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It’s

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QUEENS

Inside :Top Shopping Districts, Jamaica Estates, Best Burgers

THE M AGA ZINE

WINTER 2010 Volume 2.4

RISING STAR

SENATOR KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND ON QUEENS, THE ECONOMY & IMMIGRATION

It’s List Queens’

15

All-Time Notable Politicians

Thomas Manton Mario Cuomo Donald Manes

Winter 2010 $2.95

Dress To Impress Fashion Do’s & Dont’s From The Dress Recycler

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QUEENS THE M AGA ZINE

WINTER 2010

Publisher Walter H. Sanchez Executive Editor Shane Miller Senior Editor Daniel Bush Writers David Bonilla Jeffery Kuntz Holly Tsang Danielle McClure Production / Design Peter Fois George Galvez Photographers Michael O’Kane Social Media Editor Lisa A. Fraser Fashion Editor Holly Wilensky

Volume 2 Number 4 – Winter 2010 It’s Queens is published quarterly. Postmaster, send all address changes to It’s Queens – PO BOX 780376 – Maspeth, NY 11378. It’s Queens is a consumer magazine covering the people who move and shake Queens, from real estate trends to transportation, politics to entertainment, It’s Queens will bring our readers the ins and outs of the borough. It’s Queens is wholly owned and published by the Queens Ledger/Greenpoint Star Weekly Newspaper Group. We know enough about the borough, covering it week in and week out since 1873. Bulk mail Flushing, NY Permit #652. Copyright ©2008 It’s Queens. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without the permission of the publisher is prohibited. Any news or feature solicitation for publication in It’s Queens should be done so without expectation of use and without expectation of return to solicitor. Send correspondence to editor@itsqueens.com . Subscriptions are $7.95 per year. Inquiries for subscriptions - Mail to PO BOX 780376, Maspeth, NY 11378. (718) 639-7000. www.itsqueens.com

4  Winter 2010  www.itsqueens.com

On the Cover: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand


It’s

QUEENS THE M AGA ZINE

FEATURES 18 The It’s List

We rank the Top 15 All-Time Notable Politicians in borough history.

WINTER 2010

36

28 Queens Zoo

Endangered parrots thrive in borough’s zoo.

32 Kirsten Gillibrand

New York’s junior senator talks the issues with It’s Queens.

62 BQE Design Expo

Behind the scenes at the inaugural event.

Departments 8 Technology Buy Now or Wait?

12 Made in Queens Aigner’s Chocolate

14 Top Five

64

28

Shopping Districts

36 Culture Spot Astoria Burger Battle

40 Queens Wheels Top Six Autos

54 Review The Bikinis at QTIP

64 Designer Spotlight Stephanie Vastola

66 Blogging Queens www.itsqueens.com  Winter 2010  5


Publisher’s Note WALTER SANCHEZ

Q

ueens in the

cians here. Corona just gained the distinction of being the zip code with the largest adolescent obesity rate, so we thought it the right time to rate burger joints in Astoria. Note BareBurger in Astoria. Ostrich, elk and bison burgers? Only in Queens. Kirsten Gillibrand turns out to be more than just a pretty face after all. Playing second fiddle to Chuck Schumer is no easy task, but when you read our cover story you’ll agree that she is carving out her own niche in Washington. Queens fashion is a highly debated topic in New York. We at the staff here think it happens to be an important part of our culture. Be sure to check out our “Fashion Police” section. Happy reading, and enhance your experience by scanning the barcodes throughout the magazine – they’re a lot of fun. Walter

of 2010

6  Winter 2010  www.itsqueens.com

WINTER

P

icking the most noteworthy politicians in Queens proved interesting for the staff. Talk to old-timers and they will say that former times produced outstanding public servants. They cannot argue, however, that the Queens Borough President Donald Manes scandal, though it was quick and tragic, was most notable for its negative impact on politics. Geraldine Ferraro is really the darling of Queens politics. Ferraro, who once had a small office on Grand Avenue in Maspeth, ascended in the political world to be a vice presidential candidate. She must surely be considered the trailblazer for women in politics in this country. Tom Manton, who took over the reigns of the Queens County Democratic Organization following Manes’ suicide in 1986, led the charge to change the notion that politicians needed to be white and male. Manton had an uphill battle following the relentless media assault on Manes and Queens politicians. But in time, through his work with African Americans in South Queens and Hispanics and women throughout Queens, he truly strengthened the bond between the people and politi-


Queens Buzz Hot & Cold A quick rundown of what Queens residents are talking about, and what they no longer care about.

Tornado: Remember when New York City thought the world was ending on September 16? Figured you didn’t. Talk of the two twin twisters and a microburst that tore through Queens and Brooklyn, ripping trees out of the ground, causing power outages in areas like Flushing, and killing one person, has ceased. FEMA issued disaster aid to repair city and state property but do they plan to put any money toward replacing trees in areas like Forest Hills and Rego Park?

Aqueduct Flea Closing: Queens residents will now have to say goodbye to the wellknown Aqueduct Flea Market on Rockway Boulevard in Ozone Park. The market will close for good after the holidays as construction for a new racino gambling complex begins. The market, which operated every Tuesday and on weekends from April to December, has been a constant source of income for vendors and resource for customers who rallied unsuccessfully to save it last October.

Raccoons: The animal k i n g d o m ’s Zorro has had a tough summer. Complaints of the nighttime nuisances in neighborhoods like Glendale, Ridgewood and Woodhaven caused the City Council to create a citywide policy to remove them in a humane way. Their 15 minutes of fame is now up but it was fun for the pols to hold a “raccoon press conference” while it lasted.

LIRR fire: Four months ago, a cable fire caused damage to a major switching tower at the LIRR Jamaica Station.The damage stranded roughly 100,000 agitated riders passing through Queens to get to and from Long Island. The fire brought to light the inadequate federal and state funding of transportation in New York City. The equipment in the station was not updated since it was placed there in 1913. And with no surprise, talk about if it will be updated to prevent a mishap from happening again has ceased.

HOT

The lights are off and the rides have stopped, but a film crew shooting a new movie got a chance to use the historic, handcarved carousel in Forest Park. Residents are calling for the relic to be repaired but the Parks Department is giving residents a cold shoulder. It has plans to use the money donated by Twentieth Century Fox to fix other parts of the park.

COLD

Forest Hills Carousel:

Newtown Creek Projects: How would you spend $7 million in state funds to improve the area surrounding Newtown Creek? Long Island City and Maspeth residents were given a chance to vote on it in December. Projects include a Pulaski Bridge extension where pedestrians and cyclists can travel sideby-side and feel safer and a new park at the Old Saint Savior’s Church site in Maspeth, among others. The money was awarded after the city was sued for failing to upgrade Greenpoint’s Wastewater Treatment Plant. The state’s decision to on which projects to greenlight, however, won’t be revealed until early 2011. World Ice Arena: Ice skating is hot in the winter; there is no doubt about that. Ice skating in Queens in the winter is even hotter because you don’t have to troop to Bryant Park, and ice skating in Queens is just plain sizzling fun. That’s exactly what you get at the World Ice Arena at Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Open in the summer and winter, the rink offers public skating on the cheap. So cool off in the summer, warm up in the winter. You get it all in one shot – and all in Queens. Skating Parks: Queens skateboarders have a reason – and now more space – to do a double kick-flip. The borough is on its way to becoming the hot spot for the sport. A new skate park opened in Astoria Park in October, six years after it was proposed. In June, another skate park was opened at Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Another is undergoing construction in Far Rockaway. Anyone from rookies to groms and techs can now push, kick and coast closer to home.


Technology

Buy or Wait By Nigel Chiwaya It’s the holiday season and your family has a huge list of tech gift demands. What should you buy and what should you wait for? Read on to find out A funny thing happens every year at this time: once Thanksgiving rolls away and Black Friday hits, the general public seems to lose its collective mind in regards to the proper value of products. Indeed, visit any mall and you’ll find people waiting on line for the latest video game console or paying exorbitant prices for the newest computer. Yet most consumers could save themselves hundreds of dollars just by waiting a few weeks to buy their latest gadget. So collected below is a list of things that are safe to buy during the holiday season, as well as things that you’d be better off waiting for. Buy: iPods & iPhones: Apple has a vey set schedule for their product refreshes: The new iPhone is announced every June, and the new iPods are announced every September. The company hasn’t strayed from that schedule in quite some time, so it’s a safe bet that the latest iPods will remain state-of-theart for at least another nine months. The iPhone is a slightly different story. Apple released the iPhone 4 in June, and despite rumors of an impending Verizon iPhone, you can expect the iPhone 4 to remain up-to-date for the next six months. If you’re bothered by the thought of owning a gadget that will be outdated within half a 8  Winter 2010  www.itsqueens.com

year, take heart; Apple kept the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS around for an extra year after they were replaced by newer models. If you were thinking about buying an iPhone 3GS however, we would encourage you to wait until summer, when you can get the 4 for half the price. Video Game Consoles: As long as you don’t buy any ridiculous bundles, this year it’s pretty safe to buy the game consoles. The Xbox 360, Wii and Playstation 3 have all been around for at least three years, so the demand for them should be low and they should be easy to find. The new Kinect for Xbox 360 and Playstation Move might prove expensive, but they just came out, so they’re unlikely to receive a price cut for at least year. Absolute top of the line Smartphones: The pace of smartphone development has increased to the point where phones are outdated the moment they are released, but still, today’s current top-of-the-line phones (The Droid X and Droid 2 on Verizon, the EVO 4G and Epic on Sprint, the Captivate on AT&T and the G2 and myTouch 4G on T-Mobile) all have processors that are more powerful than an early 2000’s computer. As such, they’ll remain speedy well into the new year. Just as important: the phones will continue to receive software updates from their manufacturers. Wait Laptops: January is home to the Computer Electronics Expo, when manufacturers show off their newest hardware. If you can

wait until then, you will be able to snap up today’s laptops at very well discounted rates. There’s a special exception for the Macbook Air which was just released and won’t be due for a refresh for at least a year. iPad: As we said earlier, Apple usually likes to stick to the product refresh cycle. This, however posed a problem for the iPad, which was announced last January and released last April. It’s quite possible that a new iPad will be announced next month and, with features that include two cameras and a bigger hard drive, could make this year’s iPad look like a relic of the past. Mid-level smartphones: We said earlier that today’s top of the line smartphones will remain pretty powerful into the new year. However, older or mid-level phones (the Samsung Intercept, the Palm Pre Plus or Pixi Plus) will be showing their age and won’t be as well supported. If someone wants a new smartphone for Christmas, either splurge for a top of the line model or wait until February, when the prices for the older models will fall to the basement. Nigel Chiwaya is the Editor in Chief of SmartphonePedia and covers smartphones, tablets and all things mobile at HTCPedia.com

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Made In Queens

Aigner’s Chocolate

By Daniel Bush

12  Winter 2010  www.itsqueens.com


Chris Aigner helps run his family chocolate business.

Possibly the Sweetest Thing Made in Queens

There is something about chocolate factories that tugs at the imagination. Everyone loves chocolate, yet few people know how it’s made - or who makes the stuff, if it isn’t an army of plump Oompa Loompas. No such army of undersized workers exists at Aigner Chocolates on Metropolitan Avenue in Forest Hills, just a family with a serious sweet tooth that’s been churning out chocolate in the same brick building since the early 1960’s. How good is their chocolate? Chris Aigner gave up a high-paying finance job to help run the family business, trading in fat bonuses for free pistachio marzipan and cherry cordials. “I don’t think a day goes by where I don’t have ten or 12 pieces of chocolate,” said Aigner. That sounds like the good life to us. Chocolate has been made continuously at 103-02 Metropolitan Avenue since 1930, when the site opened as Krause’s Candy Kitchen. In 1960, an Austrian immigrant from a small Al-

pine village named John Aigner took over, and continued making chocolate under the same name. The family branched out with locations in Ridgewood and Manhasset, before consolidating the operation at the Forest Hills site, where they renamed the business in 2009. Today, it is run by Chris and his parents, Peter and Pia, though the semi-retired John Aigner remains a presence. While Aigner’s specializes in Austrian-style marzipan and truffles, their menu ranges from chocolate-covered pretzels and non-pariels to peanut butter cups and peppermint paddies. First the chocolate and other ingredients are brought to a boil in a large copper kettle in the factory workroom, a homey, light-filled space down a narrow hallway from the storefront shop where finished goods are sold in mouth-watering display cases. The gooey mixture is then transferred to an enormous beater or a cooling table for further treatment, before being pressed into shape. Decorative flourishes are added by hand, before

the pieces are sent to a packing machine. Learning the craft is a lifetime endeavor. “As long as I can remember I’ve been making chocolate,” said Aigner, who helped out around the factory as a child. He said returning to the work full time was the best decision he could have made. Aigner’s produces roughly 20,000 pounds of chocolate per year, and the brand is well-known throughout Queens and the greater New York area. The speciality chocolates are also sold in a high-end store in Las Vegas. Aigner said they’re actually good for you, too, at least in moderation; the company uses far less sweeteners and additives than store-bought chocolate. Proof of this is in the pudding. “My teeth are fine, and my doctor said I’m slim for my age,” Aigner said. He smiled, and added, “My entire family is skinny.” After making - and eating - chocolate for five straight decades, that’s quite a feat. www.itsqueens.com  Winter 2010  13


QUEENS’

SHOP TILL YOU 14  Winter 2010  www.itsqueens.com


BEST SHOPPING DISTRICTS

In the shopping department, Queens has plenty to offer. Think of the borough - the most diverse county in the country - as a global marketplace with something for everyone, from everywhere. Popular commercial strips like Steinway Street or Myrtle Avenue are a shopper’s paradise, but the variety of merchandise and services can become dizzying, especially around the holidays. What neighborhood offers the most bang for its buck? Which one has easy, hassle-free parking? And what shopping district has the best food? Brain-stumping questions like these can give pause to even the most seasoned shopper. Luckily, we decided to answer them for you. Here’s our guide to the Top Five Shopping Districts in Queens. We ranked each according to value, parking/transit access and food, on a scale of one (lowest) to five (highest). Every shopper deserves an easy trip, a good bargain and delicious fare somewhere in between. Enjoy. www.itsqueens.com  Winter 2010  15


Bell Boulevard, Bayside

Jamaica Avenue, Jamaica

Austin Street, Forest Hills

Bell Boulevard in Bayside, one of Queens’ wealthiest neighborhoods, is an upscale wonderland for the lucky among us who have deep pockets and a desire to stimulate the economy one major purchase or restaurant bill at a time. The attractive, well-lit strip features boutique stores - geared mainly towards women - jewelry shops and a few national chains, such as Radio Shack (39-07 Bell Boulevard) It also has a Long Island Railroad station. But the main attraction is the restaurants. Bell Boulevard features several top-notch spots, from Uncle Jack’s Steakhouse (39-40 Bell Boulevard) to the more low-key Brian Dempsey’s American Ale House (39-31 Bell Blvd). Shoppers with a sweet tooth should try Martha’s Country Bakery (41-06 Bell Boulevard) For meat lovers, a trip to Bayside is not complete without a stop at Three Brothers Butcher BBQ (40-21 Bell Boulevard), a neighborhood institution.

Brooklyn has the Fulton Street Mall. Queens has Jamaica Avenue, the borough’s premier destination for urban fashion wear. To cop that leather jacket Jay-Z wore in his latest music video or the new pair of Lebrons, Jamaica Avenue is the only place to go. The strip is lined with shoe and clothing stores stocked with all the latest gear. Shoppers have their choice of brand-name stores, such as Old Navy (159-18 Jamaica Avenue), and small businesses like Sports Jam (163-18 Jamaica Avenue), an authentic source for all things shoes. Don’t miss the pedestrian mall on 165th Street, off Jamaica Avenue, where there’s always a long line at Jamaica Flavors (164-17B), which serves delicious jerk chicken sandwiches, patties and vegetarian fare. When you’re sick of shopping, head to Multiplex Cinemas (159-02 Jamaica Avenue) for a flick, or check out the historic King Manor Museum (Jamaica Avenue, between 150th and 153rd streets).

Austin Street is Queens’ answer to Fifth Avenue, but on a smaller, more manageable scale. High-end designers and pricey chain stores like Ann Taylor (70-31 Austin Street) the Gap (69-39 Austin Street) and Banana Republic (71-18 Austin Street) are fancy enough to satisfy the classiest clotheshorse. But what sets Austin Street apart is the mix of well-known stores with high-quality local boutiques. Interested in keeping your cash in the community? Try Stoa (71-60 Austin Street) for beautifully-designed jewelry and crafts, or Anthony (7105 Austin Street) for the latest in men’s fashion. The strip also features a Barnes & Noble (70-00 Austin Street) and United Artists Brandon Cinemas (7020 Austin Street).

Value: 3 The fashion, antique and women’s accessory boutiques on Bell Boulevard aren’t cheap. Neither is the excellent food- but then again, you get what you’re willing to pay for. Parking/Transit: 3 Bell Boulevard is easy to get to by car, and has a long stretch of metered parking. Spots on side streets are relative easy to find. Can be reached by bus and the LIRR (Bayside). Food: 4 There is no shortage of restaurants, and most of them are pretty good. It’s heavy on meat dishes and pub-style fare, but also features a variety of international cuisine, from Japanese to Mexican.

Value: 4 The clothing and electronics stores along Jamaica sell name-brand merchandise for discounted prices. Street stalls offer cheap goods, and a chance to bargain. Parking/Transit: 3.5 Parking in and around the Jamaica Avenue shopping district is manageable on weekdays. Can be reached by bus, train(E/J/Z at Jamaica Center- Parsons/Archer) and the LIRR (Jamaica). Food: 2 Besides fast food, there aren’t very many choice along Jamaica Avenue. For a healthier meal consider eating at home before heading out for a long day of shopping.

16  Winter 2010  www.itsqueens.com

Value: 3 Nothing says class act like a gift from a store on Austin Street, but it’ll cost you. Items from designer shoes to handcrafted jewelry are expensive at most stores. Bargain hunters should head elsewhere. Parking/Transit: 3 Austin Street is infamous for its parking problem. Drivers should pop a chill pill or three, show up early and hope for the best. But it can also be reached by bus, train (M/R Forest Hills-71st Avenue) and the LIRR (Forest Hills). Food: 3.5 The food on Austin Street doesn’t match the top-notch shopping. There are some restaurants on 70th Road, but we recommend 5 Burros Cafe (72-05 Austin Street).


Junction Boulevard, Corona

Steinway Street, Astoria

Conclusion

Talk about an international experience. Junction Boulevard is a mishmash of cultures and styles with a distinctly foreign flavor. It could exist in any number of countries, yet fits right in here at home. In other words, welcome to Queens. The name of the game here is finding good deals. On electronics, clothing, furniture - you name it, Junction Boulevard’s got it. Things are inexpensive, and the people that sell them are down to earth, a rare combination. For example, seek out Michael at Battino’s Fashion Club (37-74 Junction Boulevard) for quality suits. Flat screen T.V.s, computers and more can be found at Computer Global Electronics (37-38 Junction Boulevard). Around the corner, Allstar Players (96-03 37th Avenue) is a small, artfully done urban fashion boutique. The best part about shopping on Junction Boulevard, however, is eating on nearby Roosevelt Avenue when you’re through. The list of delicious restaurants is endless. Start with a pastry from El Hornero Bakery (96-04 Roosevelt Avenue), then go for a stroll until a storefront menu catches your eye.

Outside of Queens, Astoria might be the borough’s bestknown neighborhood. It’s where tourists (and New Yorkers living elsewhere) head first, and that’s not by coincidence; it really is that cool, and a big reason why is the Steinway Street shopping corridor. The strip features an exciting mix of established stores such as New York and Company (30-37 Steinway Street) and Express (31-01 Steinway Street), and lesser-known spots like Diva Boutique (30-77 Steinway Street). The north end of Steinway is home to a flourishing stretch of Middle Eastern restaurants and interesting stores, including Islam Fashion (25-31 Steinway Street), and Grand Bazaar (28-44 Steinway Street), which sells beautiful Turkish crafts. The bustling shopping district also has its own soundtrack in the form of holiday music that plays from street speakers set up by the local business improvement district, a nice touch.

Each of the borough’s top five shopping districts has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. When deciding where to do your gift-buying, decide what’s most important - is it good deals? or maybe accessibility? - and choose wisely. Austin Street has great shops but they’re expensive and parking is a nightmare. The deals on Jamaica Avenue and Junction Boulevard are terrific, however higher-end items there are few and far between. And Bayside has a variety of excellent (and expensive) restaurants, but few really interesting stores. That leaves us with Steinway Street. It offers the greatest range of stores, affordable restaurants and hassle-free parking. And of course there’s the outdoor holiday music. That seals the deal.

Value: 4.5 Get while the getting is good; prices can’t be beat on Junction Boulevard. And people are happy to haggle, so long as you can speak their language. Parking/Transit: 3 Parking in congested Central Queens is not much fun. But the shopping district is accessible by a bevy of buses and trains (E/F/M/R/7 Jackson Heights/Roosevelt Avenue74th Street Broadway). Food: 4 Nearby Roosevelt Avenue has every kind of food imaginable, and restaurants there don’t break the bank.

Value: 3.5 Penny pinchers and flashier spenders alike flock to Steinway Street, where the stores range from fairly expensive to pretty darn cheap. Parking/Transit: 3.5 Parking is decent, and much better on adjacent side streets. Can be reached by bus and train (E/M/R Steinway Street). Food: 3.5 Steinway Street’s food scene is a hodgepodge of Greek, Middle Eastern, American, Asian and Latino restaurants. Many are good; most are affordable.


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18  Winter 2010  www.itsqueens.com

1


TOP

15

All-Time Notable Politicians It’s often been noted that politics in the

borough of Queens is really small-town politics in the heart of the big city. And over the years, there have been certain key figures who have loomed large over the

political landscape of the borough – some have been noteworthy and some have become notorious, but they have all been notable. For our Top 15 All-Time Notable Politicians, we set down a few criteria. First, obviously, they had to live in Queens and represent the borough. Second, they had to be powerhouses in their legislative bodies, always front and center and making news, even if it wasn’t always for the right reasons, as you’ll see by our list. These 15 people made politics in Queens what it is today, and for some of them what it will be tomorrow. 15.Brian McLaughlin

At one time, Brian McLaughlin was one of the most powerful people in politics, not only in Queens, but all over the city. McLaughlin was elected to represent northeast Queens in 1992, but he was also the president of the New York City Central Labor Council, a post that came with incredible influence and power. But on October 17, 2006, McLaughlin was arrested on charges that he stole more than $2 million from the state and various labor unions, including embezzling funds from a local children’s baseball league. On May 20, 2009, McLaughlin was sentenced to ten years in prison, trading in his business suits for a prison jumpsuit.

14. Leonard Stavisky

There is probably no other name as ubiquitous in northeast Queens political circles as “Stavisky.” Leonard Stavisky (far right) spent 34 years in Albany as both an assemblyman and state senator. A former professor, Stavisky made education his keynote issue. In 1975, he co-sponsored the Stavisky-Goodman bill, which sought to protect New York City public schools from steep budget cuts. He died in 1999, but his political career was picked up by his wife, Toby Stavisky, who currently represents the district in the assembly. His son Evan Stavisky is a major player at The Parkside Group, a powerful lobbying firm that is very active in Queens politics.


13. Anthony Weiner

Nobody seems to get more media exposure than Congressman Anthony Weiner. When it comes to picking fights over tough issues - and making sure his voice is heard - no Queens politician in recent memory even comes close. In Democratic circles, Weiner has emerged as a fresh-faced agitator willing to take on powerful interests in the name of protecting the middle-class communities he represents in New York’s 9th Congressional District. He was born in Brooklyn and made his political bones as a staffer to then-Congressman Charles Schumer in the late 1980’s. In 1991, at the age of 27, Weiner became the youngest person ever elected to the City Council up to that point. Seven years later, he was elected to Congress, and quickly garnered attention for his charismatic public speaking style and brash, outsized personality. In Queens, Weiner is best known for his tireless work ethic, fast mind and attention to detail. When the power goes out on your block or new graffiti shows up overnight, chances are Weiner knew about the problem before you did and is already working on a solution. He mounted a failed bid for the Democratic nomination for mayor in 2005, strongly considered running in 2009, and maintains to this day that being mayor is the only job he’d rather have than his current one.

12. Joseph P. Addabbo, Sr.

When Congressman Joseph P. Addabbo, Sr. went head-to-head with then-President Ronald Reagan over defense spending in the 1980’s, few people back home in his south Queens district were shocked. Joe Addabbo, they knew, was not scared of anybody. Addabbo was born on March 17, 1925, and attended P.S. 59, Boys’ High School and City College of New York. After graduating from St. John’s Law School in 1946, he established a law practice in Ozone Park and quickly rose to prominence as an influential community leader through work with several area organizations. He was elected to Congress in 1960, and became the chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense in 1979. That set the stage for a protracted battle with the Reagan Administration over defense spending. Addabbo, who was a Democrat, argued for deep cuts, a position that garnered the respect and admiration of his colleagues in Washington. After a series of tough re-election campaigns, Addabbo fell ill and died in office in March of 1985. He is buried in St. John’s Cemetery. His son, State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. served on the City Council before being elected to the State Senate in 2008. If he continues in his father’s footsteps, he might find himself on an updated version of this list in years to come. 20  Winter 2010  www.itsqueens.com


11. Floyd Flake

Today, Floyd Flake is best known as the head of the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York in Jamaica, overseeing a congregation of over 23,000 people. But he first gained prominence with his election to the House of Representatives in 1986. Over the years, Flake earned a reputation for working across the partisan divide with conservative Republicans,despite representing an overwhelmingly liberal, Democratic district. He also endorsed Republicans George Pataki for governor and Rudolph Giuliani for mayor, an endorsement that no doubt helped both of them in Flake’s district. Flake retired from Congress in 1997 to focus on leading his church, a position that still carries a large measure of influence in the world of Queens politics.

10. Saul Weprin

Putting a real challenge to the notion that nice guys finish last, Saul Weprin (right) was a gentle, respectful Queens leader who actually accomplished leadership through giving peers a sense of consensus when making legislative decisions. He was the perennial “nice guy” who this time finished first. Weprin, the Fresh Meadows Democrat, had a remarkable 30-year political career in the Assembly, which included chairing the Ways and Means Committee and serving more than two years as speaker - from 1991 to 1994 - until his death. Many credit Weprin’s leadership skills with cleaning up Albany after prior speaker Mel Miller was convicted and forced to resign. As speaker, Weprin accomplished on-time budgets and put a sense of political pride back in politics. And the Weprin name is still a fixture in Queens politics to this day - son David serves in the Assembly and son Mark is currently a member of the City Council.

9. Joseph Cassidy

Joseph Cassidy didn’t invent corruption, but he sure did a good job of tyring to perfect it. Elected borough president in 1902, Cassidy - or “Curly Joe” as he was known to friends and enemies - served two terms in office, during which time he oversaw extensive infrastructure and real estate development in Queens. As borough president, Cassidy earned an annual salary of $5,000, but during his time in office somehow managed to acquire approximately $500,000 in real estate and live a lavish lifestyle that was noted in his obituary in the New York Times. The Gray Lady wrote that his expenditures as borough president were “regal.” They cited his steam yacht, his string of fast trotters, and stock farm in California as just some of his excesses, as well as his collection of game cocks that was “known from one end of the country to the other.” Cassidy was accused of 47 different counts of financial malfeasance during his time in office, and 24 of those were later upheld by an investigation, but Cassiday was never charged with any crimes. Cassidy would later serve one year in Sing Sing Prison for attempting to sell a judgeship, and died in 1920 in his Far Rockaway home of apoplexy.

www.itsqueens.com  Winter 2010  21


8. Alan Hevesi

7. John Liu

There is such a thing as bad publicity. A case in point is the story of Alan Hevesi, whose stunning fall from grace capped a long political career spanning back four decades. Hevesi was seen by many as an up-and-comer with loads of potential when he was first elected to represent Queens in the New York State Assembly in 1971. He didn’t disappoint, holding the post for the next two decades before winning election as NewYork City Comptroller in 1993. Hevesi moved on to become State Comptroller in 2001. From there it all seemed like smooth sailing, until reports surfaced that Hevesi received personal kickbacks in return for steering $250 million in state pension funds to a California investment firm. An investigation revealed he was rewarded with political contributions and hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for personal expenses like a chauffeur for his wife and trips abroad to Italy and Israel. He resigned in 2006 after pleading guilty to a felony. Last October, he pled guilty to corruption charges, and faces several years in prison. However, the scandals haven’t necessarily hurt the Hevesi brand son Andrew was recently re-elected to anothe term in the Assembly.

As the first-ever Asian American elected to the City Council, John Liu made a name for himself not because of that distinction, but because he proved himself to be a tireless advocate who was admired for his commitment to go anywhere in the city and not just stay in the cozy confines of his Flushing district. It wasn’t unusual to see Liu addressing a community board in Brooklyn or speaking at a civic association on Staten Island. And this citywide recognition served him well for his next endeavor: running for city comptroller. He would, of course, win, and now he holds one of the most powerful posts in the city. But Liu isn’t only a figure in Queens and New York City politics, he is known all over the nation and is indeed an international figure, well known in his homeland of Taiwan and the rest of China, thanks in large part to a rabid Asian press corps that follows his every move. At the age of 43, however, Liu’s political career is far from being on the downward slope. We see big things in his future, and if they ever change that law that mandates you have to be born in this country to become president...well, you never know.

6. Ralph DeMarco

Political clubs are the backbone for making and forming legislators in Queens, and the Taminent Club is arguably the most successful and deepest of them all; many credit its model for laying the groundwork for the many political clubs that followed. Ralph Demarco, a Long Island City/ Astoria advocate and resident was a leading Democratic political figure in Queens from 1933 until his death in 1977. When the famed Taminent Club grew its roots, Demarco was leading the charge. His work, which would eventually encourage the likes of the Vallones, George Onorato and Gloria D’Amico, speaks for itself. DeMarco, who also served as deputy commissioner of Sanitation, would hold court once a week, during which time people would come to see him and ask for political favors. 22  Winter 2010  www.itsqueens.com


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5. Mario Cuomo

A new generation of New Yorkers will grow up with Governor Andrew Cuomo, but for those of us with longer memories, his father, Governor Mario Cuomo, will forever hold a special place in Queens politics. Cuomo was born in 1932 in Queens, and attended P.S. 50 and later St. John’s University, where he earned his bachelor and law degrees. After a brief stint in the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league system, Cuomo achieved his first taste of fame as a lawyer on an important housing case in Corona in the 1960’s. This led him towards an interest in politics, and he was appointed the Secretary of State of New York in 1975. He was elected Governor in 1982, and was re-elected in 1986 and 1990. A rousing speech at the Democratic National Convention fueled speculation of a possible run for president, but Cuomo never pulled the trigger. (He did come close, though, nearly flying to New Hampshire for the primary in 1992.) Over the course of his long reign in Albany, Cuomo vetoed several bills to re-establish the death penalty, and was a staunch pro-choice advocate. He lost a bid for a fourth term to Republican George Pataki in 1994. With the election of his son Andrew to the governorship in November of 2010, it can be said the apple does not fall far from the tree. The Cuomo dynasty lives on.

4. Peter Vallone, Sr.

For 16 years, Peter Vallone, Sr. of Astoria was the second most powerful man in New York City government. When the City Council was reorganized, Vallone, who had represented Astoria in the City Council since 1974, became the legislative body’s first speaker in 1986 and he ran with it, turning it into the powerful post that it is today. And with that newfound power, Vallone was instrumental in drafting changes to the City Charter that gave the City Council more say in budget matters. Vallone would attempt unsuccessful runs for governor in 1998 and mayor in 2001, but no matter, the role he played in city government brought greater attention to Queens as a force in city politics. Vallone held the post of speaker until 2002, when voters decided to enact term limits and he was forced from office. But don’t worry, they didn’t have to make too may changes to the name on official city documents – he was replaced by his son, Peter Vallone, Jr.

3. Donald Manes

There has never been a borough president who courted controversy quite like Donald Manes. Manes, the youngest borough president in Queens history, transformed the office from a ceremonial post into a proactive force for change. First elected in 1971, he would go on to be elected four more times and serve until just before his suicide – an act that would send shock waves throughout Queens political circles. Manes didn’t shy away from big projects, and received criticism for trying to bring a racetrack and a domed stadium to Flushing Meadows Corona Park. But things started to go south for Manes when he courted resentment for passing over a local company for the lucrative job of bringing cable television to the borough. Shortly after being elected to a fifth term, Manes left a party at Borough Hall and was later found in his car with both his wrists slit. Initially he claimed that he had been carjacked, but later admitted he tried to commit suicide. In the following weeks, disturbing allegations began to emerge that Manes used political appointments and favors to line his own pockets. His awarding of cable television franchises was at the heart of the investigation, which was making national headlines. In February of 1986, he resigned from office. Then on the evening of March 13, while talking to his psychiatrist on the phone, Manes pulled out a kitchen knife and stabbed himself in the heart. He died at the scene. While the Manes legacy ends on a disturbing note, there is not doubt that for over two decades he was a powerful force and looming figure in the world of Queens politics.


1. Thomas Manton Thomas Manton got his start in politics by replacing another political figure on our list: Geraldine Ferarro. When Ferraro decided to join Walter Mondale as his running mate in his bid for president in 1884, the decision left her seat open in the House of Representatives. In 1985, it was filled by Manton. He would serve in the position until his resignation in 1998. And while he had a distinguished career in Congress, Manton’s biggest impact on Queens politics was as chairman of the Democratic Organization of Queens County, a post he held from 1986 until his death in 2006 after a long battle with prostate cancer. Under Manton, the Democratic Party in Queens County gained unprecedented influence. A nod from Manton and with it the party endorsement was considered a golden ticket to elected office for a candidate. Just ask Bill Clinton. In 1992, Manton became the first major party chairman to endorse Clinton in his bid for president, and even personally brought the future president to Forest Hills on a campaign stop. Manton is also credited with bringing more minorities into the fold of the Democratic Party and eventually into leadership positions, making the party more closely reflect the rich racial diveristy of Queens. Following Manton’s death, his post would be filled by the very man that succeeded him in Congress, Joseph Crowley.

2. Geraldine Ferraro It’s hard to overstate Geraldine Ferraro’s impact on the political landscape of Queens - or for that matter, the country - though she only represented the borough in Congress for six short years. Ferraro was an assistant district attorney in Queens County with a no-nonsense reputation when she won a seat in Congress in 1978. Ferraro rose quickly through the Democratic ranks in the House of Representatives, while keeping an attentive eye on her Western Queens district and hometown community of Forest Hills Gardens, where she lived for several decades. When Walter Mondale chose her as his running mate in the 1984 presidential election, Ferraro became the first female vice presidential nominee of a major party. The pair were beaten badly by President Ronald Reagan that fall, but Ferraro’s candidacy placed her in the national spotlight, and she’s been there ever since. Tenacious and charming, Ferraro has served as a role model to a generation of female politicians from Queens in office today.


Nearly Extinct Parrots Thrive In Queens

A

t first glance, thick-billed parrots look like any other parrot species, but the birds

- with their green, red and yellow plumage - hold a lot of cultural significance for the United States: these beautiful birds are the only living parrot species which naturally occur in the United States, notes Queens Zoo Director Scott Silver. Extinct in the wild in the U.S., thickbilled parrots face a similar fate to that of the now-extinct Carolina parakeet, but the recent birth of five chicks at the Queens Zoo is a significant step in ensuring survival of the species. “Because our collection focuses on North

Queens Zoo’s flock now consists of 23

and South American animals,” said Silver,

parrots, making it the largest of any facility

“we’re particularly proud to be able to play accredited by the Association of Zoos and such an important part in protecting the only Aquariums. The thick-billed parrot was once living parrot species native to the United

found in the American Southwest, but due to

States.”

logging pressures the cavity-nesting species

The chicks, which were born in July and has been extinct in the U.S. since the midAugust, have beaks that will remain white twentieth century. Today the few remaining through their first birthday, after which they wild birds, believed to be fewer than 250 will turn black. With the addition of the chicks, the 28  Winter 2010  www.itsqueens.com

mature individuals, reside in the pine forests of Mexico.


Despite a life in captivity, the thick-billed parrots have not allowed their circumstances to stifle their individuality. “I can predict which ones are going to be nosy and in someone else’s nest, who’s going to leave them alone and who’s going to be aggressive,” said Silver, “because I know their personalities.” The Queens Zoo has successfully raised 15 chicks since 2006. Adults can live into their late 20s in captivity, and Silver believes some of the resident thick-billed parrots are at least two decades old. He credits the success to the zoo’s dedication to recreating the exhibit to resemble the birds’ natural habitat as closely as possible. “This exhibit is actually large enough for them to practice flying around,” he said of the approximately 30 by 10-yard exhibit, which can house up to 30 parrots. “We want them to stay wild.” However, in the extreme cold, heat lamps are often used to keep the parrots warm. The pine trees and wooden nest boxes must also regularly be replaced because the parrots keep destroying them with their tough beaks. Silver pointed out despite all the work and cost that goes into raising the high maintenance thick-billed parrots, there is a need for the Queens Zoo, the only zoo in the tri-state area with a flock, to continue doing so. “[The thick-billed parrot] is part of our national heritage,” said Silver. “To bring that story to New Yorkers is worthwhile.” www.itsqueens.com  Winter 2010  29


ABOUT THE QUEENS ZOO

Inside Flushing Meadows Corona Park lies the Queens Zoo, an 11-acre wildlife oasis featuring over 60 species of mammals, birds and reptiles/amphibians from across the Americas. The zoo is the perfect size for little ones with little legs, yet it’s still large enough to maintain a diversity that will interest even older visitors. Looking for a show? The California sea lions love a crowd, so stop by their pool for daily feeding demonstrations. It’s one of the zoo’s most popular exhibits. What’s a zoo without some predators? On the Woodland Trail, come in contact with the zoo’s lynx, puma and owls. Get a taste of the Great Plains at the coyote exhibit. See the inner workings of a forest as you circle up the aviary walkways. Meet ducks and turkeys on the forest floor, then spend some time with treetop-

BQE 2D Scan this to see the Queens Zoo Website 30  Winter 2010  www.itsqueens.com

dwelling porcupines, cardinals and egrets. Get up close and personal with domestic animals at the farm. The llamas, goats and sheep won’t hesitate to come up and eat out of your hand. On the South American Trail, learn about pudu (the world’s smallest deer), Andean bears and thick-billed parrots. These three species all face extinction in the wild, but here at the Queens Zoo, they’re safe from any threats. All this and more await you at the Queens Zoo. The zoo is open 365 days a year, so drop and make some new animal friends. The Queens Zoo is located at 53-51 111th Street in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. It is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through April 1. For more information call (718) 271-1500 or visit www. queenszoo.com.


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22 Orthopedic Shoe Store 9003 PIZZERIAS Lane Pizzeria .............. 7519 Domino’s Pizza ........... 7802 A Taste of Italy ............. 84-07 Sal’s Pizzeria .............. 8507 DeAleo’s Pizzeria ......... 90-10 Carlos Pizzeria ............ 9215 Jeebo’s Pizza and Pasta………………9508 POLISH Polish Deli Hetman’s . 8424 PRINTING Beat the Clock ............. 97-13 RESTAURANTS May May Kitchen (Chinese Food) .......... 7422 Fried Chicken Restaurant .................................... 7438 King Wok Chinese Food ............. 7909 Shanghai Kitchen ........ 8011 Subway ....................... 8028 Frank’s ........................ 8029 Fresco Tortillas ........... 8417 Palace Fried Chicken...8450 Japanese/Sushi ......... 85-18 The New Pops ............ 8522 Thai Restaurant .......... 8605 Kentucky Fried Chicken .................................... 8717 Ho Wan Take-Out ....... 88-22 Caridad Restaurant .... 9019 McDonald’s ................. 91-

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01 Avenue Diner (Formerly Forest View Restaurant) ........ 91-06 Carnival House (Chinese) .................................... 9209 Dunkin’ Donuts ........... 9217 .................................... 8413 Popeye’s Chicken ....... 9220 Manor German Deli .... 94-12 Mama Meena’s – Filipino… ……………….94-20 Dumpling House ........ 9512 Cheung King ............... 9717 El Anzualo ................... 98-01 UPHOLSTERY Polo’s Upholstery ....... 7709 Imperial Upholstering . 8608 VARIETY Melanie’s Gift Shop…...7917 Gift Shop ..................... 79-16 Liberty ......................... 80-16 Dee ‘n Dee .................. 8019 GEM ............................ 84-33 Hallmark Cards .......... 8603 Jembro ……………….. 90-34 Discount Express ....... 9104 Priceless ..................... 9107 $5 And Up……………. 96-01 VIDEO STORE Tyler’s Video ................ 79-24 Marquee Video ............ 85-08 AND MANY MORE!

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Profile

It’s Queens Goes Local With The Senate’s Rising Star


Profile

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand Talks Queens, The Economy And Immigration

By Daniel Bush

Kirsten Gillibrand was largely unknown outside of her upstate Congressional district when, in January of 2009, Governor David Paterson appointed her to Hillary Clinton’s vacant U.S. Senate seat. True, she came from a politically connected family, had interned with former Senator Alfonse D’Amato, and parlayed that into a successful legal career in the Clinton Administration and the private sector. But when Paterson appointed Gillibrand to succeed Clinton, who gave up a storied senate seat to become Secretary of State, the response of most New Yorkers was a resounding “Gilliwho?” Two years later, everyone knows the junior senator from New York, which is no small feat, considering that she shares the stage with Senator Charles Schumer, a top Democratic leader and the most popular politician in the state. Since taking office she has fought to repeal the military policy Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and been a staunch advocate of compensation for 9/11 first responders. In last November’s special election, Gillibrand cruised to victory, positioning herself well for 2012, when she will seek her first full term. In Washington, many consider

her a rising senate star. But in Queens, where trust and familiarity means everything in politics, people are still figuring her out. Gillibrand has devoted significant time to assuaging liberal advocacy groups concerned about her centrist voting record in the House of Representatives, where she served from 2006 through 2008. The work is paying off. There are signs that Gillibrand is winning friends and allies, neighborhood by neighborhood (and restaurant by restaurant; the senator is an adventurous gourmand who’s stopped at the New East Restaurant in Flushing and Uncle Louie G’s in Forest Hills, among other places, on her travels across the borough). As she told It’s Queens, residents of Rego Park and Middle Village share much more in common with the upstate voters she once represented than meets the eye; communities across the state want safe streets, good schools and above all else jobs, and lots of them.

the things I’ve determined is that approximately 60,000 seniors in Queens fall victim to scams every year, costing them about $21 million annually and putting their life savings at risk. There are far too many stories like Maria Esther Romero’s- a senior from Corona I met who experienced identity theft when fraudsters used her Social Security number to fund an illegal store. Our Queens seniors should have all the resources needed to protect them from predatory scam artists. Seniors deserve financial security, especially during these difficult economic times. I’m also concerned that for the second straight year, seniors and the disabled will not see a cost of living adjustment to their Social Security benefits or Supplemental Security Income. These benefits serve as a lifeline for the Queens elderly. I have renewed my push for Congress to issue one-time direct payments of $250 to seniors and people with disabilities.

IQ: When you were first appointed, advocacy groups in the outer boroughs It’s Queens: What have you learned were concerned with your position on about the borough that you may not issues such as gun rights. Is finding have known before taking statewide some kind of middle ground between city residents and upstate residents reoffice? Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: One of ally possible in New York State? www.itsqueens.com  Winter 2010  33


Profile

KG: I was raised in upstate New York and spent more than a dozen years working in New York City, so I understand New Yorkers. And I have always been an independent voice for New York, someone who fights hard for my constituents. When I served in the House I represented the needs and challenges of my upstate, rural district. And now as Senator, I am focused on addressing the challenges that are faced by 20 million New Yorkers in every part of our state. While my responsibilities have changed, my core beliefs and values have never wavered. When I meet New Yorkers all across the state, whether they’re from upstate or downstate, they are worried about the economy and how they are going to make ends meet and provide for their families. What all New Yorkers want are good-paying jobs, safe communities, and a bright future 34  Winter 2010  www.itsqueens.com

obesity rates by bringing healthy, fresh food to schools in Queens. This past summer, the Senate passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Food Kids Act, which marks a step in the right direction. The legislation finally rid schools of junk food, guarantees all foster children access to school meals and connects farms to schools to supply them with fresh, local produce. I will continue to fight to secure the right investments in our children’s health and make sure every child can achieve their full potential. I am also proud to support and help grow our city’s greenmarkets and urban farms, such as the Brooklyn Grange in Queens - the city’s largest rooftop garden, which sells produce to local restaurants. In continuing the tradition that Secretary Hillary Clinton began, I for their children. I think there is more hosted this year’s ninth annual “New that unites us than divides us but there York Farm Day” in Washington, D.C., are some political debates where we showcasing the importance of New need to get beyond political bumper York City’s thriving greenmarkets stickers and come together to forge and restaurants and the quality of New York’s agricultural industry. City real solutions. restaurants that participated featured IQ: Thanks to your background, their seasonally-inspired local dishes, and membership on the Agricultural which included produce from the Committee, are you positioning Brooklyn Grange. herself to be that bridge? And what perspective do you bring to the table IQ: What are some of your long-term that people in Queens might learn goals in Washington? KG: Number one, creating jobs. from? KG: As the first New Yorker to Government doesn’t create jobs; New serve on the Senate Agriculture Yorkers create jobs. My plans will Committee in nearly 40 years, I have support and create opportunities for the opportunity to not only help shape entrepreneurs to thrive by increasing agriculture policy for farmers upstate, lending small businesses, providing but to focus on improving the health tax credits for small businesses, and well-being of school children and investing in research and development of renewable energy, and ending families across New York City. I am proud to be leading the push policies that reward companies that in Congress to combat rising child outsource America jobs.


Profile

Number two, fighting for middleclass tax cuts. New Yorkers are overtaxed. We need to do more to help middle-class families and that starts by extending tax cuts for the middle class and small businesses. Number three, promoting transparency and accountability in Washington. By changing the way Washington does business, we can limit the power of special interests and create good-paying jobs for the middle class. I have an agenda to make Washington more open and transparent by creating a searchable database for all earmarks, ending anonymous holds, reforming the filibuster, and more.

and the rule of law, while working to right-size our immigration system to unite families and make sure our farms and businesses have the workforce they need. It is undeniable that the broken system is hurting our economy and our families. I support an earned path to citizenship with strict accountability that would require everyone to obey the law, learn English, and pay our taxes. I believe the DREAM Act is an economic imperative. We must provide education opportunities to all our students. Current laws unfairly penalize thousands of young adults, including those in Queens,

who received all their education in the United States and know only the United States as home. Estimates indicate 50,000 to 65,000 students would benefit from the DREAM Act each year. These are young people who must have every opportunity to get a good education today, so that they can become contributing workers in our economy. Thousands of immigrants have come to Queens seeking better opportunities and lives. I am proud to represent the most ethnically diverse county in the nation and I will continue to focus on protecting our most vulnerable immigrant populations.

IQ: Senator Chuck Schumer is a powerful, dominating figure in New York politics. What is your relationship like, and how has it changed since Schumer and the White House came under criticism for their attempt to clear the primary field before your special election last November? KG: Senator Schumer and I make a great team for New York. We have different areas of focus, but we share core values such as fighting for the middle class, creating jobs through small businesses, and providing every New Yorker with the opportunity for a college education. IQ: Queens is the most diverse county in the country. Immigration, after job creation and the economy, is the issue for many communities. What is your position on fixing the immigration system? And how would any changes impact immigrant groups in Queens? KG: I support comprehensive reform. We must uphold America’s security

www.itsqueens.com  Winter 2010  35


Petey’s Burger

BURGER WARS

A

Rating Astoria’s Best Burgers By Danielle McClure

burger battle has been waged in Astoria. Several new additions to the neighborhood’s trendy restaurant and bar scene are offering up tasty twists on the classic diner fave,

proving that there’s much more to a burger than just meat and bun. From outrageous toppings to exotic meats to simple, succulent flavors, there’s some seriously stiff competition when it comes to determining who has the most mouthwatering burger in town. We taste-tested five popular faves, from both neighborhood newcomers and mainstays, to determine which burger is most bangin’. 36  Winter 2010  www.itsqueens.com


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1. Sweet Afton EDITOR’S CHOICE It’s Queens Rating: 95 Overall quality, quantity, execution and outsized flavor, thanks the use of locally sourced ingredients, are what separate the comforting, downright decadent Sweet Afton Burger ($9) from the rest of the palatal pack. It’s a taste bud teasing combination of superfresh, Pat La Frieda beef cooked to order on a soft, buttery brioche bun from Maspeth’s Rollo Mio bakery with Brooklyn’s McClure’s Pickles, caramelized onions (cooked to perfection), sharp, creamy melted Irish cheddar and (if you dare) double smoked bacon. You’re left smacking your lips long after the last bite.Yep, it’s just that good. 3009 34th St., (718) 777-2570 www.sweetaftonbar.com

a side of crispy battered onion rings, which might just be the best in town, too. 3321 31st Ave., (718) 777-7011; www.bareburger.com

4. Zuzies Kitchen It’s Queens Rating: 83 Innovative toppings, variety and vegan options are newcomer Zuzies’, which is located in Mix Café and Lounge, biggest draw. The spicy Green Chile Cheeseburger ($10.95) is the only burger in town with a truly southwestern spin. With pablano-serano chile relish and melted pepper jack cheese, it’s a delicious New York take on the New Mexican fave. The Five-Alarm Burger ($9.95) ups the ante on the spice factor with wasabi mayo and blackened peppercorns. The Southern Burger ($11.95), with fried onion strings and fresh corn salsa, is comfort food at its best, 2. Petey’s Burger but the Island Burger ($10.95), topped with BEST BUY avocado, grilled pineapple and citrus-jalapIt’s Queens Rating: 90 eno mayo, is an acquired taste. The wellIf there’s one burger that lives up to its seasoned beef patties are thick, juicy and reputation as a greasy guilty pleasure, it’s made fresh, but lack the high-heat seared Petey’s. The “Fresh touch on an old favorite” “crust” that helps seal in bold flavor. Zuzies slogan is right on point. It’s simple, tasty fast is the best bet for delivery and for adventurfood done fresh. The outrageously delicious ous burger buffs that aren’t afraid to think burgers are classic, diner-inspired and totally outside the bun. gut busting…in a good way. Fans of Five 40-17 30th Ave., (718) 406-9600 Guys, Shake Shack and West Coast staple www.zuzies.com In-N-Out will certainly appreciate the messy simplicity of the 100 percent all-beef patties 5.The Sparrow Tavern (made fresh, not frozen) that are offered as It’s Queens Rating: 79 single, double or triple burgers topped with One of the hood’s most beloved bars also gooey melted cheese, tangy special sauce, serves up a simple, understated 6-ounce surprisingly crunchy leaf lettuce and a slice burger ($9.50), which can be topped with of fresh tomato— all wrapped up in a handy gruyere, cheddar, brie or fontina cheese. wrapper to prevent slippage and (sort of) Meat-lovers can opt for applewood smoked contain the glorious mess. Order a Value bacon or a thick slice of speck (a type of Combo ($9.29) with a double cheeseburger cured, smoked ham), which is a nice touch. (one patty just isn’t enough) with a side of While decently cooked, the burger itself is equally yummy and, yes, greasy fries piled thin and somewhat bland. It’s nothing to high, then wash it all down with an outra- write home about, but good after downing geously thick milkshake. Trust us, you’ll feel a few pints. The best part? The tasty toasted like a kid again. fresh bun made locally by Pain D’Avingon. 30-17 30th Ave., (718) 267-6300 24-01 29th St., (718) 606-2260 www.peteysburger.com www.thesparrowtavern.com 3. BareBurger It’s Queens Rating: 93 Organic is the magic word at BareBurger, which boasts the “best burger in town.” Delicious grass-fed meats, including the somewhat exotic elk, ostrich, lamb and bison varieties, are served up on your choice of 8-grain roll, brioche bun or even in a lettuce wrap. While the Original BareBurger is king, all varieties such as the Jalapeno Express and Blue Bacon burgers are made to order and piled high with an impressive selection of toppings (the Pesto Red Pepper Burger, for one, includes creamy havarti cheese, roasted red peppers, baby spinach and pesto mayo). No matter your choice, you can’t go wrong. And whatever you do, don’t forget to order

Sweet Afton

Zuzies Kitchen

Sparrow Tavern It’s Queens Rating Key: 95-100: Superb.The pinnacle of quality. 90-94: Excellent. Classic and highly recommended. 85-89: Good. Overall great value and flavor.Well recommended. 80-84: Acceptable.Tasty but not great. 70-79: Average. Good but has several minor flaws 60-50: Below average/Poor. Not recommended.

HONORABLE MENTIONS 5 Napkin Burger 35-01 36th St., (718) 433-2727; www.5napkinburger.com Crave Shack 25-47 Steinway St., (718) 278. 2323; www.craveshack.com Fatty’s Café 25-01 Ditmars Blvd., (718) 267-7071; www.fattyscafenyc.com

Bare Burger www.itsqueens.com  Fall 2010  38


U.S. COLUMBARIUM Inc. WWW.FRESHPONDCREMATORY.COM SERVING ALL RELIGIONS IN OUR COMMUNITY SINCE 1884. 61-40 MOUNT OLIVET CRESCENT, MIDDLE VILLAGE, NY 11379 (718) 821-9700 DcZd[CZlNdg`¼h;^cZhi =^YYZc=^hidg^VaH^iZh

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Queens Wheels Autos

Wheels Top Six

By Jesse Almonte

2011 ACURA TL The 2011 TL is the quintessential sports sedan, combining equal parts technology, luxury and exciting performance. Since inception, the Acura TL performance luxury sedan has set lofty standards for styling, performance, comfort and technology. Available for 2011 in two different models (TL and TL SH- AWD®), the fourth-generation Acura TL is the most diverse in the vehicle’s history offering more performance capabilities and luxury appeal than ever before— all wrapped in evocative style. Highs: Appealing exterior and interior design. Advanced climate and entertainment convenience features. All-wheel-drive system adds impressive performance and great reliability. Lows: Pricey with all the added options. 40  Winter 2010  www.itsqueens.com

2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe The Cadillac CTS Coupe is the new focal point of Cadillac, expressing both our design and technical capabilities The CTS Coupe emerged as a proposal inside Cadillac’s dedicated design studio, where designers develop and evolve the brand’s Art and Science design philosophy. It is powered by a 3.6L direct injected V-6 rated at 304 horsepower (227 kW). The high-performance CTS-V Coupe receives the same, 556-horsepower (415 kW) 6.2L supercharged V-8 found in the landmark CTS-V Sport Sedan. Highs: A joy to drive, affordable, and highquality feel. Lows: Standard front seats could use more support.

2011 Jaguar XJ The all-new XJ re-imagines the ultimate sporting luxury car. It’s beautiful, exhilarating to drive and with a bold, enlightened approach to design meets the challenges of our fast-changing world. Sleek, sporting and sophisticated, the all-new Jaguar XJ brings a daring new spirit to automotive luxury. It offers a seductive mix of striking design, breathtaking performance and engineering without compromise. Highs: Incredible fuel economy, driving experience impressive equal of non-hybrid vehicles and comfortable interior built of highquality. Lows: Rear seating is tight.


Queens Wheels Autos

2011 Chevrolet Cruze The 2011 Chevrolet Cruze delivers many segment-leading features and details that challenge preconceived notions about what a compact car can be in North America. The Cruze also affirms Chevrolet’s commitment to building refined, fuel-efficient vehicles using new, small-displacement, four-cylinder engines. It is expected to deliver segment-leading fuel economy with a new Ecotec 1.4L I-4 turbo with variable valve timing – including up to an expected 40 mpg on the highway with the Cruze Eco model. Highs: Impressive fuel economy, spacius interior for its segment and Class-leading safety feature. Lows: Bland driving experience.

Owned rated & Ope idents s e R y B of Our . unity Comm

2011 GMC Acadia Denali A new, premium Denali model joins the GMC Acadia lineup for 2011, adding a new dimension of luxury and exclusivity to this popular crossover. It brings the distinctive Denali design elements, including a chrome honeycomb grille and monochromatic exterior color cues, along with exclusive fascias, high-intensity discharge headlamps and unique interior features. Highs: Good fuel economy for its segement, third row is very comfortable, nice cargo space and impressive handling. Lows: High Prcing for its class, bland interior materials, and ess towing capability han GM’s truck-based SUVs.

2011 Ford Fiesta The all-new Ford Fiesta features an expressive, vibrant design, with sharp reflexes and a global track record that will redefine U.S. small car customers’ expectations. Designed to be versatile, personal and adaptable, Fiesta is expected to deliver best-in-class safety, convenience and connectivity with segment-exclusive SYNC® voice-activated communications system, an expressive color palette and available grap Highs: A blast to drive , comfortable spacing for its class and great fuel economy. Lows: Base madel sparsely equipped.

The Experts in both U.S. & Foreign Car Service • Air Conditioning Service • Alignemnt & Balancing • NYS DOT School Bus Inspection Facility

718.672.9758 718.476.8891 Franz Schweitzer Partner

Kevin Wolter Head Mechanic

Rick Metzger Partner

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Auto Repair Corp. 74 - 02 Grand Avenue, Maspeth


A Snapshot in Time

While looking through our extensive archives researching our Top 15 Politicians of All Time list, we uncovered the original press release and photo of the swearing-in ceremony for Donald Manes last term as borough president. Administering the oath is former Mayor Ed Koch. Here’s the photo and press release from 1986.

42  Winter 2010  www.itsqueens.com


Grand Florist W E A P P R E C I AT E YO U R PAT R O N AG E

ServingYou,

Our Grand Community, For Over

40

Years.

BQE 2D: Scan this to visit our Business Directory

6537 GRAND AVENUE | MASPETH, NY, 11378

718.326.1090

Winter 2010  43 D E L I V E R Y I N A L L F I V E B O R O U www.itsqueens.com  GHS


44  Winter 2010  www.itsqueens.com


www.itsqueens.com  Winter 2010  45


Maspeth Dry Cleaners

Cleaning is Our Art

69-37 Grand Ave 71-23 Eliot Ave 79-14 Eliot Ave (718) 335-6042 (718) 458-8408 (718) 803-3045 Monday-Saturday 7am-7pm 46  Winter 2010  www.itsqueens.com


BQE QUEENS LEDGER BROOKLYN STAR

BQE M

A

2D

2D Bar Codes open up a whole new level of reader interaction. By scanning the bar code with your phone, you can visit a we page, watch a video, send a text message, and more. Try these out and visit our various mobile sites. Ready to get started? Here’s how: First, visit the App Store on your phone. Once you’re there, search for “QR Code Reader” We recommend NeoReader for the iPhone and Blackberry, Barcode Scanner for Android, and QR-Decode for Palm WebOS phones. Once you’ve got your app installed, open it and scan the barcode.

Queens Ledger

Leader/ Observer

Glendale Register

Queens Examiner

Forest Hills Times

Greenpoint Star

Long Island City Journal

Brooklyn Downtown Star

www.itsqueens.com  Winter 2010  47


Queens Commerce BUSINESS DIRECTORY

MTP Advisors Financial Services 69-64 Grand Avenue Maspeth, NY 11378 (718) 898-0871 www.mtpadvisors.com mterry@mtpadvisors.com

Ron Green Reverse Mortgage Advisor, New York, NY 347.409.3265, ronald.green@genworth.com genworth.com/ronaldgreen

Salon & Supply

Mirror rorriM Susan Sheane owner

64-71 Dry Harbor Road Middle Village NY 11379 elitebeautysupply.com ssheane@nyc.rr.com 718-849-5394

440 Jericho Turnpike Jericho NY 11753 Phone: 516-681-4200 Fax: 516-433-7530

Yoga • Dance • Taichi • Capoeira Grand Florist

65-37 Grand Avenue, Maspeth, NY 11378 Tel: (718) 326-1090 Fax: (718) 326-1375

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Beginners Classes, Including Gentle and Restorative Yoga New Student Special: 1 Month Unlimited Classes for $45 Senior and Student Discounts

lobal-Net Solutions

1225 Franklin Ave. Suite 325 Garden City, NY 11530 516-775-0100 www.g-net.com

48  Winter 2010  www.itsqueens.com

Text ‘bamboomoves’ to 21321 to get the latest specials 107-40 Queens Blvd, Suite 206 Forest Hills, NY 11375 (718) 263 - 0788


Queens Commerce BUSINESS DIRECTORY Pennisi, Daniels & Norelli, LLP Attorneys at Law 97-77 Queens Blvd, Suite 620 Rego Park, NY 11374 Phone: 718-459-6000 Fax: 718-459-6875

Home Inspection Associates At Home Inspection Associates, we take the surprises out of home buying and give you peace of mind.

(516) 482-0900

15 Cuttermill Rd. Great Neck, NY 11021 www.homeinspectny.com

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For all your hair & beauty needs! 5 Continental Ave Forest Hills Mini Mall Forest Hills, NY 11375

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QUEENS


Photos from Jamaica Estates, $21.99, Arcadia Publishing. Available at local retailers, online bookstores, or through Arcadia Publishing at www.arcadiapublishing.com or (888) 313-2665.

, the in 1872 Closing . t) e e tr 62nd S lace. Street (1 blic meeting p u ion Hall p n a U , ll n a o nial H pened me Colo ademy o Hall Ac ing above beco n io n U , build 1, 1972 eminary On May Ladies S The Germ an Ca Zeller laid tholics of Jamaic a grew su the corne ffi rstone fo r St. Mary ciently to warrant a separate ’s Germa n Catholi parish. In c Church 1886, Re on Shelto n Avenue verend Ignatius (89th Ave nue).

Jamaica Estates Through the Years An excerpt from the introduction to “Jamaica Estates”...

When real estate speculators and developers Ernestus Gulick and Felix Isman purchased 500 acres of wooded land north of the village of Jamaica, they dreamed to establish an affluent resort with an English flavor. Today Jamaica Estate remains one of the most desirable neighborhoods to reside in New York City. Gulick and Isman admired the natural beauty of the area and vowed to keep its charm as they developed the land, preserving the forests populated with towering oak, elm, maple, and chestnut trees. It became a residential park, a concept where the development would be laid out with an eye to beauty and exclusiveness rather than to profitable economy of space by preserving the natural beauties of the land. The boundaries were as they are now: Union Turnpike on the north, 188th Street on the east, Hillside Avenue on the south, and Utopia Parkway/Homelawn Street on the west. Breaking from the city practice of laying streets in 50  Winter 2010  www.itsqueens.com

a grid, architect Charles W. Leavitt designed a parklike suburb with all the advantages of city life. In 1908, a golf course was part of the vision of the early developers and laid out to the west of the burgeoning Jamaica Estates neighborhood. By 1924, it became known as the Hillcrest Golf Course and was later sold to the Vincentians Order of the Catholic Church who built Saint John’s University on the property. When the Grand Central Parkway threatened the serenity of the neighborhood, the Jamaica Estates Association joined with other community groups to form the Grand Central Parkway Assessment Protest Committee and successfully rezoned for both sides of the parkway to make business there impractical. Today Jamaica Estates is a vibrant multicultural community diverse and inviting. It has great promise for the future with the young people who reside here. - Counilman James Gennaro


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www.itsqueens.comâ&#x20AC;&#x201A; Winter 2010â&#x20AC;&#x201A; 51


Cover Story

George Washington’s headquarters were located on Flushing Avenue (Parsons Boulevard).

A number of landmarks are visible in this photograph, including Jamaica Town Hall and the steeples of S. Mary German Catholic Church and Grace Episcopal Church.

The 1930 photograph of Troon Road looks east to 188th Street.

Before the Battle of Long Island in 1776, General Nathaniel Woodhull moved provisions and cattle to Carpenter’s Tavern (Jamaica Avenue and 197th Street) where he was captured. Ordered to say “God save the King,” he instead said “God save us all” and was savagely beaten.

George Washington once spent the night in this tavern located at Parsons Boulevard and Jamaica Avenue. In this 1907 photograph, it is called Pettits Hotel.

52  Winter 2010  www.itsqueens.com

The woods north of Jamaica Estates, which would later become the Grand Central Parkway.


Glendale Bakeshop Cafe & Deli

The land and home of subway builder and philanthropist William Degnon. It had frontage on Wexford Road and Edgerton Boulevard.

2011

For All Your Real Estate Needs • Buying • Renting

• Selling • Mortgages

100% Of Our Listings Are Sold Before cars, New Yorkers maintained summer homes on Long Island, and the Frost house was a favorite boardinghouse. Erected around 1850 at the corner of Kendrick Road (Place) and Mayfield Road, it is the oldest house in Jamaica Estates.

Joseph & Jackie Abramaitis Associate Broker Senior Real Estate Specialist

The “A” Team 72-01 Grand Avenue, Maspeth, NY 11378 917-952-2156 917-952-2797 Immaculate Conception was built on William Degnon’s former property.

www.ateamhomesny.com www.itsqueens.com  Winter 2010  53


Review

QUEENS THEATRE IN THE PARK

“The Bikinis”

By Holly Tsang

54  Winter 2010  www.itsqueens.com


I

f you grew up in the ‘60s, The Bikinis will make you long for days gone by, and if you didn’t, it’ll make you wish you did. Chock full of well-known poppy tunes, the musical, which made its New York City debut in December at Queens Theatre in the Park, is a blast from the past. A one-hit wonder girl group founded on the Jersey shore reunites after two decades for a concert marking the fate of Sandy Shores Mobile Beach Resort. A developer has offered the residents of Sandy Shores a whopping $1 million per trailer and The Bikinis, who got their name in the summer of 1964 after winning the Belmar Beach Talent Contest wearing just their bikinis, are responsible for collecting surveys on residents’ decisions to sell or stay. The entire musical plays out in real time; The Bikinis play the concert while the residents of Sandy Shores (a.k.a. you, the real live audience) look on. The band members are sisters Jodi and Annie, cousin Karla and their best friend Barbara, who, now in their 40s or 50s, illustrate their refusal to strip down to their two piece bathing suits with a rousing rendition of “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.” The women stick to a script for the concert, but as they reminisce about their gradual rise from the boardwalk to national stardom, the scenes and songs are replayed in front of the audience’s very eyes. The hits come fast; don’t be surprised to find yourself singing along to chart-topping numbers like “It‘s in His Kiss,” “Heat Wave,” “Under the Boardwalk,” “These Boots Were Made For Walking” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” The entire first half of the show is dedicated to songs from the ‘60s, and through the women’s witty banter with each other and the retelling of stories, the audience gains some insight into the lives of these former teen sensations. The second half pays homage to the ‘70s, taking on a more somber sound with songs like “Look What They’ve Done To My Song, Ma” and “Simple Song of Freedom” as The Bikinis transition into an era of the Vietnam War, hippies and Woodstock. The Bikinis also highlight the disco and dance craze with

recognizable songs including “I’m Every Woman,” “I Will Survive” and “It’s Raining Men.” The women are told early on that to make it big in the music industry, they will need to come up with some original songs. We journey with them as they perform at weddings, bar mitzvahs and parties in their quest to earn the money needed to record the only 45 they ever come out with. “In My Bikini” is a poppy tune that becomes an instant hit on the radio at the height of the surf movie craze. “Sandy Shores,” the single on the B-side, is a mellow love ballad dedicated to the ocean side community where The Bikinis got their start, and a fitting way to end the show. The survey results are in, and the number of people who want to sell their trailers is tied with the number who refuse to - amazingly, it all boils down to one vote. Will the residents of Sandy Shore stay or sell? Regardless of who you are, grab your bikini and dive right into this funny, uplifting, nostalgic musical when it floats your way. To find out more about The Bikinis, visit www. thebikinismusical.com. Check out other exciting productions at Queens Theatre in the Park by visiting www.queenstheatre.org or calling the box office at 718-760-0064.

BQE 2D Scan this to visit QTIP’s website.

www.itsqueens.com  Winter 2010  55


Queens Fashion THE DRESS RECYCLER

56  Winter 2010  www.itsqueens.com


Fashion POLice

D R

WITH Holly Wilensky

The Dress Recycler As The Dress Recycler is saving the world from paying full price for clothes and accessories, little do people know that she has a double life as the Fashion Police of Queens. She patrols the streets day after day, saving the city from bad fashion mistakes. It's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it.

www.itsqueens.comâ&#x20AC;&#x201A; Winter 2010â&#x20AC;&#x201A; 57


Queens Fashion THE DRESS RECYCLER

Men

DR

• Unruly facia l hair • Clothes that are too large a nd baggy • Sports gear d uring non-sport ing events • Sandals • Too large or ill-fitting dress shirts • Ties that are tied incorrect le ngths • Incorrect len gth of pants • Stained cloth ing • Too much jew elry • Lack of an u ndershirt when necessary • Mismatched belt and shoes • Out-of-date eyeglass frame s

What is considered a fashion violation? Let's roll out the list of things that are common for first time offenders:

Womrgearnments

ng unde • Incorrect or ill fitti o large and baggy • Clothes that are to non-sporting events ng ri du ar ge ts or Sp • r and is too large with wea at th g ba ed ff tu rs • Ove tear • Clinging fabrics nce in high heels de nfi co h it w k al w • Unable to • Visible panty lines g large and unflatterin • Prints that are too • Pajamas in public ries • Bad Hair Accesso ss frames • Ou-of-date eyegla

DR

Your Smile Speaks For You Make sure it says the right things.

Dent Care Dental, LLC.

Family and Cosmetic Dentistry Christopher P. Kitson, DDS Arthur R. Volker, DDS

58  Winter 2010  www.itsqueens.com

47-01 Queens Blvd Suite 407 Sunnyside, NY 11104 (718) 937-6750 www.dentcaredentaloffice.com


High Heel Rule #1: If you’re going to talk the talk, you must walk the walk. If you’re uncomfortable in shoes that are too high, it shows. Just as well, it’s an accident waiting to happen. This is a fashion rule that cannot be overlooked and ignored. Justice must be served.

SHOE PROBLEMS... Oh no! Here’s someone else who is having trouble in shoes that are too high! It’s never a good idea to wear super high shoes while you’re commuting. Be careful wearing those high wedges! You can’t feel the ground as easily when you walk and it’s very common to overturn your ankle if you’re not careful. Switch to flats or slip-ons in between destinations to save you from feeling wobbly on uneven pavement. It also keeps down the wear and tear. If heels are a must, make sure you have slip grips on the bottoms or wear a lower, thicker heel to get your stability and confidence back. These old things? She could run a marathon in these heels. Her confidence shows it!

www.itsqueens.com  Winter 2010  59


Queens Fashion THE DRESS RECYCLER

The day’s not over yet. I see a suspicious man wearing a dress shirt that is way too big. “I’m sorry sir, but I’m going to have to issue you a Fashion Violation here.” When it comes to men feeling and looking their best, nothing says “confidence” like a properly fitted dress shirt. The dress shirt on this man is a walking fashion violation. It’s wrinkled, has too much fabric around the middle, and is too large in the neck. This is a common problem for men who can’t find shirts

that fit properly. When shopping for dress shirts keep a few helpful hints in mind. Extra fabric adds extra pounds. If you feel uncomfortable in a shirt that is too form fitting, make sure there’s one to two extra inches in the chest and stomach, this will give you the extra room you need without going 3 sizes too big. Make sure the shoulder seams do not fall off the end of your shoulder bone. If it does, it’s too large in the shoulder. The length should hit the bottom of your right

cheek when wearing a shirt untucked. If the length comes higher than that, you run the risk of it coming untucked throughout the day if you choose to ever wear it tucked in. If you are a large person, choose smaller patterns or prints. Never wear a shirt without a button placket in the front. If gives you a longer, leaner look. Choose a collar that frames your facial structure. A narrow face looks best in a wider spread. A larger, rounder face looks best in a regular or narrower collar.

For some, if you have a breast pocket, you’ll use it. Try a shirt without it. It’s a cleaner look. Always use nice metal collar stays. It keeps your collar flat and straight. Don’t forget to remove them before cleaning! Choose patterns that can transition from work to weekend. Always launder and press, never dry clean. It keeps the cotton fibers looking newer, longer. A perfect fit! Now that’s more like it. No fashion violations in sight here!


Queens Fashion THE DRESS RECYCLER Being the Fashion Police is a 24-hour-a-day job. When I thought my day was done, I write another violation to a woman who had a serious panty line offense. “I’m sorry to tell you, but you are committing a serious fashion violation, ma’am.” This woman clearly has on the wrong undergarments under this dress. Also, the fabric is too tight across the bottom, which makes her panty lines visible. Fashion Rule #1: Turn around in the mirror before you leave the house. Visible panty lines should never surface with the large variety of women’s undergarments in stores today. If you can see your panty lines, the fabric across your bottom is too tight.

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s, he r,

’s on

“What in the world?” I said, as I studied the spotted wonder that crossed my path at a neighborhood store. “No, it can’t be. I don’t believe my eyes!” Pajamas in public! This woman was indeed wearing her pajamas while shopping and the best part? She got caught red-handed. The only thing missing was her slippers! Sleepwear Fashion Rule #1: Pajamas shouldn’t see the light of day outside of your home. Keep the pajamas for the bedroom. They aren’t flattering and make people wonder why you didn’t get dressed before you left your house. If you want to be comfortable, there are plenty of leggings and stylish sweats that are more acceptable for day wear. Pajamas never are. Never. As The Dress Recycler hangs up her superhero outfit for the night, she can’t help but feel proud of how much she helped her community correct their fashion mistakes. We know the citizens of Queens will be better dressed because of it!

www.itsqueens.com  Winter 2010  61


By The Dress Recycler

BQE Design Expo

2

010 was the first year of the new BQE Design Expo supporting local designers in Queens and surrounding areas. On Saturday, November 13, creative small

businesses in the areas of art, fashion and accessories paid a registration fee that was donated to Windows of Opportunity, Inc. and came together to showcase

their designs to the public in an open market. BQE Media, Windows of Opportunity (WOO, the outstanding not-for-profit organization for kids and teens) and yours truly, The Dress

Hal Eisenberg with Shortstack models Recycler, hosted the event at Holliswoods Community Church in Queens Village. The

purpose was to bring a network of local designers and creative small businesses together

to support local creative talent as well as raise money for the WOO “Shortstack” modeling program.

A full range of designers from all over the boroughs came, set up shop and sold their goods

and services. The vendor lineup was diverse enough to appeal to a wide range of customers. Everything was offered, from handmade formal children’s dresses to screen printed tees

and organic baby clothing. The businesses were completely unique and original, especially the crowd pleaser Drop by Drop, a custom perfumer that allows you to create your own personalized one-of-a-kind perfume that is made and mixed right in front of you.

62  Winter 2010  www.itsqueens.com


As the shoppers perused the wide variety of merchandise, the vendors and designers created a new network of business contacts and working relationships. These hardworking artisans deserve some credit because not only do they have to come up with their own ideas and hunt for supplies, but they have to put themselves in front of the right audience to build a following and customer base. For most of them, creating a product is one thing, but marketing it is a whole other job. Few of these designers can solely make a living off of their creative businesses. In interviewing some of the vendors, it was interesting to find that most designers use their businesses as a secondary source of income – they turn their passion into a creative outlet while making some extra money. Of the vendor entry fees, 100 percent was donated to WOO and the Shortstack modeling program. You might remember the Shortstack girls covered in the Queens Ledger this summer during the annual fashion show. These young ladies are back, better and stronger than ever, raising more money for their program in coordination with the BQE Design Expo. The Shortstack Modeling program is a teen-inspired fashion and modeling agency that was created to

provide support, training, education, professional contacts and exposure to young girls aspiring to become models. As the rigid standards for the modeling industry are not designed for most teenage girls, the Shortstack program has found a way to embrace the girls’ beauty and body images through runway modeling and various forms of professional print work. Auditions are held each year with the help of the Shortstack “graduates” from the program. Industry professionals including runway coaches and fashion photographers work with them throughout the year to enhance their skills while developing their own portfolios. WOO is a teen’s “golden ticket” for support and confidence in helping them reach their dreams and career goals. With the loving support and donations of families of the kids in WOO’s various programs, they develop a sense of worth, self-esteem and confidence. The dedicated parents and volunteers provide positive energy and stand as superior role models. Adults involved in each program not only encourage the youths to go for their dreams, but give them tools and direction on how to accomplish their goals. The programs at WOO include the Shortstack modeling program, Rock UR Heart Out, WOO Films and so many more. With Executive Director Hal Eisenberg at the helm, his years of training and expertise working with youth has paved the way for the kids and teens in his community to empower themselves to “be what you want to be!” His strategic program development is now being considered for use in the public school systems in various states. We are so proud to have worked

with WOO and the Shortstack girls at this year’s BQE Design Expo to help them raise money so they can continue to tear up the runway! To learn more about Windows of Opportunity, how you can volunteer, get your child involved or make a contribution to the future of today’s kids and teens, please visit www. wooinc.org. WOO-HOO! For more style education, fashion inspiration and WOO information, please visit www.thedressrecycler.com.

BQE 2D Scan this to visit The Dress Recycler’s website.

www.itsqueens.com  Winter 2010  63


Stephanie Vastola Perfumer & Mixologist Since her first perfume given to her by her grandmother when she was a child, Stephanie Vastola always had a nagging interest in perfumes and fragrances. With her natural magnified sense of smell, she noticed that there was something missing from the fragrance industry that just wasn’t measuring up to her needs. From her first job at a perfume and cosmetic store, she was taken under the owner’s wing and taught the science and magic behind mixing fragrances. Her talent was soon taken above and beyond the store’s needs as she started ordering her own fragrances and mixing them for private clients, special events and bridal parties. Once she realized she could be in business for herself, Drop by Drop was born. “I talk to my clients and suggest the fragrances that fit individual people and their personalities,” she said as clients gathered around her table hanging on her every word. “I always ask some questions about their personality and let them try it on their

skin to see what works for them. Each of the oils change with people’s body chemistry. The beauty of the fragrances is that they change on each person.” She makes suggestions according to the customer’s list of fragrances that they like, as well as a few personality questions. As you witness Vastola in action, her mixing, shaking and stirring creates an energy in people that most ready-made fragrances can’t provide. All of her oils are specially ordered from the most elite suppliers. She educated expo attendees on how different companies interpret different fragrances and picks for her own stock what she likes the most according to her own nose. Only all plant based, high quality oils are used for her perfumes. Some are essential oils or perfume oils with no water or alcohol added. They tend to be more potent, which gives you more for your money and means no reapplying is necessary. What makes this such a unique

and special item is that this is tailored to anyone, - man, woman, or child who is interested in fragrance. People who usually have a hard time finding something they like visit a custom perfumer to capture the scent they aren’t finding on the shelves. Her store on Etsy, Drop by Drop, (http://www.etsy.com/people/dropbydrop), showcases some of her most popular custom fragrances that she has created. Prices range from $18 to $30 for a gift set with lotion, or $22 to $30 for a personalized scent. Find Vastola’s perfumes at Etherial Boutique in Long Island City and Ava’s in Southampton and Sag Harbor. Need to see it to believe it? Fly on over to The Bird’s Nest in Middle Village and she’ll be there mixing her magic in person on weekends. Dbdfrangrance@yahoo.com The Bird’s Nest 73-18 Metropolitan Avenue Middle Village, NY 11379


Queens Voices BLOGS

Blogs of Queens

The Forest Hills Gardens Blog foresthillsgardens.com Audience: People with an interest in Forest Hills Gardens A blog about this private community in Queens focused primarily on the possible development of the historic stadium at West Side Tennis Club, but touching on topics and issues surrounding Forest Hills Gardens and Forest Hills at large. Blue Collar Corner The Glendale Blog glendaleblog.org Audience: People Into All Things Glendale Live in Glendale and want to keep track of what’s going on? Then you should follow The Glendale Blog for up-to-the-minute news and happenings in your neighborhood. Sunnyside Post

sunnysidepost.com Audience: People interested in news related to Sunnyside and Woodside Sunnyside Post is an oft-updated blog generally related to news items and events taking place in Sunnyside and Woodside. Recent posts include hard news items like Amtrak restoring trees along a railway in the neighborhood and happenings like a fundraiser for the Sunnyside-Woodside Boys & Girls Club at a local pub.

Jeffrey Tastes

66  Winter 2010  www.itsqueens.com

iwantmorefood.com Audience: Adventurous Eaters Love trying new food but don’t have a whole lot of time to experiment on your own? No problem, let Jeffrey be your guide. This blog tracks down all of the great and out-of-the way places to get your grub on, and let’s you know before you waste your time if it’s something you are going to be into.


Queens Voices BLOGS Local718 Queens local718queens.com Audience: Foodies and People Watchers Take a virtual stroll through Local718 Queens and you’ll be amazed at how many great people, stores and restaurants there are in your borough that you never even knew existed. Be sure to check out the photo gallery—nature, parades and food never looked so amazing! This blog will transform the way you view the already colorful cultural fabric of Queens.

Why Leave Astoria WhyLeaveAstoria.com Audience: Astoria Lovers If you love Astoria (whether you live there or not) chances are you’re a member of the bloggish social networking site WhyLeaveAstoria.com. Why indeed, when there’s so much to do; the popular site features upcoming events of all kinds, sponsors parties and serves as a forum for groups of like-minded individuals.

The Foodista foodistanyc.com Audience: Astorians, Foodies, Astorian Foodies There isn’t enough time for you to try out all the restaurants in Astoria, and frankly, you probably don’t have enough discretionary income (need we remind you we’re still in the midst of a recession?) to give them all a taste, either. Enter The Foodista, an Astorian whose mission is to “infuse the Astoria community with local culinary intelligence.” She shares her eating experiences, tries out new eateries and then writes up an honest opinion (e.g. the time she got all hyped for All You Can Eat Gnocchi Night at Testaccio and the food fell short of expectations). Thinking of trying out that hip new vegan restaurant but hesitant about parting with your hard-earned cash? Check with The Foodista www.itsqueens.com  Winter 2010  67 first.


Aeropostale Aldo Alicia's Jewelry American Eagle Outfitters Ann Taylor LOFT Applebee's Bagels & Co. Barnes & Noble Bath & Body Works Bay Benjamin Real Estate Bay Terrace Liquors Bay View Cleaners Ben's Kosher Deli Beyond Juice Boston Market Capital One Bank Carter's Chase Bank Chico's Christie & Co. Salon & Spa Claire's Cohen's Fashion Optical Corningware / Corelle D.S. Executive LLC Dr. Adel Batri, MD Duane Reade ENT Allergy Associates / Dr. Andrew Blank M.D., PC, FACS Express Five Guys Burgers and Fries Footlocker FYE GameStop Gulf Station

Health Nuts Jack's Pizza Joan D. Siegel CFP Justice! For Girls Lane Bryant Law Offices of Bruce Montague Esq. Lazar's Chocolate Liberty Travel Linda Berman, PHD / Harriet Klein, CSW / Roseanne Edelsack -Saltzman Loews/AMC Theatres Men's Wearhouse NY & Company Outback Steakhouse Panera Bread Peter Pan Game PM Pediatrics Sovereign Bank Steve Madden Stride Rite Terrace Diner The Children's Place The Gap ToFu Tony Roma's Toys ‘R’ Us U.S. Post Office Verizon Wireless Victoria's Secret Villagio Tanning Spa Waldbaums Weight Watchers Yankee Candle Co.

Enjoy the best from more than 50 premier shops, fine restaurants, entertainment venues, professional services and plenty of free parking.

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Its Queens, Winter 2010  

It’s Queens is a consumer magazine covering the people who move and shake Queens, from real estate trends to transportation, politics to ent...

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