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

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


The BOAST: Best of Astoria 2020 Survey is LIVE! The site is

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


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.

36-05 30th Ave

Interview with filmmaker and Queens resident Paul Notice


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 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.


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 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.



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

What’s That Smell? It’s Those New Parents


Two Astoria-based comedians, Ben Rosenfeld and Michelle Slonim Rosenfeld, who are married to each other and have a young child, just released the book New Parent Smell: Funny Thoughts on Pregnancy, Newborns & Tots. It is broken into three sections—pregnancy, the birth, and the baby—and Michelle and Ben each have jokes within those. Reading the book is like being at a standup show, only Ben and Michelle are cartoons. Illustrations, done by Jonathan Antonio, appear on every page and are really fun. Some of the jokes are excellent and even had me laughing out loud. These people are funny!

In pre-Covid times, Michelle founded Living Room Laughs, where she brought comedians to people’s homes, and organized the stand-up comedy show. I attended one a few years ago, and had a great time. Maybe one day when it’s safe to go inside with people again…

You can buy the book on Amazon here.

Want a digital copy of the book FOR FREE? Comment on this post or write to us at with a joke by Tuesday, November 24 at 6pm and you’ll be entered into a raffle.


APAC Announces New Home and Residency Opportunities

[From Astoria Performing Arts Center]

Astoria, NY—November 18, 2020—Astoria Performing Arts Center (APAC) has announced that it will celebrate its 20th season by establishing a new home in the space formerly known as the Secret Theatre in Long Island City, Queens. APAC will present much of its future programming at the venue and, for the first time in its history, this award-winning Off-Off Broadway theater company will have a dedicated performance space to call its own.  APAC presents a full season of plays and musicals annually and also offers a variety of arts education and performance programs for youth, students, and seniors.

“APAC is thrilled to finally put down permanent roots in our own theater space,” says Board President, Shelly Felder. “It affords us an opportunity to bring even more innovative theater to Queens.  We are grateful to The Indie Theater Fund and IndieSpace for their assistance in the transition to our new venue.”

Beginning in 2021, APAC will launch a fundraising campaign to provide residencies to local artists and organizations with a specific focus on new and underrepresented voices. The fund will support the development of new works of theater, dance, film, and music. “With the establishment of these residencies, we look forward to providing opportunities to artists to develop meaningful work and also to giving our audience members access to art from an even broader spectrum of creators,”  said Dev Bondarin, APAC’s Artistic Director. For more information and to donate to the fund or APAC, please visit

APAC’s 2021 season began with streaming performances of American Arcana by Cyndi Williams and will continue with the radio play Stuff by Astoria-based playwright Mrinalini Kamath, as well as the postponed revival of Man of La Mancha in addition to new and expanded community programs.

About APAC
Astoria Performing Arts Center is an award-winning non-profit theater company dedicated to engaging the residents of Astoria, Long Island City, and greater Queens in contemporary social and cultural issues through live performance and arts education. Established in 2001, APAC has produced a diverse mix of new plays and reimagined musicals and developed dozens of new works. APAC also provides a robust array of community and arts education programs that offer writing and performing opportunities to students, seniors, and residents of all ages with and without disabilities. Recent productions include the New York premiere of Marguerite by Michael Cooper and Anton Dudley featuring Tony Award-winner Cady Huffman, Jump by Charly Evon Simpson, the AUDELCO Award-winning revival of Caroline, or Change by Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori, and Queen by Madhuri Shekar. For more information, please visit

Tacostoria Now Open in Astoria


[From Tacostoria]

Tacostoria Opens in Astoria Queens on 30th Avenue’s Restaurant Row Serving Fusion-Inspired Tacos, Cocktails and More


Tacostoria, Astoria’s newest restaurant/bar on 30th Avenue (in the former Slush Astoria space, between 36th and 37th St), showcases a fusion-inspired menu of gourmet tacos, blended burritos, tasty appetizers, custom-blended frozen drinks, flavored sangrias and top notch crafted cocktails.

Co-owners, Eric and Olga Scheidemann, a married couple from Whitestone, Queens wanted to “feed the tribe” of Astorians and Queens natives with a neighborly place to grab a fresh, homemade bite to eat and a well-made cocktail.

“Tacostoria is an evolution of our concept, first starting with Slush this past summer, now offering a full menu of homemade, authentic, delicious food,” said Olga Scheidemann. “And, who doesn’t love tacos?!?!”

Tacostoria challenges the idea of what a taco can be, showcasing a diversity of flavors in its menu of lovingly-prepared homemade recipes, fresh ingredients and worldly influences. At Tacostoria, there’s something for everyone!

Some highlights of Tacostoria’s introductory taco menu are: Korean Brisket Taco with asian slaw and avocado wasabi;  Hawaiian Pork Taco with roasted pineapple salsa; Bang Bang Shrimp Taco with asian slaw and sriracha aioli; and a vegetarian Spicy Crispy Cauliflower Taco with cabbage slaw, pickled onion and avocado salsa.

Beyond serving great tacos, the menu also features what they call “blended burritos,” which are specially prepared to deliver the perfect harmony of ingredient and flavors in every bite, featuring: Beef Barbacoa Burrito with chihuahua cheese, greens and avocado salsa and Achiote Chicken Burrito with chihuahua cheese, roasted corn, poblano peppers and guajillo cream.

Featured appetizers include two showstoppers: Not Nachos, a unique take on a classic, using roasted potatoes instead of corn chips, topped with jalapeno queso, pineapple pico, pickled jalapenos, sour cream, guacamole and refried beans and the Queso ‘n’ Veggie Chili Hookup, a delightful combination of silky queso topped with veggie chili and fire roasted corn and served with corn chips.

“We came up with our slogan ‘Tacos for the People’ to reflect not only the diversity of our menu but to celebrate the diversity of New York City and its people. Our entire staff lives and works in Queens; some are native New Yorkers and others moved here to follow their big New York dream,” said Scheidemann. “Our menu reflects our diversity, with every dish and drink inspired by our professional and personal experiences.”

From the wildly-popular slushees from Slush, the Scheidemann’s summer popup shop, Tacostoria continues to feature custom-made frozen drinks, each perfectly blended using freshly shaved ice to make every sip as smooth as silk.

“Every frozen drink is custom made and blended to perfection for each customer, with our fresh fruit purees, it’s not made from a sugary mix. One sip and you’ll taste the difference,” said Scheidemann.

In addition to the frozen margarita and pina colada classics, the frozen drink menu includes: Coco Bango made from banana, mango and coconut rum; Rum Berry Sour made from raspberry, lemonade and rum; and Banana Split made from dark creme de cacao, ice cream, banana and strawberry. Customers can even customize their own frozen drink by choosing their favorite alcohol (or none at all) and mixing it with the fresh fruit puree of their choice: banana, mango, passion fruit, raspberry, strawberry and more.

Tacostoria’s themes of diversity and worldly influences shine behind its craft bar, featuring hand-crafted cocktails made from scratch and tailored to each customer’s preference. Featured is a thoughtfully-prepared collection of seasonal-inspired cocktails, including: Spicy Margarita made with tequila, orange liquor, lime juice, agave and jalapeno; Pumpkin-tini made with pumpkin vodka, pumpkin spiced liquor and baileys; Butterscotch Old Fashioned made with bourbon and butterscotch liquor; Old Cuban made with rum, lime juice, demerara syrup, sparkling wine, angostura and mint leaves; New York Sour made with rye whiskey, lemon juice, orange juice, simple syrup, red wine float and egg whites; and No Problemo made with tequila reposado, liquor 43, lime juice, celery bitters and egg whites.

To complement the urban vibe of the restaurant’s space, the Scheidemann’s commissioned visual artist Joseph Meloy (IG: @josephmeloy and to conceptualize and paint a mural for the restaurant’s facade. Born and raised in New York City, Meloy describes his art as “Vandal Expressionism,” a particular brand of post-graffiti abstraction with draws heavily from AbEx, art brut, cave painting and hieroglyphics. Meloy will create additional murals for the restaurant’s interior over the next months.

Tacostoria is located in the same storefront where the Scheidemann’s opened their Slush pop-up shop this past summer, at 36-05 30th Ave. Tacostoria’s hours of operation are 5pm to midnight every day. Coming soon, brunch and delivery menus will be added, with more details forthcoming over the upcoming weeks. (more…)

APAC’s American Arcana on 10/22 and 10/23

American Arcana

[From Astoria Performing Arts Center]

Astoria Performing Arts Center

in association with Theatre East



An apocalyptic comedy by Cyndi Williams

Astoria Performing Arts Center (APAC, Dev Bondarin, Artistic Director), in association with Theatre East (Judson Jones, Artistic Director) will present American Arcana, an apocalyptic comedy by award-winning Austin, Texas-based playwright Cyndi Williams featuring both pre-recorded and live performances as a benefit for APAC on Thursday October 22nd and Friday October 23rd at 8:00pm on FiveOhm TV. Featuring over a dozen actors recorded and performing from across the country, this timely tale is both a reflection of our current times and a clarion for our future.

Crumbling infrastructure, poison water, distant gunfire, political ads. What does the future hold, and who will be there to shape it? From award-winning Austin-based playwright Cyndi Williams comes a timely epic of survival and the fight for a better tomorrow. October 22nd and 23rd ONLY at 8:00pm. Tickets at or

Featuring: Joanna Carpenter, Arlene Chico-Lugo, Christine Donnelly, Caitlin Duffy, Ian Campbell Dunn, Tom Green, Natasha Hakata, John C. Hume, Brandon Jones, Brynne McNamimie, Peter Romano, Mahima Saigal.

Production Team includes Steven Brenman, Margaret Baughman, Derrick Byars, Matthew Dunivan, Caroline Eng, Rodrigo Muñoz, Zack Murphy.


A Call to #SaveNYComedy


Christian Finnegan and Senator Michael Gianaris

On Tuesday afternoon, in downtown Manhattan, there was a press conference calling on state and city officials to safely reopen comedy clubs and save arts venues from economic collapse due to COVID. The event was sponsored by New York Comedy Coalition (which Kambri Crews, owner of QED Astoria, is a main part of). Speakers included New York State Senator Michael Gianaris, and New York-based comedians Christian Finnegan (Chappelle’s Show, Best Week Ever) and Ophira Eisenberg (NPR’s “Ask Me Another”).

Comedy shows in New York were happening in June, July, and part of August, but then in mid-August the New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) updated their website to say, “Advertised and/or ticketed shows are not permissible,” stressing that this was to avoid gatherings “where people congregate, mingle, and create congestion at points of ingress and egress,” thereby closing all venues which had been operating in good faith.

Outdoor dining has been going on for a few months in NYC, and starting on September 30 restaurants in the city will be allowed to offer indoor dining at 25% capacity. Comedy clubs are not part of this plan.

New York Comedy Coalition has a proposal to allow ticketed arts and entertainment events. Collectively, they are calling on elected officials and stakeholders to implement the following:

Allow venues to be included with indoor bowling at 50% occupancy without food & beverage service immediately. Indoor bowling in NYC is allowed to occur at 50% indoor occupancy on the contingency that no food or beverage is consumed indoors. Independent arts venues should be allowed to operate in this exact same manner with safely spaced seating in theaters without food or beverage service.

Allow clubs to be included with restaurants at 25% occupancy for indoor service. Indoor dining at 25% capacity begins September 30th and independent performing arts spaces are not included in this plan. Once customers are seated, comedy clubs & many arts venues operate like any other food service establishment.

Allow outdoor performances to happen immediately. Venues remain closed in NYC banned from producing ticketed outdoor live performances which contradicts the fact that public gatherings with fewer than 50 attendees are allowed to continue without contact tracing or oversight.

Tell them what the metrics are. The Governor has rightly talked about science and statistics but is not sharing what the numbers are for when ticketed arts & entertainment will resume. The requests above are based on comparable rules of operations for safe reopening already in place, based in common sense. All we ask is that the comedy clubs are swiftly allowed the same newly regulated reopening parameters as other NYC industries, and that we are informed as to the logic of these decisions either way.

We love QED Astoria, as well as the other comedy clubs in NYC, so we are hoping they can reopen in a safe way very soon.

Photos courtesy of Senator Michael Gianaris’ office.


These Steps Can Help Preserve Your Small Business Amidst Coronavirus


Photo via Pexels

Keeping your small business going during coronavirus is challenging. But as lawmakers continue to loosen restrictions, there’s still a lot of work to do. Taking steps toward preserving your business now and as the economy recovers will provide peace of mind and a game plan for moving forward.

Prioritize Small Business Survival

While you can still grow your business during COVID-19, your first priority should be survival. Think of ways you can support your staff and your investment during this time.

Go Digital as the Next Step

Regardless of your industry, going digital can help you increase profits and reach a bigger audience. Start planning your brand’s online presence as soon as possible.

  • For product sales, convert your brick-and-mortar business into an online shop.
  • Stay updated with marketing trends and enact your own marketing campaign.
  • Use techniques like product retargeting (with low-cost email newsletter services) to get more sales.
  • If you need to press pause on your website, follow Google’s advice to preserve your site.

Have Staff Start Telecommuting

Get creative with your staff and think of ways to make telecommuting work. From the right equipment to tools for collaboration, get your remote work dialed in.

Think Ahead to Post-COVID Business

Eventually, your business will reopen, and then what? Think ahead to ensure your business thrives post-lockdown.

While small business ownership involves inherent risks, it also means the power is in your hands. Taking steps to prioritize your brand’s survival, moving more of the work online, and planning for post-COVID adjustments are all excellent ways to strategize during the lockdown. And when the lockdown is lifted, you’ll be prepared.

—Amy Collett,