Tag Archives: Astoria

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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Queens Silk Road food tour reaches Kickstarter goal


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Image Courtesy of Adam Edwards


Foodies, get ready: a two-day international Queens food tour is coming to the borough thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign.

Astoria resident Adam Edwards turned to the online crowdfunding site last month in hopes of raising enough money to turn his project called “The Silk Road & Spice Route of Queens” into a reality, The Queens Courier first reported.

“I always wanted to do something with food that really connects with people, and Queens is a unique food destination in itself,” Edwards previously told The Courier.

Edwards’ campaign came to an end on July 15 and raised a total of $2,175, surpassing his goal of $2,000.

The idea came to Edwards, originally from Pittsburgh, upon exploring Astoria and seeing the different restaurants featuring international cuisines, such as Mombar located at 25-22 Steinway St.

During the food tour, which will take place on August 10 and 17, Edwards said he hopes to highlight the borough’s diversity and modern versions of food that could be found along the ancient Silk Road and spice routes that connected Europe, Asia and Africa.

Participants will be able to ride a trolley from midtown Manhattan, at 8th Avenue between 54th and 55th streets, into Queens.

“Learn about the history of Queens and the lands where people immigrated from to call New York City home as we try authentic food from the old world right in our backyard,” said Edwards on the food tour’s official website.

The first Sunday, August 10, starting at noon, the tour will focus on the Spice Route of Queens dining at restaurants specializing in Italian, Egyptian, South Indian, Malaysian and Cantonese cuisines.

The following week, participants will explore the Silk Road tasting food from Greece, the Middle East, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Central/Western China.

Tickets are currently on sale for $150 as an early-bird special, up to 10 days before the events, and the full price of the tickets is $200 per day.

All proceeds from the food tour will go toward supporting the nonprofit Upwardly Global, for which Edwards has organized fundraisers over the past few years.

For more information click here.

 

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Workers to receive nearly $400K in underpaid wages


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of City Comptroller Scott Stringer’s Office

After not being fully paid for contracted work, two workers, including an Astoria man, have been given what they were rightfully owed.

City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer announced an agreement with National Insulation & GC, Corp., in which the company admitted to “willfully and knowingly failing to pay two employees,” Astoria resident Angel Ribadeneira and Francisco Ayala from Brooklyn, a prevailing wage for contracted work.

Both men were hired by National Insulation to do insulation work at city public schools between December 2006 and November 2010, according to the comptroller’s office. An investigation by the comptroller’s office, prompted by a DOE referral and provided evidence, revealed allegations of under reporting hours, misclassification of workers and use of “ghost workers” on sites.

“We have found that all too often, employees are fleeced out of money to which they’re entitled by unscrupulous contractors looking to cut corners,” Stringer said. “These employees worked hard for their salaries and they deserve to get every cent that’s rightfully owed to them.”

National Insulation will pay a fine of $435,666.72, including more than $39,000 in civil penalties to the city, as a result of the settlement.

“I’m thrilled,” said Ribadeneira, who received a $102,000 payout. “I’m going to make certain my wife and I will have enough to live on comfortably and set aside money for my three sons and six grandchildren.”

Ayala is receiving $294,000.

 

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Jazz and food at the Flea


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

flea

Music will continue to play throughout the LIC Flea & Food this weekend, as a renowned chef makes his way to the market.

Last Saturday, July 5, Jason Sagebiel of Sage Music and Nadeem at E9 Productions brought Argentine musician Soledad Liebeskind to the popular Long Island City market. Liebeskind performed with Agustin Uriburu and brought an amazing soul sound to the LIC Flea. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she was influenced by genres such as jazz, blues, soul, R&B, funk and hip-hop.

This Saturday, July 12, will be Jazz Day at the LIC Flea featuring a performance by Dandy Wellington and His Band accompanied by swing dancers. Other jazz artists will also perform.

Also joining the LIC Flea this weekend and on July 19 is Japanese Chef Koji Hagihara, who in 2002 became a sous-chef at Wakiya Ichiemicharou, one of the most prominent Chinese restaurants in Japan. He worked as the right hand of Iron Chef Yuji Wakiya. Hagihara moved to New York seven years ago and in 2009 joined Hakata Tonton in the West Village as manager and executive chef. He has also appeared on various television shows and taken part in events throughout the nation.

At the flea market Hagihara will be serving Shake Shake Cold Ramen. Visitors will be able to toss their ramen noodle salad, including shaved pork sirloin, fresh vegetables and special sesame dressing, in an individual container.

LIC Flea & Food is open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is located at the outdoor lot by the waterfront at the corner of Fifth Street and 46th Avenue.

On July 27, Hagihara will make his way to the Astoria Flea & Food at Kaufman Astoria Studios. The Astoria market is opened 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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New Astoria craft-focused bar set to open in August


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of Gerard Leary

Astoria will soon be home to a new bar with a city punch to it.

Sunnyside resident Gerard Leary, owner of the Lower East Side’s One Mile House bar, has come together with two other Manhattan bar owners to open up Judy & Punch at 34-08 30th Ave., a site that used to be home to a video rental store.

When it came to choosing the location, Leary said that he and his partners wanted to become part of the thriving western Queens neighborhood and were surprised to see how much “Astoria loved Astoria and everyone wants to talk about Astoria.”

“It just seemed like the right fit,” said Leary, who is opening the bar together with Barry Spellman, who owns bars DTUT and Biddy’s Pub, and Mike Higgins, co-owner of Professor Thom’s in the East Village. “Astoria has always been a great area and that part of Astoria especially is on the rise.”

Trying not to give much information away, Leary said the approximately 13,000-square-foot bar, slated to open in August, will be craft-focused featuring 14 lines of draft beers as well as libations in bottles and cans, classic cocktails with the bar’s own twist, and small “light” bar bites.

Judy & Punch will also include a 25-foot-long bar, garage doors in the front, dining space and a backyard patio expected to fit about 12 people.


Construction underway at Judy & Punch 

Leary also hopes to organize a lot of events at the bar, getting the neighborhood involved in these events and building the bar’s brand.

The name of the establishment, which Higgins came up with, comes from the traditional puppet show called “Punch and Judy.” This will also lead to a small carnival theme for the bar’s look and menu, said Leary.

“I can’t wait to see what we got in store for these guys,” Leary said. “I think we’re going to have a great product that everyone in Astoria will be proud of. We’re taking what we learned in Manhattan and bringing it to Astoria, without being too pretentious.”

For more information, check out Judy & Punch on Facebook here.

 

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LIC nonprofit reaches Kickstarter goal


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy Local Project

One Long Island City nonprofit will be able to keep its home after a successful online campaign.

Local Project, a nonprofit arts organization, started the fundraising on Kickstarter last month with a goal of raising $6,100 in order to help pay two months of rent. As of Tuesday, June 8, with three days still left in the campaign, the group surpassed the goal.

“I feel extremely accomplished. I’m extremely happy and super hopeful that everything is going to continue to go great,” said Carolina Peñafiel, founder and director of Local Project. “This is just a great thing for people to feel empowered and driven to continue working on our plan. It feels safe for a little bit.”

After having to move from its headquarters located at 45-10 Davis St. in Long Island City inside the warehouse of 5Pointz building, the group faced a 50 percent rent increase when making the move to a new site at 11-27 44th Rd.

Now with having met the goal, the organization will have time to move to its next step in creating a strategic plan and put it into place to ensure it thrives for more years to come, Peñafiel said.

Even with the Kickstarter campaign coming to an end on July 12, the group will still continue to collect money through fundraising and also an “El Hot Dog Boogie Rent Party” on Friday, July 11, starting at 7 p.m.

“Anything that comes in is extra and it helps us even more. It’s not over, that money will go to a safe place and keep us safe for a little longer,” Peñafiel said.

The party will feature music by local DJs, hot dogs and sauces by Pao & Cha Cha restaurant located at 23-03 Astoria Blvd., bread from Tom Cat Bakery located at 43-05 10th St., and beer from Lagunitas Brewing Company. There will be a $20 deal for two hot dogs and unlimited beer.

“It’s a way of celebrating to say thank you to people and celebrate. It’s part of the summer season at Local Project,” Peñafiel said.

Local Project also has a brand-new shared office/studio/co-working space for rent. The space was built using recycled materials and created by Long Island City artist Cristian Torres. For more information on the space click here.

Since starting in 2003, Local Project has offered exhibitions, mentoring programs, classes, co-working space, residencies for artists and much more.

Future plans for Local Project includes year-long exhibitions, events, a co-working space, mentorship for new curators and artists, a continuing partnership and student internships with the Information Technology High School in Long Island City and MoMA, and affordable creative workshops.

To donate to the Kickstarter until July 12, click here.

 

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Man arrested in Astoria shooting of teen, second person


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Updated 2:10 p.m.

Two people, including a teenage boy, were shot in Astoria Thursday afternoon, police said.

The shooting happened in front of the Astoria Houses on 8th Street around 4:30 p.m., cops said.

A 15-year-old boy suffered a gunshot wound to the shoulder and a 30-year old man was struck in the torso and leg, according to officials. They were taken to Elmhurst Hospital where the teen is listed in stable condition and the man is listed in critical but stable condition, cops said. Both are likely to survive.

Following the gunfire, officers saw a man fleeing from the scene and jump into the passenger side of a black Acura at the corner of 27th Avenue and 8th Street, police said. The car then sped off before crashing into another vehicle at 26th Avenue and 21st Street.

The passenger and the driver both tried to flee on foot following the collision. But cops were able to nab the passenger, 34-year-old Shannon Smith, of Valley Stream, Long Island, and place him under arrest and recover a handgun at the scene, officials said.

Smith faces attempted murder, assault, criminal possession of a weapon, reckless endangerment, criminal possession of stolen property and resisting arrest charges, according to police.

 

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Staycation at the LIC and Astoria Fleas


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

lic flea

Have a beach day at the LIC and Astoria Fleas this weekend with sandboxes, mini pools and more summer fun.

Enjoy the sun while you shop for jewelry, fashion, gifts and more, and take a break to sample food, drinks and desserts from a diverse group of food vendors.

For jewelry, visit Vivian Jewelry at both flea markets. Vivian Park’s line emphasizes unique, handmade craftsmanship that makes each piece seem like a work of art. Imran Jewels imports high-quality gemstones and crystals to make bracelets, necklaces, earrings and rings.

Looking for unique fashion pieces to stand out from the artsy western Queens crowd?

Look for Zachary Alexander Fashion, where the designer’s handmade items have a feel of nature, femininity and Americana.

The flea markets offer a huge variety of gifts, from bath products to plants to art to Legos. Taproot Organics offers chemical-free, organic shampoos and quick-shave bars for men. Spruce up your apartment with help from Cork Buds, which plants hardy succulents in upcycled corks and turns them into magnets and more that can add some green to your space with little care. Artist Ceil Witherspoon, who was born and raised in Long Island City, makes her artwork into items such as greeting cards, bookmarks, magnets and coasters. And C3Brix offers custom Lego models and figures, which are sure to delight both kids and kids at heart. Also check out items available by El Dorado Gift.

To find these vendors and more, visit the LIC Flea & Food on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the outdoor lot by the waterfront at the corner of Fifth Street and 46th Avenue and the Astoria Flea & Food at Kaufman Astoria Studios on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the outdoor backlot of Kaufman Astoria Studios at 36th Street and 35th Avenue.

For more information visit www.licflea.com.

 

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Western Queens artist Gildo discusses road to success


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Greg Testo

ALAN CAPPER

In a successful arts-based community like Long Island City, it is sometimes hard for an individual artist to stand out from the crowd. But an artist named Gildo has achieved this breakthrough through his breathtaking sense of creative purpose and the wide spectrum of his creative activities.

Just listing his activities is not enough. It is the in-depth approach he takes to each of them that gives him individual and collective recognition. From photography to joining the committee to develop color themes for lighting the Hell Gate Bridge, there is virtually no aspect of the visual arts that he does not touch.

Gildo was born and raised in Astoria, where he still lives with his Japanese wife. He began his love affair with photography when he was 13 and was gifted a 35mm camera. His passion for fashion photography led him to a degree from FIT and a successful career working in fashion and photographing some of New York’s top fashion models.

“I was a Long Island City guy who began practicing photography in Manhattan,” he said. That world took him to Studio 54 where he mingled with Andy Warhol and his glamorous set.

Not surprisingly he was very impressed by Warhol and still very much admires his work. “He borrowed Americana and made it his own,” says Gildo.

In fact, Gildo has used Warhol’s technique in a ten-framed painting using the style he learned from him. It is a retrospective of large photographs on canvas with primary and secondary colors. He calls the work “Andy à la Andy.” It’s Gildo’s intention to sell the piece and produce a limited number of prints to sell to Warhol admirers, too.

Among the iconic subjects he has photographed are Donald Trump, Calvin Klein, Henry Kissinger, Jack Lemmon, Kathleen Turner, Richard Branson, Philip Johnson, Sophia Loren and Jeremy Irons.

In the ‘90s he developed a modeling career and became an extensive traveler, visiting over 28 countries.

He is finishing a project with the Government of Montserrat Museum of Photography called “Paradise Not Lost: The Ghost Project After Hugo and Before the Volcano.”

He has returned home to his roots for his latest project, which includes black and white film and digital photographs of the Astoria/Long Island City area called “Then and Now, Forty Years Later.” He is also working on a retro photo expo of Roosevelt Island.

Whatever he does in the future, you can be sure that diversity will be a key component of his work.

For more information visit gildo.com.

 

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Astoria resident looks to fund Queens Silk Road food tour


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images Courtesy of Adam Edwards

Adam Edwards is turning to Kickstarter to make his idea of bringing a two-day international food tour to Queens a reality.

Edwards’ project, called “The Silk Road & Spice Route of Queens,” hopes to highlight the borough’s diversity and modern versions of the foods that could be found along the ancient Silk Road and spice routes that connected Europe, Asia and Africa.

“I always wanted to do something with food that really connects with people, and Queens is a unique food destination in itself,” said Edwards, who calls himself a “history buff.”

The idea came to him upon exploring Astoria and seeing the different restaurants featuring international cuisines, such as Mombar located at 25-22 Steinway St.

“Walking through the beautiful entrance and tasting the amazing food by Chef Moustafa El Sayed really transported me back to ancient times and I want to share that feeling with others,” he said.

The Astoria resident, originally from Pittsburgh, said the biggest challenge is getting people to support his campaign without knowing an exact date of the tour.

The money donated to the Kickstarter will go toward a shuttle bus, which will serve as transportation between restaurants, and for prizes and reservations at the restaurants.

If he reaches the Kickstarter campaign’s goal of $2,000 by July 15, Edwards said, the two-day tour, slated to happen the second weekend of August, will cover five restaurants per day. The estimated price per day is $200.

The Saturday of the tour would be dedicated to the spice route, concentrating on Malaysian, Southern Indian and Egyptian cuisines. On Sunday, participants will go down the Silk Road, tasting food from Uzbekistan, western China and more.

“Queens is the most diverse place on earth,” Edwards said. “Certainly in the United States it’s the most diverse. I hope people can travel a little bit in their own backyard.”

Additional funds will also go toward supporting the nonprofit Upwardly Global, for which Edwards has organized fundraisers over the past few years.

To donate to the Kickstater, click here.

 

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Astoria’s The POP BAR to debut with July 4 bash, hot dog eating contest


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos by Angy Altamirano


Something new is popping in Astoria.

This Fourth of July, The POP BAR, located at 12-21 Astoria Blvd., is making its debut in the western Queens neighborhood during a grand opening “Backyard Bash,” including live music, cold drinks and a hot dog eating contest.

Visitors to the establishment, owned by Astoria resident Jeremy B. Osslund, will be welcomed by a one-of-a-kind colorful façade designed by 5Pointz aerosol artist Shiro.

Inside, more large work from the Japanese artist covers the wall above the door and spreads onto surrounding walls over seating booths. The bar top was done by graffiti artist YESONE, and in front of the bar, another wall is covered in over 700 pages ripped out of “Betty and Veronica” comic books.

“I’ve always sort of had a little bit of obsession with graffiti and 5Pointz and it has a special place in my heart,” Osslund said. “When I reached out to Meres, it was right after 5Pointz got whitewashed and I was like, ‘Let’s have a place where graffiti artists in general can actually come and put their work up.’ And celebrate the entire artistic history of Long Island City and Astoria.”

The POP BAR also features a gallery in the front, which until the end of August will include work by Shiro, YESONE, and Jonathan “Meres One” Cohen, curator and CEO of 5Pointz. All pieces are available for sale, and every two months, the gallery will change to feature different art forms by various artists.

Osslund, originally from Arizona, previously had worked as a consultant helping people open their own hospitality or food establishments. However, he then decided to follow what he was passionate about since a young age and opened his own location in the community he has called home for the past five years.

“There’s a future here, a very bright future,” said Osslund, who hopes opening The POP BAR will only be the beginning to building the neighborhood. “I’m really excited to show people my idea of what a good menu and drinks and a good time is, and hopefully everyone agrees.”

The establishment’s food is what Osslund calls “Pacific surf inspired” and mostly uses ingredients purchased from local vendors. The drink menu includes selections like a “Pimms Cup” that uses mint leaves grown right in the backyard of the bar. Along with indoor seating, the site also features a backyard seating area.

Along with the artwork up front, The POP BAR will also have movies playing on the backyard every day, with no sound, and on weekends will turn the sound up to show movies and an array of ‘90s TV shows.

Keeping up with the emphasis on pop culture, Tuesdays, which will be known as Tequila Tuesday, will offer $5 shots of tequila called “Bill Murrays” and movies with the actor will be show all day.

“POP is a word, it’s a verb, it’s an adjective, it’s everything. What is pop?” Osslund said. “Pop is a feeling you get, it’s the excitement when you are waiting for a bottle of champagne to pop, it’s after it pops and the thrill. Pop can be anything.”

The July 4 Backyard Bash begins at 5 p.m. and will feature music from the local band Another Dead Clown and a hot-dog-eating contest starting at 8:30 p.m. Artists will be present as well.

The POP BAR will be opened from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. on weekdays, and 5 p.m. to 4 a.m. on weekends. For more information visit www.thepopbar.com.

 

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Queens student turns garbage into money, gives back to library


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Queens Library


Someone’s garbage can be turned into someone else’s future, according to 14-year-old student Kashfia Zaman.

The Woodside resident is a sophomore at Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria who began a community service project after a teacher suggested students become involved in starting a volunteer project.

As part of the project, Zaman collects discarded bottles and cans, deposits them for cash, donates the money to the Queens Library at Long Island City, located at 37-44 21 St., and then asks local businesses to match the amount she collects.

“I thought to do something concerning the environment because of global warming,” said Zaman, who hopes to one day be a software engineer or computer programmer. “So I thought about recycling bottles and cans. And I remembered in my elementary school there was a teacher who, when she recycled bottles and cans, she would cash them in to help her sister, whose house fell down in a tornado. So I got all this money, and I decided to do something for the community.”

With the help of her teacher, Zaman drafted a written pledge and asked businesses to sign. She has received matching funds from Astoria business such as Imagination Unisex Hair Designer at 25-01 Newton Ave., Anthia Digenakis of Function Enhancing Physical Therapy at 32-76 31st St. and Guillermo Hung of Pao & Cha Cha at 23-03 Astoria Blvd.

“I decided to give it to the library because the library has always been a very important thing to me. It was always there for me. I could always go to the library and request as many books as I want,” she said.

So far, Zaman has collected more than $120 and purchased new books for tweens, children between 10 to 12 years old, at her library. She said she decided to help get books for younger children because she wants to help them get into the habit of reading and become inspired to volunteer and help out in their communities.

“I was completely blown away by the vastness of her project and I was excited to buy books for our children,” said Tienya Smith, community library manager at Queens Library at Long Island City.

Zaman said that she and a friend are also in the process of creating a website in which they discuss the importance of keeping more libraries open during the weekends, in order for students to have access to do their homework or use the Internet.

“On the website we have letters and pictures explaining why we would want to keep the libraries open on weekends,” she said. “My friend and I are also writing a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio asking him if he could make a little more space in the budget for libraries.”

 

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