Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

A Story Comes Alive

... the title sounds Halloweenish, but this has nothing to do with Halloween (except a chance for me to say Happy Halloween! to everyone)... but I just thought I'd share what I think is one of the coolest examples I have seen of how digital media can make journalism come to life. (And please, if some of you are going to start complaining this has nothing to do with Forest Hills, I know. You don't have to tell me. Just consider this a gift to those readers who, like me, are naturally curious and open to learning about things):

From The NY Times: A Game of Shark and Minnow

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Garcia's Closes

The Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce sent out a tweet last night announcing that Garcia's Mexican Cafe, located on the second floor of the Austin Street 'Mall', has closed its doors after 25 years in business. My take is that the opening of Chipotle just across the street probably took away a lot of Garcia's business. The neighborhood just couldn't support so many Mexican food places and 5 Burro Cafe remains extremely popular (and quite excellent in my opinion). Now attention turns to what will take the place of Garcia's. It's a fantastic location for another restaurant, what with the outdoor seating and large space inside...

Monday, October 28, 2013

Coming Soon to Forest Hills: Silk Cakes

Judy received her diploma in Classic Pastry Arts at the French Culinary Institute and worked as a pastry chef at the school's prestigious restaurant, L'Ecole as well as took on the coveted position of Cake Chef Instructor.
Silk Cakes launched in 2006 with its first store in Manhattan at 53 Ludlow Street. The company offers premium custom wedding cakes and specialty cakes. This first location in Manhattan is 'by appointment only' although they've had many customers stop by wanting to try their cakes. As a result, a couple of months ago, they decided that it was time to expand.

"We are very excited to share the news with you that Silk cakes will be opening a second location on 98-14 Metropolitan Avenue, Forest Hills, NY come late November 2013," the company says. "This location will be open to the public and include a retail cake boutique showcasing our most popular cakes in the top selling flavor combinations (see below). We also plan to offer premium coffee to complement our delectable cakes (our coffee options that we are considering are Stumptown or Hugh Jackman Laughing Man). Currently, the store is under renovations and is expected to be completed by in November."

Top Silk Cakes Flavor Combinations:
Chocolate cake with green tea buttercream & semi sweet chocolate truffle.
Red velvet cake with cream cheese buttercream & semi sweet chocolate truffle.
Green tea cake with blueberry OR raspberry Buttercream & semi sweet chocolate truffle.
Yellow butter cake  with dulce de leche buttercream & white chocolate truffle.
Banana cake with nutella buttercream & semi sweet chocolate truffle.
Mocha cake with  raspberry buttercream & semi sweet chocolate truffle.
Yellow butter cake with vanilla bean buttercream & jasmine tea milk chocolate truffle.
Black sesame cake with peanut butter OR raspberry buttercream & semi sweet chocolate truffle.
Yuzu cake with green tea buttercream & green tea truffle.
Pandan cake with coconut buttercream & white chocolate truffle.
Thai Tea cake with condense milk buttercream & white chocolate truffle.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

A Happy Ending

From the blog's Facebook Page:


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Missing Dog

Have you see this adorable pooch? Poor thing...

Missing Dog in Queens Area!
Last seen Saturday October 19th at 7:30pm on 88th St and 85th Rd in Woodhaven
Answers to BENGY!
His family misses him very much!!!
If you see him or someone with him..
Please call 347-513-9438

The Big Squeeze

As someone who flies fairly often, I just love this. This is the reason we need newspapers, to reveal the kind of B.S. companies like airlines pull: The Incredible Shrinking Plane Seat

I also love how the legacy airlines advertise that if you get their credit card or sign up for this or that, you can check your first bag for free, as if that is this amazing gift they're giving us! You used to always let us check our first bags free until you took that away from us and made us pay for it just in the past few years! ARGH! Talk about Chutzpah!

>That's why, given the choice, I'll take the train any day...

MacDonald Park Stewardship Event - Saturday Nov 9th

Our Parks Dept district gardener, Ed O'Neill, has started planting new shrubs at the center entranceways of MacDonald Park. It's looking pretty good so far!
To all volunteers:
There will be a Spruce Up the Park Day at MacDonald Park on Saturday, November 9th,
It will be held under the auspices of the NYC Parks Department.
Volunteers are needed to:
Rake leaves
Plant bulbs
Clean park benches and tables
Paint litter baskets

Gloves and supplies will be provided. Open to all ages.
Meet at center of park, 70 Av and Queens Blvd, across from the Forest Hills post office.

I hope you can lend a hand. Bring a friend. Thanks!

Steve Melnick
Forest Hills Green Team
Friends of MacDonald Park

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Budding Young Filmmakers, Listen Up!

Youth Made Media participants Danny Raba (standing), Yara Babosa (center) and Sameer Khan
Photo By City Parks Foundation 
On Friday, October 18, 2013, City Parks Foundation hosted an open media call at Lost Battalion Hall Recreation Center in Rego Park, the Queens location of its Youth Made Media (YM2) program, which offers young people, ages 13 to l9 from low-income communities, a structured learning experience in video and audio production, media literacy, new media, academic support and life skills training. Members of the press were invited to watch teenage participants showcase the many skills they have learned thus far through Youth Made Media, including how to use specialized industry software to create movies, documentaries and narratives. The fall semester of the program will continue through the end of December, and a separate spring semester will begin in January. The program gives inner-city youth the opportunity to express themselves artistically, develop leadership skills, discover their talents and learn how to produce original shows for the Public Access Youth Network.

This fall season of the program, Youth Made Media hired 30 past participants from its summer institute as peer educators. These paid positions, with funding support from The Pinkerton Foundation, highlight the skills of these driven young teens who have excelled in and been certified through the program. They share their knowledge and talent with the newest crop of students, offering peer-focused instruction and support. One of the many skills these paid interns are helping to teach their peers is how to create stop motion animation (such as claymation) using an iPad. The paid internship also provides the peer educators with the opportunity to pursue externships as television production assistants at their local public access channels, giving these teens a hands-on opportunity to utilize and improve upon their skills as well as providing them with valuable career training.

One of these peer educators is Joel Pacheco, 15, a Youth Made Media intern since November 2012 and a Sophomore at the Academy of Finance and Enterprise. Pacheco is a prime example of a past student of Youth Made Media who is broadening his horizons and thinking about media as a possible career path.

Yara Babosa and Joel Pacheco
Photo By City Parks Foundation
For more details, please visit

Monday, October 21, 2013

Restaurant News

A new Thai restaurant, The Old Siam, is taking over the former Bann Thai location at 6912 Austin St. Reader Premie sent in this photo below and says "It looks like the inside is almost completely renovated. I don't know if it's the same owners because I absolutely loved Bann Thai but at least it's still Thai!!"

And Jennifer writes in that Danny Brown Wine Bar & Kitchen, on Metropolitan Ave. in Forest Hills, was, for the fourth time, awarded a single Michelin star. As the Times reports in: Dining at a Star in Queens
When Michelin, the French publisher of travel books, issued its 2014 New York City dining guide this month, it gave stars to 58 restaurants in Manhattan, six in Brooklyn — and one in the entire borough of Queens. That Queens restaurant was the Danny Brown Wine Bar & Kitchen, a cozy Continental on Metropolitan Avenue and 71st Drive in Forest Hills.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Journalist to Speak on Culture Clash Within Israeli Society

This spring and summer,  Israel has seen dramatic confrontations among Jews, between the ultra-Orthodox haredi population and others, over issues such as the exemption from military service for this religious community and over women’s rights.   On Monday, October 28, veteran foreign correspondent Lawrence Malkin will discuss his new book, The War Within, at 1:30 p.m. at the Central Queens YM & YWHA.  

Co-authors Yuval Elizur & Lawrence Malkin have taken a hard look at the growing conflict between Israel’s secular to modern Orthodox citizens, on the one hand  -  and its growing community of ultra-Orthodox, on the other.   With roughly ten percent of Israel’s population, the high birth rate of the ultra-Orthodox has increased their numbers so that they now form a separate society within Israel, whose leaders can make and unmake governments.   

The Central Queens Y is located at 67-09 108 Street in Forest Hills.  Sherri Fink’s talk is open to the public, with a $7 donation suggested.

Last spring mass protests by Israel’s ultra-Orthodox community drew thousands of men opposed to eliminating the long-standing exemption of the ultra-Orthodox from military service.  In recent years, a growing movement within Israel has protested the segregation of  - and other restrictions on - women within the ultra-Orthodox community.  Elizur and Malkin looked at these controversial issues and others such as welfare dependency, and private education among this rapidly growing segment of the religious population.   

Lawrence Malkin is an award-winning journalist, formerly foreign correspondent for Time magazine and The Associated Press.   Co-author Yuval Elizur is a sixth generation Israeli, former deputy editor for Israel’s largest daily newspaper, Ma’ariv, and Jerusalem correspondent for The Washington Post and The Boston Globe. 

More information about this event is available at 718 268-5011, ext. 151, or online at or at  (718) 268-5011 ext. 151, or

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

New Gay Bar Coming to Forest Hills

The outdoor area used by the former Common Space.
A new gay bar called "PRIDE Forest Hills' Gay Bar and Lounge" will be opening the weekend of the 26th in the Forest Hills "mall" on Austin St., where Common Space lounge used to be. I am told it is owned by the same person who owns the nearby Corfu Grill.

Common Space used to make really nice use of the outdoor space in the back. I'm trying to find out more details about PRIDE, including if they will be using that space, but that seems like a nobrainer.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Weeklong Search Continues for a Boy With Autism

Avonte Oquendo, 14, who is unable to communicate verbally, has not been seen since he left his school in Long Island City last week.

Vote for Oliloli in Time Out New York

Oliloli was chosen to be a nominee for Time Out's Best Readers' Choice Award for Best Craft Spot. The  owner tells me they have some fierce competition from competitors in Brooklyn and Manhattan and she writes: "Can you ask your followers to vote for Oliloli.  We need to show them that Queens is where it's at!!!"

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Forest Hills Tree Giveaways: A Tradition Since 2011

On Sunday, October 13 from 1 PM to 3 PM, citywide residents will once again line up in MacDonald Park on Queens Boulevard and 70th Avenue, and take home a tree or two among 150 trees being offered. Adopters will then plant their tree outside a privately-owned house or building.

Forest Hills Tree Giveaway coordinator Michael Perlman stated, "A feeling of rejuvenation dominates as our trees and flowers are in bloom each spring, and the inspiration continues as the season passes into autumn. Accompanying the transition is a growing tradition in the heart of Forest Hills, known as the Forest Hills Tree Giveaway."

To make this event possible, Four Borough Neighborhood Preservation Alliance (4BNPA) is in partnership with New York Restoration Project (NYRP) and MillionTreesNYC, which is a PlaNYC initiative with NYC Parks and NYRP. Lead sponsors are Toyota and TD Bank.

The event will be 4BNPA’s fifth tree giveaway since June 2011, which will bring its donations up to 800 trees. Adopters can select from 4 varieties, which will consist of 50 Tulip Trees, 50 Sweetbay Magnolias, 25 Pagoda Dogwoods, and 25 Allegheny Serviceberry trees. This will add to the diversity of trees donated at earlier events, which include Black Gum, Pin Oak, Crape Myrtle, Dawn Redwood, Weeping Beech, Japanese Maple, Eastern Redbud, and Black Walnut. Even though most trees are planted locally at homes and buildings such as the Howard Apartments, Parker Towers, Park Manor, and the Park Embassy, some adopters grant new life to other boroughs.

NYRP began coordinating tree giveaways in 2008. As of 2011, 4BNPA had the mission of advocating for landmarks and curbing overdevelopment, but began realizing how restoring NYC’s tree canopy is a significant complement to the city’s architectural achievements. The organizations’ relationship then began.

Perlman stated, "Many community residents did not realize the benefits of trees, until century-old trees succumbed in seconds during the September 2010 macroburst, which was followed by Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Sandy. Trees enhance a community’s aesthetics, property values, and our environmental sustainability."

NYRP Community Initiatives Manager Mike Mitchell explained, “Trees clean our air and water, reducing run-off and filtering particulate matter from the air for generations. The value of a city’s urban forest will only increase as rainstorms become more severe and levels of particulate matter increase.”

As adopters plant trees, they also plant roots to stories which will unfold over generations and bond community residents. Some take photos alongside their tree and coordinate tree planting ceremonies, as in the case of residents of The Fontaine. At the Quality Gardens and Ruskin Gardens co-ops, volunteer residents spanning all ages planted trees, and documented their work on a new blog.

With hopes that each tree adopter will feel as if their tree is part of their extended family, volunteer Steve Goodman is designing tree adoption certificates, which will also educate the adopters. Trees will be named after historic sites such as the Trylon Theater, notable figures such as Helen Keller, and historic street names such as Roman Avenue. In addition to the 4BNPA, volunteers will be derived from Rego-Forest Preservation Council, Trylon Vet Care, Rego Park – Forest Hills Lions Club, Queens Boulevard Restoration Group, Queens Paideia School, and Aguilar Gardens. Forest Hills Jewish Center and Key Food will also play a role.

On October 13, those who wish to adopt a potted tree should line up earlier than 1 PM at MacDonald Park.

To reserve a tree and view photos and specifications, visit
“Like” Forest Hills Tree Giveaways on Facebook: ForestHillsTreeGiveaways

One Year After Sandy: Stories of Life and Death in a Superstorm

One year after Hurricane Sandy, New York City is still recovering from the most violent storm this area has ever seen.  In her new book based on Pulitzer Prize winning reporting, investigative journalist Sherri Fink tells the riveting story of life and death decisions in a hospital fighting for its life during Hurricane Katrina, the kinds of decisions that could well be required in future superstorms anywhere.  Sherri Fink will talk about the haunting, disturbing story she uncovered on Monday, October 21, at 1:30 p.m. at the Central Queens YM & YWHA.  The Central Queens Y is located at 67-09 108 Street in Forest Hills.  Sherri Fink’s talk is open to the public, with a $7 donation suggested.

Sheri Finks
Sheri Fink’s landmark investigation of a New Orleans hospital ravaged by Hurricane Katrina is based on a trial of a doctor accused of second degree murder for deaths of patients.  Her account draws the reader into the lives of the doctors and nurses who struggled to survive and to preserve life amidst chaos. 

After Katrina struck and the floodwaters rose, the power failed, and the heat climbed, exhausted caregivers chose to designate certain patients last for rescue. Months later, several health professionals faced criminal allegations that they deliberately injected numerous patients with drugs to hasten their deaths.

In her new book, Fink exposes the burden of agonizing ethical decisions made under duress and reveals just how ill-prepared we are in America for the impact of large-scale disasters—and how we can do better.  In addition to being a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Sheri Fink is also an M.D..  She has, herself, been a relief worker in disaster and combat zones, as well as working with humanitarian organizations on several continents.

More information about this event is available at 718 268-5011, ext. 151, or online at or at  (718) 268-5011 ext. 151, or

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Grill's New Sign

Sign has gone up for this new restaurant on Restaurant Row (70th Road)... I've seen them hard at work on the new place, so looks like it will be opening relatively soon.

Catch of the Day

I love featuring the different vendors from our fantastic Greenmarket here on the blog.  Here's some pics I took of Pura Vida Fisheries which features wild-caught fish and seafood from Suffolk County on nearby Long Island.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Bareburger Expands

A sign that our neighborhood is welcoming healthier, more upscale dining options. Congratulations to this innovative local chain of restaurants. Well-deserved!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Twist & Smash'd Menu

Excuse any formatting issues, don't have access to my Mac so not easy to post this week while away. But here's the new place's menu. Also, they tell me: Twist and Smash'd is going to be a quick serve burger restaurant.  You have the option to grab and go or sit and hang out inside or in our outdoor patio. Opens in November...
Chipotle Chicken Smash’d
Chicken smash’d on a bun or whole wheat wrap with chipotle mayonnaises and avocado and Cheddar Cheese
Garden Smash’d
Veggie Smash’d with caramelized onions avocado and mango salsa
Twist and Smash’d Combo:
Smash’d Burger, Twisted Potato and a drink
Southern BBQ Smash’d
Short Rib Smash’d, Pepper Jack Cheese, Roasted Red Pepper and Bacon
Classic Smash’d
Angus Beef Smash’d, Cheddar Cheese on a Toasted Bun
Double Smash’d Stack
Choose two Smash’d burgers on a classic potato bun a twisted potato and a drink
1 Choose a Burger:
Angus Beef Chicken Short Rib Veggie Add a patty
2 Bun or Wrap: Classic Potato Bun
Whole Wheat Wrap
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3 Topping:
Cheese (American, Jalapeno, Pepper Jack, Swiss, Cheddar, Sliced Mozzarella)
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Caramelized Onions Roasted Red Peppers
4 Premium Toppings
Fried Onions Pickles
Lettuce & Tomato
Twisted Potatoes
Organic Idaho Potato Japanese Sweet Potato
Smash’d Cakes
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Grilled Mushrooms Crushed Bacon Chiptole Mayo
Puff Dog
Sliced Avocado Mango Salsa
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All Beef Hebrew National Hot Dog wrapped in puff pastry and baked on a stick.
Chicken & Waffle Stick
Fried 100% ground chicken tender wrapped in a waffle served on a stick with
powered sugar and maple syrup.
Pipa’s Classic Mint Lemonade House Brewed Iced Tea Strawberry Lemonade
Mango Ice Tea Coffee Cappuccino
Hot Chocolate
A stack of fresh hot griddlecakes
with maple syrup
Egg Smash’d
Smash & scrambled eggs with
cheese on a toasted buttered bun.
BEC Smash’d
Smash & Scrambled eggs with bacon, cheese on a toasted buttered bun.
Truffle Popcorn Twist Chips
Smash’d Cookie Chocolate Chip Brownie
For information please call 718-937-6622 or visit our website