Tag Archives: LIC

Burglary spree hits LIC restaurants


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Updated Friday, July 11, 1:05 p.m.

A burglary suspect has broken into five Long Island City restaurants and bars since June, getting away with cash and electronics, cops said.

The crime spree started on June 11 at Andre’s Pizza, located on 40th Avenue. The suspect took $20 from the restaurant’s cash register by breaking through the glass front door police said.

He then allegedly used the same method to break into Manducatis Rustica, on Vernon Boulevard during the early morning hours of June 22. The burglar stole two iPads, two iPad minis and $700 in cash, according to authorities.

The suspect also took a Galaxy 10 electronic tablet and $100 from Woodbines on Vernon Boulevard three days later, and $850 from on June 27 the Seattle Café, on Queens Boulevard, cops said.

During the latest incident, around 4:20 a.m. on July 4, the suspect attempted to burglarize the LIC Bar, on Vernon Boulevard, by entering through a window, but fled before he could take anything, according to police.

Jeff Blath, owner of Alobar, on Vernon Boulevard, believes the same suspect that tried to burglarize LIC Bar may have attempted to break into his restaurant just minutes earlier.

According to the establishment’s security footage and a porter who watches the eatery, around 3:50 a.m. a man, wearing similar clothing, used a glass bottle to hit Alobar’s door several times before stumbling backwards and walking away.

The man damaged the door and was caught on camera heading in the direction of LIC Bar, just two blocks down the street, Blath said.

He reported the incident to police, but said it isn’t considered an attempted burglary, just criminal mischief.

Blath, who opened Alobar three years ago and has lived in Long Island City for seven years, said the recent crime spree is a “very rare occurrence” in the area.

“I do know this neighborhood is becoming known for its restaurants and bars, and it may draw positive and negative attention,” he said.

 

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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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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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Where to celebrate the Fourth of July around Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Macy’s

Friday makes the 238th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence and, weather permitting, Queens residents can celebrate the country’s birthday with a boom.

The Macy’s fireworks extravaganza has moved back to the East River after a five-year hiatus, but the show is centered downriver in Brooklyn.

Still, there are many spots to view the fireworks — but not all of them are free.

Z Hotel in Long Island City is selling tickets to watch the fireworks show from their rooftop lounge. Tickets go for $66.56 for kids and $166.03 for adults.

On Center Boulevard, LIC Landing by Coffeed will be hosting an all-you-can-eat barbecue with a view of the fireworks for $100 a ticket.

The Starstream VIII, which sails from the Flushing Marina, is having a waterborne viewing party that includes dinner and a cash bar for $125.

Cheaper options include Resorts World Casino, which is hosting a free viewing event at Bar360 and on their sixth-floor parking lot.

Another free option is the Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City on the East River.

And baseball fans will be treated to a fireworks display at Citi Field as the Mets host the Texas Rangers.

But the baseball may be a washout and the fireworks may fizzle as Hurricane Arthur took aim at North Carolina Thursday and is expected to impact much of the East Coast.

 

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Renderings released for 50-story LIC development


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Renderings Courtesy of SLCE Architects

The sky’s the limit for real estate in Long Island City.

Rockrose Development Corporation has released renderings for its newest 50-story development coming to the western Queens neighborhood at 43-25 Hunter St.

Permits for the project were partially approved on June 27, according to records from the city’s Department of Buildings. As of yet, no start date has been released.

The 970,000-square-foot tower will be made up of 19,000 square feet of ground floor retail space and 974 apartments, of which 20 percent will be affordable units.

According to published reports, the development will also include a 14-story building adjacent to the 50-story tower.


Rendering of the 14-story building adjacent to the 50-story tower

There will be 18,000 square feet of interior amenity space and three large rooftop terraces. Amenities include a fitness center, basketball court, billiard room, rooftop solarium and great lawn, yoga studio, zen garden, screening room, library, children’s playroom, and a 38th floor rooftop terrace and lounge.

The building, designed by SLCE Architects, will be one of the tallest in Long Island City, according to published reports. Nearby in Astoria, 42-12 28th St. by developer Heatherwood Communities beats 43-25 Hunter St. with a total of 58 stories in height.

 

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More retail coming to Long Island City waterfront


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of Winick Realty Group

More retail is on its way to Long Island City.

Leasing for the retail spaces in real estate company TF Cornerstone’s East Coast Development, a mixed-use project of six buildings located on the Long Island City waterfront, has been completed by Winick Realty Group.

Of the six buildings, eight retail leases were signed at 45-45 Center Blvd., 45-40 Center Blvd., 46-10 Center Blvd., 46-15 Center Blvd. and 46-30 Center Blvd., according to the realty group.

“Through the strong market knowledge we have gained by working with many Long Island City developers, as well as assisting many active retailers, we were able to achieve record rent numbers and secure strong tenants on behalf of TF Cornerstone,” broker Aaron Fishbein said.

Joining New York Kids Club, which announced last August that it would be opening up a 5,003-square-foot space at 45-45 Center Blvd., will be three new tenants that range from fitness to children’s clothing.

Fitness program I Love Kickboxing has leased a 2,967-square-foot studio at the location, and children’s salon and clothing store Mimi & Mo is expected to open a 1,239-square-foot shop as well. European Wax Center, offering waxing services for men and women, has also signed up to occupy 1,252 square feet at the site.

An Italian restaurant from TD Restaurant Group, which is still unnamed, has signed a lease for a 7,733-square-foot ground floor restaurant at 46-10 Center Blvd. located directly behind the Pepsi-Cola sign. The restaurant will also occupy a 2,200-square-foot outdoor terrace overlooking the East River. Latin fusion restaurant Blend, Sweetleaf Coffee and Espresso Bar and Crank Cycling Studio are also located within the building.

“Working together with Winick Realty Group, we have been able to craft an incredible mix of retailers that will serve the residents in the East Coast Development, as well as the entire Long Island City community,” said Steve N. Gonzalez, head of retail leasing for TF Cornerstone.

 

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MTA to begin weekend bus trial expanding service along Vernon Boulevard


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

DSC_11092

Starting this weekend, residents and visitors will have better access to the western Queens waterfront.

The Q103 bus line, which connects Astoria and Long Island City via Vernon Boulevard, will offer service to riders on weekends, starting Sunday and operate later on weekday evenings, according to the MTA.

In April, the transit agency said the schedule update would serve as a trial program, and it would receive comments from the community at an MTA public hearing to be scheduled at a later date. After the public hearing, a decision will be made to keep the service or not. It has not been determined how long the trial program will run.

“This announcement is a milestone for all of us who fought for years to get proper bus service for the growing communities of Astoria and Long Island City,” said state Sen. Michael Gianaris, who has been calling for the extra service on the bus line since 2011. “I am thrilled the MTA is finally realizing western Queens’ need for increased mass transit is real and pressing.”

Gianaris is also urging the MTA to make the Q103 expansion changes permanent.

The weekend service will run from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and, in addition, the Q103 will also extend its weekday service hours until 9 p.m., instead of 7:30 p.m. The travel path and bus stops will not be affected, the MTA previously said.

“These enhancements were all a result of listening to our customers and keeping close watch on changing ridership trends,” said MTA NYC Transit President Carmen Bianco.

Local leaders and business owners see the need to expand the Q103’s service as crucial to the growing neighborhoods.

“It is a positive step in improving transportation options in our neighborhood,” Councilman Costa Constantinides said. “The Vernon Boulevard corridor has been one of the more under-served transit thoroughfares in western Queens. Increasing bus service would be a vital resource to commuters traveling to Manhattan and to residents connecting from Astoria to Long Island City.”

According to officials, the Q103 ridership has been increasing in the past years, rising from 558 riders per day in 2011 to about 790 in 2014.

The MTA has also announced that this Sunday the Q19 will extend its western last stop from Astoria Boulevard and 21st Street to the East River waterfront at 27th Avenue and 2nd Street.

The Q102 will then also remain on 30th Avenue between Crescent Street and 8th Street, according to the MTA, with the stops on Crescent Street, Newtown Avenue and Astoria Boulevard to be relocated to 30th Avenue. All bus stops along Astoria Boulevard will instead be served by the Q19.

For more information visit www.mta.info.

 

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Kick it with the kids at the Flea this weekend


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

pigbaby

This weekend the LIC Flea & Food will be “children central” with events featuring puppets, face painting and much more fun.

The popular Long Island City flea market will have Brooklyn-based Puppetsburg performing puppet shows, featuring hipster and tattooed puppets, for children up to 4 years old. There will be three performances throughout the day, the first at 10:45 a.m., then 12:45 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. Each show involves music, dancing and a brand-new puppet story.

Children will also be able to enjoy time in a bounce house, getting their faces painted, doing spin art sponsored by the ny k!ds club and entering a chance to win a free class, snapping pictures in a photo booth, mat fun for the little ones and a surprise special appearance by a princess.

The LIC YMCA will also be present providing activities, such as soccer skills, and visitors can enter to win summer memberships.

Visitors should also check out these following kid-centric vendors at the market: Linty Toes, Lowleepop, Layla Tov Monster, Tiny-you, Hocks Out Press, Custom Critters, Eight Thousand Miles, Ice & Vice, Ice Riders and more.

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.

After enjoying a fun-filled Saturday in Long Island City, visitors can stop by the Astoria Flea & Food at Kaufman Astoria Studios every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. this summer 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 now will stay open until August 31.

For more information visit www.licflea.com.

 

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Fun-filled Father’s Day weekend at the LIC and Astoria Fleas


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Bradley Hawks

Long Island City and Astoria will be buzzing this weekend, just in time for the FIFA World Cup and Father’s Day.

This Saturday, June 14, visitors to the LIC Flea & Food will be able to try their kicks out at a World Cup-themed event. Those who are able to score goals will go home with prizes.

The LIC Flea is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is located at the outdoor lot by the western Queens waterfront at the corner of Fifth Street and 46th Avenue.

On Sunday, HGTV’s “Flea Market Flip” will make its return to the Astoria Flea & Food at Kaufman Astoria Studios 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.

There are only two more Sundays left of the Astoria Flea, located at the outdoor backlot at 36th Street and 35th Avenue from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., so don’t forget to check it out.

With Father’s Day this weekend, both the LIC Flea and Astoria Flea are the perfect spots to come down and find that perfect gift for dad from the wide array of vendors offering food and drinks, collectibles, art, fashion, vintage items, antiques and much more.

For more information visit www.licflea.com.

 

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Teens graduate from LIC watchmaker program


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

A group of city high school students is using time to their advantage.

Luxury watch retailer Tourneau recognized seven students, the third group of kids to complete the company’s Watchmaker Program, during a graduation ceremony Thursday at its headquarters within the Falchi Building in Long Island City.

During the eight-week “Art of Watchmaking” program, students are given the opportunity to learn the skills needed to possibly begin a career as professional watchmakers.

The Tourneau Watchmaker Program was started last year by Terry Irby, a third generation watchmaker and Tourneau’s technical director. With more than 600 watches in need of repair coming into the western Queens site, an aging staff and the number of American watchmakers dropping almost 90 percent since the 1950s, Irby was keen to get the younger generation involved in the trade.

“Watchmaking is a skill that most often stays in families, because it takes a long time to learn,” said Irby. “As a kid, I loved it – I couldn’t wait to help my father. Now, my career is about passing those sills on. These students can take what they learn with them and support their families.”

The company has since collaborated with Manhattan Comprehensive Night and Day School, which in partnership with Comprehensive Development Inc. (CDI) selects students at the school to take part in the program.

Before entering the program, each student is interviewed by Irby who tests their skill and gets a look at their interest in watchmaking. Once accepted, students learn the history and mechanics of watches, take apart watches, examine every piece and then reassemble watches and clocks.

“What we’re looking for are real opportunities for students to be exposed to the world of work and hopefully learn some skills,” said Margaret Aylward , associate executive director for CDI. “The idea is that at least it hooks them in in a way that keeps them engaged and learning.”

Two Queens students were among the graduates during the June 12 ceremony. Ayushi Pant, 18, who was born in Nepal and about four months ago moved to the United States and now lives in Jamaica, and 19-year-old Frank Kwarteng from Corona, both received diplomas and white lab coats for completing the program.

“I really feel blessed and really happy,” Pant said. “I like taking things apart and putting them back. Patience is one of the most important things of being a watchmaker. I learned how to be patient, how to solve problems and not panic. This is how we’re going to succeed in the end.”

Some of the graduates will take the skills they learned and apply it to their future careers, while others will continue their work with Tourneau being accepted into full-time internships.

“I want to try to continue watchmaking and see how far I could go with it,” Kwarteng said. “It’s the best program. I learned a lot about watches and I never thought I would get into watches like this.”

The next group of students are expected to begin the Watchmaker Program in the fall.

 

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New eco-friendly The Pearson Court Square in LIC starts to lease


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images Courtesy of Pete Thompson

Long Island City real estate is heating up this summer with another rental building hitting the market.

The Pearson Court Square, located at 45-50 Pearson St., has begun leasing its 197 units. The 14-story building offers studio to two-bedroom apartments.

Douglas Elliman Development Marketing is exclusively handling the marketing and leasing. The Pearson Court Square was transformed by L +M Development from a vacant lot into a state-of-the-art building, designed by architecture firm SLCE.

“Long Island City is exploding with luxury new developments and The Pearson Court Square is a prime example of the strength of the market,” said Cliff Finn, executive vice president at Douglas Elliman Development Marketing. “We are excited to be launching such an innovative development.”

Each residence at The Pearson Court Square features high ceilings, double-pane oversized windows, individually controlled heating and cooling, modern kitchens with stainless steel appliances, and stylish bathrooms. Private terraces are also available in select residences.

Other amenities include a 24-hour attended lobby, an outdoor basketball court, a bocce court, fitness center, and yoga studio. There is also access to a landscaped terrace on the second and tenth floors, and a roof deck with dining lounges and barbecue grills.

“We are thrilled to bring his exciting, condo-property to Long Island City,” said David Dishy, president of development and acquisition at L + M Development. “The Pearson Court Square will offer an incredible slate of top-quality amenities and bright, well-appointed apartments that we hope will provide residents a warm and inviting place to call home.”

In a commitment to sustainable design, three rooftop wind turbines were installed to help with a portion of the building’s energy generation, while also adding to the building’s exterior look.

The Pearson Court Square is steps away from the Court Square subway station with access to the E, M, R, 7 and G lines.

 

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9th Annual Taste of LIC offers items from over 50 local restaurants


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos by Dominick Totino Photography

Foodies made their way to the Long Island City waterfront to a get a taste of what the popular western Queens neighborhood has to offer.

The Chocolate Factory Theater presented the Ninth Annual Taste of LIC, a community-wide festival highlighting Long Island City’s culinary and cultural accomplishments, Tuesday at Gantry Plaza State Park.

FOR MORE PHOTOS CLICK HERE

This year’s celebration featured food and beverage tastings from 50 restaurants and auction and raffle prizes courtesy of 100 local Long Island City businesses. The event also featured a special performance by over 30 Sunnyside/Woodside Girl Scouts choreographed by Madeline Best.


Executive Director of The Chocolate Factory Theater Sheila Lewandowski and Borough President Melinda Katz

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer served as Master of Ceremonies and “chocolate lover honored guests” included Borough President Melinda Katz, state Senator Michael Gianaris, Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan.

All of the event’s proceeds go toward The Chocolate Factory’s 2014-2015 season of dance, theater, music and multimedia performances.

 

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Suspect takes $4K in LIC bank robbery: cops


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for a suspect who took $4,262 from a Long Island City bank Tuesday afternoon.

The man entered a HSBC Bank on 43rd Avenue near 23rd Street at about 3:30 p.m., approached a teller and passed a demand note before fleeing with the cash, police said.

Authorities describe the suspect as Hispanic, about 30 to 35 years old, 6 feet tall, 230 pounds, with a mustache and a heavy build. He was last seen wearing a black baseball hat, blue jeans, white sneakers, a blue button-up shirt and dark sunglasses.

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.

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Eat your veggies


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos by Bradley Hawks

BRADLEY HAWKS

If I had a dollar for every time my mother told me to eat my vegetables before I could have dessert, I would be a wealthy man. If I had simply eaten the vegetables and forgone the dessert altogether, well, I can only imagine… But the truth of the matter is that vegetables aren’t just good for you. They can be just plain good. Even fantastic. So this month I thought I would share some of my favorite vegetarian dishes I have been enjoying recently. Two of them may have eggs on them, but a few them are even vegan. My hope is that even those who do not identify as a vegetarian or vegan personally might find one or two things to consider ordering.

Beet Tartare with Mustard Seeds at M. Wells Dinette

Nothing is ever what it seems at M. Wells, in a most deliciously playful way. Golden beets are minced and tossed with a hint of horseradish and mustard seeds, then topped with a poached egg. It is a tartare that won’t raise your cholesterol or drain your pocketbook either.

22-25 Jackson Ave., Long Island City

Seaweed Salad with Sesame Dressing at Oyster Café of New York

Many Japanese restaurants boast a seaweed salad, but most renditions are swimming in sugar. At this new Oyster parlor, the ocean greens are also blue and red, tossed in a light sesame dressing that allows the ocean and earth to sing together.

25-07 Broadway, Astoria

Vegan Fried Chicken at Soulkofa at the LIC Flea

There is nothing remotely fowl about this mock chicken. The chef at Soulkofa has mastered a vegan fried version of the most tender, juicy chicken around that makes everything else taste like it is for the birds.

Vegetarian Meatloaf Sandwich at Queens Comfort

Who knows how the chef gets things so right at this Astoria hotspot every single time. This meatloaf tastes just like the name, and comes with a smear of sundried tomato ketchup, a blanket of melted cheddar, and a crispy crown of battered onion rings.

40-09 30th Ave., Astoria

Oeuf Gamin at Francis Café 

This dish is like a golden benedict plucked directly from the spring garden. A warm bed of ratatouille is flawlessly tender and tangy, topped with a triangle of goat cheese hash that could be eaten by the pieful. When that bright yellow yolk bursts over all of it, it gets pretty serious.

35-01 Ditmars Blvd., Astoria

Buckwheat Pasta with Potatoes and Fontina at Ornella Trattoria

His father ran a flour mill, so Giuseppe Viterale knows how to make a killer homemade pasta with unique flours, like this buckwheat tagliatelle topped with tender spuds and braised cabbage, all brought together with rich fontina cheese.

29-17 23rd Ave., Astoria