Friday, September 17, 2021

11-Year Anniversary of the Forest Hills Storm

 Eleven years ago, on Sept. 16, 2010, Forest Hills was hit by a ferocious tonado-like storm that brought down trees and caused massive destruction throughout the neighborhood. 

Thursday, September 16, 2021

The 5th Annual Festival of Cinema NYC brings in-person screenings back to the Regal UA Midway in Forest Hills September 24-October 3

Festival of Cinema NYC returns for its 5th year, as a live in-person 10-day event, taking place September 24-October 3. Bookending over 120 independent films from around the world with many premieres among them, will be the Opening Night selection of John Carlucci and Brandon Laganke’s crowd favorite Drunk Bus, and the Closing Night screening of Erin Granat & Machete Bang Bang’s acclaimed LGBTQ film, Moon Manor.

Over 85 filmmakers are expected to attend Festival of Cinema NYC next month which will be hosted once again by the Regal UA Midway in Forest Hills, Queens, famous for their state-of-the-art projection and sound. World premieres include Cristiano Vieira’s A Cisterna (The Well) and Samuel Tressler IV’s Leda, which will mark FOC NYC’s very first RealD 3D presentation, while Pedro von Krüger’s Any Given Day and Vishal P. Chaliha’s Sijou will make North American Premieres at the film festival.

Festival of Cinema NYC Founder and Executive Director Jayson Simba, said, “In our 5th year, and despite the pandemic, we still continue to grow by nearly every metric – submissions, films selected, screenings, and more. We could not be more excited to return to our home at the Regal and to see these amazing films on screen and meet all of the 85 filmmakers we are expecting to join us here in Forest Hills. We pride ourselves on bringing world cinema to the many film lovers here in Queens, and this year’s lineup really delivers on that front.”

John Carlucci and Brandon Laganke’s raucous comedy Drunk Bus kicks things off on Friday, September 24. The film follows a recent college graduate whose life plan is derailed when his girlfriend leaves him for a job in New York City. However, when he runs into Pineapple, a 300-lb punk rock Samoan who challenges him with a kick in the ass to break from the loop and start living, his life will never be the same. or risk driving in circles forever. Both Carlucci and Laganke will attend and participate in a post-screening Q&A.

 Erin Granat and Machete Bang Bang’s Moon Manor will make its Queens Premiere on Saturday, October 2 as FOC NYC’s Closing Night selection. The film focuses on a man with advancing Alzheimer’s who decides that he will orchestrate a party of a funeral–a FUNeral, prior to his death, showing his estranged brother, salt-of-the earth caretaker, sharp-witted death doula, a novice obituary writer, a cosmic being, and everyone else the proper way to make an exit.

 Leda, Any Given Day

 Leading the premiere-rich lineup are world premieres including; Cristiano Vieira’s Brazilian thriller A Cisterna (The Well), which centers on a successful journalist and popular television host’s fight for survival when she is kidnapped and held inside a well; and Samuel Tressler IV’s Leda imaginative drama about a woman living alone at a large family estate, who begins to lose touch with reality and time, and begins to spiral into a nightmare of madness. Making their North American premieres are Pedro von Krüger’s Brazilian thriller, Any Given Day where a woman’s son goes missing inspiring him to take the investigation and matters into his own hands; and Vishal P. Chaliha’s Sijou, about a boy who becomes a victim of the Feudal Land Tenure System which enslaved people to land holding lords.

 The Singular Story of Unlucky Juan

 For its fifth year, Festival of Cinema NYC is working with the Americas Media Initiative organization to raise awareness of the current societal turmoil and political conditions in Cuba. On Tuesday September 28 at 7:00PM, the festival will be presenting the animated short film Esperanza vs. the U.S. Embargo of Cuba proceeded by Ricardo Figueredo Oliva’s documentary The Singular Story of Unlucky Juan. The screenings will be followed by a 60-minute moderated discussion with guest speakers and activists, Roberto Monticello and Isabel Alfonso leading the conversation. Proceeds from the evening’s presentation will be donated to assist in Cuban Relief efforts.

 This year’s edition of Festival of Cinema NYC is supported and made possible, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Other major sponsors for the 2021 festival include Regal Cinemas, Resorts World Casino NYC, the NYC & Company Foundation, Techsoup, and Final Draft.

 Tickets to Festival of Cinema NYC are on sale now, and are priced at $17 for regular daily screening blocks. Red Carpet Opening and Closing night tickets are priced at $30 and include entry into the after party following those screenings. (Discounts are available, at the door, for Senior Citizens, SAG-AFTRA members, members of the Queens Economic Development Corporation, the Forest Hills Asian Association, the Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce, the Queens Chamber of Commerce, and members Community Board 6.) Tickets to Tuesday’s Fundraising Presentation on Cuba will cost $35.

 To purchase tickets and learn more information about the festival,  please visit






Drunk Bus

Dir. John Carlucci & Brandon Laganke, USA, 100 min

Michael (Charlie Tahan) is a recent graduate whose post college plan is derailed when his girlfriend leaves him for a job in New York City. When the bus service hires a security guard to watch over the night shift, Michael comes face to tattooed face with Pineapple, a 300-lb punk rock Samoan who challenges him with a kick in the ass to break from the loop and start living or risk driving in circles forever.



Moon Manor                                                                          Queens Premiere

Dir. Erin Granat & Machete Bang Bang, USA, 102 min

With advancing Alzheimer’s and a determination to do things his way, Jimmy’s decided to throw himself a fabulous FUNeral before his intentional death, showing his estranged brother, salt-of-the earth caretaker, sharp-witted death doula, a novice obituary writer, a cosmic being, and the guests at his FUNeral — that sometimes the art of living just may be the art of dying.


Monday, September 13, 2021

Meet New BLVD

 The new luxury building that went up across from the Post Office and MacDonald Park now has a name and is looking pretty fancy....

Friday, July 2, 2021

Pizza Wars Reignite in Forest Hills


The opening of Austin Street Pizza on the corner of 72nd Avenue and Austin Street several months ago has suddenly reinvigorated the pizza competition in Forest Hills. The new Austin Street Pizza is so very good that we thought it merited a little analysis regarding how the local pizza scene--so critical to every New Yorker--will end up being shaken up by the latest entry onto the scene.

First, a few quick comments about the new Austin Street Pizza. It's awesome. Just when you thought pizza couldn't get any better, along it comes. To munch on its delectable crust, to savor its sweet tangy sauce, well, it's quite the culinary experience. 

The experience actually leaves me wondering: "Why Forest Hills?" I mean, why should we be blessed with such awesomeness? What did we do to deserve this? This has happened a couple of times food-wise in the nabe. But not often. Whatever the reason its purveyors decided to pick FoHi, I'll take it. 

Austin Street's New York Style

Austin Street's Margherita Style

In fact, after trying Austin Street Pizza a few times it appears the only thing it doesn't have going for it is that it is, incredibly, a pizza place that doesn't deliver in New York City. And during the last days of a historic pandemic to boot when most sensible people avoided going out for pizzas! Go figure.

What does the arrival of Austin Street Pizza mean for the pizza scene in FoHi? Below is a list of those places I think it will pretty directly compete with, in order of magnitude: 

1) Nick's Pizza
2) Dani's (Kew Gardens)
3) Numero 28
4) Portofino
5) Gloria

There are other great pizza places in the area, but they either don't deliver to most of Forest Hills, or they are only really accessible by a car, which for the majority of people in the neighborhood means they may as well be in Nebraska.

Will all of the current pizza places survive the new shakeup? I'm not so sure. I think we may end up losing one of them and am not sure which. It could be one of the places a bit further out that is not on my list.

In any case, what do you think will be the outcome of Forest Hills' reignited pizza wars? And what do you think about Austin Street Pizza? Which of their styles is your fave? Share you opinions below...

Friday, June 4, 2021

New Apartment Building Going Up on 72nd Avenue

 Thanks to Tommy for sending in these pics of a new 8-story apartment going up between Austin St. and Queens Blvd. on 72nd Ave. A couple of rowhouses were removed to make room for this new building.