Tag Archives: France

Where to celebrate Bastille Day in Queens this weekend

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Aperitif Bistro


Francophiles looking to indulge in French food and culture without the large city crowds can trade the Arc de Triomphe for the iconic Sunnyside Arch and celebrate Bastille weekend (July 11-12) in the heart of Queens.

Several Queens restaurants are holding early celebrations of Bastille Day, the holiday marking the start of the French Revolution on July 14, 1789.

One such location is the Tournesol Bistro Francais (50-12 Vernon Blvd. in Long Island City, off the Vernon Blvd./Jackson Ave. 7 train station). Tournesol (French for “sunflower”) serves up French favorites like quiche Lorraine ($9), salade Nicoise ($12), brie panini with apples ($9.50) and croque monsieur ($9.50), a decadent grilled ham and cheese sandwich with bechamel sauce.

Adventurous eaters can try the escargots l’estragon ($9.50), a dish of sauteed snails in tarragon sauce. The magret de canard ($22) features succulent duck breast with celery puree in honey sauce.

Tournesol boasts an extensive wine list categorized by region in France. The Cotes de Provence Cuvee du Cep d’Or, a refreshing rose wine, is perfect for summer afternoons ($8/glass).

To celebrate Bastille Weekend, Tournesol will host a free petanque tournament on Saturday, July 11, from noon to 8 p.m. Petanque is similar to horseshoes but is played with metal “boules,” or balls.

Francophiles can also head over to Sunnyside and celebrate Bastille Day at the Bliss 46 Bistro (43-45 46th St. off the 46th St. and Bliss St. station). Bliss 46 was voted Best French Restaurant in Queens for 2015 by Courier readers in the Best of the Boro competition. The family-owned establishment is run by owner Deodoro Monge and his daughter, Melissa.

Bastille Weekend revelers will want to try their classic coq au vin ($15), a savory chicken stew with red wine, bacon and mashed potatoes, or the steak d’onglet ($19) with garlic butter, vegetables and fries.

Those seeking classic French crepes can find them at Cafe Triskell (33-04 36th Ave. in Astoria off the 36th Ave. N/Q station).

Founded in 2007 by chef, owner and Bretange native Phillipe Fallait, Cafe Triskell offers several varieties of both sweet and savory crepes. Standouts include the French aged goat cheese and herbs crepes ($9), banana with chocolate jam ($6) and the poached pear with homemade chocolate sauce, toasted almonds and whipped cream ($8).

The final stop on the Queens Bastille weekend journey is Aperitif Bistro (213-41 39th Ave. in Bayside). Black and gold pinstripe banquets and vintage globe lanterns give this Queens eatery a French flea market flair.

At Aperitif, patrons can indulge on filet mignon sliders ($14), steak tartare ($17) and prosciutto and figs with blue cheese and pears in a balsamic reduction ($7). Mascarpone crepes with fresh fruit ($16) provide a sweet finish to this French feast.


Ridgewood proprietor helps greet France’s chief rabbi

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo by Victoria Schneps

Ridgewood businessman Herman Hochberg joined the mayor and others in welcoming France’s chief rabbi to Manhattan’s Park East Synagogue last week.

Chief Rabbi Haim Corsia spoke about the safety of French Jews following the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks in January and other recent anti-Semitic events across Europe. Thursday’s event was reserved “for leaders and representatives of the Jewish community,” as noted on the official invitation.

Hochberg — owner of Queens Wines and Liquors, a staple in Ridgewood for more than 60 years — has served as president of the Park East Synagogue board of directors for the past seven years and previously greeted Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI during his 2008 visit to New York.

Along with Mayor Bill de Blasio and Park East’s Rabbi Arthur Schneier, Hochberg presented Corsia with a crystal apple as a token of the congregation’s appreciation and support.

In a phone interview, Hochberg remarked that Corsia held a very positive and hopeful outlook for the Jewish people of France, noting that the rabbi is working closely with the government to ensure that people, synagogues and schools are properly protected from evildoers. Hochberg noted that Corsica — who also serves as chaplain of the French army — worked closely with the government of French President François Hollande to assign 10,500 soldiers and law enforcement agents to protect Jewish sites across the nation.

“The rabbi is a very energetic young man and his objective of course is not to have people leave but have them stay and make sure there’s the proper protection,” Hochberg said. “They consider themselves Frenchmen. For many generations, they’ve been there.”

As quoted in the Jerusalem Post, Corsia told those gathered at Park East last Thursday he witnessed in France “a sense of indifference” toward anti-Semitism and bias crimes prior to last month’s attacks in France at a satirical news magazine’s office and a Kosher supermarket. But in the aftermath, Corsia declared, French people from all walks of life rose to denounce the attacks and other acts of violence.

“[T]he entire society finally rose to say ‘no’ to the terrorist, ‘no’ to muzzling freedom of speech and freedom of the press,” according to Corsia’s remarks published in the Jerusalem Post. “I am of the view that if Charlie Hebdo as such had not happened, I’m not sure that so many people would march in the street.”

Hochberg echoed those sentiments, noting that the rally in Paris following the attacks — which included 4 million people and heads of state from across the globe — showed solidarity for the victims and sent a message that hatred will not be tolerated.

Even so, anti-Semitic incidents occurred in France weeks after the attacks, including the desecration of about 250 tombs at a Jewish cemetery in the eastern part of the country. Citing French authorities, the Jerusalem Post reported that anti-Semitic threats and incidents doubled in France over the last year.

De Blasio, who visited Paris soon after January’s terrorist attacks, reiterated that the city stands with France in opposition to terrorism and anti-Semitism.

“It’s our moment to say we don’t like this trend we see. We don’t find it acceptable,” the mayor said, as quoted in published reports. “As Rabbi Corsia said powerfully, there are no small crimes. No small affront to the Jewish community is acceptable because it will only lead to larger affronts and more dangerous ones.”


LIC veteran, photographer joins 70th D-Day anniversary in Normandy

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Troy Benson


Tony Vaccaro, a Long Island City resident, WWII veteran and photographer, traveled to Normandy Friday for the 70th anniversary of D-Day, which cost over 3,000 Americans their lives.

Although there were a large number of American veterans at the June 6 commemorations, Vaccaro holds a special place because an exhibition of his war photography is the centerpiece in the The Mémorial de Caen museum in Caen, Normandy.

Photos by Tony Vaccaro

He spent time with President Barack Obama and President François Hollande of France and was honored for his contributions to the commemorations. After the D-Day ceremonies his exhibition will tour other French cities and Vaccaro is already the subject of a film made for French television.

“I’m honored to have been invited to this event and it provides me with the opportunity to remember my fellow American soldiers who did not return from these savage battles,” Vaccaro said.

After the D-Day landings Vaccaro took part in the major battles which took him and his brother soldiers from Northern France to the fall of Berlin, carrying his camera and taking what would become award-winning photographs.




Queens Boy Scouts need money for historic Normandy trip

| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Hedy Debonet

Four Boy Scouts from Queens and about a dozen more in the city need help funding a historic trip to Normandy.

The Boy Scouts of America Greater New York Councils is hoping to give 15 young leaders a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to tour Europe and visit France during the 70th Anniversary of D-Day.

Nearly 160,000 American soldiers landed on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944 to march across Europe to defeat Hitler at the height of World War II.

“The soldiers who stormed the beach that day are probably no older than the boys we’re taking on this trip,” said Hedy DeBonet, a trip leader from Fresh Meadows.

“This is what we will be showing to the youth on this trip — a reminder of the sacrifices made a generation ago, acknowledgement that freedom is bought at a terrible price,” she added.

Each teen must come up with $2,600 for airfare, hotels and admission fees for nearly a dozen tourist spots, including the Eiffel Tower and the Imperial War Museum.

So far, each Scout has paid for half. But more is needed before the nine-day trip, beginning April 18, DeBonet said.

“There’s so much history that the kids don’t really learn anymore,” she said. “It’s just a real hands-on learning experience.”

Tax deductible checks can be made out to the Greater New York Councils, Boy Scouts of America, at 350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 7820, New York, NY 10118.



Top Headlines From Around the Web

| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Queens couple found dead by son, 2, in apparent murder-suicide

A man is believed to have shot and killed his girlfriend before turning the gun on himself –leaving their two-year-old son to make the grisly discovery inside their bedroom, sources said. The apparent murder-suicide took place in the family’s South Jamaica home on Dillon Street yesterday. Roxanne Lambert, 41, and her partner, whose name has not been released, were found dead with gunshot wounds to the head at 11:30 p.m., sources said. Lambert’s 16-year-old son was also home when the tragedy unfolded. Relatives said the couple had a rocky relationship and were often heard arguing. Read More: New York Post


Brangelina to tie knot in France

They won’t be America’s sweethearts much longer. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie plan to tie the knot at their sprawling estate in France this summer — and then live in England for at least the next two years, according to published reports yesterday. The famed Tinseltown couple has spent the last six months quietly planning to hold a lavish wedding ceremony at their manse near the village of Correns, in the south of France, London’s Daily Star reported. They’ll reportedly exchange vows in a pre-Roman chapel on the grounds. Read More: New York Post

Accused subway plotter in court on terror charges

A New Yorker accused of helping plan one of the most chilling terror plots in the US since 9-11, is in court today to stand trial on a wide range of criminal charges. Adis Medunjanin and other former school classmates launched a scheme to carry out suicide bomb attacks in New York City’s subways, federal prosecutors plan to argue in Brooklyn federal court. In preparation for the strikes, Medunjanin – along with alleged fellow-plotters Najibullah Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay – journeyed to Pakistan to undergo bomb-making instruction at an al Qaeda terror training camp in a tribal region abutting that nation’s frontier with Afghanistan, officials say. Read More: New York Post

Jury Selection Begins In Clemens Perjury Retrial

Jury selection begins today in Washington in the perjury retrial of former New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens. His first trial ended in a mistrial last summer after only two days of testimony because the prosecution introduced inadmissible evidence. The seven-time Cy Young award winner is accused of of lying to Congress in 2008 while lawmakers were investigating steroid use in baseball. He faces three counts of making false statements, two counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of Congress. Read More: NY1


Coachella 2012: Tupac hologram joins Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre onstage at music festival

Late rapper Tupac Shakur resurrected onto the Coachella stage this past Sunday night to perform a few of his hit songs alongside music maven Snoop Dogg, to the shock and disbelief of the music festival’s 75,000 fans. “What up, Coachella?!” the bare-chested Tupac hologram greeted a roaring crowd, before joining Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre on classic single “Hail Mary.” The faux Shakur wore acid-wash jeans and Timberland boots circa 1995, just around the time he was shot dead on September 13, 1996, at the young age of 25. Read More: Daily News

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo does not want a high-profile role at 2012 Democratic National Convention

Despite having his eye on a 2016 presidential run, Gov. Cuomo wants no part of a high-profile role at this year’s Democratic National Convention, insiders say. While Cuomo will attend the convention in September in Charlotte, N.C., those close to him say he doesn’t want President Obama to consider him for a major speaking slot — though it’s not certain he would even be asked. Cuomo has learned from the example of his father, a former three-term New York governor. Mario Cuomo, like his son is now, was in his second year as governor when he was picked to deliver the keynote address at the 1984 Democratic National Convention. Read More: Daily News



Three in elite NYPD anti-gun unit accused of treating black suspects like ‘animals’

Top supervisors of an elite NYPD anti-gun unit allegedly handled white suspects with kid gloves while treating blacks like “animals” deserving of a bullet to the head, the Daily News has learned. The explosive charges appear in sworn depositions from three members of the firearms suppression unit: two current NYPD detectives and a retired first-grade detective. Their testimony, part of a federal discrimination lawsuit, details how Capt. James Coan and Lt. Daniel Davin created a hostile environment for both their black detectives and suspected minority-group gun traffickers, said the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Eric Sanders. Read More: Daily News

Painted into my memory

| josh.schneps@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Galerie Porte Heureuse.

On our recent honeymoon to Spain and France, my wife and I wanted to bring something home that would remind us of our trip for the rest of our lives.

I have collected a few pieces of artwork from local artists over the years and thought a painting, sculpture or photograph would be a great memento. We started off in Barcelona and made sure to take plenty of pictures, but didn’t find anything that caught our eye.

From Barcelona we flew to the south of France, staying in Cannes. Cannes was one of our favorite stops. We spent our time relaxing on the beach, taking in breathtaking views of the Mediterranean and dining at fine restaurants. It reminded me of the Hamptons on steroids. But nothing caught our eye to take home and everything was extremely expensive.

We drove through the hilltops of historic Provence to get to our next destination, which was a beautiful town in the hills of Provence called Joucas. The hotel and spa, Le Mas des Herbes Blanches, was a spa overlooking a magnificent landscape of the valley below, full of wineries with hills in the background.

Before checking in, I noticed a painting from a local artist displayed in the lobby. It was a beautiful. The artist made great use of colors and there was something in that painting that I was drawn to, but it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for.

The next day we went out and adventured into the different surrounding hilltop towns. As none of the roads had names, at each intersection we just followed the signs pointing in the direction of the town we wanted to go to. The towns and landscapes seemed like movie sets. Towns were literally carved out of and into the hilltops.

Our drive took us to a town named Roussillon where we decided to have lunch before heading to a winery where we had an appointment for a tasting. But we couldn’t resist walking through the narrow streets of this village to explore and discover the town’s hidden jewels.

Walking up to an art gallery, Galerie Porte Heureuse, I noticed a painting in the window that resembled the one in our hotel. We decided to go in and found that several of this artist’s works were on display.

After inquiring, I learned the artist, Andre Deymonaz, was a well-respected and very talented painter. His artwork is exhibited in many countries and five of his paintings have been chosen by the French national postal services for stamps featuring “everyday scenes in Polynesia.”

I was drawn to all of his paintings. Most of his works depict people with blank faces, only leaving small dots for eyes and a nose, giving a touch of mystery to each of his characters.

Deymonaz’s use of colors and beautiful settings makes his art captivating. He depicts scenes from cafe terraces to outdoor markets to the hills of Provence to lagoons in Tahiti.

It was a painting on the far wall in the back of the gallery that Tracey and I found breathtaking. I asked a lot of questions about the piece.  I knew that a piece like that would be making a substantial investment.

I am the kind of person that knows what I want when I see it (like my wife), but I also like to take my time and do research when making an investment. All of the works of art by Andre Deymonaz are a treasure.

Because of our appointment at a winery, we were rushed and I didn’t feel comfortable making a quick decision. I knew we would not have enough time to come back to Roussillon, so I took a bunch of literature including the website of the gallery (www.galerie-porteheureuse.com) and figured I would have the rest of our honeymoon to think about it.

For the rest of our trip and after I arrived home, I kept thinking about that painting. It captured the landscape of Provence I never wanted to forget. After a few email exchanges, I bought the painting and had it shipped to my apartment within a couple of weeks.

I look at the painting every day, bringing a smile to my face and the memory of my honeymoon. Perhaps one of Andre Deymonaz’s painting would recreate a memory you have?

Nations must work together to maintain peace

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

The recent story in the news regarding the possibility of Israel taking military action against Iran does not bode well for the international community.

If Israel chooses this course of action, it could have very dire consequences for the entire Middle East, and also the rest of the world.

While no one wants to see Iran become a nuclear armed nation, all non-military efforts need to be exerted to have Iran not build a nuclear arsenal. The United States, Russia, China, Great Britian and France need to work together, along with Israel, to diffuse this potentially dangerous situation. Israel certainly has a right to defend itself against possible attack, as do all nations.

We need to work together along with the United Nations to bring a nonmilitary resolution to this mounting crisis.


 John Amato

Fresh Meadows