Evening Edition

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Coffee and cocktails are coming to LIC

We love Sweetleaf and are happy to know they are expanding to a second location in LIC, in one of the East Coast buildings (46-15 Center Boulevard – GMAP). This location will feature a twist… in your cocktail! Yes, Sweetleaf and Dutch Kills Bar are teaming up – Rich (Nieto) and Richard (Boccato) to bring you coffee in the daytime an cocktails at night, all in the same space. As for the alcohol, they’ll be offering wine, beer, spirits, and cocktails. One of the cocktails is called the Long Island City Special – blackstrap rum, house coffee liqueur, fresh lemon juice, agave syrup, and seltzer. Yum. Look for the new Sweetleaf in March.

Purim is this weekend, if you can believe it – try a sambusak instead of a hamentaschen

This weekend is Purim – it starts Saturday night at sundown. The most well known food during Purim is the hamentaschen, but our friends at City Spoonful suggest trying a sambusak, which is also in a triangle shape. It is an Iraqi Jewish savory treat – here’s more:

sambusak is a savory pastry filled with spiced chickpeas that is enjoyed by Iraqi Jews on Purim. Sambusaks maintain the triangular shape that is associated with Purim, thereby continuing the tradition of making a mockery of Haman, the detested villain of the Purim story with the three-cornered hat.

They look delicious!

Best known places in Queens, via the twitterverse

We asked the question, “what are the best known places in Queens?” and we got a great response. You can probably guess what some of them are – the Unisphere, the airports, Citi Field. Check out what our twitter friends have to say, right here. Maybe even consider it a super condensed tourist guide to the borough.

A recent trip to Jamaica Bay 

Love the natural images in this very short video.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/59862237]

New commuter composting pilot program starting in Astoria

Have you wanted to compost, but found it hard to do – either inconvenient (travel all the way to Union Square takes time), no place to compost outside, or squeamish of vermicomposting (composting inside with worms)? Well, Build It Green!NYC is starting a pilot program, making composting easy – just drop it off before you get on the subway! Since it’s a pilot program, it’s only taking place near the Broadway N/Q station, but it’s a start. Here are more details:

The new Commuter Composting Pilot is located just outside the entrance of the Broadway N/Q subway station on 31st Street, across from Rite Aid.  This site is open on Tuesdays from 8am-10am. For a list of what you can compost, please visit: www.bignyc.org/compost.

Nice! If you participate, we’d love to know your thoughts on us, so shoot us an email or even tweet us at @queensnycity.

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Chocolate dosa? Wha-wha-wha-what?!??

We love dosas here at QNYC, and we also love chocolate, so when we heard about a chocolate dosa, we were pretty intrigued. Joe DiStefano likens it to a South Indian brownie. Read on:

At first glance the chocolate dosa ($7.99) looks like most any other, save for its brown freckles. It’s even served with the traditional coconut chutney and samber. Closer inspection—and a taste—reveals that those brown spots are chocolate. Between the chocolate-enriched  folds of this dessert dosa find a delectable mixture of melted chocolate and cashews.

One word: nom.

Mr. Vino’s Cucina to open in March

Zagat reports that Mr. Vino’s Cucina in Forest Hills, will be opening in March. It seems like it’s taken forever to open, and we hope they abide by the March prediction. They’ll be selling/serving “a variety of high-end edibles, including artisan cheeses, breads, caviar, crackers and salamis, as well as prepared foods such as paninis offered to go.” Sounds like a nice addition to the neighborhood.

Rebuilding of Rockaway beaches probably won’t start til June, and then there’s no guarantee that will happen either

Good and bad news was shared by a representative from the Army Corps of Engineers. The good news is that the Corps will bring 3.5 million cubic feet of sand back to Rockaway beaches. That’s a lot of sand. The bad news is mentioned above, that it won’t start til June… probably. Money and paperwork is involved. But when they finally do get started, the work will be done from Beach 16 to Beach 149 in 1,000 foot increments, 24/7 for four days apiece. This way they won’t have to shut down the whole beach at once. Locals are worried, though, since its the beaches that protect them during storms (and even high tide). And guess when hurricane starts? Yep, June.

More Rockaway news – a harp seal was rescued!

On Monday a yearling male harp seal was rescued from Rockaway Beach. This was a joint effort by the NYC Parks Department, the New York State DEC, and the Riverhead Foundation. This is good news – ocean wildlife has found its way to the Rockaways and not always survived (thinking about the beached finback whale and a dolphin in the past 6 months).

Malu will be at the Queens County Market on Sunday

We caught sight of this cup of ice cream from Malu and our mouths immediately started to water.

Image source: Malu

Malu will be at the Queens County Market this Sunday from 12-4pm, serving up scoops of Rocky Road and Mint Chip ice creams, as well as a Strawberry Champagne Sorbet. The market is taking place this month at Sac’s Place (25-41 Broadway – GMAP). $4 mimosas will also be available from the good folks at Sac’s.

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Tonight is the community meeting regarding the Astoria Park diving pool

Remember – tonight the community gets to meet with the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation regarding the transition of the Astoria Park diving pool to a theater. They’ll be sharing the schematic design for the proposed performance space. The meeting takes place at Astoria World Manor, 25-22 Astoria Blvd (GMAP), from 6:30-8:30pm. All are welcome.

Sunnyside CSA opens sign ups for the 2013 season tomorrow night

The Sunnyside CSA has posted a sign up announcement on their website:

It’s time to prepare for Sunnyside CSA 2013 Sign Ups! Returning and new members, please join us on February 21st from 6-8pm at Sunnyside Community Services and sign up for the 2013 Summer/Autumn Season!

Please read about our 2013 Share Options. For the Summer/Autumn Season, we are offering vegetable, fruit, herb and dairy shares. Once you decide what you want, you can download the contract and bring it, along with your check made out to Sunnyside CSA, to the sign up. (You can also fill out a contract there, but things will move much quicker if you have it all ready.)

The produce at Sunnyside CSA comes from Golden Earthworm Farm (vegetables); Briermere Farm (fruit); Milk Not Jails (dairy – pasteurized); and meat, cheese, honey, bread and more from Lewis Waite. CSAs are a fantastic way to eat healthy food and support local economies.

Long Island City vs. LIC

The NY Post published a piece on how some folks would like to see the community of Long Island City renamed as simply “LIC.” Apparently it’s confusing to some – they think it’s out in Nassau or Suffolk, instead of one stop from the city. We’ve heard it’s bad for real estate, hotels, and morale, and goes against the image that Long Island City is urban and hip. What do you think? Leave us a comment via twitter at @queensycity.

Joey Ramone – New York City

This video is excellent – great music, excellent editing, and Queens is in it!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WhlcwcznSo]

Mets baseball and weekly sports news and views

We’d like to welcome new contributor Mitchell Petit-Frere. He’s going to be bringing us news and views on sports and Queens on a weekly basis. Check out his first post about the Mets! Baseball is almost here, thank goodness.

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Check out this Jackson Heights kitchen and bath remodel on Apartment Therapy

It was great to see this delightful kitchen and bath remodel in Jackson Heights, featured on the beloved blog Apartment Therapy.  Francis Temple-West was the architect and Robert Roses was the contractor. The before and after shots are striking and the people involved did an amazing job. Love all the light in the kitchen especially.

Sandy Stories and Pumpkin Bread

Rockaways resident Fran Honan shares her stories about Hurricane Sandy in the blog The Glorified Tomato (one of our favorite food blogs) – the most recent one includes a recipe for pumpkin bread. Pumpkin bread brings a little normalcy to this time of year, which is a foil to a world that still seems a little upside down.

She usually bakes a bunch of loaves and shares them with neighbors, but during Sandy, her stash of 20+ cans of pumpkin was damaged during the storm (“I know they were sealed, but I was afraid to take a chance and  use them. Thanks to the kindness of my sister Maria, who lives in Manhattan and has been generously replenishing my supply by carrying 4 or 5 cans at a time on the subway to bring to me.”). With this new supply of pumpkin, she has been baking and sharing loaves with her neighbors, which brings a smile and a moment of joy. We think that’s a beautiful thing.

Meals are coming to SingleCut

Way back even before the brewery was open, founder Rich Buceta said he wanted to serve food eventually. Well, food has arrived at the tap room, and they’re calling them “Meals” – they are meat pies and sides. There will even be a vegetarian pie, too (vegetable curry). The bacon and blue cheese cole slaw side sounds pretty good, too.

Can’t Stop New York – another message from the Rockaways

“Rockaway, Queens resident Tim Tubridy details the road to recovery for his community after Super Storm Sandy.” He appreciates all the help from outsiders, too.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/59040287]

The future of the Sunnyside Center Cinemas building is unsure

We’re learned from the Sunnyside Post that the building that houses Sunnyside movie theater – Center Cinemas – was sold and may eventually be demolished and turned into residential units. The building was sold in December 2012 by Dime Savings Bank for $6.675 million. The buyer is a new Astoria-based firm called 2-25 Queens Blvd. Corporation. They are not sure what they will do with it right now, but those in the real estate know predict that the site will become home to residential units. The current tenants do have leases – the movie theater until December 2014; PJ Horgan’s until June 30, 2018; and a dentist office until Oct. 31, 2014 (with a provision to extend it). The movie theater charges discount prices, and PJ Horgan’s has been around for over 40 years. The feel of this area of Sunnyside would be changed if those two businesses were to disappear.

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The Museum of the City of New York wants your Sandy photos

The Museum of the City of New York has issued a call for submissions from both amateur and professional photographers for their photos of before, during and after Superstorm Sandy: “…the Museum of the City of New York seeks contemporary photographs of the areas and people affected by the storm – photographs that portray the region before the storm, during the dramatic hours of the storm’s landfall, the immediate aftermath, and the relief, recovery, and rebuilding efforts of individuals, organizations, and government agencies – for consideration for inclusion in an exhibition at the Museum to open in April.” Entry deadline is 12pm March 3, 2013. Photographers, we know you are out there! It’s free to enter, too.

Putting together the Unisphere

We’ve shared this on Facebook and loved it on Pinterest, but we just can’t get enough of this seriously cool image from the time they were putting the Unisphere together – it’s very Erector Set here.

Image source: Queens County Market Facebook page

The Waterfront Crab House in LIC is now open, first time since Sandy

DNAinfo reports that LIC’s Waterfront Crab House is now open! They had their soft opening on Tuesday. It really took a hit during Hurricane Sandy, with several feet of water inundating the historic eatery, causing a shut down of the place and seirous repair work to take place (“new floors, walls and a brand new bar”). Some of their antiques and other collectibles that hung on the walls were totally damaged and had to be thrown out, but some things managed to survive. So, if you were missing the Crab House, it’s time to go back!

If you want excellent beer, come to Queens

The borough has been know for a long time, actually as a place for great beer and a place to drink it – the Bohemian Beer Garden comes immediately to mind (it is one of the best known food/drink spots in Queens, along with Jackson Diner in Jackson Heights, Tortilleria Nixtamal in Corona, and Flushing’s Chinatown). But these days, beer has been “kicked up a notch” in Queens and fantastic craft/micro/nano brewed beer is coming out of the borough, especially in western Queens. There’s everything from Astoria’s own SingleCut Beersmiths to the somewhat mysterious Bridge and Tunnel nano-brewery. Then there are places to drink beer, like The Strand, Astoria Bier and Cheese, as well as the beloved Queens Kickshaw. So yeah, we’re not joking when we say there’s a beautiful beer scene in Queens.

Yoga is all the rage, but you probably knew that

Yoga is a really big deal all around Queens. There are different kinds (Ashtanga, Iyengar, Vinyasa, just to name a few) taught, sometimes a yoga class/session has more of an athletic aspect, while others include a spiritual element to it, too. But in this fast-paced world we live in, yoga can be a welcome change of pace for so many – men and women. We’ve got a list of places you can take a yoga class, as well as some background on yoga and why it has caught on so well in Queens.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Today is a day of love and we hope you will get to celebrate with your favorite loved ones (not necessarily romantic ones!). Remember, there are a bunch of specials going on in Sunnyside, and we have some alternate date ideas, and more romance options in Queens. You could have fun in the Z Hotel this month, too! Nothing says you can’t extend your Valentine celebration for a while.

And it’s Lent right now, too (in the western Church)

Lent in the Western church started yesterday, and we know a number of people that have decided to give up meat and take on a vegan diet during this time in the church year. Orthodox Lent begins March 18, and strict observers go vegan during this time. Our friends over at CitySpoonful have a great post up about two vegan dishes appropriate for Lent, from Astoria’s own Zenon Taverna. First there is Fasolada, made with Great Northern Beans, and then there’s Spanakorizo, which is spinach with rice.

New taste treats at Basil Brick Oven Pizza in Astoria

We had the chance to try a bunch of new dishes at Basil Brick Oven Pizza and they are really stellar. In particular we loved the green lasagna (made with potatoes instead of pasta) and octopus carpaccio, but there is amazing risotto, salads, fried calamari, lobster ravioli, meats and pizza. And that’s just the beginning! Definitely stop by and try some of their fantastic food – we can’t wait to go back!

Vander-Ende Onderdonk House in Ridgewood looks pretty in the snow

We really like this recent photo of the Vander-Ende Onderdonk House in Ridgewood taken over the weekend after the snow fell.

Image source: Vander-Ende Onderdonk House Facebook page

More photos can be found here, and more on the house itself can be found in our article on Queens historic houses.

A pair of hawks are hanging out in Jamaica

One of our readers wrote to us about two hawks that have been spending time on his fire escape. From what we can tell, for a while one of the hawks would come by alone, but recently he has brought another hawk with him: “It was about 7 years ago. I thought it was a owl. Then, I look again and realized, it was hawk. Over the years, he came back. But, this year, he came with a mate.”

Kind of a romantic story, if you think about it. It’s so great that these magnificent birds can be seen still living in the big city.

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Rockaway firehouse a landmark

We learned that last night the Landmarks Preservation Commission scheduled a vote on city landmark designation for five firehouses throughout the city. One is Engine Co. 268/Hook and Ladder 137 on Beach 116th St in the Rockaways. It survived Hurricane Sandy. LPC Chairman Robert Tierney said about the firehouses, “Each of these buildings is a clear expression of civic spirit and pride of purpose that existed at the time they were built and continue to this day in our city’s municipal architecture. The FDNY has done an exemplary job of protecting these structures that have a vital role in protecting New Yorkers, and we’re grateful for its support of the proposals to landmark them.”

Congratulations, firehouses, you’re now landmarks!

Blast from the past – Broad Channel in 1903

The Rockaway Emergency Plan Facebook page posted this great image of Broad Channel on the front of the NY Tribune in 1903. Click to enlarge. The rowboat feels very Dawson’s Creek.

 

Image source: Rockaway Emergency Plan Facebook page

Valentine’s Day deals in Sunnyside

Our friends at Sunnyside Shines alerted us to all sorts of Valentine’s Day deals – drink specials, prix fixes, and sales, all in Sunnyside. Check it out! And remember, if you’re looking to celebrate in an unconventional way, check out our list of alternative Valentine’s Day dates in Queens.

Innocents Abroad hit Corona at Tortilleria Nixtamal

Two young Manhattan-based women, Kate and Nora, travel around NYC (they’ve been globe trotters, too), learning about various cultures through its food, and recently landed in Corona, Queens, where they ate delicious noms at Tortilleria Nixtamal. They even learned how to make tamales from the folks at Nixtamal! Nice.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/59381853]

Maps, maps, maps galore

We love maps at QueensNYC and like to feature interesting ones from time to time. We did a roundup of maps we’ve shared over the past months, including those having to do with voting patterns, top dog names, dating issues, and transit outages, among others. And if there are maps you love that you think we should know about, email us.

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Staff changes in the western Queens barbecue world

Yvo over at Feisty Foodie shared with us that there has been a change in chef staffing at a couple of local barbecue joints – a move from John Brown to The Strand: “Former John Brown Smokehouse chef de cuisine John Zervoulakos has been named the executive chef of The Strand Smokehouse in Astoria.” This should be pretty interesting and likely amp up the quality of meats at The Strand, which is still a relatively new restaurant. In his new gig, he “plans to develop a uniquely Astoria style of barbecue.” Well, this is something we gotta see!

Here are some of the things you should expect to see at The Strand soon:

He has already crafted new menu items, including salmon smoked over hickory and maple wood that’s then cooled in the fridge to make barbecue lox! He’s also experimenting with slow smoking lamb leg that has been rubbed in fresh Rosemary (John’s Greek family’s influence), making tri-tip sandwiches, and rubbing pork belly with an “in your face” spice mix of cumin, paprika, mustard powder and chili powder. And before long, expect everything from wood-fired beef shoulder to whole hog.

2013 blizzard time lapse

We love time lapse movies and recently viewed this one taken this past weekend – it’s short and sweet and very cool.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UlH9w9Cihs]

Dating – in NYC the straight guys are in LIC, apparently

Trulia took a look at some recent data (culled from the 2010 decennial Census) regarding the ratio of men living alone to women living alone (taking gays and lesbians, and the over-65 set out of the equation), and came to some conclusions about where the datable men and women are. Turns out LIC is one of the best neighborhoods for finding single straight guys; it has one of the highest ratios of men to women in top urban areas. Apparently, neighborhoods in the midst of redevelopment have a higher male population.

We also made some observations in conjunction with the map shared, including more men in western Queens and Ridgewood, and more women in Forest Hills, Glendale, Middle Village, Bay Terrace, and Springfield Gardens.

Interesting stuff. Is this your experience? Let us know via twitter at @queensnycity.

Ethereal shot of the Unisphere

Thanks to the Queens Museum of Art for sharing on their Facebook page this recent photo of the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

Image source: Queens Museum of Art

A few more tidbits about the coming 35th Ave gate at Kaufman Astoria Studios

Yesterday we wrote about the new gates coming to 36th Street along the Kaufman Astoria Studios. When we were down there the other day, we wondered how places like The Astor Room were going to manage with a big ol’ gate right there. Would it make getting into the restaurant sort of awkward? We are definitely curious. Mackenzi from We Heart Astoria – and owner of Kaufman’s neighbor SITE – passed on a few details:

“From what I’ve heard- the gate on the 35th Ave end will be quite nice, and open to the public. The plan (is suppose to) allow for outdoor movie screenings at MoMI and an outdoor cafe permit for The Astor Room.”

Love the idea of both outdoor seating at The Astor Room and outdoor movie screenings at MOMI! We look forward to seeing how this all works out.

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Tasty Vietnamese food at Bunker in/near Ridgewood

There’s lots of excitement from the Ridgefood folks about Bunker, a new Vietnamese restaurant that opened up on Metropolitan Ave just up the street from the gigantic Western Beef supermarket and corporate headquarters. Bunker is technically in Maspeth, but is really only a block or so over the border between it and Ridgewood. The chefs behind this venture –  Jimmy and Jacky Tu, both Queens natives – have a great background:

Jimmy, the head chef, is classically trained in French cuisine and has worked at various restaurants such as Eleven Madison Park and Elizabeth Daniel (in San Francisco). Sous-chef Jacky Tu helped open Tigerland, a beloved East Village Vietnamese & Thai spot, with his brother — and he’s also the former CEO of Korean taco truck company Korilla BBQ.

So head on over and enjoy things like pho, banh mi sandwiches, spring rolls. Watch for bacon on the menu, too.

The Jackson Heights Trilogy comes to Theatre 777

Theatre Mania reports that Director Ari Laura Kreith brings a trio of plays to Theatre 777 as The Jackson Heights Triology, “made up of the last three plays produced by Kreith’s company, Theatre 167.” The plays are  167 Tongues, You are Now the Owner of This Suitcase, and Jackson Heights 3AM. The director says, “Ever since I moved to Jackson Heights I got this feeling that this neighborhood needed to be a play. I was in Boulder, Colorado and I was trying to explain it to people. That was the moment I knew that there needed to be a document that showed what this place feels like.” There are many voices involved with the creation of this show – it is a “massive collaboration between 18 playwrights, with 38 actors play 93 different roles including a Bangladeshi cab driver, a Rwandan night nurse, and a Colombian drag queen.” The play is close to 2 hours and runs until Feb 27.

So yeah, it snowed this weekend

From our perspective, most of Queens got pretty lucky during this weekend’s blizzard, compared to a lot of places in Connecticut and Long Island, who got 2 feet of snow and more. La Guardia got a foot of snow, Astoria got a foot, Maspeth got 15 inches, and JFK got about six and a half. The average snowfall in Queens was about nine and a half inches. Check out some photos of the snowfall around the NYC area, too – feel free to send yours to us, too, and you might see them on the site!

Brooklyn Grange will have a CSA again this year

We Heart Astoria wrote about Brooklyn Grange’s CSA this coming season. It’s going to last 24 weeks – Saturday, May 18 to Saturday, October 26 – and the produce will be grown on their rooftop farm. They’ll offer things like radishes, turnips, herbs, kale, eggplant, and ground cherries – but there is much, much more planned for the shares. The cost will be $576.00 for the season ($24.00/week for 24 weeks). You can sign up now!

Kaufman Astoria Studios and its new back lot

We’ve learned more about what Kaufman Astoria Studios plans to do with 36th Street between 34th and 35th Avenues, the street that was de-mapped for them back in 2012 – it will become their back lot. It will give the studio 34,800 square feet to work with, at 60 feet wide and 580 feet long, and give them the freedom to consolidate their buildings on either side of the street. They also plan to build a gate to block pedestrians and vehicular traffic from entering (they can currently do that now), but emergency vehicles will be allowed to pass through. The gate they are planning will cost in the millions, too. It will be interesting to see how this affects this part of Astoria – some local folks are feeling apprehensive about the plan. Others feel good about it, and welcome the economic boost it could bring.

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Snowmageddon/Snowpocalypse/Fighting Nemo – funny names for crazy snow

Indeed we are in for a crazy blizzard tonight – it’s raining as we write this, but that will change to snow later tonight (perhaps even while you’re reading this). Stay safe, get warm, and we hope you don’t have to travel much today. Here’s more info from the NOAA that might also be of help. The NY Times has a prediction chart, too, from around the Northeast and New England.

To counter that snow, how about a cocktail?

Our friend Fooditka introduced us to the new cocktail offerings at LIC’s Casa Enrique – and they totally make us want to be on a beach in Cancun. Micheladas, margaritas, mojitos, oh my! We almost can’t stand it.

Fond momo memories from the hot days of summer

We love momos (perhaps even more than Chinese dumplings, but don’t tell anyone), and love this article by CitySpoonful on a momo tour that took participants to 16 different joints last summer in Jackson Heights. None other than the talented food tour leader himself, Jeff Orlick, led the momo romp through Jackson Heights on a hot hot hot June evening. They visited some of our favorite spots – Woodside Cafe, Potola Fast Food, and Lhasa Fast Food (in the back of a cell phone store). It’s comforting to think the summer will be back, but momos are also terrific during winter, and Lunar New Year this weekend is one of the best times to eat momos, since they are a celebratory food for the new year.

Triumph of Civic Virtue left for BK in the dark of morning, and will be restored at Green-Wood

The saga of Triumph of Civic Virtue, the statue of that dude standing atop two female mythical creatures, crushing them under his foot (some feel this is misogynistic), continues. Kew Gardens resident Jon Torodash believes the whole decision to move it was done in secret – “There are a lot of issues going on with this statue. Residents were annoyed enough that we were losing such a great work of art but then there was this whole secrecy and these strange channels through the Design Commission.” The other side says, no no no – it was announced in the City Record in November. Good news for the statue itself – the president of Green-Wood (the statue’s new home) says conservation will be done on it come spring. It will get new landscaping, too!

Head to Surfside Bagels on Monday for free food and drink

Free bagels and coffee at Surfside Bagels in the Rockaways on Monday – all day! They are celebrating their grand re-opening after Hurricane Sandy. They make a cheese bagel that is good enough to get its own interview. So head on out there – should be a ton of fun!