Friday, February 10, 2012

Austin Street Profiled in Wall Street Journal

FEBRUARY 10, 2012
Austin Street Keeps Pace With Forest Hills
Austin Street, the bustling commercial heart of Forest Hills, Queens, has solidified its status as a mecca for shopping, dining and entertainment, bringing in patrons from the neighborhood and beyond.
The mix of stores, restaurants and other establishments along the commercial strip has evolved over the years, with a number of businesses now catering to a younger clientele. But the steady rise of the neighborhood's profile has come at a price, with area rents rising—sharply in some cases—forcing some turnover.

And then, later in the article:
"We want to be wherever we can fill that niche where people are looking for organic and all-natural foods," said Bareburger founder Euripides Pelekanos. "Austin Street has the same vibe as Astoria—young, vibrant, educated, cool, open to new food ideas."

Another new business I think they should have mentioned is Emily's Sugar Rush...

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Overheard in Forest Hills

Pleasant, middle-aged man while opening the door for an elderly couple leaving La Boulangerie: "Their food is just great, isn't it?!"

Disgruntled, scowling elderly long-time Forest Hills lady: "Yes, but they're out of baguettes!"

Let's Meet About This

I was talking with a friend the other day who expressed bemusement at the news that NY was thinking of building a new, enormous convention center here in Queens. He was like, "Who is going to want to go to a convention in Queens?!" I have to say, after reading this article in The Times I am beginning to agree with him. According to the article attendance at conventions has been declining due to the ability to view product information over the Internet and tighter company travel budgets.

Queens Questions Need for 2 Convention Halls
Published: February 8, 2012
The city wants one, in Willets Point, and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo wants another, at the Aqueduct racetrack, a proposal that has fed suspicions about officials’ intentions.

So, the question remains, what to do with the Eastern section of Queens if not build a huge convention center? I believe if we wait long enough, it will probably figure it out for itself. As I said in a recent post, gentrification is rolling on... spreading out from the city's center in Manhattan to its outer boroughs. The young and hip just love to settle in downtrodden, cheaper neighborhoods and that in turn revitalizes them. Don't see why this section of Queens should be any different.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Queens High Line

An interesting piece on The Daily News website about the possibilities of a High Line-like park coming to our area: For bikers, turning the old LIRR Rockaway line into a greenway is the QueensWay to go
As of today, an online petition calling on the City of New York to convert the Rockaway line to a park has 1,426 signatures which include those of more than 300 people from the Forest Hills/Rego Park area, more than 700 people from Queens and those of people from nearly 50 countries around the world.

Travel and Now, Cold

Was out of town for a bit and couldn't update, and now I brought back with me that nasty cold that is going around...

Friday, February 3, 2012

One of my favorite characters from one of the best movies I've seen recently. What an amazing actor. I didn't realize how great until I watched this video and realized how very different the character is from the actor.

Scene Stealers: Nick Krause
Melena Ryzik chats with Nick Krause, the laid-back teen from “The Descendants,” about his first leading role.

Tennis Stadium Eligible for Historic Designation

Local preservationist Michael Perlman shares this very exciting news this morning:

Forest Hills Tennis Stadium Update: Extra! Extra! The ball is closer to being back in court at the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium, which has now been declared "eligible for the State & National Register of Historic Places" (STATE & NATIONAL LANDMARK!), if the West Side Tennis Club supports it. Commemoration & funding incentives for restoration & creative reuse are the benefits. This is my op-ed piece for the Queens Ledger, so feel free to comment & share this promising development, which resulted from 1 1/2 years of advocacy:

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Peek Inside Bareburger

The wood panelling on the walls looks very similar to the Chelsea location I've eaten in a couple of times...

Gentrification Express Rolls On...

As I said, think of Manhattan as the epicenter, and it keeps rippling outwards...

Unease Lingers Amid a Rebirth in Crown Heights
Published: January 31, 2012
The Brooklyn neighborhood, once stigmatized by violence and segregation, is now luring young people and new businesses, but some longtime residents are not sure the change is good.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Danny Brown Times Article

Here's something a little more pleasant for those of you who apparently detested my worst bagels post, in more ways than one judging by your remarks. :) ( I will keep the controversial post below for those of you brave enough to read it, digest it, and then reply... I also thought of another horrible bagel story which I will share soon.)

In any case, here's the more pleasant news: Danny Brown, owner of one of the best-reviewed restaurants here in Forest Hills, was featured in The Times this weekend:

Audrey Brand and Danny Brown
Published: January 27, 2012
For Danny Brown and Audrey Brand, a restaurant in Queens became the focus that brought them together.

What's the Worst...

I am a pretty positive thinking person by nature. But heck, the lack of snow this winter has gotten me into a very cranky mood! So, I came up with this new recurring feature you will now see every so often here on EOTC (that is, until it snows)... I call it "What's the Worst..."

Today's What's the Worst?

Drum roll please...

What's the Worst Bagel you ever had?

It's Monday morning, arguably the most annoying part of the week. So let's ponder the worst bagels we have EVER eaten, near or far.

Here is my choice: A bagel from your generic street vendor/cart, pretty much any one. I was talking about this with a friend the other day and realized these are really not bagels at all. I think they are pretty much the pretzels these carts sell at lunch time, but without the salt. They are enormous, doughy, have absolutely no taste - basically, they are just a large mound of heavy dough. And, to add insult to injury, the vendor usually just slaps a square of cream cheese into the middle of it. He or she usually doesn't even bother taking a knife to it to spread the cream cheese around.

I also associate these dreadful bagels with the panic that comes from being late to work, usually on a Monday morning just like this one. After all, that's the only time I would grab one of these gobby monstrosities as a last-minute, stave-off-starvation, breakfast.

So, there you have mine... what's the worst bagel you've ever eaten?

Sunday, January 29, 2012


Cracking the Code in ‘Heeere’s Johnny!’
Published: January 25, 2012
A documentary, “Room 237,” collects theories and interpretations surrounding the symbols and intentions of Stanley Kubrick in his film “The Shining.”

Well, it is an amazing movie (I've seen it a ton of times). But then again, all of Kubrick's were pretty amazing, including one of my favorite's, 2001. But I never thought of it having any particular hidden meaning until now... By the way, just what is this continuing conspiracy theory stuff about the moon landing being fake? As far as conspiracy theories go, there is only one I believe in - that W. was in some way connected to the events of 9/11. There are just too many ways he benefited from it for me to discount that one.

It's Our Little Secret

I scanned the like 10,000 comments after the recent NY Times article, "So You're Price Out, Now What?" and I couldn't find one mention of Forest Hills. Of course, there are like 10,000 comments so I may have missed it. Saw several about Kew Gardens though. Anyway, shhhhh, don't anyone tell them about Forest Hills. Let's keep it to ourselves... :)

So You’re Priced Out. Now What?
Published: January 27, 2012
Five pairs of neighborhoods that look and feel alike, without costing the same amount.

Friday, January 27, 2012

New Poll

It's been a rather slow and dreary start to 2012 here in Forest Hills, hasn't it? Nothing new has opened in a while. But, there certainly is a lot in the works, as you can see by my poll below. If none of these gets you excited, well, then there are always the new elevators in our subway station.

But seriously, if you are feeling a little blue thanks to the miserable, basically snowless winter we've been having, well here are a few things you can do around the neighborhood to cheer yourself up:

  • Visit Emily's Sugar Rush on Austin. Have you been to our neighborhood candy story lately? This place is awesome. It is now busting at the seams with stuff. It has grown into a really cool store. (They even now have Fruit Stripe Gum, my suggestion from way back thank you very much.)
  • Grab a coffee and a pastry at La Boulangerie. Just soaking up the atmosphere at this adorable new place can get you in a great mood.
  • Go Greek at Agora. I just had their New England clam chowder the other night. Quite good if I must say so myself.
  • Grab a brownie at Brownies & Cream. Another new place on Austin with some delicious treats.
  • Oh, and just wait a week. I hear that by this time next week we might actually have a real winter snow on our hands. I know, how many times have you heard that this winter. But predictions have been all along for a major change to a snowier, wintry pattern in February. So all you snow lovers, get ready. :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Waiting for Gloria

Boy, is it just me, or is it taking an eternity for our newest pizza place, Gloria, to open, next to the Midway Theater? My friend snapped this shot of the inside of the place the other day. And I noticed they have a sign up looking for employees, if you're interested...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

One Sweet Apple

Whether we end up getting the Apple Store or not, the story sure has brought Forest Hills a shot of some great -- and far-reaching -- buzz! And, there ain't nothing wrong with that!

Apple Store Coming to Queens, NYC: Why Not Brooklyn?

It feels kinda nice to be seeing headlines like these. We've been playing second fiddle to Brooklyn for so long, it's cool to see the tables turned for a change! :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Future of Javits

I read this interesting article in The Times yesterday about how the Javits Center, currently in the midst of a huge renovation, could be leveled quite soon to make way for a cool west-side development. Its replacement? An enormous new convention center to be built right here in Queens, at the Aquaduct Racetrack in Jamaica.

My opinion about this? DO IT! It would serve to revitalize the eastern section of Queens, perhaps even with effects rippling all the way to Forest Hills. And, it would also make a lot of sense. There's more space there and NYC has been needing a convention center to compete with those found in other cities like Chicago, Atlanta and Vegas. So, it would boost the money the city made from that. And, the convention center would be so close to the two major airports. Imagine all the new hotels, etc. that would pop up in the nearby areas.

And, the development planned for the west side of Manhattan sounds like a much better use of that space there. I'm all for opening up that vista to the Hudson so that everyone can enjoy it. God knows we need more of mother nature here in the city.

Let’s Raze Javits Center (but First Finish Renovations)
Published: January 22, 2012
New plans to demolish the Javits Center are deflating to the architect in the midst of renovating that Manhattan convention center.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Changing Restaurant Scene

There's an interesting article in today's Wall Street Journal about the changing restaurant scene in Park Slope. One of the restaurants they highlight is the recently-opened Bareburger (with a nice color pic to boot). I used to live in Park Slope and it's interesting to hear about these changes. When I lived there, in the 90's, there were just a handful of good restaurants. When I recently went back, there were too many to count. It was unbelievable. And now this article in The Journal says the restaurant scene is evolving again. Some old favorites, like Aunt Suzie's on Fifth Ave., closed this month.

Slippery Slope For Brooklyn Restaurants

Not saying Forest Hills will follow this path exactly, but our restaurant scene is perking up a bit. So maybe there is some foreshadowing of what's to come here as well.

By the way, I am particularly intrigued by this Dizzy's Diner the article discusses. I haven't been to that one, has anyone? Interested to know what you think about it if you have. An excellent, upscale, fun and modern diner is just what Forest Hills needs.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Apple Store: Why, and Why Not?

Here are some thoughts on why I think Apple would want to open a store on Austin, and why it wouldn't:

  1. The company could make another big splash by redesigning a stand-alone building in a major Queens hub. They like to do something eye-catching architecturally sometimes, rather than just open another mall outlet. An Austin St. location, especially that large empty building down near Barnes & Noble, could provide that.
  2. Our demographics are very Apple-friendly. A lot of young people moving into Forest Hills. And, a lot of people with money.
  3. Easy proximity to transportation, from all the subway lines to the LIRR to Queens Blvd.
  4. Our demographics are very Apple friendly. A lot of people with just an average amount of money. Have you looked at Apple products lately? You don't need to have a lot of money to snag an iPod.
  5. The lack of parking. Yes, that's right, the lack of parking. You don't need a car to buy an iPod which clips onto your tie.
  6. The lack of parking, part 2. How much more hip can you get than an Apple store which caters to all the young people of Queens who don't drive, but walk? And Apple likes to be hip.
  7. Space. We have lots of it on Austin.
  8. Forest Hills. It's an up and coming neighborhood. How many are there in Queens?
  9. Forest Hills - it has one thing Queens Center Mall and Rego Center don't have. Um, it's actually fun to shop! (And would be even more fun... if we had an Apple store :) )
Why Not:
  1. The developer has reportedly bragged about big deals like this before, and they haven't come to fruition.
  2. Foot traffic, or lack thereof. Apple might be taking a risk. Would the store attract enough customers, compared with, say, the Queens Center Mall?
  3. Forest Hills - our neighborhood is changing, but that's just it, it is changing. Its demos are partially very Apple-friendly. But there's also a large part of the population that still uses typewriters ;)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Austin to get Apple Store?

Hmmmm, so it appears all those rumblings about an Apple store coming to Forest Hills have been true after all.... Need I say this is beyond exciting?

From The Daily News:
Queens aims for Apple core 
Developer angling for iconic store in Forest Hills

Could this be the location? I think this used to be Mandee, down at 7000 Austin. And I think it's still empty, but someone correct me if I'm wrong.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

New Blog Feature

By the way, in case you haven't yet noticed, you now have the ability to reply to individual comments on this blog - in other words, we now have comment threads. (Yes, I know -- it's a long time in coming. Maybe you can explain to me why the folks at Google's Blogger couldn't figure out how to do that out sooner?)

So basically, this means you can now respond to those individual comments under my posts that really intrigued, delighted or annoyed the hell out of you, instead of just having to add your comments to the very end every time, and they will appear as separate threads within the conversation.

Of course, there's a hitch - for now, it seems to work with every browser except, go figure, Google's very own Chrome. I assume they'll have that ironed out soon. Oy!! In the meantime, just use a different browser if you are a "Chromer" and really, really want to direct your comment at another specific one. Enjoy!

A Sign of Our Times?

I was absolutely fascinated by the following news item. Either it is a sign of our times and more evidence that the really well-to-do in our society have devolved into such a feeling of superiority that they are this stunningly brazen, or this is just about a couple of ordinary schmucks. You decide! :)

ArtsBeat: New York Philharmonic Interrupted by Chimes Mahler Never Intended
Published: January 11, 2012
Alan Gilbert, the conductor of the New York Philharmonic, halted the orchestra and made everyone wait when the cellphone belonging to a member of the audience at Tuesday night's concert began to ring and ring and ring during the final movement of Mahler's Ninth Symphony.

Obama's New Link to Forest Hills

Obama's New Chief of Staff Is Queens Native, Mets Fan
"The New York story is the classic American story," said Jack Lew, who graduated from Forest Hills High School.
Jack Lew, the man stepping up to replace Bill Daley as President Obama's chief of staff, is a New York City native raised in Forest Hills and still has a home with his wife in a Bronx neighborhood.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Fly The Unfriendly Skies

Little old Mother Nature getting in the way of corporate plans, again. What are we humans to do I ask you???

Nonstop Flights Stop for Fuel
Dozens of Continental Airlines flights to the East Coast from Europe have been forced to make unexpected stops in Canada and elsewhere to take on fuel after running into unusually strong headwinds over the Atlantic Ocean.