From Why Astoria Is the Greatest Place on Earth

Queens Love

Hi all. I’m in Dubai as we speak, watching from the 18th floor of a building as a minor sandstorm swirls around about 28 construction cranes. I haven’t yet had a chance to collect my thoughts (or all my funny pictures) on this subject of grandiose city construction.

So in the meantime, allow me to introduce you to:

Queens Love!

This fantabulous new tumblr is a great outlet for a dozen or so Queens denizens, including Our Illustrious Leader and Generator of Brilliant Food Ideas, Jeff Orlick. As you’d expect from anything about Queens, it’s mostly about food.

PS: OK, OK–here’s one funny Dubai picture.

handsome man

I like to think I keep life waiting too.

Queens Writers News

Sniff. The lovely Heather Hughes, the first Queens Writers Fellow, has left us, gone on to graduate from her yoga program and is now conquering things left and right and having champers poured for her. No one deserves a drink more than she.

She had this to say after she left the upstairs desk:

When I entered the Conquering Lion Yoga teacher training program, I was prepared for the physical intensity that awaited. What I was less prepared for was the number of written assignments. There were monthly assignments, weekly assignments, and, yes, daily ones. I had a background in writing: MFA in creative writing, stints as a copywriter for an infamous men’s “fashion” catalog (ruffled poet’s shirts and underwear with built-in cock rings were just two of the best-selling items, although probably not due to my prose) and as an editor at a magazine about books. But I had gradually fallen out of the actual practice of writing.

Left to my own devices, in my own apartment, I wasted a lot of time gazing out the window or finding new ways to rearrange my bookshelves (grouped by author and then alphabetized by title? grouped by author and then by publication date?). Your fellowship arrived at the perfect time and helped get me on track and actually writing.

I’m indebted to you and Peter for all the generosity and hospitality (and food—I’d definitely be remiss if I didn’t mention the crack ham, the sourdough bread, the giant deep-fried grasshoppers…) you’ve provided me, not just over the past few months but over the past few years. The world is considerably richer for having you two in it.

Gah! Right back at ya, Heather!

Since she left, we’ve managed to dry our tears a little, and although we haven’t had a full-time steady person here, we have had a couple good visitors. The exemplary Kate Payne spent a couple of days here recharging mid-book-tour. (Check out her totally inspiring Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking — more details in a bit.) She didn’t wind up doing much writing, but she did intern with Peter on knot-tying (not what you think, people!), and to prep for her book event in Philly, she made some pretty cool chore wheels. (I’m proud to say she used our 7-inch of the “Dukes of Hazzard” theme song as a template. I mean, how else do you draw a perfect circle if you don’t have records lying around?)

Sara Markel-Gonzalez has popped over a couple of times as well. Sara’s a regular contributor to Serious Eats, and she’s finishing up a program at NYU. And she’s currently working under a serious deadline, which is not actually the end of the school year: It’s that she’s pregnant and due to give birth…oh, this week. So I don’t expect I’ll be seeing her again for another few months, but I’m glad we got to meet. And she did come over and totally buckle down to work. She is a model for us all!

Going forward, I’ve got a few more weeks here (till May 21) until I hit the road to Morocco. Any and all Queens-y writer-y types welcome to come over and work whenever I’m home. Drop me a note!

Queens Writers Fellowship, Round 2

It’s just about time to say goodbye to Heather Hughes, who was a great fellow-writer here for the last couple of months. So, the Queens Writers Fellowship continues.

Who’s up next? This desk could be yours. This next round will be a little short, due to my travel schedule: early April through near the end of May. There’s a week or so around Easter when I’ll be gone. And there are a few days (yet to be scheduled), when I’ll be working out of the house.

I’d love to hear from flexible people who want to come over and work in my office during that time. Using Heather as our QWF test case, I’ve found that five days a week usually isn’t totally feasible. But I felt like it was a good week when we worked together three days out of five. And if we can manage more, that’s great.

So, if you’re interested, drop me a note before April 1, and let me know what you’re working on, where you live, how much you aspire to come over and write–that kind of thing. I’d like to get the next fellow started in here by April 11. If you applied last time, just drop me a short note to let me know if you’re in or not for this time.

And even if the next time slot doesn’t work so well, let me know–I’m always curious to hear from more writers and workers-from-home in Queens. I’d like to get this next