Don’t Idle Your Car

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We’ve been walking around Astoria the last few days and have seen many people sitting in their car, idling their engine. We know it’s cold out, but please don’t do that! Not only is it bad for the car (wastes gas, burns up oil, drains car battery), but it’s bad for the environment and is detrimental to everyone’s health (contributes to air pollution). If you’d like to read more, below are some articles.

Here are five reasons to stop idling from New Roads.

Here is how idling affects your car from WBTV.

Here is why idling is bad for your car (and the environment) from Scott’s Fort Collins Auto.


Extras from the Survey

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Vintage / Photo by Mor Mezrich

Not everything from the BOAST: Best of Astoria 2020 survey made it onto the site. Here are some noteworthy categories and entries, in alphabetical order. (Please check to make sure they are open before going.)

Best Brazilian Food
Barzola
Favela Grill
Pao de Queijo

Best Date Spot
Mosaic
Sanfords Astoria
Sweet Afton
The Ditty (It’s scheduled to re-open once indoor dining resumes.)
The Letlove Inn
Vesta Trattoria & Wine Bar
Via Trenta Osteria & Wine Bar
Vintage

Best Gym
Astoria Park
Blink Fitness
Lucille Roberts–Astoria
Matrix Fitness Club
Rock
Unlimited Body NY
Yoga Agora

Best Haircut
Casablanca Hair Salon
Crush Studio
GiGi Salon & Styling Studio
Imagination Unisex Hair Designs
Kings Hairstyling
Nikos & Tasoula Hair Style
Redken Saloon Salon

Best Happy Hour
Bubba’s Bistro
Chano’s Cantina
Judy & Punch
Watawa Sushi



BOAST: Best of Astoria 2020 Winners – By the Numbers

Here are some numbers from the BOAST: Best of Astoria 2020 winners.

Number of Categories
26 – EAT
12 – DO & SEE
10 – DRINK
50 – Total

Number of Winners
82 – EAT
33 – DO & SEE
23 – DRINK
138 – Total

Winners by Location
25 – 30th Ave (N/W)
23 – Astoria-Ditmars Blvd (N/W)
20 – Broadway (N/W)
14 – 31st Ave
9 – Steinway St (M/R)
8 – LIC
7 – Astoria Blvd (N/W)
3 – 36th Ave (N/W)

Businesses with Wins in Multiple Categories
4 – Astoria Park (1st–1, 2nd–2, 3rd–1)
4 – Queen’s Room (1st–1, 2nd–2, 3rd–1)
3 – Jujube Tree (1st–3)
3 – Compton’s (1st–1, 2nd–1, 3rd–1)
3 – Sanfords Astoria (2nd–1, 3rd–2)
3 – Socrates Sculpture Park (1st–2, write-in)
3 – Comfortland (1st–1, 3rd–1, write-in)
3 – Martha’s Country Bakery (2nd–2, 3rd–1)
2 – New York City Bagel & Coffee House (1st–2)
2 – Q.E.D. (1st–2)
2 – Sal, Kris and Charlie’s Deli (1st–2)
2 – Sweet Afton (1st–2)
2 – Judy & Punch (1st–1, 2nd–1)
2 – Madame Sousou Cafe (1st–1, 2nd–1)
2 – Seva Indian Cuisine (1st–1, 2nd–1)
2 – Astoria Bier & Cheese (1st–1, 3rd–1)
2 – Mom’s Kitchen & Bar (1st–1, 3rd–1)
2 – Souvlaki Lady (2nd–2)
2 – The Bonnie (2nd–2)
2 – Gossip Coffee (2nd–1, 3rd–1)
2 – Sac’s Place (2nd–1, 3rd–1)
2 – The Noguchi Museum (2nd–1, 3rd–1)
2 – Las Catrinas Mexican Bar & Eatery (1st–1, write-in)
2 – The Thirsty Koala (2nd–1, write-in)


BOAST: Best of Astoria 2020 Winners – Full List

Here is a full list of the BOAST: Best of Astoria 2020 Winners.

EAT
Best Outdoor Dining
Queen’s Room
The Bonnie
Oliver’s Astoria

Best Takeout/Delivery
Jujube Tree
Seva Indian Cuisine
Mom’s Kitchen & Bar

Best American
Sweet Afton
The Bonnie
Compton’s

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

Best Bakery
Parisi Bakery
Martha’s Country Bakery
Carasella
New York Bakery Café

Best Brunch
Mom’s Kitchen & Bar
The Thirsty Koala
Queen’s Room
The Shady Lady

Best Budget Dining
Create
Souvlaki Lady
Orale!! Tacos!!

Best Burger
Burger Club
Burgerology
Bareburger

Best Chinese
Jujube Tree
Golden Dragon

Best Deli
Sal, Kris and Charlie’s Deli
D & F Italian Deli

Best Dessert
Ample Hills Creamery
Sanfords Astoria
Martha’s Country Bakery
Al-Sham Sweets & Pastries
Comfortland (more…)


BOAST: Best of Astoria 2020 Winners Announced

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As we say Goodbye and Good Riddance to 2020, the BOAST: Best of Astoria 2020 Winners have been announced and posted on the website. You can see all the new winners on the EAT, DRINK, and DO & SEE pages. If you’d like to see the winners on a map, you can go to the LOCATION page where they are organized by location. We want to congratulate all of the winners, and we want to thank those of you who filled out the survey, and for doing short write-ups. You may even see some of your choices and write-ups on the site. We also want to thank the businesses that provided prizes for us to raffle off: Queen’s Room, Rivercrest, Sweet Afton, The Bonnie, and The Brass Owl. This was such a strange year, and because of that, there are some changes—we have new categories for Best Outdoor Dining and Best Takeout/Delivery, and we do not have categories for Best Movie Theater, Best Live Music, Best New Bar or Best Bar for Trivia Night. But this year we have more categories than ever before in the EAT section. Even as options for nightlife have been limited, we can still eat out, and Astoria has great options for that. Also, this year we have the most winners for Best Dessert (5), Best Bakery (4), Best Hot Chocolate (3), and Best Park (4). This reflects where we are right now—eating and drinking sweets, and spending time in parks. We hope that everyone continues supporting local businesses, and here’s to wishing 2021 will be better.


Organizations to Contribute to and Support

Before the end of the year, we wanted to share what our readers said were their favorite organizations to contribute to and support. Here they are, in alphabetical order:

31st Ave Open Street
The Open Street is implementing a Fall/Winter schedule and the new hours will be from 8am to 6pm on weekends only.

Astoria Food Pantry
A grocery store for the people, where everything is free and no ID is required. A space for the community, where we can share our resources and organize for everyone’s needs to be met.

Astoria Fridge (@astoriafridge)
Community Fridge 📍 8th St & Astoria Blvd #FREEFOOD Take what you need, share what you can!
Venmo @astoriafridge
https://tinyurl.com/communityfridges
linktr.ee/Astoriafridge

Astoria Mutual Aid Network
Astoria Mutual Aid Network aims to meet the needs of individuals in Astoria and Long Island City and across western Queens. We believe in solidarity not charity. We recognize that our well-being, health and dignity are all bound up in each other. We aim to bring people together to provide material support and to build trust based on common interest. Our goal is to leave this disaster better prepared and unified than when we entered it.

Citymeals on Wheels
Citymeals on Wheels provides a continuous lifeline of nourishing meals and vital companionship to our homebound elderly neighbors. Learn more about how we do it and see our work in action.

Greater Astoria Historical Society
Greater Astoria Historical Society, founded in 1985 is the place to learn and celebrate Long Island City and its neighborhoods. Through education programs, exhibitions, the research library, our historic sites, and special events, GAHS offers New Yorkers and visitors to Queens a chance to connect with the heritage of Queens.

Oxfam America
Oxfam is a global organization working to end the injustice of poverty. We help people build better futures for themselves, hold the powerful accountable, and save lives in disasters.

Queens Together
Mission: Provide meals and groceries to communities in crisis. We do this with a grassroots network of sponsors, organizations, agencies, and food businesses. We call this the “Plate it Forward” initiative.

Rocky the Pug (@astoriapug)
Making composting more accessible in Astoria, Queens #compostlikeapug #saveourcompost

The Actors Fund
Mission: The Actors Fund fosters stability and resiliency, and provides a safety net for performing arts and entertainment professionals over their lifespan.


The BOAST: Best of Astoria 2020 Survey is LIVE

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The BOAST: Best of Astoria 2020 Survey is LIVE! The site is boast.nyc/survey.

Please fill it out by December 24, 2020, and be sure to add your name and email at the end of the survey for a chance to win a prize. We always appreciate short write-ups with your entries.

It’s been a very difficult year in general, and especially for local businesses, so we think it’s more important than ever to say what our favorites are in the neighborhood. The first categories in the EAT section are Best Outdoor Dining and Best Takeout/Delivery, as those are ways we can still safely enjoy Astoria cuisine. The first category in the DO & SEE section is Best Organization or Cause to Contribute To, as there are many who can use help nowadays. We look forward to seeing your responses!


Review: Tacostoria

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The other day we headed to Tacostoria (on 30th Ave, between 36th and 37th St, where Kurry Qulture and Slush Astoria used to be) for its Grand Opening.

We start with the Christmas Sangria, which is super tasty and not too strong. The tacos come on blue-corn tortillas, and they are more than a colorful component. They help elevate the fare beyond just another taco joint.

The taco options are plentiful overall, but don’t overlook the inventive cauliflower taco. Vegetarians get something special with this dish, and omnivores will no doubt want to try one too. Three fried florets are flavorfully spiced and cooled off by a dash of avocado salsa. Combined with pickled onions, this taco packs complex flavors.

The pickled onions make another appearance in the rainbow taco, a vegan offering that sings with a tangy wasabi dressing.

The other tacos we have include Teriyaki Chicken, Roasted Chicken Fajita, Korean Brisket, and Barbacoa Beef. All of these are really good and flavorful, and the meat is cooked just right in each.

One side dish is generously included in a taco platter. The roasted pepper rice was subtly spiced, a nice contrast with some of the sharper flavors on the menu.

The Grand Opening special of one free taco and one free drink is extended until Friday, Dec. 11. As a heads-up, if you are planning to eat outside, there is seating on the sidewalk, but there aren’t heat lamps, so be sure to bundle up.

Tacostoria
36-05 30th Ave
718-956-0012
tacostoria.com


Interview with filmmaker and Queens resident Paul Notice

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Self portrait photo by Paul A. Notice II

We spoke with Paul Notice, resident of Ridgewood, Queens, and writer, director and executive producer of Willow, an Afrofuturist, Anti-Capitalist, Womanist horror film, that features the granddaughter of Sasha Obama (the youngest daughter of Barack and Michelle). This project started as a stage play about seven years ago, and now he is making it into a feature-length movie with an all-Black cast, mostly made up of women. Below are some excerpts from our conversation, lightly edited for clarity.

BOAST: Why do you want to make this movie, and why is it important to you?
PAUL NOTICE: My main driver for making this movie is that I wanted something that was unapologetically Black, something that was unapologetically inclusive, and fit this worldview that I felt wasn’t being introduced in the way it could be. I could add my point of view to this long pantheon. I want to watch horror films that don’t either criminalize or vilify queerness. I want something that’s not villainizing or brutalizing a Black body all the time.

Can you give a plot overview of the movie?
It takes place in alternate reality where people have to literally feed on each other in order to survive. As a New Yorker, the main character has to find a roommate, has to find a job, and has to navigate this new world where currency is flesh. That’s where the story takes off. It alludes to a lot of the history of white supremacy.

Why make it horror?
I’m a huge fan of horror. I found it to be almost triggering after a while, like ‘Damn, we (Black people) never make it.’ There’s very violent death. That’s too much. I want to redo it a little bit. Sometimes you want to see a film that shows Black folks going through hell, and still making it through.

I think horror a lot of times focuses on gore and spectacle, instead of going a little deeper. My way of adding to that genre is Willow. Even if you don’t get the concepts, you’re going to love this film.

What do you hope people get, or take away, after watching the movie?
What I really look for is for them to at least think about the topic of capitalism. A lot of the time, we as Americans don’t picture a world outside of making money. What makes success? It all has to do with money. The accumulation of wealth and possessions. I think if we’re able to at least start to question that value and to question whether or not we think this is something that is acceptable, that’s what is brilliant. And if I can make that a movie or a story that has Black bodies, that are portraying this, that’s even better.

So those two things. One, question capitalism. But two, understand that these types of abstract concepts are not just restricted to whiteness, or restricted to white people talking. These are things that affect all of us.

When do you hope to release the film, and what do you need for that to happen?
We hope to release it in late October, close to next Halloween. We need $69,000 to finish that. So 69 grand in the can, by December 23rd, and we will be all golden. If you go to bit.ly/willowhorror you’ll find our campaign. You can contribute and support however you can, even if it’s just following and sharing it. That’s all we need to make this reality. Then we got another iconic Black film.

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Paul Notice is currently raising funds via a Crowdfunding Campaign, with a fundraising deadline in mid-December. If you would like to contribute, please go to this link. If you would like to share that page, the short URL is bit.ly/willowhorror. On Wednesday, December 2, at 7pm EST, there is a featurette screening and panel called “Can Capitalism Feed Us?” Please consider making a contribution if you attend. The Zoom link is here.

 

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Official Film Photo featuring Anne Marie Agbodji; photography by Sasha Charoensub and Paul A. Notice II