Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Movie: Killer of Sheep

This came in my email box from the Museum of the Moving Image, and it sounds intriguing:
World Cinema Showcase
Friday, April 3, 2009, 7:00 p.m.
At LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, 31-10 Thomson Ave (at Van Dam St), Long Island City
U.S. 1977/2007, 83 mins.

The best-reviewed film of 2007 was made 30 years ago, but not released until it was restored last year by the UCLA Film and TV Archive. A landmark of African-American independent cinema, Charles Burnett's Killer of Sheep is also a neo-realist drama steeped in the lyricism of the blues, about a South Central slaughterhouse worker (Henry G. Sanders) who struggles to support himself and his family.

Tickets: Free for Museum members / $10 non-members / $8 CUNY students. Members RSVP to 718.784.4520. Advance tickets available online ($2 surcharge) and on day-of-show at the LPAC box office (718.482.5151).

SITE Turns Two!

SITE, the cute design store on 34th Ave, turns 2 years old today! They're going to celebrate, too - check it out. From their website:

SITE is...2!!! Come join is as we celebrate two amazing years! Wine boxes, cupcakes, totally amazing trunk shows, music, party specials, and general merrymaking!!

Thursday, April 2nd 7-10 p.m.

R.S.V.P and get more info here. (Facebook)

35-11 34th Ave

Monday, March 30, 2009

Upcoming Astoria Park Alliance Meeting

Just wanted to let you know the details of the next Astoria Park Alliance meeting:

Tuesday, April 7th
6:30 pm
Steinway Reform Church (Ditmars Boulevard and 41st Street)

The agenda will include, among other things:
  • April 22 Queens Drinks hosted by Astoria Park Alliance at Bohemian Hall
  • Earth Day April 18
  • New York Cares Day April 25
  • It's My Park Day May 16
Hope to see you there!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Queensboro Bridge Turns 100 on Monday

I mentioned it briefly here - the Queensboro Bridge (aka the 59th Street Bridge) turns 100 on Monday. The NY Times has an article on it - here's an excerpt:
One of the ugly ducklings? Not to Bob Singleton, an author of "Images of America: The Queensboro Bridge" and a trustee of the Greater Astoria Historical Society, which, by the way, will serve birthday cake on Monday at 7 p.m. at its headquarters. Other festivities are planned for late May and early June, mirroring events that took place 100 years ago.

"It's really the quintessential American bridge," Mr. Singleton said. "You get a massive feeling of the use of steel that went into that bridge. It's a graceful bridge when you take a look at what they tried to accomplish, and it's an iconic symbol of the city. It's been in movies from 'Dead End' in the '30s to 'Spider-Man.' But it's very unassuming as it goes about its work."

Read more, here:
To Fans, Queensboro Bridge Is a Steel Swan, Not an 'Ugly Duckling' [NY Times]

Friday, March 27, 2009

One More for the Weekend and One for Monday

Just saw these and wanted to let you know about them:

Friends of Gantry Neighborhood Parks Clean-Up
Join the Friends of Gantry Neighborhood Parks to spruce up Hunters Point.

Saturday March 28st
For more information, call (718) 340- 1836 or email gantryparkfriend@aol.com

All Star Symposium on the Queensboro Bridge
Celebrate the bridge’s centennial at the community’s official birthday party. Learn about the engineering of the bridge and see how photographers have captured it on film.

Monday March 30th
7:00 p.m.
Greater Astoria Historical Society offices
4th floor of the Quinn Building, 35-20 Broadway

Call for Artists: AMandA in Wonderland

I received this in my inbox and wanted to pass it on. Please note that April 3, 2009 is the deadline for applying. Please contact astoriamusicarts@gmail.com for a copy of the application form.

Greetings From Astoria Music & Arts and the Wonderland Collective!

We would like to invite you to be part of an event we are putting together for April 18th 2009 called... AMandA in Wonderland. We are calling upon all fellow conspirators: artists, musicians, djays, dancers, performers, fire spinners, spoken word, comedians, filmmakers, organizations, collectives, and other creative energies, to be a part of this celebration.

Wonderland and Astoria Music & Arts are both dedicated to the enrichment of the artistic community in the Astoria/LIC area and beyond. Only with a network and community of artists will this come to fruition. This is a great opportunity for all of us to build together.

AMandA in Wonderland is going to be a fundraiser for Astoria Music & Arts. We are planning numerous events around LIC with all of this culminating in a huge festival in Astoria Park on July 25th and we want all of you to be involved!

We have already received grants from Queens Council on the Arts and the City Parks Foundation. We feel very strongly that we as a community and citizens need to seize our public spaces for celebration.

If you are interested in collaborating with us for this event on the 18th, summer festival, or any other events, or know of any other organizations or performers that would be interested in working together please contact me directly or email astoriamusicarts@gmail.com and we can start planning these events together.

Blessings :)

Mike Tummolo, AMA and Wonderland!

For additional info on the organizers
Wonderland on Facebook and their blog
Astoria Music and Arts on Facebook

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Astorian Weekend Edition 26.03.09

IvyThursday brings us the Carnaval a Brick Cafe, a fashion show featuring local designers. Stop by to check out the goods, have a drink, and maybe even buy something! Later that night head to Waltz for a musical benefit for Autism. $5 at the door and a $10 food/drink minimum. Festivities start at 8 p.m.

Maybe work on your Queens Sky postcard? What a cool project.

On Friday there's samba at Cavo (42-18 31st Ave)! Four amazing samba dancers start the show at 8:30 p.m. Come enjoy food and drink and dancing!

If you are curious about what's up with the Two Coves Community Garden, take a stroll down 30th Ave and check it out. They are doing a lot of planting right now, but being near a vibrant open space is always refreshing. On your way, consider stopping in Frank's Bakery (36-02 30th Ave) for some tasty apple strudel, or on your way back, drop in at Vesta (21-02 30th Ave) for a glass of wine and some food.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Update on Dutch Kills Bar

News via liQcity. Sounds like April is the month they're going to open:

"We just got our refrigeration in this week, so we’re back to a construction site for just a couple more weeks. We’ll be opening in April.Our sinks, our plumbing, and the refrigeration are things we take very seriously. We’re juicing fresh to order behind the bar, so all of that has to be meticulously planned, and we can’t just slap that together and expect the same level of quality that we have at the other bars. We’ll also be introducing a hand-cut, made-to-order ice station behind the bar, so when you order a drink, someone will actually cut the ice right in front of you."

Dutch Kills Bar whipping online media into a frantic cocktail [liQcity]
Dutch Kills Bar Opens Soon [Joey in Astoria]

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Vine Wine and Vesta Team Up This Wednesday

How cool is that? Lovely LIC wine shop Vine Wine, and Astoria fave restaurant Vesta are working together to present a food-wine tasting pairing. If I were free, I'd totally be there.
This Wednesday's in store tasting is not to be missed. Vine will be teaming up with Vesta Trattoria and Wine Bar in Astoria. We'll be pairing three Italian wines with delicious food provided by Vesta. These wines (which can also be found on the Vesta wine list) range from a bright, springy Sauvignon Blanc to a rich, spicy Primativo.

Vine and Vesta
  • Tere de Gioia, Sauvignon Blanc
  • Salvalai, Pinot Noir
  • Flaio, Primativo
DATE: March 25th
TIME: 5:30 - 8:30pm

Vine Wine
12-09 Jackson Ave
Long Island City, NY

Monday, March 23, 2009

Swap and Book Drive Success!

So, I understand that the clothing swap and book drive was a HUGE success! A press release on the event came out this weekend and I wanted to share it with you here:

Swap-O-Rama Sweeps Astoria

Saturday, March 21st - A.R.R.O.W. Community Center was jammed full of men and women of all ages looking to swap clothing, shoes and handbags as a way to save the environment and save money.

As people arrived, event co-organizer Robyn Sklar explained how it all worked: "You bring clothes, other people bring clothes…and then you swap. It's a great way to clear out your closets and get free new-to-you clothes."

The event turned into an impromptu fashion show at times, as people tried on items and sought opinions from other swappers. Close to 200 people attended by the time the day ended, almost double original expectations.

"We were thrilled at the turnout," said co-organizer Lynne Serpe. "Everyone really understood how swapping clothing is a free and easy way to live green, by promoting reuse. And who doesn't want to look good while doing good?

As far as anything not taken? "We donated twenty bags of shoes and clothing to the Hour Children Thrift Shop on 12th Street," Lynne explained.

"We also donated at least 1500 books to the Queens Library," she continued. "After all, libraries are the ultimate in reuse, which is why we partnered with the Astoria Book Club on a book drive."

This event was sponsored by Triple R Events: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and the Astoria Book Club. Triple R Events is a project of Lynne Serpe and Robyn Sklar. Serpe and Sklar are long-time Green Party members who don't just vote green - they live green. They organize monthly green events in Western Queens that are fun and educational, not boring and preachy. April 18th is their Second Annual Queens is Green Fashion Show.

For more information, visit http://www.3R-events.blogspot.com

Did you go? Let us know your experience in the comments!

New Products at The Little Soap Shop

Vivian, proprietor of The Little Soap Shop, sent us an email about a new product available:
Our current new product is Enchanted Dragon's Blood! A seductive combination of vanilla & musk with lily, jasmine, blood orange & grapefruit. It comes in organic body lotion & organic shower gel. It's a delightful scent!

I love their products, personally. One of my favorites - on the opposite scent side of the Enchanted Dragon's Blood - is their simple, basic olive oil bar soap. I can use it on my face, it is so gentle. Their lotions are really nice, too, and contain no parabens. Their soy candles are gentler to the environment as well (most candles are made with petroleum products), and smell great.

The Little Soap Shop
22-07B 36th Street

UPDATE - here are the hours of The Little Soap Shop:
Tues, Thurs & Fri 10:30 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Wed. 10:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Sat 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Sun 10:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Photo credit: The Foodista

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Water Taxi Beach Events Up

Just saw in my feed reader that Water Taxi Beach has announced their upcoming music season! Here's some info:

Sunday, March 22, 2009

2009 Music Season

2009 is shaping up to be something special. With 3 beaches it will mean three times the music. WTB / LIC (Long Island City) will keep playing some great underground house along with some special events produced by Dance Here Now.

At WTB / LIC will have paid music events Thurs - Sunday for entire season (Memorial Day Wkd to Columbus Day Wkd).

Our WTB / LIC 2009 Grand Opening is Memorial Day Weekend
For even more info, go here.

[Photo from Streetsblog]

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Additional Delicousness

While walking down 30th Ave to dinner at Les Minots last week, I stopped in at Frank's Bakery (36-02 30th Ave) and bought - yes - a zeppole! I was delicious. I now remember buying one from them last year and really enjoying it. I also bought a little strip of their apple strudel. Can I just say, yum?!?? It was really good. I loved the big sugar crystals on top and the sweet apple filling. There were raisins, and normally I don't like raisins in this sort of thing, but in this case it worked for me.

So, if you are craving something apple-y and sweet, give it a try. I think it's $7.99 a pound, and you can get any size strip you like. Sorry I don't have a picture - I ate it before I could even think of pulling out the camera! Perhaps I'll have to stop in again for another bit so that I can take a picture... yeah... that's it! :)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Astoria Artists are Awesome

Yes they are!

There's a group of artists in Astoria that want to meet you. They say "Astoria Artists are Awesome" and are interested in bringing artists of all sorts (visual, physical, sounding, etc.) together, along with the spectators, the supporters, and the critics, to make the arts in Astoria "more visible and more of a thing to do on a Saturday night for local residents."

Led by dancer Esther Palmer, they meet a couple times a month, once for drinks and chatting, once for a meeting to talk more in depth about the arts in Astoria. They are having one of their meetings this weekend. Join them on Saturday 3/21 at Cafe Bar at 2:30pm to discuss what AAaA is doing/can do/should do to promote the growth of the artistic community in Astoria.

I know they'd love to see you!

Carnaval a Brick Cafe Next Week

The lovely ladies from KrisTees and Candy Plum have put together another fashion event! Here's the info:

I am very happy to announce that KrisTees & Candy Plum boutiques have gotten together once again to bring you another AWESOME Astoria Event!

Carnaval a Brick Cafe will be held on Thursday, March 26th at the Brick Cafe on the corner of 33rd Street & 31st Avenue.

Starting at 6PM and going till 10PM, we are inviting you to enjoy a very intimate evening of shopping among local designers launching their new spring lines… from tees, to jewelry, baby wear, house wares and accessories, there is something unique and handmade for all! Upon entering, you will receive a complimentary aperitif and then it is off to an atmosphere of spring innovation!

RSVP for the event to astoriafashion@gmail.com or call 718.721.2299.

We’ll see you there!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Reminder! Spring Swap and Book Drive on Saturday

Just wanted to remind you all about the upcoming spring swap and book drive. We wrote about it a month ago, and the event is almost here! Greater details here, but the logistic info is below:

Spring Clothing Swap and Book Drive
Saturday, March 21
11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
ARROW Community Center
35-30 35th Street (between 35th and 36th Avenues)

The books will be donated to Queens Library and any leftover clothes will be donated to Hour Children Thrift Shop. Hope to see you there!

Two Coves Community Garden in the News

Buds Up Close
As I've written here before, Two Coves Community Garden is at risk: the Parks Department and Goodwill Industries' want to impose a decade-old design for a park on 75% of the garden's space. This would uproot the garden and eliminate one of the most exciting, educational, and positive elements in the community: local residents gardening and growing food and flowers together, developing connections and friendships, and providing a natural oasis of calm and beauty in the area.

The garden has gotten a lot of attention lately, so here's a rundown of the latest articles so you can get a better idea of what's been going on:

Two Coves Community Garden threatened by park plan [Astoria Times]
Community Gardeners Fight Parks Department Takeover [Queens Gazette]
Parks Finally Has Money to Address Two Coves [Queens Ledger]
Two Coves Garden seeks permanency in Astoria [Queens Chronicle]
And the Two Coves Garden website

If you feel strongly about supporting the future life of the garden, please consider writing or calling Councilman Peter Vallone and/or Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski. Here's their contact info:

Councilman Peter Vallone Jr.
22-45 31st Street
Astoria, NY 11105

Dorothy Lewandowski, Queens Parks Commissioner
Queens Borough Office
The Overlook
80-30 Park Lane
Kew Gardens, NY 11415

I also have seen pre-stamped, pre-written postcards at places like Sparrow (24-01 29th St) and Il Bambino (34-08 31st Ave), so if you are near either of those, pick up a postcard and send it on!

St. Joseph's Day Brings Deliciousness

FYI, today is St. Joseph's Day. I have a friend named Joseph, so I send him good wishes today!

It being St. Joesph's Day and all, know that Rose & Joe's bakery (home of the very tasty pizza) has St. Joseph's Bread today. It is believed by some, that if St. Joseph's bread is kept in the home, the family will never starve. What I know, is that it's delicious!

Sfinge/zeppoli are also tasty St. Joseph's Day baked items. Totally worth it. Check it out at Rose & Joes. In fairness, neighboring La Guli probably has some pretty kickass St. Joseph's Day goodies, too.

Where else in the neighborhood do you find your St. Joseph's Day sweets?

Astorian Weekend Edition 19.03.09

As the weather gets warmer, I'm noticing a lot more fun weekend options. This weekend promises a rich offering of haps from a cool photo exhibit to a rockin' heavy metal night.

This Thursday--and every Thursday moving forward--wine and beer bar, Rest-au-Rant will feature their "Live Music Thursdays" with various musicians performing some of their best works. Performances are free and start at 8:30pm. 30-01 35th Avenue, Astoria. 718.729.9009

On Friday, check out Heavy Metal Night at the much-talked-about Vikingo's Dungeon. You'll enjoy 2-for-1 beers until 9pm as well as some nostalgic heavy metal tunes. It's a good way to channel the '80s and '90s. 35-55 33rd Street, Astoria. 718.383.3000

Interested in attending a photo exhibit opening? LIC's Local Project will be showcasing the photography and other works of Sol Aramendi. The show opens this Friday with a reception from 6pm - 9pm. 45-10 Davis Street, LIC. info@localproject.org.

Enjoy a historic walking tour this Sunday from 1pm - 3pm, which goes from Greenpoint all the way to LIC. The day promises a lot of historic riches and is guided by local historian, Jack Eichenbaum. Contact, jaconet@aol.com if you're interested.

There's a new French eatery in town, Bistro Les Minots (pictured above) on 47th Street and 30th Avenue. I spied their menu and it looks mighty yummy with plenty of authentic French treats such as escargot, mussels and profiteroles. They're offering an attractive $19.95 prix-fixe everyday from 5pm - 7pm. 47-16 30th Avenue, Astoria. 718.606.2535

Local Project Open Call

This looks pretty cool, I must say:

Local Project Open Call

Queens Sky a Mail-Art Show
curated by Renzo Ortega

Participation is open to all, artists and non-artists alike.
To contribute, send a postcard with a small note that includes your thoughts, feelings, impressions, etc. about the "Queens Sky."
Use a regular postcard or be creative and do it yourself!
Photos, drawings, prints all apply.
Only standard card size (4"x6") will be accepted.

We encourage to create a Postcard specially for this show
A reproduction of an artwork is not going to be considered

Send the postcard by regular mail, do not drop it off.

Send Postcards to:
Local Project
45-10 Davis Street 1st floor,
Long Island City, NY 11101

All correctly sized postcards will be exhibited

Opening reception Sunday May 31, 2009

We suggest to send the postcards by april 2009
in order to receive your postcard on time

for more info email: renzo@localproject.org

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Astoria Symphony Concert this Weekend

These days I'm getting some lovely emails from a publication called The Q Note, which chronicles life in the greater borough of Queens. This week they highlighted the Astoria Symphony, our neighborhood's very own orchestra. There are a lot of classical musicians that live in town, so it makes sense for Astoria to have a group like this. I know Silas Huff and have a lot of respect for what he does here in the name of classical and new music.

The Astoria Symphony will be playing a concert this weekend. From the email article entitled, Classical Music: Just An Everyday Art for Astorians:
This weekend’s performance of "Spring Song Dance", a collaboration between the Astoria Symphony, Long Island City Ballet and the revered Martha Graham Ensemble, enlivens classics like Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring and features new stuff, including the world premiere of Huff’s own Chun Zhi Ge ("Spring Song Festival"), Chinese folk melodies set to orchestral music, inspired by artist Shanye Huang’s paintings. "We’ve done Mozart, but it’s the first time we’ve ever done a ballet," Huff points out.

"Spring Song Dance" takes place this Saturday, March 21 at 8 pm at the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center; Tickets are $20, $15 for students; 31-10 Thomson Avenue, Long Island City, 718-482-7200; 7 train to 33rd St/Rawson.

This sounds like a great concert! If you go, let us know what you thought!

Image from astoriamusic.org

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Miami Comes to LIC

Image by nymag.com

I read the following blurb in New York Magazine's Grub Street today. Apparently, there's a new, upscale rooftop bar/lounge opening up in Long Island City this May. It looks absolutely gorgeous and very Miami-esque. I can't wait to check it out along with the boutique hotel, the Ravel in which it'll be housed. Look out Manhattan, LIC just stepped it up another notch. Here's the article...

If there’s one thing we love, it’s new rooftop boĆ®tes, and we’re happy to unveil our first of the season. In May, Long Island City boutique hotel (yes, there is one) the Ravel will soft-open its 6,500-square-foot roof deck. There’ll be cabanas, frozen drinks, unparalleled views of the Queensboro Bridge, and a menu of “gourmet” fish tacos, mini-burritos, and lamb sliders (which we can’t help but refer to as lamburginis, like North Square does), all under a retractable roof. The Ravel’s owner, Ravi Patel, tells us he’s going for a Miami theme, with live D.J.'s spinning till 1 a.m. Converted trolley cars will pick up partyers from nearby subway stations. As if all this weren’t enough, a smaller roof deck will serve as an outdoor movie theater. LIC, baby!

The Rooftop at the Ravel Hotel

8-08 Queens Plaza South, Long Island City NY 11101


Eat and Drink Your Way Through St. Patty's Day in Astoria

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Still wondering what to do today? Well, Astoria has a lot going on, so celebrate on our side of the East River. For some inspiration, head on over to our own Foodista's site for some delicious recommendations!

St. Patty's Day in Astoria - Drink Beer, Eat Cabbage! [The Foodista]

Monday, March 16, 2009

Vikingo's Mystery Solved... In Part

Got an email from a reader who knows what up with Vikingo's Dungeon! Enter, Heavy Metal:
My friends and I would like to tell you about the first Heavy Metal Mondays on Fridays at Vikingo's Dungeon. We know that everybody wonders what Vikingo's Dungeon actually is and so we decided to make the place what we wanted. After talking to the owners they decided to give us Friday evenings between 6 and 10 (late enough for after work and early enough not to mess with your plans for the night). There are 2 for 1 beers til 9PM and a playlist of your favorite metal songs courtesy of Ala Muerte. So if things go well my friends and I are hoping to make HMMoF at Vikingo's a regular Astoria event. Please come down this Friday and enjoy our festivities. Thanks.

The Heavy Metal Mondays on Friday Crew

If you go, you must let us know what you think!

Photo credit: (c) Susan Vasconcelos

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Astoria Walk

(apologies for the crap cellphone picture)

Was running some errands near Ditmars today, and while walking on 31st Street, I saw this curious gate with the words "Astoria Walk" above it, on the east side of the street. Through the "walk" (which was gated similarly on the other side) were gated protrusions that looked like they could be mini storefronts. Very curious. This is just south of the evil GEM pawnshop. I'll investigate further - but if anyone knows what's up, let us know in the comments!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sparrow Kitchen Hours Extended

I was recently at Sparrow and noticed that they have extended their kitchen hours:

Sunday-Thursday until midnight
Friday and Saturday until 1:30 a.m.

Nice! And yum, of course.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Recent Events: Queens Holistic Moms and LIC Boathouse Fundraiser

Just wanted to post a little about two recent events I attended - the Queens Holistic Moms kickoff meeting on Wednesday, and the LIC Boathouse Fundraiser event last night.

The Queens Holistic Moms meeting was a huge success! Lots of people showed up with their kids and families, so much so that the space had to be expanded at ARROW (they have movable partitions to separate the space into multiple sections). It was great to see so many people interested in holistic living/wellness in Astoria. They have a bunch of events upcoming, which I think will be a good time for all involved.

The LIC Boathouse event was also a great success! There were probably over 200 people there throughout the evening. I didn't get a chance to taste much of the food, but the few sweet things I tasted were wonderful - I'm guessing they were from Sage General Store. There was beer, wine, and soft drinks, a slide show, and a film or two playing in the background. It was neat to see The Foundry as well, which I'd heard so much about. The best part about the night was seeing so many from the community come out and support this important community resource. On a personal level, I loved seeing so many friends there!

I took pictures of both events and will share them with you here as soon as I can upload and edit them!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Real Housewives of NYC visit LIC


Images by www.bravotv.com and www.nytimes.com

The reality TV junkie in me--not a brag-worthy quality, mind you--had to keep you informed about this.

This week's episode of Bravo's the Real Housewives of NYC showed two of the characters, Kelly Bensimon and Ramona Singer outside of their usual Hamptons and Manhattan hangouts. Instead, we saw the two socialites visiting a very cool venue in our neck of the woods - Long Island City!

I couldn't believe it and paid extra attention, as the Housewives took a private tour of the Richard Meier studio in Long Island City, viewing the acclaimed architect's well known models. Some of these included a gargantuan structure of his most famous work, LA's J. Paul Getty Museum along with other projects such as his farmhouse in the Hamptons as well as structures that were never built, like "Memorial Square" at Ground Zero. Overall, pretty interesting stuff.

Richard Meier's studio can be viewed by appointment only. If you're interested in seeing it, call 212.967.6060

Save Two Coves Garden!!

Buds Up Close

While at the Queens Holistic Moms meeting last night (which was pretty awesome), I learned that Two Coves Garden is in danger of losing the community garden! I think this would suck pretty badly, as the garden is a very important aspect of the community. Here is the notice of this sad situation:

One of the largest and most popular community gardens in New York City is threatened by the Parks Department and Goodwill Industries' decision to impose a decade-old design for a park on 75% of the garden's space.

Over the past two years, a vibrant grassroots community organization turned a neglected lot into the urban oasis that is today Two Coves Community Garden. This diverse community of more than 200 active urban gardeners, participants in a 1,300 sq ft community plot (including local school participation), and even more visitors and supporters actively care for and maintain the site as volunteers under a city license. Now this unique and beneficial addition to Astoria could be lost forever. The waterfront neighborhood surrounding the garden is blessed with seven parks and recreational areas already. Two Coves Community Garden is the only connection to the dynamic urban agriculture movement praise by First Lady Michelle Obama, Cornell University and - ironically - the Parks Department itself!

I do love this garden, as I worked on beautifying the space early on and am happy to see how it's evolved.

One thing you can do to help is attend the Community Board 1 meeting on Tuesday, March 17 at 7 p.m. Let the Board know you support this amazing urban garden!


Community Board 1 Meeting
Tuesday, March 17th
7:00 pm
Astoria World Manor
2522 Astoria Blvd

Anyone who attends can sign up to speak for 2-minutes during the public comment segment, in support of the garden.

Hope to see you there!

Photo credit: (cc) Meg Cotner

Astorian Weekend Edition 12.03.09

Party into the weekend on Thursday at the LIC Community Boathouse 2009 Fundraiser Party , from 6 - 9pm at The Foundry (42-38 Ninth St, LIC)

Also on Thursday, Waltz Astoria, hosts an evening of live chamber music with artists from the Manhattan School of Music's Contemporary Performance Program. For the $10 cover, you'll get
a drink so it's kinda worth it, I think! You've got to rsvp, so email saltshuler@msmnyc.edu or call 917-493-4595.

Friday, Drink Liberally at the Beer Garden with a special guest from the Empire State Pride Agenda. Drink for the greater good is what I say.

We told you there was a new CSA in town: well, Saturday you get a chance to look a little closer. Meet the farmer that will be supporting the Harvest CSA from 11am - 2pm at Church of the Redeemer on 30th Ave and Crescent St.

Club One (25-22 34th Ave) is getting its craic on on this Saturday night and starting the St. Paddy's Day celebrating early. Go green with Louie the Leprechaun and compete for cash prizes! You'll get DJs galore and drink specials until midnight.

Sunday at the Beer Garden (29-19 24th Ave) there's a Seeds of Love Sale. Shop for a good cause then get your keilbasa on from 1 to 6 p.m. Bargains -- I tell you -- make your $5 go far.

Re-Report: Armory Arts Night in Queens

Head on over to LIC blog LiQcity to read their nice write up on the recent Armory Arts night in Queens. Their conclusion: LIC still has a thriving art scene. Looks like some interesting stuff was going on out there last Friday.

Armory Arts night in Queens reveals Long Island City’s thriving art scene [LiQcity]

Image: (c) liqcity

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Reminder: Queens Holistic Moms Meeting Tonight!

Just reminding you about the Queens Holistic Moms meeting tonight. Here is an excerpt from our previous post:
We are holding our Kick-Off Meeting on Wednesday, March 11th from 6:30-8:00pm at ARROW Community Center in Long Island City, Queens (35th Street between 35th and 36th Aves). Will you join me for this special event? It will be a lot of fun, we'll meet other moms interested in a holistic lifestyle in our area, and there will also be a raffle and a goodie-bag with coupons and free holistic products. You can bring anyone you think would be interested in the group with you. The HMN welcomes all parents and is child-friendly, of course!

Please know that even if you are not a mom, you should feel free to attend. All parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, caretakers, and those simply interested in advocating a holistic lifestyle for themselves and their loved ones are welcome!

Flux Factory Returns to LIC

We've blogged about them before... they lost their space in LIC, had to leave, but now they're back!

After our recent eviction in October, Flux Factory is setting up house (again) in our beloved Long Island City, Queens!

We’re excited to report that we’ll be occupying an 8000 square foot, 3 story building just two blocks north of Queens Plaza at 39-31 29th street. We’re working with the wonderful HWKN design team to create a multi-purpose arts center with galleries, studios, and production facilities.

The new Flux Factory will still be devoted to producing collaborative projects and providing affordable work residencies for artists. We have wonderful projects coming up in 2009, including our famous bus tours and a grand science fair!

And, of course, we will hold an inaugural show once we’re done with our renovations. Please check our website for details on how to apply for exhibitions or residencies.

They always did interesting stuff, so I'm glad they're back.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Drinking Liberally - What's This All About?

Here and there, we've posted about Drinking Liberally. What is it? Well, here's the latest announcement:

Hello Lovely Liberals!

Please join us this Friday at Queens Drinking Liberally, March 13th from 7:45 pm onwards, at the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden in Astoria, with myself (Stephanie) and Donald Graff as your hosts.

We will likely be meeting at tables in the dining area in the basement, but if the weather is nice, we may be outside.

This week we will have a special guest joining us: Matthew Brunner NYC Program Organizer for the Empire State Pride Agenda, NY's largest gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgender advocacy group. This organization does community organizing and outreach surrounding the Marriage Equality Bill, the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, and the Dignity For All Students Act. So come meet Matthew, have a pint, get involved.

The Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden is at 29-19 24th Avenue, Astoria, NY. It is closest to the N/W train stop at Astoria Blvd (1 stop before the last). The Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden is the only old-fashioned outdoor beer garden in the city.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Don't Forget the Paddle Party


Images by www.licboathouse.org and www.thefoundry.info

As Meg mentioned a few weeks ago, the LIC Community Boathouse will be throwing a paddle party this Thursday from 6pm - 9pm at the chic venue, The Foundry. The event will celebrate the renewal of our harbor and estuary as well as honor Dorothy Lewandowski, a key player in the preservation of parks and recreation, and the Newton Creek Alliance for their success in rescuing and reviving this waterway.

The party promises much fun - including raffles, dancing, and scrumptious food courtesy of Tuk Tuk, Manducatis Rustica and Sage American Kitchen.

Tickets are still available online and range from basic ($20) to generous ($100). But remember that all proceeds, go to the LIC Community Boathouse, an all volunteer organization that provides free access to our harbor and estuary for recreation and education.

LIC Community Boathouse 2009 Fundraiser Party
Thursday, March 12th, 2009
6pm - 9pm
The Foundry - 42-38 Ninth Street, Long Island City NY 11101

Seeds of Love Fundraiser

While taking a leisurely walk to the park this morning, I saw a sign up at the Beer Garden announcing the next upcoming event by Seeds of Love. Seeds of Love, in case you are not familiar with them:
"Seeds of Love is a small, but growing, group of family and friends who volunteer their time to make the world a better place... Since sprouting in June 2007, Seeds of Love has not stopped planting seeds! They have been collecting donated goods and turning overstock items into cash donations. They plan on continuing to plant seeds of love and hope, wherever they can, one seed at a time."

Their upcoming sale event is on March 15. They've been collecting donated goods and overstock items, and will sell brand new, brand name clothing for $5 an item. All proceeds from these sales are turned into cash donations. Details:

Seeds of Love Sale
Sunday, March 15
1-6 pm.
Bohemian Hall Beer Garden (29-19 24th Ave)

Sunday, March 08, 2009

New French Bistro in Town - Les Minots

I've become aware of the presence of a new French bistro in town - Les Minots on 30th Ave and 47th Street. Perusing the website, it certainly looks promising, with prix fixe lunch and dinner menus, as well as a la carte and brunch menus. I'm particularly intrigued by brunch (it's one of my favorite meals). They also deliver. Events are in the works, including what sounds like a fun Sunday evening - a $19.95 prix fixe dinner and a movie. I hope to check it out soon and will report back when I do.

Bistro Les Minots
47-16 30th Avenue
718 606 2535

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Upcoming TA Queens Committee Meeting

I wanted to remind you that the Transportation Alternatives Queens Committee is meeting on Monday. I've been to their meetings and it's a very enthusiastic, dedicated, and friendly group. You don't have to be a bicyclist to be part of things - fans of all kinds of alternative forms of transportation are welcome! Here's the skinny:

Transportation Alternatives Queens Committee Meeting

Help plan TA’s Queens agenda for the coming months and make a difference in how people get around the city.

Monday, March 9th
6:30-8:00 p.m.
Greater Astoria Historical Society
4th floor of the Quinn Building
35-20 Broadway, Astoria (map)

Friday, March 06, 2009

Il Bambino Scores Again

Il Bambino CafeJust a quick note - tonight I had dinner at Il Bambino and it was fabulous. Their soups are always amazing and tonight was no different - tonight's was potato and spinach and it was wonderful, with complex flavors (I love how they serve it with a crostini slathered with pesto). The baby green beans with croutons, parmesan, and truffle vinaigrette was delectable and remains one of my favorite Bambino menu offerings of all time. Tonight they were offering a crostini with truffle butter and parmesan (it was truffle night for me!), which was out of this world. Also had the goat cheese with fig spread crostini. Finished off the meal with their chocolate truffle cake - this thing is a chocoholic's dream and it can be easily shared by 2-3 people. Cappucino was excellent, and nicely bitter enough to offset the richness of the truffle cake.

I tasted one of their white wines, the Sauvingnon Blanc from New Zealand, which was like a party in my mouth. So tasty. The red we had was a Spanish Grenache and Tempranillo mix and was nice and fruity.

I liked seeing the dining room almost to capacity. This place continues to produce great meals with top notch ingredients. The staff is always friendly and helpful. Still highly recommended (I consider them to be in my top five favorite restaurants in Astoria).

Il Bambino
34-08 31st Ave
(718) 626-0087

Photo credit: (cc) Meg Cotner

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Suzy Sellout - A Hip Band Worth Checking Out

On Monday night, I went to see cool band, Suzy Sellout at Blackbird's. I've heard about them from lead singer, Kathrine, who also happens to work with me at my day job. Small world. I didn't know what to expect and went out of curiosity for both the band and for Blackbird's. While I was pleasantly surprised by Suzy Sellout, Blackbird's was a disappointment. But...about the band...

They have a great energy that's vibrant and uplifting for the soul. Kathrine's presence is lovely and she holds her audience well with strong lyrics and hokey in-between-song banter. I'd compare Suzy's music to a non-miserable Tori Amos. In addition to the fast and happy tunes, they played some slower, melancholy sounds but even those were pleasant to listen to and had a good "stickiness" factor. As in, you wanted to hear them again. Overall, a worthwhile time and I'd suggest checking them out.

Here's when and where you can find them next:

Sunday, March 15th at 9:30pm - The Duplex Cabaret
61 Christopher Street, NYC

Enjoy! I think they'll be back in Astoria next month so I'll keep you in the know if you'd like to see them at Blackbird's.

Astorian Weekend Edition 05.03.09

Fresh MozzThe Beer Garden (29-19 24th Ave) continues its Thursday night jazz performances. Music starts at 6 p.m., most likely downstairs in the restaurant (once it warms up, it'll no doubt be outside in the garden). Come by and enjoy some music with a stein of beer and some kielbasa.

If you've got some time on Friday afternoon, Rejuvenate Spa (26–17 23rd Ave) has something for you. They offer a 30 minute lunch massage special on Fridays (and Mondays) from 12:00 - 2:30 p.m. Choose Swedish massage or reflexology for only $40. Rejuvenate sets itself apart from other spas by using only organic products and a holistic approach to skin and body care. They can be contacted at 718-626-4434.

On Friday night at 8:30 p.m., the American Bolero Dance Company presents Tablao Flamenco in Astoria. They'll present a variety of Spanish dance styles, with emphasis in Andalusian Flamenco and Spanish classical dances, performed by various local and international artists. Dancing takes place at the Auditorium Centro Espanol (41-01 Broadway, 2nd Floor). Adults $20; Children under twelve $15; call (718) 392-8888 or (917) 288-7996 for tickets.

On Saturday, Hellgate Social showcases DJ Belladonna starting at 10 p.m, spinning a whole host of musical styles. Astoria-based rapper HOPS comes on at 11 p.m. Stop by for some hot beats and cool Hell Gate Lemonade. 12-21 Astoria Blvd.

Sunday brings us Time Out for Hunger, a fundraiser for the Food Bank for New York City. Three Astoria restaurants are participating: 718 (35-01 Ditmars Blvd), Ovelia (34-01 30th Ave), and Bistro 33 (19-33 Ditmars Blvd). Eat at any of these places on Sunday and they will donate 10% of the profits to the Food Bank. A worthy cause, for sure.

Lastly, head over to Rosario's (22-55 31st St) for some great fresh mozzarella (see picture above). I had some the other day and it was delicious. They make it fresh there every day (except Sunday when they're closed). Super yum!

Photo credit: (cc) Meg Cotner

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

March Queens Green Drinks

Fancy TeaLast night at the Astoria Park Alliance meeting, I learned that this month's Queens Green Drinks will be hosted by the the Astoria CSA at Himalayan Tea House in Astoria! Now, I've been curious about the Tea House, and I love the Astoria CSA, not to mention that Green Drinks is cool, so it sounds like a perfect combination.

Logistical details:
March Queens Green Drinks
Wednesday, March 18
6:30pm - 9:00pm
at Himalayan Tea House in Astoria
33-17 31st Avenue @ 34th St

The Astoria CSA has been around since summer of 2007 and is a great resource for affordable, local, organic produce in the neighborhood. They offer members everything from basic vegetable and fruit shares to local wine, beer, meats, cheeses, bread, tomatoes and even cranberries. Check them out later this month.

Curious about what this whole Green Drinks thing is? Their mission:

"Queens Green Drinks is an informal social gathering/networking event for folks that are environmentally minded. Come and we'll introduce you to some of the other like minded folks in and around Queens. If we're lucky (which is likely) we'll cross pollinate make new friends, catch up with old ones, and maybe even sprout an idea or three."

Hope to see you there!

Photo credit: (cc) Meg Cotner

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Mimi's Closet Closing

Word on the street is that the charming Astoria clothing boutique Mimi's Closet is closing. Mimi is apparently moving her store back to Tokyo. I'm sorry to see her go, but with the crap economy that is our reality right now, it doesn't surprise me. I wish her lots of luck and good fortune in her new venture in Japan!

And BING-O was his name-o

BINGO. You probably thought that only people of a certain age play the game. Today, I just learned that BINGO has taken on a new kind of scene:

Blackbird's Bar.

Yes, it's the same bar that is home to burgers, grilled cheese, and beer. Every Tuesday your host, Tom, presides there over a night of BINGO! Fun starts sometime between 8 and 8:30 p.m. Winners each receive a Blackbird's T-Shirt and complimentary shots.

If you go, let us know how you liked it!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Astoria CSA 2009 Season Registration Event

Astoria is a CSA town, it seems - there are three of them in town! Astoria CSA, which serves southeastern Astoria, is having their registration event on March 12. Here are the details below:


Thursday, March 12, 2009, 6:00-7:30 PM for our Member Registration Event & Farmer Q&A

This event provides:
  • New Members an opportunity to ask questions to members and our farmers
  • Registration opens to new members
  • Find a share partner (for new and returning members)
  • More information about Extended Payment and Low-Income Share Options

The event will be held at ARROW Community Center (35th Street b/w 35th & 36th Avenues).

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Astoria Park Alliance Meeting This Week!

Astoria Park Alliance meeting is this week! Here's the announcement:

Just a quick reminder that the Astoria Park Alliance will meet this Tuesday at the Steinway Reform Church at 41st Street and Ditmars Boulevard at 6:30 p.m.
We'll discuss the Shore Boulevard Temporary Pedestrian Streets, Queens Drinks and Earth Day events in April, and more. Bring your announcements and ideas! Looking forward to seeing you all!

Long Island City Community Boathouse Party!

This came through in my email, so I'm passing on the details. It sounds like a very worthy cause, and lots of fun, to boot!

The Long Island City Community Boathouse requests the pleasure of your company at our winter 2009 fundraiser party. We're working hard to create an extraordinary event that will put winter behind us, herald the coming of spring and celebrate the (almost) first anniversary of the New York City Water Trail.

A wide variety of food, beverages, entertainment, prizes and surprises will complement the good company of friends and guests of honor from around our harbor. It's a "come as you are" casual event in a unique and intimate venue.

When paddling season arrives, LICCB will open our new location on Anable Basin. Suggested donations, sponsorships and proceeds from raffle and silent auction will fund the launch site improvements needed to be ready for opening day.

Please plan to be part of this enjoyable and memorable event and support the good work of the all volunteer, not for profit Long Island City Community Boathouse.

Even if you cannot attend the event, there are options to "sponsor but won't attend" on the "buy tickets" page.

Thursday, March 12
6 - 9 p.m.
The Foundry
42-38 Ninth Street (half a block south of the Queensboro Bridge in LIC.)
Tickets are available online.