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Jeff Orlick isn’t living his dream, he’s eating it… and he wants to share. This Friday, the Jackson Heights-based culinary tour guide and the 82nd Street Partnership will host the outdoor food extravaganza Viva la Comida! A celebration of the borough’s culinary diversity, restaurants, bakeries and mobile vendors — including Tortas Neza (Mexican), Arepa Lady (Colombian), Chimi Express (inventors of the Dominican pizzatón), Morocho (Peruvian) and the debuting Tibetan momo truck Amdo — will sell their products along 82nd Street. However, food is only part of the fun. Gerardo Contino y Los Habaneros and other local bands will perform with a break at 8 pm for an open dance competition with prizes. Plus, Hibridos Collective will organize an interactive art fair, and Design For You will host a pop-up market featuring treats from such local favorites as Bittersweet NYC and Tropisec.

Details: Viva la Comida! by the 82nd Street Partnership, 82nd Street between Roosevelt and Baxter avenues, Jackson Heights, September 20th, 4 pm to 10 pm, free to attend.

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Here’s a roundup of our top posts in September:

5. The prettiest blocks in Queens: historic streets in Forest Hills, LIC, Sunnyside, St. Albans and Jackson Heights

Whether you’re looking for your dream home or just want to go on a scenic stroll, here is our guide to what we think are the five most beautiful streets in the entire borough. They have five different looks and vibes, but all feature lush greenery, appealing architecture, and historic charm – and most of them have been granted landmark status, so they’re bound to stay pretty for decades to come.

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M. Wells is back and ready to fill your belly

This morning we learned that the M. Wells Dinette is scheduled to open this Thursday, September 27 inside MOMA PS1. We’ve been waiting for them to open for some time, so it’s all very exciting to know that it will only be a few days more. This “gourmet cafeteria” will serve dishes like “whipped butter and caviar sandwich, a flan made with foie gras, a deconstructed clam chowder, and a marrow and escargot tart.” You also might see “rabbit terrine, brandade with black-olive oil, and old favorites like bibimbap with tuna and scallops.”

The Queens literary scene is up and coming and worth knowing about

Anabelle Short of 30th Ave blog fame wrote a great piece on the Queens literary scene. Here’s an excerpt:

Brooklyn’s massive book festival is underway this weekend, which is just one aspect of its thriving literary scene. Hundreds of writers have made and still make Brooklyn their home. Meanwhile reams have been written about Manhattan and by its inhabitants. There’s plenty of material for the “literary map” of that borough. It begs the question, what about Queens? It barely features on the literary landscape. For now, that is.

[…]

All that said, there are signs that Queens’ literary life is consolidating and growing. There are the writers featured in the anthology mentioned above, Forgotten Borough. Later this year a new literary journal, Newtown Literary, will launch – it will emphasize writing about Queens and by Queens based writers. (It also welcomes writing from elsewhere: as its website states, “Queens is just as much a state of mind as it is a geographic boundary”).

For more, check out Anabelle’s article, Queens’ literary scene may be small but it’s growing

Viva La Comida was awesome

We spent our Friday evening in Jackson Heights at Viva La Comida! Here’s our recap of the event. And yes, the arepas were worth the 30 minute wait. We had a hard time choosing between the arepa de choclo and the arepa con queso. Our solution? We got them both. Tortas and curry fries were also fab. We hope this event happens again next year, too.

Aung San Suu Kyi spoke right here in Queens

Nobel Peace Prize-winner Aung San Suu Kyi was in Queens over weekend, speaking at Queens College Aaron Copland School of Music. As you may know, she was under house arrest for 15 years in Myanmar. In November 2010 she was freed, and is now a member of Myanmar’s parliament, elected to it earlier this year. She encouraged those in audience to vote but did not endorse any candidate. In her words, “You must vote. You must use your democratic rights. Otherwise, they will fade away.”

These are a few of [your] favorite (Fall) things

We asked our readers today, “What is your favorite thing about Fall?” Here are a couple of their answers via twitter:

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[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/30thaveastoria/status/250234542688989184″]

And from our Facebook page:

“sweater weather cooler’s better” – Ben Forshay

“apple pie, turkey and carving pumpkins!” – The Glorified Tomato

 

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As we have been telling you for the past couple of weeks, Viva La Comida was last night. It was a celebration of amazing food, beautiful culture, and Jackson Heights, a wonderful, vibrant community in Queens. In the words of the organizers,

“The 82nd Street Partnership is shining a spotlight on the area surrounding Dunningham Triangle on 82nd Street in Elmhurst/Jackson Heights, Queens. Some of the many amazing things about the area, from the artists, to the history, to the food, are being harnessed to create one awesome night of fun, food, and entertainment.”

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Bye bye Summer, hello Autumn – celebrate the end of the season tonight at Viva La Comida!

Happy final day of summer! The Autumnal Equinox is tomorrow at 10:49am, EDT (ironically, the temperatures are supposed to be near 80 on the first day of fall). Consider celebrating the end of summer tonight at Viva La Comida, which should be an amazing outdoor food event. It’s from 4-9pm at the Dunningham Triangle in Jackson Heights (GMAP). And if you need just that extra nudge to attend, here’s a guide to what to eat at the festival. There will be noms aplenty.

Vision & Emotion at a new art gallery in LIC

Last night we spent some time at the opening reception of of Vision & Emotion, a Latin American group show at the Diego Salazar Art Gallery (GMAP). Last April, Diego Salazar turned the space that was his antique frame business into a gallery. This month the gallery is showing work from 14 artists of Latin American origin. These works will be there until October 20. The gallery hours are Mon-Fri 11am-6pm and Saturday 12-5pm throughout the exhibition.

There’s art at The Queens Kickshaw, too. 

Yesterday, The Queens Kickshaw posted to their Facebook Page a photo of some newly installed art at the cafe, along with this explanation:

Courtney Kates is an emerging Queens-based artist and student. She graduated from Binghamton University majoring in both fine arts and Spanish language. She is currently enrolled at the School of Visual Arts where she is pursuing a Masters in Art Therapy. She recently participated in the “Small Works” exhibition at M55 Art in Long Island City. You can check out some of her artwork at courtneykates.weebly.com.

Image source: The Queens Kickshaw

Brooklyn Grange opens new coffee shop

Thanks to a tip from We Heart Astoria, we learned that the Brooklyn Grange rooftop farm opened a new coffee shop in their building, just down the hall from the lobby where they set up their farm stand on Wednesdays. It’s called COFEED and it’s open from 12-6pm each day. Along with the coffee, they sell honey, hot sauce, and produce from the farm there.

More art, this time on pennies

Queens-based artist Jacqueline Lou Skaggs was profiled over on ABC about her series of paintings done on penny coins. They are actually pretty neat. There’s a slideshow of them here. She created these paintings in the early 1990s, and says this about them:

“I don’t know that I could paint them again. I’m not a miniature artist, or generally a painter. I’m a conceptualist. Things are invented however is necessary for the idea. I was just on a mission with those works, and I was so interested in the discourse between the images and the coins. I was compelled to create them.”

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The weekend comes with plenty of dancing and music all over Queens. Head on over for a lunchtime dance party in Long Island City, a huge block party in Elmhurst, a dance festival in Jamaica, and a classical orchestra in Forest Hills.

Image source: Lunch Beat LIC

Lunch Beat at Secret Theatre – At noon, head down to LIC’s Secret Theatre for this lunchtime dance party. For $12, you can get your choice of any two tacos or sliders from Mike-n-Willie’s gourmet truck parked right outside, and then head inside to rock out to the inspired and energetic jams of DJ Joro Boro.

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Viva La Comida Festival – amazing food and fun is coming to Jackson Heights

Some of the greatest food vendors in NYC, plus dancing and a pop-up market, are coming to Jackson Heights on Friday, September 21 from 4-9pm during the inaugural Viva La Comida Festival. You’ll get a chance to hang out at Dunningham Triangle, too, and get to know the neighborhood a little better. As for the food – get ready to enjoy deals on great eats from vendors like Tortas Nezas, The Arepa Lady, and Patacon Pisao, all Vendy Award finalists. It should be an excellent time for all.

Would you like to join your Community Board?

Some of you might want to after attending a meeting or two and feeling inspired. There’s a whole process set up to get on a CB, and it starts with an application (warning: .pdf). More information can be found here. All members are appointed to the Board by the Borough President (Helen Marshall is currently the Queens Borough President). Board members must reside, work or have some other significant interest in the community.

Here are a couple of sandwich faves in response to yesterday’s Question of the Day

Yesterday, a couple of Astorians shared with us their favorite sandwiches in response to our question, “where do you find a great sandwich?”

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We know both of these are pretty darn good. Check them out (and get the chicha at Arepas Cafe, too).

Soon you’ll get to know Jamaica Bay a little better, thanks to Dan Hendrick’s upcoming film

Have you ever spent any time near Jamaica Bay? We know it’s not the most well-traveled spot for a lot of New Yorkers. Sunnyside resident (and spouse of Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer) Dan Hendrick wants to change that with his film Jamaica Bay Lives, which will detail the rich history of the bay, the current issues surrounding it, and the potential it holds. The area is home to a ton of birds and the the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is home to one of the most significant bird sanctuaries in the Northeast. The film sounds promising and we look forward to viewing it when it’s completed.

QueensNYC is hiring

Here at QueensNYC we are looking to hire a part time Assistant Editor with a passion for and deep understanding of Queens. Is this you? If so, we encourage you to apply!

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Image source: Bridge and Tunnel Club

On Friday, September 21, the inaugural Viva La Comida! Festival will be here! It is organized by the 82nd Street Partnership, a nonprofit neighborhood development company that helps promote the local business improvement district (BID) in Jackson Heights. Local food expert Jeff Orlick has also helped out the food side of things, and has put together a fantastic group of food vendors.