Friday, February 23, 2007

Astorian Weekend Edition 23.02.07

Friday night go exploring. There's a new kind of performance space/venue in the area, and it goes by the name: Last Resort Art Space (8-63 Astoria Blvd.) The show gets started around 9 p.m. and a $4 donation is suggested - a small price to pay for a hot new party! P.S. It's BYOB, so don't show up empty handed.

The Ditmars area has gained a lovely eclectic furniture shop. Nooks & Crannies (Ditmars bet. 29th and 31st St.) has joined Inside Astoria (37-20 Ditmars Blvd) in the ranks of "new" non-bank/nail salon/$.99 shops! It's a pretty small space that used to be a dry cleaners, but seeing as how the stock moves really quickly -- they restock constantly -- there is always something new/old and affordable to catch your eye. Hours are 10 a.m.-7 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays, and no go on Sunday. Good news too, they take donations, so feel free to recycle your old kitchen chairs there.

After visiting and loving Il Bambino and all the deliciousness there, i sought out many of the ingredients to try at home. Luckily Dave & Tony's Salumeria (35-18 30th Ave.) is not only open on Sundays (8am-1pm) but they carry yummy gorgonzola dolce and my other new favorite, speck ($11 a pound is sooo doable). Grab some crusty bread and there you go, a perfect Sunday lunch.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Thursday is a hot one!

At Sunswick tonight (home of a zillion taps and great bar food):
at 9pm, join Anne Margaret Redding & Jeneen Terrana for an acoustic evening

At Waltz, the Blues Jam i gave you a heads up on a couple of weeks back starts tonight.
9pm, no cover but a $7 drink minimum (should be easy enough to meet that!).

Whatever your flavor, there is definitely goings on in the hood.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Pols on a Roll

Gianaris is hatin' the bedbugs (and rightly so):
In newly introduced legislation by Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (D-Queens), a mandatory policy would be instituted notifying all parents whose children attend a bedbug-infested school of the infestation and providing them with prevention information.

Bedbugs = totally grody.

Monday, February 19, 2007


Looks like temperatures in the 40s and 50s are in our future. I am so over this icy winter, I can't even tell you, so this is welcome news!

Friday, February 16, 2007

7 Train Suspensions Getting You Down?...Demand Change!

Via Straphangers, an invitation from Eric Gioia:
Dear Friend,

Please join me tomorrow, Saturday, February 17th at 11:00 A.M. at the Vernon Jackson Subway Stop in Long Island City, to send a clear message to the MTA that the continued weekend shutdown of the 7 train is unacceptable, and to ask for more relief measures for Queens residents.

As you may already know, the MTA plans to suspend service between Times Square and 74th Street in Jackson Heights on the #7 Line, for 6 weekends, which covers the end of February and the entire month of March. Last weekend, service was also suspended between Times Square and Queensboro Plaza.

Put simply, when the #7 train is not running, the people of Queens suffer. By shutting the train down for such an extended period of time, the MTA is literally erecting a barrier for the hundreds of thousands of people who are trying to get to work, visit with friends and family, buy groceries, or visit a restaurant or museum. Having grown up here and taken the #7 train all my life, I am outraged that the MTA continues to snub the people of Queens. The letter below, which I am sending to the MTA, outlines my concerns.

I look forward to seeing you on Saturday and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me at 718.383.9566.

Sincerely yours,
Eric Gioia

Astorian Weekend Edition 16.02.07

Happy Post-Valentine's Day weekend! I hope you had a nice V-Day, regardless of your status (single or coupled). I know many Astorians who had a nice evening with friends and lovers...anniversaries were celebrated, friendships sustained, and lots of chocolate was eaten. I, myself, enjoyed Hershey's Kisses filled with caramel, given to me by my guy. Check your local CVS or Eckerd for the half-off chocolate this weekend! Temps should be above freezing, too, thank goodness.

My friend Tamara will be holding a wine tasting at Best of Broadway Wine shop (Broadway between 34th and 35th Streets) this Friday from 5-8pm. It's free! While you're in the neighborhood, stop by Le Petit Prince for some great bread or dessert. Later that night you can head over to the Tantra Lounge for their Brazilian Carnival Weekend Celebration (they're celebrating all weekend!). DJs abound, with Happy Hour from 5-9pm.

Remember Wassi, that cafe-turned-lounge on 28th Ave? It closed and opened up as the World News Cafe (37-05 28th Avenue). This weekend the Progressive Muslim Meetup group is meeting there, and they are showing Spike Lee's film, Malcom X. If you self-identify as a progressive Muslim, go ahead and RSVP. Curious as to what a "progressive Muslim" is? You can find out here. By the way, the cafe is hiring.

On the food discovery front, I've been hearing very good things about the burgers and grilled cheese at Sparrow, which finally opened their kitchen a couple weeks ago. I like the feel of Sparrow a lot; they have great beer, a few nice wines, and an unpretentious vibe. Muncan Foods (43-09 Broadway) has also come to my attention, with tempting visions of Eastern European sausages and bacon running rampant in my mind; I will visit soon. And speaking of pork products, the Beer Garden is holding their annual PorkFest. It goes through the weekend, but Sunday is the day with music and dance performances. Go and enjoy a panoply of pork products and boffo beer! And for you vegans/vegetarians, news on the street is that a new vegan/vegetarian restaurant is going to open very soon on 30th Ave. We'll keep you posted here.

More fun, here.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

More on Astoria's Power Plants

From the Queens Gazette, new boilers are going in. Apparently these boilers are more efficient, burn natural gas instead of oil, and use less water from the East River, "significantly reducing impact on aquatic life in the river." If you have concerns or questions about this, there's a contact number at the end of the article.
Power Plant Expansion Imminent

Officials at the New York state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) are finalizing plans for the renewal of a pollution discharge permit for the Astoria Generating Station, along with plans for expansion of the plant.

The Astoria Generating Station at 18-01 20th Ave., is located within the Astoria Con Edison site. The station is one of several plants located in Astoria, where approximately 60 per cent of the city's electricity is generated.

The plant, formerly owned and operated by Orion Power and Reliant Energy, is now the property of U.S. Power Generation, officials said. State environmental officials approved expansion of the site in 2003 under plans that call for replacement of four boiler units with six turbines--changes that would increase total output by 550 megawatts, increasing output from 1,250 to 1,800 MW, officials said.

The increased production is not expected to affect air quality in the surrounding communities, state officials said. New turbines slated for installation under the plan are more efficient, and would burn natural gas as a primary fuel, they said. Boilers currently operating at the site use natural gas and oil; both generate pollutants, the officials said.

The new equipment would use approximately 95 per cent less water from the East River for its operation, significantly reducing impact on aquatic life in the river, state officials said.

DEC officials are expected to modify the permit prior to final approval to give plant owners an opportunity to study the effects of the plant's operation on fish and other organisms in the East River.

For further information or to register comments with DEC officials, write to Christopher Hogan at the state Department of Environmental Conservation, 625 Broadway, Albany, N.Y. 12233, call Hogan at 518.402.9167, or e-mail

Remembering Warmer Days

Remember the blackout? Of course you do! It was the longest power outage in the history of New York City! In fact, I was just talking with a woman the other day about the blackout, while it was so friggin' cold outside. The latest news from the Queens Gazette:
Citing a television news report that Con Edison field crews were "clearly aware" of the seriousness of last summer's power blackout soon after it started, Assemblymember Michael Gianaris has renewed his call for the giant utility's management to be held accountable for what occurred afterward.

Referring to the material shown by WABCTV last Friday evening, Gianaris said, "These tapes make clear that Con Edison knew on the first day of the blackout that more people were affected than it was reporting.

"Con Edison management recklessly endangered the lives of Western Queens residents by releasing figures that were absurdly low, and they must be held accountable for this outrageously irresponsible behavior."
More, here.

Following the long power outage, Gianaris formed a state Assembly Task Force that investigated what he described as the failures of the huge utility and the PSC during the Western Queens blackout. The task force, comprised of energy industry experts, issued its findings last month, identifying needed improvements for both Con Ed and the PSC. To obtain a copy of the report, contact Gianaris' office at 718-545-3889.
I'm going to call and get my copy for sure.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Esparks Coffee

Yesterday I took a mini-tour of Astoria - 28th and 30th Avenues, plus a little of Steinway. Had a fantastic burger and awesome fries at Sunset Pizza (28th Ave and 46th Street), checked out Gian Piero Bakery (30th Ave in the mid-40s), where I had a lovely slice of Italian-style cheesecake. It was made from ricotta rather than cream cheese, and I liked how light it was. I'd defintely go back again, and I hear the carrot cake is awfully good, too.

I had heard about a new cafe (you all call them "coffee shops" here in the east) called Esparks, located on Steinway just north of 31st Avenue, so I checked it out as well. It's a very nice space with tasty coffee. It looks very much like a Starbucks, and the baristas there readily fess up to the comparison. It's a comfortable space and quite spacious. They have free wifi, which is cool. People are even beginning to post "missed connections" from there. There isn't any other place like it in the area, and I think it fills a real need. Below are some pictures.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Close enough...

So the closest IHOP that i can see is in Jackson Heights, but for a good cause and pancakes?!?! This may call for a little trip!
A week from today, get yourself a free short stack of pancakes from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., they're asking for in-store donations to the Children's Miracle Network instead.

73-01 Northern Blvd
Phone: 718-429 5452

On the topic of pancakes, I hear Igloo makes quite the delicious batch- AND they have real maple syrup.... so if you're really not feeling like the trek out to JH but still want some pancakes, give them a try!

Cool in Your Code: LIC

This locally made program visited LIC (link opens to a QT movie). LICNYC posted up what they covered:
  • Wonton Foods (largest chinese fortune cookie factory anywhere)
  • Steve Madden
  • Manic Panic
  • Vine Wine
  • Noguchi Sculpture Garden (love it!)
  • Manetta's
  • La Vuelta (yum)
  • The Creek and the Cave
  • Kenny Krypton Neon's Shop and Art-O-Mat
  • Subdivision
  • and various other random sights
LIC is the place to be!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Astoria Park Meeting Reminder

Remember, the meeting about Astoria Park is tonight! 6:30pm at the Steinway Reformed Church. Hope to see you there!

Best Place to Take a First Date in Queens

is Brick Cafe, according to amNY. From the article:
Brick Cafe, Astoria's old-world-y litle bistro, has plenty of style. Candlelight, old brick walls, a tin ceiling and antiques. The menu's nothing to sneeze at, either: try the veal chop with mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes or the linguine with shrimps, clams, and mussels. (30-95 33rd Street, Astoria; 718-267-2735; expect to pay between $25 and $50 for a three-course dinner.)

I went on a first date there once, and it was nice (the meal; the date was just ok). If you want to go there for Valentine's Day, they recommend you call to make your reservations early (718-267-2735). I hear brunch is pretty good, too!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Turbines in the East River!

On Wednesday, I attended the Astoria/LIC Waterfront Allance meeting, and early on there was a representative/scientist from Verdant Power. She talked about the turbines being installed in the East River that generates electricity with the tides, which will be a source of green, renewable energy. From the flyer (dated 5/2006):
By July [2006], a Gristedes on Roosevelt Island should be drawing power from an unusual source - a turbine under the East River being driven bythye ebb and flow of the tides. A Virginia company, Verdant Power, has received the go-ahead to place the first two of six turbines in a channel of the East River to test whether they can generate electricity efficiently without disturbing the environment. One turbine will send power to the supermaket and a nearby parking garage. The other will house monitoring equipment to gauge performance. If all goes well, four more turbines will be installed soon for an 18-month test that could lead to 200-300 of the devices.

Well, the Gristedes is being powered already, and a number of volunteer groups have been formed to study the effects the turbines are having on the river, with regard to fish, birds, and recreation, to name a few. Also, they are going to see if the turbines affect sediment in the river. As of now, there is no sediment in the river because the water rushes by so quickly, but who knows if the turbines will slow things down, thereby creating sediment. Since the turbines have been put in, no fish have died as a result, which is good news (these turbines turn at 32 revolutions per minute, as opposed to conventional hydro-turbines, which turn at 600-700 rpm, so much safer). Eventually, if this test project succeeds, and all the turbines are installed, it could power 8,000-10,000 homes. Sounds good to me!

For more info, go to

Astorian Weekend Edition 09.02.07

Music for Aardvarks and Other Mammals is here in Astoria! Kids of all ages are welcome to join in on the musical classes and activities. There is a free trial class this Friday (today) @ 10 a..m. in the Steinway Reformed Church (21-65 41st St). If you are interested in giving it a go, send a quick email to
The actual Winter Session begins next Friday, February 16.

Saturday night @ 9:30, our local awesome picture taker/music spinner DJ Lo-Fi, will be mixing it up with the good people over at Hell Gate Social. On top of that, no cover. Yummy drinks and a super wide variety of hot music to keep you warm on yet another cold night!

Sunday brings us our favorite Joey harspichordist in concert! That's right, our very own Meg will be treating everyone to a performance (4 to 6pm) at the Women's Studio Center. There is a small ticket charge of $10 but i can tell you it is worth it. It's not everyday that you get to hear this instrument and get a commentary by the artist.

p.s.- if you're looking for a tastey treat, our friend Michelle from JustDesserts Chocolates and Pastries is now selling her delicious scones at Freeze Peach! She still makes truffles and more goodies to order as well so just in time for Valentine's Day here's her addy for you lovely chocoholics :) Get your orders in!

Get all your Astoria and Queens haps here.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

My NUT to your BOLT

I couldn't resist the urge to post this once i saw it in my inbox!!!!


Come along on Tuesday night for some wicked fun!
For you crazy singles we shall be handing out nuts n' bolts!
Why you ask? Simple! Find the person with your matching nut or bolt and be treated to a free 'money shot' on us! yeaaaaah!

We shall be doing drink specials all night with some silly games and nonsense and prob some daft music!
Your ever faithful Zig and Enzo will be holding down the fort.
Come along and let the good times roll! You might even get lucky!

(corner of Crescent n Ditmars)

Tuesday, February 13 from 10pm to close

How flippin awesome! I've seen this on some old TV shows growing up but never actually heard of one going on :) I might have to make it out to this one...sssshhhh don't tell the ole man at home!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Astoria-LIC Waterfront Parks Alliance Meeting

From Emily Maxwell at Parks. I plan to attend the first part and hope to see you there, too!

Join us to help figure what we can do to improve our Astoria/LIC waterfront parks and our waterfront as a whole. This month's meeting will focus in roles and responsibilities in ALWPA. Come together with friends and neighbors to re-envision our waterfront and improve our neighborhood.

All Are Welcome!

Wednesday, February 7, 6pm
Greater Astoria Historical Society
Quinn Building, 35-20 Broadway, 4th Floor

For more info, please call 718-706-8044, 917-902-9165 or email

Monday, February 05, 2007

East River Tributaries: Hallets Cove

Great article on Hallets Cove over on Waterwire. An excerpt:
Only a few intrepid water lovers have dipped their toes into Hallets Cove in recent decades. Stalwart anglers never stopped throwing their lines into this Queens waterway from the bulkhead running alongside Vernon Boulevard, a promenade running under the Astoria Houses to the northern side of the cove and the rocky slopes of Socrates Sculpture Park to the south. But pollution including floatable debris, and inexperience with the water, have discouraged generations of New Yorkers from taking advantage of the easy pedestrian access from Vernon Boulevard to explore the cove.

But lately the neighborhoods of Astoria and Ravenswood are reawakening to the potential of this quiet curve of water.

Makes me want to learn more about this wonderful little spot, and check it out in person!

Blues & Beer at Waltz

At the ever expanding Waltz this month, we get to broaden our musical horizons with a night of the blues! Starting February 22nd, bring your chops and your acoustic instrument of choice and sign up at 8:30 to jam out with other jammy folks every fourth Thursday.

It looks like Waltz is going to run out of nights to have events! We have comedy night, open mic night, jazz night and then there's tastings too. Waltz continues to hook up Astoria and its residents with wonderful entertainment and performances.

- oh and did i mention there is a beer tasting this Thursday?!?!?! Get there at 9pm and bring $10. You'll get to try 6 different NY State microbrews and hors d'oeuvres!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Astoria Park Loves You!

This meeting has to do with the formation of an Astoria Park group. I'll be there, and I hope you will be, too!

From Parks:

Currently, we are in the beginning phases of forming an Astoria Park group. The group hopes to bring together nearby residents and organizations to work together to ensure the overall health of the park. We are currently a collective group of Astoria Park users interested in clean ups and gardening days, advocating for physical park improvements, partnering with other program and events that take place in the park, environmental education, and creating literature/brochures. As you can see we have generated many ideas in a short period of time! Please come join us refine these thoughts and add your own ideas in one of our first meetings on February 12th at 6:30pm in the basement of the Steinway Reformed Church.

When: Monday, February 12th, 6:30pm

Where: Steinway Reformed Church, 41-01 Ditmars Blvd at 41st Street

Who: All are welcome!

More info: If you have questions please call Helen Ho at 718-520-5913 or e-mail at Helen works with Partnerships for Parks, who also happens to be an Astoria resident.

NY Mag Loves Us

"Us", being Joey in Astoria. They also like to talk about Astoria, and mentioned our fair neighborhood again in the most recent edition. I noticed in their Daily Intelligencer that they always reference this very blog when talking about Astoria. Who knew?

A big thank you to all our readers for helping to make us a valuable community resource!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Astorian Weekend Edition 02.02.07

There's more then football going on this weekend!

Friday night, Hellgate Social is the place to be for their V-Day NYC 2007 Variety Show and Spectacular!
Doors open at 8 p.m. and it's $10 to get in. Covers usually aren't my fav, but you get a lot of bang for your buck and the proceeds go to "The Center Against Domestic Violence" and "Women in Conflict Zones." Live music, dance, djs, and the best part... The Gotham Girls Roller Derby. I know for a fact that some other Astorian ladies cheer for these gals- fun stuff.

Saturday do something different. At Communitea (technically LIC) get your Tu B'Shvat on! Kosher wine and exotic fruits abound to celebrate the new year for trees. There is a cover, but only $10 and you get to try something new! Starts at 7:30pm but try to RSVP ahead of time-
Want to drink closer to home? Come for tastings the Happy Liquor Store (34-15 31st Ave) every Friday & Saturday evening (6:30-10 p.m.). A liquor store named Happy serving free booze? I'd say!

If your TV at home isn't big enough, the folks at Indigo (28-50 31st St) will totally share their several large flatscreens for prime Superbowl watching on Sunday. Come hungry because for $20 you get to go in on the huge halftime buffet. Don't want to think about keeping a tab? $60 will get you a complete Superbowl ticket (open bar from kickoff to the end of the game and the buffet.)
There will also be raffle tickets for a mountain bike and prizes and giveaways!

- this just in from my newest-favoritest-cutest-restaurant in the nabe Il Bambino (34-08 31st Ave, 718-626-0087). Give Darren a ringie and order up a panini basket for the big game! They are absolutley to die for. I just had the prosciutto, gorgonzola dolce and fig spread the other night!) Can't go wrong with anything that guy makes. Here's a peak at it....yum