Friday, May 29, 2009

Students: Green Your School Contest

This came through my email box and thought I'd put it out there to any Astoria/LIC students who might be interested!

High School Students Invited to Submit Entries for Green Your School Contest

The Student Conservation Association's Green Your School Contest is a national competition to stimulate and/or identify conservation service projects designed by high school students that improve, restore, beautify, or conserve their high school environment.

To be eligible, projects must have been begun after August 1, 2008. Entries must be completed by a student and will be judged according to the following criteria: the project has or will improve the environmental health of the school; the project is sustainable; the project is initiated by students and engages other students, teachers, and school administrators; the submission itself is of high quality; and the project engaged the community.

There will be one Grand Prize of $5,000, and two runner-up prizes of $2,500 each. Prizes will be awarded directly to high schools and not to individuals.

Deadline: October 9, 2009

Visit the SCA Web site for complete program information.


Link to Complete RFP

New Yoga Studio in Astoria

So, I've been for the past few weeks taking a yoga class at my gym, The Rock. There, I worked with a teacher, Ann-Margaret, who is wonderful! Turns out, though, that she's leaving The Rock (*cries*) and moving on... to her own studio (*cheers*)

Awesome - I'm so happy for her! Sad for me that she's leaving the gym, but her dream is being fulfilled so I'm really pleased. Anyway, her new studio is opening this weekend with a two day open house. This includes $5 classes each day and $5 20 minute massages, yum. She hopes for the studio to become more than a place to practice yoga, but a community center, which sounds good to me.

Definitely check it out - she's wonderful and deserves lots of success. Click on the image below for more info.

The Giving Tree Yoga Studio
22-56 31st Street

(psst... also check out Surf Astoria next door... continuing the legacy of Freeze Peach... more on that later, too.)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Astorian Weekend Edition 05.28.09

Another nice weekend with plenty of sunshine and mild weather produces the perfect opportunity to relax, check out a rooftop bar or even the new beer garden in town.

The rooftop at the Ravel Hotel in LIC is now open. From the pictures, it looks swanky and the drinks are fancy too—they serve frozen blueberry mojitos. Yum! 8-08 Queens Plaza South, Long Island City. 718.289.6101

Check out the LIC Artists Open Studios this Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m. – 6 p.m. This opportunity offers a peek at hundreds of artists’ works at 11 major studio buildings that are in easy walking distance of each other. Click here for participating artists.

Although there is now a new Water Taxi Beach in Manhattan, let’s not forget who started it all—LIC baby! Water taxi rides from Midtown to LIC are now free every Friday and Saturday night from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. Take advantage of it! 2-Borden Avenue, Long Island City.

Want to sample a delicious slice of pizza for just 50 cents? Visit Rizzo’s Fine Pizza this Saturday between 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. where pizza, Italian ices and soda will all cost 50 cents in honor of their big 50th Anniversary. 30-13 Steinway Street, Astoria. 718.721.9862

Raise a glass of cold brewski (or sangria) to the new beer garden in town! Studio Square (pictured above) is not only gargantuan in size, it’s modern, comfortable and a perfect way to enjoy a Friday or Saturday night. With over 18 imported, domestic and craft beers on tap as well as their homemade sangria, you won’t go thirsty and neither will your friends. 35-33 36th Street, Astoria. 718.383.1001

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Studio Square Beer Garden Pics

So, Judith and I took a look at the new Studio Square Beer Garden. Nice place! Really liked it.

Here are some pictures, for those of you that haven't yet made it over there:

I'm sure I'll be spending some time there this summer!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Studio Square, New Beer Garden in Town, Opens Today!

There's been a lot of talk about Studio Square, the new beer garden in Astoria/LIC, and today is their official opening! I plan to check it out tonight, hopefully take some snaps to share with you all. Here's some of their official PR, check it out:

S2’s menu reinvents the traditional flavors of a German beer garden. The beer garden’s self serve cash only menu features German and American grill favorites. Served with sauerkraut and rustic country white bread, the menu offers high-quality German Bratwurst and Weisswurst and Polish Kielbasa from Schaller & Weber, Queen’s own legendary meat purveyor. S2’s grill menu also features Certified Black Angus Hamburgers; Chicken and Pork Souvlaki; and Pulled Pork Sandwiches made with S2’s signature BBQ sauce. Oversized soft pretzels are also offered, served with two different dipping mustards.

Boasting several indoor and outdoor bars, S2 offers over 18 imported, domestic and craft beers on draft, including German favorites such as Spaten Oktoberfest, Franziskaner Hefe Weiss, regional U.S. standouts such as Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA from Delaware and Stone Levitation Ale from San Diego and local brews such as Captain Lawrence Freshchester Pale Ale from Westchester, NY. To ensure the perfect pour, all beers are served from a temperature-controlled tap system designed specifically for S2 and served in traditional glassware in liter and half-liter sizes. Other beverage highlights include wines by the glass and an impressive list of spirits as well as S2’s housemade Sangria served on tap.

Devoid of coo coo clocks and lederhosen, S2 complements the creative culture that is Long Island City. Neighboring the acclaimed Kaufman Astoria Studios, the contemporary art center P.S.1, and the internationally renowned Museum of the Moving Image, S2 brings a parallel level of energy and excitement to the neighborhood.

S2’s indoor bar features vibrant urban murals by the acclaimed artist Louie "KR One" Gasparro, industrial fixtures, exposed brick walls, rare African Wenge Wood bar tops and large communal tables hand carved from pine, maple and cottonwood trees. The open-air square of the beer garden beckons festive gatherings with large handcrafted communal picnic tables made from pine and an expansive stone fire pit. A cobblestone courtyard constructed from over two hundred tons of authentic Belgium stone blocks is surrounded by ivy, lush vines and unique River Birch trees, recalling S2’s German beer garden influence. A covered patio hugs the edge of the courtyard, featuring an 80-foot long bar behind a series of glass garage doors.

If you go, let us know what you think!

Studio Square
35-33 36th Street (between 35th & 36th Avenues)
Long Island City
Monday through Friday, 4 p.m. - 4 a.m.
Saturday, Sunday, and Holidays, 12 p.m. - 4 a.m.

Astorian Weekend Edition 14.05.09

This weekend hails It's My Park Day around the city, and in Astoria the place to be is Astoria Park. The festivities take place from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., rain or shine, but will be canceled in the event of thunderstorms. There will be opportunities to clean up the shoreline, clear weeds and debris from the park’s War Memorial, and plant flowers in order to beautify it in time for Memorial Day. Also, there will be a tour of the Astoria Park Alliance’s Butterfly Garden, family yoga, water safety education for adults and children, drum instruction for children, tennis lessons for all ages.

Further west, join Two Coves Community Garden on Saturday from 12 - 4 p.m. for their Victory Garden themed event. They'll be holding free workshops on canning, pickling, composting and container gardens. There is also a potluck/picnic planned, so if able, please contribute (you can still share in the meal even if you don't bring a dish). Two Coves Community Garden is located at the triangle where Astoria Blvd, 30th Ave, and 8th St meet.

On Friday from 7 a.m.-10:30 a.m. Transportation Alternatives will be handing out snacks, coffee and schwag at the entrance to the Queensboro Bridge. May is Bike month, so consider enjoying some time away from the subway and on your bike. And celebrate bike FROM work with the T.A. Queens Committee. Join them for an evening snack and some good company at the base of the Queensboro Bridge, Thursday, May 14 and Wednesday, May 20, 5 p.m. Queens side of Queensboro Bridge.

On Sunday, head over to 24, a new wine bar over on 24th Ave and 26th Street. I was over there the other day and I thought it was pretty cool. Try the white ale from Pennsylvania - it's light and creamy at the same time. You also might consider stopping in at the newly opened Manos Papaya for a hot dog and a smoothie.

Happy spring, everyone!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dutch Kills - An Interesting and Acquired Taste

After a long lead-up to the highly-anticipated Dutch Kills bar in LIC, I finally paid them a visit last week and liked what I experienced.

The bar is located in a semi-shady area on Jackson Avenue and there's absolutely nothing worthy of mentioning around it--however, as soon as you step in, you feel transported into another world.

Dark brown wooden furnishings deck the place from wall to wall and table to table. It's a bit dark and narrow as you step in and walk towards the bar, but once you get there, a charming, nostalgic vibe prevails. There's an old fashioned cash register and a grand piano in the back with saw-dust on the floor. And the best part is that all the barmen are dressed in vintage uniforms of high-waisted pants, suspenders and in some cases bowties. They're super nice and accommodating to your every need. I asked my barman to custom make my drink, and he happily obliged, fixing up the best classic daiquiri (pictured above) that I've had in a long time.

Dutch Kills features themed cocktails named after Queens neighborhoods such as "The Steinway" "Flushing" and even "Astoria." Beers and traditional spirits are served as well, embellished with unique little touches. For example, a scotch on the rocks was served with a huge chunk of solid ice. It made for good presentation and was fun for swooshing around the glass.

Prices are on the expensive side for Queens and range between $7-$9 (beers are $7, signature cocktails and custom drinks are $9).

Overall, I do think it's worth a visit, as it is so different from the rest. Plus, did I mention that the barmen are skillful and cute?

Dutch Kills Bar - 27-24 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City, NY 11101

E/V/G/R Train to Queens Plaza

Friday, May 08, 2009

Build it Green! is Having a Block Party this Weekend

Sounds like a great event. From BIG!


Build It Green! NYC, in conjunction with the Council on the Environment of NYC's (CENYC) Office of Recycling Outreach and Education (OROE), is proud to host its Second Annual Recyclefest Block Party. On May 9, the gentle men at Build It Green are shutting down the block for an afternoon of live music, food, crafts, and a CENYC Stop 'N Swap. Feel free to bring fly clothing, sporting goods, books, housewares, and toys to the free swap. Or just bring yourself and enjoy the festivities!

Materials for the Arts
Transportation Alternatives Queens Committee bike valet
Mare Liberum boatbuilding
Community Energy
Nightwood furniture and textiiles
Trees Not Trash Planter box construction
Compost Project worm workshop
Two Coves Community Garden plant sale
And much much much much more!

Up Died Sound
Raya Brass Band
Marques Toliver
Kaneng Lolang

All items left behind will be donated to the nice folks at Hour Children. Be there and/or be square!

Where: 3-17 26th Ave (btwn. 3rd & 4th Streets)
Astoria, NY 11102

When: Saturday, May 9th – 11am – 4'ish pm

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Astorian Mother's Day Weekend Edition - 07.05.09

Pictured above - Lamb Biryani from Seva.

Mother’s Day is this Sunday and as luck has it, it’s supposed to be warm and sunny. Take Mom out for a stroll around the ‘hood or to the park, eat delicious grub and maybe even taste some wine.

Still looking for a gift for Mom? Check out SITE Design for their unique tchotchkies. I especially like the LiLa Vintage Silver necklace, which could be a nice gift for a hip Mom. Also know that every second Saturday of each month (starting this Saturday), SITE offers a local artists showcase, a sidewalk sale and a party with cupcakes. 35-11 34th Ave, Astoria. 718.626.6030.

Treat Mom to a delicious Indian lunch—or dinner. Seva offers a cozy, intimate atmosphere that’s very much a family vibe. They’ve added new scrumptious dishes to their menu such as the Eggplant Chat (fried eggplant, which is out of this world), Soy Mirch Masala (vegan friendly dish), Lamb meatballs and so much more. Prices are super reasonable. 30-07 34th Street, Astoria. 718.626.4440

Bistro Les Minots is having an all-day Mother’s Day prix-fixe (from 11am – 10pm) for $29.95, featuring classic French dishes. They will also serve their regular brunch (priced as usual) from 11am – 4:30pm if you prefer that instead. I’ve been reminded that their sangria is supposed to be as good as their secret spiced wine. Hmm…47-16 30th Avenue, Astoria. 718.606.2535

Toast to Mom this weekend and take her to Astoria’s new wine bar, 24. Open in the evenings, I’d suggest coming here after dinner and maybe enjoying a glass of vino and dessert. It’s located on a quiet, residential block and might be a nice way to unwind. Corner of 26th Street and 24th Avenue, Astoria.

Since the weather will be nice and sunny on Sunday, take a stroll around Astoria Park or even Socrates Sculpture Park. If you go to the latter, know that their "State Fair" exhibition starts this Sunday--it promises to be a fun, cultural experience. Astoria Park - 19-00 Hoyt Avenue North, Astoria. Socrates Sculpture Park - 32-01 Vernon Blvd, Long Island City. 718.956.1819