Thursday, November 9, 2017

I WAS TOLD TO COME ALONE: A Muslim Reporter Tells Her Story, Behind the Lines of Jihad


Souad Mekhennet credit Ben Kilb

As an independent, unmarried Muslim woman who grew up in Germany and is now an award-winning reporter for the Washington Post, Souad Mekhennet’s cultural background has given her the ability to cross lines to places that reporters rarely enter.  Mekhennet will tell the riveting story of her journey behind the lines of jihad at a talk at the Central Queens Y in Forest Hills on Monday, November 13, at 1:30 p.m.  Mekhennet’s complex cultural identity has made it possible for her to meet with some of the world’s most dangerous terrorist operatives, including members of ISIS, Al Qaeda, and the Taliban.  Souad Mekhennet is a correspondent for The Washington Post’s national security desk, and she has reported on terrorism for The New York Times and NPR.  The Central Queens Y is located at 67-09 108 Street, in Forest Hills.  All events are always open to the public.  An $8 voluntary donation is requested.  For more information, contact Cultural Arts at (718) 268-5011, ext. 151, or at pkurtz@cqy.org or online at www.cqy.org.

In her new book, Mekhennet tells of her quest through the neighborhoods of European cities where terror has come to the heart of Western civilization and of tense meetings in Iraq and Syria with terrorist leaders (which led to a surprising number of marriage proposals).   Mekhennet seeks to shed light on the radicalization of young Muslims, starting in the German neighborhoods from which the 9/11 plotters emerged, to the Iraqi neighborhoods where Sunnis and Shia turned against one another, and culminating on the Turkish-Syrian border region where ISIS has a daily presence. 

Mekhennet documents chilling run-ins with various intelligence services. She then returns to Europe, first going to London, where she uncovered the identity of the ISIS executioner “Jihadi John” before the FBI, MI-5, and Scotland Yard did so.  Along the way Mekhennet tells of heart-pounding border crossings, desperate phone calls from wrongfully accused men and from families whose children have fled to ISIS, and tense meetings with leaders of terrorist organizations.  As an investigative reporter, Mekhennet seeks answers to questions about the roots of militant extremism.


This program is one event in the Fall Author Series of the Central Queens Y.  More information is available online at www.cqy.org or at  (718) 268-5011 ext. 151, or pkurtz@cqy.org

Photo credit, Ben Kilb.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Annual Author's Cafe of the Central Queens Y, Sunday, November 5

Prof. Jeremy Dauber has written a cultural history of Jewish humor, tracing the origins back to the Bible and Talmudic rabbi jokes.

Come out for a fun and thoughtful afternoon. You will enjoy a look at the funny side of some very serious business and the serious side of funny business! You'll come away surprised at how much there is to think about...

Last chance for advance ticket price: Friday, November 3.

 

Jeremy Dauberdauber-jeremy-2017
 

JEWISH COMEDY

A Serious History

 

Sunday, November 5, 2 p.m.

At the Forest Hills Jewish Center
106-06 Queens Boulevard

 
 
This year our author’s cafe lightens up, with a thoughtful look at a fun topic, Jewish humor. In his new book, Prof. Jeremy Dauber traces the origins of Jewish comedy and its development from the Bible to the age of Twitter.

Dauber organizes the Jewish comic imagination over continents and centuries into what he calls the seven strands of Jewish comedy―including the satirical, the witty, and the vulgar. He traces the ways Jewish comedy has mirrored, and sometimes even shaped, the course of Jewish history.

Persecution, cultural assimilation, religious revival, diaspora, Zionism―all of these, and more, were grist for the Jewish comic mill.  Dauber explores comic masterpieces, from the Book of Esther and Talmudic rabbi jokes to Borscht Belt skits and Seinfeld, and the work of such masters as Sholem Aleichem, Franz Kafka, the Marx Brothers, Woody Allen, Joan Rivers, and Jon Stewart.

Jeremy Dauber is Professor of Yiddish Language, Literature, and Culture at Columbia University.

Kosher dessert & coffee.
$18 minimum donation in advance/$23 at the door. Your generous donation to support the programs you enjoy is greatly appreciated!
Group & student discounts available.

Register online at www.cqy.org/tix or call (718) 268-5011 ext. 151.


Cultural Arts & Jewish Heritage Programs
Central Queens Y

Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema Returning For Second Annual Event, August 3-12, 2018



Film Submissions Open November 1, 2017


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Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema is proud to announce that after the success of its inaugural event this past August, the festival is returning for year two from August 3-12, 2018. Hailed by The Wall Street Journal as an event that New Yorkers are “taking note of,” and with coverage in major media including The New York Times, The Huffington Post and Time Out New York, the 10-day event will return to Kew Gardens Cinemas and Maple Grove Cemetery in Kew Gardens, Queens, and at the Queens Museum in nearby Flushing Meadows Corona Park. As a non-profit organization, Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema was established to support the development of and help expand the audiences for independent cinema from around the globe. Filmmakers are welcome to submit their films for the 2018 Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema starting Nov. 1, 2017. For submission details, visit: http://www.kewgardensfestivalofcinema.com/#Submit

Offering incredible exposure to fantastic filmmakers, Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema is quickly becoming the festival to have one’s film recognized. In the festival’s first year, it received 400 submissions, both feature- and short-length films from around the world, of which 157 were carefully selected. Two feature films acquired a sales agent (and are on the fast track to a distribution deal), while two more features earned the attention of an independent film distributor in Los Angeles leading to acquisition interest.

Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema promises to offer as many promotional opportunities to its filmmakers by allowing them to participate on the KGFC Festival Talks Daily Podcasts. The festival also invites selected filmmakers to participate on the independent filmmakers panels. Both filmmakers and festival goers can also expect once again to have sponsor-hosted activities such as karaoke, movie trivia night, comedy night, an outdoor screening and after parties.

Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema accepts films all lengths and genres, and encourages filmmakers from around the globe to submit their work for a chance to have it screened at Kew Gardens Cinemas. Built in the 1930s, it is Queens’ oldest and only operating art house movie theater.

Returning sponsors for the festival’s second year include Queens Museum, which will once again be presenting free programming throughout the 10-day event, along with an outdoor screening in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Other returning sponsors include iPitch.tv, BlogTalkRadio, Maple Grove Cemetery and the Marriott New York Laguardia Airport. Soundview Media Partners will once again be offering a sales consultation to award winning filmmakers, while new sponsors like Seed & Spark will be hosting a free workshop open to the public. Submitting filmmakers will once again receive a one-year digital subscription to Videomaker Magazine, a leading subscription service that focuses on guiding independent filmmakers with online tutorials and publications (a $20 value). Another new sponsor, Big City Graphics will be offering amazing discounts on printing services to filmmakers.

New in 2018, Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema will be converting all selected films to Digital Cinema Package (DCP), which allows for an optimal viewing experience. In addition, all submitting filmmakers will also have the opportunity to have their films converted and available to them for an incredibly discounted rate.

Finally, to help launch the festival’s Nov. 1 submissions, Synimatica.com is offering all paid 2017 festival attendees a chance to once again watch over 20 festival favorite films. Included on the platform will be the 2017 opening night short film A MAN FULL OF TROUBLE, and the best animation winner, ONE WAY TOWN. The streaming platform will be available starting Nov. 8 for one week only.

“Because the festival takes place in a small town, we offer filmmakers a more intimate experience, allowing them to network with their audience and peers,” said Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema Founder and Executive Director Jayson Simba. “Year two promises the same amazing experience for everyone who attends, but will be even bigger and better. We can’t wait!”

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those killed or injured in today's cowardly attack.





Happy Halloween!

Forest Hills is a great place to be Halloween.  First, this afternoon, all the stores along Austin St. start giving out candy to the kids, and then, as the sun goes down, the celebration moves over to Burns Street in The Gardens as all the spooky decorations come to life...  Happy Halloween everyone!





Thursday, October 26, 2017

Paris Baguette Coming Into Radio Shack Space?

Friday Update: This information has been confirmed, they are moving into the Radio Shack space: Forest Hills' New Paris Baguette Won't Serve Espresso Thanks To Starbucks
The menu at the Forest Hills location will be almost the same as at other outposts and will include a variety of pastries, bread, soups and sandwiches.


I was told by a construction worker today that a Paris Baguette is going to open in the Radio Shack space. If you're not familiar with them, this is a global bakery chain. Here's the link for more information: http://parisbaguette.com/

There is already one of these nearby, in Rego Park. And if I recall, the chain was looking at the space where the new Dunkin' Donuts went into at Austin and Ascan.

Here is more about them, from their website:
We are an international, franchise, fast casual bakery-café founded in 1988 specializing in French-inspired goods. In addition to chef-inspired cakes, pastries, sandwiches and signature coffee, we offer a unique Parisian experience to thousands of customers daily. Today, there are over 2,700 locations worldwide, satisfying cravings and taste buds of all ages and backgrounds.

I included a question mark with my headline only because the worker spoke with a very thick accent, and though I repeated what I thought he said to me when I asked the name of the new place, I can't be 100 percent certain I heard him right :)





Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Vanilla Sky News

I've heard for a while that the frozen yogurt cafe, Vanilla Sky, at the corner of Restaurant Row and Austin St. was going to be turned into another kind of restaurant. I didn't think it was going to happen so soon. But this is what it looked like today....


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Something Moving Into Radio Shack Space

I noticed the windows have been covered up at the former Radio Shack space on 71st/Continental Ave.


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Introducing The Sunrise Forest Hills

That new apartment building across from the church, at 109-19 72nd Road, has a name, and a new website....

Introducing: The Sunrise Forest Hills





Monday, September 25, 2017

Interpol Plays Forest Hills

This past Saturday, Interpol came to Forest Hills to celebrate the 15th anniversary of their debut album 'Turn on the Bright Lights.'

Summer isn't over yet!  There are a still a few shows left this season at the tennis stadium.  Chance The Rapper is playing September 26th and 27th.  The National will be the final show of 2017 on October 6th.  

McDonald's Sign

A friend of mine caught this the other day over on Continental Ave.


Monday, September 18, 2017

Cool Movie Trailers

It's been a long time since I did this... enjoy!




... and I just finished this book and it's great. I highly recommend it (especially if you grew up in the 80s, like I did!)

New Chinese Restaurant on Austin

Thanks to Joe for sending in the photo!

Monday, September 4, 2017

McDonald's: Mark II

The McDonald's on Continental has reopened with their latest ordering system and updated seating layout.  Customers input order at touch screen kiosks, take a number to their table, and their order is brought to them when ready using digital location technology.  Looks like the only thing missing is the exterior signage.





Friday, August 25, 2017

Taxi Cab Flips Over On Queens Boulevard

This happened in Forest Hills today, around 11:15 a.m. Not sure on the condition of the drivers or passengers involved....




Tuesday, August 22, 2017

New Blog Contributor

Hi all,

Just a quick post to introduce myself.  I’ve been a long time reader of this blog, checking in most every day.  Drake has been kind enough to post pictures I send from time to time and is now graciously allowing me to make my own posts directly.

A life-long Queens resident, I moved to Forest Hills over 25 years ago, back when we had Woolworth’s, Sam Goody, Wendy’s, four movie theaters and one strip club (true!).

I hope everyone continues to enjoy reading/contributing to the blog and all things Forest Hills.

Thanks,
David

Monday, August 21, 2017

Watching the Eclipse in Forest Hills

Well, that was a lot of fun! Forest Hills transformed into dozens of mini block parties on Monday as Forest Hills residents and workers stopped whatever they were doing and walked out of their apartments or offices to witness today's historic solar eclipse.

I was surprised to see so many people standing right in front of their apartment buildings to catch a glimpse of it, and clusters of people on every street corner. I figured people would congregate in MacDonald Park or somewhere like that locally, but there was barely any eclipse-viewing action at the Park. Nope, it was going on, well, everywhere!

(By the way, I took the photos of the eclipse by reversing the camera on my iPhone, thus the reflections in the photos from the glare. Better than nothing, and it actually worked better than I expected!)










Saturday, August 19, 2017

Concert Catch-up

As summer 2017 draws to a close, lets take a look back at a few events from one of our neighborhoods greatest assets, the Forest Hills Stadium.

June 8th brought us our annual visit from The New York Pops, this year featuring the film music of John Williams.  The second half of the concert focused almost exclusively on his music for the Star Wars films and featured a few costumed appearances by the 501st Legion: Empire City Garrison. Darth Vader himself conducted the orchestra while they played his 'imperial march' theme music.
The New York Pops
Darth Vader Conducts

The Chainsmokers brought their youth, energy and fireworks June 9th and 10th.
Andrew Taggert of The Chainsmokers
The Chainsmokers at work

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers stopped by on their 40th anniversary tour on July 26th and 27th, playing all their hits and other fan favorites.
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Don't forget there are still a few more concerts coming up in September and October.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Return of Jazz Thursdays

August 10th and August 17th marked the return of the 13th annual free Jazz Thursdays concerts on 'restaurant row.'  The 10th featured Wayne Holmes and the Genius of Ray Charles.  On the 17th, Spanglish Fly.  Both nights featured wonderful music and weather.

Leslie Brown, Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce President, hopes to add a third concert in the future.

Wayne Holmes and the Genius of Ray Charles
Spanglish Fly

Monday, August 7, 2017

Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema - More Information

We saw an indie film yesterday at the Kew Gardens Theater entered in the "Narrative Features" category called Slipaway, which we really liked. It was a touching story about how a young man's friendship with an older, free-spirited lady changes his life. Each day, through August 12th, new films will be screened at the theater right here in Kew Gardens or at The Queens Museum.

The Festival's Headquarters is located right near us, at the old Victorian Church at Maple Grove Cemetary at the corner of Kew Gardens Road and Lefferts Blvd., where you can pick up the Festival Guide packed with all kinds of information, including the film schedule and special events nearby.

In fact, according to the Guide, the Festival will be holding a "Night of Comedy" tonight at 9 The Other Place on Metropolitan Avenue.

Also, don't forget, you can pick up all kinds of Festival swag at the Kew Gardens Theater, including baseball caps, t-shirts, and coffee mugs! Show your neighborhood pride!





Sunday, August 6, 2017

Local Restaurant Update

Been getting a bunch of emails about these, in case you've missed the news while going about enjoying your summers:

- McDonald's is closed for a few weeks while it undergoes renovations. The entire chain has been revamping its menu offerings, and its look, to try to better compete with all the more upscale burger chains.

- The area's best Italian restaurant, Tuscan Hills, has moved to the Ovosodo space, closer to Ascan Ave. Ovosodo was an interesting "italian dinerish" concept by the same owners as Tuscan Hills, but never quite caught on with local residents. Moving closer to central Forest Hills is probably a good move for the superb Tuscan Hills, which was a little lost a few blocks further east. But, with Queens Blvd. suddenly a hotbed of foodie excellence (Queens Bully, Keuka Kafe, I can go on and on), it won't make much of a difference. Tuscan Hills deservedly has a ton of fans. And with the new bike lanes and improvements to Queens Blvd. coming, expect the Blvd. to experience a nice little renaissance in usability for purposes other than smelly, carbon-polluting cars!

- And Moca's new sign is up as it expands into two storefronts on Restaurant Row. This place was ok. With all the great places now in the neighborhood, it's kinda funny that Moca is the one expanding. Lord knows 5 Burro could have really used that bigger space! I'm tired of the two hour waits for a table whenever I go, whether it's a Tuesday, Wednesday, etc., etc...!



Summer Moonlight


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Big Real Estate News

Reports The Real Deal:

Halstead breaks into Forest Hills with purchase of Madeleine Realty

Halstead has 10 offices in Manhattan, 7 offices in Brooklyn and 2 offices in the Hamptons.

From the article:

The Forest Hills location at 108-23 Ascan Avenue will be Halstead’s second office in Queens. The company opened its first office in the borough in 2015 at 47-12 Vernon Boulevard in Long Island City in 2015.

Photo from The Real Deal: New York Real Estate News


Friday, July 28, 2017

Pink Forest Opens

Austin Street got its second coffee place Friday with the opening of Pink Forest. I dropped in today and found it to be a great addition to the neighborhood. It's a charming new coffee spot, with an Asian flair, representing the increasing influence of this demographic group on our neighborhood. I figured what better time to have my very first JianBing, the Chinese breakfast sandwich I have been hearing so much about? And I was not disappointed. It was downright excellent and I can't wait to have my next one at our new coffee and tea spot. And eatery, by the way. The place also serves bagels, which looked mighty fine as well.

As for the coffee, I also had an iced coffee and thought it was really good.

What's really interesting about Pink Forest is their choice of location. Those of you who have been loyal readers of this blog over the years might remember those early years when I begged for someone to open a nice indie coffee shop, like they had in basically every other NYC neighborhood. Well, first came Red Pipe, and now, pretty much right across the street comes Pink Forest. I hope both flourish. Red Pipe gets mighty crowded at times, and now we have an interesting new complement to it right nearby.







Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Queens Bully - A Tremendous Accomplishment

It's incredible to think that it was only back in March when we first heard of the plans for Queens Bully - a new BBQ restaurant planned for Queens Blvd., where the former Baluchi's Indian restaurant used to be. Now, just four months later, Queens Bully is a reality, and what an awesome addition to Forest Hills it is!

I went for the first time last night and as I try to focus on my day job this morning, my mind keeps wanting to remind me of those delicious brisket leftovers burning a hole in my fridge, covered in that awesome Queens Bully BBQ sauce.

Yes, Queens Bully was that good - based on my first visit. Unfortunately, however, this can only be a partial review at this time since the place was all out of baby back ribs, to my enormous disappointment. But, living just a few blocks away, no biggie. Hiccups are commonplace with any new restaurant and I always expect them -- I have been to sooo many openings in this neighborhood and every restaurant has had them. I recall waiting over an hour for Banter to give us food when it first opened and today that place is incredible.

In fact, what was most surprising to me about Queens Bully was how little newbie hiccups it seems to have! The main courses -- a brisket platter and a pulled pork sandwich -- came out in 15 minutes, and were absolutely delicious. The service was exceedingly professional and excellent. The place itself looks amazing. Even the bathroom was spotless.

So, consider this my Review Part 1 of Queens Bully. I will return soon for those ribs, and probably some chicken to boot. Until now, that delectable brisket will have to suffice, and no complaints here!


The place was nice and quiet when I arrived around 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, but not for long...




An indulgent and delicious S'mores dessert rounded out a perfect summer BBQ meal