Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Shake Shack to Open at Queens Center Mall

They're getting closer! Yes, Shake Shack will be opening at the Queens Center Mall. Not optimal, but I'll take it! Joy! They've already had locations in Queens, but at irritatingly beyond-Queens focused spots, like Kennedy Airport and Citi Field. This one's just for us, kinda. Whatevs. It's awesome.

Friday, June 26, 2015


I usually save this to this Sunday, but given today's developments, what the heck! Congrats!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

More on The New York Pops Summer Home in Forest Hills

 By Damien Bosco

Last week we helped announce the decision by The New York Pops to make Forest Hills Stadium its new summer home. Some readers had some questions about what this exactly means and how it all came to pass.

The Pops had been looking for years for the right outdoor venue for its summer concerts and found it right here in Forest Hills. This year they plan to have two concerts in August: with Sutton Foster on August 6, 2015 and with Pink Martini on August 7, 2015. The Pops hopes to have at least three concerts each summer starting next year.

As part of its outreach program called Kids in the Balcony, the Pops will offer free tickets to 2,000 children so they can learn and enjoy the music.

At the Launch Event last Thursday (pictured below), a representative of PS 175 expressed gratitude to Deborah Dillingham, the Queens representative on the NYC Panel for Education Policy; Anne M. Swanson,  executor director of The New York Pops; Roland Meier, president of the West Side Tennis Club and Steven Reineke, the Pops Music Director. Frank Gullucio, district manager of Community Board 6, was also there to lend his support.

Overall, tickets are to range from $10 - $129. So get your tickets! We will have further updates as time goes by.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Let's Party!

So this is what's going in where Laytner's used to be... I guess some competition for that ramshackle party store over near Queens Blvd. that has been there since the earth cooled. (I actually like that store, it's quite an interesting experience, in a legacy Forest Hills sort of way.)

I guess I could have entitled this post "Battle of the Party Stores!" But that would be too CNNish...

D'Angelo Concert Pics

Thanks to Kevin for sending these in of this past Sundays concert. Still looking for some Van Morrison concert pics! If anyone has any, email them to edgeofthecity@gmail.com

New Aston Ad

Noticed that they've now put a poster for the building on the building itself as well...

Friday, June 19, 2015

Van Morrison at The Stadium Tonight

I'll be posting readers' pics of tonight's concert all weekend. If you take any, email them to edgeofthecity@gmail.com

By the way, here's a cool pic of The Who concert taken from the band's website.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Today's New York Pops Event at Forest Hills Stadium

Officials gathered at the Forest Hills Stadium today to announce that the venue is the new summer home of The New York Pops. Those in attendance included Steven Reineke, The New York Pops Music Director; Anne M. Swanson, Executive Director of NY Pops; Roland Meier, President of the West Side Tennis Club and Deborah Dillingham, Queens Representative for NYC Department of Education.

We'll have more information about today's event, and continuing coverage of The Pops in the coming days. (Photos by Damien Bosco)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Nick's Bistro's New Outdoor Seating

Metropolitan Avenue now has a nice new spot to dine outside. Greek restaurant Nick's Bistro, at the corner of 72nd Ave., has added this nice new outdoor seating area:

Forest Hills Stadium Poster

I finally got my hands on one of these cool posters that I've been seeing all over the neighborhood. I've been wanting to share it with you guys!

Inside Former Laytner's Space

Thanks to Susan for sending this photo to me on the Blog's Facebook Page. The mystery is apparently solved. As anyone who has been reading this blog for a long time knows, I like to reserve judgement on things until I have all the facts. And I still don't. Just this pic and tips from readers that I included in the last post. Needless to say, my policy for this Blog stands. If I don't personally approve of a local business, if I feel it is a step in the wrong direction for our neighborhood, I simply cease covering them on this Blog. I personally never badmouth a business whose proprietors are struggling to make a go of things. Life is already too difficult for all of us and I will never do that. I think we all, as residents of Forest Hills, know what we want to open here, and what we don't. So I let things just take care of themselves, with my only assist being plenty of coverage for businesses I love in Forest Hills.

The New York Pops Announces New Summer Home at Forest Hills Stadium


The New York Pops with Sutton Foster – August 6, 2015

The New York Pops with Pink Martini – August 7, 2015


The New York Pops is proud to announce its inaugural season at its new summer homeForest Hills Stadium, in Queens, NY. The orchestra will establish a summer series at the open-air venue and will offer affordable, fun concerts as well as an expansion of its Kids in the Balcony program, offering over 1,000 children an opportunity to learn about and enjoy live music for free.

“I am thrilled to announce The New York Pops’ inaugural season at its official summer home, Forest Hills Stadium,” said Executive Director Anne M. Swanson. “We are tremendously excited to be embarking on this new venture in such a fantastic, historic venue. I cannot imagine a more wonderful summer home for The New York Pops.”

On the heels of her sold-out Carnegie Hall solo debut with the orchestra, Sutton Foster will join
The New York Pops on 
August 6 at the legendary stadium, led by Music Director and Conductor Steven Reineke, in an evening of Broadway standards and some of her favorite tunes. The following night, on August 7Pink Martini returns to New York City to join the orchestra in a night of eclectic and fun music under the stars, spanning many genres, languages and styles.

“I’m beyond delighted that The New York Pops will perform at Forest Hills Stadium this summer,” said Music Director and Conductor Steven Reineke. “We have a great orchestra, with 78 amazing musicians, and we have so many loyal fans. We’re selling out our Carnegie Hall concerts, so I’m thrilled that we’ll be able to share our music with a larger audience in such a legendary venue this summer and for many more summers to come. In addition, I’m so pleased that we will share the stage with our talented guest artists, Sutton Foster and Pink Martini! This new concert series will give us the opportunity to grow and expand in ways that we have always dreamed, and I know everybody in the stadium will have a great time.”

Kids in the Balcony is a concert-going experience that provides tickets to 100 students for each New York Pops subscription concert at Carnegie Hall. PopsEd Teaching Artists conduct pre-concert and post-concert visits to teach students about the orchestra and connect content of the particular performance to general elements of musical knowledge. Over 1,400 students attend New York Pops concerts at Carnegie Hall each season. With the addition of a 1,000-student Kids in the Balcony program at Forest Hills Stadium, The New York Pops will reach over 50% more students.

Forest Hills Stadium events have been made possible through a partnership with the local community, with a focus on making concerts an experience to be enjoyed by all New Yorkers. Dedicated entrance and exits have been constructed to manage audience flow and a sound mitigation project is underway which is designed to lower the overall noise levels around the stadium during concerts. The stadium is conveniently located feet from the E, M, F, and R subway trains as well as the Long Island Rail Road, and concert-goers are strongly encouraged to utilize public transportation as there is no parking available at the stadium or in the surrounding community.

Tickets are on sale through Ticketfly at www.foresthillsstadium.com and range from $10 to $129. 

THE NEW YORK POPS is the largest independent pops orchestra in the United States, and the only professional symphonic orchestra in New York City specializing in popular music. Under the leadership of dynamic Music Director and Conductor Steven Reineke, The New York Pops continues to re-imagine orchestral pops music. The orchestra performs an annual subscription series and birthday gala at Carnegie Hall. The New York Pops is dedicated to lifelong learning, and collaborates with public schools, community organizations, children’s hospitals and senior centers throughout the five boroughs of New York City. PopsEd allows thousands of New Yorkers of all ages and backgrounds to participate in fully customizable music programs that blend traditional education with pure fun. Visit www.newyorkpops.org for more information. Follow The New York Pops on Facebook (facebook.com/newyorkpops), Instagram (@thenewyorkpops), and Twitter (@newyorkpops).

STEVEN REINEKE is the Music Director and Conductor of The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall, Principal Pops Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Principal Pops Conductor of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and Principal Pops Conductor Designate of the Houston Symphony, beginning in the 2017-2018 season. Mr. Reineke is a frequent guest conductor with The Philadelphia Orchestra and has been on the podium with the Boston Pops, The Cleveland Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Ravinia. His extensive North American conducting appearances include San Francisco, Houston, Seattle, Edmonton and Pittsburgh.

Sutton Foster is an award-winning actor, singer and dancer who has performed in 11 Broadway shows - most recently the revival of Violet - and originated roles in the Broadway productions of The Drowsy ChaperoneLittle WomenYoung FrankensteinShrek The Musical, and her Tony Award-winning performances in Anything Goes and Thoroughly Modern Millie.  She was first seen on television on Star Search at age 15, and has more recently appeared in BunheadsPsychJohnny and the SpritesFlight of the ConchordsSesame StreetLaw and Order SVU and Royal Pains.  As a solo artist, Sutton has performed all over the country as well as internationally with her musical director Michael Rafter… featuring songs from her debut solo CD Wish as well as her follow up CD, An Evening With Sutton Foster: Live at the Café Carlyle. She has graced the stages of Carnegie Hall, Feinstein's, Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series, Joe’s Pub and many others. In 2011 she received an Honorary Doctorate degree from Ball State University where she also is on faculty as a teacher and advisor to the Department of Theatre and Dance. Sutton is currently starring in TVLand’s new series, Younger created by Darren Star.

In 1994 in his hometown of Portland, Oregon, Thomas Lauderdale founded the “little orchestra” Pink Martini to provide more beautiful and inclusive musical soundtracks for political fundraisers for causes such as civil rights, affordable housing, the environment, libraries, public broadcasting, education and parks. One year later, Lauderdale called China Forbes, a Harvard classmate who was living in New York City, and asked her to join Pink Martini. Their first song “Sympathique” became an overnight sensation in France, was nominated for “Song of the Year” at France’s Victoires de la Musique Awards, and to this day remains a mantra (“Je ne veux pas travailler” or “I don’t want to work”) for striking French workers.  Says Lauderdale, “We’re very much an American band, but we spend a lot of time abroad and therefore have the incredible diplomatic opportunity to represent a broader, more inclusive America… the America which remains the most heterogeneously populated country in the world… composed of people of every country, every language, every religion.” Featuring a dozen musicians, Pink Martini performs its multilingual repertoire on concert stages and with symphony orchestras throughout Europe, Asia, Greece, Turkey, the Middle East, Northern Africa, Australia, New Zealand, South America and North America. Pink Martini made its European debut at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997 and its orchestral debut with the Oregon Symphony in 1998 under the direction of Norman Leyden. Since then, the band has gone on to play with more than 50 orchestras around the world, including multiple engagements with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, the Boston Pops, the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center, the San Francisco Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the BBC Concert Orchestra at Royal Albert Hall in London. Other appearances include the grand opening of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall, with return sold-out engagements for New Year’s Eve 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2011; four sold-out concerts at Carnegie Hall; the opening party of the remodeled Museum of Modern Art in New York City; the Governor’s Ball at the 80th Annual Academy Awards in 2008; the opening of the 2008 Sydney Festival in Australia; multiple sold-out appearances, and a festival opening, at the Montreal Jazz Festival, two sold-out concerts at Paris’ legendary L’Olympia Theatre in 2011; and Paris’ fashion house Lanvin’s 10-year anniversary celebration for designer Alber Elbaz in 2012. In its twentieth year, Pink Martini was inducted into both the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame and the Oregon Music Hall of Fame.

From Billie Jean King to The Beatles, Jimmy Connors to Jimi Hendrix, Chris Evert to The Rolling Stones, for decades the stadium at the West Side Tennis Club was not only host of the U.S. Open, it was also a renowned music venue, tucked into a leafy neighborhood of stately homes in Queens' Forest Hills neighborhood. However, when the U.S. Open moved to larger space in Flushing, Queens in 1977, the architecturally stunning, horseshoe-shaped Forest Hills Stadium fell into disrepair and its days as a music venue faded. In 2013, concert promoters partnered with the West Side Tennis Club to rehabilitate the stadium and bring events back to this storied venue.
Forest Hills Stadium reopened in August 2013 with an inaugural performance by Mumford & Sons on their “Full English” tour. The concert, the first in the stadium in over 15 years, brought music fans from all over the world to Forest Hills, Queens to experience live music in a truly unique environment. The 2014 concert season featured performances by Zac Brown Band, Drake, Lil Wayne, Brand New, Modest Mouse, The Replacements and Phil Lesh. Following its reopening, the stadium underwent a restoration, including a number of renovations and improvements. These included ticketed seating in the upper bowl, improved ADA seating options, widened aisles and handrail installation as well as a new concourse plan featuring easier access to food, beverage and other facilities. Ticketing was improved through a new, fan-friendly reserved ticketing system provided by Ticketfly.
The New York Pops is a not-for-profit corporation supported solely through the generosity of individual donations, institutional grants, and concert income. Dates, artists, and programs are subject to change.

What I'm Hearing About Former Laytner's Space

Well, let's see. I've heard it's either going to be a place selling pottery/home wares, or one selling party supplies, cell phone covers, and the like. That's quite a difference. So I guess we'll just have to wait and see which of my sources is correct! Of course, I'm hoping for the pottery version. Remember that pathetic little tchotchke place that opened near there a couple of years ago? What an epic fail that was! It closed after like 6 months. What were they thinking? I only hope we're not about to see just a larger version of that nonsense in this space....

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Forest Hills' Gay Bar To Close

A reader sent me this from Pride Lounge's Facebook Page:
My good friends it has been a great journey I want to thank everyone for being great friends supporters to Pride lounge and me; I have really had a great experience and crazy parties, the LBGT community has been so great, thank you for supported me as a straight business man but unfortunately the spending and the register doesn't reach my goals so come and celebrate the last few days of Pride lounge; starting July 1 I am Changing the identity

Forest Hills Street Fair Pics

If you have any others you want me to post, email them to edgeofthecity@gmail.com

Noticeable at today's "Forest Hills Festival of the Arts," as they call it, was the participation of a large—and ever-growing—number of local bars and restaurants, and a much more interesting mix of vendors than what we used to see at these NYC street fairs. I had a couple of amazing empanadas, for instance, and have this very delicious looking high-end chocolate with sea salt doughnut awaiting me in my fridge. And the freshly-made strawberry lemonade wasn't so bad either...

Dare I say it? The Forest Hills Austin Street Fair is emerging as an event that I might actually just look forward to in the future. Does anyone know when the next one will be held?

Station House had a pop-up "beer garden"

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Strawberry on Austin Closing

 Yes, that mammoth, two-level store on Austin St. will be vacated soon... Prime retail location opening up! (And this might be the first and last time I write anything about Strawberry, whatever it is, was..etc...)

Red Pipe's June Events

The guys over at Red Pipe on Austin just tweeted their June events. I had been meaning to post this for May and forgot, so I'm making up for that right now!

Metropolitan Ave. Sizzler Closing

8:00 p.m. update: This has been confirmed. Thanks to Robert for the photos.

A reader told me that the Sizzler on Metropolitan Ave. is supposedly closing. If I recall, it is one of the last remaining Sizzler's in the Northeast, if not the last one.

I have to admit, I've been to the Forest Hills Sizzler once, many a year ago. We went more out of curiosity than anything. And I never went back.

But this particular Sizzler really gained notoriety back in July of 2011 when it was sued by a gay woman who claimed she was attacked by the store's manager and some patrons. How nice. Here's my post from back then: Do The Metropolitan Avenue Time Warp...

Thankfully, Metropolitan Ave. seems to have changed a lot since I wrote that post. But that part of Forest Hills—with its small-town feel that often feels straight out of central casting from the year 1959—still does mark a distinct contrast from the hustle and bustle around Queens Blvd. to the north.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

SummerStage Expanding in Queens This Year

The famed free performing arts festival, SummerStage opens its 30th anniversary season in Queens on June 7! For this special season, SummerStage will be expanding its city wide programming to include 6-day “mini-festivals” in 8 citywide parks. SummerStage will have performances in 3 parks in Queens including Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City and Queensbridge Park in Queensbridge. 

Here's all the info, along with the first event this weekend:

City Parks Foundation Presents
Presented by Capital One Bank
FREE Music, Dance, Family, Film and Theater Programs in Queens

Season runs June 7 – July 19

In June of 1986 Sun Ra and the Omniverse Jet Set Arkestra performed a free concert in the Naumberg Bandshell in Central Park, and the summer music landscape in New York City changed forever. Today, nearly 30 years later, SummerStage is New York City’s largest free performing arts festival, presenting work in all performing arts disciplines, with a focus on New York’s unique neighborhoods. SummerStage has touched the lives of more than six million fans from around the world. In celebration of this milestone, City Parks Foundation, the independent nonprofit organization that produces the festival, plans to deepen the impact the festival has in neighborhoods throughout New York City. The 2015 season will feature more shows in Central Park and 15% growth in the number of performances offered in neighborhood parks around the city, creating 6-day "mini-festivals" in 8 parks, featuring music, dance, theater, film, circus and family days. In total this new model will add over 20 performances to the sixteen parks SummerStage presents in, bringing more than 200 unique artists to these stages and over 140 shows around the city.

In Queens, the festival will offer show dates in three parks spanning the borough including Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City and Queensbridge Park in Queensbridge.

“As an organization we are dedicated to working in traditionally underserved neighborhoods across the city,” said Heather Lubov, Executive Director of City Parks Foundation. “By presenting artists and genres that reflect the cultures and communities in these parks, introducing disciplines such as dance or theater alongside musical performances, and providing all of this fantastic art free of charge, we are building new audiences and fostering a broader interest in the arts here in New York City.”

“SummerStage is the festival that truly celebrates New York City,” said Director of Arts & Cultural Programs for City Parks Foundation, Ian Noble. “From the iconic to the avant garde, from opera to hip-hop, film to circus, there is no other festival like it. Not only do we select our artists to reflect the nature of each neighborhood, but each park and audience becomes part of the adventure and charm of each and every show.”

“Capital One Bank is proud to support SummerStage as it showcases the diversity and artistic vitality of New York,” said Michael Slocum, President, Commercial Banking and Northeast Regional President, Capital One. “The arts play an important role in building strong, healthy communities, and we are pleased to help the festival reach new audiences across the city.”

For the most up-to-date scheduling and line-up for all SummerStage programming,  visit www.SummerStage.org for festival information.

Sunday, June 7 World’s Fair Anniversary Festival: Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires / Hollis Brown / Damien Escobar 
Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, QU 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Other artists appreciate their audiences, just as many are grateful for them, but few artists love their fans as much and as sincerely as Charles Bradley. By now, his remarkable, against-all-odds rise has been well-documented – how he transcended a bleak life on the streets and struggled through a series of ill-fitting jobs – most famously as a James Brown impersonator at Brooklyn clubs – before finally being discovered by Daptone's Gabe Roth. The year following the release of his debut, No Time For Dreaming, was one triumph after another: a stunning performance at South By Southwest that earned unanimous raves; similarly-gripping appearances at Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, Newport Folk Festival and Outside Lands (to name just a few); and spots on Year-End Best Lists from Rolling Stone, MOJO, GQ, Pasteand more. Victim of Love, Bradley's second record, is a continuation of that story, moving past the 'heartache and pain' and closer to the promise of hope.

Hollis Brown is a self-defined American Rock ‘n’ Roll band. Named after a Bob Dylan song (“The Ballad of Hollis Brown”), the band was formed by Queens-natives and songwriters Mike Montali (lead vocals/guitar) and Jonathan Bonilla (lead guitar). Both 2nd-generation immigrants (Italian-American and Puerto Rican-American, respectively), they soon found their musical brethren in the Mid-West, recruiting Dillon Devito (bass/vocals) and Andrew Zehnal (drums) from Ohio, and Adam Bock (keyboard/vocals) from Missouri. Hollis Brown made a significant splash as an independent band with the release of their debut album “Ride On The Train” on Alive Naturalsound in 2013, garnering song and video premieres from Rolling Stone, Paste, and American Songwriter, and music placements on MTV’s “Real World”, Showtime’s “Shameless”, and the Willem Dafoe/Matt Dillon film “Bad Country”. They toured extensively in America and Europe, building a fanbase on both continents. Following a memorable performance at a Lou Reed tribute concert in NYC, Alive Naturalsound asked the band to go back into the studio to record a tribute to the Velvet Underground’s classic album “Loaded”, as a limited-edition vinyl release for Record Store Day 2014. The band has now finished recording their new studio album, “3 Shots” which has been mixed by the legendary John Agnello, and will be released May 5th.

Turning points come to serve a purpose of either making or breaking-- for two-time Emmy award winning violinist, Damien Escobar, it achieved both. In 2012 the world renown duo, Nuttin' but Stringz (America's Got Talent) ended their 10-year journey together, and from that Escobar's solo career emerged. Rebuilding proved to be challenging but with undeniable talent and perseverance, Escobar now boasts of 200,000 downloads from his debut mixtape; a running list of notable solo headliner performances on his résumé including: Food & Wine Magazine’s Best New Chef Awards, Indy Car Championship Awards, Oprah Winfrey's The Life You Want Tour, Russell Simmons’ Hip Hop Inaugural Ball; and in 2014 Escobar released "Freedom," his breakout single which debuted on CNN.com and "The Katie Couric Show.” Escobar, credited for being one of the top crossover violinists in the world, is making strides towards bringing instrumental music to the forefront. Stay tuned, his mission has already begun.

World's Fair Anniversary Festival This Sunday

World's Fair Anniversary Festival

Sunday, June 7, 2015

1:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Join NYC Parks in celebrating the 50th and 75th anniversaries of the 1939-40 and 1964-65 World's Fairs!
Come to Flushing Meadows Corona Park on Sunday, June 7, 2015 to join free tours of historic World's Fairs sites. There will be music and dance performances in the park, as well as different foods from around the world, including Belgian waffles, which were introduced to New York City at the 1964 World's Fair. Kid-friendly activities include half-priced rides on the historic carousel, puppet shows, and face painting.
For more information, visit the World's Fair Anniversary website or call 311.

The Wine Room Event This Weekend

70th Annivesary of end of World War II: Talk on French Resistance

Charles Kaiser credit Joe  Stouter
On the 70th Anniversary of the end of World War II, journalist Charles Kaiser has written the untold story of one of the leaders of the French Resistance and his family’s terrible sacrifice during World War II.   

On Monday, June 8, at 1:30 p.m., Charles Kaiser will speak at the Central Queens Y in Forest Hills on his new book, The Cost of Courage:  The True Story of One Family in the French Resistance.    

 Charles Kaiser tells the story of Andre Boulloche, who coordinated the Resistance in northern France until he was betrayed by one of his comrades, and arrested by the Gestapo. His sisters carried on the fight without him until the end of the war.   While Andre and one sister survived concentration camps, the Gestapo killed their parents and an older brother.   After the war, André and his two sisters rebuilt their lives and Andre became a prominent French politician.  None of them ever spoke about what had happened. Journalist Charles Kaiser tells at last the story of their remarkable courage and terrible sacrifice.    

Mr. Kaiser’s talk is at the Central Queens YM & YWHA, at 67-09 108 Street in Forest Hills.  All events are open to the general public, with an $8 donation requested.

After the war, the three remaining Boulloche siblings, Christiane, Jacqueline, and André, rebuilt their lives, raising ten children among them, and never spoke about what transpired.  Silence had been the Boulloche’s answer to dealing with the unbearable.

With the family’s decision to break their silence, journalist Charles Kaiser was able to tell their remarkable story for the first time.   Kasier first heard the story from his uncle, an American lieutenant stationed in Paris, living with the Boulloche sisters, immediately after the Liberation of Paris.  A long time reporter for The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Charles Kaiser was able to reconstruct the remarkable story of the Boulloche family from extensive interviews with surviving family members, as well personal letters. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Neil deGrasse Tyson at The Who Concert

It looks like the stars aligned for me to see one of my favorite people enjoying a few hours in Forest Hills Saturday night! A huge thanks to David for the photo.  I'd rank this as definitely one of my favorite photos of any I have ever posted on this blog.