Thursday, August 27, 2009

Astorian Weekend Edition 27.08.09

Looks like we're in for more showers this weekend, most likely due to tropical storm "Danny" moving up the Atlantic. So, head inside during the showers! Keep summer going with a visit to the Side Door (21st Street just north of Ditmars) for some ice cream and cookies, or if you want something a little more adult, you can head to Sweet Afton (30-09 34th St), who is having their soft opening right now. Mmm... burgers and deep fried pickles - not to mention tasty cocktails.

Pop on over to Astoria Wines (34-12 Broadway) and pick up an interesting bottle, and perhaps pair it with some tasty treats from Mediterranean Foods (30-12 34th Street and 23-18 31st Street).

And Mundo (31-18 Broadway Store #E) is back! One of my favorite restaurants, they always prepare delicious food. Right now they are featuring the photographic work of Julie M. Michalski.

If you want to brave the potential downpour, Socrates Sculpture Park presents FLOAT: a series of temporary artworks and live performances throughout the park. They'll be there rain or shine. Socrates is off of Vernon near the western terminus of Broadway.

From Thursday to Monday, Astoria Music & Arts is having another local music extravaganza. Music will take place at locales such as The Quays and LIC Bar. RSVP to the event on Facebook, or check their blog for more info.

If you're a member of Why Leave Astoria?!, consider attending their Charity Night at Dillingers, Saturday at 8:00 p.m. Ran Craycraft, mastermind behind WLA?!, will be bartending at Dillingers. It's a fundraiser for St. Jude's Children's Hospital, and there will be drink specials all night. Dillilngers is a 46-19 30th Ave. Sign up here.

EDIT: The fundraiser at Dillingers has now been rescheduled for September 19. Our apologies for any confusion!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sweet Afton Opens

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I love it when Astoria gets play in Manhattan-drenched newsletters, and today's Urban Daddy revealed the official opening of new speakeasy-ish bar, Sweet Afton, which we've had our eye on.

The owners, who've also started West Village bar, Wilfie and Nell, spread their philosophy of serving "good drinks and locally sourced food" to this new Astorian addition.

It was exciting to take a peek at their no bull*&%$ menu, which includes beer battered fried pickles with smoky sauce, Irish sausage wrapped and baked in puff pastry and their signature burger. You could sneak a peek at the menu here, as well as see a slide show of their digs. Read the full UD write-up here.

We'll have some more input from Mackenzi next week, but these deets should tide your curiosity over in the meantime.

Sweet Afton - 30-09 34th Street, Astoria NY 11103


N/W Train to 30th Avenue

New Menu At Café Bar

Last week I had the pleasure of getting a little sneak peek at Café Bar’s new “Small Plates Menu” and all I can say is I’m hungry! Owner Monika Constantinides was eager to show off her new menu concept and the lovely chef behind all these delicious new additions. There are 9 small plates to choose from in total; three meat, three seafood, and three veggie options. Each delicious new creation can be ordered as an entrée for $19 or get any three of your choice as part of the new “Small Plates Menu” and pay only $16. The tasty new treats are a welcome change for Café Bar, a neighborhood institution that previously only had basic bar food and brunch.

Some of the tasty new additions:

Cumin Rubbed Pork Tenderloin
Warm Pecorino Fondue
Sake Glazed Pork Ribs
Farmers Market Risotto
Tomato Braised Octopus

Café Bar
3290 36th Street
(718) 204-5273

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Book Event Tonight at Seaburn Books

From Joey in Astoria Friend, Zora O'Neill:

Local criminal justice teacher Peter Moskos (who happens to be Zora's husband) is having a book event at Seaburn tonight at 6.30 p.m. Peter's book, Cop in the Hood, is about his time in Baltimore working as a police officer, in the same area where The Wire was shot. It "examines policing from a first-hand police perspective, focusing on the failure of the drug war and its impact on police culture and arrest decision in the ghetto." Cop in the Hood won the 2008 PROSE award for best book in Sociology, and is coming out in paperback next month.

Seaburn Books
33-18 Broadway
(718) 267-7929

Side Door from Bistro 33 Is Almost Here

Since the start of summer there have been rumblings about a new ice cream/sweet shop opening in town, courtesy of the Bistro 33 folks. Well, looks like tomorrow is the day! From Bistro 33's twitter feed, we learn that the new place is called Side Door, and via astorians there will be a 5pm preview tomorrow (August 26). They'll have "Ice cream and brownies", and who knows what else! This is an exciting development for those of us with a sweet tooth.

Side Door
21st St between Ditmars and 21st Dr.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Reminder: Tonight's Movie Premiere in Astoria Park

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Last week
we mentioned that Nat Geo will be hosting a movie premiere tonight in Astoria Park, called The Human Family Tree. The movie, narrated by Kevin Bacon sounds incredibly interesting and will highlight the Astorian community specifically, talking about retracing our ancestral footsteps.

Monday, August 24th at 8:00p.m.
Astoria Park lawn on Shore Blvd. between Hell Gate Bridge and the pool
No RSVP required - see trailer here

If you'd like to grab a bite to eat before or after the movie, check out this recommendation list of eclectic restaurants close to Astoria Park, which will send your palate on a trip across the world.

Agnanti (Traditional Greek) - 19-06 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria. 718.545.4554
Bistro 33 (French-Japanese fusion) - 19-33 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria. 718.721.1933
Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden (Czech and Slovak) - 29-19 24th Avenue, Astoria. 718.274.4925
Corner 26 Taverna (Traditional Greek) - 26-02 23rd Avenue, Astoria. 718.777.5511
Da Franco's (Italian) - 23-92 21st Street, Astoria. 718.267.0010
Fatty's Cafe (Mexican) - 25-01 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria. 718.267.7071
Thai Pavilion (Thai) - 23-92 21st Street, Astoria.

Enjoy the movie!

John Liu at Ditmars N/W Station Tomorrow

Today I got an email alerting me of the following, which is happening tomorrow:
John Liu, current City Council Transportation Committee Chair and Democratic candidate for Comptroller will be at the Ditmars Blvd N/W train stop (31 Street between Ditmars Blvd and 23rd Avenue) from 7am-9am talking to voters about his candidacy for anyone that wants to stop by and ask him a question.
Very nice. If you have a question for him, consider stopping by tomorrow morning.

Astorian Photogs, Head to Astoria Park This Weekend!

Astoria Park Looking East

Anyone who's spent time in Astoria Park and surroundings knows it's a great setting for photography. I've taken lots and lots of pictures in Astoria Park, just wandering around. This weekend there's a photography event, organized by Parks:

Landscape Photography

Sunday, August 30, 2009
12:00 p.m.

The location of Astoria Park “lens” itself to breathtaking views of Manhattan’s skyscrapers, the East River, the RFK Bridge and much more. Bring your own camera.

Location: Astoria Park: 24 Road & 19 Street

More Information:
(718) 846-2731

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mediterranean Foods: Avgolemono to Olives

As I was walking down 30th Ave last week, I decided to stop into the Mediterranean Foods Grocery store that I often pass. Located just off the avenue on 34th Street, Mediterranean Foods is lined with shelves and fridges full of exciting products that are at once staple and specialty. Among the items in my basket were a goat's milk butter from Greece (lower in fat than regular butter, and with a delightful mild-yet-distinctive taste), a Greek sheep's milk feta (from their deli counter, which features a wide range of imported meats and cheeses), canned gigante beans with a tomato sauce (together with couscous, the contents of that little can make one of my favorite five minute meals), and the spoils from my raid of their extensive olive bar (including some delicious spiced green olives with whole coriander seeds). The store is well worth a trip: the prices are reasonable, and you'll find new products to spice up your routine dishes without a complete overhaul of your cooking habits. Mediterranean Foods has two locations, 30-12 34th Street and 23-18 31st Street, next door to Artopolis Bakery.

Friday, August 21, 2009

More Weekend Events

Green Shores NYC

There are a number of "green" events happening this weekend. Thanks to Green Shores for compiling them:

Saturday, August 22

Focus Group: "Improving the Quality of a Community" Needs Survey. 10 a.m. - Noon or 1PM-3PM Long Island City Library (21st Street and 38th Avenue). Project 126 of the Elmezzi Foundation is sponsoring a series of focus groups to improve the quality of a community needs survey. If you’re a resident of zip codes 11101, 11102 or 11106 please contact or call 718-213-8600 to RSVP.

Pickling Fest (Let's Make Pickles!): 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at Two Coves Community Garden, at the triangle where Astoria Blvd, 30th Avenue and 8th Street intersect.

Curious Frog Theater: Plutus 1-2:30 p.m. in Astoria Park. A contemporary version of Aristophanes’ ancient Greek comedy.

Romeo and Juliet 5-6:30 p.m. in Socrates Sculpture Park (Vernon Boulevard and Broadway).

Sunday, August 23

Astoria Water Walk: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at Astoria Park (Shore Blvd. between Ditmars and Astoria Park South). Join the Astoria Park Alliance & Green Shores NYC in re-experiencing Shore Blvd. on this Department of Transportation sponsored temporary pedestrian street. Shore Blvd. will be closed to motorized vehicles during the above times and the street will be filled with fun activities and programming! A complete list of scheduled events can be found here.

"Find Me In Here" dance performance: 2-3 p.m. in Rainey Park (Vernon Boulevard and 34th Avenue). A dance about you and the group.

Getting To Know…Astoria Wines

Open just one week, Astoria Wines already feels like an old neighborhood favorite. Located on the bustling block of Broadway and 35th street, this rather impressive wine shop stocks 100’s of wines. Owner Yang Gao focuses his attention on small, family owned vineyards that provide exceptional quality at a great value. He uses his immense knowledge of wines to bring a fantastic selection of really special wines to Astoria. Trained as a classical oboe player, Yang found it hard to find satisfying work, and took up his second passion wine. Working for years as a wine distributor in and around NYC helped him hone his wine tasting skills. He personally tries every wine before it hits the shelves at Astoria Wines.

His love of the arts extends past the oboe, too! Each month, Astoria Wines will feature a different local artist exhibition lining their front ‘gallery’ and wine tasting area. Tonight Astoria Wines will host their first wine tasting, bringing three great wines out to share and discuss with customers: a California Petite Syrah, a California Sauvignon Blanc, and a fantastic French Burgundy Red. While you enjoy a fantastic wine, don’t forget to check out the sea inspired artwork by local artist Gabriel Perici.

I know I couldn’t be more excited to welcome another independently owned business to Astoria. Add to that the fact that Yang has a great eye for wine and a passion for Astoria and really, what could be better? Oh yeah, their great wine specials, case discounts, and free local delivery.

Wine tasting tonight 8/21
6:30-9:30, no cost.

Astoria Wines
34-12 Broadway

Some Wine with that Meze?

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Today's Tasting Table newsletter about Greek wines piqued my interest because it relates so well to our beloved Greek influenced neighborhood. There are so many amazing, authentic Greek establishments in Astoria that to most of us, names like taramosalata, melitzanosalata, tzatziki and horta don't require clarification. But in terms of great Greek wines, many (including me) are probably lost. What's good? What's cheap? What goes well with Greek dishes?

Tasting Table offers four intriguing recommendations--and the best part is that they're "dirt cheap," ranging between $4-$13/bottle.

Learn a bit about Greek wines and ask for them next time you're at one of Astoria's Greek eateries--or look for them at the liquor store.

To whet your appetite further, below is my personal recommendations list on where to eat Greek:

Akti - 34-19 30th Avenue, Astoria. 718.721.3530
Agnanti - 19-06 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria. 718.545.4554
BZ Grill - 27-02 Astoria Blvd, Astoria. 718.932.7858
Cavo - 42-18 31st Avenue, Astoria. 718.721.1001
Ovelia - 34-01 30th Avenue, Astoria. 718.721.7217
Philoxenia - 32-07 34th Avenue, Astoria. 718.626.2000
S'Agapo (now Sofia) - 34-21 34th Avenue, Astoria. 718.626.0303
Zenon Taverna - 34-10 31st Avenue, Astoria. 718.956.0133
Opa! Tony's Souvlaki - 28-44 31st Street, Astoria. 718.728.3638

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Astorian Weekend Edition 20.08.09

With only half of a rainy weekend ahead, enjoy a mix of indoor and outdoor activities--from shopping, an outdoor movie and lots and lots of eating.

What could be better on a hot day than a cold, creamy gelato or a cup of ices? I recently tried some delicious hazelnut gelato and chocolate ices from Terrizzi Pasticceria. Both were awesome and super refreshing. They have a variety of flavors and the place doesn’t get busy, so you’ll get quick service. 35-14 30th Avenue, Astoria. 718.726.9698

Not far from Terrizzi is Thai Pavilion, which is known for good, consistent Thai food. You can visit the original location on 30th Avenue (37-10 30th Avenue, Astoria. 718777.5546) or you can check out the brand, spankin’ new one on 21st Street and 24th Avenue (23-92 21st Street, Astoria). If you’re in the nabe and feel like having Italian food instead, you can pop into DaFranco’s next door (23-92 21st Street, Astoria. 718.267.0010)—they also serve homemade gelato (pictured above). 22-36 31th Street, Astoria. 718.545.4100

One last call for eating...Sac’s Place is celebrating their 20th Anniversary by scaling back their prices to year 1989. This enticing offer is going on between now and Sunday and you must dine in the restaurant to get the discount. Buon compleanno Sac’s! 25-41 Broadway, Astoria. 718.204.5002

Our newest guest blogger, Mackenzi shone a spotlight on a fabulous Astoria boutique, Inside Astoria. Take a walk over there this weekend and check out their cool collection of furniture, books, kid’s items, jewelry and so much more. You can even enjoy a complimentary glass of vino while shopping. 37-20 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria. 718.956.4000

Extend your weekend activities through Monday by attending a fun and informative movie premiere about the history of Astoria. The Human Family Tree, brought to you by National Geographic and narrated by Kevin Bacon “demonstrates how we all share common ancestors who embarked on very different journeys.” Monday, August 24th at 8p.m. in Astoria Park, no RSVP required (Shore Blvd between Hell Gate Bridge and the pool).

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Getting To Know….Inside Astoria

Tucked on the western end of Ditmars, is one of my favorite little Astoria gems, Inside Astoria. Owned and operated by local Andrew Purdom, Inside Astoria is a fantastic gift shop filled with a collection of items- furniture, mirrors, books, kids items, cards, jewelry, and so much more! On my last trip, I spied amazing kid’s puppets, an assortment of scented oils for the home, a fantastic collection of picture frames and lots and lots of other goodies worth checking out. What’s even better? Enjoy a glass of wine while shopping or shop at home on his brand new website!

Running a great little shop doesn’t leave Andrew with much time to play, but we were curious, what does Andrew love? His top three Astoria “Must Do List” items included always amazing Fatty’s Café and adjoining wine bar Crescent and Vine, the new Studio Square Beer Garden, and checking out the weekly Thursday night drag shows atLavish.

Inside Astoria is also turning 3! It is hard to believe but it’s already been three great years since Andrew opened his doors. So next time you’re on Ditmars, check out Inside Astoria and tell them happy birthday, too!

Inside Astoria
37-20 Ditmars

New Guest Blogger

We're psyched to introduce our newest guest blogger, Mackenzi Farquer, whom some of you may know as a local crafter and entrepreneur. Mackenzi is planning a fabulous series of Getting To Knows... of Astorians and wonderful Astorian things. Here's the lowdown on Mackenzi:

Mackenzi Farquer is a 6 year resident of Astoria and owner of SITE, a local design shop. As an interior designer, and Astoria lover, she noted a lack of great shopping in the area and worked with a crew of local talent to share her dream of a great design shop with all Astorians. When not working, Mackenzi can be found reading her favorite blogs, chatting local Astoria gossip with her eclectic neighbors, eating baby Jesus cake at Vesta, and trying to figure out how to get onto the Sesame Street set across the way.

Welcome, Mackenzi!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Silbin Sandovar Revue Live at the Gantries plus Wafels

Tonight at Gantry State Park is the Silbin Sandovar Revue. What the heck is this?? I just heard about it. From their Facebook page:
The Queens debut of the "revue" styled group formed by Silbin Sandovar (aka Gustavo Rodriguez) to showcase the amazing musical talents of Long Island City and Astoria music. The Silbin Sandovar Revue was based on the idea that its members would come together only for special events that bring attention to the area’s growing musical community.

The SILBIN SANDOVAR REVUE, is a Queens neighborhood "super group" made up of some of the area's finest bands and musicians.

The Reuve, assisted by a great band, plays original songs written by its various members including Silbin Sandovar, Theresa Rizzo, Andy Stack, Brian Meece & Jeneen Terrana. The Revue's overall sound incorporates many shades of folk, rock and Americana.

Sounds interesting! BONUS: The Wafels and Dinges truck will be there tonight! I heard about it via their twitter feed:

If you go, let us know how it all was!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

So I've heard...

New brick oven pizza is coming! It will be on the corner of 37th Street and 30th Ave. If it's good, this will only pump up the awesomeness that is this block. Looking forward to trying it. [foodista]

Top Tomato has closed! So sad! According to my sources, the rent was being raised, Top Tomato said no to it and said bye-bye. I don't know how sad they were to close, but I do know there were there for over 20 years, so I expect it was a huge disappointment at least. Will more greengrocers crop up as a result? Will neighboring Taverna Kyclades expand into that space? Your guess is as good as mine. We shall see. [astorians]

I walked by Sweet Afton last week and saw some beautiful new windows installed in the front. I have high hopes for this place, and really look forward to enjoying a pint and some grub there very soon. [walking around]

There's a new wine store on Broadway (near 34th/35th Streets). Good prices and 10% off right now. They are open til 11 during the week, midnight on Saturday and 8pm on Sunday (you can thank NYS laws for that). [astorians]

New tapas restaurant La Rioja on Broadway should open very soon. People have seen the doors open, revealing a nice dining area. La Rioja is in the old Arcos space. I can't wait to try it, and would so love that it might be as good as my all-time favorite tapas place, Cesar. [astorians]

A reader told us about a new gelato place on 35th Ave near 37th Street, called Berry Lover. Well, I was over there yesterday and tried it. It's very tasty with a nice smooth consistency (sort of like very thick soft-serve or frozen custard). I tried the pistachio, nutella, and almond joy; I chose the almond joy (I love coconut). I'd definitely go back to try other things, including their sorbets; they also have frozen yogurt (but please don't call it "froyo"). [walking around]

There's a new cafe in the Ditmars area: Surf Astoria. It's up the stairs by the produce market and McDo's, set next to the Giving Tree Yoga Studio. They have tea, coffee, snacks (sometimes they have Martha's cupcakes and black and whites), internet access, and a really nice staff. You can follow them on twitter, too. [walking around]

S'Agapo has changed!! Apparently they're now called Sofia. According to an 8/15/09 yelp review, "This is very recent... Several of the old staff are there, but they are in transition... The kitchen staff is for the moment the same, but the menu is not as extensive. Some of the spreads on the Pikilia appetizer plate are no longer there and there was no horta available (WHAT!). To be fair, the new owner came over toward the end of the meal to introduce himself, but this is definitely the end of an era in the neighborhood." [yelp via Chowhound]

Friday, August 14, 2009

Cavo's Daily Specials

If you haven't yet been to the chic Cavo, you gotta check it out. It's a cool place that's definitely a scene on the weekends, but if you like that sort of thing (which sometimes I do) and if you get there early, you'll certainly enjoy.

I received notice about tonight's daily specials from Cavo's chef and wanted to share them with you:

- Heirloom tomato salad with basil granitee and feta cheese...$12
Ravioli of the day - Four cheese ravioli with white truffle creamy feta sauce...$18.50
Fish - Roasted Fagri (pink dorado) with baby tricolor beets, horta and ladolemono...$30
Meat - Grilled, marinated Sirloin Steak (12 oz.) mash potato, Greek onion rings and red wine sauce...$35
Tart of the day - Strawberry rhubarb tart with almond crumble...$8

Other favorites on the new menu include:

Zucchini blossoms stuffed with basil goat cheese
Tuna napoleon with tapioca crisps, olive tapenade and feta mousse
Watermelon and goat cheese salad with balsamic drizzle
Wild mushroom risotto with manouri cheese and white truffle oil
Chick pea fries stuffed with melted feta cheese
Branzino filet with tzatziki and an artichoke and fennel salad

Cavo - 42-18 31st Ave, Astoria, NY 11103
R/V Train to Steinway or 46th Street

Astoria Water Walk Schedule

Appreciating the Clean Shore

Thanks to GreenShores, here's a schedule for this Sunday's Water Walk along Shore Blvd in Astoria:

11 a.m.-4 p.m.: ONGOING

Shore Blvd. Freestyle: Create Your Own Fun! Relax & Picnic on Shore Blvd.
Location: Shore Blvd-Choose your spot!

Partnerships for Parks (PFP) SKATEMOBILE
Location: Near the Hell Gate Bridge

River of Wishes Arts & Crafts Visioning Project with PFP & Green Shores NYC
Location: South of the War Memorial

Percussion Basics with Justin
Location: South of the War Memorial

Outdoor Reading Room
Location: North of the War Memorial

Name the Astoria Park Baby Hawks
Location: The Astoria Park Alliance Table, South of the War Memorial

Street Games: Bowling, Hopscotch, Tic Tac Toe, Wiffle Ball
Location: North of the War Memorial

Bike Valet with Transportation Alternatives’ Queens Committee
Location: In Front of the Basketball Courts

11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
DA Sokol Gymnastics Demonstration and Clinic
Location: In Front of the Bocce Courts

11:30 a.m.-Noon
Jazz Duo Karl & George

Noon-4 p.m.
Jazz & Blues with Astoria’s Own CATGUT
Location: In Front of the War Memorial

1 p.m.
Long Island City Community Boathouse Kayak to Shore Volley
Location: Shore Blvd. Railing Across from War Memorial

1-2 p.m.
Curious Frog Theatre Company Presents “Plutus”
Location: Newtown Pippin Theatre-North of the War Memorial

2 p.m.
Historic Walking Tour with Richard Melnick
Location: Meet at the Slocum Memorial (across from War Memorial)

2-3 p.m.
The Rock Health & Fitness Club presents Group Exercise Instruction:
Location: In Front of Bocce Courts

4 p.m.
It’s a Wrap! Thanks for coming. See you next Sunday, August 23!

New Item at The Little Soap Shop

The Little Soap Shop has a new product! Spotted via Vivian's Facebook updates, she posted this:
We have a special edition bar made specifically for after sun care. It's our new Aloe Leaf bar in Lemonhead...we have only a limited amount left so come on in and get yours! We have also made our luscious body oil into a spritzer for easy app!
I highly recommend her products, they are wonderful! I used them all the time.

The Little Soap Shop
22-07 36th Street

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Astorian Weekend Edition 13.08.09

Although it's supposed to be all muggy and warm this weekend, that shouldn't stop you from enjoying summer in Astoria. Cool off with a swim at Astoria Park Pool, or grab a delicious lemon ice at La Guli. Spicy food is supposed to help cool you down, so head over to Spiced (35-12 Ditmars) for some Crab Moo Shu.

Stop by the Two Coves Garden for Bernard Kevickas's art installation opening. While you're there, be sure to check out the rest of the garden - it's green and lush, and bursting with flowers and veggies. It's easy to get there by walking, bike, or bus (the Q19 runs down Astoria Blvd, the Q69 runs along Ditmars and 21st Street, and the Q101 will take you from 30th Ave to almost the front of the garden - here's a Queens Bus Map for more info).

In the early evening, from 5-7 p.m., Bistro Les Minots is the place to be, what with their $19.95 prix fixe dinner. When I was there last, I loved the Pissaladière and creme brulee especially. Al-Sham Sweets (24-39 Steinway) also has some delicious things to offer - I tried a cream-filled phyllo pastry that was light, sweet, and delicious! They have a variety of middle eastern sweets that are giving Laziza a run for their money.

On Friday night don't forget the screening of Not For Sale. It's a serious subject, but worth your attention. For something completely different, however, Waltz (23-14 Ditmars) is having a lighthearted magic show at 8 p.m. $5 cover (try the frozen watermelon drink if they have it).

And don't forget, this Sunday is the second installation of the Astoria Water Walk! Last weekend was a great success, and here are the pictures to prove it. Astoria Water Walk is on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. all along (temporary) car-free Shore Blvd.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Not For Sale Screening on Friday

This Friday evening in Astoria Park there will be a showing of the documentary Not for Sale, about child trafficking. It is presented by Stop Child Trafficking Now, a loud voice in the modern anti-slavery movement. Their plan is to show the film at sundown (around 8 p.m.), but also have at 6:30 a pre-screening event consisting of live music, art displays, and info booths.

It's a serious and important subject, and worth checking out. The organizers ask for an optional RSVP at either (with your name) or RSVP to their Facebook page.

If you have more of an interest apart from viewing the film, you can contact the organizers and volunteer before and during the event. Here is more info:
  • Thursday 8/13- 6:30 – 8:00pm @ Astoria Park during a live music event – FLYERING
  • Friday 8/14 EVENT DAY – noon – 11:00pm – VARIOUS. Please contact us at for more information.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

End of Summer Special at Bistro Les Minots

Bistro Le Minots is having a dinner prix fixe special. It is available Monday through Sunday from 5-7 p.m. for $19.95 (cash only). Here is what they have to offer, menu-wise:

Choice of an appetizer, an Entrée & a dessert

Les Hors D’oeurves

La Soupe Du Jour/Soup of the day
La Salade du Jardin: Mixed greens, tomatoes, honey Dijon mustard vinaigrette
La Pissaladière: Warm onion tart with anchovies and black olives
Les Escargots de Bourgogne: Sautéed snails served in a puff pastry with garlic, parsley, shallots and red wine

Les Entrées

La Bavette aux Échalotes: Grilled Hanger Steak with French fries, and a shallot Bordelaise sauce
Le Risotto Végétarien: Vegetarian risotto with mushrooms, spinach and asparagus
Le Poulet Basquaise: Pan seared dark chicken meat with tomatoes, onions, red & green peppers, black olives, mushrooms over white rice
Les Moules Frites: Marinières, Dijonnaises, Provençales ou Marocaines: Steamed mussels with garlic, shallots & parsley in a white wine sauce, or in a Dijon mustard sauce or with tomatoes, Provencal herbs, spices or with chick peas & spicy lamb sausages
Le Saumon Grillé: Grilled Atlantic salmon with leeks, peas, asparagus and a raisin anchovy sauce

Les Desserts

Les Crêpes Maison: Homemade crepes. Seasonal flavor
Le Duo de Crème Brûlée: Classic & Flavor of the day

Bistro Les Minots
47-16 30th Avenue
Astoria, NY 11103

Monday, August 10, 2009

Holistic Pet Store Coming Soon

Here's something new and different that's coming to the 36th Avenue nabe - a holistic pet store, right around the corner from the Animal Clinic of Long Island City.

I spoke to a friendly representative on the phone who informed me that they'll offer organic pet food, grooming and various holistic treatments for our furry friends. Opening date is still TBD but is anticipated by the end of the summer. Looks promising...

PetLife - 36th Avenue and 32nd Street, Astoria NY 11106

N/W Train to 36th Avenue

Transportation Alternatives Queens Committe Meeting Tonite

Tonight is the monthly Transportation Alternatives Queens Committee meeting. It will be held at the Greater Astoria Historical Society at 6:30 p.m., 4th floor of the Quinn Building, 35-20 Broadway, Astoria (map)

There will be two special presentations tonight: Richard Melnick will talk about the Queensboro Bridge and its history, and Emilia Crotty will speak about the upcoming Sunnyside Block Party.

They will also discuss the cycling and pedestrian friendly events that are going on this August in Queens.

Hope to see you there!

Astoria Artists are Awesome in August

Astoria Artists are meeting in August!
Our August workshare evening is coming up fast!

Mark your calendars for Tuesday, August 18th –we’ll be joining the neighborhood festivities at Waltz-Astoria’s Open Mic Night. Spoken word art and music are all welcome. Please come to share or to listen while getting to know some new peers (and see some old friends)!AAaA Workshare Evening

Spoken Word (and music) at Waltz-Astoria’s Open Mic Night
Tuesday, August 18th

Waltz Astoria is at 23-14 Ditmars Blvd – directions

Questions? Know you’ll be there? Leave your mark in the comments.

Next month, we meet for drinks at the relaxed Rapture Lounge –date TBA.

See you out in the neighborhood!

Sculpture Installation at Two Coves Garden

Artist Bernard Kevickas has created a new sculpture installation on the western end of Two Coves Community Garden, and is having an opening reception this weekend. I've seen the progress on it and it's worth checking out. Here are more details:

WHAT: Reception for Sculpture Installation
WHEN: Saturday August 15th, 3-6pm
WHERE: Two Coves Community Garden
DIRECTIONS: Main Avenue, 30th Avenue, and Astoria Boulevard

Two Coves Community Garden and the artist Bernard Klevickas are pleased to present a new sculpture installation at the western triangle of the garden located at Main Avenue, Astoria Boulevard and 8th Street in Astoria, Queens.

In bridging a passion for art and gardening Bernard Klevickas with the support of members of the community garden has created a living sculpture composed of flowering plants. Titled "Bridge Across Generations" a fabricated aluminum structure suspends living plants as a symbolic bridge across racial, generational, cultural, and geographic divides. The concept of this design came about as a response to a request by the Two Coves Garden coordinator, Garrett Ramirez expressing a need for an object that would stand for unity and inspire the creating of a more vibrant community.

The initial idea for a bridge came from Claudia Coger, President of the Astoria Houses Tenants Association with members of the City Housing Authority Senior Center at Astoria Houses across the street from the garden. The sculpture is intended as a living art work in which plants are nurtured by the community gardeners.

The Two Coves Community Garden is in a unique position in that the land is maintained by gardeners and in the process of gardening individual plots a community has evolved which works to beautify the surrounding area. The garden is open to the public according to the guidelines of Greenthumb, accessible to gardeners on a broader basis and is secured at night.

A reception will be held Saturday August 15th from 3-6pm, the event will coincide with Astoria Houses Family Day.

For full PRESS RELEASE, images and directions visit:

For information about Two Coves Community Garden visit:

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Il Bambino Backyard

I finally got a chance to get some pictures of Il Bambino's back patio/garden space, so I'm going to share them with you. It's a great space - enjoy!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Astorian Weekend Edition 06.08.09

It's going to be a hot one this weekend, so why not enjoy the coolness of a museum, a funky restaurant or a local artist party?

Every first Friday of the month, the Noguchi Museum is offering extended hours, until 8:30 p.m. and not to mention their enticing pay-what-you-wish admission. You can enjoy wine and beer from 5:30p.m.8:30 p.m. on Friday and relax in their newly-renovated sculpture garden. If you feel like going back on Sunday, they’ll be featuring the American Contemporary Music Ensemble at 3p.m., also in the garden. 33rd Road at Vernon Blvd, Long Island City. 718.204.7088

In the mood for delicious, organic grub? I strongly recommend checking out Bare Burger, which boasts interesting burger options (pictured above) and a plethora of beef alternatives such as ostrich, elk, bison, turkey, veggies and more. It’s all awesome and I especially loved their huge portion of crispy onion rings. The food and the atmosphere should not be missed. 33-21 31st Avenue, Astoria. 718.777.7011

Get your party on this Saturday at P.S.1 MOMA’s Warm Up series. This Saturday’s line up includes the Music Committee of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company: Stephan Moore, David Behrman; Eats Tapes; Lovefingers and other special guests. The celebration starts at 2p.m. and goes until 9p.m. $10 admission. 22-25 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City. 718.784.2084

Check out a cool French Bistro this weekend, like Bistro Les Minots on 30th Avenue. They just got a new chef (previously of Morimoto) who’s making some exciting changes to the menu. They’ve also adjusted their $19.95 dinner prix-fixe to include dessert, offering it now 7 days a week. 47-16 30th Avenue, Astoria. 718.606.2535

Don't miss SITE's 2nd Saturdays Local Artists Party from 12p.m. - 5p.m., showcasing the work of Jack Maiorino. Site describes Jack's work as "perfect little moments captured in sketches and lovingly turned into bags, prints, originals and more." Sounds wonderful and snacks will also be provided. 35-11 34th Avenue, Astoria. 718.626.6030

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

New Middle Eastern Sweets

I'd been eyeing Al-Sham Sweets & Pastries (24-39 Steinway), the new Middle Eastern pastry shop on the corner of Steinway and 25th Ave, since it opened a couple months ago. Their dizzying window display is piled high with pyramids of phyllo-wrapped and pistachio-studded goodies. I finally stopped in last week and tried a square almond cookie on the recommendation of the woman behind the counter. The little bar, which only set me back a dollar, featured a delicious, tender cookie (with no small tad of butter, yum) topped with almond paste and a thin layer of sweet glaze. The shop features all sorts of Palestinian and Jordanian desserts, from baklava to whole cakes. I'll be back too soon for my own good, and look forward to the time when I tell my incredulous grandchildren about the good old days when I used to get dessert for a dollar.