
The New York Aquarium faced the biggest crisis in its history when Hurricane Sandy hit.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Morning After

Wow! There's so much to say about the election that it will have to be spread out over the coming weeks and months. But the strongest feeling I have is one of overwhelming pride in our country. It's amazing that a nation as enormous as ours is is able to go to the polls by the millions in just one day (although in some places, as the President pointed out last night at 2 a.m., that has to be improved on) and then by 11 p.m. the same night we are able to know who has been elected President. The Founding Fathers would be thrilled!

As I wrote about in my recent post, I think our democracy is working just fine. And yesterday was more proof of that. It will be very interesting to see what impact President Obama's reelection now has on the gridlock in Washington. Will the Republicans finally now try to cooperate with the President on all of his initiatives? Should be interesting to watch how much progress is made in the coming months on all of the things the President had been pushing for in his first term.

And, it should be interesting to watch in the coming weeks and months if a full-fledged civil war breaks out in the Republican Party amongst the moderates and the extreme right-wing (Tea Party). With the so-called "Tea Party" completely responsible for the Republican Party's loss yesterday, it should be interesting to see if they are finally called out by the more mainstream Republicans as the irresponsible fanatics that they are. The behavior of those people has been absolutely reprehensible—the very worst example of America. In just a few years they managed to alienate virtually every group of Americans except perhaps rich white people. I haven't seen more despicable behavior in modern-day American history. Kicking handicapped people on the sidewalk, booing our soldiers, screaming for sick people to die! Stomach turning.