Archive for May, 2009

Queens Art Express

An under-publicized but wonderful way to spend some time over the next 3 weekends–

welcome-to-queensDetails here.


May 29, 2009 at 10:47 am 1 comment

Kugel for a Rainy Day

Today is the first day of Shavuot, the holiday in Judaism that celebrates the Jews’ receiving the Torah at Mt. Sinai after 40 years of living and, more importantly, changing generations in the desert. If you’re not Jewish, or are but not observant, you’re probably celebrating the suspension of alt.-side-of-the-street parking today. If you’re an observant Jew, you’re likely relieved that it’s not a 3-day yontif (and you are most definitely not reading this blog). 

Besides getting over to shul for the holiday liturgy, one of the traditions of Shavuot is eating dairy foods. There are a number of reasons why this is so, and as with all things religious and ancient, some are more of a stretch than others, but there is also a bit of literary beauty to the custom as well. 

Anyway, whatever the reason, it’s still a good excuse to go dairy. Here’s a nice recipe for Quadruple Dairy Noodle Kugel from the Zen Kitchen. The writer of that blog tied this recipe to Chanukah, which I would say is misplaced. On Chanukah, the emphasis is on the miracle of long-lasting oil, thus any kugel recipe would be sweet and oily to nail down the food metaphor. On Shavuot, the food-tie is dairy. And on this rainy day, what could be more comforting?


1 12 oz. bag wide egg noodles
2 TB unsalted butter, cut into cubes
8 oz. cream cheese
4 TB sugar
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
8 oz. sour cream
1 cup whole milk
6 large eggs
8 oz. cottage cheese
1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F and grease/spray a 13 x 9 baking pan.

Boil the noodles in salted water according to the package directions. Err on the side of underdone, as they will continue to cook in the oven later. Drain and toss with butter to prevent sticking. Set aside.

Cream together the cream cheese, sugar, salt, and nutmeg until noticeably lighter in texture. Add the sour cream and mix until combined. Add the milk and eggs and beat for another minute or so. Add the drained noodles and stir until moistened. Fold in the cottage cheese.

Pour mixture into the prepared pan and sprinkle with cinnamon. Place on a middle rack in the oven and immediately decrease the temperature to 325. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the center is just set and no longer jiggles. Remove from the oven and serve warm or allow to cool to room temperature.

May 29, 2009 at 8:46 am 1 comment

For New Moms

When my son was a baby, I was part of a short-lived mother’s group in FoHi that was run by a social worker. There were 5 of us, and it was a very valuable experience because it was a place to connect with other new mothers and to express bewilderment at some of the challenges of early parenthood–e.g., having a sick child. I still run into 3 out of 4 of the members (one moved away), and remain very close with one of them even though our kids are not at the same school. So, in short, you never know what goodies you may find if you put yourself out there. When it comes to parenthood, we are all in the same boat, even if we’re using different oars.


May 26, 2009 at 11:37 am Leave a comment

An Important Alert

A rapist attacked a woman in Forest Hills this week. Please spread the word to all you know.

Eyewitness News’s story with a composite sketch is here.

The attack happened on Wednesday morning at 4:45. Police said the suspect followed the victim as she was walking home near 69th Road and Queens Boulevard in Rego Park.

The suspect confronted the woman in her 20s and forced her to the rear of a nearby apartment building and raped her.

The suspect is described as a black man, 40 to 50 years old, 5’7″ tall, medium build, dark salt and pepper hair, and wearing black leather scandals.

The victim was able to provide enough of a description for police to create a sketch of the suspect.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of this individual is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). You can also text tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

May 23, 2009 at 8:06 pm Leave a comment

Safari 7

safari_logoMuch more enjoyable than swine whine is this podcast project that captures the sounds of the wild beneath the #7 train. It is original and great fun.

The podcasts can be found here, with site details below–

This past Saturday at 11:00 a.m. sharp, a group of architects, artists, and students boarded the 7 Local at Times Square Station to participate in the launch of Safari 7, a self-guided tour of urban animal life along New York City’s No. 7 subway line.

The 7 Line is a physical, urban transect through New York City’s most diverse collection of human ecosystems.  Affectionately called the International Express, the 7 line runs from Manhattan’s dense core, under the East River, and through a dispersed mixture of residences and parklands, terminating in downtown Flushing, Queens, the nation’s most ethnically diverse county. Here, in territories excavated by Robert Moses’ transportation networks, watersheds constructed by the World’s Fair, and tree canopies stretched across residential street grids, species find systems necessary for survival, develop mating rituals and behaviors amidst inter-species competition and cooperation, and respond to migration, colonization, and disturbances of this dynamic urban landscape. By mapping the complexity, biodiversity, conflicts, and potentials of our urban ecosystems Safari 7 aims to unpack the role of architecture and the related disciplines in the construction of networks, spatial patterns, enclosures, grounds, rituals, and policies that are the city’s life support mechanism.

The project uses a range of media – podcasts, maps, signs, schedules and social networking tools – to create a platform where commuters, school children, subway operators – and yes, architects – can connect to New York City’s ecosystems as they travel through it.  New York’s transit system acts as an eco-urban classroom, and passengers become their own park rangers, or safari guides.

May 22, 2009 at 11:07 am Leave a comment

More Schools Get Smart

The Times City Room blog reports that another 6 schools are closing because of the/a flu. The closest one to Forest Hills is in Corona, PS 143, where “38 of 1,311 students experienced flulike illnesses during the last three school days.” Starting to feel hemmed in yet?

Okay, so we’re not calling it swine flu, but meanwhile, we all know people who have been knocked over by some kind of type-A flu. At this point, does it matter what we call it? I don’t get the sense that there is much accuracy to the numbers being batted around by the media. And many people ride it out at home, so their cases go unidentified. 

I really do get why the city is loathe to close down more schools around here (even if I don’t agree with it). And it’s obvious that no matter what Bloomberg does, he’s going to get socked by criticism. But there’s also something illogical going on: The city keeps the schools open because whatever is floating through the hallways may or may not be swine flu and parents need the childcare coverage. Then some kids start getting sick and miss a full week of school during which they are completely incapacitated. Other parents see this happening and decide to keep their kids home, leading to a cascade of further absences. The cycle continues until the school has no choice but to close. Now we’ve got a real childcare problem, as well as an onslaught of visitors at the hospital

What stands out in situations like this is that our institutions–the ones we placidly believe exist to protect our interests and feed us the information we need to make good decisions–react with crowd control first, analytical thinking a distant second. 

Sorry to wax so cynically about this, folks. I’m really concerned about how this is playing out and what it will look like in a few short months.


Update: the total is now 8 more schools closed–In New York City on Thursday, eight more schools were closed, bringing the total to 38 citywide: in Queens, Public School and Intermediate School 499 in Flushing, P.S. 143 in Corona, P.S. 203 in Oakland Gardens and I.S. 73 in Maspeth; also P.S. 111 in Eastchester, the Bronx, and Middle School 113 in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, which also houses a special education school.

May 21, 2009 at 9:57 pm 4 comments

Cyber Clean-Up Needed

Here’s a vestige of Dave Kerpan’s 5-minute run for Queens Borough President. Cyber FoHi, and all of Queens, now has a Web site called “This Is Our Queens” that is dead on arrival. There’s also Dave’s less subtle look-at-me Web site, still up and collecting dust. Last sign of life: March 7. Not to mention his Facebook sites(!) where we can “Join the Conversation!” I’ll take a pass, since all of this rubs me the wrong way. 

I hope he takes these things down because Queens already has its fair share of crap.

May 21, 2009 at 9:28 pm Leave a comment

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