Jastremski: What’s Fair Is Fair – The Top 5 Mets Killers Of My Lifetime

I’m very lucky that I’ve known the great Joe Benigno for over twenty years. Ten plus as a listener and the rest as a colleague and a very dear friend.

I mentioned to him earlier today the idea of the Top Met killers over the duration of my lifetime and he responded with a simple “Bro, it’s quite a list!”

He’s not wrong.

There have been a whole lot of brand names that took great pleasure in sticking it to the New York Mets.

So in my lifetime after what we decided to do last week with the Top 5 Yankee killers, it’s only fair that we return the favor.

I can guarantee you this. You won’t forget any of these 5 names.

5. Chase Utley. Look, the slide is the first memory, right? 2016 NLDS. Chase Utley hard-nosed right into the leg of Ruben Tejada. The slide shouldn’t overshadow the way Utley completely owned Mets pitching for close to a decade as a member of the Phillies. 39 homers and 116 RBIs and was a fixture in a lineup that took great satisfaction in killing Mets pitching.

4. Freddie Freeman, the future Hall of Famer played on some bad Atlanta Braves teams for a long while, but it didn’t matter if the Braves were a bad team or a good team. Freeman pounded Mets pitching and always seemed to come up in the biggest of spots to wreck a game.

3. Pat Burrell. This is easily the most obscure player of the five on this list, but there was nothing obscure about the 42 career homers Burrell clubbed against the Mets including 18 at the Old Shea Stadium. In a lineup that featured the likes of Utley, Rollins & Howard, it always seemed Burrell would be the one to wreck games against the Mets.

2. Derek Jeter.  2000.  Game 4 World Series. Enough said right? Well, not only did Jeter totally seize the momentum of the Subway Series with that leadoff home run, he also went on to win WS MVP as the Yankees won in 5 games. 2000 aside, Jeter dominated Mets pitching. He hit .364 with a .955 OPS against his crosstown rival. He would’ve been number 1 on this list if the Yankees played the Mets more than 6 times a year.

1. Chipper Jones. The Ultimate Mets killer. The Hall Of Famer on the team in the National League East that the Mets could just never beat. Chipper named his son Shea for goodness sake. Imagine a stat line of .349-49-159. Well, that’s Chipper Jones against the Mets. Unstoppable, every which way.

Now that I’ve thought of the top 5 Yankee & Met Killers of my lifetime, I certainly hope I’m not adding to this list after the 2022 season!

You can listen to my podcast New York, New York on The Ringer Podcast Network on Spotify/Apple Podcasts every Sunday, Tuesday & Thursday evenings. You can also watch me on Geico Sportsnight nightly after Mets Postgame on SNY.

‘It’s only Rock ‘N’ Roll (But they like it)’

Rolling Stones tribute band brings “Satisfaction” to Middle Village

Satisfaction: The International Rolling Stones Tribute Show rocks the house down at Juniper Valley Park.

By Stephanie Meditz
[email protected]

Satisfaction, the International Rolling Stones Tribute Show brought the sound of the iconic English rock band to Juniper Valley Park on Thursday night.

The show was the third in a series of free concerts held by Councilman Robert Holden in partnership with Queensborough Performing Arts Center and NYC Department of Parks and Recreation.

The band, led by frontman Chris LeGrand, celebrated 60 years of the Rolling Stones with a set that took the audience back in time to 1965.

Originally from Texas, LeGrand started the show 22 years ago when he realized that The Rolling Stones did not have a tribute show like other iconic bands, such as The Beatles.

Billy Amaral came to the concert fully decked out in Rolling Stones gear.

He had been a musician throughout his life, primarily playing the bass guitar in his 20’s, but he had never been a frontman until he started Satisfaction.

“When I started this show, a lot of my friends said, ‘I don’t know if you’re gonna be able to pull this off,’” he said. “And I was like, ‘Well, I’m gonna give it a shot.’”

After he recruited other members, the show started doing small performances until it eventually grew in popularity and became an international sensation.

Satisfaction has performed about 4,000 shows both in the U.S. and overseas. While on tour, the group plays upwards of 150 shows per year.

Earlier this year, the group performed with Beatles tribute band Abbey Road in a show called “Beatles vs. Stones — A Musical Showdown.”

Their setlist at Juniper Valley Park featured The Rolling Stones’ most iconic hits, including “Sympathy For The Devil,” “Paint It, Black,” “Gimme Shelter,” “Honky Tonk Women,” and the band’s namesake, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”

“It was one of the first songs I heard by The Rolling Stones when I was a little guy,” LeGrand said. “And it just was so powerful, and it still is.”

Songs by The Rolling Stones similarly resonated with many of the concert’s attendees, who came dressed in their favorite merchandise.

Ozone Park resident and longtime Stones fan Billy Amaral donned a t-shirt commemorating the band’s 60-year anniversary and a bandana covered in their famous tongue and lips logo.

Lynn O’Brien trekked to Juniper Valley Park from Manhattan to see the show.

Lynn O’Brien also showed off the logo on her shirt and necklace. A friend of the band’s, she rushed to Middle Village all the way from Manhattan on her motorcycle to see them perform.

The concert was a lively tribute that included several outfit changes by the frontman and a solo by Dom Lanzo, the current Keith Richards of the group.

When he addressed the crowd, Robert Holden recalled Satisfaction’s performance in Forest Park last year and said it was “like being at a Stones concert.”

The councilman also noted the striking resemblance between LeGrand and Mick Jagger.

LeGrand was fully aware of the resemblance and even took it into consideration when he first started the show.

“I’ve always had these looks follow me around all my life,” he said. “So I decided it was time to put the voice and the looks to use and see if I can make this happen.”

LeGrand, the show’s only remaining original member, feels lucky to have built a career out of performing the music he has always loved for fans who love it just as much.

Lidl to replace DSW at Queens Place Mall

Slated to open early 2024

Residents of Elmhurst and its surrounding neighborhoods will no longer have to trek to Astoria to visit a Lidl location.

The well-loved grocery store will soon open up a brand new location inside the basement of Queens Place Mall, replacing DSW—whose lease will expire this August.

The location is conveniently accessible via the Q58 and Q60 buses, as well as the M and R trains.

Madison International Realty announced that the store signed a long term lease, and is estimated to open in the first quarter of 2024.

Local Queens leaders were pleased with the news that Lidl would become closer to home for many residents, and praised the benefits that the development has to offer to the community.

“On behalf of the oldest and largest business association in Queens, it is my pleasure to congratulate Madison International Realty on adding this globally-recognized company to their tenant roster, and Lidl on opening a second location in the ‘World’s Borough,’” Tom Grech, president and CEO of the Queens Chamber of Commerce said.

“This supermarket will seek to create quality job opportunities and provide an affordable place to buy groceries for residents of Elmhurst and the surrounding neighborhoods. We look forward to celebrating the opening in 2024 and shopping at the Queens Place Mall Lidl for years to come.”

Lidl has been celebrated for its shopping experience by prominent publications in the past, including Food & Wine Magazine and USA Today Readers’ Choice Awards.

The company offers a leading wages and benefits package, including healthcare for all full and part-time employees, regardless of number of hours worked per week.

“Lidl is well-known for its good-paying jobs, affordable prices, and its diverse, healthy, and high-quality food offerings, so we are very excited that the company will be opening a second store here in Queens,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. said. “Lidl’s Astoria location has been a big hit with shoppers, and we are looking forward to the same kind of success as the company branches into Elmhurst in service of central Queens families.”

Based in Arlington, Virginia, Lidl operates more than 170 stores on the East Coast, with 25 in New York state.
Queens Place is part of a 2.5 million-square-foot, 15-property New York City retail portfolio that Madison acquired from Forest City Realty Trust. The real estate private equity firm acquired a 49 percent stake in Queens Place in 2011 and purchased the remaining 51 percent in 2018.

Construction for the new Lidl location is estimated to begin by the end of this year.

H-Mart opens new location in Flushing

H-Mart, the country’s largest Asian supermarket chain, celebrated the grand opening of its newest location at 142-41 Roosevelt Ave. in Flushing this past week. People were lined up outside the door early Thursday, waiting for the opportunity to shop at the supermarket franchise’s newest Queens location.

The 17,300 square-foot site was originally home to a Key Food supermarket, which closed in 2010 after serving the community for decades. It was later replaced by New York Mart, a similar Asian food market that closed last year, leaving a portion of the Flushing community without a local supermarket.

“It’s great to have the H-Mart here serving the community, occupying space in a vacant building that was quickly becoming a neighborhood eyesore,” City Councilwoman Sandra Ung said in her weekly newsletter. “Judging from the line of shoppers eager to get in at 10 a.m. and the long line still waiting to get in at 6 p.m., people are excited.”

Short for the phrase “Han Ah Reum,” which loosely translates to “an arm full of groceries,” H-Mart opened its first location in the nearby Woodside community back in 1982. Since then, what began as a small corner grocery store has grown to include more than 97 locations nationwide.

“Our new home is an extension of our Flushing stores, located on Roosevelt Avenue where loyal shoppers can enjoy Asian food, culture, drinks as well as the freshest produce, meat, seafood, and a variety of other Asian groceries at your one-stop-shop for everything Asian and more,” the company states on its Instagram page. “We would like to thank NY residents for all your love and support in making this happen.”

American Softball hosts annual All-Star Game and Home Run Derby

Under the early morning Saturday sun, the American Softball League gathered together — as they do every Saturday — at Vito Locascio Field in Ozone Park. However, unlike previous weeks, the July 16 game was the league’s annual All-Star game and Home Run Derby. Before the event, an awards ceremony was held honoring two instrumental members of the organization.

Elected officials from both the local and state level gathered together to recognize Founder and CEO Randy Novick and Coach Tina Roseman, as well as enjoy the warm weather and the yearly game.

The American Softball League is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization with several organizations for people with special needs. Meeting weekly, the organization holds games from May through August. This year, the league’s opening day was on May 14, and the season is a 16-week long program.

Among the elected officials who were present at the All-Star Game and awards ceremony included Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato, Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue, Queens Deputy Borough President Ebony Young, and Councilwoman Joann Ariola.

Together, they — among the numerous players and their families who had gathered together on that bright Saturday morning — recognized the philanthropy of Novick and Roseman and their devotion to the players.

“They worked tirelessly to make sure that this league is up and running every year,” Amato told the crowd. “Through [COVID-19], by recruiting the top players from every part of our borough and happily bringing it here in our hometown of Howard Beach to make it more convenient for a lot of families to get here.”

This season has participants from various group homes such as Bernard Fineson Developmental Disabilities Services, Unique People, Little Flowers, Lifespire, YAI, Life’s WORC, and Services for the Underserved, as well as people from New York Families for Autistic Children and the NYC Board of Education in District 75.

“While some people may think their challenges might inhibit them from playing a sport they dreamed of, we prove to them that they can do it and make their dream of playing softball a reality,” their website states.

Every player gets the chance to hit, run the bases and play the field. As before every game, the team sang “The Star Spangled Banner,” which was then followed by a player-led “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”

Randy Novick is the founder and CEO of American Softball. He serves as one of the coaches as well, involved with each and every game.

“As the founder of American Softball, I have created a sports league unlike any other,” Novick wrote on the organization’s website. “We have given challenged people a chance to play softball just when they thought it could never be a possibility. Knowing there are thousands of challenged people in the United States, I wanted to provide an opportunity where they felt unstoppable.”

Novick and Roseman were given citations from Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, the city council — which are citations given “only to people who are great as persons who give complimentary service to their communities” — and New York State. Both were also sent a congressional proclamation from U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries.

Joann Ariola gives a speech at the game

Ariola, who threw the honorary first pitch of the game, expressed her passion for the organization, stating that “there’s no better investment than in our youth.”

“What you are learning here is not just how to play ball,” she said. “It’s how to be a member of a team. It’s respect. It’s working together. It’s getting a job done. And that’s going to take you all the way through your life.”

Ariola ensures that American Softball gets $5,000 a year from the New York City Council budget. The non-profit also receives $10,000 a year from the New York State Assembly, Amato stated.

“It’s the only one I truly fight for and to make sure [of],” she said.

The future of American Softball, their website states, is to hopefully expand membership and open additional locations both within New York City and across the country. Any interested fans who may wish to watch the weekly game, are always welcome.

“These players are truly special and giving them this opportunity, to play the great American sport of softball, is priceless! Please come down to cheer the players on.” Novack states on the website.

Games will be held every Saturday from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. throughout the summer at Vito Locascio Field, 149th Avenue, and Cross Bay Blvd in Ozone Park.

For more information on the American Softball League, visit http://www.americansoftball.org.

Ruhling: The Chef who learned French cooking in England

Vincent Caro didn’t learn to cook the culinary classics of his native Brittany at home.

For that, he had to go abroad. To England.

Vincent named his bistros after his daughters.

Vincent, the owner of the newly opened French bistro Chez Olivia, says it’s not as strange as it sounds.

He was, after all, in the employ of a French restaurant when he learned the ins and outs of braising the boeuf bourguignon and anointing the coq au vin with Burgundy.

Ah, that does make sense. Sort of.

Sipping an espresso at one of the tables in Chez Olivia’s backyard garden that’s shaded by tomato-red umbrellas, Vincent, who was born and raised in the tiny farming/fishing commune of Pleyben, recalls, fondly, the kitchens of his past and present.

His conversation is interrupted several times.

As the cleaning crew is finishing up and the tables are being set, Vincent is alerted to the fact that one page of the menu in the front window has fallen to the floor.

He reinstates it, and as he walks past the kitchen, he helps move a set of shelves back against the wall.

There’s also some kind of plumbing problem, and he has a discussion with a worker about the best position for the pipe. Then, he checks on things in the basement and runs through produce prices with a prospective vendor.

“How much are you paying for Idaho potatoes?,” she asks. “Oh, that’s way too much. I can get them for you for $2 less.”

He patiently hears her out but politely defers an on-the-spot commitment.

OK, where were we?

Chez Olivia is at 29-11 23rd Ave.

Oh, yes, his parents – Dad was a teacher and Mom ran a gift shop – did serve Vincent and his brother home-cooked meals, but the boys’ only interest in food was eating it.

Indeed, Vincent’s passion for the culinary arts didn’t commence until he was 14.

That’s when he took a part-time job at a restaurant to make spending money.

“I started out on weekends and holidays and fell in love with the work,” he says. “I was always in the kitchen asking how to do things and trying the food.”

If the food was good, he discovered that the gossip was even better.

“The population of Pleyben is only about 4,000,” he says. “The restaurant was the best place to find out what was going on.”

During breaks from college, where he earned a degree in business and sales, Vincent continued the restaurant stints, which eventually became his career, first in France and then in England.

“I wanted to improve my English,” he explains in his delicious French accent.

Vincent, who has eyes that match his espresso and generously salted hair, had no intention of coming to America until a friend told him about job opportunities at EPCOT, Walt Disney’s Florida theme park.

“There were pavilions for various countries, including France, and the people who worked there came from all over the world,” Vincent says.

He secured a job, and six months later, in 2005, he made his way to New York City.

“I had been to New York on vacation twice, and I loved it,” he says.

After working for several restaurants, Vincent decided to open his own.

“By this time, I was married, and my wife was pregnant with our first child,” he says, adding that she’s a New Yorker. “I always wanted to go out on my own, and I thought if I don’t take the risk now, I never will.”

He made his debut in 2016 in Sunnyside, but the restaurant closed permanently in March 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic lockdowns.

His second establishment, Chez Eloise, is in Jackson Heights, where he lives. Chez Olivia is the newest sibling.

In case you haven’t guessed it, the bistros are named for Vincent’s daughters, 6-year-old Eloise and 4-month-old Olivia.

Restaurants require a lot of hands-on work, and these days Vincent finds himself literally running back and forth between Olivia and Eloise.

“It’s about a 10-minute drive by car,” he says. “But it sometimes takes much longer because of all the red lights. Sometimes, I jog instead. That usually takes 15 minutes.”

Vincent isn’t sure how many hours he works – he’d probably quit the business if he ever stopped long enough to tally them – but his day starts at 7:30 when he gets Eloise ready for school.

 It doesn’t end until everything is done, and often that’s late at night.

“I try to manage my time,” he says, adding that “when I am home, if I have time, I do the cooking.”

Because Chez Olivia is new, Vincent is still trying to figure out a reasonable schedule. Right now, it’s only open for dinner.

“I hope in 10 years that Chez Olivia and Chez Eloise will still be open,” he says. “Restaurants are hard – every day is a struggle.”

He is sure of one thing, though: If he has a third child, he will not commemorate the event by giving birth to another restaurant.

“It is,” he says, “too much work.”

Nancy A. Ruhling may be reached at [email protected];  @nancyruhling; nruhling on Instagram, nancyruhling.com,  astoriacharacters.com.

Wendell: Woodhaven Art Circle puts out call for artists

Calling all local artists! The Woodhaven Art Circle has put out a call for their very first art show this fall, which they hope will become an annual staple in our community.

“Our mission is to bring the arts to our neighbors, our community and our youth,” says Mahfuza Rahman, the artist known as MSR. “We hope to root out those artists who have retreated inwards when the pandemic hit.”

“Woodhaven is full of talented artists, and through the help of the Woodhaven Cultural and Historical Society we have begun to discover and connect with each other,” MSR adds.

The Woodhaven Art Circle’s Fall Showcase is scheduled for Saturday, September 24th and will be held at Emanuel United Church of Christ on 91st Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard. If you are interested in participating, email the Art Circle at [email protected] or follow them on Instagram at @woodhavenartcircle.

Much of the work on display will be on sale and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the School Sisters of Notre Dame Educational Center for Women, located on 88th Avenue and 87th Street in Woodhaven, to help fund their free ESL program for women.

The members of the Woodhaven Art Circle are not only excited for the opportunity to show off their skills but they are looking forward to meeting and collaborating with other like-minded artists in our community.

“Everyone has something to bring to the table,” says the artist known as Dark Reconstruction. “We want to make sure the voices and visions of marginalized and emerging creators have a platform in our neighborhood.”

Technoquilter Jennifer Lambert sees tremendous potential for our art collective and how it can impact the community. “Art is the pulse of an individual,” she says. “It can radiate and engulf a neighborhood and bring the community together, helping to understand, grow and unify our colorfully rich diverse Woodhavenneighborhood.”

Currently, the Woodhaven Art Circle consists of a few painters, muralists, a photographer, a technoquilter collage artist, a jewelry maker, a textile quitter, a published writer and poet, a musician/busker and a DJ. But there’s not only plenty of room for more artists within each discipline, the WAC is open to all forms of arts and expression.

The group is excited to see where the WAC fits into our community and how it will help local artists.

Christine Barbour, an accomplished and published poet says “An arts organization is important to the community because it takes the artist out of themselves, from behind closed doors, and allows them into a learning community of like-minded individuals where, for the most part, their creativity will soar.”

“Our mission is to encourage artists to come out and share their message with the world to help inspire, heal and motivate others to discover (or rediscover) an artistic ambition that has resided within their soul,” says artist Deborah Camp, whose work may be familiar to you as she often paints murals on the windows of local businesses.

“We hope this exhibition is going to be the catalyst for launching and sparking uplifting discussions revolving around art with the inclusion of the diverse community from the youth to the elderly of all walks of life,” Camp says.

All local artists are welcome to participate, with a focus on the local artists right here in Woodhaven. MSR sees Woodhaven as fertile ground for growth.

“Woodhaven is a community filled with different cultures and we are hoping to bring them together by sharing our different artistic expressions,” she says. “There will be several free interactive workshops including mandala making, painting, arts and crafts, and an open microphone for storytelling.”

So if you’ve been creating art and would love to show off your talent and collaborate with fellow local artists, this is a great opportunity to do so. Maybe you know someone who is very talented but just hasn’t had the chance to show off their skills. Please pass this article along to them.

This is just the start of a movement here in Woodhaven, a movement driven by creatives and artists. It will be interesting to check back with them in the near future to see how well they are developing!

Perlman: Remembering restaurant favorites through vintage postcards

By Michael Perlman
[email protected]

There is a good chance that you mailed a postcard to family and friends, but may not realize that picture postcards date to 1893, and the majority, where a good percentage feature handwritten messages and vintage stamps, still exist. Deltiology is the collection and study of postcards, which derives from “deltion,” the Greek term for a writing tablet or letter. Therefore, a deltiologist references a postcard collector.

Forest Hills and Rego Park advertising postcards were once available for free at local restaurants, but today can sell anywhere from $10 to $50. Facades and interiors were often photographed from a unique perspective in postcards, complementing their architectural details and artistry, which extended a warm welcome to patrons.

Early 20th Century postcards featured black and white printed photos that were hand-colored and often seemed true to life. They were followed by linen-era color postcards beginning in the 1930s, followed by natural color chrome postcards as of the 1950s.

Mama Sorrento’s

A chrome postcard, published by Adchrome Pdts. Corp. of 509 Madison Ave., read, “To make dining out a real pleasure, be sure to visit Mama Sorrento’s.” Mama Sorrento, a most distinguished Italian restaurant and pizzeria, was situated at 107-02 Queens Blvd., along a retail strip completed in 1947, facing MacDonald Park.

Beyond a well-appointed Colonial façade, it featured cozy green booths, tables, and high ceilings, along with scenic artwork, a view of the kitchen, and a bar area. Deco green walls were offset by a brick wall. This popular restaurant served genuine Italian dishes that were recognized by patrons for their wonderful presentations. Accommodations were made for all social functions, and air-conditioning and free parking were additional attractions.


Joan Rizzi was a local legend, better known as “Mama Sorrento,” who would prepare traditional Neapolitan family dishes, making the restaurant a Queens favorite. She told The Long Island Star-Journal in May 1961, “cooking is an art in my family, and the policy that we have is to satisfy the people who come into our restaurant for the finest in Italian-American dishes.” One signature dish was Chicken Rollatini alla Parisienne.

This is also where actor, comedian, and voice-over artist Marty Ingels once had his signed headshot on display, likely prior to achieving stardom. This notable spot was a phone call away at Virginia 6-9277, where the postcard features a long-forgotten vintage prefix.

Tutto Bene Restaurant

Some postcards feature the evolution of restaurants—if you are fortunate enough to find them.

Such is the case with the chrome postcards of French Italian cuisine establishment Chez Pierre at 110-50 Queens Blvd., which opened around the early 1940s, and was later the site of Tutto Bene Restaurant, an Italian classic cuisine spot, circa the late 1960s. Both restaurants featured elegant murals, which were a mainstay of restaurants that made patrons feel as if they were on a getaway for the evening.

Checkered tablecloths in one restaurant, eventually made their way to double red and white tablecloths in another, hence the eras. The latter business featured warm wood-paneled walls and elegantly framed artwork, with small ornate chandeliers. “Tutto Bene” translates as “everything good,” and among the patron favorites were Lobster Fra Diavolo and Assortimento Tutto Bene.


La Stella

Several Italian restaurants were documented in postcards. La Stella, under the management of “The Taliercio Bros.” Joseph and Jack, was at 102-11 Queens Boulevard and featured fine Italian cuisine, wine, and liquors.

The chrome postcard displays its ambiance, consisting of orange walls, high ceilings, chandeliers and sconces, traditional Italian picture frames, and white tablecloths. The zig-zag patterned floor added much character. The angular art deco storefront featured classic illuminated script signage.

Aside from its popular menu, this is the site of the notorious September 1966 luncheon that resulted in the arrest of 13 top members of organized crime, which The New York Times called “Little Apalachin.”

Another chrome postcard featured Monte’s, a fine Italian restaurant and pizzeria at 71-51 Yellowstone Blvd. It offered home delivery and parking in the rear and was advertised as being 3 blocks from Parker Towers.


Looking into the restaurant, a curtained window made it resemble a showroom, and tall candles with ornate holders in each booth added to its elegance. A recessed ceiling with a chandelier, a checkered floor, and an Italian wall sketch also contributed to its mood. This restaurant would later become the cherished Da’ Silvana.

A linen postcard features the Ideal Spot on Burns Street and Yellowstone Boulevard, where patrons would “dine and dance in comfort” near a bandshell where there was “always a cool breeze” under the trees. It also featured a beer garden at 66-20 Thornton Pl., and an early ad read, “a hard place to find, but worth the effort.”

In April 1938, a license was issued to the Ideal Spot to sell beer, wine, and liquor. Living up to its name, patrons would sit at tables with checkered tablecloths under a tree canopy of Maples, where they could be acquainted with nature and keep cool under a starlit summer’s night. Open year-round, patrons could also dine and dance nightly, and games were coordinated.

Community functions included the Kew-Forest Kennel Club’s all-breed match show in 1938 and the Annual Dinner Dance and Revue of the Forest Hills Homeowners Association in January 1942.

The Ideal Spot

The jazz scene consisted of regulars Art Hodes on piano, Rod Cless on clarinet, and Joe Grausso on drums. Bill Reid’s Dixieland Band also took the stage. In 1940, patrons welcomed a new air-cooled room, where the seating capacity increased to 500, with an extra-large indoor dancefloor.


In its early days of operation, the family business consisted of Terry, Anne, Ernie, and Pop Nuerge, who helped define the neighborhood’s culture.

Patrons often walked or took their cars to the Ideal Spot, but during World War II, the clientele began to decrease due to gas rationing and the ban on pleasure driving. Thanks to the creative management in 1943, patrons rode safely in a covered wagon, which would meet at the subway stop every hour on the hour and depart from the Ideal Spot at half-hour intervals.

The tree bark-inspired menu consisted of a canapé of anchovies or a fruit cocktail for 25 cents and Soup du Jour for 20 cents. “Blue plates a L’Ideal” offered choices such as a sirloin steak for $1.25. For a quarter, patrons could order a cold sandwich of Limburger cheese or liverwurst, and for 50 cents, order a caviar sandwich. The Ideal Spot closed in 1962, and then the property accommodated a series of Yeshivas.


Topsy’s Cabin Fried Chicken, also known as Topsy’s Chicken, a southern-style culinary landmark that also served corn fritters among its most popular options, opened in 1937 in a one-story Colonial building at 112-01 Queens Blvd. in Forest Hills, which later became a two-story Colonial building. The Topsy’s façade was initially depicted in a linen-era postcard.

The Topsy’s slogan was “Eat It With Your Fingers.” A Topsy’s billboard once caught the eye of community residents and read “m-m-m one block ahead” and also stated “famous for chicken,” with a tempting plate. Examining postcards, often makes one conduct further research. In this case, it was replaced by Seymour Kaye’s in 1971, which specialized in Jewish dining. In 1989, the site became The Pinnacle, as we know it.

Diners once dotted the tri-state area. One can see from a George Hollis Diner linen Colourpicture postcard a classic example of art deco, which was a highlight of many sites, thanks to the influence of the nearby 1939 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows. Mr. Hollis was at your service at this freestanding railway car-inspired diner, which was in existence potentially into the late 1950s. It featured striking curved corners of glass blocks and sleek horizontal and vertical details.

The George Hollis Diner

It was located at 109-23 World’s Fair Blvd., which was temporarily renamed Horace Harding Boulevard, and was near 108th Street. The postcard read, “In the Shadow of the World’s Fair” and “dine here and enjoy the finest food in a rare atmosphere of beauty and distinction. Counter and booth service. Always open.” Numerous fairgoers’ palates were enticed! The Fair’s symbolic spire-like Trylon monument was evident in its path.


Rego Park postcards are a novelty since far fewer views exist than Forest Hills postcards. One features a colorful sketch of Howard Johnson’s at 95-25 Queens Blvd., which was advertised as “the largest roadside restaurant in the United States,” coincided with the 1939 World’s Fair and won first prize from the Queens Chamber of Commerce.

It sat 1,000 patrons. The Georgian Colonial mansion-like façade featured sculptures, ornamental cast stone, pilasters, a portico, dormers, shutters, and terraces, and was topped off with a cupola. A freestanding art deco sign boasted 28 ice cream flavors such as chocolate chip and burgundy cherry ice cream, as well as a grille and cocktail lounge. Weddings were held in the “Colonial Room” and “Empire Room.”

Regal appointments included crystal chandeliers, a winding grand staircase, and murals by the famed Andre Durenceau. The 1939 World’s Fair’s esteemed seafood chef Pierre Franey was on-site. It is also where chef Jacques Pépin worked and was later the recipient of an Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement. In 1974, this unofficial landmark was demolished, but it is forever etched in the heart of many New Yorkers.

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