Monday, July 30, 2007

On The Boats and On The Planes. . .

Here is a selection from recent Forest Hills arrivals:

http://busyinnyc.blogspot.com/2007/07/forest-hills-resident.html

"Finally! As of yesterday, Jason and I are officially living in Forest Hills! The more time I spend in the neighborhood, the more I love it. I love every aspect of it. I love the neighborhood. I love our building. I love our apartment. I love my new roommate."

http://www.chowhound.com/topics/426071#2795847

Just moved in to Forest Hills. Work at home on some days and don't have anything set up at my place yet. "Looking for a place that has free wifi. The closer to Ascan and QB, the better"

http://www.flickr.com/photos/74932844@N00/938198519/

I haven't yet been to Metropolitan, but I've heard all about Eddie's and the other good stuff there. Can't wait to explore!

Get the picture?





The sign says Staples to the left, Trader Joe's to the right (bottom picture from Racked.com).

Friday, July 27, 2007

Pampas Argentinas Update

I peeked into Pampas Argentinas restaurant on Metropolitan Ave (didn't have the camera).

I was nervous about this place due to the gaudy signage, but it looks awesome inside. It's wide open and it looks like they ripped apart the ceiling between the first and second floor to and put in a sky light on the roof.

Whatever they did, it's completely airy and really inviting.

Another Atlas Park Bus Re-route


Atlas Park is going for the biggie. Damon Hemmerdinger, who is the mastermind behind Atlas Park, wants to reroute the Q23 (the red bus that clogs Austin from Continental to Yellowstone) to bring FoHi visitors to Atlas Park.


He succeeded earlier in rerouting the Q54. But the Q23 is the big banana. It would be the only direct link between Austin St. and Atlas Park. Glendale residents are raising hell.


I love Atlas Park. The faith that this guy put into Central Queens is downright unbelievable. I go to Joseph A. Bank. Borders is awesome. However, I'm against this.


While part of me is psyched that some of these Glendale residents who have been cruising Austin St and screwing up our neighborhood for years are getting their just desserts, the more rational part knows that I knew what I was getting into when I bought here. They did not.


It's unfair to forcibly turn a residential neighborhood into a commercial hub in one year. Atlas Park knew that public transportation would be lacking. They went ahead anyway. They can't change the rules in the middle of the game.


However there is an easy compromise. Atlas Park should have a free hourly shuttle to and from Continental Avenue. It'll be quicker and nicer than the q23. And maybe even attract some of us with cars who don't want to lose our parking space or pay the garage fees of Atlas Park.


I believe a lot of the outlets do it and I know Ikea does it. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you The Atlas Jitney.

Townhouse Chronicles


Perhaps it's too little too late, but still the more press about the endangered townhouses on 72nd Ave between Austin St. and Queens Blvd, the better. This is on the Front Page of the Queens Chronicle. I love all the interest the story is getting, and I love that you guys were in on it from the beginning.


Michael Perlman deserves a huge thanks for caring so much. We could use more twenty-somethings like him. More thanks to James McClelland in Melinda Katz's office. He calls me weekly, unsolicited, to fill me in. A special thanks to Perlman for coming up with the term 'McOffice'. I'm using it.
(Side note to Perlman, you might want to check out my post on dressing cool. Just Kidding!!!!)



For a structure to qualify as a landmark, it must be at least 30 years old and possess “a special historical or aesthetic interest or value as part of the development, heritage, or cultural characteristics of the city.” And the Forest Hills houses “did not rise to the level of a historic district,” said Lisi de Bourbon, a spokeswoman for the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Perlman goes on to refute that claim and backs it up with data. Great job everyone, let's hope it's not too late.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

August 23rd - Jazzstock Forest Hills!


On Thursday August 23rd, here in our own Forest Hills. There will be not one, but TWO free jazz concerts in two different venues.


The West Side Tennis Club just posted the schedule of events for their Sony Ericsson tune-up to the US Open. Top act is USA's Meilen Tu who lost to Venus Williams at the Bausch and Laum and made to the second round of the French Open and Wimbledon.


But more exciting than the tennis, is the festival. As discussed, the WSTC is beginning to slowly reintegrate with Forest Hills proper. So they're having a few jazz events that week. And one of which is from 12 - 2pm on Thursday August 23rd. The same Thursday August 23rd that will welcome Jack Jeffers to Restaurant Row for the 7pm - 9:30pm jazz concert.


Forest Hills Jazz fans - your day has come. Watch tennis and jazz in the early afternoon. Grab a bite and a few drinks in early evening. And then jazz-out to Jack Jeffers and the New York Classics at night.

Jazz Thursdays on Restaurant Row



The line-up has been announced. I put in links where I could find them. Judging by the sound samples, the second one is the must-see. But I'm sure they'll all be great.


Thursday August 9thAnnette Aguilar & StringBeans
http://www.aguilarstringbeans.com/cd.htm - (sounds okay)

Talented percussionist Annette Aguilar and her Latin Brazilian Jazz Band blend Afro-Cuban and Afro Brazilian rhythms with harp, guitar, violin, piano and bass creating the unique StringBeans sound. StringBeans offers new renditions of Latin Jazz classics and powerful original compositions presenting music of the Americas and the Caribbean in a highly original style. Members of The StringBeans band have performed with music legends such as Tito Puente, Ruben Blades, James Brown, Tony Bennett and The Grateful Dead.
Annette Aguilar and StringBeans were honored twice for selection as "Latin Ambassadors" by the U.S. State Department and the Kennedy Center. The ensembles CDs, Special Friends and No Cheap Dates have received extensive radio airplay and outstanding critical acclaim.

Thursday August 16thValery Ponomarev & Universal Language
http://www.valeryponomarev.com/ (sounds great)

Trumpet master Valery Ponomarev emerged on the international jazz scene when he defected from Russia to join the late great drummer Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers. Valery has gone on to record and perform with such top stars as drummer Max Roach, pianists Kenny Barron and Larry Willis, trombonist Curtis Fuller, saxophonists Benny Golson, Bobby Watson, Paquito D'Rivera and with the Lionel Hampton and Duke Ellington Orchestras.
As leader of his own group, Universal Language, Valery offers treasured Jazz classics from the "Great American Songbook". The ensemble features crowd-pleasing favorites by Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, George and Ira Gershwin, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, and McCoy Tyner. Universal Language audiences will enjoy Valery's own soulful original compositions as part of this great repertoire.
Valery Ponomarev has appeared on CNN, PBS, National Geographic Today and Japanese, Brazilian, and European television. He is also a top educator teaching at the New School in New York City, Long Island University and in master classes around the world.

Thursday August 23rdJack Jeffers and The New York Classics
http://www.mapleshaderecords.com/cds/03632.php (sounds great)

Jack Jeffers, The New York Classics leader and a versatile tuba and bass trombone player has spent his career in big bands with some of the best including Count Basie, Maynard Ferguson, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Charles and Clark Terry. The trademark low brass punch of the New York Classics knocks out audiences all over the Big Apple.
As a composer and arranger he melds Ellington elegance and bayou-funk, John Phillip Sousa, Harlem and the samba. Stereophile reviews state "They just don't come any cooler�the arrangements are fabulous�unbelievably dynamic with layer upon layer of sound".
Jeffers doesn't call his band Classics for nothing. You will recognize pieces such as Ellington's "Mood Indigo", Mingus's "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat", and Jobim's "Corcovado". Jazz performed by The Classics on a hot summer night couldn't get any cooler.

Forest Hills Real Estate Prices

There's a ton of debate on this. The NY Post recently printed a headline that says the boom is a bust in Queens. But here's what Steven Spinola has to say:

“While everyone knows the Manhattan market continues to be strong, the boroughs outside Manhattan are bucking the trend in the rest of the country and seeing solid increases in home prices,” REBNY president Steven Spinola said in the report.

Now it's possible that he put a little of his own spinola into his quote, but the fact is co-ops and condos are up in Queens from this report. Average square foot in the borough is $357.

No one can time the real estate market. If you're thinking of buying, Forest Hills is as good an investment as any. But do the math.

Let's say a nice 1 br in AQUA rents for $1800. Let's say the same 1br sells for $285k + 650 maintenance with a 50% tax break.

285K - down payment = 228k. 228 x 6 - $1367 mortgage. + 650 = $2017. Minus the tax break - say conservatively $400/month.

That's $1617 per month to own an apartment that costs $1800 to rent. I'd say now's a good a time as any to buy - a claim I don't think you could make in many other nice areas of NYC.

The trick is the down payment, I know. I just wish some of the co-ops around here would accept the fact that 57k is an unreasonable amount for a 1br shopper to save. 28k would be so much easier to reach. It took me much longer than I care to admit and the whole policy keeps younger people from moving in.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Speaking of Food. . .

Martha's Country Bakery website is up and running.

http://www.marthascountrybakery.com/

You'll learn that

  • Martha's started in Hell's Kitchen in 1972 before later relocating to Astoria.
  • The Forest Hills location is called a "huge success".
  • They're planing five more locations.

Forest Hills Food in Blogs

Couple of glowing restaurant reviews by local bloggers:

From Gothamist on Danny Brown's:

ordered a special of homemade gnocchi with English peas topped with fresh ricotta and mint oil. We're usually skittish about ordering these potato dumplings, since we've had leaden versions on more than one occasion. Not only were Danny Brown's dumplings light, they were downright creamy. So much so that they almost had the same texture as the fresh ricotta.

http://gothamist.com/2007/07/25/dining_and_drin.php


From Food Mayhem on Peking Duck Forest:

The Peking Duck there is superb, from the flavor and texture of the duck skin to the house made wraps, to the friendly chef who carves your duck table side. Don't worry if you're a first timer, the chef also expertly makes each wrap for you with the right proportion of scallion, cucumber, duck and sauce. Just enjoy watching and then eating.

http://www.foodmayhem.com/2007/07/peking-duck-forest.php

Gothamist takes the obligatory shots at Forest Hills, even though their creator is born and raised in New Jersey. And I haven't been to Peking Duck since East Ocean Palace opened, so maybe they got a new chef.

Anyway, good reviews. On a side note, I went to Portofino at the corner of Ascan and Queens Blvd last night. Just got a slice for my son. Why is that place so popular? Is the beer and wine free with dinner?

If you're in the area, walk the extra couple of blocks to The Family Restaurant. It's not perfect, but as boring Italian restaurants go, it's above the rest. And the service is excellent - and that counts for something.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

How About a Concert?

Very boring couple of weeks in Forest Hills. So I went to the Billy C and Friends show at Forest Park on Friday.

Whoever was responsible for booking that act should lose their job. I'm not exaggerating. First, there was no band. It was karaoke. Second, the performers looked like OTB rejects. The guys you see looking in the coin slots outside the Continental Avenue station.

Their shirts were dirty. They sang off key. They had to read the words from a monitor. It was completely unfit for public viewing. I couldn't believe it. We wanted to dance but the music was slow country ballads (though was billed as Rock and Roll). Complete embarrasment.

A beautiful night in Forest Park, in a really great bandshell. Under lights. With an open food station nearby. On a Friday. What a waste.

So my question is, would you make it to Forest Park if there were a real rock band playing? Judging from Billy C and Friends who have 4 Friday nights booked there this summer- it's not that hard to get a gig. So if we put together something - even a modern cover band - would you come out?

It's a great facility, but I honestly believe that the Forest Park staff put about as much effort in booking the acts as they do maintaining Flushing Meadows - none. So maybe they need a little help.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Better Get Going. . .

Sorry for the late notice on this. This is at the bandshell just east of Woodhaven on Forest Park Drive. It starts in about a half hour.

Forest Park Concert Series
Friday, Jul 20, 2007 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.Queens
Rock - n - Roll with Billy C. and Friends
Location: Woodhaven Blvd. @ Forest Park Drive


No word if Billy C. is Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins.

DB's Hiring

I guess the whole Daniel Boulard nonsense hasn't hurt Danny too much. Nice to be a restaurant hiring in the middle of summer. . .

Reply to: audrey@dbwinebarandkitchen.comDate: 2007-07-19, 10:30PM EDTWine Bar & Kitchen on Metropolitan Ave in Forest Hills seeking experienced, outgoing servers. Must be available to work weekday & weekend afternoon/evening shifts. Please send resumes in the body of your email or attached as MS Word documents only.

How Would You Get To. . .

Nothing to report. Both new restaurants on Metropolitan - Pampas and My Kitchen - are both still unopened yet with paper on the windows.

So, shall we play a game? How would you get to - a game that highlights the many transportation options of Forest Hills. Post in the comments how you would get there.

First Landmark:

Let's start with a biggie. The Empire State Building.

Conditions: Raining but not pouring, 8:30am weekend. 55 degrees. Starting point - Natural Market.

Go!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

We're Not Worthy





above picture - East side of 72nd Ave between QB and Austin.
below picture - West side of 72nd Ave between QB and Austin.

The LPC has denied landmark status for the 72nd Ave townhouses. Bad news for those of us who care about Forest Hills history and character. Good news for those who need another podiatrist office. How anybody could be for the destruction of these houses to make way for the monstrosities above is beyond me.

Congestion Pricing is Dead - Long Live Congestion Pricing

So, it appears that Congestion Pricing is back. Mike Bloomberg who on Monday thought the state Capitol should be torn down, now thinks its back-room dealings are a wonderful way to get things done.

So even though the majority of New York City residents are against it. Even though our legislators are against it, it's going to happen.

Oh, I'm sorry - a commission will study it first then they'll vote. That commission has about the same legitimacy as Satriale's Meat Market. It's a board of puppets that will do anything their leader (Bloomy) tells them to.

Katz, Hevesi, and Weiner - please do the right thing for Forest Hills and make the Congestion zone citywide. Or at least protect us from becoming a great big park n' ride. We don't want the cars any more than Manhattan does and we have just as much traffic. Most of us don't drive to work, why should we become a parking lot for those who do?

Want proof? The "Early Bird" rate at the garage next to the Midway is $12. The early bird rate next to my office in Manhattan is $15. A little more, but hardly worth all the bullshit we've been hearing for the last four months.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Wednesday Chef Cooks Up Some FoHi Stew

This comes from blog "A Forest Hills Life" Don't know which is bigger news, the fact that The Wednesday Chef is moving to Forest Hills, or that A Forest Hills Life actually posted something. Just kidding.

http://wednesdaychef.typepad.com/the_wednesday_chef/2007/07/i-heart-new-yor.html#comments

If you can get by the annoying gimmicky substitution of the word 'heart' for 'love' in the title, there are some good comments (40 of them) about the move.

Bonnelle to Newcomers. . .Bake This

The owner of Bonnelle Bakery at Ascan/Austin says she's "not at all worried" about just-opened Martha's and Fay Da on west side. She says she's confident that her and her employees hard work and fresh homemade pastries will stand up to anyone. Crowd favorites include: little man cookies, sourdough bread, and chocolate crossaints.

Haven't been to Martha's in a while but it I've heard the good food is being offset by the bitchy/confusing service. However, I have heard the cupcakes are good.

The Townhouse Rolls


Nothing new to report on the 72nd Ave townhouse, just a shout out to the guy who owns the boss Rolls Royce always parked outside of them. That is one sweet ride. A f---in' green Rolls.
It just wouldn't look as cool in front of a four story office building.

Self Absorbed Blogger Prefers the Hills. . .

http://nikisaprincess.blogspot.com/2007/07/new-york-new-yorkim-not-gonna-be-part.html

We went to visit Lissy's BFF from college Michelle. She lives in Forest Hills (in Queens). It's really cute where she lives. It's city-ish, but nice & clean.

Then we went to the boardwalk and Coney Island. The boardwalk is all decrepit...we felt like we were going to fall through the slats. We went into the city on Friday. On the subway. With broken air conditioning. Gross. So...we get into New York City & Lissy is like "Do you love it?" And I say "It's just like San Francisco...but dirty. With rude people. Yuck."

Congestion Pricing Fails – Nice.

I’ve been against this from the beginning. Why?

  • There is no more traffic in Manhattan than anywhere else in the city. The plan will only make things worse for the 7.2 million who live outside the zone while benefiting the 800k inside.

  • Forest Hills and other transit hubs would become parking lots.

  • If it works and people don’t drive into Manhattan, no money is raised. The only chance we have at raising money is if people drive, thus NOT reducing pollution.

  • The subways are at capacity.

  • If buses are so great, why are will building a 2nd Ave subway.

  • If Manhattan were serious about congestion, they would mandate cabs be spread out among the boroughs.

  • The estimated $13 billion in losses that traffic causes was estimated at $4 billion just a few years ago by the same group. Even though traffic has gone down in that period. How can you trust those numbers?

  • The money raised would just go to running the complex plan, just like London.

  • People who pay city taxes, should not be charged to enter parts of that city. Make the damn thing citywide or eliminate the city Personal Income Tax.

  • I don’t like bike riding 25 year olds from Michigan (who are never wrong about anything ever) telling me that forcing cars from their neighborhood into mine is actually good for my family.


As I said in my letters to my representatives when Bloomberg first hinted at the plan, I can’t imagine a more divisive and hostile program. And, I was right as the hostility towards everyone against the plan, WHO JUST WANT THE SAME CLEAN AIR FOR THIEIR KIDS AS MANHATTANITES, was vicious.

The best part was when they asked “Well what’s your plan?” My plan for fixing traffic in your area? I don’t know, what’s your plan for fixing my bathroom faucet?

The traffic in Manhattan is no worse than other parts of the city and this would just make it worse. Work on ticketing double parked cars before you ruin neighborhoods. Thank you legislators for showing the real courage and defeating this unfair proposal.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Pampas Argentinas

That new Argentina Steakhouse down on Metropolitan looks to be a pretty big. The awning is on both stories of the building and it announces "Steakhouse and Bar!" Could there be dancing on the second floor?

Maybe that new 7-11 will be busy at 4am after all.

Weekend Update

Sorry for the lack of new stuff. Catching up, it seems like Forest Hills took a beating on this site's comment boards last week. Park Slope kicked our ass on our home field!

I'll say this - it seems like people's biggest problem with Forest Hills is with some of the people (zipperheads, weekenders, etc). Well, that's the most easily changeable aspect of a neighborhood. If you told me the schools were shit. If you told me it's impossible to get to Manhattan. If you told me there was a ton of crime. Then I'd be worried. But if it were already flooded with people like you, then you wouldn't be able to afford it.

Anyway, at Nick's on Saturday Night they were blasting "Gone Daddy Gone" by the Violent Femmes and it was packed with the very cool looking people. Then, during a walk after dinner, the Church in the Gardens played "Morning Has Broken" by Cat Stevens on its church bells. It sounded amazing.

Earlier, we had driven to Jones Beach, come home and took the 12-minute LIRR to the A to the Museum of Natural History. So overall it was a pretty good day and one I don't know you could replicate anywhere other than Forest Hills.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Can't Keep Up With Metropolitan

Yet another new restaurant down on Metropolitan opened this week.

A few stores east of Continental is "Pampas Argentina" an Argentina Steakhouse. Also "My Kitchen" at Ascan/Metropolitan looks to be finished. It does have an outside seating.

Also, the word came out that Trader Joe's is delayed again until close to the end of the year.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Forest Hills Coming Back!!!

The sneakers that is. From Kicksaholic http://www.kicksaholic.com/news/kicks-sneakers/adidas/adidas-spring-and-summer-2008-collection/#more-6652

"Here is a preview of the Adidas Spring and Summer 2008 collection. The collection includes the Tobacco Vintage Lux, Training 72, Olympia, Advantage, Gazelle Vintage Lux, Marathon Vintage, Forest Hills Vintage, Grand Slam Vintage, SL76 Olympics, Munich/Munchen Olympics, and the ZX500 Olympics."

No word on a release date."

Medicare Scam Facility Gets High Marks In Queens Chronicle

This article is about the bogus healthcare facility across from the bogus college Bramsonort down by Bann Thai.

http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=18579666&BRD=2731&PAG=461&dept_id=574907&rfi=6

"The physicians at HealthMakers in Forest Hills have a singular goal for every person who walks through their clinic’s door: relieve pain so that their patients can lead the healthiest and happiest lives possible."

Actualy, it has a few goals. A) Relieve pain of their patients. B) Have patients drive their Escalades out of the parking lot and do an immediate u-turns blocking traffic only to double park and get a vanilla latte with six sugars. C) Have employees' boyfriends blast bad club music from Maxima's while waiting for their girlfriends to get off work. D) Make sure all patients park on the sidewalk. E) Make sure all patients have a good workman's comp plan, and have them practice their limps at home.

Restaurant That We've All Seen, But Never Been To For Sale


On Metropolitan in the happening East of Continental section, this long-time Italian restaurant is for sale for $450k (you don't get any real estate). It's called Tutto Bene and we've all thought about going, but kept driving to La Tavernetta.
'The Bastard' of Forest Hills, who hilariously chronicles his misery over Sarabella's Karoke nights on his blog, can only hope his nemisis is next.

Forest HIlls Bikes Towed

The city's strategy to the lack of bike lanes in Forest Hills has been announced. Take the bikes.

http://www.villagevoice.com/blogs/runninscared/archives/2007/07/parks_departmen.php

"This week in Forest Hills, Queens, witnesses observed the Parks Enforcement Patrol cutting chains and hauling off bikes illegally locked to city trees near Continental Ave. and Austin St."

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Daily News Picks Up Townhouse Story





This was a nice surprise:


So there's a shot 72nd Ave's charm might be saved - or at least half of it. Thanks to Michael Perlman, QueensCrap.com, and James from Councilmember Katz's office for getting involved in this.
"Lining 72nd Ave. between Austin St. and Queens Blvd., the two-story row houses are a rare throwback to the way Forest Hills was in 1906 - but a real estate agent is pitching two of the five addresses as "perfect property for a developer."

"A majority of today's developers move in fast, and seize whatever they can with minimal or no concern for the community," said preservationist Michael Perlman, 24, who fears the buildings will be altered or demolished.

Perlman and others seek a historic district that would protect the row houses' red brick and limestone facades, gargoyles and stained glass windows.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission is evaluating the buildings and will decide whether to designate them within the next few weeks, said spokeswoman Lisi de Bourbon.

Time is a factor. Near the middle of the block, a large white house with four offices and 11 apartments is being offered by Massey Knakal Realty Services at about $4 million.

The sales agent for the property said he couldn't predict when negotiations would end or whether the buyer would tear down the row houses.
"Sometimes, they tell us something and they do something else," said agent Nikolay Diankov. "It's really guesswork."

Five more row houses used to be across the street, but they were demolished in recent years.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Park Slope's Favorite Topic - Itself

The New York Times Real Estate section had a piece from a Park Slope writer, who really really likes both herself and Park Slope. In it was the usual Brooklyn utopian blather. . .

I moved here for the Sesame Street feel: the romantic brownstones with swarms of children playing on stoops, and Prospect Park, verdant and peaceful, just up the road. It’s a neighborhood where old ladies go to “the beauty parlor” and restaurants have outdoor seating like cafes on the Champs-Élysées.

She met a Shaman along the way. . .

Her son was several months older than mine, and when I said goodbye, she knowingly told me: “They get to be so much more fun. Just you wait.”

I wanted to ask her for her number to hang out again, but I felt shy about it. But knowing Park Slope, I’ll probably see her again, and she’ll remember me.

And the clincher:

"Living here I do feel as if I won the lottery. Mostly, people are really friendly — the kind of friendliness you encounter only in a small country village, or in Australia.

In other words, I'm much better than you because A) I live in Park Slope and B) I've been to Australia and please ask me about it.

Reading through it, you'll be psyched you live in Forest Hills - land of just a bit of welcome self-deprecation.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/08/realestate/08cov.html?pagewanted=2&ref=realestate

Nice Apartment Available

I ususally don't post free ad's, but there's nothing else going on right now. And this one looks really good.

This apartment is in one of the only rental buildings in AQUA. It's 110-20 73rd Rd - right in the middle of a great block. $1700 for a 1br and there's no fee.

http://newyork.craigslist.org/que/abo/367685651.html

Post in the comments if you go after it.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Denied

That building at Metropolitan and Continental that was torn down is trying to be resurrected as a two-story building, with retail on the first floor and offices on the second. So far, the plans have been denied by the city. No word on what the retail will be or even if anyone has signed a lease to the non-existing building.

Whatever it will be, it will be better than that chopshop it's replacing.


Premises: 102-06 METROPOLITAN AVENUE QUEENS
BIN:
4095330 Block: 3900 Lot: 1
Job No:
402622649
Job Type: NB - NEW BUILDING
DOCNUM
EXAMTYPE
EXAMDATE
EXAMINED BY
RESULT
01
EQ FIRST
06/30/2007
GMG GERARD MCGOVERN..QUE
DISAPPROVED

Playground 101

New York City is converting 290 schoolyards into playgrounds so they can be used even when the school's closed. In the first wave is PS 101, which as of this week is now a playground too. Good, because AQUA's Austin Street park is getting a bit crowded, especially on weekends.

http://queenscourier.com/articles/2007/07/06/news/headline_stories/news09.txt

NY Times on WSTC


Very nice article about the West Side Tennis Club in today's NY Times. I've said it many times here, we need to integrate the WSTC back into Forest Hills. Go to the tournaments. Go to the charity events. Or just go to the pro shop and get a cap. They've recently started marketing to non-members - maybe becoming aware that there's a new affluence coming into the Hills.


Photo is from the Times.

Body and Sole


Here's a picture from the post I wrote earlier about the new clothing store at Ascan/Austin, Body and Sole. This photo shows the owner in the process of painting the outside.

What is the Nicest Section of Forest Hills?

Not counting the Gardens of course.

Over on the QueensCentral.com boards, AJ023 makes this bold claim "The nicest section of Forest Hills is the section by Gerard and Parker Towers." True? You decide. Here's the catch, it can't be where you live.

My answer is 68th and Juno.



Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Body and Sole - Now With Funky Painting in Window

The Body and Sole clothing store in AQUA now has hand painted signs in the window like "30%" and "When the Rain Comes. . ."

Anyway, the sayings are kind of hip looking and cryptic - and it's fun to see them change. It shows the store has a sense of hip style - much better than the typical "Everything Must Go" factory produced signs further down Austin.

I hope the store is doing okay.

Kew Forest Hardware Building Purchased

The big Kew Forest Hardware building (on the far west end of Austin) was purchased last year. Thanks to the guy on the very cool QueensCentral.com forums who tipped me off to it.

The purchaser was a doctor who currently has an office on 108th and 70th Rd (the heart of the northside of FoHi). I feel funny giving the name out, but you can go to the NYC.gov site and look it up (that's where I got it).

The building was bought in April 2006 and has been vacant since. I have no idea if the good doctor bought it to put up his own medical building or as a real estate investment.

There have been no applications to the buildings department to alter the building, but it's basically a hardware shed so I imagine no matter what his plans are, he's tearing it down.

More On the Vendors

The Daily News weighs in: http://www.nydailynews.com/boroughs/queens/2007/07/03/2007-07-03_food_fight_street_vendors_raise_ire.html

Choice quotes: "It just doesn't seem fair that for a small amount of money, a merchant can just park there and block the flow of their business," said Leslie Brown, president of the Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce.

Joe Ghafoori helps manage his cousin's halal meat stand near a Bank of America branch. He said shutting down the business, which specializes in grilled chicken and lamb gyros, would hurt his family. "If they lose this, they have nothing," he said. "That's it. That's their whole life."

Hard to believe that if the push cart - which opened a few weeks ago - has to move a few blocks, Joe Ghafoori's whole life is ruined as is his family's. But then again, last week we had a guy who wanted to expand his attached two-family house to accomodate a kindergarten/temple/water fall/day-care center for Bukharian Jews, but whose real purpose was to honor the 9/11 heroes because after the attack he went into a two-year deep depression - so I guess hyperbole is part of the American Dream.

You know how I feel - I have no problem with the vendors. But the comments from previous posts are skewing about 70-30 against, so it looks like they're gone. Hooray - Boston Chicken and stale danish from nasty cashiers for all!!!

But hey, we cannot disrespect the sidewalk that houses Value Depot and Game Stop.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Warm Up Your Simcha!

Tonight at 6:30pm in Macdonald Park (Yellowstone & QB) the Aish Orchestra plays. This Yiddish-based band's website is introduced with a "Warm Up Your Simcha!" greeting.

Opening for Aish, is Yitz the Great (not kidding). A magician specializing in balloon tricks.

Not sure when Forest Hills became the Catskills circa 1974, but the band's website does have American pop music clips (In the Mood) and they do sound good.

See you there.