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From a MOMI press release:

Sumner M. Redstone, a film and media industry pioneer and Executive Chairman of Viacom Inc. and CBS Corporation, has made a $3 million gift to the Museum of the Moving Image, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary.  In recognition of the gift from the Sumner M. Redstone Charitable Foundation, the Museum’s state-of-the-art main theater will be named the Sumner M. Redstone Theater beginning in May 2013. The announcement was made today by Museum of the Moving Image Board Chairman Herbert S. Schlosser and Executive Director Carl Goodman.

Mr. Schlosser said, “The naming of the Sumner M. Redstone Theater will forge a permanent bond between a visionary entertainment industry leader, whose contributions to the advancement of film and media are unrivaled, and the Museum, which is the nation’s only cultural institution devoted to educating the general public, including 50,000 middle and high school students per year, about the art, history, and technology of film and digital media. Mr. Redstone’s gift will allow the Museum to advance and expand its important mission as we enter our 25th year. We cannot thank him enough for this transformative gift.”

Mr. Redstone said, “I am proud to support the work of this iconic cultural center which so skillfully melds my two lifelong loves—of entertainment and learning. The moving image in all its forms has a deep connection for me, from my lifelong love of film and television; to my family’s theatrical exhibition business, National Amusements; to my role as Chair of two of the top global media entertainment companies, CBS and Viacom, whose Paramount Pictures is Hollywood’s oldest motion picture studio.  It is a great honor for me to add my name to all the distinguished patrons of the Museum as it continues to spread the art of film and media.”

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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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Here’s a roundup of our top posts in January 2013. Friends, you like reading about new real estate development in western Queens, great movies (Rise of the Guardians) at the Museum of the Moving Image, dumplings (a perpetual fave), and that awesome story about rock gods The Who donating new equipment to LIC Bar.

5. Hunters Point South building at 1-50 50th Ave moves forward with approved zoning

On December 18, the zoning for the Hunters Point South building that will be at 1-50 50th Avenue has been approved, according to the Department of Buildings. The plan exam is still listed as “disapproved.” The original plan submitted in mid-April was disapproved, then resubmitted in early October – that, too was disapproved.

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Weekend 7 train suspensions are coming… this weekend! 13 weekends total

Just as a reminder, the weekend 7 train suspensions are starting all over again tonight at 11:45pm. We’ll be seeing them for the next 13 weekends, though a break might occur if the Flushing leaders convince the MTA to reinstate the 7 train on the weekends of the Lunar New Year celebrations. We’ll have to see about that. If you have to travel within LIC between Queensboro Plaza and Vernon-Jackson, the free shuttle bus will be running, and it’s really ok – we’ve taken it many times and never had a problem. And of course, you can get into the city via the N/Q (the Q will run during weekend daytimes) at Queensboro Plaza, the E/R at Queens Plaza, and the F at 21st/Queensbridge.

Update on the beached finback whale at Breezy Point

We learned yesterday that the endangered young adult finback whale that beached itself on the shore of Breezy Point in the Rockaways had died. The question was then, what to do with it? A decision has been made – it will be buried in the sand dunes at the beach on which it washed up on Wednesday morning. A spokeswoman from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries Service said that this makes the most logical sense. Four groups will work with the whale – the Riverhead Foundation, National Park Service, Department of Sanitation, and the Army Corps of Engineers. They will get the appropriate equipment to help them move the whale, and then bury it today or tomorrow. A necropsy will be performed at the burial site.

The East River Ferry is on its way to becoming a permanent fixture in the NYC transit landscape

Good news for those fond of the East River Ferry – local politicians want to keep it going for at least another 5 years after the 3 year trial is done (June 2014). They expected 1.3 million passengers during the three years – they’ve seen 1.6 million in the past year and a half! Impressive. A request for proposals (RFP) has gone out to entice companies to bid to run the ferry system. The submission deadline for proposals is March 1, 2013 at 4pm. The RFP can be accessed here.

Tufino Pizzeria Napoletana, we’re glad you’re here

Last night we checked out the new Ditmars Neapolitan pizzeria, Tufino, and really enjoyed the food. We tried a few things – wonderful arancini that were crisp on the outside and creamy inside; a Nonna pizza, which was topped with meatballs from the owner’s grandmother’s recipe, ricotta, Fior di Latte (like mozzarella), organic tomato sauce, and basil; and the Tirami Choux, which was a tiramisu inspired dessert of cream puffs filled with Kahlua flavored mascarpone sitting atop thin pools of espresso syrup. Everything was really tasty. We can’t wait to return to try other pizzas and snacks! The fried mozzarella caught our eye, too. Liquor license is forthcoming.

Where to take the kids during Christmas/winter break? 

The folks over at Patch have put together a short list of great places in Queens to take the kids during their winter break – the Queens Zoo in Flushing Meadows Corona Park (GMAP – and you can apply to volunteer, too), MOMI in Astoria (GMAP – they are running animated features on the weekends these days), Queens County Farm Museum in Glen Oaks (GMAP), NY Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows Corona Park (GMAP), and Alley Pond Environmental Center in Douglaston (GMAP).

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Image source: MOMI – Outside Satan, dir. Bruno Dumont, is the opening film of the First Look series

For the second year, a very exciting film series/showcase is coming to the Museum of the Moving Image in January. Called First Look, it is “a showcase for inventive, groundbreaking new international cinema.” 26 feature-length and short films will be screened from January 4-13, 2013, by filmmakers from Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Portugal, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, and the United States. Here is the screening schedule.

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Thirsty Koala = yum

Over the weekend, we joined up with some of our favorite bloggers and participated in a tasting of some of the menu items from The Thirsty Koala, a new Australian-inspired restaurant opening up on Ditmars in Astoria. The meal did not disappoint. From lamb lollies, to kakadu crostis (kakadu is an Australian plum), to Tim Tam Tiramisu, the food was a delight. Vegans, vegetarians, omnivores, and even gluten-free folks will find something to eat here. They hope to open by end of week, so keep an eye out!

We love this poster from the Queens Tech Meetup

This is a very cool design for the poster announcing the next Queens Tech Meetup, which is happening this Wednesday, December 19 at 6:30pm in LIC.

Image source: Queens Tech

Spacewar! Video games at MOMI

This weekend the Museum of the Moving Image opened their exhibit, Spacewar! This year is the 50th anniversary of the first video game (if you can believe it!), so they have put together a number of games – handheld, arcade, and platform – that can be considered the spawn of Spacewar!. It’s upstairs on the third floor. Get your fill of games like Defender, Space Invaders, and Portal, as well as the original Spacewar! With admission to the Museum you get four tokens to be used with the arcade games. Have fun and enjoy the rush of nostalgia.

The issues of “incentives” for prospective buyers of real estate in NYC

Our friend Eric Benaim of Modern Spaces was interviewed as part of this NY Times article about incentives as part of the sale of property in NYC. He says, “they can get buyers across the finish line.” He is using incentives to complete sales at both L-Haus – buyers receive a credit equal to 6 percent of the unit’s cost – and Murano – buyers receive a 5 percent check from the development team. Though during the strong sales months of September and October, they suspend these incentive programs. It’s interesting stuff, with a sort of “behind-the-scenes” look at selling real estate in our local market.

We put together some “best of Queens” in response to USA Today’s “bests” of the borough

We took a look at the handy guide to the “Best of Queens” that was put together by USA Today, and we found ourselves wanting more selections that reflected the borough as a whole. So we put our own list together. From Danny Brown in Forest Hills, to Bowne Park in Flushing, to SITE in Astoria, we hope you are inspired to discover and/or explore Queens as a result!

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The scene as you ascend the stairs and enter the exhibit

Today is the first day of the new exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image called Spacewar! Video Games Blast Off. We had a chance to check out the exhibit – and play a bunch of the video games – and thought it was all pretty dang cool. Here’s what it’s all about:

Spacewar! Video Games Blast Off looks at the first 50 years of video games through the lens of Spacewar!, the first digital video game, its development, and the culture from which it sprang. In addition to a model of the original PDP-1 (Programmed Data Processor-1) computer running a playable simulation of Spacewar!, the exhibition presents 20 playable video games ranging in platform (arcade, console, handheld, PC), genre (shooters, platformers, action, arcade) and developer (commercial, independent, experimental). From Missile Command to Halo 4, and from Star Fox to Portal, the exhibition draws connections and contrasts between these games and Spacewar!, signaling the latter’s central place in the development of video games as a cultural form.

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Whether your endgoal is providing gifts for nieces and nephews at Hanukkah (which starts the night of Dec. 8!), co-workers for Christmas, or dear friends for Kwanzaa, we’ve all got serious shopping to do. You may not be aware of the wealth of independently owned shops around Queens where you can find something unique and interesting while at the same time supporting your neighbors, so we’ve rounded a few up.

In Boutiques and Specialty Shops

SITE, located at 35-11 34th Avenue (GMAP), brings together the energy of Astoria with good taste in design. It’s a hub of the locally made and the otherwise carefully sourced and an all-around great spot for gifts sure to delight recipients and brighten rooms. Right now the store’s collection of holiday ornaments is inspired – colorful seated Buddhas, glittery clip-on mushrooms and running dinosaurs – but the shop carries a full array of items for the home, kitchen tools, exotic aromatic lotions, device cases, decorative prints, tasty goodies and fun wearables.

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Now that we are in the final stretch of 2012, the “best of” lists are starting to come out. Time Out New York has put together their list for the top attractions in Queens, and here are the winners (with our own descriptions):

Image source: David Berkowitz on Flickr

CitiField – This is a great stadium to see a ballgame, and we prefer it to Yankee Stadium, also a new ballpark. The views from all over the stadium are great and it feels like it was created on a very human scale. Their food is also excellent – Shake Shack and Blue Smoke come to mind immediately. Congrats again to R.A. Dickey of the NY Mets, for his Cy Young Award this past year.

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Homestead for the holidays in Kew Gardens

Homestead Gourmet Shop is the name of a 65-year old Polish deli and grocery in Kew Gardens that sells a variety of things from sausages, to Black Forest hams, to potato salads, and Eastern European groceries. It’s a great place to pick up some treats for Thanksgiving and beyond. Consider their authentic strudels – apple, cherry or cheese – or their Dutch apple cake, or something savory like their perogies or pastrami briskets. It’s all there, waiting for you.

Pies are coming from TX for Sandy victims

Bud Royer of Royer’s Roundtop Cafe, in Austin, TX is here in NYC, and has brought hundreds of pies with him to feed Hurricane Sandy victims. He originally wanted to send full Thanksgiving dinners, but after some thought decided that pies would be a better choice. The plan is to drive “650 homemade pies to New Jersey and New York and distribute them to relief agencies and soup kitchens.” Hundreds of gift cards are also with the pies. Bud and friends left on Sunday and are now in the area. Thank you, Bud!

The fate of the Rockaway boardwalk food vendors

We looked into the status of the Rockaway boardwalk food vendors, and as you may have guessed, most did not fare well. It’s heartbreaking to read the commentary by some of the business owners (“Caracas Rockaway… totally destroyed as well as the whole peninsula…”) and the photos, like the one below of DiCosmos:

Image source: DiCosmos

Rippers seemed to have made it through with just some damage to the building – the lengthy beach in front of it seems to have kept the storm surge from interfering too much. We hope they will rebuild, but the boardwalk destruction adds yet another challenge to the pot. We shall see.

Stuff the Turkey for the Rockaways from NYU

This is a great video of the efforts by NYU students to help the Hurricane Sandy survivors during this Thanksgiving.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/53981880]

The Art of the Rise of the Guardians at MOMI

Rise of the Guardians, a fantastic animated special (in 3D) opens today! We saw a preview of it and it really is something wonderful – great for kids of all ages. Over at the Museum of the Moving Image they’ve installed an exhibit called The Art of the Rise of the Guardians, containing art and artifacts from the filmmaking process. There are a couple of videos playing, too. Over in Bartos Screening Room they are running Creating an Epic (dir. Patrick Hanenberger, 70 mins), a sort of “making of” kind of film, which is really interesting and explaining a lot about the concepts behind the movie. This is definitely worth seeing.