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.


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.


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.


Image source: NASA via Wired – Nemo was a scary looking mofo from outer space

During this past blizzard, we got to thinking about past big snowstorms (honestly, we did not get as huge a dump as we could have). A friend reminded us of this wonderful video filmed during the December 2010 “snowpocalypse” and we wanted to share it with you. It’s as delightful now as it was then.



Astoria Park on Saturday morning, the day after the blizzard

So how did you fare during this past weekend’s hurricane? Did your neighborhood see a ton of snow? Or was it totally manageable? Did you go sledding with your kids (or with your friends?). And what do you think about the naming of winter storms like this? Leave us a comment here or via twitter at @queesnycity. And if you have photos or video of the storm and right after to share, please send it our way! You can email us here – you might see them on the site, too.


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!


Image source: TWC

They say we are supposed to have blizzard conditions today and into tomorrow. Are you prepared for crazy snow levels and nutso winds? Did you stay home today so you could avoid the crazy snowy weather today and tonight? It could really be a doozy – we’ve heard anywhere from 3 inches to two feet, though now it looks like maybe a foot. Anyway, let us know what you’re up to here in the comments or via twitter at @queensnycity.


Last year a blizzard, this year a hurricane

Can you believe that on this day last year we were dealing with a blizzard? Here’s the satellite image from 10/29/11

2011 Halloween nor’easter on October 29, 2011, while impacting the eastern coast of the United States

An empty GCT – a rare occurence, so take a look before it changes back

The MTA on their Flickr page has posted a bunch of photos of transit stations completely empty around NYC. The Grand Central Terminal ones are particularly striking.

We love hurricane videos from satellites

While poking around the internet yesterday, we came across a bunch of cool yet scary videos of Hurricane Sandy as it moved along the east coast. Soon, we will feel its full wrath. Here’s another video of the entire planet – you can see the storm gather and move. “This visualization was created by the NASA GOES Project at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., using observations from NOAA’s GOES-13 satellite.”

[flickr video=8134756245 secret=aa7646fb27 w=500 h=500]

So what are you doing today?

We asked this question, and got some expected responses – it’s all about the hurricane today and taking a Sandycation (H/T Gothamist)

@QueensNYCity Better question: How many of you are not planning on drinking at home today? –@marcinsunnyside

@QueensNYCity cleaning, baking and of course 24/7 CNN updates. – @weheartastoria

@QueensNYCity Right now I’m lying on my couch, listening to the wind & just relaxing. – @sacsplace

@QueensNYCity – Stopped at @bkbagel@DunkinDonuts@LaGuliPastry and Astoria Park. Now at home watching Sandy from under the covers. –@theditmarsstrip

Are you tech ready? 

FEMA has some good tips on being “tech ready“:

Through the use of everyday technology, individuals, families, responders and organizations can successfully prepare for, adapt to and recover from disruptions brought on by emergencies and/or disasters. With effective planning, it is possible to take advantage of technology before, during and after a crisis to communicate with loved ones and manage your financial affairs.

So make sure your tech affairs are in order. Use social media to broadcast your status to a large group of your friends, forward your number appropriately, utilize texting over phone calls when things calm down post-storm.

Keep up with QNYC on twitter and Facebook

We are posting updates and passing on info we receive, including pictures and videos. If you have anything to share regarding Hurricane Sandy, please contact us! We are active on twitter and Facebook, so check them out for Hurricane news and views.