Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Neurotics- 5 Questions

WHO: The Neurotics
Local rockstars!!!! Not many places in the nabe for a "wired" set up for these guys so many of you may not have gotten a chance to see them perform yet. I was lucky enough to be entertained by the them last year at Hellgate Social where they found many a new fan.

Here's what the guys had to say:

C: I am Charles and I play the guitar and sing. I am responsible for my mental health and mine alone.
M: Michael – play bass and sing background vocals in Nuerotics
J: I'm Jim and I play drums for the Nuerotics.

Question #1 Were you born here? If not, where were you born, and what brought you to Astoria?
C: I was born in Flushing. I moved here in November of 1999 after a telephone call from my drummer Jim, who I've known for many years. We started out by playing in a group with my sister. I was living in the burbs of LI, and he told me about an apartment available in his building in Astoria, so I jumped on it. I thought it would be great to live in NYC and be close to a good friend. I've been living here ever since.
M: Nope. Born in Syosset, NY – grew up in Dix Hills – live in Forest Hills. Playing in Nuerotics brought me.

J: I was born in the Parkchester section of the Bronx. I moved to Astoria in 1992 when I got a job as a NYC high school biology teacher. I live in the building that my grandparents bought in 1940, which my mom's family still owns.

Question #2 What is your favorite thing about living in Astoria?
C: The ethnic diversity of Astoria intrigues me. I enjoy hearing the various foreign languages and talking to locals. Of course I love food and drink and there always seem to be a new place to experience.
M: n/a
J: I like being able to walk or bike to everything. I like the feeling of being part of a community when I walk down the block greeting my neighbors. Some of them remember my aunts and uncles as little kids. I like the old folks who look out the window or sit on the stoop in nice weather. They look out for the block. They won't stop anyone's apartment from being robbed, but they'll tell you what the guy was carrying on the way out, and marvel at the fact that someone could run with a television down the street so fast.

Question #3 What is your number one go to restaurant in Astoria?
C: I really enjoy eating at Wave Thai. The staff is really friendly. I am still waiting for a great place here to really enjoy Japanese food, as it is in my top two favorite types of cuisine. I must also mention L'Incontro (Italian) and a shout out to Euros (Spanish).
M: Fatty's – love their burritos

J: My go to restaurant would have to be the souvlaki lady on the corner of 33rd and Ditmars. I stop off on my bike coming back from work and get a tasty stick of meat for $2.25. After rehearsal I like to go to Sparrow for a beer, and get the grilled cheese with speck. For a special treat, I really like Bistro 33. Chef Gary is a culinary alchemist and does wonderful things with tuna, lobster and foie gras. I recently had his take on macaroni and cheese, which had lobster and truffles. Yum.

Question #4 Best kept local secret that you don't mind sharing?
C: Support Mimi's Closet! It's great little clothing boutique on 31st street near the corner of 21st Avenue. The clothes and accessories are custom designed and very stylish. I purchased a tie there with various colored stripes and I've worn it to gigs. It screamed 'Nueroticize me!' - I had to buy it.
M: The Nuerotics are the best kept local secret :)

J: The Steinway Piano company factory tour. I don't know how many people know that Steinway pianos are made in right here in Astoria. There's a rich heritage of Steinway in Astoria and it's cool that the factory is just a few blocks from where I live. I've been on the tour twice. I love how this instrument is still handmade by many craftsmen working on the many different steps. I can't think of anything manufactured today that is as complex and handcrafted with such attention to detail. There's also the landmarked Steinway Mansion, which is a few blocks away and is for sale. I was just speaking to my Uncle's friend who remembers Henry Steinway driving around the neighborhood in his pickup truck. He wasn't pretentious, very personable, and was into old cars.

Question #5 What would you like see happen in/for Astoria in 2008?
C: More great places like Oleput and Fatty's would be nice but even more importantly, some places for bands like us with amps, drums and electric twangers to play! Please, let's put Astoria on the rock 'n' roll map!
M: I wouldn't mind seeing a bookstore in Astoria – independently owned or even a Barnes and Noble. Or possibly … a record shoppe.
J: I'd like to see a queens greenway built along the waterfront for pedestrians and bikes, people drive more slowly, smaller cars replace SUV's, and the Steinway Mansion turned into a museum with a recording studio and spa.

Get your Neurotic time in at the Trash Bar on Sunday March 16th, 9pm
. Yeah it's in Williamsburg- but go and support the guys so we can get them to come play over here more! There's a $6 cover, I'll call it an investment in the Astoria music revolution...

Trash Bar

256 Grand St.
(between Driggs & Roebling)

Williamsburg, Brooklyn NY 11211

photo by Masako Kondo

Astorian Weekend Edition 28.02.08

Oleput (31-13 Ditmars Blvd), the former sweet shop in the Ditmars neighborhood, just revamped their menu. They offer lots of savory small plates, panini, desserts (they're serving Ronnybrook ice cream these days), and a nice wine and beer selection. The grilled cheese is awesome.

Over in LIC the Chocolate Factory (5-49 49th Avenue) presents Moliere's Don Juan, performed by the National Theater of the United States of America. The NY Time says "It may be the way [Yehuda Duenyas plays the great seducer], hops about and gurgles with glee after a conquest. Or maybe it's his mildly crazed eyes, or the pale, flat expanse of his stomach, which seems to be entirely muscle free. Whatever the reason, he's irresistible, as is the play." 8 p.m.

Also in LIC, PS1 presents WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution, "the first comprehensive, historical exhibition to examine the international foundations and legacy of feminist art." Concurrent events on Saturday include Faith Wilding performs Wait-With (location announced on day of event) from 12-2 p.m.; Women in Experimental Film, screenings of 16mm films by Peggy Ahwesh, Abigail Child, Barbara Hammer, Marjorie Keller, Marie Menken, Barbara Rubin, Carolee Schneemann, coordinated by M.M. Serra at 2 p.m.; and Women in Experimental Film, panel with contributors to the book, Women’s Experimental Cinema, with Carolee Schneemann, Peggy Ahwesh, Ara Osterweil, Melissa Ragona, moderated by editor Robin Blaetz at 4 p.m. Concurrent events on Sunday include Telepathe, a musical performance by this Brooklyn duo at 2 p.m. and Anna Oxygen, performing electronic music at 4 p.m.

Thursday and Friday night Bar 36 (36-05 30th Ave) has their own happy hour, going on from 6-9 p.m. Buy-one-get-one free for all martinis, cocktails, mixed drinks and beer. I hear the cocktails are very tasty.

On Saturday stop by Candy Plum (30-98 36th Street) from 1-4 p.m. Local Astorian artists Christiane Haber and Maria from Buyme Designs will be featuring their entire collections. There will be treats and drinks for all!

This weekend the always awesome Hellgate Social (12-21 Astoria Blvd) presents Rounders for their Sunday Night Cinema. It stars Ed Norton, Matt Damon and John Malkovitch, and it's all about gambling and addiction. Happy hour is from 7-9pm. I always recommend the Hellgate Lemonade, which is still fabulous as ever (I was there last Saturday and had it, yum). Movie starts at 8:30 p.m.

If you don't want to drink fun cocktails and watch a movie that night, try playing the Pub Quiz at the Irish Rover (37-18 28th Ave.). They pour a mean pint of Harp, I must say (how do they get it so creamy???). Quiz starts at 7:30 p.m. and it's $10 to enter. Winners get the pot. Get a group of four people together and rock out on the factoids!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Hello Wings

I ate these (not all of them) at Dillinger's (46-19 30th Avenue) last week. They have a wing and beer special every Tuesday after 8pm. Delicious, though I'd order them hotter next time. I'll be back.

Plates of Wings

More Wings

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Astorian Weekend Edition 021.02.08

Striped BassThursday spend the evening (6:30-8pm) learning the ins-and-outs of getting the Queens Greenway going with a speaker from the Brooklyn Greenway Initiatives. Strategize your move at the Greater Astoria Historical Society (Quinn Building, 35-20 Broadway, 4th Floor) Sponsored by Green Shores NYC and the Transportation Alternatives Queens Committee. RSVP to

Friday night go for seafood at Sabry's (24–25 Steinway) and do it up with the seafood! I used to trek over to Elias or my grilled whole fish, but I found that I can get the same and some other really cool dishes right around the corner from home. Sabry's isn't new, but somehow they have stayed off my radar... not anymore! My dinner pal insisted that I include here that the silverware and dishes were immaculate, just so you know.

If you're a fan of beer and looking for variety, McLoughlin's (Broadway & 31st St) is featuring Spaten (a German lager) this month. Spaten, they say, is the world's first Oktoberfest beer, created in 1872. Stop in this Saturday when Tosser rocks it out at 10pm.

Pub Quiz is baaaaack!!!! Those crazy quizzers are right back where we love to see them, at the Rover (28th Ave & 38th St). Still on Sunday and still at 7:30. All you need is $10 per team and some knowledge of random trivia... good luck players!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sabry's - can i get a yum people?!??!!

Shrimp and Calamari Tagine
Originally uploaded by The Flooz
I got to visit Sabry's (24–25 Steinway) last night and i am so glad i did!
My partner in crime and i dined like it was a feast or something. For $65 we got 3 sodas, 2 apps, 2 mains, a salad and all the fresh pita we could handle. Here is my Shrimp and Calamari Tagine ($15 not shabby). Not only visually appealing but full of tomatoey goodness. We also had the baked Striped Bass- it was huge and i'd say had the most bang for the buck ($19).
I will definitely be going back to get down with the huge array of seafood!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Astorian Weekend Edition 14.02.08

Well, this week brings us Valentine's Day! What a great excuse to go have a fancy meal. Astoria has a lot of great restaurants, and here are our suggestions.

On Saturday, there's a show at Maric Lanes - yep, there's a bowling alley right here in Astoria. Four bands - The Ergs!, The Steinways, For Science, and the Challenged - start at 8pm. $10 and that includes buy one get one free drinks or bowling. Maric Lanes is 19-45 49th Street.

Via MySpace I was reminded that Time Cafe has their lovely $12 brunch every weekend and holiday, 10:30 a.m - 3:30 p.m. And recently I had brunch at Igloo (22-26 31st St), and the fries were truly amazing. Hot and crisp, not soggy at all. Total yum.

Waltz has one of the coolest sounding bands on their calendar, at least according to this geometry fan - The Trapezoids! Looks like jazz to me. They're on at 9 p.m. on Saturday.

I've also been walking past The Blooming Company (22-75 31st Street) over the past couple of weeks and often stop to peer into the windows. They have so many cute things there! Plus a nice selection of clothes. Speaking of clothes, Kristees (24-01 23rd Avenue) has a number of things in stock particularly appropriate for Valentine's Day - lounge wear, lingerie, and some pretty silk flowers.

Recently I've heard good things about Melody (25-95 Steinway St.), a newish spot in the Little Egypt part of town. You can have some delicious Lebanese food, smoke some hookah, and chill out.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

V-Day, Astoria Style

Last weekend I mentioned a few places for Valentine's Day dinner. Here is a larger list of suggestions for a romantic dinner on Thursday:

Bistro 33, $50 prix fixe
19-33 Ditmars, 718-721-1933

Cavo, $65 prix fixe
42-18 31st Ave, 718-721-1001

Mundo, $65 prix fixe, 6 and 8 p.m seatings
31-18 Broadway, 718-777-2829

35-01 Ditmars, 718-204-5553

21-76 31st St, 718-721-3532

45-17 28th Ave, 718-956-0372

33-02 34th Ave, 718-729-9080

36-02 Steinway St, 718-786-2070

50-12 Vernon Blvd, 718-472-4355

For a cozy, romantic drink, you might consider Rapture, Stini Yiamas, or Central Lounge. Cavo, 718, and Bistro 33 also have very nice bars. Astoria has a few nice wine bars, including Crescent and Vine, Vino di Vino, and Rest-Au-Rant.

Then there's Fatty's Valentine's Day party @ 10pm, which should be a rockin' time! They're at 25-01 Ditmars Blvd, 718-267-7071.

Whatever you do, enjoy!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Tell Astorya no more?

Unless they are on a ginormous winter vacation- it looks to me like the little Tell Astorya may be done. I've been watching it on my way home for a couple of weeks and haven't seen the metal grate come up at all. I guess its another one bites the dust. Oh well, we've got the cute Soleil to take its place me thinks. I'll keep my eyes peeled though- their myspace looks to still be up and running...weird.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Astorian Weekend Edition 07.02.08

I'm back! Thanks to flooz for covering last week - I learned this week that a tree knocked out my internet - 7 days without internet is like an eternity! Oh well, I did end up catching up on my Netflix queue...

Now, if you're of the romantic persuasion, this is the time to make your Valentine's Day reservations. Astoria has a lot of lovely options, including Bistro 33 ($50 prix fixe), Mundo ($65 prix fixe) 718, L'Incontro, Stove, and Locale. More on this subject next week.

Take a visit to the Czech Republic this weekend at the Beer Garden. Thursday night at 7 p.m. the Laco Dezci Jazz Orchestra plays in the Beer Cellar restaurant. No cover, no minimum. Then on Saturday at 7 p.m. they're showing a selection of recent Czech films (in Czech with English subtitles): With Kisses from Your Love (Libam te a miluji); Low Level Flight (Nizky let). Both are directed by Jan Sikl.

I also walked by Inside Astoria (37-20 Ditmars) on my way back from voting Tuesday, and noticed they are having a sale. I love that place, and they always have interesting stuff there.

On Sunday evening, stop by the Albatross Bar (36-19 24th Avenue) for $5 Cosmos!

I've also been spending some time at Cafe Soleil (Astoria Blvd South between 37th and 38th Streets) and love it. They've got free wifi, tasty snacks, and normal sized lattes. Small means small, Starbucks! But my favorite thing at Soleil is the fresh juice. I had apple, carrot, orange juice last weekend and it was fantastic! The space is really cute, too.

For something completely different, attend either the Yixing Teapot or Chinese Brush Making Workshop at the Brickhouse Ceramic Art Center (10-34 44th Drive). Registration Fee is $110 for each, and that includes materials fee and lunch.

Lastly, our friend Zora mentions Leng Thai (33-09 Broadway), which has been open for about a month. I peeked in the other day and it looked really nice in there. I hear the food is pretty good, too. Check it out and let us know what you think.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Today's the day

VOTE- It's gonna be a good one people!!!!!
You've got the chance here to help direct where this country is going.
If you're gonna bitch and moan, then at least back it up with a little flick of the switch, yes?

Where do you go to vote? Check here if you don't know.
Or you can call the lovely automaton people at 212-vote-nyc

A quote from a wise friend of mine pretty much sums it up- "
In some countries, people dodge bullets to have the chance." So duh, take a walk and go do it, you've got all night (til 9pm).