Theater review: Jump

Kelechi Ezie (left) and Alex J. Gould. Photo by Michael R. Dekker

Kelechi Ezie (left) and Alex J. Gould. Photo by Michael R. Dekker

I was the first one to arrive to the theater with about twenty minutes to spare. A few others trickled in and Charly Evon Simpson’s Jump, began. The material could be triggering for some, as it’s about intense grief. I don’t want to give anything away, but the story centers around a mysterious bridge where the main characters often converse. The lights often flicker and something seems to have gone awry in Faye’s brain. Played by Kelechi Ezie, Faye is grappling with the recent loss of her mother due to cancer. Her father, played by Dathan B. Williams, isn’t doing much better. He’s an alcoholic and he can’t seem to connect with his daughters (the other played by Natasha Hakata). Faye meets Hopkins, a stranger on the bridge, played by Alex J. Gould. The two strike up an unlikely friendship and realize they have more in common than they thought.

The play is heavy with a few laughs here and there. It makes you think about life and what makes it worth living. The small but mighty cast does a good job bringing their characters to life, especially in heart-breaking scenes.

Jump was a semi-finalist for the Playwrights Realm Writing Fellowship and the inaugural recipient of the David Goldman Fund for New Plays. Astoria Performing Arts Center (APAC)’s production marks Jump’s New York premiere.

Performances of Jump continue during weekends through February 23, 2020 at APAC’s pop-up theater, 28-21 Steinway St, Astoria. You can buy tickets here.

—Briyah


BOAST: Best of Astoria Winter Party 2020

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Come to Rivercrest on Sunday, February 23, from 3 – 6pm to celebrate the BOAST: Best of Astoria 2019 winners! (Rivercrest is a 2019 winner for Best New Bar.) Go to boast.nyc/party to reserve your tickets. We’ll provide some snacks, and there will be a cash bar.We will also have a raffle with prizes from Astoria Bier & Cheese, Katch Astoria, Museum of the Moving Image, Queen’s Room, Redken Saloon Salon, Rivercrest, Sweet Afton, The Bonnie, The Ditty, The Last Word, The Wolfhound, and Tufino Pizzeria. If you sign up by Monday, February 17, you will be automatically entered into the raffle. Additional raffle tickets will be available at the event as well. The cover is $15 (+ fee) in advance, and $20 on day of the event at the door. If you have any questions, email hello@boast.nyc. You can see all the current winners on boast.nyc, on the EATDRINK, and DO & SEE pages.

We look forward to seeing you at the party!

—The BOAST Team


Extras from the BOAST 2019 Survey

Not everything from the BOAST: Best of Astoria 2019 survey made it onto the site. There were some great write-ups of places that were not winners, and some categories did not have clear winners so they were left off the site entirely. So here they are, the extras from the survey.

In both the Best Happy Hour and Best Date Spot categories, there were no clear winners. The notable places for Best Happy Hour were Katch Astoria, Daly’s Pub, Chanos, Victory Garden Cafe, Sek’end Sun, Blend, Tacuba and Sanfords. Some places written in for Best Date Spot included Blend, Judy & Punch, Vite, The Last Word, Q.E.D., Sanfords, Aliada, Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden, Sweet Afton, DiWine, The Bonnie, and Sek’end Sun. The category for Best Pet-friendly Establishment didn’t have enough variance, but place with the most responses was Château le Woof.

And here are some write-ups for places that didn’t have enough votes to be BOAST winners.

For Best American Restaurant, Arcadia Bar & Kitchen: “Arcadia Bar & Kitchen is both restaurant and bar. With a lovely outdoor seating area and indoors bar, you will find American classics like grilled cheese sticks and mac and cheese melt in your mouth.”

Also for Best American Restaurant, The Pomeroy: “This New American eatery is relaxed and simply has incredible food. Add the homey vibe with great cocktails and you have a win!”

For Best Bagels, Bagel House: “Great bagels, with all the fixins’, and not a hipster in sight. Just regular old-school Astorians.  ;-)”

For Best Brunch, The Thirsty Koala: “Experience a solid brunch with the classics — including friendly staff and Aussie ambience. Fried haloumi and honey ups the ante for sure!”

For Best Budget Dining, Ukus: “This Balkan (Montenegrin) spot makes a magnificent chopped salad with Bulgarian feta (the Ukus Salada), and spectacular bureks (savory pies). Meat eaters apparently love their cevapi, the gulas (goulash) and their Bosnian soup.”

For Best Burger, Halsey’s Tavern: “Their black bean burger (a vegetarian burger) is the best black bean burger I’ve ever had. The fries were good too.”

For Best Dessert, Jujube Tree: “The (vegan) pumpkin cheesecake is yum yum yum … and yum!”

For Best Pizza, Rose & Joe’s Italian Bakery: “Step to the far back counter of Rose and Joe’s old-school Italian bakery, and you find their pizza counter and oven, somehow producing unusually tasty slices. Long may they bake!”

For Best Coffee and Tea, Mighty Oak: “Worth spending a little more to buy my coffee beans here.”

For Best Activity, Movies in Hunters Point South: “Best lawn for an outdoor movie and the whole view of the east side of Manhattan.”

For Best Place for a Haircut, Nikos and Tasoula: “An affordable, nice mom-and-pop shop that gives a good haircut. With lots of bouzoukis and other musical instruments on the wall!”


BOAST: Best of Astoria 2019 Winners Announced!

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The BOAST: Best of Astoria 2019 winners have been posted to this website and you can see them on the EAT, DRINK, and DO & SEE pages. You can also find them on a map organized by location on the LOCATION page. Thank you to those who filled out the survey, and you may see your write-ups throughout the site. We also have new images on those pages, as well as with the Featured BOAST Locations on the sidebars. If you want to see all the winners in one list, we put them on a post here. There were a lot of winners this year, with one of the reasons being that we had a Best of the Decade category in each section. You can see the winners By the Numbers in this post here. It’s clear that Astoria has TONS of great places to eat, and in 2019 the hottest spots were 30th Ave (N/W) and Ditmars Blvd (N/W), with Broadway (N/W) not far behind.

Save the Date for the BOAST: Best of Astoria Winter Party 2020, where we’ll celebrate the 2019 winners. It’ll happen on Sunday, Feb. 23, in the late afternoon, with more details to come soon. But we can tell you that there will be a raffle for prizes from places including Tufino Pizzeria, The Ditty, Astoria Bier & Cheese, Rivercrest, The Wolfhound, Queen’s Room, Katch Astoria, Astoria Performing Arts Center, Redken Saloon Salon, The Bonnie, Sweet Afton, and Museum of the Moving Image.

Email hello@boast.nyc with any comments or questions, and be sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Hope your new year is off to a great start.

– BOAST

 


BOAST: Best of Astoria 2019 Winners – By the Numbers

Here are the numbers for the BOAST: Best of Astoria 2019 Winners

Number of Categories
EAT: 22
DRINK: 11
DO & SEE: 13
Total: 46

Number of Winners
EAT: 84
DRINK: 40
DO & SEE: 42
Total: 166

Winners by Location
36th Ave (N/W): 7
Broadway (N/W): 28
31st Ave: 10
30th Ave (N/W): 33
Astoria Blvd (N/W): 4
Astoria-Ditmars Blvd (N/W): 33
Steinway St (M/R): 17
Long Island City: 6

Businesses with the most wins in different categories
3 – Gossip Coffee (1st: 3)
3 – Sek’end Sun (1st: 2, 3rd: 1)
3 – Museum of the Moving Image (1st: 1, 2nd: 2)
3 – New York City Bagel & Coffee House (2nd: 2, 3rd: 1)
2 – Jujube Tree (1st: 2)
2 – Q.E.D. (1st: 2)
2 – Sal, Kris and Charlie’s Del (1st: 2)
2 – Sanfords Restaurant (1st: 2)
2 – Astoria Park (1st: 1, 3rd: 1)
2 – The Shillelagh Tavern (1st: 1, 3rd: 1)
2 – Omonia Café (2nd: 2)
2 – The Bonnie (2nd: 1, 3rd: 1)
2 – Diamond Dogs (2nd: 1, 3rd: 1)
2 – Queens Comfort (2nd: 1, 3rd: 1)


BOAST: Best of Astoria 2019 Winners – Full List

Here are all the BOAST: Best of Astoria 2019 Winners, in a full list.

EAT
Best American
Sanfords Restaurant
Queens Comfort
Sugar Freak

Best Bagels
Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company
New York City Bagel & Coffee House
Lots O Bagels

Best Bakery
Martha’s Country Bakery
Parisi Bakery
Artopolis Bakery

Best Brazilian
Pao De Queijo
Kilo Astoria
Rio Market

Best Brunch
Sanfords Restaurant
The Bonnie
Queens Comfort
The Trestle

Best Budget Dining
Mama’s Empanadas
Create
Arepas Cafe

Best Burger
Bareburger
Burger Club
Petey’s Burger (more…)


BOAST: Best of Astoria 2019 Survey and NYE in Astoria

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Last chance to vote for your favorites in the BOAST: Best of Astoria 2019 Survey

We have extended the BOAST: Best of Astoria 2019 Survey to Sunday, December 29. If you know Astoria, and haven’t filled it out yet, please do! At the end of the survey, if you enter your name and email, you will have a chance to win a prize. The link to the survey is boast.nyc/survey.

Here are some things going on for New Year’s Eve in Astoria:

Katch Astoria is hosting a big party. You can find more information about it and sign up with this link.

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Sek’end Sun has a $5 Open Bar from 8–9pm. To make a free reservation, call them at (917) 832-6414 or email info@sekendsun.com.

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There’s a dance party at Mom’s Kitchen & Bar.

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Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden has a big party with Live DJ.

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Open Bar at Oliver’s Astoria Roaring 2020s party.

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Vote for your favorites in the BOAST: Best of Astoria 2019 Survey!

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Can you believe it’s already the end of 2019? The end of the decade?? So at the end of this year and decade, we have a special BOAST: Best of Astoria 2019 Survey for you to fill out. We have removed some categories (bye-bye Best Movie Theater [but know that you can see movies at Regal UA Kaufman Astoria & RPX and Museum of the Moving Image]) and added some others (hello Best Deli, Best Street Cart and Best Pet-Friendly Establishment). Additionally, there is a Best of the Decade category in each of the EAT, DRINK, and DO & SEE sections. There have been so many amazing things in Astoria in the past decade, and we would like to give them a shout-out! You also have a chance to add write-in categories towards the end of each section if you’d like to contribute something that was not covered. We always appreciate short write-ups about your favorite places (you might see them on the site!), but keep in mind that there are 60 total categories this time, so answer as many as you’d like. At the end of the survey, if you enter your name and email, you will have a chance to win a prize. The survey will be open until December 27, 2019. The link to the survey is boast.nyc/survey, and please share with anyone who knows and loves Astoria.

 


GAMEplay/ARTplay GAME NIGHT at MOMI

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On Friday November 22nd, Museum of the Moving Image hosted a free GAMEplay/ARTplay GAME NIGHT, and it was a blast! There were half a dozen unique interactive games/art installations that one could play, all of which were projects of students and alumni of the International Center of Photography.

One game involved two people and a room with a sign on the door that read “You are now leaving the United States.” One person was on the outside of the room and looked in through a small rectangular window. The other person was inside the room, blindfolded, and wore a prison outfit. The two people communicated via walkie talkie, and the person outside of the room guided the person inside on missions involving the random objects on the table.

A different game involved four people holding up a boat that was meant to carry the dead spirit of a friend, with a video projected behind them that resembled a retro video game. The goal was to get the boat to travel 100 miles in under 10 minutes. Participants would pick cards, and depending on the card you picked, an obstacle or an aid would appear to help/hurt you on your journey. You would then roll a die to see how you fared against this obstacle. Once all four players picked their cards and dealt with their obstacles, the boat would move up 10 miles. My team was able to travel all 100 miles and safely deliver the spirit of our deceased friend, but it wasn’t easy. One of our teammates died and was brought back to life (phew!). I myself was extremely close to death, at one point having only one energy card. (Don’t worry, though. If I ever do die, my will stipulates that all my camera equipment will belong to BOAST so that readers like yourself can continue enjoying quality postings like this one.)

Another game involved a dark walled-off room, with a tent inside of it that emitted fog, and trails of cards around the tent. I wasn’t able to learn how to play this game, but it looked incredibly cool.

I had a ton of fun at MOMI’s game night. The students of ICP who created the games and their teacher, Sharang Biswas, did an excellent job, and I look forward to experiencing the next game night that MOMI hosts.

–Text and photos by Dov


Musical review: Marguerite

Photo by Michael Dekker

Photo by Michael Dekker

This past Monday I went to see Marguerite presented by Astoria Performing Arts Center. Despite the rainy evening, several patrons filled the pews of the Church of the Redeemer, an appropriate location for a show depicting the life’s work of the first saint of New France. One can’t help but feel a sense of awe inside the 1867 simple Gothic-style structure.

I was particularly struck by the dramatic use of light as the show began. The house lights were turned off and the only light to be seen was through several stained-glass windowpanes that surrounded the building.

In Marguerite, Cady Huffman portrays the religious calling and struggles of Marguerite Bourgeoys. Her warm voice is accompanied by a pianist and cellist who are positioned in the chancel. We learn about her upbringing, her devotion towards the growth of Montreal, and above all else her pursuit of education. Throughout her life, Bourgeoys made steadfast efforts to offer an education in Ville Marie to uncloistered girls, the poor, and children of first nations. The execution is intimate with Huffman going into the audience and speaking directly to us, drawing us into her journey. Huffman delivers the one-woman performance with grace, sincerity, and a touch of humor.

The Tony award-winner truly delivers as her voice fills the entire sanctuary with ease. When she melodically proclaims “Je suis canadienne!” I couldn’t help but agree. If you are drawn to musicals based on historical figures, French-Canadian history, and female leadership in the face of adversity, then definitely catch Marguerite while you can!

–Robin

Directed by Dev Bondarin

Music Director, Yan Li
Costume Design, Jennifer A. Jacob
Lighting Design, Stacey Boggs
Sound Design, Caroline Eng
Production Stage Manager, Natalie Jones
Production Manager, Frank Nicholas Poon
Music Arrangements & Orchestrations, Joseph Trefler
Cello, Frederick Alden Terry
ASM / Wardrobe Supervisor, Dorothy Sherman

November 8 – November 23, 2019

Remaining performances:
Thursday the 21st at 8pm
Friday the 22th at 8pm
Saturday the 23rd at 3pm & 8pm

at The Church of the Redeemer
30-14 Crescent Street, Astoria

Buy tickets here