Archive for October, 2007

5.3 Ounces of Not-so-guilty Pleasure

When a friend of mine who lives on the UES and frequents Eli’s first mentioned Emmi Swiss Yogurt, I filed it away as potentially relevant information. Specifically, I wondered if and when the Natural would sell it. It didn’t when I started checking a year ago, but now it does. This weekend I bought two 5.3-ounce containers (incredibly shrinking yogurt!) at $1.89 each; they’re both long gone. Emmi is low-fat and lower-sugar–both undoubtedly related to its teensy size–and it really hits the spot when you need some calories but don’t want to overload. Pyramid of Emmi

The Nibble, which splits hairs about all things food, says that Emmi is not “artisanal” yogurt, which means it is mass-produced and a big no-no among the truly food literate. Alas, it is “beloved by legions for whom the most exciting food happening of the year is the arrival of Emmi in their city.” I plead guilty to having noticed.

Artisanal here, for those of us with less-cultured palates, refers to, e.g., FAGE Total Greek yogurt. I like Fage a lot, but in its time and place–as a dessert with honey dripped and walnuts tossed on top; or dolloped into black bean soup, which is a fantastic thing to make and eat during these weather transitional days. But first thing in the morning? Not a chance.

And I’m happy to have another excuse to get over to the Natural. It’s $1.89 at Trader Joe’s too, but isn’t one of the points of living in the city the walking you’re forced to do? Even with a car, I still get so much (no-guilt) pleasure out of walking to and from a place I’ve frequented for years, and whose owners’ generosity goes well beyond the extra mango they give you if you spend $50+.

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October 30, 2007 at 11:39 am Leave a comment

Halloweenland

photo-27.jpgWe’re three days away from Halloween, so if you’re like me, you’re losing sleep because (1) you still don’t know what your kids are wearing, and (2) even with the new Trader Joe’s, you and your ban-junk-food morality probably won’t have time to do better than Kit Kats.

Hey, it’s just one day, right?

Now I know the big tradition around here is to hit Austin St. for handouts from the stores–lollipop, Snickers bar, m&ms, repeat… In seven year of being a kid-shlepper, we’ve never done this. We head over for an afternoon party staged–and I do mean staged–by my friend Jennifer. I revere this woman for her heightened sense of humor and fashion and her fantastic French cooking. On Halloween, all of her pent-up SAHM creativity runs amok, this year literally, since she’ll be scaring the crap out of a posse of 7 year olds by reading aloud Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven,” complete with costume and sound effects (oooh, I might even get to ring the bell!).

After that, we head over to Burns St., which, starting at Ascan and heading toward Union Turnpike, is a top-10 Halloween attraction in Queens, if not all of NYC. You know all those adorable smushed-together row houses that butt up against the LIRR? They’re all decked out in Halloween garb, with each house outdoing the next (I bet there is some unspoken competition about this). You have to see this to believe it–decorations that rival the gaudiest done-up houses at Xmas time; lines (yes lines!) to get your 10/31-sized 3 Musketeers; and hundreds of kids dragging along through the leaves at a snail’s pace because it’s so crowded. And it’s a great moment for anyone there.

Mensch tip: if you’ve got very little ones or kids whose future emotional well-being is not dependent on sugar, grab a handful of their stash and give it back to the giver-outers on Burns Street, who simply cannot buy enough candy to satisfy everyone who rings their bells.

October 29, 2007 at 9:39 am 2 comments

The War: A Way Kids Can Help

Found this article on the Queens Courier online. It’s a program that collects school supplies from American kids (donations) and sends them as care packages to kids who live in war zones. In addition to reaching out to these children, whose lives our policies have ravaged, the program encourages teachers to use it as a springboard for teaching and discussing the Iraq war in classrooms. All that’s required here is one teacher in your child’s school who is willing to spearhead such a project.

From the article:
“Commenting on the importance of My ABC’s [program name], President of Manhattanviille College Richard Berman said, ‘Education is the focal point of rebuilding a peaceful sustainable community and is the key to developing individual freedom and economic stability.’”

If only it were that simple.

October 25, 2007 at 10:05 am 2 comments

Big City News Guys Come to FoHi

On Nov. 1, the Central Queens Y is hosting its annual “Meet the Author” event, which is a lunch + speaker. This year, the guest speakers/eaters will be Gary Rosenblatt of the Jewish Week, J. J. Goldberg of the Forward, Mark Rosenblum, who heads up Queens College’s Jewish Studies Program, and Bret Stephens of the Wall St. Journal and Fox News.

I know from following these guys for a few years that the first two are top-notch thinkers and people. I’ve also heard good things about Prof. Rosenblum. Bret Stephens I don’t know anything about, though his credentials raise my eyebrows.

This could be worth the time and money ($40). Despite its dilapidated facilities, its beyond pathetic Web site (which doesn’t even publicize such events), and its average demographic of 60+-year-old retirees who often lack manners, the Y has a fantastic library program that pulls in some heavy hitters. This week, Naim Kattan, a well-known French-Canadian intellectual who was born in Iraq, spoke. Not the most dynamic speaker, granted, but definitely a name. And let’s face it: it’s one of only a handful of Queens .orgs bringing an ounce of culture to our environs. Why not support it?

You can get more info on this by contacting pkurtz@cqyjcc.org. I’ll be there, pulling down the average age by at least a few years.

October 25, 2007 at 9:38 am Leave a comment

Relative Bliss

Between this:

“There’s a hilarious Observer article about the psychological divide between residents of hipper, edgier enclaves like Williamsburg and Greenpoint and those of Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, and Boerum Hill.”

and this:

“Do you live in the Williamsburg Greenpoint area? I know you probably love it. I love it too. But you should be aware of some things. Living here is much like living in a college dorm. It’s a hotbed (no pun intended) of sexually transmitted diseases. But it doesn’t have to be like this.”

…why would you want to live anywhere other than Queens? Time to get past the “How can we be more like Brooklyn?” routine.

October 25, 2007 at 8:43 am 2 comments

The View through the Trees

Visiting friends gasp when they see that I live in an apartment surrounded by trees. It’s true; those trees are the view from all my windows. Which matters a lot because I work from home as an editor/writer, and when the right word escapes me, or I simply forget that it’s “acknowledgment” but “knowledgeable,” it’s nice to look toward something less fickle.

With two kids and piles of work, I don’t have much time to blog. So why bother? Because a place like Forest Hills can use another perspective, and especially because I’ve lived here for 20 years. To put it in context, I’ve been here since pre-Barnes & Noble days. In fact, I remember when there was a Walden Books where there is now an HSBC bank! I remember this neighborhood before droves of Bukharians and priced-out Manhattanites moved in. I think all of the changes have made Forest Hills a nicer place to be, and whereas once I dreamed daily of getting out of here, now I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

October 25, 2007 at 8:42 am Leave a comment


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