Friday, July 31, 2009

Last Weekend for Summer Lovin Market

This is the last weekend for the flea market that lives in the Astoria Walk (22-09A 31st street). The market features handmade designers and artists, some of whom we featured back in December 2007. The vendors will be selling jewelry, arts, handbags, candles, bath and body products, clothing, accessories and more. For more information contact

It'll be open this Saturday and Sunday, from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Support local craftspeople! Enjoy!

EDIT: The market continues to be open for business through the summer. Apologies for any confusion!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

KrisTees Summer Sale

Kristees is in the midst of their summer sale!

Just a heads up that KrisTees SUMMER SALE has begun!

All summer clothing items will be marked from 20% to 60% off. Lots of great summer dresses and skirts still left and some great comfortable tees and novelty tops as well! In addition, sandals are on sale starting at $35 to novelty heels at $65.

Definitely worth a look and plenty more time to wear all of these items for summer. See you soon and stop in early for first picks!

24-01 23rd Avenue @ 24th Street

New Bar Coming to Astoria: Sweet Afton

There's a new bar coming to town that I can't wait to check out! We heard a little bit about it, and I wanted to share it with you all.

Called Sweet Afton, its aim is to bring a great local watering hole to Astoria. Look for a warm welcoming vibe, great music, a solid selection of beers on tap, and cocktails using fresh ingredients.

In terms of food, chef PJ Calapa (of Nobu 57 fame) will use fresh local ingredients to make a simple but excellent menu. Burgers, fried pickles, and Irish sausage rolls are a sample of what's to come.

In terms of design, you'll find reclaimed wood, to timber salvaged from buildings in Southeast Asia, to olive barrels from the West Coast. Reused materials, such as light fixtures that have been salvaged and unused for decades, will also be used. Look for some exposed brick as well.

It's coming! We'll keep you updated on the opening (which should be soon) and any other news that comes our way.

Sweet Afton
30-09 34th St

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Astoria Tux Sale - Ends Tomorrow!

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Kate, an enthusiastic JIA reader gave us the following helpful tid-bit today - thank you!

If you need to buy a tux (for next to nothing), check out this affordable offering:

Mike's Steinway Formals is regrettably shutting down at the end of the month (tomorrow), selling off their inventory of tuxedos. Prices have reached rock-bottom and you can get a full tux (jacket, pants, shirt, vest and tie) for just $90. The people who work there are nice and helpful--they know their stuff so don't be afraid to ask questions.

Offer ends tomorrow so if you need to look dapper, get your hineys over there pronto.

Mike's Steinway Formals

31-58 Steinway Street, Astoria NY 11103


Punta Dura - Northern Italian Yummies

Last week, Meg and I tried Punta Dura Northern Italian restaurant, which we both loved. Although I've seen this place before, I never had the inclination to go in because I thought that they mostly catered to private parties. So not the case - you can go in on any night to enjoy their hospitable service and fresh, delicious eats.

Highlights from our dinner:

Baked Clams Oreganata - One word - awesome! The clams were super fresh and the best part was the crispy, well-done breadcrumb topping with garlic and parsley. The clams were meaty and delicious and Meg and I enjoyed three sizeable pieces each.

Grilled Branzino - When you go to Punta Dura, you simply must get the fish. Each day offers a different option and we ended up with the branzino, which was more than fine by us. Our waiter presented the rustic fish to us first, and then proceeded to debone it tableside--super impressive! Once we tasted it, we were in love--the texture was perfect and it had nice char from the grill. Simple but good seasoning was used and we enjoyed the sides of fresh vegetables and crispy potatoes.

Dessert - Meg got the tiramisu, which she liked but what stood out to me was the Torta Frutti di Bosco (pictured above). The ricotta filling was creamy and luxurious, resting on a flaky, buttery crust. The ricotta was topped with fresh berries and tons of powdered sugar, making this dessert indulgent but at the same time summery.

Service and Cost:
Our server was professional, nice and really knew his stuff. He was able to recite the history of certain dishes as well as their impressive stock of international wines.

Costs are affordable and include the following:

Appetizers: $8.75 - $12.75
Pasta: $12.75 - $21.75
Entrees: $14.75 - $29.75

Want a $20 gift certificate?
Send us your favorite Northern Italian dish - comment on this post with your feedback - and we'll send you a $20 gift certificate to Punta Dura (while supplies last).

Punta Dura - 41-15 34th Avenue, Astoria NY 11103
R/V/G Train to Steinway Street

Astorian Weekend Edition 30.07.09

Hellgate Overseeing Clean Shores

Can you believe it's almost August? Summer is moving along, fast! LIC Bar (45-58 Vernon Blvd) has a number of offerings this weekend: BBQ, trivia, and music. I took an ear-gander at Little Creatures on MySpace, and they sound pretty sweet.

If you can make it before the Friday deadline, consider getting a Thai massage at Thai New York Spa & Salon (23-92 21st Street). I must say, I'm intrigued. After your massage, consider walking up the street to Bistro33 for dinner.

If you're looking for more outdoor fun, download the Astoria/Long Island City Waterfront Parks Guide, which features a whole slew of events (recurring and special) for everyone! On the environmental front, consider attending the event for city council hopeful Lynne Serpe this weekend.

Recently, fellow Joey Judith and I had dinner at Punta Dura (41-15 34th Avenue), and it was delicious! I can't wait to go back. Judith wrote up our experience, but there is more to come on this very blog, so keep an eye out! In the meantime, consider stopping by for their grilled branzino, which was divine.

Finally, thanks to a reader tip, I'll be checking in on Sai Organics (30-21 30th Avenue) this weekend. Rumor has it they are serving delicious vegan cupcakes. Now, I'm a sucker for cupcakes, so this has gotten me very curious. If you've had them, let us know what you think!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Political Event this Weekend

While we're not very political here, I do want to point you to an event coming up that might appeal to some of our readers:

Rooftop House Party

Join us all in celebrating Lynne Serpe's run for City Council in District 22.

Host Committee: Dino Prentas, Brian Beard, Emily Compton, Naoki Fujita, Stacey Ornstein, Michael Rokofsky, Georgina Young-Ellis.

Date: Saturday, August 1
Time: 7:00 - 10:00 p.m.
Where: 30-80 21st Street


Lynne Serpe is new to the ballot box, but she is a long time active member of the Astoria community, working on important issues such as marriage equality, energy-efficiency, affordable housing, green jobs and community gardens.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Thai Massage in Astoria

Thanks to the Q Note, I learned that the spa that opened up in the Pistilli building by Astoria Park has something special to offer: Thai massage. To quote:
Instead of stripping down and getting slicked with oil, in this ancient healing art tracing its roots back to India more than 2,500 years ago, one dons loose, comfortable clothing and gets straddled, stretched and kneaded. Basically a form of passive yoga (no fears of breaking the trance mid-way to get into Downward Dog mode; the therapist moves your body for you), it taps into your chakras, gets the blood flowing, reduces daily stress and helps quiet the mind so you’re one step closer to feeling harmonious. "It’s really deep and energizing," points out Karn.
Sounds good to me!

I checked out their website and they are offering a grand opening special: a 30% discount until July 31 (that's Friday). They also offer a "promotion of the month", so keep an eye on their website.

Thai New York Spa & Salon
23-92 21st Street, Astoria
Tel: 718.932.0999 Fax: 718.932.0998
Open 7 days a week 10:30am – 8:30pm

Trivia at LIC Bar

While perusing the LIC Bar site, I learned that they are doing trivia night on Thursday nights! It's actually "Triv-ariety", which means there's trivia, music, and a variety show, all rolled into one. Triv-ariety lasts from 9-11p.m. and "fun and prizes" are advertised.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Salsa Dancing in Astoria

Thanks to daisy on, I have learned that salsa is coming to Astoria! Info:
Salsa Party this Wednesday Night (July 29).

Where: A cute, cozy spot by the name of Bungalo Lounge (32-03 Broadway)

What: Salsa En Astoria (Weppa Wednesdays), Salsa on 2.
  • Free lesson from 8pm to 9pm by an experienced Salsa On 2 Dancer
  • Drink Specials: (Happy Hour) 2 for 1 from 8pm-10pm; $100.00 Bottles of Grey Goose or Hennessy Cognac before midnight
  • An awesome DJ (Mustachio) playing hot Salsa jams all night (Merengue/Batchata also)
  • A nice wooden floor
Absolutely free, never a cover. Dress: foxy casual.

Why: Because Dancing Salsa makes you live FOREVER ;-D

Friday, July 24, 2009


One of our readers writes to us about some 'cue he's making in LIC. Hmm... very intriguing. If you try it, let us know what you think!

Hey there,

I just started a KC style BBQ stand at the LIC Bar and think y'all should come down and get your grub on. I'm open Wed-Sat and I've got what you need.

Trainwreck Washington
Trainwreck BBQ

Green Shores Summer Calendar Download

From our friends at Green Shores:

Our annual summer calendar is now available in print and online! Get the buzz on FREE events along the Astoria-Long Island City waterfront.

You can pick up a paper copy at locations throughout the neighborhood, including:

Astoria Park Field House
The Greater Astoria
Historical Society
ARROW Recreation Center
(35th Streets btwn. 35th & 36th Avenues)
Socrates Sculpture Park
Two Coves Community
Queens Library
Branches: Astoria, Broadway, 21st Street

You can download a PDF of the calendar from our website, here.

We hope to see you in the parks this summer!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Astorian Weekend Edition 23.07.09

Although the weather might be iffy, you can split your indoor and outdoor activities because there’s lots going on—and much of it includes yoga and eating.

Treat yourself to a relaxing yoga class or even a massage at the Giving Tree Yoga Studio. They’re offering a “new student” special that includes 3 classes for $25 or a month of unlimited yoga for $80. Get your Zen on! 22-56 31th Street, Astoria. 718.728.0110

After yoga, walk just a few steps down to Mojave, which features
delectable Southwestern cuisine and an intriguing outdoor garden. We recommend taking advantage of their $11.95 prix-fixe lunch special, which comes with a mini margarita. Que bueno! 22-36 31th Street, Astoria. 718.545.4100

Check out the Astoria Music Now!
Festival this Saturday in Astoria Park. An all day event from 12 p.m. – 9 p.m., the festival will feature 50 acts on four stages with plenty of great local musicians of all genres. The day promises to be a boisterous gathering of song, dance and entertainment.

Getting back to yoga, but this time outdoors, enjoy a
FREE class this Sunday in LIC's Gantry Park. The event, sponsored by The Yoga Room starts at 9:00 a.m. sharp and will go until 10:15 a.m. Get there early to get a good spot and make sure to bring your yoga mat and wear your comfiest garb. Walk behind 47-20 Center Blvd, LIC. 718.786.7962

If you get hungry after yoga, you can check out the Waterfront Crab House, which is rustic, charming and as its name suggests, right on the water.
I enjoyed their baked clams and stuffed filet of sole with crabmeat. The crabs (entree portion - pictured above) are fresh and delicious—and come served on humongous trays. 2-03 Borden Avenue, LIC. 718.729.4862

5 Boro Pizza Tour: Astoria and Beyond

Do you like pizza? Are you adventurous? Are you free on Sunday, July 26th? Jeffrey over at is organizing a 5 boro pizza tour, and he's starting things off in the borough of Queens, and at Rose & Joes in Astoria at that! Here's his intro:
The 5-Boro Pizza Tour starts Sunday, July 26th. It will continue for 4 Sundays this summer, each Sunday touring a different borough.

We will sample a slice or 2 from each shop, ordering by the pie. Extensive research, networking and legwork has been done to find some of best and most intriguing pizza in NYC. Each tour will have a variety of styles and will last at least a few hours. Expect to make some new friends.

This is an ambitious tour, one not for the general public. But I am sure we can find enough freaks in this city of 10 million to satisfy a proper pizza eating group. This is not meant to be a feat of strength, we leave that to AYCE and IFOCE. This is a tour de pizza. Many of the places I haven’t been to (Staten Island), and I would be surprised if anyone has eaten at all of the pizzerias mentioned, even all the pizzas for one of the boroughs.

Contact him (do not contact us!) for more info and to reserve your spot.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Free Yoga in Gantry Park on Sunday!

Free Yoga! Sweet words, oh yes. When, you ask?

Sunday, July 26th
9-10:15 a.m.

Come and join staff from The Yoga Room for a free, fun class at newly expanded Gantry State Park. You'll need to bring a mat and wear comfortable clothing (it may be warm this weekend). Be sure to get there before 9 a.m., as class starts right at 9.

Class will be held at Pier 1 at the Park. The Yoga Room is located 2 blocks away from the park. After class feel free to head over there and check it out.

For more information you can call 718-786-7962 or check the website. Gantry State Park is located here:

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bambino Report

Well, I checked out Il Bambino's outoor patio/garden in the back; I was there this afternoon and thought it was lovely. They do plan to install awnings for shade, because it can get warm back there mid-day. There are plenty of seats - I counted about 26. In the back corner there is a nice seating area that probably accommodates 6-8 people, nice for a bigger group. There is a nice balance of two tops and four tops, too.

They added a bunch of new things to the menu, too. I highly recommend the spicy avocado and goat cheese crostini. The "salsa formaggi" crostini is also very good. The carrot and feta salad is way delicious.

This is a great addition to Astoria's summer outdoor restaurant spaces! If you love good food, wine, and enjoying it outdoors, this place is for you.

Hello Out There, Astoria!

In honor of my first JIA post and in celebration of a big submission I just made on a project, I decided to treat myself to a nice little afternoon around Astoria on Wednesday. It seems the stars were aligned for me, because everything came up roses.

I started with a wonderful yoga class at the new Giving Tree Yoga Studio (22-56 31st Street between 23rd Ave and Ditmars). Co-owners (and husband-wife duo) Anne-Margaret and Anthony have created a space that is at once yoga (and pilates) studio, community center, and massage studio. I could go on ad nauseam about how amazing their classes are, and what a delight it is to be part of their warm, nascent community, but I’ll let you find out for yourself. New students can try three classes for $25, and their mid-summer yoga and massage specials (available through the end of July) include a month of unlimited yoga classes for $80, an incredible deal.

I followed my bliss down the stairs and a few doors over to Mojave (22-36 31st Street), the southwestern restaurant I’d often passed with a shrug. I walked through their main restaurant area and was transported to Taos (seriously, it was a shock). Sitting in their charming garden area, complete with water fountain, I ordered the $11.95 prix fixe lunch and a side of guacamole. Now, I’ve kind of come to expect mediocrity from cheap prix fixe lunches, especially at 2:30 on a Wednesday afternoon. I was happily mistaken.

The menu included a tasty mini-margarita, and I chose the MotherRoad Roadhouse Chili (beef and pork braised in Dos XX beer and chile) and a spice-rubbed salmon sandwich on grilled sourdough with avocado, a southwestern aioli, and house-made potato chips. The chili was packed with tender pieces of meat and tomatoes that tasted like they’d recently been attached to a vine. The salmon was perfectly medium-rare and its accoutrements were all spot-on. As someone who fancies herself a guac artiste, theirs gets my whole-hearted stamp of approval: it was the perfect medium between smooth and chunky, with a kick of fresh lime.

In my sunny little garden paradise, I was tempted by the Invisible Rattlesnake (vanilla ice cream with D’Aristi Mayan honey, anisette, and crème de menthe), but got a hold of myself (and my distended abdomen), and took a raincheck. Mojave boasts 130 tequilas, happy hour specials ($5 wine, sangria, and house cocktails, and $3 beers) on weekdays from 4 – 7, and live music on Wednesday nights and during Sunday brunch. Yum.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tonight's Queens Green Drinks Update

Since rain is a possibility tonight, I just wanted to pass on an update from Helen, one of the organizers for Queens Green Drinks:
We here have been watching the weather reports closely for tonight's event. We think we'll be in the clear between 6:30pm and 9:00pm. So our original plans are still on and happening! Meet at the dock for drinks!

But what if it rains? It is suppose to rain a this afternoon, before the event and after the event, so bring your umbrellas! If it starts storming and we have to move to a rain location then we'll be at the LIC Bar just down the street on the corner of Vernon Blvd and 46 Ave.

To sum up:
Go to the former LIC Boathouse location at the end of 44 Dr.
Unless it rains, then we'll meet you at LIC Bar.

Loveday 31 - Summer Fun Sale

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Checking out Il Bambino's outdoor patio this weekend? A fun activity before--or after--your scrumptious panino could include visiting Loveday 31 for their newly-discounted vintage goodies. What's the occasion? To celebrate summer of course! Below are the details for this weekend's Loveday 31 "Summer Fun" sale. Enjoy!

Loveday 31 Summer Fun Sale:
Saturday, July 18th and Sunday, July 19th
Entire inventory is 20% off - vintage dresses, handbags (including vintage Coach), jewelry made my local designers and more.
Sidewalk sale - $5 - $20 items

Loveday 31 - 33-06 31st Avenue, Astoria NY 11106
N/W Train to 31st Avenue

Jumping Bulldog Anniversary Party

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It feels like only yesterday when The Jumping Bulldog, pet shop opened up in Astoria but believe it or not, it's been a full year. Tanja Firrigno, Bulldog's proud founder and owner will be celebrating the shop's first birthday next Wednesday, July 22nd. The party will take place at Bulldog's second location--how exciting--where they'll soon be offering up doggie daycare.

I personally visit the shop regularly and love the friendly vibe and warmth that emanates from its every crevice. I attribute Bulldog's success to Tanja's dedication to the animals, which she helps to feed and clothe, as well as always lending a helping hand--and ear--to their beloved owners.

Jumping Bulldog 1st Year Anniversary Party:

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009 from 6:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
26-11 23rd Avenue (between 26th and 27th Street)
RSVP by Monday, July 20th to

Food and summer drinks will be served.

Astorian Weekend Edition, 16.07.09

Astoria Park Looking East

Looks like another nice weekend in Astoria. Thursday evening brings plenty of fun things to do in town, from a free wine tasting, to a celebration of pampering, to Green Drinks in LIC, to an evening of style shopping. It's my birthday that day, so I'll be celebrating as well.

This weekend head over to the Sculpture Center (44-19 Purves Street) on Saturday to get your fill of social, cultural, and artistic discussion. Remember that nearby you'll find Dutch Kills Bar (27-24 Jackson Avenue), so head over there to continue the discussion over a cocktail.

And don't forget Astoria's own Musical Saw Festival on the 18th at Trinity Church (31-18 37th Street)

Summer weekends are all about relaxing, so LIC's newly expanded Gantry State Park (behind 47-20 Center Blvd) could be perfect on Sunday for a relaxing afternoon of lazing around. A swim could be fun, too. Or spend the time over on 30th Ave at Ovelia (34-01 30th Ave) sitting outside with a frappe and friends. Il Bambino's new outdoor patio (34-08 31st Ave) is newly open, too.

Enjoy your weekend, whatever you do!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Queens Green Drinks on Thursday

Queens Green Drinks comes to LIC this Thursday! Green Shores will be co-hosting this month’s get together with the Long Island City Community Boathouse. Find the fun outside the Deitch Gallery, (4-40 44th Drive at the East River, across from the Water’s Edge Restaurant.) 6:30-9:00 p.m.

For more information, They're also on Facebook!

Rejuvenate's Birthday Party on Thursday

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Local spa Rejuvenate is celebrating their 5th anniversary! Details:

Rejuvenate Face & Body is turning FIVE! Come join us for our FIVE year anniversary and the launch of our brand new website.

Thursday July 16, 2009
7-10 p.m.

The first 30 people to RSVP will receive a goodie bag loaded with products including:
  • Trial size Marinanella soap
  • Pocket-sized Bluewick soy candle
  • Sample-sized Pangea mask or moisturizer
We will have a raffle for a free facial, a free massage and a free waxing.

This will be a night of information, food, drink and fun! Our experienced and knowledgeable staff will be on hand to answer all of your skin and body care questions.
Rejuvenate Face & Body
26-17 23rd Avenue

Big Bambino News

Just heard from Darren at Il Bambino, and he tells us that their outdoor patio will be open as of Thursday, July 16! They've also got a bunch of new items on the menu, too, and you better believe they'll be fabulous. I'll be checking it out very soon. You should, too.

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

Photo credit: (cc) Meg Cotner

SITE this Thursday

SITE *hearts* you! :)

Join them for a special night of shopping to thank you, their customers. Take 10% off anything in stock, 20% off purchases of $75 or more.

There will be wine and snacks, too. Maybe cupcakes?

Thursday, July 16, 6-9 p.m.
35-11 34th Avenue

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

AAaA (Astoria Artists are Awesome) this Wednesday

Esther Palmer from AAaA sent me this note:

The days are sunny and the evenings ripe for chillin' with friends. Join in the conversation and cheer at Sunswick this Wednesday starting at 8pm. The fabulous trivia game starts at 9pm, so join us by them to contribute to the team! Or come whenever to just share your stories of works in progress, shows, gigs, and whatnot.

Wednesday, July 15 @ or after 8pm

on the corner of 35th Ave and 35th St
22 rotating taps --I think there's a yummy selection of wheat beers up right now...

Looking forward to seeing you all!
Esther + AAaA

Free Wine Tasting This Thursday at DiWine

Last night Meg, Martha and I went to check out DiWine, which was pretty fun. The atmosphere is chic yet not pretentious and I'd definitely go back for a refreshing glass of vino. I'd say that their drinks are the thing to come for, but don't hesitate to try a yummy brick-oven pizza such as the one we had last night (pictured above). The Gigi, DiWine's most popular pizza offering consisted of smoky flavors from the cured beef, capers, mushrooms and fresh buffalo mozzarella. It was simply "divine" and we loved the brick-oven essence that emanated from the crust.

In terms of the wine, this Thursday presents a perfect opportunity to try it. Below are the details about DiWine's tasting--feel free to check it out and let us know your thoughts.

Free Wine Tasting at DiWine
Thursday, July 16th at 8:00 p.m.
Taste four wines and various pairings of cheeses

DiWine- 41-15 31st Avenue, Astoria NY 11103

R/V/G Train to Steinway Street

This Weekend at the Sculpture Center

A heady and fascinating presentation. From the website:

Saturday, July 18, 2009, 2:00 PM - 7:00 PM
The University of Trash presents:
Architectures of Crisis/ Architectures of Resistance

Architectures of Crisis/ Architectures of Resistance highlights the role of built space past and present in organizing radical movements and documenting shifting economic, social, and political climates.


2:00 PM
MLAB as Social, Cultural, and Sustainable Entrepreneurship

Marion Wilson devised an interdisciplinary curriculum at Syracuse University called "Social Sculpture" for artists to offer spatial solutions to social and cultural concerns. Wilson started MLAB, a non-hierarchical collaborative design team, as a result of her belief in the revitalization of urban spaces through the arts. Original team members will present a powerpoint of their first project, mobile literacy arts bus -a 1984 RV renovated into a traveling classroom, gallery and library to address the crisis of space and resources in the Syracuse City School District.

MLAB (the vehicle) will be on-site at SculptureCenter and open to the public with activities and demonstrations from 11-6pm.

3:30 PM
The Center for Urban Pedagogy will present Nehemiah! A Case Study of Radical Pragmatism, a slideshow and discussion about a visionary project made real.

Nehemiah! A Case Study in Radical Pragmatism is the story of how religious leaders, Alinskyites, and architects worked with the City bureaucracy to build 3,000 single-family homes for low to moderate-income buyers -- and build community in Brooklyn's poorest neighborhoods.

Center for Urban Pedagogy is a Brooklyn-based nonprofit organization that uses the power of art and visual culture to increase the quality of public participation in urban planning and community design. CUP specializes in creating interdisciplinary collaborations that bring together designers, educators, advocates, and community residents to improve urban life in New York City and beyond.

5:00 PM
Teddy Cruz and CUP's founder Damon Rich will discuss the economic crisis in relation to Rich's current exhibition Red Lines Housing Crisis Learning Center at the Queens Museum, and Cruz's ongoing work with the trans-border urbanisms at the US and Mexico border region.

6:00 PM
Open Discussion

The Sculpture Center
44-19 Purves Street

Monday, July 13, 2009

Best Kept LIC Secret (Until Now)

Last week I mentioned that an extension of LIC's Gantry State Park has opened. It's not only delightful and relaxing, it's still pretty empty. I'm assuming that not many people have heard about this unique locale, which boasts the best view of Manhattan that I've ever seen as well as cheery hammocks, wooden lounge chairs and plenty of grass. On a sunny day such as this past Saturday, there was lots of room everywhere and many quiet spots to enjoy some peace. I'm including pictures, which will help set the scene. I hope that you check this park out soon--but don't spread the word too much, let's keep this beauty our little secret.

How to get there - 7 Train to Vernon Blvd/Jackson Avenue
Walk behind 47-20 Center Blvd and enjoy the view!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Greek Gods Get a Shout-Out

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Today's Tasting Table e-blast, (amongst many other things) made feel feel proud to be an Astorian. Featuring the top three Greek eateries in the 'hood, the e-blast spotlighted some of our local faves such as Ovelia, Elias Corner and Lefkos Pirgos. While I don't agree that Lefkos is the most fabulous dessert place--preferring Artopolis myself--it was nice to see a variety of modern and traditional Greek establishments get a shout-out.

Read up, enjoy and visit these "Greek Gods," as Tasting Table calls them.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Astorian Weekend Edition 09.07.09

We've finally hit summer! There's nothing better than chillin' at a fabulous outdoor venue in the sun, whether a cafe, a bar, a beer garden or a new park.

Join the Drinking Liberally group this Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden for some good-natured fun and potent brew. They’ll meet outside where you can spot them, sporting their black t-shirts with a blue bottle logo. Cheers! 29-19 24th Avenue, Astoria. 718.274.4925

If you’re in the mood to check out a new beer establishment, visit the Studio Square Beer Garden. They’ve made some changes in the menu, now also serving sushi and festive homemade cupcakes, which are perfect if celebrating a birthday. They even supply candles—how thoughtful! Tip – get their as early as you can, as this place gets packed after 8 p.m. 35-33 36th Street, Astoria. 718.383.1001

Looking for a delicious summery brunch? I recently tried Vesta’s offering and loved it! Besides the scrumptious whole-wheat French Toast with apricot preserves and the Hangover Pizza, I enjoyed the summery white grapefruit sorbet (pictured above). It’s paired with fresh fruit and is simply to die for. 21-02 30th Avenue, Astoria. 718.545.5550

Another great brunch option is Ovelia, featuring tasty Greek omelets and interesting alternatives such as the Tiropita Toast. They were recently the runner up in DCA’s 4th Annual Sidewalk Café Mix Off with their signature drink, The Sikatini. Made with dried figs and Metaxa, this refreshing concoction should not be missed. 34-01 30th Avenue, Astoria. 718.721.7217

Gantry State Park in LIC is the perfect way to spend a warm afternoon. In the words of an enthusiastic resident, "it’s simply delightful. They have wooden lounge chairs, hammocks, lots of grass and even a cool concession stand, which will open soon.” Sounds like a winner to me! 474 48th Avenue, Long Island City. 718.786.6385

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Movies in Astoria Park

Finally, we have the 411 on the film series in Astoria Park! They are:

July 13th at 8:30 pm

July 20th at 8:30 pm
Surfs Up

July 27th at 8:15 pm

August 3rd at 8:15 pm
Dark Knight

August 17th at 8:00 pm
Wall E

All films are on Monday nights, Astoria Park lawn on Shore Blvd., between Hell Gate Bridge & the pool.

Great selections. Enjoy!

Drinking Liberally this Friday

Those crazy kids from Drinking Liberally will be gathering together again this Friday, July 10:

Our next Queens Drinking Liberally will be this Friday, July 10th from 7:30 pm onwards, at the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden in Astoria.

We will likely be meeting outside this Friday and I will be wearing a black shirt with the blue and red Drinking Liberally logo on it.

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.


Donald & Stephanie

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Free Bike Helmets at Queensbridge Park!

Just read on about free bike helmets being offered in LIC this weekend:
DOT Offers Free Bike Helmets at Queensbridge Park, Long Island City - July 11

The Department of Transportation will give away free bike helmets while supplies last on Saturday, July 11 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at Queensbridge Park in Long Island City in partnership with Partnerships for Parks and Bike New York.

You must be present to get a helmet, and you must learn how to properly fit and wear a helmet before you receive it. A parent or legal guardian must be present to sign a waiver for children under age 18. Adults over age 18 receiving a helmet must sign a waiver.

Check the events calendar on the DOT Web site for other bike helmet events. Or, you can schedule a fitting for an NYC helmet at one of the DOT's Safety City locations in the five boroughs by calling 311. Safety City locations can be found at

For additional information, call (212) 839-2200.

Monday, July 06, 2009

7th Annual Musical Saw Festival

Did you know that Astoria hosts a musical saw festival? And that one of the world's foremost musical saw player lives here in town? That would be Natalia 'Saw Lady' Paruz, founder of the festival. I saw her playing in one of the subway stations - no doubt you've seen her, too, at one point.

Here's some info on the festival, coming up on Saturday, July 18:
Join us at the 7th annual Musical Saw Festival in Astoria, where an attempt to break the Guinness World Record of the 'Largest Musical Saw Ensemble' will be conducted. The current record, set in Poland last year, is 27 musical saw players. Will we set a new world record in Astoria on July 18th?

The art form of making music with a carpenter's handsaw has been around for 300 years, but has become almost forgotten since the 1930's. The festival set up to make sure this unique art form does not disappear.

For the past 7 years Astoria became a pilgrimage spot for musical saw players from all over the world. In past years musical saw players from China, Japan, India, Germany, Canada and all over the USA participated. This year we have about 40 sawists coming from Japan, Belgium, Germany, Canada and all over the USA.

When: Saturday, July 18th, 2pm
Where: Trinity Church, 31-18 37th Street (37th street corner of 31st Avenue), Astoria
Admission: $10
What: A Guinness World Record attempt for the 'Largest Musical Saw Ensemble'.
Four world premiers of music written especially for the musical saw will be featured, with participation of a string quartet, handbell group and soprano singer. Solos by many musical saw players from around the world and an art exhibit round up the festival. Saw players will also be treated to a workshop.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Astoria Music Now!

Astoria Music & Arts is putting together a great event on July 25 at Astoria Park. Here's a preview of things to come:

Astoria Music Now! is Astoria Music & Arts' 2nd Annual Music & Arts festival, an environmentally friendly day of family fun & education to be held on the Great Lawn at Astoria Park on July 25th, 2009.

Building upon last year's main & side stages, Astoria Music Now! is adding a third stage dedicated to world music, dj's, dance & theater arts. There will also be vendors selling crafts, clothing, art & food at the event. We continue our tradition of live music that spans various diverse cultures from the community.

Visitors will watch visual artists create works live, enjoy the sights and sounds of our culturally vibrant neighborhood and participate in this celebration of arts & music! We are still seeking volunteers, vendors, and visual artists. Activity are set to begin at 12 noon.

We are very proud to announce the 2009 gala line-up for the first two stages of our forth coming AMN! Fest.

There is a heavy neighborhood presence with these bands so mark your calenders for the largest FREE Astoria music event of the year!

More details on Facebook.

Hell Gate Stage (main stage 45min sets)

Panonian Wave
Seize Them!
Mainline Gypsy
Hank & Cupcakes
Missing Teens
Stone Robot
The Botz (featuring Bayard Russell)

Shore Stage (Quays Stage)

Gutter & Spine
Little Creatures
Dirty Wings
Bob Muir & The Enemy Below
Jesse Pagano Band
Matthew Snow & The Way It Was

3rd (Theater Arts) Triboro Stage and 4th Solo Acoustic TBA

Where and When details:
Saturday, July 25, 2009
12:00pm - 8:00pm
Astoria Park Great Lawn & surrounding park areas
Astoria Park South, 21 Street, Hoyt Avenue, Ditmars Boulevard, East River
Astoria, NY

Friday, July 03, 2009

Post 4th of July Cleanup of Astoria Park

Please join members of the Astoria Park Alliance for a post 4th of July cleanup of Astoria Park!

Cleanup begins at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday the 5th. Meet at the top of the big lawn. Wear good shoes, work gloves and bring strong trash bags with you if possible. There will be some bags and gloves provided, but they could be in short supply.

See you there!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Astorian Weekend Edition 02.07.09

Hellgate on a September Morn

Summer is always a great time in Astoria. You can go for a swim, do some yoga, or just sit in a cafe drinking a cold frappe in one of the Greek cafes on 30th Ave. Or grab a beer with some friends.

For something completely different, head over to Two Coves Community Garden for their open gardening session. From 11-2 every Saturday (location), people in the community are welcome to come by and get their hands dirty by sprucing up the community plot. Hellgate Social (12-21 Astoria Blvd) is just down the way from the garden and that same day at 2 p.m. they are hosting a 4th of July pig roast and clambake. Can I hear a YUM??!?? Oh, and Sunday they're doing BBQ, too! All you can eat, 10 bucks, 4-9 p.m.

If pork and clams aren't your style, hit Bareburger (33-21 31st Avenue) for some (albeit mildly pricey) organic meat and veggie burgers. I hear the chocolate peanut butter shake is teh yumz, and the ostrich burger is a treat.

Of course, it's Independence Day on Saturday, and we hope you have fun plans with family and friends. Show some care if you are in Astoria Park on Saturday, as a merry band of community-minded Astorians are planning on doing a cleanup of the park on Sunday morning. It's totally grody to pick up rotten food, so please dispose of properly!

And if you DO end up inside at some point this weekend, consider RSVPing for one of the Flux Factory's Going Places (Doing Stuff) Part II, "Best Summer Ever" Edition. Email with your name, phone number, and the tour you are interested in (details, check it out). It sounds like some crazy fun!