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.


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:

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


The current Sweetleaf location in LIC – the future one will be near Gantry Park

Grub Street via NYT Diners Journal told us this week that Sweetleaf is expanding in two ways – a new location and the addition of cocktails, partnering up with Richard Boccato from Dutch Kills. This will be the second location in LIC (there is also another location in Williamsburg) and will be at 46-15 Center Boulevard (GMAP), one of the East Coast buildings. They’ll serve coffee during the day and liquor (cocktails, spirits, wine, beer) at night.


We’ve found another map we like, this one from the NYC EDC on coffee and tea in NYC (click to enlarge).

Image source: NYC EDC

As you can see, in Queens, the dark patches are in Ridgewood, Glendale, and JFK (there are plenty of spots to get coffee at the airport). Frankly, the Glendale part threw us a bit, since we don’t think of Glendale as having one of “the highest density of cafés per ZIP code.” That said, it shares a zip with Ridgewood, which has a more pronounced cafe culture (here are some of the cafes in Ridgewood/Glendale)


We got this happy news in our inbox and we wanted to share – great news from the Rockaways! This sounds like a fun event – RSVP today.

Please join us on Monday, February 11th for Surfside Bagels Grand Reopening and Eat-and-Greet!

Come meet the firemen who are committed to bringing New York’s comfort food back after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. Surfside Bagels is one of the first stores to reopen after the destruction and they want YOU to celebrate the ongoing rehabilitation of Rockaway Beach! Enjoy free delicious bagels and coffee ALL DAY, starting at 8 am. CNN’s Eatocracy and MSNBC will be in the kitchen learning to make Surfside’s famous Cheese bagels and more!

Kindly RSVP at or 973-257-5533 by Friday.

Surfside Bagels, 95-11 Rockaway Beach Blvd., Rockaway Beach, NY (GMAP),


Last night as we were walking to Bareburger in Astoria (they’re now selling Crabbie’s ginger beer!), we spotted and tried to peer into the windows of the New York City Bagel Coffee House – unfortunately, the windows at eye level are seriously sealed with brown butcher paper (nice job to whoever did that expert job). That said, one of the windows above eye level was also at the level of a raised iPhone, so we snapped the photo above.


Queens has a lot of wholesale business going on. In western Queens, and in particular Long Island City – it was known for a long time as a manufacturing area, and was full of factories. Parts of LIC are still home to factories, especially bakeries – some of the excellent bakeries in the area include Le Pain Quotidien, Pain d’Avignon, Tom Cat and Amy’s Bread.

In greater Queens there are some big deal commercial factories. Here are five of them.

Image source: andrewmalone on Flickr

Wonton Food Inc. 52-10 37th Street, Long Island City (GMAP). This is the “largest manufacturer of Noodles, Wrappers and Fortune Cookies in the United States.” They make 4 million Golden Bowl brand cookies each day, which go out to 400 distributors, and those cookies are made in the the fortune cookie factory, located in the far eastern edge of LIC near the Calvary Cemetery. Tours are not the norm, unless you’re a bulk-buy customer, but they can be arranged for certain purposes.

If you’ve ever eaten a fortune cookie, you know that on one side there is usually a series of numbers that one could consider using when buying a lottery ticket. One particular series of numbers enabled 110 people to win $100,000 each in a May 2005 Powerball drawing.


On 31st Avenue, just west of 31st Street, lies Cafe Boulis, a little cafe that serves a variety of Greek pastries – bougatsa, glaktaboureko, spinach pies, honey soaked cakes, and a variety of other things. Their loukoumades – a kind of deep fried dough with origins in Greece – are ridiculously good – so light and airy and easy to eat, they really separate themselves from the loukoumades found elsewhere around Astoria.


With its cheerful name, proximity to the city, and peaceful residential streets, Sunnyside has a lot going for it. The neighborhood is a mix of old and new, of Irish, Romanian, Turkish, Mexican, Colombian, Tibetan, and more. It may appear quaint at first glance – and that’s one of its charms – but if you know where to go, it’s also a destination for food, shopping, and great walks. Here’s our guide for those who want to spend a day exploring Sunnyside, from breakfast to evening drinks, and everything in between.