Friday, June 29, 2007

New York and Company

Hiring tables were out in front of New York and Company for the last few days. Opening date is July 17th. Maybe that's what's chasing Inside NYC and Shoe Bar out of town.

Cool Forest Hills Website

http://www.communitywalk.com/forest_hills__vicinity/map/22654#0003jMO

I just found this. It's an up-to-date map of all the stores/restaurants in FoHi's business district, with any blurbs about them from various sites and magazines.

Word of caution, it's really slow to load.

Do We Have a Winner?

Whether it means they're going out of business or not, we don't know but the race is on.

Inside NYC is advertising a huge "Final Days Sale" (written in English, Spanish and Russian).

Neck and neck down the block it's Shoe Bar whose giant window sign says "Liquidating Entire Stock!" and in the other window and in the other window "Everything Must Go".

No winners if either of these go under. The closest guess was Steve T's "one of those brown stores on Austin St. that sell hideous dresses". I have to assume he meant brown awning-attired Alexandra or Chez Moi. Can't give it to you.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Vendors Go Home!

Melinda Katz has introduced a bill that would eliminate the food vendors on Continental.

"The restriction would affect "the side streets along Austin Street, from 72nd Avenue to 68th Avenue on both sides of Continental Avenue," said James McClelland, a spokesman for City Councilwoman Melinda Katz (D-Forest Hills)."

The issue has been the cause of heated debate here, with about half for and half against the vendors.

Personally, I like them. I don't buy the 'We should try to be more like Greenwich, CT' argument because Continental is right outside the express stop. Even 34th st. and 86th street in Manhattan is a lower class than the surrounding streets because of the express subways. Major express stop blocks are just not going to be as nice - the food carts have nothing to do with it. Not to mention, there are food carts all up Madison Ave in the 60's and 70's and they're not exactly low rent districts.

I don't like the weekenders any more than you do, but it's not like if we ban the vendors, they're all going to stay home. They'll still come to Value Depot and leave their empty Starbucks cups on the muni-meters, right next to a mother f'n trash can. But the more dining options, the more the neighborhood places will have to get their shit together. And the vendors (since they're owned and operated) are usually much more pleasant than the "I'm only doing this because my father won't let me have the Mercedes until I do" 19 year olds at the in-store places.

Lastly, these are not down-on-their-luck old women selling pound cake from a blanket. These are pretty high-end enclosed food carts. Let the vendors stay, I say.

The story: http://www.timesledger.com/site/news.asp?brd=2676&pag=460&dept_id=551069

Fay Da Open

According to the very well designed QueensCentral Forum Board, The Fay Da bakery is open just west of Continental and QB (south side).

Also, one of the commenters said that the new Metropolitan restaurant will be French. One of the other staffers said "Continental. It will probably be French/Continental like Mark's on the Upper East Side (Mark's menu).

Thai Austin?

Since restaurant postings seem to get the most traffic and I want people to read the boring townhouse posts I put up there, here's giving the people what they want.

First is Thai Austin. The Chowhound string about it is going again http://www.chowhound.com/topics/248808 and people seem to love it. I went and I didn't like as much as Bann Thai, but that was a while ago. I found it a little too heavy and I don't like that shopping center.

So if Thai Austin is any good, check out Chowhound and put in your two cents. It sounds like it's not getting the business it should be.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Again With The Townhouses?


Yes, we're back on those 72nd ave townhouses again. Here's the latest.


I spoke with James McClelland of Melinda Katz's office on Monday. He said he has sent in what's called an "RFE" (Request For Evaluation, I think) for that great row of white towhouses on 72nd Ave, the only buildings of their kind in FoHi's business district. They're also the oldest structures in Forest Hills (not including Barbara Stuchinski). James has been very responsive and calls me at least once a week with updates. It's definitely appreciated.


There's also the efforts of a preservationist group headed by Michael Perlman and Jeff Gotlieb outlined in this blog last week. So it looks like there will be an effort to save these. Whether it's successful or not known.


In the meantime, at this point it's crucial for you to write the LPC and tell them you want the townhouses landmarked. It'll be good for the business district, good for the look of the area, and good for your property value.
Otherwise, they will be knocked down and replaced with more boxy medical offices. These townhouses are part of what makes Forest Hills. They predate us by 100 years and they need your help. Thanks.

Chairman Robert Tierney (rtierney@lpc.nyc.gov & comments@lpc.nyc.gov),
Dir. of Research Mary Beth Betts (mbetts@lpc.nyc.gov)and carbon copy:•
Michael Perlman (unlockthevault@hotmail.com)•
Jeff Gottlieb (jeffgottlieb@hotmail.com)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Next Store to Close Contest Still Open

Just a reminder that there's still time to enter the Forest Hills 72 Guess the Next Store to Close contest. Early favorites are Broadway Bakery, OTB, Crepe N' Tearia.

While no stores have closed since the contest was announced, Broadway Bakery is now offering a "Buy 3 items get 1 free" promotion. Trouble in the land of loud poorly tuned Emerson boom boxes and pizza-flavored muffins?

Despite my pick being universally panned, I'm sticking with Radio Shack.

Stores still available to be picked: GNC, Austin Leather Goods, and the most underused mammoth space on Austin Street - Lucille Roberts.

You gotta be in it to win it!

Make Music New York Quick Review

Last Thursday was Make Music New York, with small scale performances throughout the city including Forest Hills.

There was no stage, they played on the sidewalk on the Continental side of Citibank. The two acts I saw were a steel drum player and a folk singer. Some people stopped and watched, others kept walking. I thought it lent a great urban feel to the increasingly urban Continental, with its nut cart and fruit stands.

The intervals of rain kinda screwed with the momentum the event was gaining throughout the evening. That and the fact that one of the acts (Mike Butler) either was very late or didn't show caused a long delay in the music. Note to the organizers, if the talent is to go on at 7pm, tell them 6. Musicians can't tell time.

I hope they do it next year. One suggestion, Continental is just too busy to have something like this. Would love to see a site at the Austin St. park in AQUA or closer to Station Square.

But definitely a success and try to make it next year.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

New Restaurant at Metropolitan and Ascan

As speculated earlier this week, we have confirmation that the new space on Metropolitan Ave. and Ascan will be a restaurant.

A few workers were painting the outside of it today. Outside are white French doors with a large glass window panes above them. The inside is very open white/green/black modern with tables to the left and a bar on the right. It looks like there might be seating in the back OUTSIDE, but that might have just been a back alley. The doors in the back of the restaurant opened to something outside. This restaurant definitely looks like a new hip space.

When asked (by my wife) what the type of restaurant it will be, the worker responded "Continental". Though I'm not sure what that means, the workers were polite and seemed like enthusiastic young Americans (just mentioning so we can guess it won't be ethnic food like a Jade or a Latina Cabana Express).

DB's I guess attracted this place since there have been reports of long wait times at Danny's excellent bistro and nowhere else to go except Dee's, which is a different dining experience (and is also impossible to get a table most of the time).

In any case, since a few months ago this was an office supply store, this has to be considered an absolute home run for Forest Hills. Granted, it's a little far, but Metropolitan and Ascan is a beautiful walk from AQUA and an even better bike ride from anywhere in Forest Hills.

No word on the name of the place or the chef. From the outside of it, they still look at least a month away from opening.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Save the Townhouses!


I received this letter from Michael Perlman. He tried unsucessfully to landmark the Trylon movie theatre, which is now the Education Center for Russian Jewry. QueensCentral - I'd love your help on this one.

Please just email the LPC and let them know you'd like the townhouses landmarked. Here's why:

  • They look great and there's nothing like them left in the Forest Hills business district.


  • There's already plenty of office space in Forest Hills. Why do you think the commercial space in the Windsor has been vacant for two years.


  • If marketed correctly, they can become a very cool restaurant. bar, book store or other kind of funky place that we've all been calling for - but that's lost forever if they're torn down for sterile offices.

And here are Perlman's reasons why we need your help (I bolded the most important parts):

Letter Campaign To Preserve Oldest Forest Hills Rowhouses & Most Endangered (Please help)
June 22, 2007


I am Michael Perlman, Chairman of the "Rego-Forest Preservation Council," which advocates for the preservation of potential individual landmarks & potential historic districts, throughout Forest Hills & Rego Park, and proudly supports the efforts of other Queens neighborhoods. I would like to inform you of an effort that Jeff Gottlieb (Pres of Central Queens Historical Assoc.) & I are working on. We would appreciate your assistance by composing a letter of support to the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC).

We are hoping to spare an extremely significant piece of Forest Hills history; the unique "Manhattan-style" rowhouses that are on the west side of 72nd Ave between Austin St & Queens Blvd (108-11, 15, 17, 19, 21 72nd Ave). They are Forest Hills' oldest buildings & the only remaining rowhouses of its type. They were erected in 1906 by Cord Meyer, on the first street to be cut through, Roman Ave (now 72nd Ave). They are also synonymous with the naming of Forest Hills by Cord Meyer. They were dedicated in 1991 by the Central Queens Historical Association, and re-dedicated in Aug 2006 in honor of the 100th anniversary of the rowhouses and Forest Hills' 100th. A plaque notes their significance.

Sadly, the rowhouses on the east side of the street have been completely demolished over the last few years. Out of the 5 remaining rowhouses on the west side, 2 are imminently endangered. They're presently for sale, and being pitched as "a perfect site for developers &/or investors."

My proposal to the LPC is here: [Click here to view the text of the letter.]
Please feel free to reference any facts, and send your version of the letter to the following addresses:
• Chairman Robert Tierney (
rtierney@lpc.nyc.gov & comments@lpc.nyc.gov), and
• Dir. of Research Mary Beth Betts (
mbetts@lpc.nyc.gov)and carbon copy:
• Michael Perlman (
unlockthevault@hotmail.com)
• Jeff Gottlieb (
jeffgottlieb@hotmail.com)
Also, please encourage other potential supporters to take out a few moments, and do their share. It is important that we unite in solidarity for noteworthy causes in our neighborhood(s).

Thank you for your support!Michael Perlmanunlockthevault@hotmail.com

Get writing, please.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Food Vendors on Continental

It was a hot topic at the Community Board meeting this month. CB 6 meetings happen once a month usually the third Wednesday of that month. They are held by the weird Nathan's/Travel place at the start of Kew Gardens on QB. Try to make it to one.

The food vendor story:

http://www.timesledger.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=18503193&BRD=2676&PAG=461&dept_id=551069&rfi=6

Some people are complaining about the vendors on Continental between QB and Austin St. - saying they're illegal. It looks like the law is on the vendors' side however. I guess restaurants are complaining about them. Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce President Leslie Brown:

""I've heard they're spreading out to 70th Road," Brown said, referring to Forest Hills' restaurant row. She is putting her faith in Katz's office to suggest legislation outlawing the vendors in Forest Hills. "

Let them spread out all over Forest Hills, who cares? Maybe more food options for our annoying weekenders will result in area restaurants actually having to serve more discerning Forest Hills residents. If you're going to charge $20 (plus tax and tip) for a brunch, you gotta give me more than scrambled eggs and a shot glass of orange juice. Screw you and your flat mimosa.

Get Your Cottage Here

Congratulations to Forest Hills Gardens for winning "America's Best Cottage Community" according to Cottage Living Magazine. And at 2.9 million per, one of these little getaway cottages can be all yours.

http://www.cottageliving.com/cottage/travel/article/0,21135,1632302,00.html

Highlight: All of these subtle elements—curved streets, mixed housing, small parks, diversity, and a connection to a larger urban environment—amount to an ideal neighborhood.

Another unrelated Forest Hills overview from a few days ago .http://www.nydailynews.com/services/realestate/2007/06/06/2007-06-06_forest_hills.html

Highlight: It’s hard to imagine why any city banker or married couple looking for suburban utopia would consider Westchester or Long Island. At 16 minutes from midtown by train, Forest Hills, Queens, is the most countryfied place close to the grit-filled frenzy of Manhattan.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Next Store To Close Is. . .

It's time for the Forest Hills 72 betting pool, where you guess what the next store to close is. Anyone could have guessed Potato Republic was out the outs when they saw the employees eating french fries out of the hot platter in front of the customers. That's was truly awful to see, considering how many times I've eaten there.


We'll keep it to stores on QB and Austin and side streets from Yellowstone to Ascan. Judging by upkeep, store traffic, incoming competition, increased rent, and employee morale, can you guess the next "For Rent" location? The winner gets his house bulldozed by Frank Baharastani and replaces it with a bank that sells cell phones and pastries.

I'll get the betting going. My pick is Radio Shack - Continental Ave.

Metropolitan Ave in the News

Sorry about the lack of new stuff. But there really hasn't been much happening - unless you live down by Metropolitan. . . Lots of stuff down there.

It looks like the old Parkside Press location (106-17 Metropolitan Ave) is going to become a restaurant. It's on the same block as the movie theatre and the outdoor Theater Cafe.

The new restaurant looks like it's going to be well-designed upscale with nice white French doors and cool looking lighting fixtures above them. The windows are all papered up, but the architecture plans are visible which call for an elaborate new kitchen system - which leads me to believe it's a restaurant.

With Dee's Brick Oven, DB's Bistro, Theater Cafe, Eddy's Sweet Shop, and this new upscale place, Metropolitan in the 72nd/Ascan area has really become a very cool couple of blocks.

While it seems far away, it's only 7/10ths of a mile from the Ascan/Austin intersection. A very nice walk away.

A little further west on Metropolitan Ave - the 7-11 is complete and I don't know why it's not open yet. Just dotting the i's at this point I guess. It's huge. It looks like a supermarket. The locals are still worried about kids hanging out there, but as the owner put it - it's either they hang out there or somewhere else - they're your kids not ours. But she said she'll take whatever steps she can to ensure they don't congregate. With no public transportation nearby, I'm sure any kids who hang out there will be the pretty much harmless Forest Hills type with skateboards and ipods, not bandanas and guns.

In other Metropolitan Ave news, the decrepit car repair place at the corner of Metropolitan and Continental has been purchased, fenced off, and torn down. A tear-down that even Queens Crap couldn't oppose. No word on what the new building will look like or be. But since the area was recently rezoned, don't expect condos or offices.

So big things for Austin St's cooler cousin to the south.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Off Topic

For those of you who are pissed about being stuck in Forest Hills this summer, this dispatch is from the beautiful people in the Hamptons. Oh please bring that Jitney to Forest Hills. . .


SOUTHAMPTON, Long Island (1010 WINS) -- An early morning breakfast turned ugly at a Southampton diner after several patrons started a food fight that ended with a person needing medical treatment and two arrests.

The fight broke out about five this morning at the Hamptons Bays Diner. Police say several people started a food fight which escalated into throwing dishware and breaking tables.

A security guard attempting to intervene was punched and had to be treated for his injuries.

Welcome Fay-Da


The Croissant Shoppe/Sushi Joint has a new tenant. Welcome Fay-Da bakery! With stores in Chinatown and Flushing, Fay-Da is a Chinese bakery that has both pastries and breads. From the website http://www.fayda.com/

In the Spring of 1991, following years of working for multiple Chinese bakeries, young Han Chow set off to jump-start his own bakery. Fay Da Bakery’s first location opened on Center Street in downtown Manhattan. This location was considered off-Chinatown a decade ago, but the location still served many Chinese commuters from other boroughs coming off the Canal Street train station. Due to high demands, Mr. Chow decided to open a centrally located Fay Da Bakery within the Chinese community on Grand Street.

Our customers are fine tuned with their taste buds. They know what's a good piece of bread from the bad. We promise freshness to all our baked goods.

Quick analysis: Neighborhood neutral. Obviously, this place isn't going to draw gangbanger wannabees (they'll still go to the Midway), Rego Park taggin' teens (they'll still go to McDonald's) or zipperheads (they'll still go to Bartini's). It just sounds like another option to get bread and pastry, which is good. The only residual effect it may have is the closing of Broadway Bakery, which now has more than its share of competition. But what would we do without BB's mean service, poor quality, dirty floors, and loud poorly-tuned radio?

Make Music Forest Hills

With a pedigree that boasts Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel, Burt Bacharach, and Birchwood Tower's The Ramones, music has a place in high up in Forest Hills history.

Keeping that tradition, from one of the comments on the Make Music Forest Hills event coming Thursday night to Continental Ave. on June 21st, Sparky invites:

"We still have room for anyone who wishes to lend their musical talent to Make Music NY in Forest Hills. If you play a banjo, violin, harmonica, or a flute... come on down and we'll try to squeeze you in."

More info: http://www.timeout.com/newyork/static_content/makemusic/

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Jade's Growing Pains

The reviews are getting ugly

http://newyork.citysearch.com/review/44536619

7-11 Meets With Community

The husband and wife (Alan Dumain, 59, and his wife, Phyllis, 57) owners of the new 7-11 on Metropolitan Ave. and Continental met with the area neighbors a few days ago. A big concern is that the delivery truck will come between 2am and 3am. Apparently, it has to be in overnight because it would clog Metropolitan traffic in the day.

Also discussed is neighbors' concerns that little bastards will hang out in the parking lot and tag everything in site. The 7-11 owners said they own another one on Eliot Ave and said they don't put up with that shit.


"We can take care of it at 7-Eleven, and we have," Phyllis Dumain said. "But that doesn't take the problem out of the community."

Good point Phyllis.

Forest Hills Sidewalk Concert Thursday


On June 21st on Continental Ave, Forest Hills takes part in Time-Out Magazine's "Make Music New York" a worldwide 340-city effort to make music outdoors. The concert will be on the sidewalk, not in the actual street.


Here are the artists performing and the times. Probably just a solo-acoustic set, but still sounds cool. All artists are self-billed as "Rock" except Butler who's "Pop" See more information on the event here http://www.timeout.com/newyork/static_content/makemusic/



5:00pm: John Nazarini & Co.

6:00pm Lauren O'Brien

7:00pm Mike Butler

8:00pm Native Cubana
No word on where they'll be performing on the block, but I'm sure you'll find them. Poorly promoted, but cool idea. See you there.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Congrats again

Math test scores are in and PS 101 3rd graders got a 98% passing (up 2% from last year). The only higher score in Queens District 28 was our rival PS 196 which scored 99%. Amazing showing little dudes.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Father's Day Sale

AQUA's Sakura Ya Japanese market is having a Father's Day sale on beer. A colorful handwritten sign in the window is promoting the Father's Day sale prices of Saporo, Kirin, and one other whose name I forgot.

Great idea from a great store. Check it out - Austin St. a few yards east of Ascan.

The West Side Tennis Club




Is the West Side Tennis Club ready to once again be a major part of Forest Hills?




The Club is, for the first time I know of, advertising for membership. This sign is in the window of the Austin Coffee House.


Also attached is another poster posted in a storefront promoting a charity event that's open to the public. And we all remember the Clay Court Classic/Jazz Fest which was pretty well promoted to the general public.

So the Tennis Club is everywhere. Awesome.

Also, check out this piece from NY1 a few years back that talks about wanting to host events. http://www.ny1.com/ny1/content/index.jsp?&aid=43961&search_result=1&stid=10



I know the stadium has hosted some more tennis events, but the last non-tennis event I think was the K-Rock Dysfunctional Family Picnic (radio concert) sometime in the 90's. It looks like they're ready to once again become part of our community and I think it's a great thing. Forest Hills and the Tennis Stadium go hand and hand.



Any interest in joining the club or getting involved in the charity event, check out www.foresthillstennis.com



The New Bank


Here's the sign that's in the window of Cold Stone Creamery. The bank is "Proud" and "Privileged" to become part of our neighborhood. But not so much as to spend the $25 to personalize the sign to Forest Hills.

The Ugliest Billboard in New York?


Gotta go to the huge car wash banner just East of Trader Joe's on Metropolitan. Railroad tressle banners are rare (Continental and Ascan don't have them) and to have one this big - I haven't seen it anywhere else in the city. Is this really going to be the introduction to Forest Hills by thousands of daily visitors to TJ's? Wasn't it embarrassing enough to have Bloomberg march underneath it on Memorial Day? I know it's not prime Forest Hills, but still, it's so ugly.


Does anyone know who owns this railroad tressle? If it's the MTA, I'm sure we can do something to get it taken down before TJ's opens.
It's bad enough they have a tremendous neon sign that's more fit for a rest-stop on I-95 than smack in the middle of a residential neighborhood. And it's bad enough that it's open 24 hours, despite a very vocal community effort to restrict it to 6am - Midnight. But this billboard takes the cake. It's the gotta most classless thing in Forest Hills, and that's not an easy title to win.

Trader Joe's Building Coming Along


Looks totally different from a month ago. This is at the corner of Metropolitan and Woodhaven on the Forest Hills side.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Buttons and Banks

Just got back from out of town for the weekend. Will have some new content tomorrow.

According to Queenscentral.com, there's going to be a bank where Cold Stone Creamery was, and a button place (a place that sells buttons) where some wireless crap store was in AQUA next to the bicycle store.

Quick analysis, no problem with the button place. If it were open for 80 years on Mulberry St., the NY Times would write columns about it and we'd all be saying that we need a quaint neighborhood place like that. And landlords are always going to go after banks, they're a sure thing (literally, money in the bank). It's quiet and closes early. I don't hate banks as much as everyone else seems to. I know it's disappointing we didn't get that American Bistro we're all waiting for, but both new places are neighborhood neutral and we don't get better or worse. Could have been check cashing and fried seafood.

Hope the parade was fun, sorry I missed it. I always love seeing the idiots circling the block looking for a way to drive to TGI Fridays.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Fashion Show at Jade

I don't even want to know what this was about:

http://queenscourier.com/articles/2007/06/07/news/regional_news/forest_hills_and_western_courier/news/news01.txt

Street Fair Sunday

Just a reminder that the street fair is this Sunday. Coincidentally or not, it's on the same day as the Puerto Rican Day parade in Manhattan.

Forest Hills Festival of the Arts
Austin St between 69th and 72nd Rds, Forest Hills, Queens (646-230-0489).

7-11 on Metropolitan


The 7-11 on Metropolitan and Continental looks like they're about ready for business. The sign is up and the parking lot is pretty much complete. It's going to be a regular suburban-type 7-11, in a free standing building and a parking lot in front.

Does it draw any of the little bastards that loiter (and litter) on the LIRR steps? We wait and we hope. . .

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

AQUA Eckerd to become Rite-Aid


The Rite Aid acquisition of Eckerd's is official. http://www.riteaid.com/company/news/news_details.jsf?itemNumber=928


The only store it affects in FoHi is the Eckerd on 75th and QB. The press release says to expect it to be remodeled and rebranded as a Rite-Aid by March 2008. The press release doesn't say if more than one damned cashier will be open after the transition.


Monday, June 4, 2007

What We Need Is Another Medical Office

Quick unscientific poll. # of Listings for commercial office space under "Medical" on Craigslist:

Astoria: 11

Park Slope: 6

Brooklyn Heights: 8

Forest Hills: 57


Granted, some of that is repeat listings by those subtle realtors DAKOTA REALTY 4 U!!!!!!, but even with those taken out, we're still at least triple the others. And these are just the vacant ones.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Children's Day in the Gardens

Saturday was Children's Day in Flagpole Park. They got a bunch of rides, bigger than I would have thought by the way. I was expecting an old pony and maybe a picture booth. But they came full on with the giant inflatable slide, moonwalk thing, inflatable mountain, and a full size horse. Plus some other real county-fair type rides. Great job.

The cover band of eight-year olds (or at least that's what they looked like, they were actually probably high schoolers) played a lot of Green Day covers. And they threw in a couple of Guns and Roses in there too. Nice to see high school bands are still doing the Axl version of Knockin' On Heaven's Door.

But my favorite part of the day was the raffle. They announced the winners, not by number, but by last name (you had to fill out each ticket w/ your name & number). Once they started calling out the last names of the winners, you knew you were in the Gardens.

Nash. Riley. Hunter. Not a Rosenbaum or Ortiz in the bunch.

Le Croissaint Shop - Au Revoir & Sayonara

The Croissaint Shop/Sushi Take-out place at the top of the Continental Ave subway is no more. Who'd have guessed the natural synergy between croissaints and raw fish would have failed.