Who Tribute Concert at LIC Bar!

LIC Bar to host Who tribute band in charity fundraiser

US premier Who tribute band “Who’s Next” will fill LIC Bar on Saturday February 23rd with a gig that says “Thank You” to the THE WHO  for donating sound equipment to the bar after the loss of 1000s of dollars worth of equipment in Hurricane Sandy. The gig will raise money for the WHO’s official charity The Teenage Cancer Trust (http://www.teenagecancertrust.org/). Tickets will cost $20 and 100% of the net proceeds will go to the charity. Raffle prizes offered by a whole range of donors will include a Gibson SG guitar autographed by PETE TOWNSHEND (http://www2.gibson.com) , a Shure microphone signed by ROGER DALTREY, Signed CDs, promo posters, restaurant vouchers (www.alobar.com, elaysi.com, www.manducatisrustica.com, www.bobbyvans.com) , a bicycle, Yoga classes (www.pranavahyoga.com), tickets for the Nets and Wicked on Broadway; and wine (www.domainewinebar.com)


“Who’s Next” uncannily even look like the band in their earlier days, when they were Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, Keith Moon and John Entwhistle. They are acknowledged as the TOP US Who tribute band and have been wowing audiences since 1999. They have even performed Who concert after parties and in 2001 were joined on stage by the late John Entwhistle. (check out www.whosnexttribute.com)

Also playing is New York guitar maestro Godfrey Townsend (no relation, different spelling), well known for his collaborations with the John Entwistle Band, “Cream” bassman Jack Bruce and the Eric Clapton birthday tributes at BB Kings.

Local legend Silbin Sandovar will play for the afterparty, backed by the LIC Bar Allstars featuring guitarist Danny Mackane and Kevin O’Leary.

The gig runs from 8-11pm, Tickets ($20) are available from LIC Bar website www.licbar.com

Watch out for surprise guests!!

The Backbeat

Local music-lover and LIC Bar regular Rob Basch describes how he started a process which ended up in LIC Bar receiving replacement equipment and this gig developing.

” We all knew what had happened to LIC Bar in Hurricane Sandy, Gus Rodriguez was trying to put together some fundraisers to replace the lost equipment. In November I went to The Who’s concert in Brooklyn and read that they were also  doing the 12.12.12 concert at Madison Square Garden for victims of Hurricane Sandy and thought – they’re in town, let me see if I can invite them to LIC Bar to do a show; why not? So I went on their website and used their email system to write to Roger and Pete saying “It was a great show, I saw you were doing the 12.12 show and really appreciate the help that you are giving. I live in Long Island City and we have a great little music bar that was damaged in the storm and I wondered if you’d stop by and do a little gig at the bar. “We usually give artists two drinks tickets but if you guys  show up we could probably get you three”,  I said, not expecting an answer. But I get this email back, from Simon Townshend, Pete’s brother, who was part of the band playing second guitar, saying “I saw your email, the boys would really like to help out we really feel bad for the people  affected by Sandy and we’ll see what we can do to help”.

A couple of days later I get an email back from the guy who runs their  website, Rob Lee, based in London saying:  “I’ve been talking to the lads and unfortunately they’re unable to play but I’ve contacted Bob Pridden their long-time sound manager who is going to get in touch with a few of their sound suppliers to see what they can do to replace what you have lost.”

Another week goes by and I get a couple of phone calls, one from Shure microphones and the other from Peavey, who make amplification equipment both saying that Roger Daltrey had called and wanted to see if they could help out. A bunch of emails went back and forth for a couple of weeks and basically they sent us a bunch of microphones and a new PA and amplification system.

Coincidently Simon Townshend was playing at the Port Washington library in December, close to where I work and I was able to go and say thank you to him in person. Now we are able to give an even bigger thank you through the benefit concert on Febraury 23rd.”

See also: http://wp.me/p1ZFJu-p4

LIC Bar will erect a tent over their courtyard, with the Carriage House taking on its   summer role of stage. Bar owner Brian Porter is excited at the prospect of putting the Bar very much on the Map as the foremost music venue in Long Island City.

Brian Porter

Brian Porter

NOTE: The 7 Line is suspended this Weekend and Vernon /Jackson Station  will be closed.

If you are coming by subway use the E and get out at 23rd Street/Ely/Court Square., or the G to 21st Street.

court sq to lic bar


February Fireside Frolics at LIC Bar

The Carriage House at LIC Bar is becoming a popular venue for theatrical and literary events. Last month it hosted “The Nature of the Muse” and this month sees events that will make full use of its cosy fireside ambiance as we continue to face the New York winter.

peter poster

Peter and the Wolf

This Sunday, February 10th, sees  the return of a popular adaptation of Russian composer Sergei Prokoviev’s well-loved music for the story of Peter and the Wolf in a show designed for both children and adults. Originally commissioned for the Children’s Theater in Moscow in 1936 the music has become a favorite across the world, including inspiring a cartoon film, “Make Mine Music”, created by Walt Disney at the same time as his more famous Fantasia; and a version by The Muppet Babies:  “Skeeter and the Wolf”.

Actor Ali Silva and puppeteer Gus Rodriguez have adapted the story and are joined by the Washington Square Wind Quintet in a performance in the Carriage House of LIC Bar. True to Prokoviev’s music the five instruments (flute, oboe, bassoon, clarinet and French horn), plus puppets, portray the characters, with melodies that are instantly memorable. The performance, which promises a lot of fun, starts at 2pm Sunday, with a suggested donation of $5.

(NOTE: The performance on Saturday 9th has been cancelled due to the anticipated blizzard.)



The Peter and the Wolf cast

The Peter and the Wolf cast (plus audience)

Valentines Day

Local singer songwriter Silbin Sandovar invites you to bring “someone special” to an evening of intimate “Fireside Love Ballads” in the Carriage House at 9pm on Valentines night. Silbin hopes to be joined by singer/songwriter friends in what promises to be a low key, relaxed evening that will leave you with an inner glow, whether you are with a new love, an old flame or a hot chick.

Silbin Sandovar

Silbin Sandovar

Ghost Stories

Sunday February 17th sees the return of local actor Ali Silva’s very popular “Fireside Ghost Stories” in the LIC Bar Carriage House. In these tales of mystery, suspense and horror Ali is joined by musicians Charlie Rauh, guitar. and Concetta Abbate, violin, to offer an eager audience the opportunity to feel the comfort of the fireplace whilst being scared out of their skin by tales of horror and suspense with a Valentines twist.

The show starts at 8:30pm, be there in good time, these are becoming very popular!

Fireside Ghost Stories

Fireside Ghost Stories

Watch out for another  Fireside Ghost Stories session on March 17th, a special Irish Edition.

Good cheer brewing up in LIC

The Rockaway Brewing Company, is not, as its name might suggest, an evacuee from the storm ravaged Rockaway coast, but a new brewing venture set up in Long Island City.  Owners Marcus Burnett and Ethan Long are two friends who have been enthusiastic home brewers for years in their Rockaway bungalows and who decided last year to extend their hobby into a part-time business, employing 3 staff and taking up the offer of space in LIC to start up in April 2012.


Locally-produced food and drink are the current enthusiasms of New York consumers; aware that local jobs are important and that food is usually fresher when produced in the region. RBCO is a “Nano-brewery”, a technical difference from a Micro-brewery, terms that relate to the number of barrels of beer produced. The company is currently producing 8 barrels per week of four different ales, two light and two dark, which are sold to local restaurants, supermarkets and bars: The malty ESB (Extra Special Bitter), a more hoppy Pale Ale (both of these deliberately softer than the more common hard-hitting and hop-driven IPAs around from other breweries), a Porter and Stout (“Black Gold)”. Not content to stick to these four brews RBCO is also experimenting with new brews, including a Scottish ale and an IPA (India Pale Ale). They also sell their draft ale in growlers directly from the brewery, from taps behind a newly built counter, with music from Vinyl LPs and a 1960s Heathkit valve stereo.

Brewer Flynn stirs the mash

Brewer Flynn stirs the mash

Beer is basically a fermented mix of water, yeast, hops and barley malt. The tradional German quality  standard allows no further additions, however variation is obtained by RBCO adding flavour enhancing ingredients (such as toasted woodchips marinated in single barrel bourbon, in the soon-to-be available Scottish ale) and using different types of hop that offer bitterness and aroma. For the highest quality, RBCO source their hops from Hop Union in Washington State (http://www.hopunion.com) , but have also used fresh local hops, with honey, in their seasonal summer ale. The owners have even attempted to grow their own hops in Rockaway, but hurricane Sandy put that idea on the back burner until another year.

Marcus draws some Scots beer to sample.

Marcus draws some Scots beer to sample.

RBCO use up to eight different varieties of hops supplied to them in a form which is freeze dried so that enough moisture remains to ensure that the essential life qualities of the hop remain. This is different from the traditional way of hanging them in well ventilated buildings, called Oast Houses, some of which can still be seen in England – but these days they are more often converted into living accommodation. All RBCO ales are unfiltered, with no artificial ingredients; therefore, whilst the brewers strive for consistency in their brews they are aware that variation in seasons will create the kind of subtle differences that set craft ales apart from their mass-produced cousins.

Columbus Hops

Columbus Hops

The brewery produces a mix of pressurised keg and hand-drawn, non-carbonated cask ales, which are destined for bars and restaurants (like “Alewife” at 5-14 51st Ave, between 5th Street and Vernon) who have the skills and equipment to care for and serve beers in the traditional way. Demand is strong with the owners anticipating that it will outstrip supply in the Summer season.

CaptureAs well as buying direct from the brewery, at the corner of 46th Road and 5th Street in Long Island City; you can buy growlers from the “Food Cellar” supermarket on 47th Avenue, by Center Boulevard (http://foodcellarandco.com), and drink at local venues Alobar (http://alobarnyc.com), Alewife ( http://alewifequeens.com), John Brown’s Smokehouse (http://www.johnbrownseriousbbq.com/) as well as establishments in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and, of course, Rockaway.

For more information check out www.rockawaybrewco.com.

This article is an extended version of a piece published in www.licspot.com   an excellent local news blog

Old Bank raises local interest

Old Bank of Manhattan Queens Plaza

Old Bank of Manhattan Queens Plaza

The iconic Bank of Manhattan building on Queens Plaza was built in 1924 and was the first skyscraper in Long Island City. It stretches high above the highways and iron subways of the Ed Koch bridge intersections. The clock tower holds an intriguing light; you’re not sure if it is reflecting the sky, the trucks or the subway. It is in fact a light installation by artist Chris Jordan, “Locost Queue”, with moving shadows of people. It acts as a beacon for the community to enter (freely) the old bank entrance and walk around an exhibition created by “No Longer Empty” (www.nolongerempty.org), a community-oriented art organization that uses vacant real estate as venues for arts, experiential workshops and community activities.

"Push" - not an artwork, or is it?

“Push” – not an artwork, or is it?

Not content to just use the empty space the organizers have themed the exhibition around the building’s origins and offers opportunities for visitors to reflect on money, capitalism, Wall Street and international economics. They describe “How Much Do I Owe You?” as “a personal and conversational exploration into the new iterations of currency, value and exchange at this time of financial flux, growing debt and job insecurity.”

The main floor is the venue for activities and as also an arena for artwork around the walls , across the floor and hanging from the ceiling. They demonstrate the mix of metal, paper and organic objects that permeate the exhibition. Plants growing in tanks; dead leaves blowing like money; rice glowing in a maze on the floor, waiting to become the setting for a perfomance by the artist, Hayoon Jay Lee, at the end of the exhibition, after which the audience will be invited to btake the rice home in brown paper bags.

Shifting Landscape

Shifting Landscape

The huge bank vault is open, yet the ping pong table (Theodoros Stamatogiannis) blocked into the corridor highlights the inaccessibility and secrecy of much of the financial world.


Downstairs within the vault we can see a movie, Vive Le Capital, 2010-2012, by Orit Ben-Shitrit, itself filmed in the former Bankers Trust building in Wall Street, framed by the circular metal door of the vault itself. The Bankers Trust was the scene of a much publicised investigation and trial into fraudulent activity in 1998, extracts from evidence are incorportated into the film along with visual and verbal references to the French Revolution and The Medici family.

The works in this exhibition are presented from a range of artists from around the world, yet the exhibition also connects with the local community in promoting work on the theme produced by local school students. Schools from the five boroughs of New York City are represented by sculpture, drawings, paintings, film and multi-media that have been selected to be shown. They show the talent of youth, and their awareness of the issues the exhibition highlights. Students are also given opportunities to become involved in the exhibition as curators and docents.

Vladislav Smolyanskyy from Ed R Morrow High School

“Infinity” by Vladislav Smolyanskyy from Ed R Morrow High School

The space is also being used for a series of events, interactive and community focussed. Director of Programming and Associate Director, Jodie Dinapoli is keen to talk about the exhibition and encourages visitors of all ages to attend, not just to look but to also become involved.
Of the works offered, I was impressed most by a group of typewriters, wrapped in charcoal rubbings of tree bark patterns on washi, a Japanese wood pulp paper and encased in resin; these created by Japanese artist Keiko Miyamori, who typed the beginnings of phrases on the paper; also Guerra de la Paz ‘s Sealing the Deal, (2009) a full size Magritte-like coupling of two figures, clothed but disembodied, financial charmers with a reptilian exchange of bargains.

I was very impressed by the quality of some of the students’ art, including some from local schools: Newcomers, and Long Island City High Schools. On duty when I visited were three student docents from The Academy of American Sciences, Frank Sinatra School of the Arts and Manhattan Hunter Science High School.

Student docentsIsabelle Montesinos, Alejandra Siguero and Natalie Bedon

Student docents
Isabelle Montesinos, Alejandra Siguero and Natalie Bedon

Guerra de la Paz ‘s "Sealing the Deal"

Guerra de la Paz ‘s “Sealing the Deal”

The exhibition continues through March 13. Check out www.nolongerempty.org.

This article is an extended version of one previously published in www.licspot.com , an excellent local news blog

Exciting New Ventures in LIC

As new towers grow from this previously industrial area, new artistic endeavors and new businesses are developing. In this edition of my blog I’m reposting some short pieces covering, Art, Yoga, Style and Food recently published in www.licspot.com, an excellent news blog that serves the local community well. I’m also reviewing a new literary venture at the LIC Bar.


LIC Bar, (www.licbar.com)at 46th and Vernon, is recovering well from the effects of Hurricane Sandy. It is famous for its regular music evenings, but less well known are those shows that involve the spoken word. Last Sunday, January 27th, LIC-born local writer Audrey Dimola presented “Nature of the Muse”, an evening of fireside reading and ”live writing” featuring herself and four featured writers (plus a special musical guest) built around readings and improvised writing. Queens- based writers Michael Alpiner, Sweta Srivastava Vikram, Michael Stahl and Carrie Noel  joined Audrey, and talented musician Ace Elijah in performances of their own work and an interesting spin on this in the form of improvised writing.

Audrey is excited by this first event that she has developed by herself, with the encouragement of music curator Gus Rodriguez. She met most of the writers at “Boundless Tales” a regular reading event at the Waltz-Astoria (www.boundlesstales.blogspot.com).

Before the event Audrey described the improvised part of the show:

“Members of the audience will be asked to write a little writing prompt on a piece of paper, anything, and they will be put in a pool and the writers, including myself, will each pull one out; two if they’re feeling dangerous, and they will write live with just ten minutes to prepare, presenting it to the audience afterwards.”

The setting for this intimate show was the Carriage House, at the other end of the courtyard from the bar. Regular attendees will recognise this as the setting for Ali Silva’s “Fireside Ghost Stories” and live performances of radio “Suspense” plays. In this tradition what was a cold winter’s night was warmed by a fire in the grate, drinks from the bar and the creative spirits of those involved. The place was full to overflowing, with some late-comers turned away for lack of space.

I’m not necessarily the best person to review an event like this, I take a while to digest poetry. The poet takes me into a world that they have created and I spend a while listening and then processing the thoughts and feelings that are generated. So one writer after another doesn’t always suit me, I’m still in the last piece when the next one starts.

Music is different, at least most music. The singer songwriter Ace Elijah (www.acemusiconline.com) gave us three songs that were carefully crafted and sung in a rather understated style that matched an evening by the fire. Singing with just a simple nylon stringed guitar his songs recalled songwriters from earlier times, especially the mid 20th century; the heyday of crooners like Frank Sinatra and smooth soul singers like Ray Charles. Presented at three points in the evening these were a good balance to the spoken words that filled rest of the time. Hear Ace singing Dead Guy Blues.

Ace Elijah

Ace Elijah

The four main presenters exemplified a range of poetic voices and themes. Birthday Boy Michael Stahl hid his talents behind a screen of mundanity as he read a prose piece themed around his adolescent obsession with mixtapes, using this to provoke laughter from audience members (who presumably shared some of this experience) and to reflect on changes in the way that commercial music is promulgated these days, Spotify and itunes playlists are not the same as the gift of a mixtape. Check out Michael Stahl ‘s improvised poem and his website (www.thedefacedwrittenword.com)

Indian poet Sweta Srivastava Vikram (www.swetavikram.com) treated us to poems from already and soon-to-be published books of her works. She is an award-winning writer who has been twice nominated for a Pushcart prize. She grew up in India, North Africa and the United States and her international experiences as both a child and an adult have influenced her writings. The poems this evening had serious themes, especially around feminity and family disruption, and were very well crafted, delivering important messages as well as entertaining. Hear her reading: Poem

Local writer Michael Alpiner has been poet in residence at the Louis Armstrong Museum in Corona. The work read this evening showed us why he has a position of status within the local literary community. Graduating with a MFA from Queens College in 2010 his work appears in print and onlne journals. He was featured at last year’s NYC Poetry festival. This evening he delivered poems that frequented illness and death and demonstrated his skill in synthesizing the essential nature of human emotions, thought and actions in ways that delivered humour, shock and pathos. Check out  Michael Alpiner reading.

Last to read was Carrie Noel, a young writer with great promise. She delivered sometimes hard-hitting verse, reflecting on family loss, childhood and youthful relationships showing  skill with words and an ability to connect with an audience, even if her delivery was a little fast at times. As she said, she doesn’t often write “happy crap” for people and her words were quite direct, especially towards men when recalling relationships that didn’t work out. Check her out on Facebook under her name. Hear Carrie Noel’s  improvised poem.

Carrie Noel

Carrie Noel

Great skill was also demonstrated by all five writers present as they read their “improvised” works, created in response to prompts from the audience. Each had ten minutes (or less) to create their piece, sometimes two. All were excellent and great examples of how an artist in words may draw on “the Muse” in settings as unlikely as a Victorian Bar in Long Island City.

Although Audrey Dimola had created the show, and offered an introduction, this was the only opportunity she had to show her work, so she read some of her own poems and then two improvised pieces on the themes “Funny Money” and “Sex”, all four showed the depth of her skills as a writer.

Check out Audrey reading her improvised poem ” Funny Money 

This was an evening for the writers and their audience. From the camaraderie in the room I suspect that many knew each other, and this gave an intimate, almost party-like atmosphere to an evening that progressed well beyond its published ending to the obvious enjoyment of those present.

Long Island City – and Queens as a whole – can always use more opportunities for writers and poets to air their work. Audrey hopes that that this will be the first of many similar evenings at LIC Bar and new locations around the neighborhood. For other literary ventures in the neighborhood  check out the aforementioned Boundless Tales reading series (www.boundlesstales.blogspot.com): Queens own literary journal “Newtown Literary” ( http://www.newtownliterary.org ), the open mic events at Waltz Astoria (www.waltz-astoria.com), Jackson Heights Poetry festival’s first Tuesday’s reading series and open mic (www.jacksonheightspoetry.wordpress.com) and the “Oh Bernice” reading series in Sunnyside (www.ohbernice.com).

Audrey Dimola

Audrey Dimola


Eduardo Anievas in his studio

Eduardo Anievas in his studio

You might recognise Eduardo Anievas’ paintings from their occasional placements in galleries and shop windows around LIC. He has had studios in Hunters Point for three years and recently moved from a large loft area on 5th Street to a smaller, ground level, space at 48th Avenue, between Vernon Boulevard and 11th Street. This position makes his work more visible and accessible to passers-by.

To show his work Eduardo has shifted from extravagant, sangria-laced “Open Studio Series” events in the loft space to making his new studio open for walk-ins on Saturdays from 1 – 6pm. Whilst this might seem daunting to those who might not know what to say to an artist in his workplace I can reassure you that Eduardo will welcome you warmly into this space and may even let you in at other times, if you just knock at his window.

Eduardo comes originally from Santander in Northern Spain, just an hour’s drive from the famous Guggenheim museum in Bilbao. He has been in the US for some 14 years, and is now married (to an American, Elizabeth, a performance artist), with a daughter due in June. His work has been shown in galleries in Europe and the US but he now prefers to sell his paintings directly via personal contact, local exhibition and the internet.

As an artist you can immediately tell that Eduardo has excellent skill and credentials from his portrait of the Spanish actor, Fernando Fernán Gómez that hangs in the studio. This is not for sale and has been carried around from country to country as a kind of artistic passport that shows how well he can paint in a realistic style. However, his work shows strong stylistic variation with, as a common theme of equal emphasis on figure and background.

Eduardo's portrait of his wife Elizabeth

Eduardo’s portrait of his wife Elizabeth

A look at the paintings on his wall, as well as his website, shows that Eduardo has created a “signature” style of figures in silhouette against a range of backgrounds. Although he has painted these for 16 years they have developed and create different emotional impacts that derive from varied conjunctions of people, colors and backgrounds; sometimes geometric and sometimes more organic. These, however, are only a proportion of his work and a tour of his studio will show his range of subject matter and style.

I especially enjoyed Eduardo’s portraits and his representations of the female form whether nudes, in portrait or in formal poses; many of which have great energy. Some have flamenco as their theme. Others, more subtly, convey powerful abstract energies that surround the female figures in ways that suggest dance. Some paintings convey a quieter mood, especially that of a reclining nude, which has a calmness that allows the beauty of the form to stand apart from its background.


In the end Eduardo’s work must be seen to be appreciated. You can see more examples of Eduardo’s work on his website www.eduardoanievas.com, or visit him at 1015 48th Avenue, Hunter’s Point.

His studio is open, try knocking.



Pranavah Yoga is a new studio created by Carolyn McPherson at 47-46 Vernon Boulevard (entrance around the corner on 48th Ave., 3rd floor). Combining her own and others’ talents in teaching a range of Yoga practices the space offers a range of classes and individual sessions for the local community.

Carolyn is committed to both the practice and philosophy of Yoga, seeing it as something that benefits adults and children, as well as families, workplaces and communities. Amongst other groups the center offers pre and post-natal classes and workshops for parents and children. She sees this as practical skill building and an investment in the wellbeing of future generations and recalls positive feedback from mothers that the yoga helped them to deal with pre-birth physical aches and pains, the birth process and recovery.

Originally from San Francisco, Carolyn has lived in the neighborhood for some years and is well known for the classes she has taught in local fitness centers, such as that at the recently flooded Powerhouse rental building. This new venture offers a central location for her own and others’ classes. It will become a focus for both walk-in and planned attendance. For some this can be a life-changing encounter with techniques that have their origins in ancient Eastern meditative arts, benefiting mind, body and spirit. Although often associated with Hinduism and Buddhism, Yoga, or more specifically Hatha Yoga in this case, requires no specific religious commitment.

Carolyn’s background is originally dance, she recalls always having had an interest in her body and wellness, an interest which eventually led her to seek formal training as a yoga teacher. She recognises that yogic breathing, posture and exercises can be taught across a wide age range and can therefore be of value to everybody. She explains that “Pranavah is the sound vibration when chanting the sacred sound of Om”. Breathing is central to living, and good purposeful breathing is a key to wellness. It isn’t surprising, therefore, that the group of teachers that Carolyn has brought together includes singers and musicians.

Carolyn McPherson

Carolyn McPherson

The studio space has a sense of peace and tranquillity. The simplicity of the plain wood floor is balanced by plain walls with nicely chosen artwork and quotations. This is a place to leave the world behind, and an experience to take with you when you leave; to carry in your mind and body through busy days at work or with family.

For more information check out the website:




LIC: Living is a style store, what is sometimes called a boutique; a space where design and ethical integrity reign supreme over a wide range of household articles, adults’ and children’s clothes, toys, cards and art. Opened by LIC neighbours Rebekah Witzke and Jillian Tangen in November last year, this small shop at 535, 51st Street, just up from Vernon Boulevard, offers pleasing colour and design variation that draws stock mainly from small producers in the US and Scandinavia, countries that reflect the national origins of these two innovative women. This is a different kind of store for LIC; reflecting, perhaps, the demographic shifts over the past few years. It is also in a part of Hunters Point that is traditionally difficult for traders; just off Vernon Boulevard and away from the walk-to-subway routes from the condos and rentals that have recently populated the Center Boulevard area. Yet it is worth the diversion, with a mix of goods for sale that offers options for gifts as well as stylish necessities.

Maritime-themed  tableware

Maritime-themed tableware

There is design continuity to this store, even though its stock shows wide variation. Steel cocktail shakers mix with maritime-themed plates; colourful melamine tableware with children’s clothes; books and games with attractively patterned women’s clothes. The stock is displayed with an eye for co-ordination; items must be beautiful as well as useful.

I was interested to see that the owners have teamed up with an artist friend, Mic Boekelmann, to show some of her artwork based on LIC water views, including the iconic Pepsi sign, a view that will soon be unavailable as the last of Cornerstone’s rental buildings rises behind it. Mic is a Philippine born and German raised artist from New Jersey who curates a collaborative artistic community. I was especially impressed by her portraits, not on view here, but visible on her website www.micbstudio.com.

Rebekah Witzke, co-proprieter with a painting by Mic Boekelmann in the background

Rebekah Witzke, co-proprieter with a painting by Mic Boekelmann in the background

LIC: Living also has a website: www.licliving.com, through which their stock may be viewed and ordered online.


An Indian Jewel in the Heart of LIC

Long Island City has a wide choice of Italian, French, Latin and Asian (S.E. and Chinese) restaurants to balance the range of burger joints, diners, and delis that populate its various neighborhoods. Other cuisines are less well represented, so it was with some delight that a friend told me about a recently opened Indian restaurant close to Court Square.

Aanchal sits on 23rd Street, just behind the Court Square Diner. Its decor has that authentic mix of Indian simplicity (plain wood tables) and faux luxury (moquette and wooden panels); together with unobtrusive TV screens showing Bollywood music videos, with the sound turned down to a level that allowed conversation. We arrived around 8:30pm and there was a lively Indian family celebration at one end of the restaurant. Although the waiter was apologetic we took this as a good sign. We were greeted well and served immediately with complimentary papadoms and sauces. There is no drinks menu, though, as the restaurant is not licensed.

Aanchal has a very varied menu which offers much more than the traditional western favourites of Tikka masalas, Kormas, Tandooris and the ubiquitous butter chicken. We chose a Tandoori Murgh Ke Tikke ($11.95) fenugreek flavored marinated chicken, and Lamb Roganjosh ($14.95). The waiter kindly let us know that the chicken is a “dry” dish, but we were prepared for that and would share our dishes, also ordering a bowl of raita ($2 –a cooling mix of yogurt, cucumber and herbs) and a garlic naan bread ($3.95). We were told to expect a 10-15 minute wait; always a good sign that the meal will be freshly prepared (not that this is a major issue with curries, but it’s good to have fresh herbs and spices, when appropriate), and were offered another round of papads by the observant waiter, noticing our swift demolition of the first round.

Murgh Ke Tikke

Murgh Ke Tikke

The dishes arrived together (as they should) and we enjoyed the range of tastes offered, complemented by the naan, rice and raita. The naan was especially good, clearly freshly cooked, moist and with a flavorsome mix of garlic, herbs and spices. Whilst we had asked for the lamb to be “spicy”, I suspect that they toned down Indian spicy to what they considered Western tastes, so if you want it “hot” make it clear. The chicken was moist and subtly flavoured, the red of the Tandoori spice contrasted with the green garnish (fenugreek leaves, no, more likely to be parsley?) and offered a dish that pleased the eyes as well as the palate. We finished off the lamb but there was enough chicken and rice left to be packed up for a trip home, to be enjoyed the next day (which it was!).

We will definitely return to Aanchal. If you like Indian food this place is as authentic as you’ll get this side of Curry Hill, and easier to get to for Queens residents; those on Manhattan who live close to the E, M and 7 lines and our neighbours in Brooklyn who are near to the G.

Aamchal also deliver and offer what looks like a tempting “All You Can Eat” lunch buffet for $9.99.


The Return of the Queens

Wednesday night, January 23rd, is a special night at LIC bar, (corner of Vernon Boulevard and 46th Avenue, www.licbar.com). Local stars Jeneen Terrana and Little Embers offer new and old favorites in a night of music which starts with Astoria resident, the very talented singer/songwriter Michael Zuko (http://www.myspace.com/michaelzuko) in a return visit to this iconic LIC venue.

Jeneen Terrana (http://www.jeneenterrana.com) is almost as well known as a TV cook as she is a singer, from her recent appearance in “Home Made in America”, the Food Network showcase for down-home American cooks. In this show she demonstrated her four layer chocolate cheesecake (absolutely delicious!), and describes how she used her abilities as a pastry chef to raise money for her last album. Parts of the show were filmed at LIC Bar. You can view it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-SxDY4Qx7M

Jeneen Terrana with Neil Nunziato (Drums), Anthony Lanni (Guitar), Gus Rodriguez (guitar and Voice), Michele Riganese (voice) and Dan Ke'enthaahal (Bass)

Jeneen Terrana recording for The Food Network at LIC Bar with Neil Nunziato (Drums), Anthony Lanni (Guitar), Gus Rodriguez (guitar and Voice), Michele Riganese (voice) and Dan Ke’enthaahal (Bass)

As a singer Jeneen has a pure, accurate voice and writes memorable and lyrical songs in a folk/country style with a tip of a hat to her Italian roots. She will be playing with a full band that includes talented guitarists Antony Lanni and Charlie Rauh, together with violinist Concetta Abbate this week in a session that starts at 9:00pm, with Michael at 8:00 and Little Embers at 10:00.

Little Embers and Anthony Rizzo at LIC Bar

Little Embers and Anthony Rizzo at LIC Bar

Little Embers (http://www.myspace.com/littleembers) last appeared at LIC bar in August, in her last show before the birth of a baby daughter, Lucianna in November. This week’s show, like the previous one, will be an intimate performance with her husband, Anthony Rizzo on electric guitar. She sings a mix of country/rock songs in an individual style that can sometimes evoke tears and sometimes rock the house down, especially when she plays with a full band.

Together with other local singers Shelly Bhushan (http://www.shellybhushan.com)and Michele Riganese (www.micheleriganese.com); Jeneen and Little Embers have collaborated as the “Queens of Queens” in performances in Brooklyn and Manhattan, as well as a residency at LIC Bar last May. Don’t be surprised if there is more creative collaboration this Wednesday night.

The shows are free, with an expectation that you buy drinks and offer donations to the tip jar for each performer. If you haven’t been to LIC Bar you are in for a treat!

For more on Jeneen and Little Embers check out my podcasts on itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/sometime-in-long-island-city/id523786622?mt=2

Who cares about LIC Bar — The Who do!!

Gus Rodriguez, delighted to unpack a box from Shure electronics that contained an assortment of their best vocal, instrumental and percussion microphones.

Gus Rodriguez, delighted to unpack a box from Shure electronics that contained an assortment of their best vocal, instrumental and percussion microphones.

LIC music curator Gus Rodriguez was delighted this week to open the first consignment of sound gear to be donated to LIC Bar by British rock band “The Who” following the destruction of the bar’s equipment in the flooding from hurricane Sandy. LIC Bar’s cellar was flooded to a depth of 8 feet on the night of the highest tides, destroying bar stock, office equipment, appliances etc; and also sound and musical equipment stored there for the bar’s regular music nights. Drums, a keyboards and PA gear were lost and the bar has relied on borrowed equipment for its four-nights-a-week shows whilst trying to raise funds for replacements. Gus is looking forward to receiving a new Peavey PA system in the next consignment of gear and described how the gift came to be made:
“LIC Bar regular patron and music lover Robert Basch heard about what happened in the hurricane, was going to their concert in Brooklyn and had this idea to reach out to The Who and tell them of our plight, wondering if they might take time to put on a show here. Doggone it, he got through to them and was told that, although they couldn’t do a show they would do the next best thing and  donate replacement gear. Today’s delivery is proof of the band’s generosity. Although we still hope that Roger Daltrey or Pete Townshend might still show up we can’t bank on it; although this is New York and strange things do happen!”

As a band that started in the pubs of North London and progressed to the stages of the world The Who have shown that they still respect venues like LIC Bar, from which new music will be generated and stars will be born.

The Who outside the Railway Hotel, Wealdstone, Harrow, North London

The Who outside the Railway Hotel, Wealdstone, Harrow, North London

The Who are no strangers to lost and damaged equipment. As leader of an aggressive and exciting band in the 1960s and 70s guitarist Pete Townshend would regularly smash his guitar and amplifier; and their drummer, the late Keith Moon, placed fireworks in his kit to create explosive endings to the band’s stage shows. The band is older now, with two of the original members no longer with us; so their offer of new equipment to a little bar in Long Island City came as a welcome gesture, glowing with wonderful irony.

LIC residents Andy Stack and Tania Elizabeth at LIC Bar

LIC residents Andy Stack and Tania Elizabeth at LIC Bar

(this is an extended version of an article originally published in www.licspot.com, please support this excellent local news blog by reading and clicking on the advertisers).