Friday, March 31, 2006

Astoria Weekend Edition 31.03.06

What great weather we finally had this week! Saturday will be rainy (yet warm) but Sunday should be nice and sunny. It has been great running weather and I hope you all are able to get out and frolick in the warm spring weather. I'll be rehearsing and performing a bunch this weekend (which means staying inside, boooo), but if I wasn't I'd be out and about in the nice weather, maybe going for a run down by Astoria Park, having pancakes at Zorba's (29-05 23rd Ave.) or having some fresh juice at Fresh Start (be sure to pick up their "Buy 6 Get the 7th Juice Free" card). To Laiko up the street has homemade Greek yoghurt with honey, something I've been meaning to try. Hey, on Sunday afternoon (around 3pm) there's Ultimate Frisbee going on at Astoria Park! Sunday's gonna be a great day for that sort of thing!

But apart from hanging in Astoria, go recognize your natural or recently adopted connection to Greece on Sunday at the Greek Independence Day Parade in Manhattan. It starts at 1PM and goes down 5th Avenue from 59th Street to 79th Street. And Saturday, April 1 is April Fool's Day, which means it's not the April Fool's Parade on 5th Avenue. Yeah...yeah, that's right...sure, sure it is...

For your mind, body, and soul, this weekend you might think about checking out the Yoga Room, which has locations in both Astoria and LIC. There's a couple of classes going on this weekend, which you can check out here. The Spring Detox class sounds pretty good, and a nice thing to do on a rainy day. On rainy Saturday, you might mosey over to the Sculpture Center in LIC to catch a couple exhibits that are leaving after this weekend. Both the Anya Gallaccio and the Michael Ross exhibits end April 3. On Sunday, the Art-O-Mat is hosting the Performance Poets Association, with a free poetry reading from 2-4PM that afternoon.

Sunday is also the start of Daylight Savings Time. Remember to turn your clocks forward an hour Saturday night.

More fun, here.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

April 1, just the day not the fool part!


corner of 24 avenue and 29 street

They're throwin a big ole 80's HAIR PARTY!

Eighties music, dance, drink, hair...

This may just be the way to introduce myself to the Sparrow family
Long Live the 80's!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Iced Martha's News

Normally I'd say "hot" in place of "iced" but that would not complement the content of this post. As I stepped into Martha's Country Bakery (36-21 Ditmars Blvd.) this morning, I spied G E L A T O. A nice big display case of it! Gelato is one of my favorite things to eat. Some outside vendor makes this gelato but the bakery clerks promise that they will be making the gelato themselves very soon. Nice. I didn't try it, not really wanting to eat gelato for breakfast this particular morning, but I hope to try it soon. As far as prices, a small serving is $2.95. They have flavors that range from vanilla to peanut butter and jelly. I think it is worth checking out, for sure.

Saturday, March 25, 2006


I posted earlier this week about Trader Joe's opening, as well as the Shake Shack, two fabulous non-Astoria places worth a trip to. Trader Joe's is a bit nuts right now with the crowds, but it is full of terrific stuff that is quite affordable. The staff is really good natured and the checkout lines move quickly. I got my dried apples and apricots - both unsulphored - for the muffins that I've been meaning to make (I'll let you know how they turn out). However, I am bummed that TJs has discontinued their Moroccan Tagine Sauce. Looks like I'll have to make my own. And a little Astorian bird told me that hamburgers at the Shake Shack are really amazing. They aren't huge, but are incredibly delicious. Even the tomato and lettuce were good. I may actually eat a hamburger there, the first real beef hamburger I'd be eating in 20 years - yes, I went vegetarian in 1986, kids. However, I am no longer. I'm also excited about trying their frozen custard.

And the response to my Mundo post is really getting me excited about trying it! Nice to see so many vegetarian options. Even though I am no longer a veg. I do enjoy the food, and cook vegetarian food primarily at home.

Maybe someone here can help me out - I am utterly in love with the bells played at the St. Irene Chrysovalantou Greek Orthodox Monastery on 23rd Ave and 37th Street. It's usually the same tones, but every once in a while the pitches change (and sometimes the rhythm). I'm assuming real people are striking these bells, too. Does anyone out there have insight on these bells? The bells are ringing right now, actually, and they have rung a total of three times this morning. Love it!

I often run down by Astoria Park, and have been watching the renovations on the old Eagle Electric Plant on the corner of 24th Avenue and 19th Street. This article talks about it. It's going to be a co-op (studios and 1-3 bedroom apartments) with shops on the first floor, as well as an underground parking garage. There's an earlier article from the year 2000 that says studios will run $90K and 3 bedrooms $275K . BWA HA! A more current estimate, at least for a 1 bedroom, is $375K.

An addition to this weekend's events outlined by our wonderful flooz: our fellow Joey Tamara is hosting a ginormous multi-family stoop sale this weekend. It sounds like there will be a lot of great stuff there, plus she's making hot cider and snacks for the event. Tamara is, as I understand, a fabulous cook and friend of Astoria's roving gastronome Zora, who writes often about her life in Astoria. The sale will be this Saturday and Sunday 10-4, at 30-85 30th Street. Check it out!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Good News from Mundo

I have heard so many good things about Mundo! I haven't tried it yet, but really want to, and will once my bank account gets back in the black. In the meantime, I enjoy living vicariously through my fellow bloggers in their trips to the restaurant, and also via the newsletter that the restaurant sends out (contact them to be put on their distribution list). The good news is that they now deliver! It's a limited area, the borders being 36th Avenue to 30th Avenue and Crescent to 40th Avenue. Bad news for us in the Ditmars area, but good for you in central Astoria. But it's cool nonetheless. They have a downloadable .pdf takeout menu as well as a page on the site for your perusal. Worth checking out!

Weekend Edition 24.03.06

It really is spring... i don't lie, April showers are getting a head start this weekend!

If pigging out this winter has got you down stay tuned for the newest season of our beloved local Hell Gate CSA for your fill on fresh veggies-its about to start (June-Sept.). A little birdie told me that this year we will have tomato, flour, and honey in there with the usual yummy veggies...AND the new distribution point will be the ever popular Freeze Peach, hooray!

Leave work on Friday and go get your girl time going at Athena's Nails at 31-11 30th Ave. $20 gets you a kick butt mani/pedi. Whats the big deal you ask? They are so well stocked with workers that the girls who are waiting on clients come around and give you lovely, LOVELY massages. Not a full on one, but if they see you sitting for too long, they just sidle on over and give you about a 5 minute rubdown to get the blood going! I've been going there for years and really do love the place. The staff is sweet and attentive and the place is pretty meticulous with their tools and cleanliness. Went last night and got my spring flower fix in (well in hopes of spring anyway)

On my way home from my nail appointment, i saw that Astoria Billiards- 30th Ave between 35 & 36 Street was closed by the city. Hmmmm, it had one of those orange signs out front. Let's keep this one on the radar and see what gives.

This Saturday the new show FLUXBOX opens at the Flux Factory. Apparently the building will be transformed into a giant music box...artsy enough for ya? I think they call this stuff "sound sculpture", well whatever it is-its indoors (rain remember?)

The Albatross Bar is advertising their Sunday nights as Pub Night- all about Darts, Pool and even Chess! This may be just the right way to end the weekend and get ready for the work week. They are also hosting an open mic night during the week with the clever name Loose Lips. I think this is a really good thing that the local spots are starting these nights, we don't have enough comedy/writing/expression type events.

Next Tuesday, or any Tuesday for that matter- hit up some Tai Chi! Go for it at 2pm at the Broadway Library (40-20 Broadway, 718-721-2462) get the stress out. Did i mention it was free? Can't ask for more, free workouts!
On your way home from there, scoot on down to Politos Pizza on Broadway off Steinway and destroy your diet with one of their loaded slices. Last night was a "what the heck" kinda night at my house, as you can see $15 will buy you a ton of pie. Oh and the mushrooms...cheese...oozing all over the place. If you are eating an individual slice there, they top it a mile high for an even better bang for your buck!


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

New! Beta! Blog! Search!

Recently I discovered our Google Overlords have developed a new Google Blog Search, the function of which is pretty explanatory. Type in Astoria, NY or Astoria, Queens and see what comes up!

In Other News...

It's nice to see the different cultures and people getting along here in Astoria. From Greek News:
Members of the Dar Al-Dawah Mosque in Astoria, their associates, friends, and neighbors conducted a community understanding and involvement activity that has become known as the Annual Interfaith Dinner. Their flyer indicated that they were honoring Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Paisios of Tyana, Abbot of St Irene’s Chrysovalantou Monastery, The Muslim American Society, and The Jewish Tanenbaum Center. These three honorees coincidentally represent what Muslims refer to as people of The Book; they are members of the Abrahamic faiths.

Read more in the article.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Weekend Edition 17.03.06

Well, another weekend is upon us. And it's not just any old weekend, it's St. Patrick's Day weekend! Be Irish for a day and partake in the fun. Of course, you can attend the 5th Avenue Parade in Manhattan on Friday, the most popular parade in the city all year. It starts at 11:00 a.m. on 5th Avenue around 44th Street. In Astoria, McCanns Pub (36-15 Ditmars Boulevard) is offering free corned beef and cabbage throughout the day. From 7-10 pm, $25 gets you an open bar and buffet at Crehan's Bar (41-04 31st Ave.). The Shannon Pot in LIC also invites you to join them on St. Patrick's Day. Other possible suspects are Gibney's (32-01 Broadway) and The Irish Rover (37-18 28th Ave.)

On Saturday, P.S.1 in LIC presents a talk and roundtable discussion on the topic “Regarding the Avant-Garde.” Participants include n+1 (Brooklyn's journal of politics, literature and culture) editors Mark Greif and Keith Gessen, n+1 art critic Dushko Petrovich and artist Eliza Newman-Saul. On Sunday, Jessica Stockholder discusses her past work and her current exhibition at P.S.1, Of Standing Float Roots in Thin Air.

If you are in the mood for new music (I often am), come check out Astoria's own Lost Dog New Music Ensemble performing six new works by New York composers David Fetherolf, Silas Nathaniel Huff, Jonathan Pieslak, Erin Rogers, B. Allen Schulz, and Stefan Weisman. The concert starts at 7:30 at Good Shepherd Methodist Church, 30-44 Crescent Street, Astoria, Queens (Crescent Street at 30th Road). Or, stop by Waltz-Astoria Saturday night for a wine tasting. For $20, you get the opportunity to taste a number of different wines and learn about them at the same time.

On Sunday consider taking a tour of neighboring Roosevelt Island. The 92nd Street Y is organizing a Roosevelt Island hike this Sunday at 11am. Cost is $25 and reservations are recommended. Later that day, come by Freeze Peach between 4 and 8pm and say hi, as I'll be preparing and serving coffee, tea, and snacks to help raise $$ for the Hell Gate CSA.

And on top of it all, throughout the weekend great movies are playing in town at the Museum of the Moving Image.

As always, more fun, here.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

It's So Big It Needs Its Own Post

Of course, the most obvious big event this weekend is on Friday --- that would be St. Patrick's Day. However, as far as I'm concerned, an even bigger event on Friday is the OPENING OF TRADER JOE'S UNION SQUARE. Hooray! I am so excited! I am a big fan of the TJs, plus the option of buying wine and beer from them finally is a reality here in NY. Personally, I dislike the antiquated "blue laws."

OK --- and if that isn't good enough news, the Shake Shack is opening back up on Tuesday, March 21 at 11am. In case you don't know, Shake Shack is the fabulous hamburger place, a "roadside food stand" in Madison Square Park. Oh blessed burgers, fries, and frozen custard come to me! Yes, yes, it's not in Astoria or Long Island City, but it is worth the field trip to Manhattan.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Bikes, Bikes, Bikes! Coming Soon...

Fellow Astorian Lorrie tipped me off to the coming of bike rentals in LIC this spring. Spokesman Cycles will be opening up in Long Island City and will provide a myriad of services, including bike rentals! Nice! I look forward to checking them out when they open up. Watch this space for more news later this April.

Weekend Getaway!

ok, so this isn't about an Astorian weekend getaway, but my own weekend away! I leave thursday a.m for San Francisco. Oh i'm bubbling over with excitement. Never been, so i'm going to try to cram alot into 4 days. I'm sure good times await me on the left coast.

3 things before i go:

• Just wanted to drop a note before i left that you are in Meg's capable hands and i'm sure she's got a hella lineup for St. Patty's Day!
• I just found a 6 year old copy of Time Out NY at my rents house featuring Astoria (it's from right before i moved here.) I am scanning it in and will post stuff from there-you know like a big comparison on whats closed down since then and what's just a bunch of malarky etc.!
• Lastly, go to This Show Again and check out my blurby and very chatty chat with the crew of Astoria's only podcast! (i think it goes up tomorrow-weds). Remind me to never become a public speaker hahahaha...

Oh and the pic, those are my babies Tallulah and Flic-i couldn't resist sharing. She really let him have it here, i'll post more of my silly kitties later. They are a barrel of laughs.

Have a ball this weekend, i want stories!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Post-Concert Fun

The concert I played at Waltz last night went fine, and it was especially satisfying to play the very early keyboard music for a new audience. A pleasant surprise was meeting Tom and Abby, who are readers of this blog, after the concert! It's so nice to meet the readers, I must say. Totally fun. Thanks for coming to the concert, you two! I hope to see you at more concerts.

P.S. The desserts at Waltz are super tasty - you should really try them sometime. Jen, and Erik, it was great to see you, too! What a treat to have both old and new friends at these performances.

You know

29th Street between Ditmars and 23rd Ave. smells really good late at night. Like sweet bread baking. The De Simone bakery is nearby, so I imagine that is where the smell is coming from. Tonight it kind of smelled like cinnamon raisin bread. The De Simone bakery makes the best muffins I've tasted in Astoria so far, and bothh their bran and their blueberry muffins are particularly good. The smell of baking bread is very comforting for me.

On a completely different note, I watched the last episode of Season 4 of Alias tonight (bless you, NetFlix), and all I can say is, "whaaaaaa???" That car crash was almost as bad as the one in Adaptation.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Astorian Weekend Edition 10.03.06

Here's your to do list for the next couple of days, there is no excuse not to get out and enjoy the unseasonably warm weather:

Friday go for Baroque

Our very own Meg Cotner will be performing at the now alcoholically friendly Waltz Astoria! Not only do we have to come out and support Astoria's favorite harpsichordist- we have to give their new libations a try!!!

Want more music? Well you can head a little further away...
Jazz Jam Series
This is going to be one of those cool old time jam sessions. I see potential in this here kind of party. Its a jazz improve thing where the musicians can really show their chops! And every session comes complete with a special guest. Show your support @ $10 gen admission and $7 for musicians, students and seniors at LaGuardia Community College

Saturday-It's Greek to me at The Athanasiades Cultural Center Exhibit
30-98 42St. (i think i read that this is artspace?)
Their doing this multimedia thing on Greek Mythology: Love, Marriage & Murder. That should be a fun way to spice up your afternoon, no? It opened a couple of weeks ago and ends on the 26th of March, so nows the time to check it out before all the intrigue and evil go away.... if thats really possible hahaha. Make sure you let them know your coming 718-683-8890. Oh and if your inner greek needs more info, they have lectures on Sat & Sun from 4-6pm.

Saturday & Sunday discover more art in the hood.
Well its time to go check some of it out. We've got the Fisher Landau Center for Art with some awesome looking shows going on. This photo alone had me wanting to stop over to see what else they might have. Up on their 2nd floor right now are recent acquisitions featuring work by Matthew Barney, Lynn Davis, Yinka Shonibare, and Kara Walker. If you can't make it this weekend-fear not, all the purty pictures will be there until April 10th.

picture courtesy of
Lynn Davis, Monument to the Conquerors of Space of the VDNKh (1964), Exhibition Center, Moscow, Russia, 2003. Piezo print, Edition # 3/10, 40 x 40 inches

Up close and personal weekend
Going by P.S.1 this weekend? Saturday and Sunday beware special hours for the Artist-led Gallery Talks with Nicole Awai, Wayne Gonzales, Catarina Leitao, Justin Lowe. From 12-9pm get on a gallery tour led by artists from the different exhibitions. Free with admission.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Time for the theater...

here's a midweek suggested outting!

Wednesday March 8
@ The Creek Theater

yes yes, i know- technically its not Astoria, but come on! noone gets the area code thing anyway. I'd love to hear about it if you're going.

Chimes? Delightful!

This weekend, my notorious never-ending sweet tooth was in high gear, and I was craving everything from chocolate to bubblegum. One thing I picked up was this lovely tin of peppermint-ginger chews made by a company called Chimes. They are from Indonesia. They come in a super cool looking metal tin (I'll admit, I was sucked into buying them partially because of the awesome retro-y tin) and are individually wrapped. I love the wonderful balance of peppermint and ginger -- basically a candied ginger taste with peppermint background hints. And they are chewy!! I love, love, LOVE chewy things -- caramels, gummi, you name it. There's no corn syrup in these candies, which makes me happy, too. According to the website, they have regular ginger and also peanut butter-ginger flavors, along with the peppermint-ginger.

Now, where did I find these candies? Well, at my neighborhood natural foods store, Fresh Start, which is on the north side of 23rd Avenue between 31st Street and 29th Street. I like going there also to buy tempeh, frozen blueberries, and organic juices, to name a few. Their seitan sandwich is also very good. The staff is very friendly and listens to suggestions about stocking certain items you might desire. Defintely check them out!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Wings at McCann's!

So friday night, a good 10 Astoria Eats players ran in from the cold for some hot wings at McCann's. And i must say- i was quite happy with them!

I think we got 6 or 7 platters of the generic "hot" ones. They were just right in heat for me. I know others were still hitting the tabasco, but for me-they were yummy! Juicy and meaty.A couple of drinks and a pool game or two later and we were all about the moonpies.
Oh yes...and Meg had never tried one before!
From the looks of it- she liked it!

Then we trotted off to Emack & Bolio's since they were still open. I had never been. What a treat to find that they came up with Grasshopper Pie ice cream!!!!! Grasshopper cookies in mint ice cream, heavenly! Ate it so fast that there wasn't time for pics sorry! If you haven't had the fun of eating ice cream while walking in 20 degree weather, go for it. Luckily waiting at the Freeze Peach was Jayme and a whole lotta caramel hot chocolates.... Friday night was definitley NOT a diet night.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Astoria Weekend Edition 03.03.06

Well, it's March now, and that means spring is just around the corner, even though it snowed this week. One thing that says spring is on the way to me is St. Patrick's Day (March 17). This holiday is a huge deal here in NYC, with the 5th Avenue parade drawing massive crowds. However, sadly, not everyone who is Irish is allowed to march. The solution? Enter the All Inclusive St. Patrick's Day Parade! On this Sunday, March 5, at 12:30pm the parade will start in Sunnyside, Queens at 43rd and Skillman Avenue and end at 61st Street & Woodside Avenue in Woodside. Each year the parade organizers decide to honor someone, and this year they decided to honor mulptiple people: the McCourt Brothers (Malachy, Frank, Michael & Alfie) and Ellen Duncan. There will be bands, puppets, dancers, and a lot of fun. Come be Irish for a day no matter who you are!

Now, Astoria likes its festivals, too. Recently, there was the Venison Feast at Koliba Restaurant. My friend Jayme tipped me off to the exciting news of another food event - this weekend, the Bohemian Beer Garden steps up the plate with their Three Day Pork Festival! Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, come for a three course meal and delicious beer, with seatings at specific times. There will also be live entertainment in the Main Hall. Should be an awesome time. Afterwards, head over to Martha's Country Bakery (36-21 Ditmars Blvd.) where they are now making German Chocolate cupcakes!

Along with parading and filling your belly, take in some cultural manna. The Thalia Spanish Theater presents the musical, Tango and Flamenco Fusion, with original music composed and performed by bandeoneon master Raul Juarena and, direct from Spain, Spanish flamenco guitarist and composer Daniel Casares, and flamenco singer Irene Salas "Chanela." On exhibit at the Fisher Landau Center for Art is a new installation featuring work by Matthew Barney, Lynn Davis, Yinka Shonibare, and Kara Walker, as well as Zoo Story: An Exhibition of Animals in Art. And don't forget that the O'Keeffe/Vaccaro exhibit closes this Sunday at the Art-O-Mat.

More fun, here.