Tag Archives: Astoria

The Doe Fund to help clean more Astoria streets


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos by Angy Altamirano

More Astoria streets are getting cleaner thanks to the “men in blue.”

After hearing positive feedback from residents and business owners, The Doe Fund, which was initially brought to the western Queens neighborhood in April, will now expand street sweeping services to Steinway Street, Newtown Road, Ditmars Boulevard and 23rd Avenue, Councilman Costa Constantinides announced Thursday.

“This will be a boon to residents and small business owners across Astoria. The ‘men in blue’ will continue to provide reinforcements and additional resources to help keep Astoria clean,” said Constantinides, who has allocated over $130,000 for street sweeping by The Doe Fund as part of the new city-wide initiative Clean NYC.

The nonprofit organization, which employs recently homeless or formerly incarcerated people as part of its Ready, Willing, and Able transitional work program, was keeping the sidewalks clean and clearing the corner trash cans along 30th Avenue, Broadway and 31st Street.

“This program will increase the quality of life in Astoria, that’s the most important. Clean the street, find new jobs and community come together to be concerned about the quality of life,” said Ahmed Jamil, president of the Muslim American Society. “At the end of the day [before] you [saw] the garbage on the streets and you now don’t see it anymore.”

Although the Department of Sanitation collects trash from corner trash cans once per day in Astoria, the expansion of The Doe Fund helps alleviate the trash and littered streets which have previously caused problems in the neighborhood, such as sidewalk accessibility and shopping issues, according to Constantinides.

“The Doe Fund, combined with community street and graffiti clean-ups, will continue to make a difference in our district and across the city,” said Constantinides, who has also allocated $30,000 in funding for graffiti removal services. “Clean streets and buildings make our neighborhood more enjoyable and inviting—a win for everyone.”

 

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Rural Route Film Festival to celebrate 10 years in NYC


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Antipode Films

One international film festival is celebrating its 10th NYC extravaganza with a weekend bash in Astoria.

The Rural Route Film Festival, organized by Astoria-based filmmaker Alan Webber, is marking a decade of showcasing international films that transport viewers beyond city life and into rural, country scenarios.

The event began in 2003, and through 2008-2009 Webber traveled around all the seven continents presenting the festival and its films.

“When Elephants Walk, the Grass Gets Beaten” (Photo courtesy of Silent Land)

This year’s anniversary celebrations will start on Friday, Aug. 8, and go on until Sunday, Aug. 10, at the Museum of the Moving Image, located at 36-01 35th Ave.

One of the themes for the festival this year, which will showcase five features and 11 short films, is the ancient pagan cultures of Eastern Europe. Films include those from Ukraine, Russia, Slovenia, Hungary, Somaliland, the United Kingdom and United States.

“I’m so proud the festival has been going this long,” Webber said. “Our 10th annual is not what I would’ve originally expected, with a wild sort of pagan theme, but the content is even better, and so much fun that I can’t wait to take it in myself.”

Select screenings will also be accompanied by appearances from filmmakers and live music.

For more information and a full schedule of the entire screenings, visit www.ruralroutefilms.com.

“Alan Webber has put together a truly dazzling and spectacular program of films for the 10th edition of the Rural Route Film Festival,” said David Schwartz, chief curator at the Museum of the Moving Image. “The selection of new and classic films and music will truly transport the audience.”

“Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors” (Photo courtesy of Kino-Lorber)

The festival will conclude on Aug. 10 with a closing night program at the Brooklyn Grange rooftop farm located at 37-18 Northern Blvd. in Long Island City.

Tickets for each program at the museum are $10 for the public and free for museum members. A $27 festival pass for all screenings is also available. Advance tickets and passes are available at movingimage.us or at 718-777-6800.

 

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Astoria friends raising money to get hot sauce in stores, restaurants


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Fez Production

A group of Astoria friends are turning to Kickstarter to help them bring the heat.

Matthew Konchan, Joe Muscente and James Nestor are the creators behind the artisanal all-natural, low-sodium and gluten-free hot sauce called Chi-Cho Sauce.

For the past two years, the trio, who have backgrounds in finance and marketing, have spent hours combining and testing flavors until they came up with the “spicy and sweet” flavor, which creators said is “the best hot sauce you’ll ever have.”

“We wanted to do something different, something that isn’t going to kill you,” Konchan said. “It’s not a novelty. It looks presentable.”

After selling and giving away more than 1,000 bottles of the sauce for free at local markets, including the LIC Flea & Food, and receiving positive feedback, the Astoria residents started a Kickstarter campaign to help continue making the sauce and selling it online, as well as launch the product in stores and restaurants.

“We want something that is nice that you can put out on the table of a nice restaurant,” Konchan said.

The goal of the campaign, which ends on Sept. 12, is $8,003 and the funds will go towards manufacturing, operating, distribution and marketing costs.

Chi-Cho Sauce — the name comes from a college friend’s slang name — is created using local ingredients and cooked at a commercial kitchen in Flushing. Every bottle of the sauce is individually stamped with a batch number and “born on” date.

You can purchase a 6 oz. bottle of Chi-Cho Sauce for $9 on chichosauce.com and also find recipes and food pairings for the sauce.

“We want to maintain the brand,” Konchan said. “A fun and young company.”

To donate to the Kickstarter campaign, click here.

 

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Young Queens residents represent borough in Rubik’s Cube competition


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Christopher Chi

BENJAMIN FANG

These cubers are quickly gaining speed.

Four Queens residents participated in the 10th annual National Rubik’s Cube Championship this past weekend at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, N.J.

Brandon Lin, Eric Zhao, Christopher Chi and Samuel Fang competed with hundreds of the country’s fastest Rubik’s Cube solvers in almost 20 events.

Bayside teen Brandon Lin, 15, set the North American record for solving the Square-1 cube, a multi-shape puzzle with three layers that Lin described as “shape-shifting.” His average time was 12.83 seconds, outpacing his previous top score of 13.05.

In the 3×3 Rubik’s Cube portion, the most popular event, Lin finished in the second round with an average of 15.34 seconds. He set his best personal time in nine of 15 events.

“I felt very accomplished,” Lin said after his record-breaking performance over the weekend. “Becoming Square-1 National Champion was something I was really striving for the past few months.”

Brandon Lin

Lin, a sophomore at Stuyvesant High School, has had plenty of practice with other students.

“At my school, I run a Rubik’s Cube club in which people give each other tips on how to solve it faster,” he said.

The club has hosted citywide competitions, inviting students from other schools to participate.

Lin said he has been training for four years. He began when he saw kids playing with it, so he gave it a shot. Frustrated, Lin decided to look up how to solve it. From then on, he said it was all about practice.

“The main secret is just to practice and dedication,” he said. “It’s not something where you need a high mathematical ability. Mostly it’s just memorizing sequences.”

Lin saw a familiar face this weekend in Eric Zhao, a 17-year-old Astoria resident who also attends Stuyvesant and is part of the school’s cubing club. Zhao solved his first cube in the sixth grade, improved in the seventh grade and entered his first competitive tournament in August 2010 at St. John’s University.

Eric Zhao

Now a four-year veteran, Zhao said there is no secret to solving the Rubik’s Cube.

“All the information is online and available to everyone,” he said. “You just have to want to learn it.”

Zhao placed 112th place in the tournament with a second-round average of 14.85 seconds, the best finish among his fellow Queens competitors.

In February 2010, Zhao founded CubeDepot, an online shop that sells speedcubing products. He said he started the store because he wanted new Rubik’s Cubes but not pay for them.

“I figured if I bought around ten of each, and then sold nine, I could keep one for essentially free,” Zhao said. He said in 2011, the company made about $60,000 in profit.

For Christopher Chi, 11, the national tournament was his first taste of competition. Now a seventh grade student at Bell Academy, Chi said he started cubing when he was 8, and has been learning to speed up for three years.

Chi said there is no secret to success. He said you just have to learn all the algorithms, which are a series of moves that help you solve the cube.

Chi only participated in the 3×3 and 2×2 events, placing 381st and 286th, respectively.

“It was a good experience for me, since it was my first competition,” he said. “I hope I can do better next year.”

Samuel Fang

Like Chi, Samuel Fang, 12, is new to the contest. The tournament was just his second, but he improved in all six of his events.

The seventh grader at M.S. 67 in Little Neck solved his first Rubik’s Cube just over a year ago, and began competing this year.

Fang said he was nervous with the large audience, but relished the opportunity to watch fellow cubers work at breakneck speed.

“I did see a few world records broken there,” Fang said. “It was pretty cool to see that.”

He finished 57th overall in the 2×2 event with an average of 4.46 seconds.

The tournament took place while the center displayed its Beyond Rubik’s Cube exhibition, commemorating the 40th anniversary of the cube’s creation.

 

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Report shows size of LIC homes shrinking, prices rising


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Chart courtesy Modern Spaces

Long Island City home sizes are shrinking, but the prices are not.

A report by residential brokerage firm Modern Spaces shows that while the average square footage of apartments of new developments are decreasing in the burgeoning neighborhood, the average price per square foot is rising.

In LIC, the average apartment size in new developments has decreased 41 percent from Q1 2013 to just 828 square feet by the first half of 2014. But during that same period, the average price per square foot of homes in the neighborhood has risen 23 percent from $768 to $944.

Despite the rising prices, Eric Benaim, founder and CEO of Modern Spaces, said the decreasing sizes are actually helping to keep prices from skyrocketing in the community.

“Demand for new homes is very high in Long Island City and Astoria and we are seeing an increased number of developments in both areas,” Benaim said. “In Long Island City, developers are building more efficiently-sized residences, helping to keep overall home prices down. This trend is helping to differentiate Long Island City from the rest of the New York market. People can buy beautiful new homes in a prime location with incredible amenities without over-the-top home prices.”

The report also found the trend of rising prices in Astoria. Average price per square foot for new homes jumped to $820 per square feet by the first half of 2014, up 32 percent from Q1 2013, when it was $619.

 

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LIC Flea crowns winners of first Favorites Food Festival


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Bradley Hawks

The LIC Flea & Food was filled with winners this past weekend.

The popular Long Island City flea market, held every Saturday at the outdoor lot on the corner of Fifth Street and 46th Avenue, hosted the first Annual LIC Flea Favorites Food Festival, bringing the best food vendors from the market.

During the festival, vendors received “Flea Favorite” awards based on votes by a panel of judges and visitors to the market as well.

Judges included Bradley Hawks, editor-in-chief of BORO Magazine; Rob MacKay of the Queens Economic Development Corporation; NY1 reporter Arlene Borenstein; and bloggers Layla Khoury-Hanold of “A Glass of Rose” and Karen Siegler of “Markets of New York City.”

Husband and wife duo Chimere and Norbert Ward of Clean Plate Co. took home the “Food Vendor Winner,” Megan Griffey of Frittering Away was selected as “Beverage Vendor Winner,” and Ice & Vice was crowned “Dessert Vendor Winner” after wowing judges with its ice cream sandwich.

Visitors to the Flea on July 26 selected Drink More Good as the winner of “Visitor Favorite.”
Below we take a quick look into each of these winning vendors and see what makes them shine.

Clean Plate Co.

Chimere and Norbert Ward, the husband and wife duo behind Clean Plate Co., say they are still feeling the shock after taking home the “Food Vendor Winner” during the first annual LIC Flea Favorites Food Festival.
Saturday, July 26, was their last day participating in the LIC Flea and the Astoria Flea & Food at Kaufman

Astoria Studios for the season and they served the panel of judges their signature dishes of smoked gouda mac and cheese and shrimp and grits.

“There were so many vendors,” Chimere said. “We didn’t think that was going to happen at all, we just weren’t prepared for that.”

Clean Plate Co., which this season has participated in the Astoria Flea, specializes in seasonal comfort & artisan preparation. The Ridgewood couple uses local ingredients and has vast knowledge and experience in various cultural cuisines.

“The flea by itself is just a great place,” said Chimere, who hopes to come back to the market during the holidays. “With so much great food out there, we are fans of the other vendors, we built a family with the other vendors.”

The couple also caters cocktail parties, private dinners and intimate affairs. They’ve also partnered with many other unique New York City businesses and venues for fabulous food events.

Frittering Away

Megan Griffey of Frittering Away was awarded as “Beverage Vendor Winner” for her reinvention of the lemonade stand.

Frittering Away, vendor at both the LIC and Astoria Flea, started out by refreshing customers with their original flavor, Strawberry Basil Lemonade. Then, the specialty drink maker shook it up with Watermelon Jalapeno Limeade. Last fall, as the leaves changed and thoughts went to warming, soothing beverages, Ginger Lemonade emerged. Frittering Away lemonades are made in small batches with fresh, seasonal produce.

Ice & Vice

Offering the judges their delectable ice cream sandwich, experimental ice cream pop-up shop Ice & Vice took home “Dessert Vendor Winner.”

Ice & Vice can be found at the LIC Flea on Saturdays and at Astoria Flea on Sundays, so stop by for a sweet treat to cool you down on a sunny day of exploring the flea. The shop handcrafts ice cream, sorbet and frozen yogurt in small, customized batches. Unique flavors include Crack-o-Lantern (pumpkin seed oil and crystallized ginger), Movie Night (buttered popcorn, toasted raisin, dark chocolate flakes) and American Beauty (creme fraiche and rose petal jam).

Drink More Good

Jason Schuler founded Drink More Good with one goal in mind — to make this world a better place.

This past Saturday, visitors at the LIC Flea believed he was doing just that and voted to have him awarded as the “Visitor Favorite Winner.”

Drink More Good’s syrups are small-batch, thoughtfully crafted, and handmade with locally sourced and organic ingredients. The syrups can be used to make homemade sodas that have 50 percent less sugar and calories than mainstream sodas and have no high-fructose corn syrup and or preservatives. The syrups can also be used as cocktail mixers.

 

A FLEA HUNT

Guests at the LIC Flea & Food are going to have to put on their hunting hats this weekend.

The popular Long Island City flea market will be hosting The Great LIC Scavenger Hunt on Saturday, August 2, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The scavenger hunt will take place within the flea market as well throughout the western Queens neighborhood.

To participate and compete to win some great prizes, guests must sign up online at licflea.com.

Teams, which will have different names, should be between two and six hunters, and participants should bring a camera.

LIC Flea & Food is open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

In Astoria, the Astoria Flea & Food is offering the best in food, drinks, antiques, clothing, art, accessories and much more. Local art groups will be represented at the Astoria Flea.

The market is open every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the outdoor backlot of Kaufman Astoria Studios at 36th Street and 35th Avenue until Aug. 31.

 

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Little Neck actor finds business success in Astoria


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images Courtesy of Johnny Solo


Actor Johnny Solo is starring in many different roles in Astoria.

The 39-year-old Little Neck resident is the co-owner of three establishments in the western Queens neighborhood, two of which opened in the past few months.

The first of the trio, Grand Café located at 37-01 30th Ave., was started eight years ago and opened for brunch because “there weren’t that many options [on 30th Avenue] back then.”

The corner café has since attracted guests wanting indoor or outdoor seating for all meals of the day.

Then an idea for a new establishment came after an unfortunate circumstance of a partner’s wife being diagnosed with breast cancer, causing the team to change their lifestyles and eating habits to all-organic. She has since recovered.

“It started to slowly go into our lifestyle,” Solo said. “Once you get into the lifestyle, you don’t feel like you’re missing anything. We said that we are enjoying this so much, why don’t we build it in the back room of Grand Café.”

Two months ago organic juice and smoothie shop Ginger opened its door in what used to be Grand Café’s private events back room. Ginger offers all-organic smoothies and cold-pressed juices bottled on site, salads, kale chips and much more.

“The idea was to make the most flavorful, all-organic natural juices and smoothies, but also similar to what Starbucks did, make it the most comfortable, coolest place,” Solo said about the interior design of the shop, which features a large cushioned seating area, benches, antique decorations and walls made up of recycled wood.

Ginger also offers organic liquors, wines and champagnes. The shop provides customers with juicing programs, ranging from one- to three-day options. Juices come packaged in recycled cardboard six-pack beer containers.

The shop’s items will soon be fully available on the Grand Café’s menu as Solo looks to give customers “healthier options.”

“We feel the way we changed the landscape with Grand Café, we feel now a decade later we will change the landscape again,” Solo said. “Part of our job now is reaching out and make [customers] understand. I don’t feel you’re really juicing if you aren’t going organic.”

Together with working on his acting career, during which he has starred in movies and television series such as Law & Order, and this September will debut a film he produced, Solo also co-owns Republic located at 33-29 Astoria Blvd.

The bar, which opened in April, is located at the site of a former wholesale meat packing warehouse and its menu features a Nutella calzone, salads, cocktails and “fun” pizza with names such as “The Queen,” Cherry Jackson!” and “Killa Kale.”

Opened Tuesdays through Sundays starting at 6 p.m., Republic offers music from DJs, screenings of artistic documentaries and the excitement even stretches to the unisex bathroom where patrons can pick up a piece of chalk and write all over the walls.

The exterior and interior of the bar also feature artwork from Brooklyn graffiti artist B.D. White.

“The locals were very happy because nothing was here,” Solo said. “[Republic] is building slowly.”

 

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Man charged in robbery of 90-year-old outside LIC supermarket


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD


Police have arrested a suspect who is accused of grabbing a 90-year-old man outside of a Long Island City supermarket and making him drive to ATMs to withdraw money.

Wade Hairston, 28, of Astoria, has been charged with robbery, criminal obstruction of breathing, unlawful imprisonment and harassment in the July 22 incident, cops said.

The victim was walking to his car outside of the Stop & Shop on 48th Street at about 10:45 a.m. that day when the suspect grabbed him by the neck, police said.  The suspect then told him to hand over his wallet and demanded his PIN number before forcing the victim drive to two locations, where he took out cash from ATMs.

 

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‘Quiet Clubbing’ comes to Astoria beer garden


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of Quiet Events

The music booms silently at one Astoria beer garden.

Every other Friday, guests are greeted at the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden, located at 29-19 24th Ave., with wireless headphones and a quiet dance floor. Once they put on their headphones, the party begins.

This biweekly party is called “Quiet Clubbing” and is organized by the company Quiet Events, founded in 2012 by College Point resident William Petz after he experienced what is known as a “silent disco” on a cruise with family.

“We enjoyed it so much and thought someone had to be doing it in New York, but no one was,” Petz said. “I figured let me buy 300 headphones and worst comes to worst I sell them on eBay.”

During the event, there are three live DJs each playing a different genre of music such as hip-hop, old-school hits and top 40s. Guests put on their headphones and can switch to any of the three stations with LED lights on the headphones changing from blue, red and green, letting others know which DJ they’ve picked.

“We took a beer garden and almost turned it to a festival,” Petz said. He estimates that between 500 to 600 people attend each night, with the numbers only growing.

Petz said that although some people might assume these types of parties are “anti-social,” he believes the environment actually allows guests to get together and adjust the volume on their headphones to be able to strike up conversations.

“It kind of is weird but it is not silent, it is not quiet. People are singing to songs, laughing and having conversations with friends,” Petz said. “You can have friends who love different types of music, dancing together. We get people to do things they normally don’t want to do.”

Along with the biweekly “quiet clubbing” parties at the Beer Garden, Quiet Events, which will soon move its headquarters to Astoria, also organizes other events such as mobile parties.

During these mobile parties about 100 to 150 people are taken around New York City, all with headphones on, and walk with a certified tour guide. Petz said it is sort of like beer crawl, but guests get to learn more about the city as well.

Quiet Events also rents its equipment to other bars and clubs, and in some cases sells the equipment.

The next Quiet Clubbing party at the Beer Garden is Friday, Aug. 1, and starts at 10 p.m. Tickets are $5 online and $10 at the door.

“The best part for me is when you talk to someone and they say they don’t get it and afterwards they love it,” Petz said “You won’t get it until you put those headphones on. It’s golden.”

For more information, click here.

 

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One killed, six injured in Astoria crash


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic Image

Updated 10:15 a.m.

A crash in Astoria on Sunday left one person dead and six hurt, including three children and a pedestrian, after the driver had a medical episode moments before the accident, cops said.

The car, a Kia Sedona, was driving westbound on 35th Avenue near 21st Street at about 4:45 p.m. when it struck  a curb and fire hydrant before coming to rest on its passenger side on the sidewalk, according to police.

The driver, 45-year-old Anthony Boyd, was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, authorities said.

A pedestrian, a 72-year-old woman who was struck by debris, was also taken to Mount Sinai in stable condition.

Five of the vehicle’s passengers, a 44-year-old and 28-year-old woman, and three young boys, ages 10, 6 and 1, were transported to Elmhurst Hospital in stable condition, cops said.

Police said they are still investigating the accident and what exactly happened to the man before the Kia Sedona crashed.

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Community calls homeless shelter at East Elmhurst motel an ‘abuse of power’


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

East Elmhurst residents blasted city officials Wednesday for placing a homeless shelter on Astoria Boulevard without community consultation, calling the move a “covert operation reeking of disrespect.”

More than 200 neighborhood residents packed an Astoria museum’s theater to speak against the decision by the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) to turn the Westway Motor Inn into a permanent homeless shelter to house more than 100 homeless families.

Community members say they are outraged they weren’t told or asked about the motel becoming a permanent shelter.

“It was a deliberate, furtive and covert operation reeking of disrespect of our local elected officials, community leaders and the community at large,” said Rose Marie Poveromo, president of the United Community Civic Association, which organized the meeting. ”We were advised after the fact and consider the action by DHS an abuse of power.”

Officials say that years ago the DHS came to the community requesting to turn the 121-room motel into a homeless shelter, but were met with opposition. At the time DHS stated it had no plans to convert the motel into a full-time facility and worked with the community on making the site only a temporary overnight shelter.

“When they came to us, we explained to them why this is the wrong place. Why there is nothing for these people to do during the day, this is a hotel on a dangerous service road,” said Peter Vallone Jr., a former councilman for the area who also worked with the DHS to come to the temporary shelter agreement. “To change that agreement you were supposed to come to the community and inform us. That never happened and that is an outrage.”

The shelter is being managed by social services provider Women In Need and currently houses a total of 67 families with 129 children, ranging from 1 to 17 years old, according to DHS representatives.

Residents who lined up to speak during the meeting, which went on for more than two hours, raised concerns over community safety, overcrowding of schools, increase in property taxes, environmental studies of the area and crime.

Antonia Papadouris, whose home driveway is adjacent to the backlot of the motel, said she has seen signs of marijuana and has found hypodermic needles on the ground. She also said that last Friday a teenager playing in the backlot pulled a knife on her father-in-law.

“I don’t feel safe in my neighborhood,” Papadouris said. “My husband wants me to take mace with me.”

However, Danny Roman, a resident of the homeless shelter, said his 15-year-old step-son, who was the one involved in the altercation, never pulled a knife. Instead, Roman said, he merely approached the man after hearing screams and having seen his step-son get injured during the fight.

“I didn’t go with any weapon. I went there humble,” said Roman, who lives at the site with his wife and four children. “I do understand. I do understand, this is a strong community. They have the right to fear…. But my kids go to bed at 8 p.m. Basically we are like in a prison.”

Lorraine Stephens, DHS first deputy commissioner, said the move was necessary because “right now we are in a crisis in New York City.” She blamed the Bloomberg administration, saying there was a “lack of planning around building the necessary capacity for shelter.”

“We were put in a situation where we have to shelter everyone that comes, that is deemed eligible for shelter,” Stephens said.“We were not looking at Westway a month, two months ago. But as of June we became in a crisis because our lack of capacity forced us to look throughout New York City and say where can we house these families?”

 

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Cops searching for Queens serial bank robber


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD


Police are looking for a suspect wanted in five bank robberies and two attempted heists around Queens over the past two years.

The latest incident occurred on Tuesday around 4:30 p.m. at a Santander Bank on Northern Boulevard in Jackson Heights, cops said. During the robbery, the suspect passed a demand note but left without any money.

The other robberies, which date back to July 2012, took place in the Long Island City, Astoria, East Elmhurst and Middle Village areas of the borough, officials said. In the suspect’s most successful theft, on Dec. 12, 2012 at a Chase Bank at 77-01 31st Ave., he fled with $12,400, cops said.

Police describe the suspect as Hispanic, 30 to 35 years old, 6 feet tall and 200 pounds. He was last seen wearing a baseball hat with a New York Yankees symbol on the front, a button down short sleeve shirt, tinted eyeglasses and a black wrist watch on his left wrist, and had a light beard connected to a goatee.

Authorities have released a photo of the suspect from the July 22 attempted robbery and a June 7 robbery at a Chase Bank at 77-01 31st Ave.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

There’s a new Nosh in town


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos by Bradley Hawks

BRADLEY HAWKS

Jinhee Park and Johney Han recently got engaged, and then they decided to open Nosh Borough.

“When we can make this restaurant work, we will set a date and make our marriage work,” laughs Park.

“For right now,” her fiancé interrupts, “we are just trying to do great slow food cooking — served fast.” They are no strangers to the restaurant scene in New York, and finally parted ways with their last kitchen to open their first independent endeavor.

Slow food is the antithesis of fast food. At Nosh Borough, their brisket is smoked for 12 to 13 hours, and they brine their chicken for two days in a special sugar and salt solution. Burgers are a house blend of brisket, ground chuck and sirloin — and they knock ‘em out of the park. Order one banh-mi-style and savor a marinated beef patty topped with a choice of sweet roasted garlic or tangy onion white sauce with lettuce, cucumber, jalapeno, cilantro, pickled daikon and carrots — or just try the Nosh Burger with cheddar, caramelized onion and bacon marmalade.

Chicken, pork belly and brisket are available as entrees served with side dishes and a biscuit, or you can have your meat served as a “wafco” — like a taco that uses a paper-thin waffle as a shell.

As supporting characters, roasted brussels sprouts with crumbles of bacon are fantastic, and so is the decadently velvety havarti and cheddar mac and cheese. Southern-style dirty rice is speckled with piquant sausage, collard greens are braised with salty bits of ham hock, and corn-on-the-cob is slathered with mayo and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

A creamy country-style sausage gravy can come on a buttermilk biscuit, or you can have it slathered on a pile of French fries and topped with pico de gallo. Now that’s a whole new kind of disco.

And they are also serving a pretty killer chicken pot pie, with the typical pastry crust replaced by a buttery crown of warm buttermilk biscuit.

Vegetarians will return for the vegetable tamales, which are built with masa and potato, a blend of poblano and guajillo peppers, earthy mushrooms, sweet onions, a dollop of crema, and pico de gallo.

Homemade desserts include a smooth, light and creamy cheesecake topped with seasonal fresh fruit — we devoured a slice loaded with fresh mangoes — or a crazy tasty peanut butter and chocolate tart which arrives like a Reese’s Cup on steroids, built on a blonde cookie crust.

If their first month is any indication, this sweet little shop on Astoria Boulevard between 21st and 31st streets is poised to score a grand slam, with an inventive all-star menu that changes monthly.

There is ample seating if you want to settle in after ordering from the counter. You can also order delivery from eat24hrs.com. They are even open for lunch. But however and whenever you do, we recommend you stop by and check ‘em out and show ‘em some love.

Nosh Borough
25-17 Astoria Blvd., Astoria
347-813-4677

 

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Queens natives start ‘non-touristy’ food tour of borough


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Richard Mumith

The founders of a new walking food tour, which is making its start in Long Island City, are looking to prove that Queens is the “king of the boroughs.”

Queens natives Richard Mumith and Sergey Kadinsky started the company Locals Finds Queens Food Tours to share their love for the diverse borough and bring tourists across the East River.

“We essentially started up for the tourists but now a lot of natives are becoming part of it too,” Mumith said. “We now want Queens locals to really see what is in their backyard.”

The three-hour tours, which began July 13 and take place every Sunday, look to combine the history, culture and food of the borough in what Mumith calls a “non-touristy ‘off the beaten’ experience.”

Every Sunday eight participants, who are told the meeting point after purchasing tickets, get together and sample food from six local Long Island City establishments, while also being given a tour by Kadinsky, who is a licensed tour guide, on the history and present details on the western Queens neighborhood.

The stops of the tour include Manducatis Rustica, Woodbines Craft Kitchen, Sweetleaf, Alobar, Rockaway Brewing Company and Sage General Store.

Mumith said the tours are starting in Long Island City because it is close to Manhattan and also has an “amazing industrial manufacturing history and artistic presence.”

“We’re really here to create a relationship with the communities,” Mumith said.

However, Mumith hopes to expand the tours into full weekends in Long Island City and later move them further into other Queens neighborhood such as Astoria and Flushing.

“We’re here to stay. We’re here to do all the great borough of Queens and each neighborhood presents something unique,” he said.

The Briarwood resident is even challenging the other four boroughs to try and beat the diversity and distinct cuisines offered in Queens.

“What people don’t know, when it comes to the culinary scene, Queens is the king of the boroughs,” Mumith said.

Tickets for the tours are $56 for adults and $42 for children 12 and under. The price of tickets include the tour, which begins every Sunday at 11 a.m., food tastings and an exclusive brochure featuring a map of the neighborhood, list of attractions, other restaurant recommendations and list of things to do.

For more information visit foodsofqueensny.com or call 800-656-0713.

 

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More fun at the Flea this weekend


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

flea

Even with the World Cup festivities coming to an end last weekend, more exciting things are on their way to Long Island City.

This Saturday, July 19, the popular LIC Flea & Food, located at the outdoor lot by the waterfront at the corner of Fifth Street and 46th Avenue, will be holding a cornhole contest. Cornhole is a lawn game where players take turns trying to throw bean bags into a hole on a raised platform. The prizes for the contest include a cornhole set and $100 in FleaBucks to spend at the market. Sign up to participate at facebook.com/licflea.

Also this weekend, HGTV’s “Flea Market Flip” will make its return to the LIC Flea with host Lara Spencer, co-anchor on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Each week on the show, contestants, who participate in teams, are given $500 to explore items at different flea markets. The participants search for objects they can buy, fix and then “flip” for a higher selling price. By the end of each show, the contestants display their transformations and battle it out to win all the profits earned.

LIC Flea & Food is open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

In Astoria, the Astoria Flea & Food at Kaufman Astoria Studios is keeping strong and offering the best in food, drinks, antiques, clothing, art, accessories and much more. The market is open every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the outdoor backlot of Kaufman Astoria Studios at 36th Street and 35th Avenue.
Initially the Astoria Flea was expected to run for eight consecutive Sundays starting in May, but it now will stay open until August 31.

For more information visit www.licflea.com.

 

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