SPICY LANKA ON HILLSIDE AVENUE DEFINITELY SPICY AND GOOD

Sir Lanka at 159-23 Hillside Avenue

Sir Lanka at 159-23 Hillside Avenue

After reading in  The Daily News, the rave review of the new Sri Lankan restaurant in Jamaica, Spicy Lanka (159-23 Hillside Avenue), I had to give it a try. Although I dislike that mess Hillside Avenue even more than Jamaica Avenue, I figured I would take walk to give it shot. Spicy Lanka, which opened sometime in March, is in the same spot that several restaurants have been (none lasted very long), the most recent, an Indian/Pakistan place. I don’t know if it was the restaurants themselves, the location or both, but that spot seems to be problematic. Doesn’t help that Hillside Avenue is such an ugly stretch and a dirty one at that (this area really needs cleaned up badly). While eating at a table by the window, I had to look at garbage bags and litter dumped on the sidewalk near the restaurant, very unpleasant. Also not pleasing is that some African man walked into the place trying to sell some crap statues (this coming into some places while you eat in Jamaica is very annoying and  businesses should put a stop to that). But enough of that. Let’s get to the heart of the restaurant.

???????????????????????????????Spicy Lanka, is a very small, cozy and nicely decorated place, nothing fancy, but still pleasing to the eyes (the table situation could be a little better, but then they are not working with much space). I liked that they had a running fountain near the one wall, which made for a relaxing atmosphere. I do wish they had a much better outside sign instead of the typical cheap sign that many places have. Something that stands out,  like two of my favorites on Hillside Avenue, Amina Thai and Charcoal Kebab (two of my favorite new places in Jamaica). When I first walked in,  the place was empty, I did not even see any waitstaff, eventually (and I feel too long) a young woman came out, welcomed me and gave me the small menu.???????????????????????????????

I ordered the Thali, four vegetarian curies (two which were majorly HOT spicy, but good) with red rice (you also have the choice of brown, which was not listed on the menu) served with Raita (a yogurt sauce), Papadam (a thin crisp bread) and Fried Chilli. There was so many different spices and heat going on, it was pretty amazing. The four vegetarian curies consisted of a type of green bean (majorly hot and spicy), red beets (super major hot), eggplant and lentils. All were delicious, but I favored the eggplant. The red rice was good and the Raita, was delicious and I wish they gave you more, especially to help cool down some of the major heat. Papadam was good as well and although I did not eat all of the fried chilli peppers, they were tasty. Overall this dish was good. My only complaint was the rice was too hot, temperature hot. I could hear a microwave in the kitchen, so I am assuming they used that. Fifteen minutes into the meal, the rice was still too hot.

Thali

Thali

While I liked it, I would not rave about it quite like The Daily News did or others, but it was good considering the lack of really good sit-down restaurants in Jamaica. But I would go back to try some of the other dishes. The service was adequate, not great, but decent, especially considering how so much of the service from many restaurants in Jamaica are just plain awful. Most places could take an example from my all time favorite Jamaica place, Sangria Tapas Bar & Restaurant, which has top notch service.

If you are a spicy hot fan, I definitely would pay a visit to Spicy Lanka. ???????????????????????????????

 

JAMAICA BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT GIVES THE BOOT TO EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

From DNAinfo New York:

Felicia Tunnah, who took over the Jamaica Center BID last September, was dismissed earlier this month.

Felicia Tunnah, who took over the Jamaica Center BID last September, was dismissed earlier this month.

QUEENS — The board of the Jamaica Center Business Improvement District dismissed its executive director this month, less than a year after hiring her, over clashing visions of how to best promote Jamaica, sources said.

“The only thing I can say is that there was a difference of opinion with the board,” said Felicia Tunnah, who took over the organization last September and added that she could not discuss the issue further.

Michael Hirschhorn, president of the Jamaica Center BID, declined to comment on reasons for Tunnah’s dismissal, but confirmed that the organization is “looking for a new executive director.”

Sources said that the board was not pleased with Tunnah’s focus on issues involving urban planning, and that they wanted her to pursue more traditional approaches to attracting new businesses to the district.

Tunnah, who holds a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Pennsylvania, has more than 10 years experience in working at other neighborhood business organizations, including the Downtown Alliance and the Union Square Partnership.

During her tenure at the Jamaica Center BID, she collaborated with the Department of Transportation to open an outdoor exhibit near a subway station in Jamaica.

She also who worked on bringing a pedestrian plaza to downtown Jamaica and secured $229,000 from Queens Borough President Melinda Katz to pay for more than 100 lamps along Jamaica Avenue to improve safety and encourage more nightlife in the district.

Greg Mays of A Better Jamaica, a nonprofit organization promoting family activities in the neighborhood, said he was surprised by Tunnah’s abrupt departure.

Mays, who also chairs Community Board 12’s Parks Committee, said he recently worked with Tunnah on issues related to Rufus King Park, one of the most popular hangouts in downtown Jamaica, and they “were going to examine the feasibility of doing a food kiosk” in the park, he said.

“Then all of a sudden I hear that she is gone and everyone seems to be kind of quiet about it,” he said.

Tunnah said that she is now looking for another position that would allow her to work on “neighborhood development and urban planning,” as well as “building new affordable housing and activating open spaces.”

Derek Irby, the executive director of the 165th Street Mall Improvement Association, was selected as interim director of the Jamaica Center BID.

The Jamaica Center BID, which covers Jamaica Avenue between 169th Street and Sutphin Boulevard, and Union Hall Street from Jamaica to Archer avenues, was founded 35 years ago and is one of the oldest BIDs in the city.

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This is too bad, I would have liked to see what more she would have done, because she seemed to be heading in the right direction. The statement “Sources said that the board was not pleased with Tunnah’s focus on issues involving urban planning, and that they wanted her to pursue more traditional approaches to attracting new businesses to the district”, first off, I don’t even know what that hell that means, but it reeks of we just want the same type of crap approaches that have proven to not work. I mean really have your “traditional” approaches helped Jamaica Avenue, I mean look at it, it is mostly shit.

Sure let’s not have someone think outside the box to help improve Jamaica, which needs MAJOR IMPROVEMENT. Let’s just do the same old shit.

Felicia probably did not want to deal with that tired mentality of Jamaica that is what keeps Jamaica down in the dumps. Same thing with the tired same old elected officials who have done little for the community and the reason it looks the way it does.

Want Jamaica to improve, time for outside the box and forward thinking and I think Felicia was doing that.

BEST SPOTS TO TAKE YOUR DATE IN JAMAICA – ME THINKS NOT

From DNA Info New York:

Best Spots to Take Your Date in Jamaica

Rufus King Park

Rufus King Park

QUEENS — Far away from the Van Wyck Expressway and the hustle and bustle of JFK airport, Jamaica offers a host of charming spots ideal for a summer date, ranging from wide open parks to intimate restaurants.

Here’s where to take your companion in Jamaica:

For those who want a stroll in a park:

Rufus King Park — located at Jamaica Avenue and 153rd Street — is one of the most popular spots in downtown Jamaica, which provides opportunities for a quiet lunch, a walk and a history lesson.

The park features King Manor Museum, which was once the home of Rufus King, a politician and one of the signers of the U.S. Constitution. The manor, where couples can see a collection of 19th century furniture, music instruments and costumes, offers guided tours Thursdays through Sundays.

On Friday evenings, A Better Jamaica screens free classic movies in the park, which can also be a great setting for a date. Recent screenings have included “King Kong” and “Godzilla.”

There is also a concert space, as well as a playground and sprinklers for kids, a soccer field, handball and basketball courts.

It can get crowded and quite noisy during the day, but usually the portion closest to Jamaica Avenue, in front of the museum, remains quiet and provides shade, tables and chairs, as well as free wireless Internet.

Captain Tilly Park, several blocks away from Rufus King Park, at Chapin Parkway and 165th Street in Jamaica Hills, couples can find another romantic spot just across the street from the old Jamaica High School building.

Parkgoers can sit on benches along the Goose Pond, which is filled with wildlife, including herons, wild ducks and geese, and watch the sun setting over the trees.

Jamaica Bay, which is also relatively close by, offers numerous hiking trails and birdwatching opportunities for couples who love nature.

For those who want a romantic dinner:

Jamaica has several intimate restaurants, which can serve as a lovely spot for a rendezvous.

Cityrib, a high-end, sit-down barbecue restaurant on Parsons Boulevard, is one of neighborhood favorites for couples, locals say. “It has a nice ambiance, and on Fridays and Saturdays they usually have events and jazz concerts,” said Valerie Stevens of the Jamaica Center Business Improvement District.

Stevens also recommended The Door, a Jamaican restaurant at the corner of Guy Brewer and Baisley boulevards, which she said has “a nice touch to it and serves a very good food.”

Spicy Lanka, on Hillside Avenue, which serves Sri Lankan cuisine, is also known for its charming atmosphere, as is Pretty Toni’s Cafe, a soul food restaurant on West Merrick Rd. in nearby Valley Stream, which, according to Greg Mays of A Better Jamaica, is very cozy and elegant.

For those in the mood for a game of chance:

There is also a touch of Las Vegas in Jamaica, as the area features its own casino.

Resorts World provides gambling opportunities; it also hosts events and concerts, featuring celebrities, including 50 Cent.

Couples can also dine at one of the resort’s two restaurants — Genting Palace, which serves Asian food, and steakhouse RW Prime.

A free shuttle bus picks up casino-goers from Sutphin Blvd/Archer Ave. every 20 minutes.

For those who crave culture:

Jamaica has several theaters and cultural venues that offer a variety of events. To find interesting concerts and live theater performances in the area, check the schedules of the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, the Jamaica Performing Arts Center and the African Poetry Theater.

Those seeking something a little bit different can: 

— Ride the AirTrain from the Sutphin Blvd. station to JFK to watch the planes take off and land.

— Walk along Jamaica Avenue in search for historic and landmarked buildings, including King Manor Museum, the former Valencia Movie Theatre, which currently serves as the Tabernacle of Prayer church, the former Jamaica Savings Bank building or the former Queens Register of Titles and Deeds Building, which is now used by the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning.

— Go for a bike ride around the stunning homes of Jamaica Estates.

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Okay, let’s break this article down from a person who actually lives in Jamaica and has seen most of it and been to most places. Glad to see something positive but time to break it down in real terms.

1. Rufus King Park, not a bad little park, although, like many places in Jamaica, it has too much garbage, which many of the pigs whose use this park tend to trash it. I have been to this park many times and have never seen a fight and it is safe, even at night. You will see many guys drunk and passed out on bench, not unlike other parks, but they are harmless. I think it is a neat little park and the Friday films are cool and that section of the park is nice and quiet. I don’t find the park crowded and noisy at all, but this park is far from a “date place”. Does need cleaned up.

2. Captain Tilly Park is a really nice little quite peaceful park with a pond in the middle. It is also pretty clean too and a great peaceful vegetarian restaurant, Annam Brahma, is only about a block away. This combo would be a great date.

3. Jamaica has hardly any decent restaurants let alone intimate, at least not the ones listed. I like City Rib, but I would not call it intimate and Pretty Toni’s Cafe, which is great, is not in Jamaica at all, it is in Long Island, so I do not know why it was listed. Rocoto’s Restaurant on HIllside and 178th is not only good, but it is intimate and a great date place, so why was that not listed.

4. Ride the AirTrain, really, that is a “date thing”, come on that is really stretching it for this article as is Resorts World.

5. Jamaica Estates is really not Jamaica, so why include that. A better bike ride would be Addisleigh Park, a historic district of Jamaica, with big beautiful million dollar homes, where many jazz greats lived back in the day. Much better homes than in Jamaica Estates. Now that is a must, you will not even think you are in New York, let alone Jamaica and the St. Albans Park nearby is nice, in fact probably the nicest, small but nice.

6. The walk on Jamaica Avenue is only good because of the historic landmark buildings, otherwise, Jamaica Ave is pretty much a bunch of low-class retail stores for the most part and a bunch of beauty supply stores and dirty too. But make sure to go inside the former Valencia Movie Theatre, which is still completely intact and beautiful. There is nothing like it in NYC. That is a must! It is the only Lowe’s Wonder Theatre’s in NYC that is still intact, there were only four built in the 1920’s.

So overall I would say not a really great date place, but a few interesting things to see or do, but the area needs a major overall and much cleaning up, it is too dirty with so much garbage all over, courtesy of some of the slobs that live there and the slobs that visit, plus majorly poor leadership.

Jamaica has potential, but it has been allowed to be run into the ground for decades while the leaders have done little to improve it and some of the people living there don’t help either.

JAMES FOBB VACANT HOUSE EYESORE FINALLY GETS CLEANED UP, BUT FOR HOW LONG

107-58 164 StreetProbably the most famous Jamaica eyesore it the vacant house owned by James Fobb who rots away in some assisted living place (hopefully it is a hellhole like his house in Jamaica that he never took care of) at 107-58 164th Street in the South Jamaica area. This major eyesore of a house in disrepair, place of illegal dumping and known for a hangout for drug addicts and crack whores, has been a disaster long before I ever hit Jamaica. Yet no one, not any of the elected leaders past or present (Comrie, Wills, Cook, Miller, etc) , community board 12 and Queens Borough Presidents (past looney tune Marshall and current president Melinda Katz) have stepped up to the plate to see that this dangerous health hazard eyesore was taken care of. Year after year, it became a major disgrace and showed what was wrong with our leaders, the city and the system, which allowed this mess to thrive.???????????????????????????????

James Fobb place at 107-58 164th St. Taken June 2014. A constant problem.

James Fobb place at 107-58 164th St. Taken June 2014. A constant problem.

In the past, DOS would eventually clean it up, only for dumping to pick right back up. This past Easter, my comrade-in-arms, Pamela Hazel and a group of women who lived in the area, busted their asses to clean up this mess, since they did not want to have to see it during Easter and the city was dragging it’s feet to clean it. But that lasted a few weeks only for it to return to a disaster of garbage, food, furniture, chemicals and spoiled food that was dumped by a nearby drug den bodega that was shuttered. Yet neither the owner of the deli, or the owner of the house, James Fobb, faced any consequences, yet the Queens Boroughs President’s office accused Pamela and her friends of trespassing on private property when all they wanted was to have this disaster cleaned up while the city dragged it’s feet on the cleanup.

Well, Pamela, now reports this eyesore was cleaned on Tuesday, July 29th by DOS and another violation was issued to go with the thousand of other violations tacked onto the front door, whatever good that will do.

July 30, 2014

July 30, 2014

July 30, 2014

July 30, 2014

July 30, 2014

July 30, 2014

July 30, 2014

July 30, 2014

Time for the powers to be and our leaders to start changing the laws on dealing with eyesores like this, the illegal dumpers and the shitheads who own such property. Because in no time, this famous Jamaica eyesore will become shit all over again, because that is how we roll here in the Wild Wild West of Jamaica.

 

VACANT HOUSE BECOMING EYESORE WITH GARBAGE WHILE LOCAL LEADERS DO NOTHING

The house in question, 170-12 89th Avenue is on the far left.

The house in question, 170-12 89th Avenue is on the far left.

On  a relatively decent block of homes on 89th Avenue between 170th St and 171st Street sits a vacant house that several months ago was easily accessible in the inside (the basement door was broke off the hinges and the front door wide open), but that has been taken care of and the house has been sealed.

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Weeds coming out into the sidewalk

Weeds coming out into the sidewalk

But my complaints of high weeds growing all over,  a garbage can filled with garbage and racoons living in the attic, that the one neighbor showed me, have gone unanswered. Now add to the mix all of the garbage that Jamaica’s famous white homeless woman has dumped all in the front yard, probably getting to make this her new home (previously her home was one of the outdoor parking lots owned by Greater Jamaica Development Corporation on 168th and 90th) and an ugly eyesore is becoming an even ugly eyesore and a health hazard while we get no help from Jamaica’s leaders or the City for that matter. Take your pick: Councilman I. Daneek Miller, Community Board 12, the Queens Borough President’s office and the rest, everyone has received past complaints and obviously not a damn thing is being done. In fact several months ago me and the one neighbor, cleaned the front up of garbage, since the city was not doing anything, but you know what, THAT IS NOT OUR FUCKING JOB.???????????????????????????????

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Getting ready to make 170-12 89th Ave her new home

Getting ready to make 170-12 89th Ave her new home

So just like the James Fobb eyesore vacant house at 107-58 164th St, NOTHING is being done by our leaders and the owner of this property is as usual as most,  getting away with this shit, while residents have to just suck up and deal with it. Please pass the lube around, because we are getting fucked up the ass yet again.

James Fobb place at 107-58 164th St. Taken June 2014. A constant problem.

James Fobb place at 107-58 164th St. Taken June 2014. A constant problem.

Chalk another one up to the great leaders of this community. What a bunch of wasted tax payers money.

In the meantime our leaders make sure they are in full view for a photo op at the St. Albans Park Family Day sponsored by Councilman Miller. Hey Miller how about sponsoring a Clean-up and Enforcement Day.

Assemblyman William Scarborough, former Councilman Archie Spigner and former Councilman Leroy Comrie from the Queens borough president's office attend the festivities. Notice the clip board in Comrie's hand, gathering signatures no doubt for his senate campaign.

Assemblyman William Scarborough, former Councilman Archie Spigner and former Councilman Leroy Comrie from the Queens borough president’s office attend the festivities. Notice the clip board in Comrie’s hand, gathering signatures no doubt for his senate campaign.

 

WHY WAS COUNCILMAN RUBEN WILLS BEING PAID $8000 AS CHAIRMAN OF A COMMITTEE WITH NO MEMBERS

One of many flaws in our local politics is money that is doled out to pay councilman members to be chair people of committees that have no members and pretty much do not do a damn thing. Blame can certainly go to House Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito who still allows this government welfare to continue. Of a course crooked, corrupt and useless Jamaica politician, Councilman Ruben Wills was one of them in question. Now this is not a Jamaica thing, but a New York City thing and a big problem that has yet to be addressed. And with questionable Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito in charge, things are more than likely not going to change. No wonder people feel the way about politicians, who are a notch below child molesters.

Jamaica folks, you have the worst taste for local leaders and what is more baffling, you keep putting these same clowns in over and over again,while the community of Jamaica is a mess. Is it a Jamaica thing? Or just plain stupidity and gullibility on the part of ignorant residents who do not know better or don’t give a shit or are totally clueless.

From The Daily News:

Rueben Wills: Mug Shot

Mug Shot

Money for nothing

Council members rake in thousands of bucks for nothing at all

Here’s an existential puzzle: If a committee has only one member, is it always in session?

The question must be asked because four City Council panels have one member each, with each member serving as chairman and with each pulling down an $8,000 stipend for holding the title.

Most absurdly, Brooklyn Councilman Chaim Deutsch has failed to gavel himself into order as chairman of the Subcommittee on Non-Public Schools since he was named to the newly created panel in January.

Then, there’s Councilman Ruben Wills, who was removed as chairman of the Subcommittee on Drug Abuse after he was indicted for allegedly stealing state funds — leaving the subcommittee without any members.

All told, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito doles out $472,000 in annual stipends, called lulus, enabling her to boost incomes above the Council’s lawful $112,500 salary. The extra money went to 47 of 51 members, supposedly for extra work. Right.

 

IS JAMAICA THE “NEXT BIG THING” & PLACE TO INVEST IN PART 2 – THE ARTS CULTURAL DESTINATION

queens workshop initiativeThe Queens Workshop Initiative, a research project to analyze whether Queens facilities meet resident performing and multidisciplinary artist’s workshops needs, feels that out of Long Island City, Astoria, Jackson Heights, Flushing and Jamaica, Jamaica seems to be the most viable for a arts cultural destination, which would certainly move Jamaica into the right direction. With it’s rich history in jazz, many warehouse/factory buildings, reasonable property values, reasonable rents and easy access to public transportation, it certainly seems the logical choice for young artists who have been pushed out of Williamsburg, Long Island City and Astoria.

Now if our closed minded, old school guard narrow minded thinking leaders, wanting to keep the status quo, can look to the future, this could be the saving grace for Jamaica.

So young artists, come on down or up.

Read all about it here:

http://exploringthemetropolis.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Queens-Workspace-Initiative-Report-2014.pdf