Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Forest Hills Tennis Pro-Am on August 28

Join us at the Inaugural MW Foundation Tennis Pro-Am benefiting debra of America at the legendary 100-year-old West Side Tennis Club in New York City.

WHEN: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 from 8:30AM - 2PM
WHERE:
West Side Tennis Club, 1 Tennis Place, Forest Hills, NY 11375
TO RSVP your spot on the courts, please click here

INCLUDES

Playing with Mats Wilander, Former #1 Tennis Player in the World & International Tennis Hall of Fame Member
Hitting with Former & Current Tennis Pros on 3 Court Surfaces
Instructional Clinics, Competition Drills & Round-Robins
Pro Meet-and-Greet
Viewing a Professional Exhibition Match
Continental Breakfast
Barbecue Lunch with Beer, Wine & Cocktails

NOTABLE PAST PLAYERS INCLUDE
Leslie Allen | James Blake | Thomas Blake | Jim Courier | Honorable David Dinkins | Will Ferrell | David Graham | Cameron Lickle | John McEnroe | Patrick McEnroe | Yannick Noah | Karel Novácek | Jared Palmer | Mikael Pernfors | Christy Turlington
RSVP-buttonSponsor-buttonDonate-button

For more information, visit debra.org/benefits or email casey@debra.org
Mats Wilander Pro-Am
ABOUT THE MW FOUNDATION
SAVE IT. SEND IT. SHARE IT.
are the ideals that the MW Foundation stands for, not only while on a tennis court but for everyday life. The foundation’s main purpose is to help raise awareness for the rare genetic connective tissue disorder, Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) — The Worst Disease You’ve Never Heard Of.™ Mats’ 15 year old son, Erik, inherited a mild form of this genetic disease. Mats has been instrumental in helping debra of America raise awareness and funds for research and the supportive services and programs.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

New Show "Hostages" Filming in Forest Hills

A reader sent in these shots of the filming of the new TV show "Hostages" yesterday around Queens Blvd/Jewel/Yellowstone/70th. The photos are of some of the trailers last night on Jewel and Yellowstone.

Here's some info about the show from Wikipedia:
Hostages is an upcoming American drama television series that is expected to air on CBS on Monday, September 23, 2013, as part of the 2013–14 American television season.[1][2][3] The series is based on a similar Israeli series created by Alon Aranya, Omri Givon, and Rotem Shamir, which was never produced.[4] Jeffrey Nachmanoff wrote the pilot episode for the American version. The series will premiere on September 23, 2013.[5]



Sunday, July 28, 2013

Aston Rising

If you didn't have a chance to look to the northern part of Forest Hills this weekend, then you might not have noticed the crane arrived for the neighborhood's latest luxury high rise, The Aston...




Thursday, July 25, 2013

Make Me a Salad!

... someone, please! I think we're overdue for a salad place like a Chop't or Just Salad. Don't you all think it's about time? Why is this so hard? Our neighborhood can definitely support one of these places now (God knows we have tons of frozen yogurt, the same type of consumer!) Ok, I dare one of you guys to open up here in Forest Hills! I dare ya!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Time Warner May Drop CBS Thursday

Sorry, but I find this whole thing laughable. I saw a commercial the other day from Time Warner trying to rile up viewers in its dispute with CBS. Time Warner is threatening to drop CBS here in NYC over some compensation dispute—who really gives a shit what it is, both companies have more money than God—and the commercial was trying to get viewers to support Time Warner, to understand why it may drop CBS, to get us to put pressure on CBS somehow for Time Warner. Poor, poor Time Warner! As if we don't have enough problems of our own, we're supposed to go to bat for them? Puhleease! They have got to be kidding.

Update: The current contract has been extended through 5 p.m. Monday.

More on Neighborhood Watch Program

A reader alerted me to this article which has more information on the local neighborhood watch program: Forest Hills Residents Start Online Neighborhood Watch Group

I do have to say that in all my years living in Forest Hills, I think the crime sprees that have been going on for the past few months are the worst I have ever seen in this area. Between the car break-ins, street muggings, house burglaries in the Gardens, and violent attacks/rapes, this is by far the worst I have ever seen it here. I don't know what is going on, but something is not right. It could have something to do with all the new attention the neighborhood has been getting thanks to the great new pubs and restaurants that have opened. That's the only new ingredient in the mix that I can see from my vantage point.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Street Crime in Forest Hills

A reader passed along a letter to me about a neighborhood watch being started in Forest Hills Gardens after a chilling robbery there late on Saturday, June 29th. Some of the language in the letter is a bit, how should I say, ahem, dated, as you'll see—I felt like it was written by someone circa 1970 and found it personally offensive at points—but anyway, here are some excerpts:


"We were walking each other home from having dinner on Austin Street. We all live within a 10 block radius or less from Austin Street, and have lived in the neighborhood for more than 17 years. Our children have grown up together. We get together three or four times a year to catch up and spend time together. We had dinner at the new restaurant, the Flying Pig.
"At about 11:20pm we left the restaurant. We walked another friend home to Yellowstone, and the three of us walked back via Austin Street, got onto 71st Continental and walked across Station Square, up Greenway Terrace and then turned onto the street, where one of the three of us lives. We were saying goodbye to each other, and out of nowhere, like magic…two Afro-American six foot males appeared on either side of the three of us! They each were pointing semiautomatic guns at us, and instructed us not to say a word and to turn over our bags. They took all our bags, my wedding band, my anniversary band and a necklace with a miraculous metal that I have been wearing since I was fifteen years old. One of the men just ripped it off my chest. As soon as we had handed everything over to them, the men disappeared in the same way they had first appeared….without a sign or warning. We were all in shocked and terrified. We went to a neighbor’s house and called the police.
"Our lives have never been the same since that night and never will again. I will never walk home again in the dark those 10 blocks from Austin Street. It doesn’t matter whether you are with a group of women or men. When faced with a gun….all opportunities to protect yourself fall by the wayside.
"We learned later that week that two more robberies had taken place after ours. On Wednesday, July 3rd at about midnight on 70th Avenue and Fleet Street a second gun-point robbery took place this time of a man. On July 2nd another man was robbed on 63rd Avenue and Alderton in Rego Park by two Afro-American women brandishing a knife.
"It is important for me to share all this with you because what these men took from the three of us….that was so valuable, more valuable than even my childhood miraculous metal, was our sense of Safety and Peace in our neighborhood. WE NOW, ALL HAVE LOST THAT. We need to be vigilant, more cautious. We need to watch out for each other and be alert to any strangers in our neighborhood. We need to share this information with each other and share it with the police. We need to add more street lights from Burns to Manse. We need more patrol cars in the area-especially at night. We need to consider placing video cameras outside our homes facing the streets. So that the criminals who are targeting our neighborhood know we are ALL watching.
"If you agree, please email me at foresthillswatch2013@gmail.com and let’s come together as community to protect our neighborhood, our homes, our families... and our right to walk home in the dark without fear our lives are in danger."


Personally, I don't know how in New York City you can be alert to "any strangers in our neighborhood," since just about every other person is a stranger. That's what's so great about living in New York City! But, whatever. I feel for this person. I've had my share of run-ins with nutjobs on the streets—nothing as bad as this thankfully—and experiences like these can leave you very shaken. So I can only imagine the suffering this caused this person. I hope they catch the perpetrators very soon, and in the meantime, be a little extra careful out there....

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Summer Storm

Some impressive lightning just to the south of Forest Hills tonight as the week-long heat wave came to an end...

video

Friday, July 19, 2013

Heat Wave Moon

Dreadfully hot, but the moon over Forest Hills tonight is quite beautiful...

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Something's Gotta Give?

Just wondering, now that there are finally a bunch of really good places to eat in central Forest Hills, I wonder if the countdown is on until some of those sad, legacy places that managed to survive until now due to virtually no competition start falling by the wayside?

The awesome shrimp salad in a pita I had at Banter for lunch yesterday. They're only charging $11 for it as one of their many delicious lunch specials. I'd pay twice as much for it personally, it's that good. (But shhh!, don't tell them!)


Here's their lunch special menu, or most of it anyway:


Join The Forest Park Runners












The Forest Park Runners are having 1 mile summer runs on July 18th and Jully 25th at Forest Park by Woodhaven Blvd and Forest Park Drive starting at 7p.m. 

Cost is only $3 per entry.

Find more information at www.forestparkrunners.org

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Yes, I Had Some Wings...

I took the plunge and tried some of them new Buffalo Wild Wings.

Well, let's see, I liked them, I mean REALLY liked them—for like the first 20 minutes. Quite tasty. And then, once the hunger subsided and my body came to terms with what I had just eaten, I realized I would not be back for quite a while. But then again, I'm no college student anymore! I have reached an age where I have to be concerned about, umm,: my weight, my blood sugar, my sodium intake, cholesterol, oh, heck, just about everything!

But, hey, if you happen to be of chicken wings-eating age (oh, say 21 and under), go get 'em, they sure are tasty! But for me, the way I look at it, Friday's, Applebee's, any of these huge restaurant chains, they're all pretty much the same. And really, for me, what's important is eating as healthy as possible. I think I'll stick with Banter and one of their scrumptious salads or sandwiches. Just had the shrimp in a pita for lunch today. Awesome!

Oh, and one other thing, they definitely picked the right location for Buffalo Wild Wings. That place was PACKED this afternoon, right around 5p.m., during a heat wave no less. Any other location in Forest Hills, like on Austin, and this place just would not fit in. But right next to the subway—it's a no-brainer. Smart!


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Queens Symphony Summer Concert


15th Annual Great Lawn  
Summer Concert  - Free!  
Featuring Verdi selections by:  
Queens Symphony Orchestra verdipic
Conducted by Music Director Constantine Kitsopoulos
Tuesday, July 30, 2013 - 7 p.m.
Saint John's University Great Lawn 
8000 Utopia Parkway, Queens, NY 11439
Rain or Shine 
Rain location: Marillac Auditorium

The Queens Symphony Orchestra also invites you to keep in mind our upcoming concert at the Forest Park Bandshell onAugust 4th.
Queens Symphony Orchestra remains dedicated to keeping our fantastic concerts free, so all people of Queens can enjoy the highest quality of entertainment available to them. In order to keep our concerts free, we rely on your donations. You can donate on our website by clicking here.
For more information, please contact the Queens Symphony Orchestra Office
by mail at:
Queens Symphony Orchestra
c/o Queens College
65-30 Kissena Boulevard
Flushing, NY 11367 
online at:
or by phone at:

Monday, July 15, 2013

Bastille Day at La Boulangerie

La Boulangerie celebrated Bastille Day yesterday the way it does every year — by cooking up some delicious crepes outside! Yeah, it was pretty hot, but the pretty long wait was worth it. These things were incredible!




Inside Buffalo Wild Wings

Don't know if the food is any good, but the place really is quite spectacular. Hard to believe this was that Staples! I didn't even know they had all this space up there. I guess a lot of the Staples must've been storage space that we never got to see.

Anyway, if you're in the mood to take a mini-trip to Atlantic City without leaving Forest Hills, then this is the place for you. I felt like I was in a freakin' Casino, it's that enormous! And this place must have a built-in following or something, 'cause when I went in there around 5 today it was already hopping!

Entrance/Take Out area




The Heat is On

Temps are expected to be in the mid-90s all week, actually feeling more like over 100 degrees because of the humidity. This will be one of the longest heat waves we've had in the city in quite some time. So this is a good week to take things slow - the frantic pace of city life doesn't jive well with temperatures more fitting for a sleepy town in the deep south.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Local Yoga Classes - BambooMoves


Check out the BambooMoves website for more information, or email them at bamboomovesnyc@gmail.com

Newest Recommended Restaurant: Banter Irish Bar and Kitchen

I don't like to add a restaurant to my Recommended Restaurants page until I'm convinced it really deserves to be there. And that usually comes after eating there several times. I can confidently say that my newest addition to the page, Banter Irish Bar and Kitchen, definitely deserves its place on that page.

It could be all the times I've spent having a delicious cold craft brew while sitting at one of their outdoor tables. Or it could be my complete and total surprise to find that the baby back ribs I ordered there were fabulous, not just decent. Or it could be the sensational Asian Chicken Salad I just recently had there for lunch, which once again, had me shaking my head: "Wow! So we finally have a great place to get just about anything right here smack in the center of our neighborhood! It took long enough!" Or maybe it's just the excellent, really friendly service.

Yes, Banter has surprised and delighted me time and time again. And, it has only gotten better and better since it opened several months ago. I'm thrilled to include it on my Recommended Area Restaurants page. Congratulations!

Cool off outside with a delicious brew like this Leinenkugel Summer Shandy.

Banter's rack of baby back ribs over mashed potatoes with some slaw. To die for!

It was this fantastic Asian Chicken Salad that put Banter over the top for me.

Banter's cheese fries, for those looking for a hearty snack.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Mumford & Sons Concert Poster

... also reveals that opening for them will be The Vaccines and Bear's Den....


Best Pizza in Forest Hills

In preparation for my "big reveal" tomorrow of the newest restaurant to make my famed Recommended Restaurants Page, I'm going to update a few lists, starting with my 5 Favorite Pizza Places in Forest Hills. Ready? Here ya go:

1) Tuscan Hills - I just had their margherita pizza again recently and all I can say is that it is a religious experience if there ever was one. In fact, it's the reason I thought of posting this list again. Once you have it, you just have to share the news! (That's a pretty common reaction to religious experiences I hear anyway.)

2) Nick's Pizza — Pepperoni Pizza specifically. But any of their brick oven-style pizzas are exceptional, but their pepperoni is truly a knock out, up there with the best of them anywhere.

3) A Tie! Gloria Pizza and Lillian — Curiously, the two female-named local pizzerias tie for 3rd, not sure how that happened. Anyway, both serve up exceptionally delicious traditional, New York-style pizza.

And finally, 5) Portofino — Sorry Portofino, you used to be higher on the list but have been forced down by a couple of amazing newcomers. But at least you're still fondly remembered at No. 5.

The winner by a mile: Tuscan Hills margherita pizza. The Best Pizza in Forest Hills!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Some Long Island City Real Estate News

Hey, I hate to lose you guys here in The Hills, but for those of you looking for a new domicile, or if you're just a NYC or Queens real estate buff, here's something for ya:


aptsandlofts.com has unveiled initial listings for Gantry Park Landing, the newest addition to Long Island City’s exciting waterfront from The Lightstone Group. Slated for August occupancy, potential renters can reserve preview appointments for the 119-unit boutique-style rental starting on July 12.

Homes at Gantry Park Landing, located at 50-01 Second St., are a mix of spacious studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom layouts. Prices begin at $1,875 for a studio, $2,450 for a one-bed, $3,250 for a two-bed, two-bath and $4,650 for a three-bed, three-bath home.

Here's some more information:

The Lightstone Group will officially launch leasing for Gantry Park Landing through aptsandlofts.com on July 12 with sneak preview appointments for reserve list renters. The stunning199-unit boutique property offers a sleek refined industrial aesthetic with carefully honed finishes and amenities that create an exclusive, intimate setting in one of New York City’s most dynamic and thriving neighborhoods.

“Our team has spent such a great amount of time scrutinizing every detail of this rental property − from the unique finishes and design aesthetic to the common areas and resident services – to ensure we’re offering the highest quality rental possible,” said David Lichtenstein, chairman and CEO of The Lightstone Group. “We look forward to introducing Gantry Park Landing to discerning renters seeking a finely tailored alternative to the large scale properties that are commonly found along the waterfront.”

Slated for occupancy in August, the 12-story Gantry Park Landing is a boutique-style luxury rental, located at 50-01 Second St., just steps from the widely acclaimed Gantry State Park on Long Island City’s waterfront. With a nod to Long Island City’s industrial past, Gantry Park Landing’s exterior presents a redefined industrial style with a concrete façade accented by large floor-to-ceiling double-paned windows with opaque glass accents.

“Gantry Park Landing is an amazing addition to Long Island City’s waterfront and is unique for providing some diversity in building type for the area. With just under 200 homes, Gantry Park Landing offers a more boutique setting that provides renters with a stronger sense of community and lifestyle,” said David Maundrell, founder and president of aptsandlofts.com. “Also, the building is only one and a half blocks from the subway at Vernon Jackson, which is an important deciding factor for today’s renters.”

Homes at Gantry Park Landing, crafted by the internationally renowned designer Mark Zeff, are a mix of spacious studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom layouts that range in size from 460 to 1,256 square feet. Prices begin at $1,875 for a studio, $2,450 for a one-bed, $3,250 for a two-bed, two-bath and $4,650 for a three-bed, three-bath home.

Apartments offer condominium style finishes and fixtures including central air conditioning, oak flooring, vented washers and dryers and many units with massive walk-in closets. Select homes also include private outdoor space.

Gantry Park Landing features custom imported Italian kitchen cabinetry of gray oak and white lacquer, white stone countertops, GE stainless steel appliances, glossy white tile backsplashes, and Kohler stainless steel under mounted sinks.

Sleek bathrooms include gray porcelain tile floors, custom built-in shower mirrors, custom gray vanities, accent tiles and Kohler bathtubs with American standard fixtures.

Gantry Park Landing offers residents a wide array of high-end amenities that are typically found in a more sizable development. Taking advantage of the stunning waterfront views, the building features a furnished roof deck with outdoor grill, dining area, sun deck, fireplace and views of the Manhattan skyline.
Additional amenities include a state-of-the-art gym with a separate yoga studio; resident lounge with TV area and work space; tenants club room; game room with Ping Pong, billiards, TV area and kitchenette; a second floor terrace with outdoor seating and pergola; a commercial quality laundry room; common interior courtyard; pet spa and bike storage.

For more information on Gantry Park Landing visit www.gantryparklanding.com

L.I.C. Summer Concert Series

Enjoy live music all summer long at Live at the Gantries

Kupferberg Center for the Arts has just announced its summer concert series, Live at the Gantries in Long Island City.

Live at the Gantries is a series of free, outdoor performances featuring a collection of Queens-based musicians as diverse as the borough. The 2013 Season features performances of jazz standards, big band sounds, Brazilian Farro, Middle Eastern fusion, world music, and Irish flutes and whistles!
Live at the Gantries begins on July 9 and continues every Tuesday through August 13. Each show starts at 7:00 PM and ends with a spectacular sunset at Gantry Plaza State Park, a 10-acre waterfront oasis between 49th and 50th Avenues along the East River.

The Live at the Gantries 2013 Season Features Performances By

John Yao & His 17-piece Instrument // July 9, 2013
Brasil Live // July 16, 2013
Jonny Meyers & The Trio // July 23, 2013
Tony Demarco and Christel Rice with Siobhan Butler // July 30, 2013
Dahdoo Middle Eastern Ensemble // August 6, 2013
Gerardo Contino y Los Habaneros // August 13, 2013

Live at the Gantries is free and open to the public.
Subway: 7train to Vernon/Jackson (first stop in Queens). Walk west toward the river on 50th Avenue.
Ferry: East River Ferry to Hunters’ Point. Walk north on 2nd Street.

New York Magazine Loves La Boulangerie

I forget which reader mentioned this a few weeks ago (Susan, I think?) , but I've been wanting to track it down for a while now, and now I have...

From NYMag.com:

The Greatest Thing Since …


La Boulangerie’s Baguette

"Since its July opening, his modest shop has been like Macy’s on Black Friday. What’s all the fuss about? Croissants, pains au chocolat, naturally leavened boules, but most of all Danielo’s classic baguettes."



Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Flying High

The Buffalo Wild Wings sign is, anyway... Here are a couple of shots of their new sign on what used to be the Forest Hills Theater. I wonder how many people walking along 71st Continental Ave. these days even realize that this building, which now houses a Duane Reade and the soon-to-open Buffalo Wild Wings chain restaurant, used to be a grand old movie house?

In any case, the new Buffalo Wild Wings sign is quite a bit of overkill if you ask me. It's sad enough that this beautiful theater (see photo below, courtesy of the website Cinema Treasures) had to close its doors years ago and become a drugstore, Staples and now a chain restaurant, but does its beautiful historical facade have to be defaced by such loud signage? I'm all for new businesses opening here, don't get me wrong—as long as they respect the character of the neighborhood. Maybe I could understand signs like these way up high if the building had exposure to Queens Blvd, where many people could notice it. But this new sign can only be seen from across the street...



See more photos of the old theater at this Rego-Forest Preservation Council photoset site.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Today at the Forest Hills Greenmarket

If you are brave enough to weather the horrible heat and humidity out there today, here's a little update on what's available at our Greenmarket today. The toll the weather is taking was apparent, by the way: there was no live music today. Also, Ronnybrook Dairy had only a limited amount of stuff on sale because of the heat.

But, on a positive note, the Summer Fruits are finally here!

Our Greenmarket is open until 3 p.m. today, but I wouldn't be surprised if the vendors close up shop a bit early...