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Queens, NY advice needed

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. 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. 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

        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

          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!

          -Midas

          1. re: midasgold

            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

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

          18 Replies
          1. re: websterhall1994

            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

              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.

              -Midas

              1. re: GilaB

                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

                  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

                    it's not illegal in NY not to have hashgocha

                    1. re: berel

                      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

                        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

                          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

                            Berel,

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

                            1. re: midasgold

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

                              1. re: shoelace

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

                                1. re: berel

                                  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

                                    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

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

                                  1. re: midasgold

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

                                    1. re: midasgold

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

                                  2. re: midasgold

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

                            2. re: Michigan Mishuganer

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

                      2. 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.