This summer, Play Me, I’m Yours is touring the New York City streets. The public art project is an artwork installation by British artist Luke Jerram and presented by Sing for Hope. From 9am-10pm 60 pianos will be dispersed around the city parks from June 21-July 5. Take a walk through your neighborhood and show off your talent in these Queens parks:
- Athens Square Park (map)
- Gantry Plaza State Park (map)
- Hoffman Park (map)
- Jackson Heights Post Office (map)
- Rufus King Park (map)
The sad little boy on the sidewalk looked up at me as he held his clipboard. He asked me if I wanted to help save the library by signing his petition. Indeed I do, and I did. The Queens Library is not just a place to check-out a book; it’s a place where your neighbors go to learn English. It’s a place school kids whose families can’t afford computers go to conduct research. It’s a place children and adults learn to read. It’s a place where immigrants can go to access employment opportunities. I used to spend countless afternoons at the library using the internet, writing my blog, searching for jobs, and reading. There is a proposed budget cut that would dramatically affect these necessities by shortening the hours of business and increasing lay-offs among library staff. You can help by signing a petition and making a donation on the Queens Library website.
Figuring out what to do after all of the Memorial Day mayhem has disappeared? WNYC is hosting first Fridays performances in their new Jerome L. Greene Space. Friday June 4th is a salute to the musicians of Queens! Support your neighborhood music scene by attending this event, participation is encouraged!
The Battle of the Boroughs: Queens Throwdown is June 4th at 7pm with performances from bands of all different genres from Queens. Purchase your ticket so that you can vote with the judges for your favorite performance from your favorite borough.
Be sure to cast your vote because the finalists from each borough will compete in the semi-final concert throwdown June 18th. The final winner will get their own concert in the Greene Space at WNYC this summer!
The Queens line-up includes: Damsel, Joe Thompson, Misty Roses, Jason Lalor, Le Nozze di Carlo, Waiting For Bobby, Jeanne Marie Boes, New York Funk Exchange
Walking by the Himalayan Yak Restaurant in Jackson Heights, Queens produces all sorts of images in my mind. One image that stands out is that of a giant hairy cow wearing wooden bells and trudging slowly up a Nepali mountain range. I was curious. Did this place actually serve Yak? Was the name a mere trap to lure in adventurous diners? Whatever the case may have been, I persuaded a friend to check it out with me. Upon entering the large wooden doors into the dimly lit restaurant, we noticed a bunch of empty chairs that seemed to beckon us to take a seat. Our kind waitress lead us to our table. Needless to say, the dinner rush had yet to catch up with us. We sat and grazed the two menus, one with traditional Nepali entrees and the second with the yak specials. Being fond of worldly soups, we started the evening with the Chasha Kho-wa, a chicken soup with ginger, corn, and cilantro (tomato and spinach were printed in the menu description but failed to make an appearance in the actual bowl). This was a refreshing precursor to the heavy yak dumplings that came next. Steamed and slightly chewy, the dumplings were filled with ground yak meat. For those who have not tried the delicacy, it is similar to pork and ground beef but with a more chewy texture. The little pieces of dough wrapped up a big taste that filled our stomachs for the entire evening. For diners that are less experimental, they have several chicken, beef and vegetarian dishes. We ended the night with a traditional, though not highly recommended, dessert of Bkaktcha Marku. In the menu it is described as a handmade pasta lightly rolled in a roasted barley, sugar and grated cheese sauce, like a Nepali twist on the American favorite, macaroni and cheese. This was a delightfully sweet end to our dining adventure. Be sure to check out this wondrous place Friday through Tuesday, when you can hear live music.
The Himalayan Yak Restaurant- 72-20 Roosevelt Blvd Jackson Heights
The bee beckons you in with a wave of his hand, and you just can’t help yourself. You are pulled into a crowd of hungry diners munching happily as they stare at you with vacant eyes. With some unexplainable force, the Filipino fast food chain on Roosevelt avenue reels you in- hook, line and sinker. Serving meals with names like “Jolly Crispy Fries” and “Chicken Joy” this place is bound to make even the saddest soul come out sporting a smile. The colorful menu seemed to speak to me as I perused every unusual item and meal combo they could offer. I spotted the 99¢ board and decided to order the Spam on a bun. I was pleasantly surprised when I bit into the tiny sandwich that tasted like ham nestled on a warm fluffy bun smeared wih mayonnaise. Also for ninety-nine cents on a bun are hotdogs, corn-beef, and egg. Jollibee is novelty fast-food at its merriest.
Jollibee– 62-29 Roosevelt Ave. Woodside, NY 11377 (718) 426-4445
I stumbled upon Espresso 77 in Jackson Heights, a tiny coffee shop that exudes Queens pride. With many sandwich wraps to choose from, locally distributed coffee, and free wi-fi, this place is a satisfying get-away. Free of pretension and full of neighborhood friendliness,the cafe invites diners to grab a seat and relax comfortably for a while, either trolling the internet, reading, knitting or people watching. The dimly lit space can get crowded but not cramped. In addition to Gimme sustainable coffee, they also carry Queens paraphernalia that hangs proudly from the walls. Depending on the brew the coffee is rich, resonating with hints of cinnamon and chocolate. While I was there I also tried the lemonade ginger ice tea, a blend of citrus with chunks of ginger to give it an extra bite. This place supports our environment both economically and earthly. Drawing young and old alike, Espresso 77 represents the diversity that makes up Queens.
Espresso 77- 35-57 77th Street, Jackson Heights, NY 11372 718.424.1077
In this ordinary borough there are extraordinary things. Here are some interesting edibles found in Queens.
Found: DeDe Basil Seed Drink with Honey
Location: Freedom Deli & Supermarket international grocery & halal meat- 32-09 36th Ave Astoria/LIC 718-726-6323
A product of Thailand, this unique basil seed drink has the essence of honey and a texture like no other. The soft gelatinous bubbles of basil seeds create an unusual texture, comparable to bubble tea.
Location: Candy Store USA 3803 Main Street Flushing, Queens (718) 886-8866
This candy store is one of my favorites in the borough. It is rich with dried snacks like salty cuttlefish and sweet elder flower.
Location: Patel Brothers 37-27 74th St. 718-898-3445 Jackson Heights, Queens
This gigantic Indian supermarket has almost anything you’ll need to prepare a homemade dish of eastern cuisine. After dinner you can freshen your breath from a handful of fennel seeds covered in a colorful candy coating.
Found: Dehydrated Fungus
Location: Hong Kong Supermarket 3711 Main Street, Flushing – (718) 539-6868
Some markets sell mushrooms. Hong Kong Supermarket sells dehydrated fungus, almost every kind imaginable. You can spend hours browsing the isles of this market in search of various unusual foods, spices, teas, live seafood and just about everything else you can and cannot think of.
Why travel to around the world when you can pick-up some great souvenirs right here in the neighborhood? Here are three shops that caught my eyes with their displays of fabulously unique goods. Colorful lamps imported from Turkey, eclectic jewelry from Nepal, cute dolls and spectacular wall hangings from India.
CLOSED First stop: Turkey- Grand Bazaar 28-41 Steinway St Astoria 718-728-0818- This shop offers an array of splendid items from $10+. There are beaded jewelry, lamps, ceramics, rugs, scarves, silver, and more. Great for gifts and browsing.
Second Stop: India- Butala Emporium 37-46 74th St Jackson Heights 718-899-7889 If you are looking for dashborad buddhas this place has them. If you need to stock-up on spiritual books, incense, teapots, saffron, and other various trinkets and interesting goods- they are plentiful and affordable at Butala Emporium. Prices range from $2+
Third Stop: Nepal-Jewels of Buddha 31-90 37th Street 917-807-0649 AstoriaImported goods from Nepal make this shop unique. Find bags, hats, mittens, bracelets, beads to make your own creations, and spiritual music and books to get in touch with your inner buddha.
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