Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Happy -in between- Time!

So this is the week when nice cushy jobs let their people take some extra time off.
Hence, there is NOTHING to do at work for those of us who are still expected to go!

I guess that just gives me more time to write up stuff for you all to do while at home maybe?? Well i'll try but its very quiet around town right now... here's what my ear to the ground is hearing~
Chanukah Party, a Hellish New Year?, Dance with your belly!, go join a virtual community!

hmm, yeah i think its looking pretty dry out there right now.

Until the New Year all, have a happy and safe 31st. See you in the nabe in 2006!!!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Loungey-lounge Type Operations

There is something appealing about a place where you can get a cocktail in a dark place with velvety couches and low tables. The loungey-lounge kind of operation. The place where you don't know if you're sitting next to a celebrity and you're extra-sexy. (Possibly because no one can really see you.) Often there's a few snacks available and some well-dressed Euro-types about. There's a few of these kinds of places in Astoria that don't fall into the Greek cafe spiral and while none are perfect in my book, they're worth mentioning.

Lounge 32 opened a few years ago on Broadway and 32nd Street - hence the name. It's all of the above, the problem is that its selection is terrible and prices are a bit high and we're always the only ones in there. But I imagine that this place might be busy late at night. I'm not sure. On a summer night it's nice to sit at their outside table or near the front and people watch. They also have live music on occasion.

Rapture is on 28th Av near 34th (?) Street and seems to have more allure. A larger and more creative selection and at least a hypothetical local film series. I also find it more comfortable and have found the bar staff and regulars very friendly. I find the physical atmosphere a bit of oppressive, but that's just me. Rapture seems to have a cult following.

Crescent Lounge may fall into this category as well. I just can't stand that they don't have any taps. But they're a martini joint and if you like martinis, you're in luck. Crescent Lounge also has the reputation for being gay-friendly which is good. I'd hope that all the places around here are gay-friendly, but it's always good to have a reliable hangout.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Astoria Weekend Edition 05.12.15

There's a few things you can squeeze in this weekend between your last minute holiday shopping. (Thank Gandalf, we don't live near Macy's!) Tonight, in cooperation with a gaming-related series at MMI, at 7:30 they'll be running The Warriors a New York gang flick complete with companion video game on display. It's worth mentioning that at noon on Saturday and Sunday, MMI will be running the critically-acclaimed and family-friendly Kirikou and the Sorceress. I'd rather see that, actually. It beats all that Disney crap going around.

Saturday, if you're still not done your shopping take advantage of the gentrification for once, and stroll down Vernon in Long Island City. You can even bike down there and avoid the strike/holiday shopping traffic. Then, thaw out from your shopping with one of four kinds of green tea plus other Tibetan goodies at the Himalayan Teahouse.

Sunday is a good day to stroll about Steinway and listen to the tacky Christmas music blasting from those speakers installed on the street lamps. But mostly, it's about lunching on a couple of slices at Rizzo's Pizza.

Finally, if you're reading this at home on dial-up, with the Katie Couric in the background 'cause there's a strike, please check out John's Guide to Surviving the Strike. It should be helpful. It better be, nobody knows QNS better than him.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Transit Strike: Updated

Several people have asked me if I know what we should be doing in the event of a transit strike. Well, probably nothing since it probably won't happen. But in case it does, here's what I'd say:

1) Put air in your tires. If you have a bike, you can always bike in. It's not that hard; I did it for years just for fun. But dress warm and in layers and maybe walk your bike over the 59th Street bridge. Perfect excuse to wear play clothes to the office. More info on biking into the City here.

2) I think that a lot of Queens busses are actually owned by a private bus company. Keep your eyes peeled, our busses might not be striking at all. There should be something in the local news about this.

3) There are many ferries going from QNS to Manhattan. Whether you walk, bike, or get a ride to them, they're another option.

4) See if you can telecommute. I'm a huge fan of this option, but I know it's just not available to most.

5) Make sure to check the City's site on this. It's confusing, but better than nothing. There are maps for carpooling locations here. One of them is by Astoria Park at 19th Street & Hoyt Av.

I'll let you know if I have any other brilliant ideas. Likewise, okay? Good luck!

Addendum: JR just sent me this so, no busses.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Himalayan Teahouse

We've got Freeze Peach on Ditmars. And Communitea in LIC. But we've got nothin' around Broadway, unless you count the ten zillion Greek cafes. Or that used to be the case.

Now we've got the Himalaya Teahouse. There's no frappe, but there is - count 'em - four kinds of green tea. Wonderful vegetarian (or meat) dumplings, edamame, and a few Tibetan specialties. Plenty of tea and tea drinks to go around.

The place is done in primary colors with a big bamboo entrance. Inside, it's a little stark, but it's a work in progress. The clientele are a mix including your typical Astorian yupsters. Harmless ones. The tea is perfection and the dumplings are light and lovely. There is no better place to warm up.

Have I really not written this place up yet? It opened this August on 31st Av around 34th Street.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Thanks to the original Joey and hello

Thank you Joey for the nice intro! I am really honored that she entrusts the care of her blog to we three. I am megc here, and am looking forward to writing about my Astoria discoveries and observations. I am relatively new to Astoria, actually, but really feel at home here. I moved to town just this past August, and am thrilled with my new home. I'm originally from the San Francisco Bay Area in California, and although I miss it, I am content to stay here for a while and enjoy all that New York City, and especially Astoria, has to offer. As a musician, I'm particularly keyed into the arts scene around town, so I hope to be able to share my perspective on what's going on in that arena. And of course I'll join in the chorus of commentary on comestibles! Everyone loves food, don't they? And Astoria's got some great food offerings. Hooray for music and food! See you soon!

I've finally found pizza in Astoria!

Sometimes it seems like the best places in Astoria are the ones I've been ignoring. They just keep passing through my peripheral vision until I stumble right into them.

I believed that there just wasn't great pizza here in Astoria. Now, I've been known to order a pie from Grand Avenue or Napoli's now and then, but really, nothing seems to beat Bleeker Street.

Well, now I stand corrected. Yesterday Steve and I took a stroll down Steinway to see what we could see and popped into Rizzo's Pizza. I'm a thin crust gal, so it's rough going usually. Nothing could have prepared me for this elegant pan shaped crust. They had several different innovative choices including their standard square slices that they will "put anything you want on it, if they have it in". I got the day's special (Margarita) and Steve got the mushroom. The crust crackled so satisfying, and the whole piece was so light. No grease dripping about! It was freaking fantastic! Best pizza in Astoria, bar none.

The menu says they'll do all kinds of stuff upon request including sell you their sauce or dough. I'll love to make pizza, but not dough, so that's clutch. They also have salad, gelati and all that jazz.

After scarfing down our slices [Mr. Rizzo, I presume] asked us how we liked them. Of course we loved them and he said that he'd been shipped the wrong kind of tomatoes - apparently why he made the margarita. No harm done so far as I can tell. He was super-friendly and seemed to know that we hadn't been there before - he must know everyone who comes in!

Two slices & a small soda: $5 and change. Not bad.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Astoria Weekend Edition 05.12.09

It's going to snow tonight. Snow as in white flakes that fall from the sky. Not much of it, but honestly, enough with the hipster Ugg crap. I'm so sick of those things I could puke. Anyway, regardless of your footwear, this will be a nice weekend to take a stroll down to Astoria Park. Should be pretty in white.

Well, frolic in three inches of snow you may, you'll need to thaw out a bit after that. Nothing liquor can't fix. Try a nice glass of something with vodka at Crescent Lounge. Velvet couches and all.

This weekend is as good as any to get something to eat with "hot" in the title. See "hot dogs". The best doggers in the City, in fact, on Astoria Blvd. Stay warm at Freeze Peach Cafe with some hot tea and bitchin bluegrass act Brownbird Rudy Relic, from 4-8 on Sunday.

If you've got your fill of outdoorsy snowiness, then stay in and peruse my round up of QNS bloggers. Why am I rounding them up? Cause I like snow so much I'm moving to Vermont. No kidding. But three new Queens of Astorian will be contributing to Joey in Astoria, so stay tuned. I'll be around for a couple more weeks to break them in.

What an intro!

I feel like maybe i need to introduce myself now that Joey has left such a lofty title as "queens of astoria" in the air!
Here's me and my crown...

YES, it's real. You have no idea how many times i get asked that!
Feel free to stop me on the street and give me a high five, i love those! I don't know why people don't do that anymore?

But no seriously, i am very happy to be joining the "joey's in astoria" -keeping the best local blog alive. MegC is also a great bearer of all things Astoria, so i'm sure there will be tons o'surprises coming at us from that one. I haven't yet had the priviledge of meeting the 3rd nut in this cast, Tamara-but i am sure i will sonner then later!
I can honestly say that Joey (our founder and original) will be sorely missed :( But our loss is another hoods gain. She will i'm sure keep popping in here with tidbits here and there, maybe even becoming our first correspondent or something! AWESOME!

Thats enough out of me.

OK peeps, you've got your weekend edition set up before you, now go out and have a slushingly good time. Tune in next week for more Astoria fun!!!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

New Joeys in Astoria

Even tho I'm moving away, many other lovely and talented Astorians remain. I'm happy to share that three new-to-you Astorians will be coming on board with Joey in Astoria.

MegC fab harpsichordist and knower of all happenings everywhere, hipster Flooz of Gud Stuff NYC and Tamara, Queen of Astorian Lamb Roasts will now be contributing to Joey in Astoria.

Stay tuned. Should be a stellar team. Hey! Have I steered you wrong yet?

ready for my closeup, Mr DeMille......

Thankyou, Joey, for the lovely introduction AND (most importantly), for the opportunity.

For those of you wondering how I managed to join Joey's highly successful Astoria Blog without even *knowing* her, well.... let me just say a little begging never hurt anyone. Actually, many of my friends have suggested for quite awhile that I get my own blog, but I just couldn't bother. Besides, plenty of people were already talking about the haps in our great hood, Ass- toria (that is my favorite pronunciation of it), and what was i going to add but mass confusion? But hey ho! Just as I saw that Joey was leaving, the idea hit me that maybe I could stake a share in her blog, just like those parasites you pick up in when traveling outside of the states! So here I am, making my way into the intestine of the Astoria Blog.

The only thing of any importance that I have to say today is that I was walking East on 25th ave 2 nights ago, after another fucking ridiculously good meal at Kebab Cafe, and I saw a house that took me back to my formative years in Phoenix, AZ. A house that was lit up like they owned the damn electric company, (as good old dad would say). And for a minute, I was transfixed. Reindeers, Santa, Jesus, Mary and Joseph- all gaudy, all lit up and twinkling, and not a menorah in sight. (sorry to all of the other religions in the little North Africa part of Steinway Street there) I suddenly was taken back to Santa Claus Lane in Phoenix; 9th Street just North of Northern Blvd, where people have been decorating and entire block like this for as long as I can remember, and somehow, Astoria seemed a little more... I don't know........midwestern.... in mindset for just a minute. After my period of reflection, I realised I was freezing and went on in my mission to drink at the Slovak Club on 21st St.

This house can be seen nightly at the corner of 44th street and 25th ave, on the NE corner. You can't miss it.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Chilean Hot Dogs

As a recovering vegetarian I know one thing to be true: hot dogs are good. So good. (So is bacon, by the way.) So's Chile - the country. Did you ever expect a combination of the two? Well, I didn't, but many months back Queenster John Roleke told me about this place on Astoria Blvd that serves some sa-weet doggers with guac, and all the toppings that go with it. The place is called San Antonio Bakery. Rated tastiest dogger in NYC by the Village Voice. Good Aslan! If that isn't a ringing endorsement, what is?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

QNS Bloggers Represent

I've never been much for meta-blogging - blogging about other blogs. But since I'm abandoning you all, I'd like to leave you in capable hands. There are *lots* of bloggers going around these days. Some of them really stink. But some don't. So I'll try and do a little round-up for you.

There aren't any other blogs about the neighborhood, religiously, but there are many hybrids, and there are several non-blog websites just about Astoria.

I'll start first with the food blogs. Far and away the best blogger in our neigborhood is BeXn. BeXnlog really writes about all food, but lives in Astoria and covers it now and then. It's fab. Also worthy, tho sporadic, is Savortooth. She's heavier on Astoria, but lighter on content in general. Roving Gastronome is sort of random in my opinion, but claims Astorianess. Also, accomplished flckrist Maura of mauradotcom has recently launched a nose for wine for you to wash those down with.

The most Astorian of the Astoria blogs is probably my pal Flooz at Gud Stuf NYC. She loves Astoria and she's hiper than I could ever dream of being. It gets pretty scrappy from there. There's Karenspuppy writing some weird teen drama type stuff. There's also this blog focusing on Ditmars, which appears to be both dead and confused in the use of various punctutation. Tough one. You're going to be sorry you skipped that day. Thisshowagain is an Astorian podcast who has a blog of thier show. It's fun.

Several newer Astorian blogs have cropped up very recently and are sort in the too new to review category, but seem worth a try. Some actually aren't that new, but like re-runs, are new to me. Astoria Life: New York Minutes doesn't seem to be about Astoria at all currently, but it is about life in New York and the author is Astorian and appears to occaisionally wander here. Also not distinctly Astorian, The Haps has very recently come on the scene, and appears to have a similar world view to me. So, that one looks promising, assumeing you like this site.

That's pretty much where the blogs end. There are several websites about Astoria. You all probably frequent astorians.net. And of course, it's no secret that I write for Queens.About.com. My buddy John does a nice job of keeping us posted with what's going down. My Astoria is sort of similar to astorians - less of a scene with a bit of content. There's also Forgotten Astoria - part of the forgotten NY circuit. This guy's into presvervation and all that. It's worth a read. And the Astoria flikr group which is really fun (founded by moi).

You're welcome to chime in about your own blogs, but enough with the soft-core porn site, k? We don't need to know if you're a loser - Astorian or not.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Joey in Vermont

So, there's no easy way to say this. Except maybe from behind my computer. I'm moving to Vermont. Yep. I'm moving to Burlington, Vermont at the end of the month. Why? 'Cause it's awesome - not that Astoria isn't, but Astoria and I are just going our separate ways.

The good news is that I have a list of things I've always been meaning to check out, but never relayed to you. Like my coffee cart guy, I'll be popping a fresh one out for you every day - until I run out.

I'll miss you guys - thank you for reading! By the way, I hope we can stay in touch - in January you'll be able to catch me at my new url - Joey in Vermont.

Addendum: New Joeys

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Astoria Weekend Edition 05.12.02

Usually there's a weekend lull between Thanksgiving and Christmas when there's not much to do. Well, I guess we missed it 'cause there's lots happening. We are apparently full force into holiday madness. It's going to be tough, too, because we're all recovering from last night's inaugural ladies night at Sunswick.

After work, celebrate the joys of the Queens Library system with some ragtime music. I know, neither of us have ever been to the Queens library, but given that our local bookstore stinks, maybe it's worth a shot. Event starts at 5:15, but duck out by 6:30 when the pols start in.

Saturday, instead of duking it out at Macy's do some local shopping. Who doesn't love a hip homemade gift? Check out Art-O-Mat - if only for the name. Shopped 'till you dropped? Well, you better not let the Senior folk at Jacob Riss Settlement House put you to shame. They've been known to do so, particularly to the DJ playing at their fundraiser Saturday at 8pm. Party rages 'till 1am for $12.

PS. Check out my curbed.com pick-up. Thx, Lock.

PPS. As always, find out what in the heck is going on in the rest of QNS.