Friday, August 31, 2007

Queens Donnybrook

Looks like we have rumble brewing between the loyal followers of two Queens Blog powerhouses Queens Central and Queens Crap.

In a huge surprise, a Queens Crap anonymous commenter insults someone he doesn't know.

In Defense of Chains

I know chain restaurants are the bane of most FoHi residents existence. But. . .

Sometimes, I want mundane, consistent, mediocre food served by an underpaid waiter who has to stick to a script. Sometimes I get sick of going to Nick's and feeling like I'm intruding if I get the wrong waitperson (even though I've been going twice a week for years and tip heavy).

Sometimes, I don't want a tiny "three egg white omelette" at UJ's. Or to be charged for a refill on my coffee at Q. Or be surrounded by old freaks at Austin House. Or don't have a Wednesday night db's dinner in the budget.

Yes, sometimes - and it's not often, maybe twice a year - I want a deep dish, or huge bottomless soda, or singing waitstaff, or a vat of stuffing.

With that in mind comes the Labor Day Poll. If you absolutely had to eat at a chain restaurant, which would it be?

We Want The Gardens

Despite a railroad in your backyard, about 50% of you chose to live in the Garden's row houses with your imaginary million. 20% went for AQUA's Arbor Close, another 20% for a big house in the sky at the Windsor, with the remaining 10% going for Cord Meyer (which was misspelled in the poll which might be a factor in the poor performance).

I thought Cord Meyer would be higher since it's by far the most expensive of the choices and you get a free standing house. But maybe those silly chrome-protected eyesores are too much to look at everyday.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Trader Joe's Coming Soon to Rancho Cucamonga!

And Forest Hills. . .

It's finally on the Coming Soon part of the site, which should allay even the worst of the "I know they're going to bail" fears. If I seem obsessed with this supermarket opening, I'm sure it's understood by anyone who's been to Trade Fair.

Where do they bus these customers in from anyway? Do they really live in AQUA? I never see them on the streets around here, only in that place. Ah Trade Fair, our own little slice of 63rd Drive. But it is cheap, I'll give it that.

Solid Restaurant Reviews

Can be found at Eatery Row this month.

This Weekend at Q

A few weeks ago at Jade (scroll down for the August update)

Forest Hills Lame Alert, Q charged the guy for his coffee refill at dinner acording to his review. Hope they enjoy the $2. . .

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Best Event Nobody Goes To

We went to the West Side Tennis Club yesterday for the Sony Ericsson Women's WTA Finals. Here's how it went:

Walked in the front gate. Paid $10 for myself, the two-year old boy was free. Walked through the clubhouse onto the raised terrace which was serving brunch. There were plenty of tables available over looking the grass courts. Absolutely beautiful. There was a live pianist. It seemed like mostly members, because everyone was in their playing whites.

It was a little too hot, so we strolled through the grounds to the stadium where they had the event.

A sponsor tent was next to the stadium. It was upscale and well-staffed. It was like being at a private corporate event, not a public tennis match.

You were greeted by someone in front who gave you two tickets for free alchoholic beverages. Then representatives from companies like Dean's Beans (organic coffee beans) or Stoli gave you free samples of their product. There was also a huge bucket filled with icy Arcadia water bottles and sports drink. All of it free.

A local radio station supplied music at another tent. And representatives from the West Side Tennis Club answered questions about membership.

On the courts adjacent to Center Court where they had the Women's Finals, there were games for kids, with cones and an inflatable clown who you had to hit. The best part about it - the tennis pros were super cool and everyone got as long a turn as they wanted. Because attendance wasn't that high, kids played all day.

Even my two year old took whacks. For playing, we got a free t-shirt and key chain. And because he was having such a great time and we didn't want to hold up the other kids, the pros let us hit on a side court to ourselves! I mean, it was just me tossing the ball to the little boy, but it was on a beautiful clay court and they never once came over and said time was up.

The only problem was the boy was so proud of the free t-shirt (which was way too big and went down to his knees) he wouldn't take it off at the birthday party we had that afternoon.

Close to the start of the match, there were a few more people, but the tent and grounds were still very wide open. And there were still plenty free samples of drinks, snacks, coffee, booze, etc. And all of it while twelve year olds from Bablyon fight over paying $6 for a Sprite in Flushing Meadows.

It was an amazing event for Forest Hills and I think we should all be there next year. There's food on the terrace overlooking the grass courts, free drinks by the stadium (including alcholic ones), tennis games for the kids, music, and the class of people is strictly Forest Hills, no weekenders.

Hope to see you there next year. I guarantee you won't be sorry. And congratulations to Gisela Dulko who won the match.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Post Art-World

The Art World space on Austin St. has been rented. The For Rent sign has been taken down and the windows are covered in newspaper. No word on the new tenant, but here's a hint. The newspaper is written in Chinese. . .

Great news for 11% of us, disappointing for the 18% who were rooting for High Times, 44% who wanted Backstage, and 27% who were looking for an unread Sunday Times.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Welcome! Sort of. . .

I was reluctant to put this link on the blog. It's from yet another Manhattanite (who works at a magazine apparently) who just moved to Forest Hills.

Everyone knows I welcome people like this (My wife and I both are ones), but this is one unusually self-hating Forest Hillian. Read the whole thing at the condescendingly titled "Queensbroad's Weblog" here Priced Out of Manhattan. Excerpts:

So I’m in Forest Hills as of August 17th, 2007. This is “Central Queens.” I live in a big apartment in a pre-war buildings. Lots of trees.

It’s not cool to magazineland. It means I am a loser. You can get away with living in Brooklyn, if you must fall back to a borough. But not Queens.

This is going to be tricky because THE MAGAZINE that now employs me is fueled by image and perception. To thrive here, I must be cool. I’m a mom and most definitely perimenopausal and haven’t danced in a club since the 1980s.

Can I do this?

I know she's trying to be funny, but ease up on the loser thing. This is Forest Hills. Even in "magazine-land" the magical place where my wife also works, it's okay - there are TONS of media people living here. And since when did doing everything that people say is cool make you cool?

Update: Per the 11th comment, she likes it.

Play Ball

After yesterday's complete wash-out, play has resumed at the West Side Tennis Club in the US Open tune-up tournament. Here are a couple of links to get you psyched enough to check it out. Remember jazz tomorrow and Friday and all sorts of fun stuff on Finals Saturday.

Next Stop, Earplugs

An op-ed piece from a FoHi resident in Queens Gazette claims the LIRR train horns have gotten significantly louder recently. Excerpt:

A week or so ago, as I was finishing up a work project on my computer, I was literally startled out of my chair by something that sounded like a tuba crossed with a screeching cat next to my ear. That awful noise was then repeated about every two minutes for at least the next hour or so. And that entire horrible sonata has been playing in full twice a day, with short excerpts throughout the day for more than a week now.

After living and working at home in a co-op directly across from the Long Island Rail Road for 25 years, I was shocked by the unusual timbre, loudness, and repetition of horn toots- the last extending into a scream. Previously there had been no such problem.

Read the whole thing here

It's probably just because they're working on the tracks, but I know those horns can be a bitch. The train noise itself never bothered me.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

That Thing. . .

Dear Community Board 6:
We're getting real close to the Trader Joe's opening. Do we really want to welcome thousands of daily visitors to Forest Hills with a huge rusted Car Wash banner painted on a defunct railroad tressle.
Here's an idea - paint over it. Call the next door Queens Alliance of Artists and have them do a Forest Hills-themed mural. I'm sure they'd be thrilled. Have the Chamber of Commerce pay for it.
Have you seen how supportive of the new Trader Joe's Brooklyn's reps have been? I know it's just a supermarket, but it's still a major draw. Don't embarrass us - paint over that ugly, ugly, huge, old rusted sign.

Queens Restaurant Week September 17 - 20 and again 24 - 27

Dates and participating restaurants announced for Queens Restaurant Week, Monday - Thursday September 17th - 20th and again the following Monday - Thursday 24th - 27th.

Three course lunch or dinner for $20.07. Call ahead to make sure (some places only offer the lunch deal). Forest Hills participants highlighted in red, more info at

Al Naimat
Austin's Steak & Ale House
Bayview Restaurant & Lounge
Bitgoul Myung Ga Tofu & BBQ Retaurant
BKNY Thai Restaurant
Bourbon Street Cafe
Caffe on the Green
Cara Mia Restaurant
Chao Zhou Restaurant
Corner 28
Curry Leaves
Da Gianni's Ristorante
Delhi Palace Indian Cuisine
Donovan's Pub
Erawan Seafood and Steak
Erawan Thai Cuisine
Free Time Diner
Gala Manor Restaurant
Gandhi Restaurant
Happy Buddha Vegetarian Restaurant
Happy Garden
Indian Taj
Island Restaurant
Jackson Diner
Jackson Diner
Junior's Cheesecakes
Kum Gan San
Kyoto Japanese & Thai Restaurant
La Tavernetta (close enough)
Lennie's Clam Bar & Restaurant
Margarita Ville Restaurant
Mezzo Mezzo Restaurant & Lounge
Mundo Cafe & Restaurant
Nick & Maggies
Noble Restaurant
Nuves Tapas Lounge
O Lavrador
Opa Souvlaki
Paparazzi Restaurant
Paparazzi Restaurant
Papazzio Restaurant & Caterers
Pinocchio Palace
Ponticello Ristorante
Press 195
Ridgewood EATS
Riverview Restaurant & Lounge
Rouge Bistro
Sanfords Restaurant
Sapori D'Ischia
Sripraphai Thai Restaurant
The Family Restaurant
Tournesol Restaurant
Uno Chicago Grill
Waters Edge Restaurant
White Castle
Wine Gallery Restaurant
Zorba's Souvlaki Plus

Fight, Comrade

Looks like Gabriel Development might be jumping the gun with the big yellow sign. No approval has been given by the city to allow the building of a shopping center. Today's Daily News:

Even after plans to build a small shopping center in Forest Hills were shot down by city officials, the developer still aims to open the complex in six months.

David Koptiev of Gabriel Development Corp. vowed to resubmit plans for the two-story center - with six name-brand stores on the ground floor and offices above - on what is now a vacant lot at 71st and Metropolitan Aves.

"It's only going to improve the area," Koptiev said, predicting the Buildings Department would approve his revised plan in coming days.

The timing is questioned with the whole rezoning thing about to become official. Citizen Stuchinski shoots back:

"There's something fishy. The little darlings might be trying to sneak something in," said Barbara Stuchinski, president of the Forest Hills Community and Civic Association, referring to the developer.

Don't know how putting a huge yellow sign before approval is even granted is "trying to sneak something in", but you have to admire Stuchinski's pluck. We all want to downzone our areas, but she went out and did it. The fight continues into the second round:

Stuchinski said she did not see workers remediate the tainted soil, as was done before a nearby dry cleaner was converted into a 7-Eleven. But Koptiev insisted remediation was done before he bought the land.

I can see fighting the destruction of hundred year old townhouses for bland office buildings, but knocking down a chop-shop for retail? What's the problem people? Barbara, you got what you wanted, the houses are safe. Let the guy build his little shopping center. If he lands a Cosi or West Elm, would you still be for the broke-down auto repair?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Fight, Baby

Good fight about the 'hood on the message boards. Here's an excerpt, sorry for the poor formatting:

What's the word on Forest Hills? Does the neighborhood have any charm outside of the Gardens area, or is it still Queens-y? Toddler - Aug 20th, 2007 1:04pm
My sil lives here and she and her friends are trashy - Aug 20th, 2007 1:05pm
I have a lot of friends there and they are not trashy at all. Ex-Manhattanites - Aug 20th, 2007 1:06pm
I guess there are different types - Aug 20th, 2007 1:06pm
What does Queensy mean? - Aug 20th, 2007 1:05pm
trashy - Aug 20th, 2007 1:05pm
That's a ridiculous generalization, and as a Queens girl, I take offense. - Aug 20th, 2007 1:06pm
pretty much queens - Aug 20th, 2007 1:05pm
what does Queens-y mean, princess? - Aug 20th, 2007 1:05pm
It's a great nabe, but you appear to be snobby, so you probably won't like it. Stay in Greenwich. More your type. - Aug 20th, 2007 1:06pm
Re: It's a great nabe, but you appear to be snobby, so you probably won't like it. Stay in Greenwich. More your type. (more) I live there and love it. The schools are great, the people are nice and the restaurants are awesome. It still has a way to go people wise: yes there is trash - but by trash I mean both kinds - moms who give their kids coke in a baby bottle and nouveau riche snobs.- Aug 20th, 2007 1:09pm
if you are looking for high end, look at jamaica estates but you have to have $$ to afford it - Aug 20th, 2007 1:07pm
how much is a small 4 bedroom there? (house) - Aug 20th, 2007 1:08pm
at least $1mil, probably more, I'd say $1.5 and above - Aug 20th, 2007 1:08pm
We're moving to FH, next week. Buying our first co-op. It's been a well-established middle-middle class neighborhood for decades. Great public schools, nice parks, good shopping, short commute to midtown. - Aug 20th, 2007 1:07pm
op: I live in Brooklyn -- not Greenwich, nice try. Let me try again -- is the n'hood full of high-rise postwar bldgs and autobody shops, or are there prewar bldgs, parks, trees, etc? - Aug 20th, 2007 1:08pm
lol, no clue but you are funny - Aug 20th, 2007 1:08pm
Some hi-rises, but mostly 6-8 floor buildings, good shopping (Austin St) & easy commute (4 subway lines). It's a nice place to live. - Aug 20th, 2007 1:10pm
no charm, high rises, crowded. try douglaston manor - Aug 20th, 2007 1:10pm
i wouldn't say charm but there are great places to eat and shop. have met many down to earth ex-city people. (but the buildings are not like bklyn brownstones..if that's the charm you are looking for) - Aug 20th, 2007 1:08pm

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Big Week at the Tennis Club

Just a reminder that this week is the Forest Hills tune-up for the US Open.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Call the Tax Man

The Karate place "International Karate and Fitness Center" in the old Beach Bum Tanning building on Austin St. near Mandee/Annie Sez is moving. According to webmaster/owner Sensei Anistratov,

"We are moving half a block up Austin St. to a sports facility complex.The new location is at106-06 69th Rd. between Austin St. and the service road on Queens Blvd. It is acroos the street from ''Annie Sez'' & ''Mandees''.We will be holding classes in the ballroom temporarily until the permanent space will be fixed."

That location is the Forest Hills Jewish Center at the corner formed by 69th Rd., Gerard Pl, and Austin St. So a private business is moving into the Jewish Center. There's something fishy about this to me. Let's put a Starbucks in Our Lady Queens of Martyrs while we're at it.

The Next Generation

A long blog post on an artistic website about the future of our borough. This high school student thinks Queens is the next Brooklyn - nothing we haven't heard before. But what is new is this bold predicition:

"So, the stream of exodus leading away from Manhattan will have to find a new direction to point in…and like I said, my friends had a theory. 20 or 30 years from now, I officially predict that my generation will be known as the Generation of Queens."

Harvey Fierstein will be so proud.

"I Was Against It, Till I Checked It Out"

Good news for the hipster lovers - we bagged another one. By way of Brooklyn, the 24 year-old Rock photographer writes. . .

So yeah, I bought a place. And yes, it's in Forest Hills, Queens. It's an awesome place and I'm stoked to have a washer/dryer there. I know that my previous anti-Queens stance makes me look like the biggest hypocrite in the world, and I agree with you. I was against it till I checked it out. It was cheap, awesome and delicious (Korean food everywhere). It'll be the perfect place for me to drink alone in solitude while I drown my post-relationship sorrows.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

PJ's Opens

Much-welcomed good news from the Yellowstone side. PJ's Steakhouse, where Cobblestones bar used to be, is open. A blurb from Time Out Magazine

Good luck.

You Can Get There From Here

If I don't have a car, how will I get to Trader Joe's? Here's how:

1. Rent one. AQUA's East Coast Rental on QB will run you $55 a weekday and $189 for a weekend (3 day minimum).

2. Car Service. Never thought you'd be one of those people showing up at the supermarket in a livery cab? Well, how many of you thought you'd be living in Queens. From Continental Ave. Subway station to Trader Joe's will cost you $6 each way according to Four Ones.

3. The Q23 bus. At two dollars a pop (unless you have an unlimited), I'd say go with the livery, but for those looking to minimize costs, the route is below.

4. The Trader Joe's Co-Op. This is the lazy version of the strictly regimented Park Slope Food-Co, where they make you work. This is a group of us who give each other rides down to TJ's or pick up items for them. Details to come. . .and will probably be abandoned due to realization that there's way too much thought going into getting to a grocery store.

The F Train Floods

Let's face it, the F train floods aren't going away anytime soon. I encourage you to email the MTA and say that if you're not going to fix the problem, at least let's get some of those new subway cars on the track (currently found on the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and L lines). If we are going to be stuck, at least it will be a bit more pleasant.

Email at

Friday, August 10, 2007

Progress, Queens-Style

The ugliest billboard in New York City has been taken down!!!

Behind it is. . .

The second ugliest billboard. Remember in "Airplane", when Lloyd Bridges took of his sunglasses only to reveal another pair. . .

Continental and Metropolitan

Here's the first look at the shopping center being developed by Gabriel Development Group. In a search on the Internet, here is the only result for the cell number listed on the sign:

Don't expect Zabar's East anytime soon. . .

Last Night's Jazz on 70th Rd.

Anybody go?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

This Is Not a Dream, This Is Really Happening

90-30 Metropolitan Ave. Forest Hills, NY 11375.
3:55pm Wednesday August 8, 2007.

NY Post Finds Queens' Hidden Gems

The NY Post has a piece on Queens "hidden gems" today. A lot of it is obvious to anyone who's lived in Queens for 48 hours (is Q Thai Bistro really hidden?), but Forest Hills dominates the list. ECon (East of Continental) scores big in the piece with blurbs about Thank Heaven, Irish Cottage, Wine Gallery, Aimee and Micciche salons, Cheeses of the World, Sakura Ya, and Q Bistro.

WeCon? Bubkis. No Martha's, no Baan Thai, no Corfu, no D & L salon. My guess is that the writer took a left on Austin from the subway and didn't look back. The Q blurb:

Even though this bistro/wine bar - which serves up chicken satay and mango pancakes for brunch - is still considered under the radar, it probably won't be for long. When we went to check it out a couple of weekends ago, it was mobbed.

Anyway, great timing with people reading the same newspaper about 50 times today while waiting for trains.

The Drunk Driver

I was pissed I didn't get a chance to write about this when it happened over the weekend.

We've all driven on that mess Yellowstone by Parker Towers/Gerard Place. You got cars coming out of the PS 190 parking lot. You got cars coming out of Gerard Place. You got cars coming out of the Parker Towers underground garage. You got double parked cars at Key Food. And you got loads of zipperheads swerving around trying to catch the long light. And of course, you have pedestrians trying to cross in the middle of the street.

Now picture navigating this in an SUV. Now picture doing it in an SUV at 3pm on a Saturday. Now picture doing it in an SUV, at 3pm on Saturday after drinking a bottle of vodka.

The lady that was hit lives in Parker Towers (the baby is from Hewlett). I guess she was coming home from Austin St. while baby sitting the granddaughter. I used to live around there and it is impossible to cross. You can walk up to the QB intersection, but that's not much better. By the police station is downright treacherous. In fact, one of the reasons I left that area is because it's so pedestrian unfriendly. Let's hope this changes things.

Let's also hope this piece of garbage Susan Karnabe gets the 7 year maximum. Drinking a bottle of vodka and driving in NYC on a Saturday at 3pm? That should be attempted murder.

This could have happened to any of us.


"You have to send more trains. The overcrowding is getting dangerous." That's what the Forest Hills station manager told the LIRR manager at Penn Station.

A summer thunder storm once again crippled the public transportation system in Queens and the MTA has no idea what to do.

Pictures are of the station manager on the phone pleading with LIRR dispatchers to send more than the scheduled hourly train, advising the crowd of the situation (he has a barely audible voice box which added confusion) and general chaos at the Forest Hills LIRR stop this morning at 11:00am. This was 5 hours after the rain stopped. I don't want to know what it was like at rush hour. Oh yes, it was 95 and humid to add to the danger. I saw at least one ambulance crew on the platform.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Continental and Metropolitan Lot

That blocked off big lot at Continental and Metropolitan that used to be a auto fix-it shop? There's a big sign posted at the site:


Didn't have the camera, but will try to get a picture tonight. It's still just a hole in the ground anyway. The site (according to the sign) is being developed by "Gabriel Development". However, the phone number listed for Gabriel Development on the sign is a 917 area code.

What, isn't the Time Warner Center's main contact number a cell phone?

Okay, so we're not getting Whole Foods there, but anything is better than that run down chop shop.

What's going in? Judging by the lack of web information on Gabriel Development and the 917 area code it's a complete guess. Let's see - a nearby 7-11 so forget any kind of convenience store. . .a few florists already on the block. . .

My guess: Four stores. 1 bagel place. 1 nail salon. 1 dry cleaner, 1 front (which will take the form of a, I don't know, a tiny drug store - antenka).

What do you think is coming?

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Nick's Pizza Familia

From New York Magazine, a nice pizza article with mentions of Nick Angelis and sister Mirene, of Nick's Pizza on Ascan (though it kills me that the click through for Nick's brings you to its Upper East Side page on ).

It all started with a marriage made in pizza heaven: Mirene Angelis, sister to Nick, the thin-crust expert from Queens, married Nick Tsoulos, the coal-oven magnate behind Angelo’s and Patsy’s, creating a loose pizza consensus that informs Nick’s, in Forest Hills and the Upper East Side, Adrienne’s Pizza Bar in the financial district, six Patsy’s locations around town, another Dean’s in Turtle Bay, three Angelo’s — and now, of course, the new Dean’s

We spoke to Nick Angelis, who served as a “free consultant” to his sister and brother-in-law. “The recipes are basically the same [between my places and Dean’s],” he tells us. “It varies according to who’s making it, what the dough is like that day, how the wind is blowing … each place has its own slightly different spin.”