Astoria is AMAZING. It sort of feels like living in a small little town where everybody knows your name. The sort of town where you can walk to the butcher, walk to the fish market, walk to the laundrymat where a little old guy is waiting there to wash and fold all your clothes… and everybody says “HELLO AGAIN! How are you?!” with huge welcoming grins. Its this incredible mix of old immigrants sitting on their stoops playing dominoes, talking about the good ol’ days, and young hipsters popping in and out of nightclubs, bars, and thrift and antique stores with their latest fun finds. One of my favorite things about Astoria is how there are so many people from so many parts of the world there. Oh sure, it is dominated by beautiful Greek culture, but you also have quite a bit of Brazilians, Bosnians, you name it. Little Italian bakeries. Egyptian and Morroccan foods. A quick subway ride just a few minutes away to Jackson Heights takes you into the heart of India, or Ecquador. Go a couple of minutes further and enjoy the Queens version of Chinatown. Go the other way a few minutes, and voila. Russia. Its just really exciting to be exposed to so many different cultures, cuisines, music, and more. And yet, Manhattan is literally just a few minutes away, and there you have this huge city to thrive in. It really is like having the best of both worlds!

Joe and Nicole live in the village with their two cats and three birds. Their parrots all talk, and say things like “SHUT UP!” and “What are you DOING?!?!”  Joe and Nic make AMAZING tiki drinks. No, seriously. Drives us wild. Their kitchen isn’t even really a kitchen, per se. It is an open kitchen, overlooking unto their tikified living room, and they turned the open kitchen into a fully-decorated tiki bar. It looks built-in, like this huge built-in bar, but its really just the kitchen! Food? What’s food? Unless its olives, cherries, fruit to go in drinks, or cheese and crackers to have with drinks. Actual meals are what restaurants are for. Its fabulous. I feel like I should be paying a cover just to walk in. Its like being in a jungle of tiki decor, big colorful parrots (Sheena is a HUGE macaw!), exotica music, bamboo, plants, zebra-print vintage furniture, tiki mugs, and Nic’s fabulous paintings. The minute Joe slips a drink into your hand and you sink onto the sofa in this jungle of theirs, you just can’t help but purr from the glory of it all. They are SO fabulous!

They have been introducing us to many of their friends, who have introduced us to their friends, and so on. We have been VERY lucky! What great people! When I was a little girl, every Sunday morning my parents and I went to The French Quarter for brunch. I have  missed Sunday brunches. But here, among these friends, its an old tradition that they never do without. So once again I am among family as we all gather for our weekly Sunday splurge! Great delicious food, a different restaurant every week, live music, a large table filled with people, and LOTS of cocktails. Lots and lots. Yummy! Afterwards, shopping. Usually antiquing and thrifting. So much of that up here!

The burlesque is FABULOUS. There aren’t enough words to describe the burlesque. The pin-up girls all “get their hair did” at The Beehive Salon in Williamsburg Brooklyn. I checked it out, and loved it there. I quickly adopted it as my own salon. The walls are covered in prints of pin-up girls and little hanging ukeleles! Rockabilly, exotica, and more play on the stereo. When we first went to walk in, a girl walked out with an actual beehive. A BIG one. LOVE her. *covet*

The music scene is great here too. We are getting to listen to quite a few bands we love, and many of them play at Otto’s Shrunken Head. Seems like almost everybody knows somebody who performs some kind of music somewhere, and it’s fun to get to meet these musical artists and talk about their craft.

S was reading an article about a great antique store near us, in which the writer of the article raved about the vintage selections they had to offer. He even boasted about finding a huge vintage needlepoint of a freaky clown for only $20. We walked over as quickly as we could, and then headed home with a gorgeous Majestic Z-lamp that had Hawaiian-themed fiberglass shades which is now proudly displayed in our dining room. We paid a mere $125 for it, which was a real steal! The shades sport some lovely palm tree designs on it, and little silver confetti stars that somehow seem trapped within the shade. I’ve always wanted a Z-lamp, and I would shove my tongue into the socket to make out with it every chance I get if electrocution were not a real possibility.

Junior’s makes the BEST cheesecake in ALL THE WORLD.

I watch Barbarella in Luru’s honor on my new ipod I just got for my birthday from S. I had never seen Barbarella before, but Luru suggested it, and she was right. I LOVE IT. Nothing like setting down into your seat on the subway and getting lost in all of those golden-tan furry walls!

I have started painting carnival sideshow banners on stretched canvas. I love doing that too.

I am getting a raise starting next month!!!

Cupcakes are big in NYC. Very popular. One cupcake store has a line that winds around the block outside, even turning the corner down the street. You have to wait about an hour for a cupcake. I haven’t done this yet, because I am not this patient. But everybody swears they are the best in the city. Other places sell cupcakes well, too. As does Amy Sedaris.

Our new friend The Fabulous JW had his birthday celebration at “Nurse Bettie’s”. Its a great bar in Manhattan that is pin-up girl themed. JW has great taste. It was amazing. Go there.

If you see a subway car that looks nearly empty, but all of the other cars are full, dont get on the empty one. There is surely a homeless person on there living in that car, who unfortunately smells of vomit and poo.

The Bubble Lounge is incredible. Go there too.

Oh… and always mind the gap.

~L

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