Thursday, April 28, 2016

Inside the Shake Shack

A reader sent in these pics. I've peeked inside myself and the space looks really nice, with a really cool upstairs seating area and what looks like seating that runs along the right side downstairs as well.

Paul Simon Concert Raffle

Friends of Station Square is having a raffle for a two pairs of concert tickets, one for Paul Simon,July 1, and the other for Flight of the Conchords on July 20.

Raffle tickets may be purchased on the Friends of Station Square website

Friends of Station Square, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization founded in 
1992 to promote and encourage community spirit, and to heighten community support for the preservation, improvement and beautification of Station Square and its surrounds.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Woman Injured by Hit and Run Driver

I received this email and disturbing photo from a reader today about a pedestrian hit at the intersection of 71st Continental Ave. and Austin Street on Friday evening:

Attention Edge Of the City: 
It may interest you to know that on Friday 4/22 around 6:30pm a woman was struck by a car on Austin St. (See attached photo Hit and run) As a routine commuter using the LIRR on weekdays this intersection is crazy. People running red lights all the time, road rage, K turns etc with people piling out of the E and F trains and LIRR, school kids and shoppers many of whom step off the side walk and into the road to cross or to pass slow moving people. The volume of pedestrians and motorists are clearly in the thousands. Queens is the most deadly borough leading the way with traffic related deaths and head injuries. Why there isn't a traffic cop at this intersection is beyond comprehension. My question to Melinda Katz is this...How many people have to get hit by a car in order to put a cop on duty at this intersection? 

Sincerely yours,

Infuriated Dad

The Family Restaurant Closes

I first heard about this over the weekend, but wanted to see what was up before I posted anything. But The Family Restaurant, a long-time favorite of many Forest Hillers, and one of the older restaurants along that stretch of Queens Blvd., looks like it has closed. It has been closed for several days now...

I think I went to it once, on the advice of a friend, after moving to Forest Hills. I found the food to be just okay, not good enough that I wanted to go back. In fact, I'm not positive, but I think this might be the first post I've ever done about them. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Live Coverage of Bernie Sanders Rally in Washington Square Park

Food Trucks at MacDonald Park

So here I was thinking I came up with such a great idea - to park all the new food trucks that have been coming to Forest Hills around MacDonald Park and put that space to some better use. And then Sunday I stumble upon a Street Fair right there at the Park. Since when did they start having these around MacDonald Park instead of Austin Street anyway, and where was this even publicized? I didn't hear a word about it.

Anyway, this is exactly how I imagined the food trucks would look parked on those side streets near the Park and then people can eat in the park, putting it to some more varied use aside from only chess games and a meeting place for senior citizens!

Imagine this park, that is infrequently used by most residents because of its location, and its poorly-planned design, suddenly becoming a haven for all the delicious different food trucks that have been scattered elsewhere around the neighborhood? They could be located there all the time so people would know where to find them.

Since so many of the landlords on Austin Street—many of whom don't even live here, according to the 516 area codes I always see—continue to hold out with audacious rents that local businesses just aren't willing to pay, why continue to punish the residents of our neighborhood? There have been some storefronts that have been empty on Austin Street for several years!  Let's open this park to more food vendor options. It will give these landlords some real competition and maybe make them more likely to work with a young entrepreneur who wants to open a business in our neighborhood.

God knows, the lines at the new Empanadas truck that just started doing business in Forest Hills shows there is an enormous under-served demand for inexpensive yet delicious food in our neighborhood! When you couple that with the obscenity of all those empty small storefronts on Austin, especially down near Ascan, it makes one so frustrated about all the missed opportunity for this neighborhood when it comes to exciting new businesses that could be flourishing here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

New Gourmet Italian Market Opens on Queens Blvd. — Cipollina

A bunch of readers have contacted me about this new gourmet market, Cipollina, that's opened at 116-09 Queens Blvd. in Forest Hills, at the corner of 77th Ave.

Wrote one reader, who sent in the photos below, "I’ve only purchased Italian groceries there until today. Had an excellent cappuccino and a crazy good sandwich, incredible! Can’t wait to go back." I plan to check it out myself soon...

Confirmed! Dolly Parton to Play Forest Hills Stadium!

Forest Hills Stadium tweeted the news this morning:

Monday, April 11, 2016

Dolly Parton to Perform at Forest Hills Stadium?

Yes she is, according to this report from NY1, which lets the news slip towards the very end of the video:  Forest Hills Stadium Draws Top Musical Acts Back to Queens

No dates have been announced as of today (as far as I can find online) ...

Dolly Parton will visit 60 cities on her new Pure & Simple tour and release a new double-disc album this summer.

Dolly Parton will bring her boundless energy to stages in over 60 cities as she embarks on her first major U.S. and Canadian tour in more than 25 years. For the last 20 years, she has only played select dates in the U.S., but her 2016 tour schedule will cover cities across North America.
In what is sure to be one of the summer’s most sought-out concerts, Dolly will perform her hit songs all while weaving in a few new songs from her new double-disc album “Pure & Simple with Dolly’s Biggest Hits.” She will delight fans by playing songs they have not heard live for decades. Dolly said,

Big Changes Coming to Our TGI Friday's

It's not often that I get very interested in what's going on at the few huge chain restaurants we have in the 'hood. But thanks to the excellent detective work of one of the Blog's readers, Maureen, it looks like our TGI Friday's is about to get a rather interesting upgrade:

TGI Fridays Is Trying A New Restaurant Design To Bring In Younger Customers

Forest Hills Filmmaker's "It Happened in Havana" to air on THIRTEEN

Forest Hills resident Judy Schiller's new documentary “It Happened in Havana: A Yiddish Love Story,” will air Thursday, April 14th on THIRTEEN, New York’s public television station, at 10:30 PM, and it will be rebroadcast on Tuesday, April 19th at 4:30 AM ET.

“It Happened in Havana: A Yiddish Love Story” is a documentary about an elderly Jewish couple who look back at their childhoods on the Lower East Side of New York City and Eastern Europe, their courtship in Cuba, and their life together in New York. It features personal and archival photographs, poignant period footage and priceless home movies from the 1920's through 1950's.

The documentary is written, produced and directed by Judy Schiller. A native New Yorker, Schiller is a professional photographer, mainly working with musicians including Miles Davis. She began in film at Flying Dreams Productions and has worked at every major TV network in New York City. “It Happened in Havana: A Yiddish Love Story” is her directorial debut.

Schiller explains, “With Cuba so much in the news, the film is a timely one. It's a personal story about my parents and the story of how they fell in love. It is equal parts romantic tale and history lesson.”

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Things Are Startin' to Shake in the Hills

A truly historic day for Forest Hills! (maybe a bit overdramatic, or maybe not if you are a Shack-lover like I am.) Anyway, thanks to Amanda for tweeting me the first photo of the sign being put up, and yours truly snapped the second one later today.

Enjoy your newly christened Shake Shack neighbors!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Food Truck Frenzy

I was walking by the new empanada truck on the north side of Queens Blvd. and the crowd was ridiculous. It looked like they were having a Lollapalooza or something. Isn't it obvious that we need more inexpensive take-out joints in Forest Hills? I know one issue is the rents along most of Austin Street, but there are a few smaller storefronts, especially on the Ascan end of the street and a bunch of them are sitting empty.

Anyway, here's another pic I snapped of the crowd, and this was during a much less busy moment:

I was thinking that MacDonald Park should be put to some better use and become a place where the food vendors can go if the landlords on Austin aren't going to make it affordable for them all to open there. What do you all think? I think that park is vastly underused aside from some chess playing and some sitting around. Why not make it a center for all the new food trucks that are starting to come into the neighborhood?

Friday, April 1, 2016

Chances Now Look Good For Forest Hills Break With City

Surprising as it is to most observers, the New York City Council has reportedly agreed to take up legislation proposed by a large segment of long-time Forest Hills residents to secede from New York City.

The movement, which has been gathering steam for several years now, spurred on by quality of life concerns like crowds of people walking on the sidewalks shopping and enjoying themselves, traffic on Austin St. and Queens Blvd., a proliferation of newfangled hamburger restaurants, a generalized fear of betterment, and the noise of laughter, was dismissed just a few years ago, in 2007—the last time the City Council considered it—as having no chance.

But at least one public official, who wished his name withheld, said this year's unusual presidential election has begun to have reverberations well beyond Washington, shaking loose long held norms, including whether the loud voice of the number of Forest Hillers seeking change should be considered by the City government. The official even admitted that as of this point, the vote, which would be held on Election Day in November, has a good chance of passing.

What happens after Forest Hills secedes from New York City is perhaps even more surprising. The legislation by the residents seeks to carve out of this area of Queens a new county of Long Island. So, Forest Hills would officially become known as Forest Hills, Long Island, as the bill's proponents have long hoped for.

Said Mary D'Angelo, 62, who has lived in Forest Hills for 45 years, "I always thought Forest Hills was part of Long Island anyway, so this really won't make much difference to me."

Since Long Island is legally not allowed to have subway connections to New York City because of arrangements with the Long Island Railroad, the City is reportedly drawing up plans to fill with cement the 71st/Continental Ave. subway station and then bulldoze it over to make room for several swing sets and a Dairy Barn.