Tag Archives: Astoria

Friday Links: Best Indie Bookstores

22 Nov

Happy Friday! Flavorwire’s recently been doing an indie bookstore roundup, which has been fun to peruse. I thought I’d share those with you and also offer a few of my own picks, which are mainly Beat-related or New York City-bound.

Roundups

Beat Bookstores

New York City Bookstores

What are the best indie bookstores in your neighborhood?

* * *

Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” is now available as an ebook and paperback!

[2/12/14: edit made to this post to fix a spacing issue]
Advertisements

Greek American Fashion Week Presents Tatiana Raftis

18 Sep

Tatiana Raftis made her return to the Greek American Fashion Week runway event this year.

You may recall Tatiana Raftis’ feminine fashion from last year’s show, when she sent sequins, florals, and sheer fabrics down the catwalk. As the program for the 2013 Greek American Fashion Week states:

Since debuting her collection at the first Greek American Fashion Week in 201, Tatiana and her collection have been featured in various Greek American media, including NEO Magazine, The National Herald, GreekAmericanGirl.com and appeared on an interview segment on Kalimera USA talk show on NGTV.

The Astoria-born designer who studied fashion illustration and evening wear at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) was back this year to show off her latest gorgeous designs: party clothes and evening wear.

Raftis’ skin-tight party dresses are guaranteed to turn heads. Her cocktail dresses are the ultimate in style for a night out on the town. If you like Bebe—the women’s retail store founded by Iranian businessman Manny Mashouf—chances are you’ll adore Tatiana Raftis’ latest fashion line. They are sleek, sexy, and youthful.

Raftis3

Raftis4

Tatiana Raftis’ show featured looks that were sophisticated, daring, and ethnic. The program for the event, put it this way:

Thematically, Tatiana draws influence from her fascination with antiquity. She painstakingly channels the attention to detail, which characterized the fashions of classical Mediterranean cultures. Her creations make use of soft and hard textures, which empower femininity while providing a delicate allure.

These dresses are bold, statement-making creations that command a room.

Raftis1

One of my favorite aspects of Tatiana Raftis’ new collection is her headpieces. The turbans are available at a great price on her Etsy shop!

T1

Update! Here are some additional photos Tatiana herself sent over.

T2

T3

T4

t5

Love the daring cuts and intricate details. That last look is one of my absolute favorites!

Greek American Fashion Week: Tatiana Raftis Spring/Summer 2013

17 Sep

The first collection to hit the runway at the Greek American Fashion Week Show was one of New York’s own — the Astoria, Queens, born Tatiana Raftis, whose parents hail from Greece and Cyprus.  Raftis studied evening-wear design at FIT, The Fashion Institute of Technology, here in New York, and her Spring/Summer 2013 collection boasted drop-dead-gorgeous gowns and dresses for formal occasions.  Raftis’ clothing designs are statement pieces that are sure to turn heads.

Raftis’ Spring/Summer 2013 collection is for any woman who wants to exude femininity but still possess a bit of edge.  Her dresses evoke medieval princesses who know how to yield a sword.  They’re pure romance with florals, pastels, and sequins, and yet the jagged cuts and use of black suggest an intense passion to be reckoned with.

My personal favorites were the dusty lavender gown with the dramatic slit, which someone better snatch up for the next Oscars, as well as the sequined pink shorts, which were styled so perfectly with a white shirt and pink bolero so as to make the outfit look hot yet not overdone.

Tatiana Raftis provides custom orders for clients out of her Queens studio.

Tasty Tuesday: Pictures from Brunch at Ovelia in Astoria

26 Jun

I went to brunch at Ovelia in Astoria with my sister and cousins when they visited.  Ovelia is one of my favorite Greek restaurants in New York.  I love their modern take on traditional Greek foods!  And it’s got a great funky vibe going on with the decor.

A Tree Flowers in Queens

3 May

 

I got off the subway in Astoria, and this is the image that greeted me.  I just had to stop and take a photograph.  I love the delicacy of the pink petals against the steel of the subway ramp, the art in nature and graffiti, the way the tree reaches out to the blue sky, persevering.  We must bloom where we are planted.

Astoria is a neighborhood in Queens, New York, that in the 70s had the largest Greek population outside of Greece itself.

Tasting Tuesday: Greek Grilled Cheese

23 Aug

I’m a big fan of grilled cheese.  It’s easy to make, inexpensive, and usually a safe bet when you’re at a restaurant.  It’s also yummy—the perfect comfort food.  Sometimes, though, I like to mix it up a little and try out various alternative grilled cheese recipes.

Epicurious has a recipe called “Grilled Cheese and Tomato Stacks,” which is pretty much a grilled cheese gone Greek.  They replace the bread with pita and use a Greek cheese.  I can’t wait to try it!

Also, my sister’s been promising to take me to The Queens Kickshaw, the fancy grilled-cheese restaurant that opened up in Astoria, the traditionally Greek neighborhood in Queens.  They serve so many delicious-sounding alternative grilled cheese sandwiches, like one with feta cheese, which was inspired by the Greeks in Astoria.  They also serve specialty coffee and sodas (sasparilla?!) and craft beer.

What’s the most alternative grilled cheese you’ve ever eaten?

Explosions in the Sky

5 Jul

 

Hope you had a fantastic 4th of July weekend!!  Did anyone go away?  How were all the BBQs?  I want to thank one of my readers, who actually did invite me to a BBQ after reading my last post, after I begged all of you for an invite.

On Thursday night I had dinner with my sister at a Greek restaurant out in Astoria.  Afterward, we decided to walk around for a while.  We were chatting about this and that when all of a sudden from behind a leafy tree an explosion of color burst out over the black sky.  Fireworks!  We followed the glittery reds and purples and the gunshot boom of the explosions down the sidewalk.  Then we stood in the middle of the street with people who had suddenly stopped their car and gotten out to catch a glimpse of the show.

Colors lit up the sky.  Greens.  Purples.  Reds.  Whites.  Oranges.  Dots of color formed rings.  Dashes of color zoomed heavenward.  Color sizzled and dazzled.  Eyes opened wide.  Little kids put their sticky palms flush against their ears.  Others jumped up and down and pointed excitedly.  Cars honked.  We clapped.  We stood in amazement.

Sometimes, if you just look up, you’ll be amazed.

Mapping Out Houses of Worship in NYC

24 Mar

Remember the other day when I mentioned that cute little restaurant Penelope?  Well, last Friday Penelope happened to be the opening setting of a New York Times article by Mark Oppenheimer, entitled “Mapping Religious Life in the Five Boroughs, With Shoe Leather and a Web Site.”  The article is about a Texas native named Tony Carnes, who moved to New York to go to The New School, where incidentally I’m enrolled in the MFA program, and who is, according to his website, “exploring the postsecular city.”

He’s mapping out every house of worship in the five boroughs of New York.  My immediate thought was: there are so many churches that make use of school auditoriums, bars, and ballrooms — how will he find those churches, if he’s driving around looking for church signs?  Well, apparently Carnes hears about those by word of mouth.

But he isn’t just mapping the city out.  He and his colleagues are telling stories.  Stories such as:

“The youth of Bethany Baptist Church put together a modestware fashion show in Jamaica, Queens called ‘A World of Difference.’ They follow a long tradition of fashion shows in African American churches.” —Fashion in Church, Jamaica, Queens

“Under the searing sun and stench of roadside garbage, a teenage Hispanic girl carrying a baby boy comes out of a door next to a church. Her tousled hair looked like she’d been up all night. The baby’s unwashed face was smeared with dirt; a diaper was the only thing covering his bare skin.” — Girl Power in Flatbush

“What church would get rid of its pews to make more room for feeding the poor? Surely, wouldn’t the pastor resign, the elders stomp out in exasperation, and the members hastily decamp for a properly pewed church? All that didn’t happen at a Lower East Side church ten years ago when it did just that…” —East Village church threw out its pews to make room for the poor

If you want to know about Greek Orthodox churches and Greek Pentecostal, there’s also an article posted on the census the nonprofit took in Astoria.

I love the way Carnes and his nonprofit organization are uniting houses of worship.  In a way, it’s kind of a blend of the way Burnside Writers Collective gives community and voice to people of varied Christian background (head’s up: check out my church hopping column tomorrow!) and Asphalt Eden illustrates various New York church’s unique personalities by listing events.

In another way, it reminds me of the exciting and noble work the Endangered Language Alliance, headed up by Dan Kaufman, Bob Holman, and Juliette Blevins, is doing, mapping out endangered languages in New York and working to preserve them.

For more on Carnes’ “Journey thru NYC religions” visit http://www.nycreligion.info.