Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Ice Skating, Haunted House Coming to Forest Hills?

Tucked into yesterday's amazing news about AEG's deal with Forest Hills Stadium, was this exciting news about the hopes to bring off-season uses to the Stadium as well...

"AEG will also consider plans to operate the venue in the off-season, potentially as a haunted house during Halloween and an ice-rink during winter months."

Friday, April 21, 2017

Local Champions Inspire, Change Queens Neighborhoods for the Better

Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce President Leslie Brown
On April 6, Queens Community House (QCH) celebrated its Celebrating Local Champions Reception at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills. The evening proved to be a great success with more than $20,000 raised towards furthering QCH’s mission.

 According to Executive Director Ben Thomases, the goal of the annual event is to recognize the deep connection between QCH and the local community. “Forest Hills is where the organization was founded 40 years ago, so our connection to the neighborhood is very important to us,” he said. “This event is a way for us to thank the Forest Hills community as well as to introduce ourselves to neighbors who might not be aware of the range of services we offer.”

Leslie Brown, president of the Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce, was honored by QCH at the event. Brown, a Forest Hills native, ran a children’s clothing boutique on Austin Street for many years and was elected President in 2001. Under her tutelage, she has doubled the chamber’s membership and produced numerous free, family-friendly events for the community, including street fairs, the Forest Hills Festival of the Arts, and Celebrate Winter Under the Tent.

“Leslie’s been a great leader in the Forest Hills community, and we wanted to give her some recognition for all of the great work she’s done,” Thomases said.


During the event, QCH also presented the fifth annual Irma E. Rodriguez Queens Community Builder Award to Lester Lin, founder of the nonprofit City Mission.

Lester Lin
In 2014, the city administration opened a family shelter in what had been the Pan American Hotel in Elmhurst, setting off a series of angry protests from local residents. Moved by this controversy in his own community, and wanting to give a response that improved the situation for all, Lin reached out to the Department of Homeless Services to see how he could help.

He organized friends and neighbors to throw a welcome party at a neighboring church for the shelter families. The party was intended as a message of love and compassion to these troubled families and was for many their first non-confrontational contact with their new community. Lin continued his relationship with the Boulevard Family Residence, recruiting volunteers to organize family-friendly activities, donation drives to meet basic needs such as clothing and diapers, a fatherhood program, and a weekly care group providing tutoring for the shelter children. Later incorporating their activities as a nonprofit organization, City Mission, they have expanded their reach into the community through resume assistance workshops, health fairs, and projects with local high schools. 

For finding a way to reap positive change from conflict, and for inspiring his neighbors to do the same, Thomases said Queens Community House was proud to honor Lin.

Deputy BP Melva Miller & Executive Director Ben Thomases
“We ourselves were founded from a community conflict, with the intent of helping the neighborhood to heal and come together,” Thomases said. “We are so glad that Lester has echoed those values with his own actions. He is truly making Queens a better place to live for all residents.”

Queens Community House (QCH) is a multi-service settlement house serving more than 20,000 children, youth, adults and older adults every year. Its mission is to provide individuals and families with the tools to enrich their lives and build healthy, inclusive communities. Through a broad network of programs operating out of 25 sites in 11 neighborhoods, we offer Queens residents a needed support system at every stage of life, helping them to develop the knowledge, confidence and skills to change their lives for the better and become active participants in their larger community.

The New York Pops Returning to Forest Hills Stadium in June - Tickets on Sale Starting Today!


On June 8, 2017The New York Pops will return to its summer home, Forest Hills Stadium in Queens, NY, for a program of music by legendary film composer John Williams. After two successful seasons at the open-air venue, The New York Pops is proud to return to the stadium for an evening featuring the musicians of the orchestra in some of the most popular music ever written for the silver screen. The orchestra’s Kids in the Balcony program, which has expanded greatly since its offshootKids in the Stadium was introduced in 2015 thanks in part to the generosity of concert presenters Madison House Presents, will offer more than 1,500 Queens children and their families an opportunity to attend and learn about live music for free.

This concert is generously supported by Morgan StanleyAT&T, and Wigdor LLP, with additional support from the City of New York and the New York City Council.

Steven Reineke
“Playing at Forest Hills Stadium has really been a dream come true” said Music Director Steven Reineke. “With our third season at the stadium this summer, we are really cementing our status as a ‘must do’ summer event in NYC – and I can’t tell you how much we love being there! The orchestra sounds great in this beautiful venue, and watching the sun set over the top of the stadium while we’re looking out at a crowd of fans is one of our favorite summer traditions. Get ready for an evening of music that will transport you from a galaxy far, far away to a park full of dinosaurs, from Civil War-era Washington to shark-infested waters off the coast of New England. It’s going to be a blast!”

“There are few things more iconic and awe-inspiring than the New York Pops and the music of John Williams. AT&T is proud to support another exciting season at Forest Hills Stadium, and to help bring Williams’ incredible scores to life,” said Marissa Shorenstein, AT&T SVP for the East Region. “We are also thrilled to give back to the Queens community by once again offering free access to this one-of-a-kind experience right in their own borough.”

"As a fifteen year-resident of Forest Hills and dedicated member of the West Side Tennis Club, I know The New York Pops are both great performers and good citizens, supporting talented local musicians and giving 1,500 Queens children the opportunity to attend the series for free,” said Douglas H. Wigdor, Founding Partner Wigdor LLP. “It is a true honor and pleasure for Wigdor LLP to support the return of the New York Pops for a proud third season at Forest Hills Stadium."

The New York Pops concerts at Forest Hills Stadium are family-friendly events. Food and beverage is available for purchase on the stadium grounds. Family ticket packages available.
Forest Hills Stadium events have been made possible through a partnership with the local community, with a focus on making concerts a rewarding experience for all involved. Dedicated entrances and exits have been constructed to manage audience flow. The stadium is conveniently located feet from the E, M, F, and R subway trains as well as the LIRR, 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 go on sale Friday, April 21, at 10 AM at www.foresthillsstadium.com and range from $22.50 to $102.50.


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 and a summer series at Forest Hills Stadium in Queens, NY. 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. Follow The New York Pops on Facebook (facebook.com/newyorkpops), Instagram (@thenewyorkpops), and Twitter (@newyorkpops).

STEVEN REINEKE is the Music Director 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. 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, Seattle, Edmonton, Pittsburgh, Vancouver, Ottawa (National Arts Centre), Detroit, Milwaukee and Calgary. As the creator of more than one hundred orchestral arrangements for the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and the composer of symphonic and wind ensemble compositions, Mr. Reineke’s work has been performed worldwide.


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.


AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) helps millions around the globe connect with leading entertainment, mobile, high speed internet and voice services. We’re one of the world’s largest providers of pay TV. We have TV customers in the U.S. and 11 Latin American countries. We offer the best global coverage of any U.S. wireless provider.* And we help businesses worldwide serve their customers better with our mobility and highly secure cloud solutions. Between 2012 and 2016, AT&T invested nearly $135 billion in our U.S. wireless and wired networks, including capital investment and acquisitions of wireless spectrum and operations. And during the same period, AT&T invested more in the United States than any other public company.

Additional information about AT&T products and services is available at http://about.att.com. Follow our news on Twitter at @ATT, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/att and YouTube athttp://www.youtube.com/att.

*Global coverage claim based on offering discounted voice and data roaming; LTE roaming; and voice roaming in more countries than any other U.S. based carrier. International service required. Coverage not available in all areas. Coverage may vary per country and be limited/restricted in some countries.


Wigdor LLP is widely considered the preeminent employment litigation firm in the country.  Founded in 2003, Wigdor LLP specializes in litigating complex cases, representing individual executives as well as current and former employees in a variety of employment law matters.  With over $50 million in trial and arbitration verdicts, Wigdor LLP’s lawyers are experts in every aspect of employment law and are specialists within their respective practice areas.  Our reputation is bolstered by the fact that the Firm has recovered well over one billion in settlements on behalf of our clients, in all facets of employment law, including those who have been victimized by discrimination or harassment based on pregnancy, race, gender, age, sexual orientation or disability.

Wigdor LLP, and founding Partner Douglas H. Wigdor, have always been committed to giving back to our local and international communities.  Recently, Mr. Wigdor participated in a Lawyers Without Borders initiative to train Kenyan Wildlife Officers in crime scene management and evidence preservation.  The group spent five days training approximately forty-five Kenyan Wildlife Service officers on evidence collection and investigation best practices.

Mr. Wigdor is an active and philanthropic member of the Forest Hills community, where he has lived for over fifteen years.  Mr. Wigdor has served on the legal committee of the Forest Hills Garden Association, and has had the privilege of managing several basketball teams in the Forest Hills Little League, in addition to coaching a basketball team at the Forest Hills YMCA and Forest Hills Community House.  Mr. Wigdor is also an active member of the Westside Tennis Club at Forest Hills. 

Mr. Wigdor has attended the New York Pops summer concert series in Forest Hills for the past two summers, and on behalf of himself and Wigdor LLP, is honored to welcome the New York Pops return to Forest Hills stadium for their third series on June 8th, 2017

Follow Wigdor LLP news on our website at www.wigdorlaw.com, on Twitter (@WigdorLaw), and on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Wigdor-LLP-169668296381359/).

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.

Photo credits: Steven Reineke – by Michael Tammaro; The New York Pops – Richard Termine
# # #

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Confirmed! Ramen Coming to Austin Street!

From DNAInfo: Ramen Spot Coming to Forest Hills 
A new restaurant serving primarily ramen noodles is about to join the ever-expanding Forest Hills dining scene. I Ramen Inc. will open its doors in mid May at 72-34 Austin St., the owners said.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Look Who's Back ...

They said they will try to be on Austin Street on weekends through the summer. They closed up shop on Austin Street a couple of years ago — next to where Rove restaurant is today — and moved to Metropolitan Ave.

Easter Weekend Pics

Just a few pics of Spring-time in Forest Hills, my favorite time of the year...

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Guantanamera Cuban Restaurant Getting Ready to Open in Forest Hills

This will be the second restaurant for Guantanamera, the first being in midtown Manhattan. It is going into the space vacated by the Family Restaurant, on the south side of Queens Blvd., near the entrance to the 75th Ave. subway station. First the Queens Bully news last week, and now this! The Queens Blvd. foodie scene is taking off my friends!

Guantanamera is an instant escape from Midtown Manhattan to chic Old Havana.
Guantanamera is a friendly, fun, vibrant Cuban restaurant featuring traditional Cuban fare, magnificent mojitos, complimentary hand-rolled cigars, & Live Cuban music. As indelibly Cuban as the classic love song that bestowed its name, Guantanamera, captures the essence of Old Havana with its exotic décor featuring exposed brick, candle-lit tables, rattan-covered ceiling fans, and hand-painted folkloric murals.

Open since July 4, 2005, Guantanamera is located at 939 Eighth Avenue, steps away from the Theatre District. Diners are invited to feast on homemade Cuban specialties using the freshest ingredients, complimented with superb service in a warm and inviting atmosphere. In addition to the unique dining experience, we offer an exquisite bar and lounge area with a distinctive assortment of fine wines, rums, liquors, specialty cocktails, and exceptional appetizers. For those who enjoy dining to the beat of Live salsa, rumba, and cha-cha, Guantanamera pumps up the volume with Live music and dancing Tuesday to Sunday from 9pm to 1am. So come and join us, and let the rhythm transport you to a place where rum libations flow, the music moves you, and the food feeds your soul.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Books and Whales

These news items from today are kinda of local interest.

First, the books. Amazon is opening a second bookshop in Manhattan. For all of you still missing B&N, who knows, one may be in our future, too, eventually....

And, as for the whales, there's this sad, and a bit unusual, story on Rockaway Beach today...

New Gift Shop Opening on Austin?

Thanks to Greg for the photo. He emailed that a worker says this will be some kind of gift shop. I couldn't find any information about it online...

Sunday, April 2, 2017

April Fools Followup

A friend of mine offers this rather creative take on the same theme. Perhaps a bit "stronger" than I would do, but those of you who have lived here for a while know that it's not really an exaggeration... unfortunately.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Forest Hills Considering Anti-Walking Ordinance

Faced with a stubborn number of car-on-pedestrian accidents along Queens Blvd. and other streets around the neighborhood, Forest Hills is actively considering what would be the nation's first-ever "Anti-Walking Ordinance."

The idea to ban pedestrians in and around central Forest Hills comes as NYC DOT officials recently admitted that they were at an "absolute loss" to come up with a way to "humanize" the street traffic in the central Forest Hills area, in other words, get cars to slow down in the presence of pedestrians and obey the most basic of traffic laws, such as stopping at stop signs, heeding yellow traffic signals, and giving pedestrians the right-of-way at intersections instead of plowing ahead and running them down like so much stray cattle.

Asked about the possibility of this ground-breaking ordinance, 40-year local Forest Hills resident Mary D'Angelo, 56, stated, "I think it makes sense. During my daily drives from my Forest Hills apartment to Austin Street to pick up my much-needed sundries, I often notice people actually walking and in my way! Sometimes, they even block the intersections with their bodies as I try to turn!

"One time," D'Angelo continued, "I was in such a particular hurry to drive the few blocks from my apartment to Austin Street that I thought the bump and screams I heard was actually one of them! Only later did I conclude the ambulance sirens must've been for another one of those street crimes!"

Eighty-year-old Marty Silverstein, a resident of the Kennedy House apartment on Queens Blvd. expressed disappointment, however, in the new ordinance. Silverstein had founded a local pedestrian safety group several years ago called "Right of Way," but ironically lost most of the group's members during a much-publicized at the time perilous crossing of Queens Blvd.

"We were on our way to the group's inaugural meeting at Portofino," he recalls. "I was looking forward to a nice hot cup of soup. But just a few minutes after we started our crossing, most of my group was carried away towards Long Island by several vehicles and never heard from again!"

Silverstein was especially disappointed given that the last he had heard, local DOT officials had been on a learning trip in Europe, being introduced to such things as speed bumps and walk signals actually timed to the physical movement of the human beings doing the walking, instead of tire rotations—a development that had given him hope that the car-on-pedestrian problem might be solved by such innovations. "I haven't attempted another crossing of the Boulevard in several years," he said.

Such pedestrian traffic would be banned under the groundbreaking initiative.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Queens Bully Taking Shape

Thanks to Bud for the pic! I can't wait for this place to open. I was wondering why the place made Zagat's list of most anticipated Spring restaurant openings, so I did a little digging online and found out that one of the owners is the son of the founder of the Baluchi's Indian restaurant chain. Queens Bully, if it lives up to expectations, has the potential to bring new energy to what is a rather run-down part of Forest Hills, that stretch along Queens Blvd. from Ascan to Kew Gardens. There have already been some notable openings along that strip, but the entire thing is in need of a makeover of some kind. In any case, look for throngs of newcomers to venture down that way once Queens Bully opens.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Friends of Station Square Raffle

Friends of Station Square is doing a raffle of Forest Hills Stadium concert tickets and other Forest Hills-centric prizes in conjunction with its Silver Anniversary Celebration.

If you are not familiar with Friends of Station Square it was founded as a 501 (c)3 nonprofit charity in 1992 for the preservation, improvement and beautification of Station Square, Forest Hills and its surroundings. It successfully advocated for a historically faithful restoration of the station when in fell into disrepair. An $8M renovation was completed in 2000. In conjunction with the renovation, FoSS raised over $100K to landscape the planting areas in and around the Square. The group continues its fundraising efforts to support the maintenance of the landscaping and to do seasonal floral displays as well as advocacy efforts on behalf of the Square.

Here is the flyer with additional information about the raffle along with tickets. You can download this more easily as a PDF and print out the raffle tickets via a link at the Friends of Station Square website:

Direct link to printable form with raffle tickets: http://friendsofstationsquare.org/raffle_17_web.pdf

Mixed Radio Shack Signals

First, we thought it was closing, then we were told it wasn't, and now.... You may get that bigger Starbucks after all...

Queens Bully Gastropub BBQ Restaurant Opening Soon

Zagat's reports this will be opening in the former site of Baluchi's on Queens Blvd.
A big thanks to Bud for letting us know...

From Zagat's "47 Most Anticipated NYC Spring Restaurant Openings of 2017"

Projected opening: April
Rohan Aggarwal and Suraj Patel will open their debut restaurant, Queens Bully, in Forest Hills. Named after the iconic Queens Boulevard, the gastropub will focus on comfort food and barbecue inspired by the diverse cultures that exist throughout the borough. Items, like smoked jerk chicken and Corona pork tacos, will feature locally sourced vegetables and herbs grown on the premises. To drink, there will be local craft beers and wines as well as bourbon-, rye- and whiskey-centric cocktails.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Eagle Has Landed

Look what just popped up at the corner of 71st Continental Ave. and Austin Street? This cool-looking monolith provides free wifi and other communications and information services to the public. Read all about it at the LinkNYC website.

Nor'easter Photos

Not the most picturesque of snowstorms, and a huge disappointment when compared to all the blizzard hype, but I just couldn't let a nice Nor'easter go by without giving it at least a little coverage on the blog. Yesterday's storm will be remembered as one of the sleetiest (is that a word?) storms I can remember. We must've had at least a few hours here in Forest Hills of nonstop sleet. The result must be especially aggravating to car owners! It sure makes it tough to just get across the street!

Clearer Radio Shack Signals

I'm glad I didn't jump to any conclusions in my earlier post. Thanks to Greg for the photo!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Another Local Hawk Sighting

Thanks to Matt (and his wife) for these photos. They spotted the hawk on the north side of Queens Blvd., near the corner of 72nd Ave. It looks very much like the one I found on my fire escape a few months ago....

Rally for Women's Rights March 26th MacDonald Park in Forest Hills

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Tacos Polo Cart Mystery

I wanted to get some of my favorite to-go Mexican food this past Monday, but the Tacos Polo Cart, usually parked in front of Citibank, was missing. Today, I got an email from a reader asking if I noticed it was missing, that it hasn't been in its usual spot all week.

Please tell me they are coming back. I absolutely loved their food.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

So, This is Happening....

What a waste... Santa Fe closed, what, like three years ago and has sat virtually empty except around Halloween since? Think of all the excellent food we could've been consuming since? The second is Uno's. Ditto...

Monday, February 27, 2017

Coming in Next to Bareburger on Austin St.

Thanks to Amanda for tweeting me the pic!

Queens Stands Together Rally Photos

Not a bad turnout for the first of these here in Forest Hills, yesterday. But not fantastic, either, given the magnitude of what is at stake. As I walked home from the rally, and passed various residents going about their day, I couldn't help but want to grab them and say: "Get your ass to MacDonald Park! Do you realize your entire way of life is at stake!?"

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Queens Stands Together Rally in Forest Hills This Sunday

Rally kicks off at 11 a.m. today!

On February 26th let us come together in MacDonald Park united for freedom and equality against bigotry, intolerance and hate. Queens epitomizes the multi-culturalism of America. Our diversity strengthens, enriches and enlightens. Many in the community are quite fearful with reason but resilient in the face of adversity. There is no place for scapegoating communities as the "other." In this uncertain time, this is our opportunity to stand together united in solidarity behind #queensvalues

"We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor never the tormented." 
--Elie Wiesel, Nobel Laureate and Holocaust Survivor

Our coalition is growing and will be updated here. MacDonald Park is walking distance from the 71st Street/Continental Avenue Subway Station and the Q60 bus.

More information on the event's Facebook Page:
Queens Stands Together Rally

The Arab-American Family Support Center
Black Lives Matter of Greater New York
Buddhist Global Relief
Chhaya Community Development Corporation
Council on Islamic-American Relations, NY
Forest Hills Asian Association
Foundation of African Muslim Women in America
Geraldine Ferraro Democratic Club
Honorable Andrew Hevesi, Assemblyman, 28th District
Honorable Scott Stringer, Comptroller of the City of New York
Honorable Jimmy Van Bramer, Majority Leader, New York City Council, 26th District
Honorable Karen Koslowitz, Councilmember, 29th District
Honorable Letitia James, New York City Public Advocate
Honorable Toby Stavisky, State Senator District 16
Imam Shamsi Ali, Jamaica Muslim Center
Indivisible Queens
@[208955165805209:Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ)
Make the Road NY
National Association of Social Workers, New York City Chapter
New York State Nurses Association
NYC Muslim-Jewish Solidarity Committee
Queens Connection
Queens Is Not For Sale
Queens New Democrats
Queens County Young Democrats
Picture the Homeless
Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie
Rabbi Beni Wajnberg, Temple Shaaray Tefila
Rabbi Mark Kaiserman and Cantor Deborah Jacobson, the Reform Temple of Forest Hills
Rabbi Rachel Rosenberg, Malkhut, A Progressive Jewish Spiritual Community in Western Queens
Reverend Chloe Breyer, Interfaith Center of New York
Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus
Service Employees International Union, Local 32 BJ
Showing Up For Racial Justice NYC (SURJ)
Sikh Cultural Society
South Asian Education & Training (SAFEST)
Townsend Harris Alumni Association
Turning Point for Women and Families
Women for Afghan Women
Women's Action Group of Forest Hills
Women's Initiative for Self-Empowerment (WISE)

The organizers of this rally are:

Ethan M. Felder, Founder
Mazeda Uddin
Peter W. Beadle, Esq
Prameet Kumar
Mark Laster
Mohammed Naeem
Alexa Weitzman
Benita Gayle-Almeleh
Edwin Wong

Friday, February 17, 2017

Healthy & Fresh Eats in Forest Hills

With this post, we introduce one of our new writers, Rebecca Banchik. Rebecca has lived in Forest Hills for two and a half years with her husband after 10 years of living in Manhattan. She traded in her Upper East Side life for the quaint and ever evolving Forest Hills neighborhood and never looks back. She’s a true foodie always searching for delicious and interesting meals in Queens and beyond. You can follow her on Instagram and Facebook @Foodieinthefrills. Edge of the City is still looking for more local writers, photographers and contributors. Email edgeofthecity@gmail.com for more information!

Around this time of year, you’re either staying strong and committed to those New Year’s resolutions and plans to eat better, drop a few pounds, workout more, yadda yadda yadda or you’re feeling sorry for yourself because it’s cold and nasty outside and you definitely deserve a giant bowl of macaroni and cheese. I fall somewhere in the middle – I know I want to eat well and feel good about what I put into my body…but I still want my meals to be tasty and flavorful. Forest Hills has some good options for healthy eats – here are some of my personal favorites. I hope you give them a try and never forget, it’s always ok to ask for alterations to your selection to make them fit into your healthy lifestyle. So, hold the bun and take a look:

Agora Taverna 70-09 Austin Street

Agora Taverna's Prasini Salad
The Prasini salad is my favorite. It’s simple, but that’s what makes it so fresh and satisfying. The feta Agora uses is a really delicious Greek feta that is creamy and not dry and crumbly. There are herbs that really bring out a nice flavor to the salad and the greens are crisp and refreshing. The salad is tossed with a house-made vinaigrette too – no creamy fatty dressing here.

Looking for protein? The lamb or pork kebab sticks are hearty, simply grilled, and can be ordered with a side of horta – a sautéed escarole green with garlic and oil. Squeeze some lemon on the dish and you have a protein rich, no carb dinner that will warm you on a cold night.

Bareburger 71-49 Austin Street

Burgers and fries probably sound the opposite of healthy. But that’s why Bareburger is a great choice if you know how to order. You can customize anything from their menu. They also have a great selection of salads and greens. They even have some interesting appetizers making quinoa and wholesome grains taste quite delicious. You can feel good about the food you eat here too, almost everything is organic and even the ketchup is homemade.

What to order? Try a burger (pick your protein – for a leaner choice, try the Bison) wrapped in a collard green leaf or for a gluten free option try the tapioca bun. Load up on the veggies and avocado for toppings. Order a side salad or for a more creative salad, order a small-sized main entrée salad. If you need a beverage, try their natural sodas. The ginger brew is my favorite; this isn’t Schweppes. This is natural soda made with real ginger. It’s strong, spicy, and delicious.

Ripe Juice Bar and Grill 70-13 Austin Street

Ripe has been around and they know how to do smart eating. They make a mean smoothie too. For a more treat-like smoothie, try the Pina Colada made with coconut milk, yogurt and honey for sweetness. It has the taste of the islands {ignore the snow mount by the stairs}. The Sunset Beach and the Coco Cabana are also excellent choices.

If you’re making Ripe a stop for a meal {great for a post workout dinner or lighter meal mid-week}, try the Grilled Tilapia platter. The dish is filled with brown rice, simply steamed vegetables, and a nice piece of fish. Ripe is focused on healthy low-calorie ingredients. Don’t expect jam packed flavor. But you can feel good about fueling up with whole foods that aren’t overly salted. For more jazz, the Mexican-Tex Quesadilla is a healthier take on a comfort food staple. Order it with the grilled steak and you have a nice protein rich but yummy dinner.

Roast n Co 100-12 Queens Boulevard

Roast n Co's Rotisserie Chicken
This newcomer to the area has some really delicious rotisserie chicken. You can’t go wrong with a platter of nicely seasoned and slow roasted chicken alongside greens. If you aren’t nearby to walk over, they deliver well and quickly. The chicken is antibiotic free, free range, and non-gmo which makes you feel good about consuming a responsibly raised meat. I enjoyed the sautéed kale and broccoli, but you can opt for a beet salad or ratatouille for something a little more unique. They operate a full service coffee shop as well that I haven’t yet tried – but it looks cozy and worth a stop soon!

Red Pipe Café 71-60 Austin Street

Red Pipe's Breakfast Sandwich on Ciabatta
I can’t tell you how much I love this place. It’s a coffee shop serving organic Counter Culture coffee. Forest Hills needed a high caliber coffee shop and Red Pipe came to answer that need. In fact, the entire place is organic serving fresh, wholesome breakfast and lunch salads and sandwiches. Stay for a meal and you won’t be disappointed. The breakfast sandwich on a multi-grain ciabatta roll with hard- boiled egg thinly sliced, layered with melted Vermont cheddar cheese, a garlic aioli, and avocado is to die for and super filling. It’s no carb or dairy free, but it’s organic and it’s delicious. If you want to go lighter, they have salads and creative vegetarian sandwiches to enjoy. You can’t go to Red Pipe and not feel relaxed. Sip an almond milk latte, linger long enough to order a snack, and be grateful Forest Hills has place for the cool kids to hang.

Honorable mention:

You can find wholesome dishes at other restaurants in Forest Hills. It’s all about being creative, ordering smartly, and exploring your options. To name a few, Nick’s Bistro serves a really great homemade quinoa veggie burger. Have it over lettuce {sans bread} and substitute the fries for some lemon roasted potatoes. Aaheli Indian Cuisine does a nice warming mulligatawny soup and tandoori chicken that’s free of cream and the heaviness that often comes with Indian cooking in America. A Sushi NY has fresh sushi and {insanely} fast delivery if you’re craving sushi but want to keep it affordable, simple, and yummy. Inside Natural you can have them make you a healthy salad with all the mix-ins you can imagine.