A Forest fit for Queens

A couple weekends ago we cruised out to the last stop on the R train at Forest Hills-71st Ave to see what actually was at the end of the line.  When talking about Queens, Forest Hills doesn’t really seem to come up. People talk about Flushing, Astoria, Jackson Heights- but not Forest Hills. Since at the time we were in the midst of a heatwave, we had put off making a weekend trek further out into the borough. We’d stayed home, cranked the A/C, and swore to each other that we wouldn’t use the oven, under any circumstances. But we felt obliged, we felt like we should, so we peeled ourselves off the couch and went.

First off- this is one of the NICEST neighborhoods I’ve been to in NYC. Nestled between Corona, Rego Park and Kew Gardens, stepping out of the station is stepping into a serene space, quiet and tranquil. Actually, I couldn’t believe how quiet it was. Deafening.


What do The Ramones, Archie Bunker, David Caruso, Hellen Keller, Spiderman and Donna Karen all have in common? Forest Hills!

The first spot we hit was Emily’s Sugar Rush.  Unfortunately, Johanna is not a fan of candies of the gummi variety, but lo and behold there was a wall of gummi candy that stretched the entire store.  I filled my bag with gummi eggs, gummi chickens feet, gummi whales, gummie cherries, gummi… bears, you get the picture:


Emily’s Sugar Rush! And Gummi Chicken’s Feet.

Afterwards we wandered around taking in Austin Street.  We were hungry- yes- the gummi candy wasn’t going to satisfy me. We wound our way over to Jack and Nellie’s for brunch- unfortunately our meandering caused us to hit that dreaded time in all weekend brunch spots- changing the kitchen over. So instead, their extensive list of beers helped us power through.

After a tipple we wandered some more- it seems that FH has an abundance of green spaces- parks, lots transformed into gated gardens. Like many other neighborhoods, the streets have no rhyme or reason, but in this instance it’s a good thing.


Before heading back to Astoria we decided to try a bar I had heard of. I had read really good reviews of Dirty Pierre’s and it seemed too hard to pass up the opportunity to try a local dive bar. It’s a gem. Really eclectic, dizzying decor, cheap drinks and cheese balls. You really don’t need much more. After introducing ourselves to the bartender and a couple local patrons, the bartender hooked us up with some delicious samples of sangria.  Apparently that’s something their known for, and after a couple of those babies, I can understand why. Definitely try it if you are every in the neighborhood!

Plenty of pigs and cheap drinks at Dirty Pierre's.

Plenty of pigs and cheap drinks at Dirty Pierre’s.

All up, this is a fantastic neighborhood.  If you’re looking to show that NYC isn’t a concrete jungle, this would be the destination.


MOMI to Break Bad

The duality of Walter White, courtesy of Laughing Squid

Thanks to a tip-off from another Astoria enthusiast,  we have learned that our favorite local museum, The Museum of the Moving Image aka MOMI, will soon be holding an exhibition on most excellent AMC show Breaking Bad!  As a fan of the show, I am really curious to check it out and see what it’s like.

For more information check out the MOMI website (unfortunately the talk with creator/producer Vince Gilligan on July 28th is already sold out!)

Ramsay does Queens

A couple years ago British celeb chef Jamie Oliver started off a culinary tour of the US with a stop in Queens (Astoria specifically), and now it looks like it’s Gordon Ramsay’s turn to check out our fine borough.

Over the course (get it) of next weekend, July 13 to 16, Ramsay will be filming his show Kitchen Nightmares at Greek restaurant Kati Allo in Bayside. If you wish to be a patron of Kati Allo any one of these nights, email knqueensrest@gmail.com for reservations and more info!

P.S. check out the awesome music intro at the start of Kati Allo’s website… it reminds me of the site of one of my favorite Astoria establishment’s–Ornella Trattoria.

This IS Queens!

I just read today that new app “This is Queens” will be launching on June 26! The app was designed by the Queens Chamber of Commerce to highlight Queens’ attractions.

I am very curious to check out what the app will be like, and to see if it does indeed help draw tourists to the borough.  For more information check out this article on The Daily News.

A Song of Ice and… Lemon Ice

Summer is here- and that means a lot to NYC. Beaches are re-opened, all the bars dust off their patio furniture,  BBQ pits are being rolled out. People are finding ways to get back to the rooftops of their apartment buildings and wondering how many people can be up their at once.

Also- trying to keep cool and trying to keep your cool.


The Lemon Ice King of Corona

We trekked out to Corona last weekend to hit up the Lemon Ice King of Corona. Many people may be familiar with it from the opening of King of Queens (yes, the CBS situation Comedy from yesteryear that paid homage to our borough). Corona has been of my favorite places since I volunteered at OpenHouseNewYork and had spent the day at the Louis Armstrong Museum.

The Benfaremo family have been serving up Italian Lemon Ices for some 60+ years. That’s 60+ years of squeezing all sorts of fruit and ice together to make a frosty concoction somewhere between a Snowcone and a… well, it’s like a thick Snowcone.

So many Flavors

So many Flavors



Johanna had the traditional lemon, while I went wild and had the grape. My infatuation for grape flavored anything goes back to grape flavored dubble bubble gum. Something about that artificial grape flavoring. Anyway, what better way to spend a hot day that watching a rousing game of Bocce and eating Italian Ices? There’s something to it.

Raising a Lemon Ice to the Lemon Ice King.

Raising a cup Ice to the Lemon Ice King.

And an extra treat, the King of Queens intro: