Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New fitness studio and FREE CLASSES this weekend

As if Astoria wasn’t already packed with amazing ways to stay in shape, the neighborhood is welcoming ANOTHER new studio to the mix. Located in the old Yoga Room Steinway location, the Art of Fitness (formerly Pilates in Astoria) is making its debut this weekend with an open house and FREE CLASSES!

I have to say I’m especially excited, as my all-time favorite mat pilates instructor, Lindsay Lopez, will be returning to the neighborhood. My abs haven’t looked the same since she left the Yoga Room a couple of years ago.

The Art of Fitness offers private and semi-private sessions, including reformer, tower, wunda chair and mat classes. They also have some more interesting classes on the roster, including cardio ballet barre, cirque style fitness and burlesquercise. Sounds sexy.

Lindsay will be teaching the first free mat class at 9am on Saturday, but there are several other options throughout the day. Along with free group classes and free sample sessions on the equipment, snacks and refreshments will be served.

View Larger Map

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Astoria Bagel Hunt

It may sound like a simple task to do in New York City, but finding the perfect bagel is not so easy. When I first moved to Astoria, I knew good food was all around me: Greek restaurants in full supply; sushi at my fingertips; the city’s best diner in 1999. But I was not satisfied. I needed to find the place to fill my weekend-morning carbohydrate desires. It took a little while and a little help from Yelp, but I found my Astoria bagel.

The bagel pictured here is perfection. It’s an everything bagel from the Astoria Bagel Shop on Ditmars Blvd., between 28th and 29th Street. It is a.m.a.z.i.n.g. The bagels are always fresh and chewy, with a little crunch on the bottom (which is my favorite part), and they are huge! They have a large variety of cream cheeses to choose from and seating. It’s a great place for a cheap and delicious breakfast. And I’m pretty certain I’ve found my perfect bagel in Astoria and in the rest of NYC.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Jill Joins JIA!

We have another new guest blogger, folks! Jill moved to Astoria in August of 2008, happy to leave the J train far behind her. She enjoys trying as many restaurants as possible, reading in the park and mentally correcting other people's grammar. Welcome, Jill!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Literary Astoria

Love every George Constanza reference to Astoria? Always look for books set in the old neighb? I love pop culture set in Astoria. New Sam Lipstyle book The Ask is set right here. (Full disclosure: I haven't read it yet.)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Queens Supports you, Artists!

I know there's lots and lots of artists living here in Astoria and LIC. Did you know about all the support the Queens Council on the Arts does for you, right here in our neighborhood?

This Spring they are hosting oodles of support programs - lots of info on grant-writing and all that fun stuff - right here in Astoria/LIC.

Click to learn more

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Nuttiest Astorians

Long time readers of JIA may recall our nuttiest Astorians taking quite the adventure at the The Mongol Rally in 2007.

Well, good news. They made it. And now they are at it again.

This summer Astorian team - Team Monkey Wrench - will be driving in a not-so-ruggedized "moto" through the Andes, the desert, the salt flats... oh my! Why are they doing this? Because they got dared to. Okay, it's really cuz they are nuts, but also they are raising money for Operation Smile which is a supercool organization that provides medical care for children around the world. Let's help these guys Andes...that Astoria is badass! Stay tuned for updates.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Puppy borrowing near Astoria. AKA volunteer dog walking

Coming from the Midwest, I know I miss having big, loving dogs around. Especially when the spring weather hits, like it did this weekend, I wish I had a canine companion to stroll with. A run in Astoria Park would be so much more fun with a four-legged buddy …

If a small Astoria apartment prevents full puppy ownership, think about borrowing one for a few hours at BARC – Brooklyn Animal Resource Coalition. This no-kill shelter in Williamsburg – just a short jaunt on the G train away – is almost constantly in need of volunteer dog walkers.

Dog walk volunteering is fun and free. You can request buddy dogs that are friends if you want to come with a buddy of your own. It’s not exactly in Astoria, but it’s close. And the animals come from all over.

I did my first round of service with NY Cares, but I plan to start working with them directly to schedule walk times. Even though we were out for nearly three hours, Molly (pictured above) and I had a great time – I wish I could bring her home with me.

New Guest Blogger

Fresh back in Queens from her world adventures, Lisa Travnik will be the newest to be blogging with JIA. Lisa is a traveler extraordinaire, cupcake enthusiast, and Astoria-buff, of course! Welcome, Lisa!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Astoria CSAs

Everybody knows local food is awesome. And some of you probably already know that CSAs are awesome. If you don't know, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. You buy a "share" of a farm and for a whole season you get a box o' veggies every week or other week from that farm (ie a share of their harvest). Astoria is like CSA-central for Queens which is because we are awesome.

Edible Queens did a run down of QNS CSAs and I'll give you the cliff's notes for Astoria here.

Pick up @ Jacob Riis Neighborhood Settlement House, 10-25 41st Ave., LIC
212-825-0028, x201

Pick up @ The Church of the Redeemer, 30-14 Crescent St., Astoria
* JIA Staffers have been members and love love love this one. FYI.

Pick up @ 29-13 23rd Ave. (at back of Fresh Start market), Astoria

Pick up @ Cafe Bar, 32-90 36th St. at 34th Ave., Astoria

View Astoria CSAs in a larger map

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Michellin-rated LIC Chefs Will Strike Again

Michelin-rated LIC chefs, the Lee Brothers (Shi, 47-20 Center Blvd), will open new Mexican resto, Skinny's Cantina, in "Queens West".

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"Astoria Park" - the Movie

Astoria-based film makers making Astoria-based movie.

From Tibet to Astoria

Do I want to get some delicio green tea or see an art show? Alas, you will no longer have to make this decision thanks to Astorian photographer Jennifer Lim who's show of fabulous captures from Tibet is on display at our own Himalayan Tea House (31st Ave betwn 33rd & 34th Sts) from now until the end of March. I call that yum+pretty!

See a few of Jennifer's extraordinary pics here.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Wine Tastings @ DiWine

I love me a nice wine tasting. This Spring DiWine is doing some new stuff. They're adding some new cocktails to their menu and bringing back brunch and wine tastings. Wine tastings are every Tuesday at 8pm, they're free, and each wine is paired with some tasty hors d'oeuvres.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Kayaking & The Foundry

Even if you hated boats, water, and not-for-profit organizations, the LIC Boathouse Fundraiser would be reason enough to go The Foundry which is a spectacular event-only venue in Long Island City. It is ubercool and for $20 you get to raise money for free kayaking activities on the East River this summer. While I get that doing anything in or on the East River may sound gross to some, people seem to rave about it and I think they should have the option. And you will, too. Every summer the LIC Boathouse runs tons of free boating activities at Hallet's Cove (near Socrates Sculpture Park).

Event Info:
Thursday, March 11, 5-10pm
The Foundry, 42-38 9th Street, LIC

Friday, March 05, 2010

Flamenco, Baby!

I don't think I've ever actually seen Flamenco in person to tell you the truth. Most of what I know about dance is from Strictly Ballroom, Dirty Dancing, or Fame. But apparently the American Bolero Dance Company is quite the operation and "has enjoyed raves from both the press and audiences worldwide." It sounds pretty neat.

The event is is tonight!
Auditorium Centro Espanol
41-01 Broadway, 2nd Floor
Tix $22

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Rock Out for Haiti

You can't live in a neighborhood as diverse as Astoria without wanting to do something for Haiti. (Then again, you'd have to be a total jackass not to anyway.) Now, odds are that you've all contributed a little here and there already. But Stomp & Howl Movement has found a great way to get you out to show your support and show you some great tunes, too.

They'll be curating Lespwa: A Haitian Health Foundation Benefit this Saturday, 9pm at our own Hell Gate Social. It will feature a hip hop lineup with some of Queens' finest emcees and deejays including Homeboy Sandman, Illimanjaro, Hops, Drew P, and DJ Lo-Fi. All proceeds from the event will benefit Haitian Health Foundation.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

How Attached are You to the W?

If you're like Councilmember Vallone, a lot. Vallone, CB members, and many Astorians gathered yesterday morning at the 30th Av stop to protest the proposed permanent termination of the nine-year-old subway line, the W.

Love Your Street Trees!

A jillion years ago I actually planted a little Ginko Tree in an abandoned tree pit in front of my apartment. (See my husband and said tree.) Sadly the highly evil landlord removed it (ew!) after we moved and put in some dumb ugly plant. If you would like to save your trees from a similar fate, learn how thanks to Astoria's Build It Green!

Here's the deets:

March 6, 2010: Street Tree Guard Clinic

Build it Green hosts Green Shores NYC and Brooklyn Shade for a Free Workshop on Tree Care

Learn how to care for your local street trees! Get hands-on instruction in how to design and build a low cost tree guard to protect the street trees in your neighborhood and receive tips on requesting and caring for a new tree. The event is free and no prior experience is needed. However, space is limited and reservations are required. To RSVP, email greenshoresnyc at and include “tree guard clinic” in the subject line. All students will have the opportunity to measure, cut and assemble the guard under the supervision of the clinic instructors.

Saturday March 6, 2010
10:00 AM to 12 Noon
BIG! NYC Warehouse: 3-17 26th Avenue, Astoria

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Greater Astoria Historical Society Gets Titanic New Stuff

Have you ever been to the Greater Astoria Historical Society? Probably not. Loads of old stuff, but some of it's is pretty neat if your an Astoria buff like us.

Read about their new stuff from Titanic collector and former LIC resident, Joe Colletti.