An assisted living complex in Rancho Cucamonga has a “welcome” sign so specific, mysterious and emphatic (two exclamation points!!), that I felt compelled to pull over to take a photo.
In an editorial Sunday advocating the long-discussed new runway be built at LAX, the L.A. Times ended by also advocating a new name for ONT:
“As for the so-called regional solution, it will at best be a supplement to a modern, efficient and safe LAX. And for goodness’ sake, before trying to do anything else with Ontario airport, change the name so unhappy passengers who get rerouted there due to heavy coastal fog will at least know they’re not being flown to a wind-swept wheat field somewhere in central Canada.”
Ha ha! Of course, perhaps the Times is bitter after last month mistakenly reporting that ONT is “30 miles west of downtown.” If they don’t know where Ontario is, then obviously no one else must, either.
The Times may not realize that ONT is officially LA/Ontario International Airport, a change made a few years back to ensure travelers know the airport is in wheat field-less Southern California.
Still, there’s always room for improvement, and I’m not going to say Ontario International Airport couldn’t benefit from a new name. Especially when throwing it open to you readers results in a blog post.
On Twitter I threw out Jack Benny International, under the assumption that if Orange County can honor John Wayne, we could do the same for a local-identified celebrity (“Anaheim, Azusa and Cucamonga!”). A reader came back with Ovitt Family Community Airport, adapting the Ontario library’s unwieldy moniker. Your turn!
Sunday’s column is in part about last weekend’s CicLAvia event in L.A., which I attended. A lot of fun, and between the Claremont Metrolink station, Union Station and the Metrolink train home, I kept running into people I knew (or, in one case, who knew me). After that is the usual array of cultural and other items of note.
New York Pizzeria, 12431 Central Ave. (at the 60), Chino
You can’t find Chicago pizza in the Inland Valley, so far as I know, but people who like New York pizza have a handful of places to choose from. No spot is more established than New York Pizzeria, which opened in Chino in 1984.
After a recommendation from reader Ron Scott, I met a couple of friends there for lunch. Not much to look at from the outside, as it’s housed in a stucco cube on the outskirts of the Superior Market center just below the 60 Freeway, but New York Pizzeria becomes interesting the moment you step inside. There’s NYC photos, posters and memorabilia in the entryway, as well as a few seats from the original (1923-2006) Yankee Stadium, in which you can wait for takeout and think about Phil Rizzuto.
Closer to home, the arch-shaped windows into the kitchen for ordering remind me of Pizza Royale in Rancho Cucamonga. NYP has grinders, a few pastas and a couple of salads, but clearly the main event is the pizza. They make the dough fresh daily, make their own sauces, grate their own cheese and bake their pizzas in a stone oven.
We got two medium pizzas, one with sausage and mushroom, the other cheeseless with vegetables (accommodating the table’s wannabe vegan). This would have cost us $30, but they have a deal, two medium pizzas, two toppings each, for $19, so we went for it. (I had suggested we get a straight cheese pizza, but if the toppings are free…)
We liked the results. I appreciated the chunks of sausage and fresh mushrooms but thought the crust, which kept collapsing, was too thin to support two toppings. Still, it was a good pizza and my meat-eating friend thought so too. As for the cheeseless pizza, “the veggies were plentiful and fresh,” said the wannabe vegan. The meat-eating friend said agreeably, “It turned out not to be a mockery of what a pizza is supposed to be.” I’ll second that. The crust was thicker on the veggie pizza.
Although we gave the edge to San Biagio’s NY Pizza in Upland for its sauce, we all said we’d be willing to return here. In fact, a couple of weeks later, I did, going there for a solo weekday lunch. You can get an 8-inch pizza with two toppings, a salad and a soda for $6.49. I did that but skipped the toppings because I wanted to try a straight cheese pizza. Pretty good, and the salad beats San Biagio’s.
The dining room at New York Pizzeria is wallpapered in youth sports plaques, and the day of our Saturday lunch several of the picnic-style tables were reserved for young players, who showed up in force, and hungry. Not a place for an intimate evening, but fun. Service was exceedingly friendly at this family-owned restaurant. Probably friendlier than you’d get in New York.
Friday’s column recounts a visit to Claremont last week by novelist Francine Prose, who has penned a work of nonfiction analyzing Anne Frank’s diary as literature. It was a very interesting talk and I hope my summary is of interest.
My Alfred Hitchcock film festival at the Ontario library concludes Thursday with his best-known film, “Psycho,” from 1960. The film’s Wikipedia entry has much useful info. The screening begins at 6:30 p.m. at the library, 215 E. C St. (Hitchcock famously instituted a “no late admission” policy during its theatrical run. We won’t do that, but you won’t want to miss a moment.)
Admission is free. And don’t shriek too loudly — they’re runnin’ a library there.
Wednesday’s column is about my attendance at both a city council meeting in Upland and a Japandroids concert in Pomona the same night. Both were fun in their own way, of course, but I will go way out on a limb and say the concert was more thrilling. There, I’ve said it, and I’m glad.
I’d only heard of the Japandroids, rather than having heard them, but knowing they were coming to Pomona, I bought their “Celebration Rock” CD last weekend to study up. The chance to see an acclaimed indie band on their way up, without having to drive more than a few miles from home, is too good to pass up.
It’s just two guys, but they make a mighty racket. Since January they’ve performed in England, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, North Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, both weekends of the Coachella festival and, in between, Oakland. Pomona was their last date for a month.
“Your enthusiasm is basically the only thing keeping us alive and playing at this point,” singer-guitarist Brian King said a couple of songs in.
He asked the audience to sing along during “Nights of Wine and Roses”: “If you can help us sing, it would be much appreciated. Our throats are full of Coachella dust.” As the song had been playing in my head all day, it was particularly satisfying to hear it live.
The audience loved them, and there was a lot of bumping going on near the stage. I was back along the wall or, toward the end, up on the mezzanine. It was a relatively short set, just under an hour, and with no encore. But they seemed to be giving everything they had, or everything they had left, both of them flailing away, and with King even climbing onto David Prowse’s drum kit during “The House That Heaven Built,” the closer. A fun night.
Tuesday is World Book Night, when you can visit participating stores and pick up a free book. The goal is to put books in the hands of people who don’t or rarely read books.
At Rhino Records in Claremont, the only Inland Valley store that I know is taking part (there doesn’t seem to be a list), you can get Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451.” The store will have 20 copies, available for the asking from 4 p.m. until closing time at 9 p.m. If they’re out, a few single copies of other books will be available.
Also, all books at Rhino will be 10 percent off during those same hours. Trying to make up for a dearth of bookstores in Claremont, Rhino has 1,200 books in stock, new and used, from literary fiction and graphic novels to novelty books and music bios.
Sunday’s column is a tribute to Ramon Sanchez, proprietor of Ramon’s Cactus Patch restaurant in Ontario, who died Thursday at age 98.