Outdoor holiday market coming to Sunnyside
by Benjamin Fang
Oct 21, 2018 | 1446 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Starting on November 24, Sunnyside will be home to an outdoor holiday market every weekend through December 16. Jaime-Faye Bean, executive director of the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District (BID), said the market will be in Bliss Plaza under the elevated 7 train on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. The Bliss Plaza Pop Up Holiday Market will include more than 30 vendors, selling gifts such as 3D-printed jewelry, artisanal candles and handmade swaddlers. Food vendors will also be on site . Sunnyside Shines will also offer attendees a coupon book with savings at local shops. “Sunnyside is a great destination for food and fun, and our holiday shopping coupon book will allow market-goers to do all their holiday shopping locally,” Bean said, “and then enjoy dinner, drinks or a manicure at one of our outstanding neighborhood merchants.” The BID will also sponsor a free holiday shopping trolley on two Saturdays to take shoppers from the plaza to local stores. The pop-up market will be launched in collaboration with the popular Queens Night Market. “We’re always looking to activate public spaces in a way that is mutually beneficial for entrepreneurs and the surrounding community,” said John Wang, founder of the Queens Night Market. “We had a great series of summer markets in Sunnyside, and are looking forward to collaborating on a successful holiday market at the same venue.”
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Lancman must leave
Oct 19, 2018 | 7034 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dear Editor Councilman Rory Lancman's recent announcement that he will run for Queens district attorney is like Bill Cosby campaigning to lead the #MeToo movement. Lancman is an enemy of law enforcement and a friend to felons. While chairing the City Council Committee on the Justice System, Lancman pestered the police over fare-beating arrest statistics, condemned the NYPD's Criminal Data base to target violent street gang members, and urged cops and Corrections Department officials not to cooperate with U.S. immigration authorities, which violates Federal law. He didn't even have the decency to delay announcing his candidacy until after current district attorney, Richard Brown, announced his future plans. But there's one decent thing that he can still do. Lancman must resign from his City Council seat since he can't adequately represent his district while campaigning full time for the DA post. A special election can be held early in 2019 to replace him. If he refuses to step down, his constituents and the media must demand he do so. He's a career politician who uses each post as a springboard for the next one. Lancman uses his committee chairmanship as a platform to push his progressive agenda, which includes closing Rikers Island despite protests from constituents and the current Queens DA. Can you imagine him prosecuting hardened career criminals? Lancman has the right to run for any office he chooses, but his constituents have the right to be represented by a full-time councilman, not a continuous campaigner. Sincerely, Richard Reif Kew Gardens Hills
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Missing study
Oct 19, 2018 | 225 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dear Editor, What ever happened to the promised MTA feasibility study for restoration of Long Island Road service on the old Rockaway Beach line? The original completion date was June 2017. It was subsequently delayed until December 2017 and again to June 2018. Another three months has come and gone with no draft or final reports. The MTA will not even commit to a new schedule and date for release of the study. Continued delay in release of the study could imply that both feasibility and costs have been found to be prohibitive. If the study results were favorable, there would have already been a press conference to share the good news. The longer the MTA sits on the study, the greater the odds consultants and MTA staff are staying up late trying to wordsmith the report so as to downplay the bad news. The only winners from this study will be the well-paid consultants. Sincerely, Larry Penner Great Neck
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RIP Padavan
Oct 19, 2018 | 247 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dear Editor, It was with great sadness when I read of the passing of former State Senator Frank Padavan. Senator Padavan fought hard for residents with mental health issues, and he served the people of Queens and New York State with honor and dedication. Whenever I had a problem, I would write to him for help and he would respond and try to do what he could for me. Frank truly has cared for the concerns of the middle class. Sincerely, Frederick R. Bedell, Jr. Glen Oaks Village
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The Guy Who’s in Love with Pi and Pizza Pie
by Nancy A. Ruhling
Oct 19, 2018 | 2510 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Walid with a warm pizza fresh from the oven.
Walid with a warm pizza fresh from the oven.
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Macoletta, the pizzeria and beer/wine bar, is at 28-15 24th Ave.
Macoletta, the pizzeria and beer/wine bar, is at 28-15 24th Ave.
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You know you want a bite!
You know you want a bite!
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“Not all pizza is created equal,” says Walid Idriss as he sprinkles flour on the countertop and places a roll of dough in the center. The crust may be a little thicker or thinner. The toppings may be arranged slightly differently. Or in the case of the one he’s making, the pie may not form a perfect circle. And that’s okay by him. In fact, it’s kind of the point. When Walid opened Macoletta, his artisanal brick-oven, Neapolitan-style pizzeria/wine and beer bar earlier this year, he never intended it to follow the rote recipes of Pizza 101. That may be because the 36-year-old Walid has never chosen a conventional path. Walid, whose parents are from Egypt, was born and raised in Algiers, the capital city of Algeria. After graduating from a French high school in Algiers in 2000, he decided to come to New York instead of going to college. His first stop was White Plains, where his older brother lived. “My parents thought I was crazy,” he says. “I didn’t have a plan. I knew how to speak French and Italian and Arabic, but I didn’t know how to speak English.” But America had always been on his mind. “When I was eight, we came to New York City for a family vacation,” he says, “and I knew I wanted to live here.” He got a job in a restaurant, where he worked 14-hour shifts prepping salads and pastas. “I had never worked in my life or in a kitchen,” he says. “I didn’t even know the names of the pastas.” A year later, he moved to Nyack to live with his uncle and subsequently worked his way through an American language school, Rockland Community College and Baruch College by managing five gas stations and filling in his spare hours with shifts at restaurants. He also had a series of unpaid internships at banks. “I’m best when I’m really busy,” he says, as he pulls his pizza out of the oven. In 2005, he moved to Astoria, and in 2009 he graduated from Baruch with majors in math and actuarial science. He promptly took a full-time job in a French restaurant. “It took me that long to get a degree because I was working all the time,” he says apologetically. That same year, he met his wife, Cara, a native of Washington, D.C., who had come to New York in 2008 after earning a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Worcester State University in Massachusetts, then doing volunteer work with homeless women in California. Cara’s first job in New York was with a public relations firm; later, she worked in a Manhattan restaurant. That’s where they were in life when they arrived at Brick Café (now Mom’s) in Astoria. “The seats were so close that it was almost like we were sitting at the same table,” Walid says. There was no reason for them to converse with each other because they each had come with a friend. But given such close quarters, Walid, who loves pi as much as pizza pie, couldn’t help overhearing Cara mention that she was looking for a math tutor to prep her for the GRE exam. He offered to help. She was, to say the least, surprised by his overture. “He and his friend had been speaking French,” she says, adding that she wasn’t paying much attention to them. So it was that Walid, who may or may not have told Cara that he was looking for an English tutor for the GRE (he says no; she insists yes) began tutoring each other. And dating and living together. “We both actually did study, and we did learn a lot,” Cara says, adding that she did, indeed, take the GRE and did, indeed, pass it. While Cara was earning her master’s in anthropology from New York University, Walid, who never did get around to taking that GRE, was pursuing a career in banking. They married in 2015. “We’re very different, and I like that,” says Cara, who is working full time on her doctorate in anthropology at NYU and helping Walid with public relations and marketing for Macoletta. “I’m into reading and writing, and he’s into math – he does calculus for fun – and entrepreneurship. We learn from each other.” In 2017, Walid came up with the idea of Macoletta, which he opened in June 2018. “I had quit my job, but a bank I had worked for before offered me a position, so I’m still working there full time,” he says. “I really like doing both things.” Walid brings a second pizza to the table. It’s the pizzeria’s signature Macoletta – cauliflower, roasted tomatoes, zucchini, artichokes, olive oil and sea salt resting on a bed of harissa, the Maghrebi hot red-pepper paste that reminds him of his heritage. Walid says opening Macoletta was an easy decision because pizza is his favorite food. “It’s affordable – the highest price on our menu is $16 – and it’s easy to make,” he says. “It’s magical; you put it in the oven and it’s done in 90 seconds.” Cara confirms this, adding that “he even loves frozen pizza, so much so that people got tired of him offering it to them when they came to our apartment.” Once Macoletta is a success, Walid hopes to open more of them. “I want to master my craft here first, though,” he says. “If it takes 10 years, I can wait.” He serves dessert – Nutella pizza with the chocolate spread sandwiched between the pastry-thin, oven-warm crust. Nancy A. Ruhling may be reached at Nruhling@gmail.com. Follow her on Twitter at @nancyruhling and visit astoriacharacters.com.
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