Friday, February 27, 2015

Live Long and Prosper Mr. Spock

I am so sad to hear about the passing of Leonard Nimoy, such a part of my childhood and a hero of mine throughout my life, not only because of his iconic character, but because of how he lived his own life. In recent years, as he struggled with COPD, he tried his hardest to get the message out about the dangers of smoking.  An actor who embodied intellect, and a truly great man who will be missed.

Live long and prosper Mr. Spock ...

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

OvoSodo Bistro Hosts A Night With Windsor

Forest Hills' Ovo Sodo Bistro will be hosting an event for The Windsor School on Thursday, March 26 from 6-9:00pm.  The school, located in Flushing, will have an art gallery set up displaying pieces of art work from its Advanced Placement (AP) Studio and Portfolio Art students.  In addition to having art on display, the School will be answering parents’ questions regarding its Summer School and will be accepting registrations.  A $50 per class discount will be given for those registering at the event.  Ovo Sodo Bistro will be providing hors d’oeuvres and beverages throughout the event.  

The Windsor School is a private middle and high school which opened in 1969.  The school enrolls both local and international students, in grades 7-12, during the regular school year.  What makes the school unique is it offers small class size, many Advanced Placement (AP) classes and a one-hundred percent graduation rate with students being accepted to top American colleges and universities. 

The Windsor School competes annually in the NYS Mathematics League Competition and has finished either first or second overall amongst over one hundred seventy-five participating high schools. 

What makes The Windsor School truly special is its acclaimed art department.  It offers a unique approach to the arts. Its students all receive individual attention from its talented director, Ms. Melissa Vassallo and work in a modern, professional and superbly equipped studio.  Students work in a variety of mediums and are encouraged to explore new techniques.  The Windsor School has a significant number of talented artists who participate in Required Art, Portfolio Art, AP Studio Art, Art Club and Yearbook.

Each summer, The Windsor School runs a highly successful Summer School for students in grades 7-12.  Most of its Summer School students reside in Suffolk County, Nassau County, and Queens.  Students attend the program to advance for credit, enrich in various subject areas or to improve a failing grade.  Students can take up to four classes for credit and can advance in two subject areas during our six-week program.  Credit earned from the Summer School is accepted by all public and private schools.  In addition, they offer PSAT/SAT Test Preparation classes in Critical Reading, Writing, and Math to prepare students for the SAT Test in the fall.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

What's up with the Midway Theater?

Anyone know what's going on with the Midway?
First, the marquee hasn't been updated in days, and today we've noticed the entire theater seems to be closed with Fandango not even listing any showtimes for the rest of the day! There have been rumors and concerns circulating for a while now that a new owner of the property possibly had plans to close it to build a new condo on the site. I personally would be really disappointed if this was the case and it's suddenly closed. it's one of the best things about our neighborhood!

Update: Readers are posting on the Blog's Facebook page that they heard a pipe at the theater had burst and they are trying to reopen for the 7 p.m. shows tonight..

The Midway Theater last weekend - it's marquee hadn't been updated in days.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Signing & Presentation at Barnes & Noble To Launch New Book on Forest Hills & Rego Park Notables

Local author Michael Perlman
Introducing "Legendary Locals of Forest Hills and Rego Park," a new 128-page book written by native Forest Hills resident and preservationist Michael H. Perlman and published by Arcadia Publishing. On March 6, 2015 at 7 PM, Perlman will conduct a book signing, presentation, and question and answer session at Barnes & Noble at 70-00 Austin Street in Forest Hills. Readers will discover the unique stories of over 200 Forest Hills and Rego Park notables including celebrities, who have shaped its culture and history, and may have impacted society. 

My book features an array of quotes from notables including celebrities, as well as descendants of notables, which grants an eternal presence to their voice,” said Perlman. “The average individual that I encounter is unaware of the heavily concentrated quantity of celebrities whose lives were influenced as a result of living or working in Forest Hills or Rego Park, where its historic surroundings are a breeding ground for culture, the arts, and various trades.”  

A diverse showcase will offer insight on musicians, actors, artists, sports figures, politicians, farmers, architects, developers, inventors, philanthropists, and longtime business owners. Wherever possible, home addresses are featured. Notables include Jerry Springer (wrote the book’s foreword), Helen Keller, Carol Channing, Ray Romano, Burt Bacharach, Stevie Wonder, Sid Caesar, Carroll O’Connor, Donna Karan, Geraldine Ferraro, Grosvenor Atterbury and Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr, Philip Birnbaum, Ascan Backus, Walter Dorwin Teague, Simon & Garfunkel, the Ramones, Dale Carnegie, Malthe Hasselriis, sisters Gypsy Rose Lee and June Havoc, Dennis Tito, Bob Keeshan (“Captain Kangaroo”), John Beltzer, Doug Leblang, and Michael Chaut.     

 Also featured are several community destinations, which are associated with the appearances of notables. Some “landmarks” are the Forest Hills Gardens, Forest Hills Tennis Stadium, the Midway and Trylon theatres, Eddie’s Sweet Shop, Knish Nosh, Ben’s Best Delicatessen, and the former Fairyland Amusement Park, Hamburger Train, and Boulevard Tavern and Stratton entertainment venues.  

Michael H. Perlman is a writer, news columnist, editor, and public relations consultant. He is chairman of Rego-Forest Preservation Council and a recipient of the Historic District Council's 2014 Grassroots Preservation Award. His pursuits range from singing in Carnegie Hall to photography, graphic design, and tree giveaway events.

Perlman stated, “I hope my readers will explore the historic neighborhoods of Forest Hills (1906) and Rego Park (1923), as well as acquire an interest in their neighborhood’s history. I envision a greater audience feeling inspired by the accomplishments of their past and present neighbors to become notables on either a personal level or in their community or society.” 

For more information, visit and “Like” his Facebook page or the Barnes and Noble events page  

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Girls Does Not Like Forest Hills

Not sure how many readers noticed in this past Sunday's episode of the HBO show Girls, but they finally realized there's more to the city than Brooklyn, mentioning Forest Hils specifically — only then to trash talk it. Thanks Shoshanna!

The horrifying incident occurred when Ray asks Shosh to accompany him to a "department store" in Forest Hills —whaaaaaa? since when do we have department stores here? — where he goes to buy his underwear.

"Wait, why are we going to Forest Hills?' Shoshanna asks, her face squinting in obvious pain at the thought of leaving Brooklyn to venture to that most un-hip of neighborhoods.

"I get my boxers and my t-shirts at a specific department store, and that's where it's located," Ray replies.

"That's literally the saddest thing I ever heard in my life," is her reply. ... "No, I'm putting my foot down, we are not going to Forest Hills."

A little later in the episode, just to dig it in a bit more, Shosh reminds Ray: "Friends do not let other friends buy underwear in Forest Hills."

So, I'm assuming Lena Dunham, the show's creator, had to think up the most un-hip nearby nabe that these two characters could get to from Brooklyn, and what did she think of?

Of course, Ms. Dunham is probably not all that up on the big changes that have been taking place in our 'hood. But to be fair, things are happening so fast here that our neighborhood still does widely have that Old Grannie reputation where it would be decidedly un-hip for a young Brooklynite to come to get some underwear—even if we did have department stores here.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Bonfire Grill Closes

Weeks after I first heard the rumors that this was coming, I can confirm tonight that the Bonfire Grill restaurant and bar on Austin St. has indeed closed. It's a little sad. After all, Bonfire was one of the first of the wave of new restaurants and bars that have transformed Forest Hills from a neighborhood sorely lacking great, New York City-quality restaurants, into one that has now begun to overflow with them.

In the past couple of years, I rarely went back to Bonfire. I never thought their food was that great to begin with, and then, when Bareburger, Banter, Station House and all the other new places started to open, I had less and less reason to go back to Bonfire.

But when Bonfire Grill opened on Austin Street a few years ago, it was the first hint that the neighborhood was starting to change. For that, it will always hold a special place in this blogger's heart.  

My interest now turns to what will happen to this space. The Uncle Louie G's ices space next to it has been left empty for months. Makes me wonder if the landlord has sold the two spaces to someone who will combine the two and open something interesting there?

Bonfire Grill on Austin was dark tonight, after it closed its doors Sunday

Monday, February 9, 2015

Ed Sheeran to Play Forest Hills Stadium

May 28 and 29th... An awesome way to kick off  Summer 2015! More info: Forest Hills Stadium

Bareburger's New Menu

One of my favorite local restaurants, Bareburger, gave its menu a makeover a couple of weeks ago. I've included it below. So far, I've tried what they call the "Guapo Chop" salad and really liked it. I guess it takes the place of their former Mexican-inspired salad, which always kinda fell short in the Mexican department. This one comes with a nice scoop of guac and tortilla chips and just tasted great. Pic's below. Happy eating my friends!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Apple Store Coming to Queens Center Mall

It marks Apple's first store in Queens, and the company reportedly says it will be the biggest store in a New York mall...

The news was reported today on the 9to5Mac blog:

First Apple Store coming to Queens as new Brooklyn & Manhattan stores running behind
The first Apple Store for Queens will be located in the Queens Center Mall on the second floor. One source says this store will be the largest Apple retail outlet located in a New York mall to date, and Apple is expecting revenues for this store to even beat out some of its flagship counterparts located elsewhere in the state. The store is under construction and is expected to open later in 2015, but an official announcement may come sooner…

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Baskin-Robbins Returns to Ascan

A couple of years after the Baskin-Robbins on Ascan closed and that space was absorbed into a bigger Natural store, the ice cream chain has hopped across the corner, reopening inside the new Dunkin' Donuts, in what is certainly a sweet surprise.

If we had to have a Dunkin' Donuts there, at least we have some ice cream again. Will come in handy this summer...

Speaking of the new Ascan Dunkin' Donuts, I received this email from a reader about its recent opening. I encourage everyone to either email me or post their thoughts on the blog or the blog's Facebook Page about whatever is on your mind:

Hi Drake -
The comments about this new opening have been largely negative, and I think it deserves a fresh look.
Like it or not, chains are part of the retail landscape. Today's business climate, especially when food is involved it is hard, to say the least on entrepreneurs. And understandably, landlords want reliable tenants.
That said the most productive way to encourage independent establishments is to patronize those that do open, and to lean on the Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce to encourage and support their addition to the neighborhood. I am no fan of the Chamber, because I think the do a poor all 'round job, but they are the organization to task. Wishing just doesn't make it so.
Back to DD ... here is what I see as the positives: Nice layout with plenty of window seating. BR offers ice cream option, including cakes. You don't have to schlep to Metropolitan for same. Eddie's is in a different category! DD is open early and late. That is convenient to those living on that end of Austin, AND big plus here, it provides a measure of security. A clean well lit space is a good thing on a quiet dark street. Last, it opened and Bonelle stayed open. Everybody wins. While it may not be the indie of some dreams, it brings it's own positive attributes, which certainly is a step up from the previous tenant. I think on a whole, it's an improvement.

La Boulangerie Super Bowl Menu

Queens Boulevard Cleaned Up

Just a day after myself and some others took to Twitter to complain about the fact that after last week's storm they were plowing the way for cars on Queens Blvd., but not for pedestrians, someone seemed to have gotten the message. Thanks for the cleanup and keep up the good work!