Thursday, August 30, 2007

Astorian Weekend Edition 30.08.07

Welcome to the end of summer; that gets a frownie face from me. This weekend, of course, is Labor Day, so enjoy a few more days off before you have to put away your summer whites. I hope you have one last picnic (hello Astoria Park!) or BBQ (Randall's Island, anyone?) to attend. I'll be making a batch of something to share with friends this weekend.

Friday night consider going to an art opening, right here in Astoria. Argentinian native and LIC resident Graciela Cassel’s latest work consists of mixed media boxes in acrylic, wood and plexiglass. The opening reception is Friday starting at 6pm at the ArtHome Gallery (29-28 Newtown Avenue). There will be an open bar and live music; h'ors d'oeuvres will be served. Please RSVP to if you plan on going.

This weekend, there's plenty of jazz at Waltz-Astoria (Ditmars and 23rd)- Samba Saurus on Thursday, the Howard Britz Jazz Trio on Saturday, and the Naughty Waltzers on Monday. They've also got a happy hour going on - on Thursday from 8:30-10:30, buy one drink, get second 1/2 off! I had a mimosa there the other day and it was tasty. They've renovated their space, and it looks really nice. On Thursday there's jazz at the Beer Garden, too, part of their regular series.

On Monday, hit the last street fair of the summer, sponsored by the 30th Avenue Business Association. It's on 30th Avenue between 29th & 42nd Streets and lasts from 11-6. I can almost smell the grilled corn and mozzarepas from here!

The ever-eclectic Candy Plum boutique (36th Street at 30th Ave) is having a great sale this week and into the weekend. For every $20 you spend, get a $5 gift card! All clothing is on sale, plus they have a fabulous selection of earrings. The vibe is always fun there, too.

There's a new sushi restaurant in town! Sakura, on Ditmars near 36th Street, just opened and I've heard good things about them. Prices are great and the menu is extensive. Particularly notable if the ume shisho roll, apparently hard to find around here. Definitely worth a try. Also, my tip for your sweet tooth - Il Bambino has the best cupcakes in town. Their chocolate peanut butter cupcake is to die for, simply fabulous. They've also made a few changes to their menu, too.

And while it's not in Astoria/LIC, one of the world's major sporting events has been going on this week in Queens, the US Open. It's a short ride from Queensboro Plaza on the 7 train to Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Get the scoop on, along with tips to make your US Open experience the best ever.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Neighborhood Has Eyes

Sometimes I walk home behind the newish Staples in the Ditmars neighborhood. It's a most unusual street in Astoria, in that it has a wonderful bit of landscaping that basically cuts the street into two parts. It's extremely pedestrian friendly, and is even accessible, with a path winding up the lower part to the upper part. It's friendly to dog walkers, too, but someone is abusing the space and not picking up the poo their dog leaves behind. The neighbors are aware and have posted up some signs alerting the irresponsible pet owner that they know he/she is neglecting their duty, and offering to help find a solution. There are even plastic bags supplied, hanging there on the fence. Here are pictures of the signs:

I hope the dog owner cleans up their act! Errant dog poo is totally disgusting.

Apollon- revisited

Awhile back i wondered about Apollon. Many of you seemed to be familiar with the place and spoke of it being a restaurant/cafe/bar/club type establishment.
Well its kaput.
Saw the for rent sign this weekend.

Let's see what pops up next!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Lucky Magazine Loves Kristees, Site, and Loveday31

Kristie from Kristees passed on the notice that the September edition of Lucky Magazine has rated Kristees as One of the Top 100 Stores to Shop in New York! Congratulations to her! On page 348 you'll see that along with Kristees, Site and Loveday31 both are part of On Our Radar: Astoria, and also in the Top 100. Congratulations to all!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Astorian Weekend Edition 23.08.07

Now Thursdays at Bungalo (32-03 Broadway) are their hot Latin night. Good to know if you're looking for some salsa with your cocktails!

Friday night, on your way home, pick up some desserts from Bakeway NYC (25-21 Broadway). It's pretty new and in the space of the old Edelweiss Cafe. The cupcakes are gorgeous ,if nothing else, go take a gander. We're talking affordable and tasty!

Saturday will finally be a bit warmer so go cool off at the Freeze Peach for an ice cream tasting! That's right, stop in and fork over $9 at the door and be amazed by the flavorful concoctions of 'Erick's Unexpected'. Salivate forward to... maple sausage, hot chocolate (spicy with ginger and thai peppers), apples and cinnamon oatmeal, strawberry basil, a magical mystery tea sorbet, and who knows what else! Along with crazy ice cream, there will be reflexology, tarot card readings, live music, and an open tea bar for your entrance fee.

At McCann's (36-15 Ditmars) you can enjoy (free of charge) the UFC 74 Respect, a PPV event live from Las Vegas. Fight starts at 10 p.m., but get there early to score a seat and dig into their full menu. It's all cooked with zero "trans fats," even the delicious buffalo wings.

Sunday is for doing good...or so say I for this week:)
A Seeds of Love Fundraising Sidewalk Sale raises money for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. Along with the monies going to the race, a portion will also be going to Paige. We're talking brand new, hot clothing/jewelry/handbags!!!! Oh, and teachers will be honored with free gifts for back to school (while supplies last)! Find these do-gooders at 24-37 Crescent St. between 24th Ave and Hoyt. between 1 & 5 p.m. on Sunday

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Bike New York Photo Award

This past May was Bike New York, a cycling tour that visits all 5 boroughs. I was running that day down around Astoria Park, where one of the rest areas was, and I saw lots of bikes! They were heading there for the booths and grassy areas for a break, I imagine. Along with the ride itself, the Bike New York organization held a photo contest. The staff selected four photos as winners, a first prize and three runners-up. One of the runners-up features a terrific view of the Hellgate Bridge in Astoria Park! You can see it and more at the Bike New York Photo Contest page.

Photo credit: Simon Abrams

Friday, August 17, 2007

HipNoHop This Weekend

Just got this in my email box - it sounds promising!


What: Let the local musicians entertain you with free music that blends all sorts of rhythms together. BBQ (veggie burgers or hot dogs/hamburgers) will be available for purchase in the patio area.

When: Sunday, August 19, 4PM-7:30 PM

Where: LIC Bar, 45-58 Vernon Boulevard.

No cover charge; Dogs and children are welcome!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Astorian Weekend Edition 16.08.07

Looks like a nice, comfortable weekend coming up! Highs in the upper 70s with a little bit of clouds. This will be a great weekend for a couple of bike-related events going on. Friday, it's all about the kids: Teach Your Child to Ride a Bike! That's the name of a class being given from 10am-1pm at ARROW (35-30 35th St.), for kids and their parents (a parent of guardian MUST attend). The class will provide expert guidance on how to balance,start, stop, and steer. It's free, and the NYC Dept. of Transportation will be giving away free helmets, on top of it all. Also, there will be a raffle of donated bikes and scooters from Recycle-A-Bicycle. Pre-registration is required online or by calling 212 932 2453 x159.

On Saturday August 18, from 12-3pm, Recycle-A-Bicycle is having a bike sale at their LIC location (46th Avenue at 5th Street). Six kids through the Summer Youth Employment Program have been working at Recycle-A-Bicycle in LIC for the last 7 weeks to learn basic bike mechanic skills, and this is the final project. There will be adult bicycles and a few children's bicycles- all recycled and refurbished. Cash and credit cars will be accepted, and the sale will take place rain or shine.

There's also fun at Hellgate Social this weekend - music, djing, and movies on the back patio. Always a good time. And speaking of movies, MOMI has some interesting looking films about complex realtionships, including Drive, He Said, Charley Varrick, and Play Misty For Me.

Socrates Sculpture Park
continues its pan-arts event,Float. Saturday and Sunday, from 12-7:30pm, come see different kinds of artwork, live performances, and videos by emerging artists Robert Boyd, William Lamson, Ola Vasiljeva, and Shana Moulton. Moulton's Whispering Pines video series ends with a performance on Sunday. Jan Rothuizen's Missing is a tree covered in posters for lost pets, possessions, and people. Sheila Ross and Laura Ten Eyck's installation, Yurt City, will also be on display.

Warm Up at PS1 (22-25 Jackson Ave in LIC) features DJ Spun w/Ben Cook, Eric Duncan, Woolfy Projections, Dewanatron & Ray Sweeten, and Zach Layton, going on from 3-9pm. It's a $10 admission for everyone but locals (bring proof of your Astoria/LIC address/zip to get in free). According to Flavorpill: "Rong Music hosts a lineup that's thick with dubbed-out beat makers, psychedelic incantations, and a proper dash of disco punk. Beyond the spinners, live sets include funk-fueled bass lines, temperamental synths, and all forms of robotic love." Head to Water Taxi Beach afterwards for Akalepse, and great dogs.

Food-wise, there's the aforementioned dogs at WTB. I hear that the pizza at Frankie's (31st Street between Ditmars and 23rd Ave) has changed a bit - an extra garlicky sauce, apparently. I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing. My fave really is Michael Angelo's on 23rd Ave (near 29th Street), which made me a fantastic Marghareta slice the other day. They have a back garden as well, which is so nice in the warmer months. But the place I'm most interested in is the new vegetarian/vegan restaurant run by the same people that run Sai Organics (30th Ave between 36th and 37th Streets), that is finally open!. This new restaurant is in the old Keystone Diner spot, 30th Ave just west of 31st Street. They are serving 100% organic food, too. This is very exciting!

More fun, here.

Freeze Peach got dressed up

So earlier this week, our favorite local tea shop and CSA pickup spot the Freeze Peach got a new awning! Hopefully now people won't have as much of an issue finding the joint!
(They are off the corner of Ditmars and 29th St. btw)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Greek 33rd Street Mural

Greek 33rd Street Mural
Originally uploaded by mcotner
This is the other mural on 33rd Street, across from the newly painted one I posted about yesterday. They have been cleaning it up, and repainting some things. Cadillac Man often sits under this bridge, visiting with friends who stop by. I'm glad they are cleaning up this mural, because the paint has been slowly chipping off and it's been looking a little lackluster. I look forward to when they finish the upgrades.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Ali's Kabab Cafe on No Reservations

There was chatter here and there about Tony Bourdain coming to town to eat at Ali's Kabab Cafe as part of his No Reservations show on the Travel Channel. A number of people said they thought they saw him on the streets of Astoria, but they weren't sure. Well, he ate at Ali's and loved it! Ali cooked him a bunch of offal, not my cup of tea, but it sure impressed Tony Bourdain. Here's the video - enjoy!

33rd Street Mural

33rd Street Mural
Originally uploaded by mcotner
This used to be a mural about firemen and 9/11, I think. Or maybe just about brave firemen. That got painted over and a group of high school kids painted a new set of images.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Attack in the news

We don't hear of this kind of assault in our neighborhood too often, so when it happens it can scare the holy hell out of us (well me anyway.)

If you still haven't heard the news- at approx. 11pm last night Aug 12, a 27 year old woman was robbed and sexually attacked in North Astoria around Ditmars and 26th St.
A police sketch has been released, so keep your peepers peeled for this sad sack of humanity.

If there was ever a time for the neighborhood to get on point, its now.

Anyone with information about the attack is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 800-577-TIPS.

Rock out!

OK people, there is no excuse to miss this (unless you hate him)
I am posting this way in advance... for dorks like me :)
Clear your calendars for the man - the myth - the legend- Tommy Lee
Thats right, the famously infamous MOTLEY CRÜE drummer/Ex Mr. Anderson will be spinning for the locals on Friday night September 7th at the Central Lounge. So get the gang together and stop by for what i assume to be a very eventful night!

Astoria, a Smarter Travel Destination

Today, SmarterTravel published an article called Take a walk on the local side of five top cities, and Astoria is one of them! Barcelona's Born neighborhood, London's Shoreditch neighborhood, Paris' 12th Arrondissement, and Seattle's Ballard district are the other four. The article mentions the usual suspects (MOMI, Beer Garden, Socrates), and it was nice to see both Astoria Park and delicious Mombar get some attention. Our friend John's site on Queens was also mentioned as another great Astoria resource.

Astoria is the place to be!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

On the Radio

What a pleasure it was to be on the Brian Lehrer Show talking about Queens and blogging! This was the first time I’d been on the radio, and it was a great experience. The show was a follow-up to Monday’s show (8/6) featuring Brooklyn bloggers. Well, that generated a number of comments in favor of balancing the outer borough representation and giving attention to Queens bloggers as well. Thank you, said commenters, for the Queens love.

I was joined by two other guests, Steve Tiszenkel of Queens Central and Kel Sawyer of The Progressive Southside, both giving their own perspectives on the issues at hand. I’ve communicated with them this past year over email, and this is the first time I’d gotten to meet them; they are both really nice, intelligent, and well-spoken guys, with blogs that are definitely worth reading.

Thanks to everyone who let me know they listened. And if you didn’t get a chance to listen, you can with the audio player below. I hope you enjoy the show!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Blogging on the Radio - Better Late Than Never

As the writer and editor of OuterB, I've been invited to be on the Brian Lehrer Show TODAY!

The subject will be Queens bloggers, and between 11:25am and 11:40am I’ll be there along with fellow blogger Steve from Queens Central, talking about blogging, about Queens, and answering questions, whatever they may be. Specific details are a little fuzzy right now. But please tune in and have a listen (you can listen to it online if you don’t have a radio handy). I’m really looking forward to it.

The Brian Lehrer Show can be heard on WNYC, 93.9 FM and AM 820.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Astorian Weekend Edition 09.08.06

There's music at the park on Thursday, The Glenn Miller Orchestra will be over near Shore Blvd. and the river. Come after work and bring a blanket and some munchies- it starts at 7:30pm For more info: call (718) 728-7820 or visit

Friday, Recycle-A-Bicycle's Summer Ride Club is in effect! Come and learn some urban cycling skills like traffic maneuvering (this should be handy for us city folk). This is an early one, 10am-3pm at their training center at the corner of 46 Ave. and 5th St. for more info:

Saturday is Children's Day at Queensbridge Park (41st Ave and Vernon Blvd). From noon-3pm, kids can learn to ride their bikes and just hang out and enjoy the day. There will be picnicking at 3pm to maximize the socializing! Sponsored by Queensbridge Park Committee

Summer is definitely still here by the looks of Steinway on Sunday- yet another Street Fair! We love those :) Catch it between 28th and 34th Avenues.

Saturdays and Sundays in August are filled with art at Socrates (Broadway at Vernon Blvd.) with the FLOAT installation. It's a biennial series of time-based and ephemeral works installed and performed throughout the Park- they've got it all- live music and art.

If the hunger strikes, try the new Valverde (corner of Steinway and 36th Ave) for some fresh Mediterranean flavors. I got all this delivered for $45 and 2 people were super satisfied.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Astorian Weekend Edition 02.08.07

Welcome to the first weekend in August! I'm amazed how time flies - seems like just yesterday we were ringing in the new year. It's going to be a hot weekend - great for staying inside in the a/c or hanging outside, whichever you are prone to doing. On Thursday, stop by Tell Astorya Cafe (37-05 28th Ave). Sign up at 7pm, show starts at 8pm for 2 hours. You have 8 minutes to show off your talent! If open-miking isn't for you, head to Waltz (23-14 Ditmars Boulevard) for some great Brazilian music in the form of Sambasaurus ($2 Cover, $7 Drink Minimum). Stephanie Wremble will be there Friday night, too ($10 Cover, $7 Drink Minimum). Thursday night also brings us the Waterfront Concert Series - the Marvelettes are performing this week at Astoria Park. Bring a blanket, some food, and friends and enjoy one of NYC's best city parks.

On Friday, you are invited to an opening reception of a group show at LIC's The Space. The show, "1s ad 3s", features artists Eileen Cohen, Adrienne Dowd, Chris Harris, Cristian Pietrapiana, Brandon Schreck, Aleks Zelenina, Jaya Lamba, and Kristy Schopper. The opening reception is from 7-9pm at their gallery, 25-17 41st Ave in LIC.

Saturday of course, bring us Warm Up at PS 1. This week's lineup: Psychic TV and Flaming Fire. DJs include Cool Gypsy Bogdan (Turntable Lab), In Flagranti (Codek Records), plus Ned Rothenberg. Warm Up goes from 3-9pm, and you can head to Water Taxi Beach afterwards for some dogs (meat and soy!) and fries, and views of the East River and Manhattan. If you want to stay cool, for years people have gone to the movies, and you can too at Astoria's own MOMI. Gone are the horror films and now they're showing a bunch of films from the Nixon Era. I'm sure they will be thought-provoking gems.

On Sunday, consider participating in Bike New York's Savvy Cyclist Workshop. Here, you can hone your cycling skills with instructor, Emilia Crotty. She will show you how to do basic bicycle maintenance and repair as well as teach important traffic skills. It's an all day affair, going from 9-5. Meet at the Recycle-A-Bicycle training center, corner of 46th Avenue and 5th Street. Everyone must bring a bike and helmet. Registration is required. Call 212-932-2300x131 or email for more information.

Also on Sunday is the last Pub Quiz at the Irish Rover for this season. So, if you have been meaning to partake in the Quiz for a while, this would be the night for you! The Irish Rover is on 28th Ave and 38th Street. They pour a great Harp, by the way. Best I've had in the area. That same night,, Socrates Sculpture Park (32-01 Vernon Blvd) presents an evening of outdoor video at 7pm. This is part of the L.I.C., NYC Video project. You can also catch a Czech film that night at the Beer Garden. Holiday Makers (Účastníci zájezdu) is this week's screening.

And on this hot weekend, just over the Pulaski Bridge in Greenpoint (97 Commercial Street, and yes, I know it's not in Queens, but it's close enough!), is the northern location of the Brooklyn Ice Cream Company. It's as good as the stuff in Dumbo - I recommend their chocolate chocolate chip. Of course, you could always hit up Oleput (Ditmars and 33rd), which also has fab ice cream.

More fun, here.