Monday, April 30, 2007

Chikurin? Who Knew?

Here's a good review of the sushi place on 73rd and QB in AQUA (Ascan, Queens Bl, Union Tkp, Austin). They loved it. I never thought twice about this place, but being so close, I'll defintely check it out.

http://tastymorselnyc.blogspot.com/2007/04/chikurin.html

Taste of Forest Hills

Queenscentral.com has a great review of 'A Taste of Forest Hills', the best Forest Hills event you've never been to.

I don't know how I missed this since it's exactly the type of thing I'm looking to promote up in here. But it sounds like it was very well attended and it made decent coin for the Community House. Everyone seems to be in agreement that this kind of 'For Forest Hills by Forest Hills' event is welcome.

Oh well - we always have The Forest Hills Jazz Festival and Clay Court Classic May 12-19. It's open to the public and sounds like it will be in the same spirt as the Taste of Forest Hills.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Brother, Can You Spare a Stable?

(photo of Forest Park Bridle Path)

This story by NY1 caught my attention: Supporters of Manhattan's only stable made one last attempt Saturday to keep the beloved academy from riding off into the sunset. Local lawmakers and riders gathered on the Upper West Side at 1 p.m. to protest the closing of the Claremont Riding Academy, scheduled for Sunday. The owners say increasing development and a drop in ridership are to blame for the closure.


So the Central Park Horse Stable is closing due to low ridership. As a reminder, Forest Park has 3 stables, all within walking distance of central Forest Hills (Take Continental down just past Metropolitan, make right on Sybilla).


Details: FOREST PARK

Forest Park's four-mile equestrian path meanders through 165 acres of oak forest. Recently renovated, the path offers a quiet refuge.
To Reserve a Horse: Horses can be rented from the following stables, located outside the park in Forest Hills, Queens:
Forest Equine Center: (718) 263-3500 Lynn's Riding School: (718) 261-7679 D&D Stables: (718) 263-3500


Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Future of Forest Hills Part 2

Also years away, but also good.

Forest Hills to get two new schools

If you don't' feel like clicking through, the article says Forest Hills is getting a new junior high and high school in 2010. It'll be by Metropolitan and Continental.

Forest Hills has outstanding elementary schools - among the best in the city. In fact, whenever anyone throws a 'We're moving to Bushwick' at you, just go to www.greatschools.net and check out ps 101 and 196 test scores. You made the right choice by dropping anchor in 11375, believe me.

However, the Junior High (Russel Sage 190) and the high school stink. Half of Forest Hills residents aren't even zoned for Forest Hills high school, we're zoned for Hillcrest. It's always been a knock on FoHi.

But with these new schools zoned for us, hopefully they'll approach the success of the elementary schools. And if they don't, well there's always the impeccable Kew Forest School. Hank Azaria's alma mater. If it's good enough for the most underrated hilarious character actor in show business, it's good enough for me. Now, about that $18K tuition. . .

A Death in the Aqua Family

From the NY Post police blotter:

The body of a 48-year-old woman was found early yesterday in her Forest Hills home.
Nanette Cuccia was found dead at 3:36 a.m. in her Austin Street residence near 73rd Road, cops said. Police do not suspect criminality but are awaiting the results of an autopsy.

Future of Forest Hills Part 1


Sorry for the downtime between posts. I've been studying the Mayor's 2030 plan. The Queens part alone is 142 pages.
Some interesting stuff. The most intriguing of all is the one line from above which I cut and pasted directly from the report. Sorry it's so small, I don't know how to format well.
Those seven words are going to have a huge effect (a good one) on our area. Yes it's years away, but I predict we'll be talking a lot about it in the near future.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Latina Cabana Express is Open

Now, will it follow a common Forest Hills restaurant trend? Here are the warning signs:

1. Open to a big Forest Hills crowd, smiles all around. (see Rouge)
2. Lose some of crowd, skimp on quality of ingredients to compensate. (See UJ's Luncheonette)
3. Lose Forest Hills crowd due to poor service, attract only visitors who don't want to walk (see Mardi Gras).
4. Become mean to your remaining customers (see T-Bone Diner).
5. For Rent (see Melange)

However, it's possible to buck the trend and become a neighborhood favorite (yes they do exist). See:

Nicks
The Family Restaurant
Narita
Dee's
DB's
Johnny Rockets (I'm sorry, but great burgers and shakes)
Tower Diner
Pinang
Bangkok Cuisine
AJ's
Just Like Mother's
Cabana
Five Burros
East Ocean Palace
Hot Bialys
Corfu
And a bunch of others I haven't tried yet.

Let's hope Latina Cabana is around a while.

Mark Your Calendars

June 10th is the 'Forest Hills Festival of the Arts', aka the street fair. It's the best day of the year to see frustrated drivers from Briarwood try to get to TGI Fridays.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Open House Report

I'm not looking to buy an apartment or sell mine, but as I was walking AQUA and the Gardens yesterday, I was surprised at the lack of open houses. Last year at this time, there was one on every block. This year, there's a fraction of that. In my immediate area, I noticed a 3br at 150 Burns (Gardens), a one br at Austin Gardens (73-44 Austin in AQUA) and that's about it. I'm not into real estate so I don't know if that's a good thing or bad, but it's what I noticed.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Cherry Blossoms

The Cherry Blossoms are blooming in the Gardens today. Greenway South is among the better places to see them. Also some nice trees blooming on Austin in AQUA. There's no better time of year in Forest Hills, which explains why the Austin St. park in AQUA is bursting with crazy toddlers.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Value Depot Tenant

The Value Depot location (Continental bet. QB and Ausin) that went out of business a few months ago has been rented. The new tenant. . .Value Depot. Grand Reopening being advertised in the window.

This will ensure that block will continue its reign as the grossest block in central Forest Hills. On one hand, I'm disappointed as I hate stores in Forest Hills which so obviously cater to anyone but our residents (you think FHG's Congressman Weiner is going to check out the clearance rack?). On the other hand, I now have a place to get a $0.99 ironing board.

Nick's Music

Anyone else notice that Nick's is now playing pretty loud music? I have no problem with that - actually I think they should have started this long ago. Sometimes the place would be too quiet, even with a full house.

But the choice of music is just too distracting. Last time I was there, it was this new-age sort of Irish/Latin thumping folk rock. It was just so loud and in the forefront, like you had to pay attention to it. I like the fact that they're playing loud music, but please something a little more backgroundish.

Also, in Nick's news, I tried the calzone for the first time. Picture a calzone with all fresh ingredients (not gooey heavy cheese) and a very, very thin wrap. It's not like a regular pizzeria calzone, believe me. Amazing.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Congestion Pricing

The NY Sun is reporting that Bloomberg's 2030 plan will include congestion pricing. I'm so against this stupid idea I canceled my NY Times subscription because of it. Every week, another Congestion Pricing pro article.

I usually don't editorialize on this site because I know no one gives a shit about what I have to say. But this one issue gets to me.

I don't drive into the city - I take mass transit. However, I don't want these damn cars in my neighborhood any more than Manhattan does. But having a LIRR stop and two express subway lines, and plenty of parking garages, guess where everyone's going to go. Yes, Forest Hills. And Flushing, and downtown Brooklyn, and LIC.

In a city where people sit in their cars for hours on end for a free parking spot to avoid the $7 a garage costs, you think they're going to happily pony up a congestion fee? No, they're going clog up our streets and trains instead of Manhattan's. Screw that. If they get the benefits of being a corporate mecca (private money in parks, subways on every corner, extra police presence), let them deal with the drawbacks (pollution).

The Times constantly points to London's successful bout with CP. However, they never mention that the surrounding towns have been swamped with traffic - so much so that some London suburbs want to institute its OWN congestion pricing.

We all want nicer walks to work - and that's really what CP is all about. People wanting a nicer walk to work. The traffic in Manhattan is no worse than Woodhaven Blvd, Atlantic Ave., the BQE, or Roosevelt Ave. We all could use a little congestion relief. Make it citywide if at all.

Plus, have you noticed Manhattanites didn't exactly jump on the idea of dispersing cabs throughout the boroughs? Maybe cars aren't that bad after all - as long as they're yellow. I usually dismiss the resentment people have of Manhattan, but when it crosses into public policy, I have to say something. If you think I'm riled up now, wait until you see me in 2030.

If there is CP, then our representatives have to get Forest Hills residents parking permits. Period. Either that, or let's charge people a fee for getting off the GCP at Queens Blvd/Union Turpike. And charge 'em double if they're going to the Midway.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Greenmarket Forest Hills

There's been some talk in the comments about getting a Greenmarket in Forest Hills. Here is from information from the coordinator's website.

Where are the markets held?
Markets are held in parks, playgrounds, parking lots, sidewalks, closed streets and other available open spaces. We endeavor, with community support and assistance, to find spaces that give the markets room to grow and are visible to community residents. See the market map for a current listing of our locations.
I’d like a farmers market in my neighborhood.
Great! We’re always looking for new locations with heavy foot traffic, room for trucks, and community support. For more information call 212-788-7476 or email greenmarket.

Where do you think it should go if we get one in Forest Hills. And be realistic, they're not closing Austin St every Saturday. And, do we need one or do we just like the idea of having one. If we need one (and I think we do - especially for fruit in summer) let's work on getting one.

Time Out Forest Hills

Another Forest Hills mention in Time Out. This one on the Time Out NY blog

Here's an excerpt:

Dinner and a movie: Friday, Apr 13Posted in Features, Film, Eat Out, TONY blog by Dustin Goot on April 13th, 2007

In my ongoing
fight for Queens respect, I’m sending you all on a field trip today. Destination: Forest Hills. I don’t know if Forest Hills actually deserves your respect, because I have never been to that section of Queens, but Time Out New York says it is a cool, emerging area, and that’s good enough for me.
I’m sending you to a wine joint called
db Wine Bar & Kitchen, where you can enjoy 30 wines by the glass. It’s near Forest Hills Gardens, which TONY writer Kirk Miller calls “classy.” As you sip your shiraz and scarf down your roasted organic chicken, I want you to think of me sitting in the TONY kitchen, alone, crushing grapes. Because that’s what I was doing last night as part of our beer- and wine-making project. I am now sulfiting my must before I ferment it. Tune in Monday to learn what that means.

The writer is from Astoria so don't get on him or her too much for the 'deserves your respect' remark. Kudos to Backburner for hosting the original TONY writer on his Forest Hills excursion.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Forest Hills Jazz & Tennis Festival

Very cool event coming to West Side Tennis Club in May. It's the Forest Hills Clay Court Classic & Jazz Festival presented by Commerce Bank May 12th - 19th. It's open to the public. Here's a brief schedule of events, with much more information here

Free admission to opening rounds Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

Thursday:
Tennis matches and Jazz music all day. Free tennis clinic for adults from 1pm - 3pm (must call to RSVP).

Friday:
Tennis matches and Jazz music all day.

Saturday - the big day:
Tennis Carnival for entire Family 10am - Noon.
Brunch on the Terrace 11am - 3pm.
Food Court open 11am - 3pm.
Wine, Champagne and Stoli tasting Noon - 2pm.
Men's Final 2pm.

If you don't know where the West Side Tennis Club is, it's time to move to Cobble Hill.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Graffiti Reminder

Just a reminder that if you see graffiti on a store front to call 311. The store has 30 days to fix it or it will get fined. Call from your cell when you see it.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Two Storefronts Rented

La Mancha Empanada has become. . .Latina Cabana Express. It might be related to Cabana on 70th Rd. (Forest Hills) and 3rd Ave. (Manhattan), but I'm not sure. Only the awning is up, which is colorful and says it's 'authentic Cuban cuisine'. Free delivery. It's next to Sushi Oh! down by Natural.

Cuban is really popular now and I'm psyched it came to Forest Hills. It's far better than a chinese take-out or another hair salon.

The more boring storefront news, Leather Connection has been taken over by next-door neighbor Dimitry. It's a men's clothing store, whose awning claims to have stores in "New York, Roma, Paris"

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

More Hotel Stuff

Here's a larger photo of the hotel that Heskel "Mr. Forest Hills" Elias is proposing. You're going to hear a lot about this on this site since it would change the neighborhood so dramatically. I really like Elias. He bought a building you probably didn't even know about called "The Bristol" on Austin East and put in an Ann Taylor which is the nicest storefront on the block. He also improved the apartments inside adding wireless Internet, stainless steel appliances, and Kohler sinks/faucets. I've been in those apartments before the improvements - they were disgraceful. He also did the Staples which actually looks really good from Continental. If it's a new development and it looks like it's old, it's probably Elias.

I don't mind the hotel part, but Heskel mentioned possible tenants as Morton's, Cheesecake Factory, and J. Crew. Is there one Forest Hills resident that would ever go to these places? It sounds a little Queens Center Mall to me, and anyone who's been there doesn't want it to come to Forest Hills. I mean, I like tinted windows and silver Maximas as much as the next guy, and I'm always up for a rear windshield decal of a guy urinating and giving me the finger, but tourists might not get the joke.

If I had a vote, keep it Ann Taylor Loft. Build the hotel where the Century 21/Kohl's is going in Rego Park.

CB6 Meeting Tonight

A reminder: Community Board Meeting
The Forest Hills Community Board (#6) meeting is Wednesday 4/11 at 7:30pm. It's at 80-02 Kew Gardens Rd, which is right around that weird Nathan's.

I can't make it, but I hope one of you can.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Taco Bell/KFC No Mas

The only question is what took so long. The Taco Bell/KFC in the Wallgreens shopping center (Yellowstone and Jewel) is 'closed for renovation'.

How's your Co-Op?

Yes, it's a lame subject, but it's a slow news day. With co-ops being such a big part of the true heart of FoHi, feel free to bitch or praise what your management company is doing. As I've said before, from AQUA to the President buildings - the elderly rent-stabilized are moving out - new people are moving in. Are the buildings keeping up with the new lifestyles? Are they putting in gyms? Easing the 20% requirement? Do you have open communication or is your board grasping whatever power they have left? The revolution starts at home.

No building names please. Just an exchange of ideas - whether you own or rent.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Put up or shut up

We've all complained about the restaurants in Forest Hills. Here's your chance to do something about it. Yes, it's off the beaten path, but with TJ's coming in and Danny Brown's a few blocks down, the location is actually pretty good. Yes you can afford it (with a bank's help). Call your boss and give your notice - it's on. The Craigslist ad:

$135000 / 1300ft² - High Profile corner Italian Restuarant (prime location!)
Reply to: hous-308487225@craigslist.orgDate: 2007-04-09, 1:18AM EDTLow rent and beautifully renovated Rest. on Metropolitan Ave. 11 years left on Lease agreement/New air and heating system/3 yr old kit./Huge storage with walk-in freezer/Seats 70/Easily converts to any type of food service/Rent $3025 This is Restuarant Row on Metropolitan Ave. Check out the location and call me! Luna Sur-98-04 Metropolitan Ave Forest Hills (across from Albertos) Eric (Continental Realty) (917) 415-1663

Friday, April 6, 2007

Fun with Station Square


A few comments on an earlier post regarding Station Square being an underutilized outdoor space. It does seem a little Wild-Wild-West sometimes with the cars not having any real direction.
How would you design, say, a Sunday car-free halfday at Station Square? Maybe allow cars on the LIRR station side and block off the Jade side? Close the whole thing altogether?
It definitely should be a focus of any community projects we do. How the NY Times described it a few years back:
"BUILT in 1912 in Forest Hills, Queens, Station Square is what almost every New York neighborhood lacks: a village center. " Agreed.

Community Board Meeting

The Forest Hills Community Board (#6) meeting is Wednesday 4/11 at 7:30pm. It's at 80-02 Kew Gardens Rd, which is right around that weird Nathan's.

I've never been to one, but it's a great way to start to get involved. I make fun of Barbara Stuchinski, but her Council is the first place the newspapers go to when needing a comment on what the residents think and that's very important. Why not work with her?

If nothing else, I can post the information here since our CB is so bad at promotion compared to other CB's.

However, if I do go, I want the other FoHi bloggers (Backburner, Foresthillslife, etc) to take a turn next time. I don't want to have to listen to two hours of Q60 poor service every month.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Welcome Backburner Readers!

Just saw my blog address posted in one of Backburner's comments and thought it might generate some traffic. Feel free to comment, I don't block anything. Pressing issues:

What should Bang Bang/Vincci/Leather Connection/Mancha Empanada/Art World become? Who has called or emailed the Chamber of Commerce to give them an idea of why these places have closed while Natural Market has lines at 10pm. Trader Joe's seems to have noticed (see below for update).

Why is the SpiderMan 3 premiere in Astoria and not the Midway (Peter Parker's real home town)?

Are you going to the Friends of Station Square fundraiser? My answer: You should, many of these organizations are getting a little long in the tooth and need whatever burst of new energy they can get.

Dee's or Nicks?

Or create your own pressing issue. We're inheriting one of the best towns in New York City. Let's talk about where we want it to go!

Trader Joe's Update

I wrote them inquiring about a Forest Hills opening date. The reply from the corporate office. . .

Thanks for asking, we hope to satisfy your TJ cravings sometime by summers end. The landlord is still going through the process of renovating the building and until we start our construction phase we can't really pinpoint an exact date, stay tuned, We'll post the date on our web site as soon as it's known.

Sincerely,
Jim Poppe
Regional Vice President
New York, New Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware

Vincci - No mas

The men's clothing store between GNC and Citibank is closed for good. Great big space right in the middle of Austin. I don't think it's going to be another mom and pop.