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Image source: Google Maps – the old Cosmo Hair Products will become Crescent Grill

We thought we’d check back in with the progress at 38-40 Crescent Street (GMAP). Updated Department of Buildings record indicate the place will be called Crescent Grill, with an occupancy of 140 persons. This plan exam was approved on January 8, 2013, so it really sounds like it’s on its way.

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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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Image source: Ridgefood Cha Ca, made with salmon, peanuts, vermicelli, and dill

The folks at Ridgefood recently had a meal at Bunker, a new Vietnamese restaurant in Ridgewood – actually it’s in Maspeth, but the restaurant considers if Ridgewood – it’s only a block over the border. The general consensus is that the food is GOOD, the space is pretty relaxed, and is run by Jimmy and Jacky Tu, two Queens brothers.

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Amazing, amazing photos of old movie palace turned church, and beautifully preserved

Today we were turned on to a series of photos by Scouting NY of the Tabernacle of Prayer church in Jamaica. Sure, it is a church now but it was originally a movie palace, the Loew’s Valencia movie palace, “one of five flagship Wonder Theaters opened by the Loew’s chain in and around New York in the late 1920′s.” The exterior is pretty cool looking but it’s the interior that is the most staggeringly beautiful. Definitely worth a look.

Noodles are a 2013 restaurant trend – hello Hinomaru Ramen

In a slideshow of Food & Wine’s Restaurant Trends 2013, Astoria’s own Hinomaru Ramen was featured! Here’s a bowl of their delicious noodles:

Image source: Food & Wine via Keeping It Real Food

Chefs are messing around with the traditional noodle soup. “There’s no one right way,” says Tatsu Aikawa of Austin’s Tatsu-Ya, which offers Mexican flavor “bombs” with chile and lime powders. Hinomaru in Queens, NY, serves ramen with uni and Parmesan cream; and in Manhattan, Ivan Orkin, who has worked in Tokyo, is opening a spot featuring brothless ramen with pickled, raw and roasted garlic.

MTA’s FASTRACK arrives this week, see how it affects you

The MTA’s construction program FASTRACK is coming to the N/Q/R lines this week. Here’s what happens during FASTRACK:

During a FASTRACK shutdown, our employees inspect hundreds of signals and switches, repair and replace track rails and cross ties, clean track floors, perform elevator and escalator repair work, repair water damage, clear drains, and clean stations. We also clear the track-bed of a significant amount of debris. We repaint areas untouched in years, because they are not reachable during normal train operation. We clean lighting fixtures, change bulbs, and repair platform edges. We also perform high-intensity station cleaning providing a visible improvement to the station environment and your commute.

Here’s what’s affected between the hours of 10pm and 5am:

  • N trains run in Queens and Brooklyn only (so, in Queens, the N will operate like a shuttle between Ditmars Blvd and Queensboro Plaza – catch the 7 there to get into the city)
  • Q trains are rerouted via the D (6th Ave) in Manhattan to/from the 57 St F station
  • R service ends early in Manhattan and Queens (so as to accommodate construction in the city)

No Longer Empty’s transformation of the Manhattan Bank building

We love this time-lapse video of the transformation of the Manhattan Bank building for No Longer Empty’s How Much Do I Owe You? exhibit. Have you seen the show yet? It is very cool! Definitely worth checking out.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/58365355]

New American restaurant from the Butcher Bar people is coming to 30th Avenue

We were happy to learn more about what is coming into the space on 30th Ave and 38th Street – another restaurant from the Butcher Bar folks! More info:

The new restaurant will have a decidedly open-air-café feel, he says, but points out that it will be different from the bevy of frappe hang-outs that line 30th Avenue. The new restaurant “will celebrate Europe and bring people back to the original meaning of a café,” says Byrd.

Nice. Naturally, because of its connection to Butcher Bar, you’ll likely see meats from sustainably and humanely raised animals. They’re going to grow some of their own fresh herbs in the backyard. They’ll start with a dinner menu – with a full bar offering what we bet will be delicious cocktails. They they’ll put together lunch and brunch menus – this is a very common pace for Astoria restaurants as of late.

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Image source: Los Verdes

The good folks over at Sunnyside Food stopped by the new Colombian restaurant Los Verdes that had their grand opening Thursday night. A place called “Manolos” (no, not about shoes) used to occupy that space, which apparently specialized in “great cocaine and mediocre Mexican food.” Hm.

The drink menu includes sodas, juices, a few beers, and milkshakes! Regular flavors include vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry; they also offer a “flavor of the month,” with Dulce de Leche being this month’s.

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Image source: Ridgefood – fried vegetable momos at Nepalese Indian Restaurant in Ridgewood

Ridgefood, a delightful food blog based in Ridgewood, Queens, reviewed Nepalese Indian Restaurant, a new Nepalese and Indian spot that has opened up on Seneca Ave; they’ve been open for a little over a week. The Ridgefood folks tried the vegetable momos (fried, not steamed, though they’d like to try the steamed momos, too); a thali plate containing what looks like rice, saag paneer, naan, pappadums, and perhaps some kind of condiment featuring tamarind; shrimp tandoori masala (reportedly a rich, heavy dish); and Paneer makhan, made with paneer, creamy cashew sauce, and almonds – also very rich.

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On our way to having an early New Year’s Eve dinner at Sweet Afton in Astoria (home to amazing burgers, plus their current seasonal winter salad is fantastic), we noticed that one space we had our eye on confirmed our suspicions – Taste of Bengal is moving into the back half of the old Pasha space at 28-27 31st Street. They had served tasty Balkan food and we were sorry they had closed.

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Recently, we’ve had an inordinate number of conversations about the northwest corner property at 30th Avenue and 38th Street (37-17 30th Ave – GMAP), right next to the Pita Pan. It’s had a plywood fence around it for quite some time (close to 2 years now), and while that can make a place seem mysterious, the fact that it has stamped on it similar branding to Butcher Bar across the street – the “Got Grass” symbol – will give you an idea who is behind that project.