Local718 Neighborhood Update

Local718 Author, C. Smith Interviews C. Smith

Posted on May 18, 2010. Filed under: Local718 Neighborhood Update |

My good friend and fellow blogger, Joy ,once interviewed herself for her blog. What a great idea! Thanks Joy, I am now going to steal your idea…

Q: Why did you start your blog Local718?

A: I started Local718 in 2008 for several reasons. At the time I began writing it, I knew there was a lot of competition with other great blogs based in Astoria, but I wanted to create something that included all of Queens (or as much about the Queens neighborhoods as I can possibly write about). I felt the need to tell everyone about all the wonderful things borough life has to offer.

Q: Where does the name Local718 come from?

A: That’s a good question. It has a couple of meanings behind it. First, it is the Queens area code 718. Second, it is a play on the word local. It represents a union, and in this case it is a union of the people from Queens, but it is also a local blog. Get it?

Q: Is all the work on Local718 created by you? Photos, videos, posts…etc?

In a word, yes. Or at least 99% of the work. I will occasionally recruit a friend to write a post, but almost all the posts are written by me. Although many of my friends frequently accompany me on my ventures, so I have to give them credit for that. They are the most wonderful people I know! You can usually determine which are my posts by the grammatical and spelling errors. It’s impossible to be perfect every single time! The photos are always taken by me unless otherwise noted. The videos are 100% conceived, produced and edited by me as well. It’s all me me me!

Q: Speaking of photos, why are there no photos of you on the site?

A: Well, I decided from the beginning that the site was going to be about Queens, not about me. There are many blogs out there that are all about their authors and that is fine if that’s your thing. I personally don’t like promoting myself, (except for this post of course!) but I love promoting the things that I like.

Q: Have you ever written professionally? What do you do for a living?

A: Yes! I wrote for my college newspaper, and I will occasionally write articles for small publications. My most recent work will be featured in the 2010 Summer issue of Edible Queens. Right now I do some freelance work, writing and videography, but I am currently looking for full time media work. Most of my experience hails from television production.

Q: Where are you from?

I have lived in New York for ten years, but my life has taken me to and from a lot of places in and out of the U.S. Migration makes for a well rounded individual.

Q: Are you a foodie?

A: I really think it’s silly to label myself. I like to eat and I like to write about what I eat, especially if I am trying a new cuisine for the first time.

Q: What is your favorite thing about Local718?

My favorite thing is connecting with the community and being able to document it in so many different ways. I love taking photos of people and food. I also love eating a lot of great food and writing about it. Did I mention I love eating and photographing food?

Q: What’s your advice for fellow bloggers?

Keep exploring every aspect of life, so that you never lose interest in it. Then, you will always have something interesting to say on your blog. Use flash photography to a minimum, remember the best camera is the one that you have. Keep creating new ways to express yourself. For example, I started making videos on my blog and it has opened up a whole new way to get a message out there. Not to mention, I also meet so many interesting people while doing it! Keeping my interest in my site has lead me to be linked to New York Times City Room, Time Out New York, other local blogs, Queens Ledger, Glendale Register, Serious Eats and many other sites. The Daily News has also written stories based on my posts.

Q: Now that you have created a blog, what’s your next move? A book deal?

A: My next move will involve going to the corner store to buy some milk so that I can make some whole wheat pancakes to eat. I really love real maple syrup. You’ve simply got to try it!

Q: Um, are we done yet?

A: Yes!

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Local718 Update-May Blossoms Puppetry, Crafts, Fashion and Music in Queens

Posted on May 13, 2010. Filed under: Art, Astoria, Fashion, Flushing/Corona, Free, LIC, Local718 Neighborhood Update, Music & Dance, Outdoor Recreation |

After a harrowing trip to India, inspired partly by Jackson Heights (one of my favorite places in Queens)  I have returned to the comfort of my lovely borough. I normally do not write posts about my personal affairs, but my lack of keeping up with the blog in a timely manner warrants an excuse. A good excuse. I won’t go into detail about the challenges we faced when traveling through this magnificent country, but I will tell you that it is a place of extreme beauty and extreme ugliness all at once. Wealth and opulence like you have never seen and poverty you would never want to imagine. Here is a photo I took that displays communication without words, some of the locals listening to our guided audio tour of the Amber Palace as they are (presumably) also making fun of us in our tourist clothes (you know, just like we NYers make fun of those crazy midwesterners with their fanny packs and mom jeans).

Thanks for reading and enjoy your weekend in Queens! Here are some great things you won’t want to miss!

Step into Summer in style with he help of Kristees Boutique in Astoria. Join her for the Summer Warm-Up Thursday May 13. There will be music, her new collection, and live sketching of guests by NYC artist Mieko Anekawa.

Waltz Astoria is hosting their second Ultimate Singer Song Writer Competition that starts May 13th. Like an Astorian version of American Idol, the performances will go on throughout the weekend until Sunday, when the audience votes for the winners. Join and play for prizes or just watch and vote.

Local Astoria artist and friend of mine Pam Bertini is using her free time to create some fantastically creative cards and sculptures, and she is telling you all about it in her new Seventh Life blog site. She explains what inspires her and how she makes her beautiful crafts- if you’re into DIY this is a must see! Purchase her one-of-a-kind items on Etsy.

Flushing Town Hall is hosting Puppetry Workshops throughout May and here’s what they say about it: “Puppetry Workshop 2: Tasty Puppets Saturday, May 15, 2010, 2 p.m. Maximum 30 participants.Food is a great way to explore and celebrate the different cultures in our neighborhoods. Don’t be surprised if you end up making a talking hamburger, taco or dumpling in this workshop! Puppetry Workshop 3: The Puppet Next Door Saturday, May 22, 2010, 2 p.m. Cities and neighborhoods need people. In this final workshop, participants can make a local neighbor or hero/heroine. It could be your teacher or coach, a parent or shopkeeper, an artist, friend, or even yourself”  For more information on how you can take part www.flushingtownhall.org, or call the Box Office: (718) 463-7700, ext. 222

Queens County Farm hosts Farm Fest May 16 Sunday 11:00 a. m. – 4:00 p.m. “Celebrate the return of spring with a visit to the farm! Sheep shearing demonstrations, cultural exhibits and spring plant sale. Country Western Band, Hayrides, historic house and greenhouse tours, food, pony rides and petting zoo.” ADMISSION:  $3.00 per person

Coming up: Saturday May 22 Astoria Music and Arts will host AMandA in the Garden- an all day fundraising event for Astoria Music Now with music, local artists and bloggers, June 3 Blogger BBQ from Queens Council on the ArtsWNYC presents Battle of the Boroughs featuring Queens bands in June and Ornella Trattoria owner will soon host Italian cooking classes in his upstate farm.

Thanks for reading! Want to make a suggestion, contribution or list your event, email me at local718queens@yahoo.com

Yours Truly,


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Time Out For Hunger in Queens

Posted on March 26, 2010. Filed under: Local718 Neighborhood Update, Volunteer | Tags: , |

The Food Bank for New York City wants you to dine out this Sunday, March 28th in an effort to fight hunger. Participating restaurants will donate 10% of Sunday’s proceeds to the Food Bank.

“Invite your friends today to dine out on Sunday, March 28 and fight hunger! ForTime Out For Hunger, more than 130 of Time Out New York’s favorite restaurants will donate 10 percent of a day’s proceeds to the Food Bank For New York City.”

Here is a list of Queens eateries that will fight hunger this weekend:

718 Restaurant
35-01 Ditmars Blvd

Bistro Thirty Three
19-33 Ditmars Boulevard

Ovelia Psistaria Bar
34-01 Thirtieth Avenue

Petey’s Burger
30-17 30th Avenue


103-01 Metropolitan Avenue

Xi’an Famous Foods
Flushing Mall Food Court, 133-31 39th Avenue, Food Court #10

Long Island City

SHI Restaurant
4720 Center Blvd

Testaccio Ristorante
47-30 Vernon Boulevard


46-10 Skillman Avenue

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Local718 Neighborhood Update- Local Reading brought to You By Local Authors

Posted on March 26, 2010. Filed under: Art, Astoria, Holiday Dining, LIC, Local718 Neighborhood Update, Music & Dance |

Hello readers! I’ve noticed that there is a lot going on in the borough as April creeps into our calendar. My favorite flowers, daffodils, are slowing emerging from the earth. Cherry blossoms are beginning to pop onto the limbs of the once barren tree branches. And the days are getting longer, which means more time to do some of your favorite activities. Here are a few things that are going on:

This is a great time to catch up on your reading with some Queens-based literature. Local Sunnyside resident is celebrating the third year of his blog- Short Shrifted,  a great read for finding fashionable men’s clothing. As the author puts it- A Clothing and Style Blog for Short Men.

We Heart Astoria is a new website featuring everything you love about one of Queens’s most dynamic neighborhoods. Three of Astoria’s most influential bloggers (previously featured in Joey in Astoria) got together to dedicate their love of the ‘hood in this cool new site.

Edible Queens Spring 2010 issue is finally out! Find out where to pick your copy up here.

And of course there’s always my site… which you are reading right now! You can also follow my updates on Facebook and Twitter.

Other goings on in the borough…

Employment is on the rise in Queens via WORK FOR LOVE II at PS1 Saturday session Check out the March 27th 4pm performance showcasing artist Desi Santiago and DJ Saint Buck

Queens Council on the Arts is hosting a discussion on The Business of Film Making with Tribeca Film Institue’s “Tribeca All Access”  Tues, March 30, 2010, 6:30pmThe Secret Theatre 44-02 23rd St, Long Island City, Queens Free RSVP

Toy piano player, Astoria’s own Phyllis Chen, will be performing April 3, 2010: Music For Autism at the 92nd St Y 1 Pm Check out her unique sound here.

If you get tired of eating hard-boiled eggs next Sunday, head over to Astoria’s Bistro Les Minots for their holiday menu offering a fantastic three course pris fix meal for $24.95 served all day- Sunday April 4th

Site Design has been making Astoria homes beautiful for the past three years and they are celebrating this milestone with a party April 8th 6-10pm with Champagne! Cupcakes, Magic, Princess Tiny and the Meats spinning your favorite party hits all night long and 20% off all in-stock merchandise- that night only. Make sure to RSVP

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Neighborhood Update-Local718 on Facebook & LIC’s Gotta Brand New School

Posted on March 15, 2010. Filed under: Astoria, LIC, Local718 Neighborhood Update, Woodside/Sunnyside |

I witnessed the first sign of spring while walking around 48th Street in Sunnyside. Just like the rain drenched ground, Queens is sprouting with a bunch of colorful projects this month.

Local718 is now on Facebook. Please join us and become a fan!

The First Sign of Spring


Long Island City has a new school for children called the Queens Paideia School. If you wish to see what this new progressive learning center is all about, they are hosting an open house March 20th 12pm-3pm


Sunnyside– Sunnyside artist, Sabine Heinlein, has started the Sunnyside Project . Using photos and voice recordings, she captures the lives of those living around her. Check out her most recent profile of resident Paul Maringelli at the Sunnyside Project.

Paul With His Stars and Stripes- photo courtesy Sabine Heinlein


Long Island City– Green Space presents their Spring series, Fertile Ground Sunday March 21st, 2010, at 7pm Admission is $10 at the door.

FERTILE GROUND is a monthly new works showcase for emerging and established artists now in its 4th season, producing the work of 50 choreographers per year.  This non-curated performance event features five choreographers each evening, and includes a post-performance discussion moderated by Dance Entropy’s Artistic Director, Valerie Green with wine and cheese.

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Week days don’t have to be work days

Posted on January 27, 2010. Filed under: Astoria, LIC, Local718 Neighborhood Update |

Here are some happenings around town. A little diversion from the weekly grind…

The Jamies (Jamie Stellini The Weekly Song) will be playing a few sets at the Sycamore in Brooklyn Thursday Jan 28th. Check out Astoria’s singer/song writer as she soldiers through her halfway point of 52 songs.

Mix – Astoria’s new gay friendly bar is hosting karaoke night Wednesday Jan 27th. Get in touch with your inner Whitney Houston and belt a few out while drinking some fabulous martinis!

Side Door (next door to and from Bistro33 ) has changed their hours to 10am-6pm For those who are around during the afternoon- stop by for a delicious sandwich and a spicy hot chocolate.

The Crave Shack – (Astoria 25-47 Steinway Street) will soon be opening and according to the awning they will be serving burgers and shakes.

Sage General Store–  (Long Island City) is hosting a new series of cooking classes. Tired of those tv dinners? Sign up! Tuesday, February 2 The Basics—Risotto & Tuesday, February 9 The Basics—a sexy valentine dinner

Cafe BarWill be closing temporarily. Join them as they celebrate one last Friday before they renovate. Here are the details from their site- On Friday, January 29 @ 8pm we are throwing a party in celebration of 13 years of Cafe Bar! The Cafe will close at the end of the month for much needed renovations and will reopen approximately a month later with a fresh interior and exterior design and lots of new improvements on the menu and much better service! Let’s enjoy this special evening together with great music, drinks and complimentary appetizers, courtesy of Chef Michael!

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Edible LIC Extravaganza

Posted on January 24, 2010. Filed under: Astoria, LIC, Local718 Neighborhood Update |

Lhaus and Edible Queens teamed up with local businesses to host the first annual Winter Warm-up food drive benefiting the Hour Children Food Pantry. It was a chance to meet fellow neighbors and get a brief tour of one of LIC’s hottest new digs… all while stuffing your face with your favorite local fare. Here is a recap of the day’s events that took place in the lobby of LHaus.

A Room With a View at LHaus

Pasta e Fagioli & LHaus Patio

Pasta e Fagioli & LHaus Patio

Beginning the event with a tour of LHaus, I got a peek at the LIC lap o’ luxury. These spacious 1, 2 & 3 bedroom condos seemed fit for a king (note the utensils varnished in gold) I was impressed with the sleek baths deep enough to sink the Titanic in and the ultra sound-proof window panes. For a more in depth tour, click here. LHaus also sells storage space and private terraces. The next move was outdoors to the meticulously manicured garden where guests mingled and I gobbled up a local feast of Pasta e Fagioli from LIC’s Italian eatery, Testaccio.

Sweet Leaf Goes to (Stump) Town

The third stop entailed a caffeine fix. For those who were in need of a pick-me-up Sweet Leaf Cafe gave away samples of the long-time favorite Stumptown coffee.

Searching for some more savories to munch, I spotted some slices of french bread doused in sweet fig mostarda wth goat cheese and veggies topped with olive tapenade, products of the new LIC Market, that is to open this Spring. This locally inspired cafe will serve as a market and wine bar featuring breakfast, lunch and brunch.

LIC Marketeers

After devouring my way through the LHaus lobby, I noticed a pair of very talented women sitting gleefully among the crowd. I made my way over to meet Zora O’Neill and Tamara Reynolds the authors of Forking Fantastic , Queens’s quintessential guide to throwing dinner parties. It was a great afternoon to share with fellow residents and it was all for a good cause. Food is once again the ultimate celebrity guest that brings Queens together!

Tamara Reynolds & Zora O'Neill

Tamara Reynolds & Zora O'Neill

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N Train Gossip Local718 Neighborhood Update

Posted on January 22, 2010. Filed under: Astoria, Local718 Neighborhood Update | Tags: |

Pete Malachowsky-N Train Gossip- photo from Daily News

Normally I review restaurants or post events. Well here is a review you might find useful of one of our neighbors. This man thought he was being clever to create a Twitter account based on humilating our fellow N train riders. Well- here he is, take a good hard look at this face and make sure he doesn’t capture you on his cell phone camera. You can find his site to see if your photo is on it by googling N Train Gossip or his name. Here is a Daily News story about it. He claims he takes photos of only inconsiderate people. If that’s the case, perhaps he should try snapping a photo of himself and posting it on his site with a caption reading something like- overweight, balding guy snaps humiliating shots of unassuming N train riders.

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