Tag: Sunnyside

St. Pats for All Parade 2008

Sunday, March 2nd, 2008 | All Things, Events

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Everyone knows about the city’s main St. Patrick’s Day parade that takes place along Fifth Avenue on March 17. Since 2000, though, another smaller St. Patrick’s Parade & Irish Fair — dubbed St. Pat’s for All — is held along Skillman Avenue in western Queens weeks earlier. The parade begins in the traditionally Irish community of Sunnyside and ends in Woodside.

Brendan Fay, founder of the Lavender and Green Alliance, a group serving the needs of the Irish GLBT community, organized the inclusive parade after being arrested at the city’s main St. Patrick’s Day festivities in 1999. This year’s St. Pat’s for All took place on Sunday, March 2 and featured the usual Irish heritage groups (bagpipers, the Irish Arts Center, step dancers from The Niall O’Leary School of Irish Dance, whom we saw perform last fall at CultureFest) as well as local politicians, community and labor groups, gay rights organizations, Protestant, Muslim and Jewish groups, and not-obviously (or obviously not) Irish groups like Sunset Park’s Quetzalcoatl Group with its colorfully attired Mexican folk dancers and the wonderfully charming Keltic Dreams, a clogging troupe from P.S. 59 in the Bronx, whose student body is 71 percent Hispanic and 27 percent black.

St. Pat’s for All parade

St. Pat’s for All parade

St. Pat’s for All parade

St. Pat’s for All parade

St. Pat’s for All parade

Even canines got to participate, courtesy of S.U.D.S., the Sunnyside United Dog Society:

St. Pat’s for All parade

There was constant music in the air, and I was probably most surprised (and psyched) to hear “Hit Me Baby One More Time” for marching brass band… though in retrospect, I would have saved myself some embarrassment if I’d kept that sentiment to myself. No “Danny Boy though.

Check out the full photo set on flickr!

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Beef, it’s what’s for dinner

Thursday, December 27th, 2007 | All Things, Eats, Friends

I now know two people who converted to vegetarianism after reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan’s reflection on ethical eating. Hmm, put that way, it sounds a bit like a cult. Pollan himself, though, is no vegetarian; rather, he promotes awareness of the origins and implications of our diet, and raises valid, disturbing points about factory farms, industrial agriculture, and resource inefficiency. I generally try to limit my meat intake anyway, at least as much from a health standpoint (heart disease, high cholesterol, cancer) as from the perspectives of environmental impact (water usage, waste contamination, rainforest destruction) and public health (food-borne illness, irradiation, antibiotics and growth hormones). But I also love a good burger, and every once in a while, I’ve been known to embrace fully, happily, the world of meats.

Like tonight, where we were gathered at Casa B for a sumptuous dinner of porterhouse steaks. Check out these thick, beautiful slabs from Omaha Steaks:

Omaha Steaks

Porterhouse steaks are T-bones cut from the marbled, larger, rear end of the short loin, and are comprised of both tenderloin (filet mignon) and New York strip steak sections. According to local lore, the name traces its origins to early 19th century New York City, where the steak was a popular menu item in public alehouses — or “porter houses.”

Our 1½ pound steaks were prepared simply, as all quality meat should be: liberally seasoned with salt and pepper and topped with spoonfuls of butter — Peter Luger-style, over which, most will agree, there can be little improvement.


Afterwards, the party moved into the living room, where after homemade desserts of chocolate bundt cake, apple crumble and Christmas cookies, we divided into teams of three for a rousing game of Cranium. Among the challenges tonight: do a Clint Eastwood impersonation, spell “c-a-r-a-m-e-l” backwards, hum “Brick House” by The Commodores, mold a lion out of blue clay, act out a “quadruple bypass” and draw a surfer with one’s eyes closed. Hunter women reign supreme!

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Where there’s smoke…

Sunday, October 28th, 2007 | All Things, Friends

On the way out to Sunnyside Gardens this evening, I noticed these new LED displays on the 7 train. The purple circle and diamond symbols were never very effective in distinguishing between train routes; certainly these new signs are a vast (and long overdue) improvement over the old system of popping your head into a subway car ­– careful to avoid the guillotine action of the closing doors — and yelling “Express or Local?” only to be met with stony stares or indecipherable grumbles. “Lxprzl”?

7 signage

Out on RM’s patio, SYB and I were tasked with starting a fire for the barbecue. Even armed with a box full of matches, the autumn winds posed quite a challenge. It’s situations like these when I think that Girl Scouts training would have been far more useful than piano and violin lessons. We finally managed to get things going after several false starts; the orange flames (and copious wine) provided wonderful warmth against the chilly falling darkness.

Our gracious host brought out a tray of chicken burgers from The Butcher Block, a popular local Irish delicatessen which in 2004 reopened in a new location after its original long-held spot across the street was virtually destroyed the year before in a major fire along Queens Boulevard. I’ll admit that I’m generally not a huge fan of chicken burgers — beef being my usual patty preference — but these were quite good: more like chicken sausage patties. We rounded out the eats with grilled steak and (not grilled) couscous, and over our new friend TD‘s Astoria cherry pie, the talk turned to matters like the rivalries among NYC specialized high schools. Riveting for the non-NYC natives, I’m sure, but when it came out that there were two Science alums in the house, what could we do? As we watched the Sunnyside kindling-fed fires slowly die down to embers in the cold moonlight, I wished I had thought to bring supplies for s’mores — pretty much the only situation in which I prefer Hershey’s milk chocolate bars. Next time.

I had no idea how insidiously the soot had permeated my pores and clothing until on the way home when I was caught in one of those dreaded “sick passenger” delays at Times Square. As more commuters piled into the already crowded subway car, the woman behind me, whose nose was probably no more than three inches from my hair, asked her friend in an alarmed tone, “Do you smell smoke?” I cringed inwardly as I heard the two of them sniffing the air behind my head frantically for the next few seconds, until one muttered a revelatory “Oh.” I sensed, rather than saw, her gesture toward smokey me in disgust.

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