Thursday, June 14, 2012

New Gourmet Food Shop Coming To Austin

Wow, I'm quite excited about this. The mystery is over regarding what is going into that space where The Body Shop used to be, near the corner of Austin and 71st Continental. If this is anything as cute as their wine shop around the corner, Forest Hills is in for a real treat...

Forest Hills Sizzler to Pay Alleged Attack Victim $25,000

A woman who says she was beaten and called anti-gay slurs at the Sizzler on Metropolitan Ave. has been awarded a $25,000 settlement by the restaurant.

NY woman awarded $25,000 in discrimination suit against Sizzler restaurant

Liza Friedlander
To tell you the truth, I wasn't very surprised by this horrifying story. It's obvious there are some really severe pockets of reactionary, conservative fascist elements in our area and in Queens in general.
I always get the feeling when I go down to Metropolitan Ave. that I am going back in time like 50 years. Well, I guess this just confirms it. Apparently, the people who work at and frequent the local Sizzler for its fine dining have attitudes towards gay people that are about 50 years old as well. So very, very sad...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Marianella's Has Closed

Marianella's Taqueria, the Mexican restaurant / bar on 71st Continental Ave. closed down Monday night.

Dee's Makes List of Top Kid-Friendly Restaurants in U.S.

A big congrats to Dee's!

OpenTable Diner Reviews Reveal Top 75 Kid-Friendly Restaurants
These awards reflect the combined opinions of nearly 5 million reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners for more than 15,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Readers of this blog might have picked up that I am very into weather. Well, here's a cool pic I swiped from of a storm approaching a graduation ceremony in Atlantic County, New Jersey this past Thursday afternoon. Imagine being outside on a field and seeing this coming. Scary. Below the pic is a link to more info about what happened...

Huge Storm Cuts High School Graduation Ceremony Short

A New Old Vienna Cafe

Old and misguided, the restaurant last year.
Old Vienna Cafe says it is under new ownership and has unveiled a new menu offering more American-style, diner-type food. The move is not surprising. Most of the times I've gone there in the year since it opened, or have walked by it, the place has looked like it was on its last legs—with barely a customer inside. And I always thought this was a huge shame, and an enormous missed opportunity. The location, right next to the Midway Theater, and with outdoor seating to boot, has the potential to be a huge draw—that is, if it was the kind of place Forest Hills and the nearby neighborhoods were looking for. A cafe offering extremely expensive Eastern-European culinary specialties was never that.

Some ideas my friends and I have had for the spot included everything from a laid-back, independent coffee shop with plush couches, newspapers spread about, etc.. to the kind of place they are now attempting—a regular restaurant offering burgers, sandwiches, etc.. Forest Hills is sorely lacking a really good place just to get that type of food. (Don't get me started on the local diners. I gave up on T-Bone long ago after the time I ordered the shrimp salad and was given a scoopful of mayonaise with celery in it and not one shrimp. The newer Forest Hills Diner way down Austin St. is better—in a pinch it will provide you sustenance. But I would hardly call it an enjoyable eat.)

So, what Old Vienna is trying is definitely a step in the right direction. But just one thing: Change your name! If you are under new ownership , have a new menu, and have even changed the decor inside to reflect your new personality, change your goddamn name! If you did that, you may stand a chance. But until you do, everyone going by is going to think you're the same, misguided, confused eating establishment. Changing everything but your name just perpetuates the confusion and probably continues the countdown to when someone else will have a go at trying to make your prime corner location a hit.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Household Income Distribution

NYU’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy recently released the 2011 edition of its annual publication the State of New York City’s Housing and Neighborhoods. I'll be highlighting some interesting facts from it every so often. 

Here's some for you to chew on:

For Rego Park/Forest Hills:

More on the Greenmarket

Here's a good article with more information about the greenmarket, which starts up in front of the Post Office in early July. It's a really good sign that the idea got such overwhelming support, as the article details. Just more evidence of the desire amongst local residents for quality, healthy food.

Forest Hills Greenmarket Set to Open Next Month
Really, really looking forward to this... I think I've seen the show 3 times, or was it 4? I forget.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Thank you. We will ALWAYS be in your debt.

June 6, 1944, the beaches of Normandy, France

Early Review: Sammie's To Go

I just had my first sandwich from new the little take out place, Sammie's To Go, which replaced NY Falafel Bar on Austin St., down near Ascan.

I have to say, I was all prepared to write off this new place. But my very early conclusion, based on just one purchase there, is that what it does, it does well enough.

Now, is it the kind of sandwich place I have been dreaming about for years now for Forest Hills? Is it the Zingerman's Deli of the Northeast?? Zingerman's Deli and Sammie's To Go of Forest Hills should not be even in the same sentence. (Kinda like putting Barack Obama in the same sentence with W., or for that matter Mitt. Oh! Did I just slide into politics? How did that happen I wonder?)

Anyway, for $6.99 I tried the Turkey Classic: Boar's Head Ovengold Turkey Breast, Swiss Cheese and Cole Slaw on a 6" sub. It was fine. Fresh, tasty, it did the trick. I do think it is somewhat overpriced, however. For the ingredients being used, maybe it should be around $5.99 at most?

I asked the owner if he has any plans to offer organic meats and he basically replied 'No' by explaining that the Boar's Head meats he offers are "quality meats." Perhaps, but it's not organic. If he wants to do super well in Forest Hills, he may want to educate himself about organic food. It's a huge trend in the food industry, and something more and more customers will be looking for. Because it's just plain better all around.

So, my conclusion is basically that what we have in Sammie's To Go is a mini-deli. It's fine for what it is. Take your average korean grocer, chop out the deli part, and have them focus on that, just that, coming up with interesting sandwich combos, and that's basically Sammie's To Go.

I hope it succeeds here. It doesn't hurt to have this store over on Austin. Hey, beggars can't be choosers. And until some more really interesting restaurants figure out there is an audience dying for them to open on Austin St., we are most definitely beggars here in FoHi. Sorry, but that's a fact.

But as for me, when I'm down near that part of Austin St., I'll be spending my money right across the street, at La Boulangerie, stocking up on their awesome, really high-quality salads and sandwiches. There I definitely get my money's worth and know that the food I'm consuming is made with top-notch, healthful ingredients.

Here's Sammie's To Go's summer take out menu. Click on it for a more legible version:

Sammie's To Go is like a small Boar's Head outlet, actually.

Yes, even on the napkins you will find the logo.

And on the sandwich wrapping.

My tasty turkey sub - it did the trick. But nothing you can't find in a million other places around NYC.

Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury, author of  Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles and many other works has died.

It's weird because I was just wondering the other day whether he was still alive. I was reading though The New Yorker's latest issue, "The Sci Fi Issue," and saw they had a contribution from him  and was like, 'Is he still alive?' And it made me happy to realize he was...

Thriving Local Bar Scene

With the recent opening of the "718" hookah lounge/ grill & bar, it seems we now have a really thriving bar scene going on along Austin St. between 72nd Ave. and 72nd Road.

Last I counted there are 4 bars on that one block now: Five Burros, Tap House, Bonfire Grill and 718.

I still haven't been to 718, but I've walked by it and it appears to definitely have the bar vibe going on, with a
"Lady's Night" sign in the window and some patrons overflowing onto the sidewalk. Has anyone been there yet?

The Times has this cool, interactive sampling of Tony-nominated performances. Check it out at the link below:

In Performance
Published: June 4, 2012
A selection of Tony Award nominees perform songs and scenes from this year’s shows.

The Tonys are on this Sunday.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Forest Hills Rainbow, Take Two

A much, much better shot of the rainbow Sunday eve, donated by an EOTC reader. Thanks! A really pretty shot...

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Accident at Corner of Austin/Ascan Last Night

A car crashed Friday night into the convenience store at the corner of Austin St. and Ascan.

Friday, June 1, 2012

16 Handles, or "This is Fu--kn Yogurt?!"

I finally found myself in one of those 16 Handles stores (last I heard, they are supposed to be opening one here in Forest Hills sometime, too.) I say found myself in it, because, seriously, it was absolutely impossible to resist. I was in Chelsea walking by it, saw it and the next thing I knew I was inside and a woman was trying to force one of those small, little sample cups into my fingers. I refused. That is one place where I draw the line——yogurt samples. I am adamantly against them. I don't understand the entire premise. What is the worse thing that can happen to me? I don't like the yogurt I bought, so I don't buy it again. Do I need to brace myself against this possibility by sucking down a tiny sample of it before I eat it? No. I could be living in Afghanistan today or some god-foresaken place like that. I think I can survive buying a few bucks worth of frozen yogurt that I don't like. It won't kill me. I don't need to be sheltered from this experience by one of those little squishy sample cups.

Now, as for 16 Handles. I just don't get it. Why don't they just call it 16,000 pounds. Because that is really what I would eventually weigh if I keep going to this place. Are they really expecting me to believe that their cheesecake or root beer float flavored frozen yogurts are any less fattening then just buying Baskin Robins? Puhleeease!!! Come on!

And don't get me started on all the toppings. There are like a zillion of them. And yes, there's a few fruit toppings, but by the time I finished with the other one's I might as well have been eating a Carvel Banana Split Sundae, especially after I drenched the top with marshmallow and dark chocolate sauce.

Isn't it so typical of America that we have figured out how to make what was supposed to be a nice, healthy snack —— frozen yogurt —— into one of the most overly indulgent, fattening experiences we can possibly have?

Snow White and Such and Such....

I still don't get it.... Who is going to see these Snow White movies? They look way too adult for little children, which is who I thought Snow White was for.... And who are the adults who are going to see movies called Snow White and Whatever... This is obviously really bothering me, and I don't quite know why. But I will figure it out... How many of these live action, adult Snow White movies have they made, anyway? It seems like dozens and dozens....So someone must be going to see them or I spose they'd stop making them. Oh well...

MOVIES The Darker Side of the Story
Published: May 31, 2012
“Snow White and the Huntsman,” directed by Rupert Sanders, puts some menace back into the classic tale.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

YES!! I knew it...

Can Exercise Be Bad for You?
Could exercise actually be bad for some healthy people? A well-known group of researchers, including one who helped write the scientific paper justifying national guidelines that promote exercise for all, say the answer may be a qualified yes.

Summery Street Food

Looks like our choice of street food here in FoHi is finally starting to pick up, and move beyond just Halal meats and tacos. By now most of you must've passed this yogurt truck parked on Austin, in front of the Citibank. It's another local frozen yogurt option amidst an expanding number of them, with Red Mango coming into the former OTB location, and even a 16 Handles supposedly looking for a location in our 'hood.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Person Struck Near LIRR Station

A reader just emailed to tell me the awful news that a person has been struck by a train near the Forest Hills LIRR station.

Service has been suspended between Penn and Jamaica....

The Sky is Falling?

That was one weird roar over FoHi just a little while ago. Seemed to have lasted about a minute. Kinda scary... anyone else hear or see anything?

Manhattanhenge, Meet Queenshenge?

So tonight is Manhattanhenge, that awesome spectacle when the setting sun aligns perfectly with certain streets in Manhattan causing a view like the one pictured here.

Now, last eve, when I was leaving a BBQ at my friends' place on Harrow Street I noticed the sun also setting perfectly smack down the middle of that street. I guess some of those streets in the Gardens area may be perfectly aligned east to west with Manhattan's?

Anyway, if you get the chance try to take a glance and see if I'm right. It could have just been all those glasses of bourbon-laced punch, I must admit. ::)

Martha's Bakery Opening New Space Friday

And on an unrelated note, I also noticed that Emily's Sugar Rush, the delightful candy store on Austin St., is raising money today to help fight cancer. Here's one of the signs I saw in the Gardens yesterday. Sorry the sign is hard to read in the photo. If you want to know more, just stop by or give them a call some time today...

Sunday, May 27, 2012

New Sandwich Place for Austin St.

Could it be that the sandwich gods have heard my prayers and delivered unto me a place to get quick, fresh and tasty sandwiches to go (other than Subway)? This is going where the NY Falafel Bar used to be, on Austin St. down near Ascan.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Bryant Park Summer Film Festival

HBO Bryant Park
Summer Film Festival

Now with Pepsi
and presented with Ralph Lauren

June 2012

Monday, June 18, 2012
Monday, June 25, 2012

July 2012

Monday, July 2, 2012
Monday, July 9, 2012
Monday, July 16, 2012
Monday, July 23, 2012
Monday, July 30, 2012

August 2012

Monday, August 6, 2012
Monday, August 13, 2012
Monday, August 20, 2012

Thursday, May 24, 2012

More on New Restaurant

A reader told me that the new establishment replacing Q Bistro on Ascan will actually be a wine and cheese bar that happens to have Irish ownership, quite different from an Irish bar. And that the owners also already have one or two other establishments.

This sounds like a nicer fit to me for that really nice spot on Ascan. I look forward to trying it out when it opens. Sounds like it could be a really nice place to spend some time with friends. I hope they have an open-front restaurant or tables in the front, though not sure they are able to in that spot. But it would sure be nice to have some wine and cheese and enjoy the beautiful weather this time of year, especially in that laid-back location.

Preppy in Forest Hills

Dog Found

Reposting this from my Facebook page.. let me know if you're the owner or know who is, thanks...

Beautiful little dog found at the intersection of Metro and Woodhaven Blvd. A teenage boy said she followed him from Jamaica Ave. She has an unregistered microchip and is well-trained. Poor girl probably escaped from her yard. If anyone has any information about this pup's owner, please inbox me!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Q Bistro to be Bar?

I saw on the Queens Neighbors message boards that the former Q Bistro restaurant space on Ascan is going to be turned into an Irish bar of some sort. The person who posted the information said this is from workmen at the site.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Made in Jersey, and Forest Hills

Saw a commercial tonight for the new CBS legal drama "Made in Jersey" (formerly called "Baby Big Shot") which, if you recall, was filmed right here on Austin St. a few weeks ago.

The new show premieres in the Fall. Here's some more about it:

MADE IN JERSEY stars Janet Montgomery as Martina Garretti, a young working class woman who uses her street smarts to compete as a first year lawyer among her pedigreed Manhattan colleagues at a prestigious New York law firm. MADE IN JERSEY premieres this Fall on Fridays at 9/8c on CBS. Photo: David Lee/CBS ©2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc.

Here's some photos I took of the shoot on Austin a few weeks ago...

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Second Annual Tree Giveaway Event on Sunday

Four Borough Neighborhood Preservation Alliance To Hold May 20th Tree Giveaway Event in Forest Hills To Restore NYC's Historic Tree Canopy

NYC's 5 Boroughs (May 12, 2012) - The 5 boroughs are about to become a little greener, thanks to the Four Borough Neighborhood Preservation Alliance’s Second Annual Tree Giveaway Event on Sunday, May 20th from 1 to 3 PM in Forest Hills.

Citywide residents will have the chance of adopting one (and possibly more) of 245 trees in MacDonald Park on Queens Boulevard and 70th Avenue, Forest Hills. To make this event possible, Four Borough Neighborhood Preservation Alliance (4BNPA) partnered with MillionTreesNYC and New York Restoration Project (NYRP). Toyota is a lead sponsor, and lead partners include PlaNYC, and NYC Parks. 

Adopted trees are required to be planted on private property in the five boroughs. To tie into environmental history, 4BNPA is offering some unique native tree species. Native species will be Eastern Redbud, Florida Dogwood, Northern Red Oak, and Bald Cypress. Serviceberry and Sargent Crabapple are hybrids, but can be classified as natives, in regard to their environmental benefits. Japanese Maple and Amur Maackia will also be available, but are not native. Some trees are flowering, and their maturity heights will vary. Potted trees will be 6 to 10 feet tall, and will come with planting and maintenance handouts. Tree adoption certificates designed by Forest Hills resident Steve Goodman will be distributed, so adopted trees can acquire a sense of identity and education. Trees will be named after former Forest Hills notables, historic street names, and landmarks. 

This spring, NYRP in partnership with citywide community groups is donating 5,000 trees at 30 giveaway events, with ten in Queens. NYRP began coordinating giveaways in 2008, and has since coordinated over 50 events non-inclusive of this season. Inspiration stemmed from the understanding that MillionTreesNYC was focused on greening public spaces, but private homes, religious institutions, and community gardens also represent a great portion of the city, and therefore merit tree-planting.

On September 16, 2010, parts of Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island experienced a rare macroburst. Joseph Bruno of the NYC Office of Emergency Management reported 3,113 fallen trees in Queens alone. Event Coordinator Michael Perlman stated, "As Queens vice president of 4BNPA and a native Forest Hills resident, I documented the devastation locally, and sent a proposal to NYRP, and developed a bond. 4BNPA agreed to host its first tree giveaway event on June 12, 2011, and donated 100 trees to property owners. With the volunteerism of its members and Rego-Forest Preservation Council, this helped restore the natural and historic beauty of Forest Hills, as well as beyond. Following last year’s success, I decided to coordinate another tree giveaway event this spring."

Perlman added, "Many people did not realize the benefits of our trees until some of which were a century-old succumbed in seconds. Trees convey life, beauty, contribute to environmental sustainability, and enhance property values. MacDonald Park was selected as the event site, in order to shed light upon a concentrated space that lost sixty mature trees during the tornado, and to initiate memories of a productive community event." 4BNPA agrees that New York City needs to preserve its existing tree canopy and plant more trees, but some property owners degrade neighborhood aesthetics and environmental benefits by cutting down trees in the name of development-related “progress.”  

On May 20th, those who wish to adopt a tree should line up in MacDonald Park before 1 PM in front of either an online reservation table or a first-time registration table. The first 50 percent of applicants can now reserve their tree online at


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Forest Hills State of Mind

It occurred to me that I never ever ran this on my blog. I bet a lot of you have watched it by now, but I'm more than happy to bring it to those of you who haven't yet seen it! ... enjoy!