Best of 2016:
1) Shake Shack - The best fast food burger chain in NYC opens right here on Austin. It was kind of surreal at first because it was such a step up from so many of the other fast food places we've had here. Shake Shack has set a new standard for fast food restaurants in Forest Hills and it's a real feather in our cap that they chose to open here.
2) NY Times Names Forest Hills One of NYC's Hottest Neighborhoods
3) The Bund - Finally, a really good Chinese restaurant sets up shop in The Hills!
4) Forest Hills Stadium Concerts - Summer 2016 saw an awesome lineup. Disclosure, Bob Dylan. Dolly Parton, Paul Simon, Van Morrison, The New York Pops. Heck, even Mumford returned for an encore presentation. And with Tom Petty scheduled for this coming summer, things will continue to rock at our Stadium in 2017!
5) The QueensWay Moves Closer to Reality - The project says it has raised over $1 million to bring a much-needed, ambitious park attraction right here to Forest Hills. I love the idea because it would connect us directly to Forest Park, which right now requires you to risk life and limb to get to by foot. Trust me, I did just that for the first time this past summer and was left thinking - Geez, such an awesome park. Why should it be easier for me to get to Central Park from Forest Hills than this one when it's so close?
6) Target Opens - Finally, we don't have to hop onto the subway to get to Target. But this one was barely a 'Best of' for me. I have now joined so many others who buy bulk items online so I've barely visited our Target since it opened! But it's still good to have for those items - like printer paper?? - that were impossible to find at the last minute here before!
7) Empanadas Truck - Check off a fast and convenient place to get some delish empanadas from the VERY long list of foods we still need to see come to FoHi: A Fried chicken place, BBQ, A good Hot Dog place, a French restaurant, an Indian restaurant, A Make-Your-Own-Salad place for God's Sake!, an upscale, premium sandwich place, what else am I forgetting??
8) Snowdays - Hey, the millennials seem to like this ice creamery. I went to it once and need to go back and try some more of their offerings.
Epic Fails of 2016:
1) No Local Bookshop - How can we have a neighborhood without a place to buy books? This is a no-brainer in more ways than one!
2) Queens Blvd. - Just as unsightly, just as atrocious, just as dangerous and disgusting as it's always been. Thankfully, they have plans to improve it in 2017 — finally!
3) Subway Delays - Horrible in 2016. The only thing that makes it tolerable is the knowledge that they are working to upgrade our Queens Blvd. subway lines with the latest technology. Here's hoping it will make a difference.
4) Restaurant Row Development - To take away one of the major attractions of our neighborhood to build another condo is self-defeating. If you take away all of the nice things about our neighborhood, it will only serve to hurt property values and eventually deter people from living, shopping and eating here.
5) Haagen Dazs Closes - This was a sad and surprising development, probably brought on by the opening of all the new ice cream places on Austin, including Shake Shack, which is my personal fave for shakes and ice cream.
6) Arsonist freak still at large - What else can we say? At least the fires stopped in 2016, but this emotionally disturbed nutcase remains free.
7) Chipotle - Please, someone convince me I can go back. I did love it so. It was so convenient, but.. I ... just....can't....get....myself...to....return. A mix of anger, a desire for retribution, and plain old fear.
8) I - Still - Need a Salad - Please someone bring a Just Salad or Chopt to Austin Street or nearby. Please, for the love of all that is holy!
9) Election 2016 - It is looking even worse than I expected, an unmitigated disaster and he hasn't even taken office yet! May God Save Us All. And By Us I mean humanity. And I am not joking in the least.
It is genuinely terrifying and so, so sad for our country and the world at large.