Wednesday, October 27, 2010

OTB Replacement?

Work is underway at the former OTB site on 5th.  I was told that we are to expect "a supermarket or something", which is rather on the vague side. A superette or deli?
Meanwhile, the Magnolia renovation on 6th kicked into action a few days ago, but the interior looks much the same.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Rosario's (2255 31st Street) right by the Ditmars Boulevard stop, in Astoria, is a classic deli, with a justly praised pizza slice (one kind only), hefty arancini oozing mozzarella, & a whole heap of grocery items to explore.  There's a small table at the back, where you can hang for a bit, have a bite, & enjoy the store life going on around you - a steady stream of appreciative customers, the old guy holding court at the stool opposite the counter, a lot of laughs.  Who wouldn't want to become a regular?

Queensborough Plaza

Los Portales, 25-08 Broadway, Astoria

If you look through the window of Los Portales, you'll see a big pot of mysterious meat, with sausage & onions bobbing alongside.  If you ask about this inside, you'll discover that it's marinated veal flank steak.  Sit down & try some of the excellent, diminuative tacos (veal a speciality), all priced at $1.50 each.  Fresh, homemade tortillas, with lime, onion & radish garnishes, & a good sprinkle of chopped cilantro, make these little tacos a delight.  Oh & the red & green sauces are great, especially the subtle, smoky red.  Los Portales is pleasingly decorated - pretty sparse, with some old black & white photographs of Mexico & a big TV in the back.  Really nice staff, good atmosphere, & terrific food.  Want to go back & try some other things on the menu.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Less Abstract (Blurry) View from 500

"Aspire Higher"

Today I went to an open house at the 500 Fourth Avenue apartment building, which offers "a new higher level of quality and value for the South Slope". These open houses are very tightly controlled events, and I'm sure I was unconvincing as a prospective buyer.  I think I got the cursory version of the tour, but I did get to hear about the concierge service (no problem getting tickets for Broadway shows!), the $300 per month parking opportunities,  & the Cold Room on the ground floor where the concierge could store my Fresh Direct deliveries until I was ready to pick them up.  I saw the gym, and of course, the suede paneled lobby.  I got shown one apartment on the seventh floor, with glitzy bathrooms ("Lagos Gold honed limestone walls with accents of Mosaic Toffee"), & a rather fabulous view, but was NOT ALLOWED on the balcony (grr).  Nor would my hostess let me visit the groovy Club 500 lounge, with its adjacent landscaped terrace.  Damn. She did let me take photographs through the apartment windows, but they did no justice at all to what I saw.  So here's a blurry might-hurt-your-eyes sort of shot instead. I kind of like it.


Friday, October 8, 2010


Who could resist the Schama-esque pleasure of spoons at the Ashmolean?

Work, Laurence, Work ...

This morning's NY Times reports on the declining availability of picture books, and finds that current child rearing practices are partially to blame.  Apparently today's Gradgrind parents insist that their children renounce the decadent kicks that illustrated texts offer, & buckle down to chapter book reading, pronto:

Some parents say they just want to advance their children’s skills. Amanda Gignac, a stay-at-home mother in San Antonio who writes The Zen Leaf, a book blog, said her youngest son, Laurence, started reading chapter books when he was 4.

Now Laurence is 6 ½, and while he regularly tackles 80-page chapter books, he is still a “reluctant reader,” Ms. Gignac said.
Sometimes, she said, he tries to go back to picture books.
“He would still read picture books now if we let him, because he doesn’t want to work to read,” she said, adding that she and her husband have kept him reading chapter books.

Who wouldn't want to rescue poor, deprived little Laurence from such monstrous clutches?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

All Souls

It's taking me a while to disengage from my brief stay in Oxford.  Clearly, I haven't been out & about in the neighbourhood very much. I'm still relying on photographs taken over the last weekend & they're mostly of a rather touristy nature.  I'd like to go back, with more free time, & dig a little deeper.  And I will!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Lintel Frieze, Hertford College


Jeremiah's Vanishing New York gets that scary Bergen Pintchik block just right. Shades of The Twilight Zone. I'm pretty amused by Eponymy, though - for some time it's had my vote for silliest store name of the borough, and even possibly the entire city.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Hunt in the Forest - Paolo Ucello (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford)

Click on image for full picture.

Who so list to hunt, I know where is an hind,
But as for me, alas! I may no more:
The vain travail hath worried me so sore,
I am of them that farthest cometh behind;
Yet may I by no means my wearied mind
Draw from the deer: but as she fleeth afore,
Fainting I follow. I leave off therefore,
Since in a net I seek to hold the wind.
Who list her hunt, I put him out of doubt,
As well as I may spend his time in vain;
And, graven in diamonds, in letters plain
There is written her fair neck round about:
"Noli me tangere," for Caesar's I am,
And wild for to hold, though I seem tame."

Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503 - 1542)

Too Tired to Say Much