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Queens, NY advice needed

Michigan Mishuganer Jul 28, 2008 06:17 AM

I am flying in JFK & taking the LIRR from Jamaica, I have a few hours (2-4?) between connections. Is there a neighborhood not too far or difficult to get to by subway or bus
-with a mix of restaurants, markets & book/ music Judaica store?

How is the neighborhood near Pahal Zan?

One thing is (since I w/ be flying into JFK) I'd rather not go to a neighborhood close to Laguardia like Flushing, but if that is the best option, I'd consider it.

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  1. j
    JS69 RE: Michigan Mishuganer Jul 28, 2008 06:44 AM

    JFK in the summer is hell so those 2-4 hours probably won't be that long. But if for some reason you do get the 4 hours, your best bet would be to go to Main Street in Queens. Take the AirTrain to Jamaica Station and get on the Q44L. Get off at Main Street and 73 Ave. and you will have everything you are looking for. But again, I don't think you will have enough time.

    1 Reply
    1. re: JS69
      Michigan Mishuganer RE: JS69 Jul 28, 2008 06:59 AM

      thanks very much!

    2. c
      craigcep RE: Michigan Mishuganer Jul 28, 2008 07:28 AM

      I don't know how this could work logistically, but as the crow flies, the 5 towns are pretty close to JFK.

      4 Replies
      1. re: craigcep
        Michigan Mishuganer RE: craigcep Jul 28, 2008 12:20 PM

        What is the main business area in the 5 towns?
        Best subway, bus or LIRR station
        or is it close enough to JFK for a cab?

        1. re: Michigan Mishuganer
          midasgold RE: Michigan Mishuganer Jul 28, 2008 01:05 PM

          JFK is only 10 minutes from the Five Towns, assuming there is light traffic, which is often the case (but rarely the case on Friday afternoons!). When is your plane supposed to land at JFK? On which day of the week and at what time? The absolute closest kosher establishment to JFK (to my knowledge) is Bagel Island, on Rockaway Turnpike; it's literally a 10-15 minute car ride away. Directly across the street, a brand new kosher supermarket - Kosher Kingdom - complete with kosher pizza, sushi, etc. is SUPPOSED to open next month (August, 2008). A little further down Rockaway Turnpike is Carlos and Gabby's "cantina" which bills itself as a mexican restaruant. It's isn't (not by a long shot), but the sandwiches and some entres are excellent, IMHO.

          There are dozens of kosher restaurants, fast food places, and a few Judaica stores on Central Ave, the street that spans the connected towns of Lawrence, Cedarhurst, and Woodmere (in that order, coming from JFK). You could probably price out a cab or car service over the Internet or via telephone (touch tone or dial). Try Ollie's Taxi and Airport service < http://www.olliestaxi.com > . Another idea would be to contact the dozens of kosher restaurants and Judaica shops in the Five Towns ( check out www.greatrestaurantsmag.com/KOSHER and www.shamash.org to see which ones (in any) would deliver to JFK.

          It is possible to get from JFK to the Five Towns by taking the Air Train to Jamaica station, then switching to the LIRR (Long Island Railroad) to the Cedarhurst stop, which will put you right in the center of everything, but that would be a shlep and I'm sure take way too long.

          Good luck!


          1. re: midasgold
            JS69 RE: midasgold Jul 28, 2008 02:09 PM

            Price wise, the 5 Towns may be a stretch. Taxi each way will cost about 20-25 dollars (Don't do a Yellow cab as they are supposed to charge double to enter Nassau). If you do happen to end up there, make sure they drop you by Supersol or Gourmet Glatt and make your way from there. Walking by starting out from these 2 places will put you in the middle of what you are looking for (Food shoppin, Kosher Food, Judaica).

            Queens will be the cheaper option since you are using mass transit and everything on Main street is walkable.

          2. re: Michigan Mishuganer
            berel RE: Michigan Mishuganer Jul 30, 2008 05:04 AM

            even if you took a taxi back and forth from JFK you'd be cutting it close. Taxi lines (the passenger waiting line) in JFK iin the summer are terrible

        2. w
          websterhall1994 RE: Michigan Mishuganer Jul 29, 2008 03:44 PM

          What is Pahal Zan? Is everyone with me on this?

          18 Replies
          1. re: websterhall1994
            GilaB RE: websterhall1994 Jul 29, 2008 04:12 PM

            I've never heard of it before either, but it's apparently a falafel place in Forest Hills. Their website is here: http://www.pahalzan.com/ There is no mention of who gives their kosher certification, but they claim to be glatt kosher, and are closed on Shabbos.

            1. re: GilaB
              midasgold RE: GilaB Jul 29, 2008 04:23 PM

              Check out www.supershuttle.com and use discount code AMNY1 for $2 off when booking online... to get from JFK to the Five Towns, Kew Gardens Hills (Flushing), or Pahal Zan.


              1. re: GilaB
                TongoRad RE: GilaB Jul 30, 2008 05:21 AM

                It's good, but it's just a small storefront. I've been there for takeout- the beet and eggplant salads are really great, the felafel is made in small batches and not sitting around, and the hummous is from Sabra (extremely creamy and fresher than you would get from the supermarket.)

                1. re: TongoRad
                  Michigan Mishuganer RE: TongoRad Jul 30, 2008 10:11 AM

                  Thanks everyone for all of the advice.
                  If there's time, Main St looks more interesting (per Google maps street view) than the 5 towns.

                  Re:hashgocha, Pahal Zan is not on the Queens Vaad list.
                  I thought it was illegal in NY to say something is kosher if it isn't.

                  1. re: Michigan Mishuganer
                    berel RE: Michigan Mishuganer Jul 30, 2008 10:28 AM

                    it's not illegal in NY not to have hashgocha

                    1. re: berel
                      craigcep RE: berel Jul 30, 2008 11:24 AM

                      In its simplest, the NY kosher law provides that you can call your product kosher as long as you specify your standards. And there's a registration requirement, I think.

                      1. re: berel
                        midasgold RE: berel Jul 30, 2008 12:43 PM

                        How true. It's not illegal in NY to have reliable -or- completely unreliable hashgocha. Such is the case.

                        As for Main Street in Queens vs Central Avenue in the Five Towns, I think that Central beats Main St hands down... it's a much more beautiful street, much nicer shops and variety, and a much better neighborhood. As amazing as Google Maps is, it's not like being there in person...

                        As for falafel... my personal fav is PITA HOT (sic) on Main Street in Queens... better than what I've had in Israel... I especially like the fresh fried eggplant that's part of the large salad bar that comes with all entres... and the homemade sauces are authentic and superb (babma, "green", charif, etc.

                        1. re: midasgold
                          berel RE: midasgold Jul 30, 2008 12:55 PM

                          I don't know what falafel stores you ate at in Israel, but I found even the worst falafel in Israel was better thet the best here.

                          1. re: berel
                            midasgold RE: berel Jul 30, 2008 01:07 PM


                            Have you ever eaten at Pita Hot on Main Street in Kew Gardens Hills, Queens, NY?

                            1. re: midasgold
                              shoelace RE: midasgold Jul 31, 2008 12:37 AM

                              heh, yea, and it's not just gross. its pretty unclean

                              1. re: shoelace
                                berel RE: shoelace Jul 31, 2008 05:04 AM

                                what about the taste, is it better than what they serve in Eretz Israel?

                                1. re: berel
                                  shoelace RE: berel Jul 31, 2008 10:16 AM

                                  the salatim are decent, but the pita is never fresh, it's either hard or gummy, and the falafel, well, it tastes like shoe, i havent had shwarma there in years, but it was horrific back then,
                                  the best falafel in the area hands down is at naomis/levis, near supersol, and grill points shwarma is by far the best, you just wanna get there no later than midnight, bc the crowds kinda iffy then

                                  1. re: shoelace
                                    berel RE: shoelace Jul 31, 2008 10:29 AM

                                    I agree about Naomi's having the best falafel in these parts, but it's still doesn't compare to falafel in Israel.

                                2. re: shoelace
                                  midasgold RE: shoelace Jul 31, 2008 10:34 AM

                                  Doesn't shoelace realize that the more unclean, the better the food in these shwarma dives? lol

                                  1. re: midasgold
                                    berel RE: midasgold Jul 31, 2008 11:16 AM

                                    perhaps the Board of Health needs to revise their standards ;-)

                                    1. re: midasgold
                                      shoelace RE: midasgold Aug 6, 2008 08:21 PM

                                      absolutely, in most cases, sadly not in the caseof pita hot, i stand by my story :-)

                                  2. re: midasgold
                                    berel RE: midasgold Jul 31, 2008 05:03 AM

                                    no. now let me ask you do they use canned (or rehydrated) chicks or fresh chickpeas to make the falafel?

                            2. re: Michigan Mishuganer
                              whitewater RE: Michigan Mishuganer Aug 5, 2008 08:41 AM

                              Queens Vaad isn't the only hashgacha in that area- there's a Bukharian Vaad and individual rabbis that certify.

                      2. m
                        Michigan Mishuganer RE: Michigan Mishuganer Aug 14, 2008 01:16 PM

                        Thanks for all of the advice!
                        I didn't have much time, but I did take the bus to Main St., it was only about a 10 min ride.
                        Went to Pereg, bought some spices, got some bagels nearby (Main St bagels- they were pretty good), went to some bookstores.
                        I didn't feel like eating but got some borekas at one of the markets (Weinberg?) to have on the train, I even got a beverage at the kosher Seven-Eleven!

                        It was a good outing thanks to all of the Chowhound help.

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