Now that the clocks have been moved forward and the snow is melted, Rego Park and Central Queens are getting ready for spring. What are some of the topics that are further heating up the neighborhood? They include a familiar face entering the race for Borough President and new businesses opening in the area.
Anyone who has lived in Central Queens for a few years, will remember Melinda Katz as City Council member. When her term ended, she took time out of the spotlight and political arena to start a family [she now has two little boys with her partner Curtis Sliwa -- radio personality and founder of the red-beret-wearing Guardian Angels]. But she has now returned and thrown her hat in the ring for Queens Borough President. It will be interesting to follow Melinda in this journey. So far, she has received endorsements from now-deceased former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, and former congressman and prominent Eastern Queens pastor Floyd Flake.
The battle between Major League Soccer [MLS] and park preservationists continues to rage. MLS wants to build a 25,000-seat soccer arena in a corner of Flushing Meadows Corona Park. A large number of Queens’ diverse immigrant groups -- especially from Latin American countries like Peru and Ecuador -- have been playing soccer in the park for decades; they are excited at the prospect of a MLS arena coming to Queens. But many groups of Queens residents, including environmental organizations like the Jackson Heights Green Alliance, have been protesting the plan. The latest news according to this DNA article, is that MLS is starting to get impatient with the way negotiations are dragging and say that, if the process doesn’t speed up, they may drop the project altogether and look for another location.
Red Mango and Chipotle have already opened in Forest Hills. Newer additions soon to open are two new pubs in Forest Hills and one new brew pub in Rego Park. Rego Park will get its new addition, for which details are not public yet, in Rego Center [probably where Mo’s and/or Five Guys used to be]. The Forest Hills Times reports of three pubs opening within the next month or two in Forest Hills. One is an Irish pub and family restaurant called The Flying Pig in the location formerly occupied by Johnny Rockets on Austin Street. Another new pub and restaurant will be Banter Irish Bar and Kitchen at 108-22 Queens Boulevard, taking over the former location of Old Vienna Cafe. Both Banter and Flying Pig will offer full menus of Irish cuisine which could be found in Ireland. At 106-11 Continental Avenue will be another new brewery and restaurant -- Forest Hills Station House -- in former site of Marianella’s Taqueria. Click here for more details on all three Forest Hills eateries.