Friday, September 28, 2007

Awesome Post Alert!!! Denied - But Is It Really The Last We've Heard?



Gerard Caliendo is the architect of choice for Forest Hills. I don't know why, but his name is attached to almost all of Austin Street west of 71st Ave. You've all seen his Heskel Hotel drawing.

Here's one you probably didn't see. Earlier this year a major change was proposed by the owner of the Austin strip of stores just west of Continental. It includes b-list retail Vivi Bimbi, Kick Up, Garo's Bootery, and what now is the sales office for Novo 64. The change called for adding two stories and basically turning it into a mini shopping center.
It was denied. But do you really think the sales office for Novo 64 is the long term tenant the owner of this super valuable piece of commercial real estate is sticking with? Once the right palms get greased, behold the future of Austin Street West.



http://www.caliendoarchitects.com/showgallery.php?catid=4

http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/JobDetailsServlet?requestid=4&allisn=0001339317&allboroughname=&allnumbhous=&allstrt=

Feel free to use the post, but please give the blog a mention (Forest Hills Ledger)- this is a good one.

Before you dismiss out of hand as ugly or too much traffic - we're not getting a Whole Foods type place unless we build things like this. However, if it's a Circuit City, it's weekenders all week long. Side note to Caliendo: having a traffic jam in the drawing itself doesn't help your case.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

We Don't Go Down Without a Fight

Unlike the Mets, we fight till the finish. Last we saw, Fort Greene was kicking our ass in the quest to bring this faceless couple to their town. But that was hours ago. Now, in a stunning turn of events, the FoHi posse has come out in full force and posted 7 comments about the hood. Going both barrels, Peter even broke out the flickr pictures. Now she's posted this update:

Thanks, everyone, for your comments. Your support means so much!

It's working! But will it be enough? Will their Sunday recruiting visit to Forest Hills be screwed up because of the street fair and they might think those people actually live in Forest Hills? On our side is that Fort Greene could give a rat's ass (as could 99% of us), but if effort counts for anything, we'll need another table setting at Nick's.

Decision 2007 starts here:
http://apartmenthuntingrocksucks.blogspot.com/2007/09/i-get-high-with-little-help-from-my.html


Looking for a Rental Apartment?

I put these on here because I think people who read this blog are cool and I want cool people in my 'hood. I read a lot of blog posts about Forest Hills where the person writes that they'd never live in Forest Hills because the area sucks (but it's only because the broker showed them 62nd Ave. and 108th St. and told them it was 'the heart'). Plus, there's only so much you can write about Trader Joe's.

Anyway, this rare no-fee rental building in AQUA has some apartments available. If you're interested in a great Forest Hills location (although I hear mixed things about the building), check it out. . .

$1850 / 1br - Large Forest Hills 1BR
Reply to:
hous-432539008@craigslist.orgDate: 2007-09-26, 9:52AM EDTLarge 1 BR apartment in a pre-war elevator building. Laundry in the basement. No broker fee. 1 Year lease or sublet until May 31. Located in the heart of Forest Hills, right off Austin Street. Approx. 800 sq. feet. Pet Friendly. 5 minute walk to the E/F express trains into Manhattan or the LIRR.
110-20 73rd Road
google map yahoo map
cats are OK- purrr


$1750 / 1br - LARGE ONE (1) BEDROOM APARTMENT IN A GREAT LOCATION...MUST SEE!!
Reply to: see belowDate: 2007-09-25, 11:57AM EDTLARGE one bedroom apartment in a beautiful elevator, part time doorman building. The apartment has a large living room with wood parquet floors. The apartment is located near the shops and restaurants of Austin Street. The subway stops right on the corner & bus stop down the block! There is a fabulous live in super who beautifully maintains the building and an onsite modern laundry facility available to all tenants. Call the super at (347) 255-9249 or (718) 261-5535 to arrange to view this beautiful apartment.


Here's the super's phone number if you're interested in living here:

Call the super at (347) 255-9249 or (718) 261-5535

Think the Subway Sucks?

Complete the online survey:

http://enterprise.mtanyct.info/survey/english/lineSelect.asp

Forest Hills vs. Fort Greene

Here's a post from someone who's looking to move to New York City from the midwest I think - or maybe they're already here.

Here's the deal: Our lease ends Feb 28th. Today is September 24th. That leaves us 3 months to search, scour, and scorn the bureaus of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens to find a place for us to move into on March 1st!

They've narrowed the choices between Forest Hills and Fort Greene. We're losing.

Right now, I'm focusing on Forest Hills, where we're going on Sunday. It's very affordable for us, and we like that, but one thing scares me. Based on the interiors of the apartments i've seen online, I'm convinced that everyone in Forest Hills is a grandma.

. . .every apartment is furnished in the most god awful, tired way. And Im not talking about Golden Girls grandma...they at least had some Florida style, while not my style, it worked for them. Plus, I love the Golden Girls (my friends said I was most like Dorothy) But what Im talking about here is just sad. Furniture from the 50s (and not that cool midcentury stuff, either). Heavy curtains. Books crammed on old, antique book shelves. Dark paneling.

And in Fort Greene's favor:

Well, we actually went to Fort Greene to visit a friend who just had their baby, and little did we know we were actually interviewing this cool neighborhood south of Manhattan. . .Great neighborhood..perfect for a kid and a dog.

Oh well, looks like we might lose this one to Fort Greene - which apparently is perfect for kids. And the dogs that eat them.

Keep up with the breathtaking quest here http://apartmenthuntingrocksucks.blogspot.com/2007/09/golden-girls-look.html

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Battle of the 1 Bedrooms

A new feature on Forest Hills 72.blogspot.com. A few one-bedroom listings will be posted from various sections of Forest Hills. Which one would interest you most? I cut and pasted the entire description from each site, but click through for more information (what floor, exact address, pictures, etc). Let's begin:

Presidents Prewar: $275K mt. : $685. Grover Cleveland one-bedroom
http://mlsli.com/uniDetails.CFM?MLNum=1990202&typeprop=1&start=1&rpp=20
Large Extrance Foyer, Living Room With Dining Table Area, Reno Eik, All New Bath, Lg Mbr, Excellent- 24 Hr Doorman Bldg.

AQUA Prewar: $270k Mt 602. The Wakefield one-bedroom. http://newyork.craigslist.org/que/rfs/428391554.html
Gorgeous 1BR, almost 900 sq ft! Mint condition! Huge rooms, archways, hi ceilings, original hardwood floors, bathroom and kitchen all new! Both have windows. Bedroom has two huge windows facing a quiet, tree lined backyard.Reduced for quick sale 110-07 73rd rd.

Northside Quasi Luxury $275k mt. $530- The Majestic:
http://mlsli.com/uniDetails.CFM?MLNum=1978629&typeprop=1&start=21&rpp=20
Large 1 Bdrm. Facing Front, Hdwd.Floors, Windowed Kitchen And Bath. Nice Views! 24Hr. Drmn. Bldg. 1.5 Blks Express Subway.

67th Ave. Major Luxury $279.9 mt. $907 - The Birchwood:
http://mlsli.com/uniDetails.CFM?MLNum=1989874&typeprop=1&start=21&rpp=20
Very Large One Bedroom Apartment With Granite Kitchen.

PS 196 Luxury $289k mt. 617 Barclay Plaza:
http://realestate.nytimes.com/sales/detail/418-1942863
Huge Apartment/Approx. 900 Sq Ft./Cutom Kitchen And Bath/Lots Of Closets/Parking Avilable/Doorman/Continental Ave Subway And Shopping/Ps 196

It's Over - Inside N.Y.C to say Adios

Our going out business contest has officially closed. A "Going Out of Business" sign has been posted in the Inside NYC window on Austin East. There were hints of it all summer, but now it's official.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Street Fair on Sunday


This is the bigger of the two annual street fairs (this one goes all the way to Ascan). Interesting side note - of all the street fairs in the city, the Forest Hills ones are among the most expensive at which to serve food. The above image is from June, but the prices are the same for this one.

Prices are set by the chamber of commerce I'm told, so my guess is they want to protect their member restaurants who get free tables at the event.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

It's Open House Season Again

With high holy days and summer over, it's the fall open house season. If anyone wants to sell an apartment, I have no problem with you posting in the comments and we'll put in on the site for critique.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Your Evening Forest Hills Headlines

- Burns Street repaving is complete from LIRR to Ascan.

- 9:48 morning LIRR train to Manhattan has been moved back to 9:50am - an extra two minutes to ask the girl at Martha's why she put milk in your coffee when you asked for half and half.

- Tiny store front at back end of AQUA across from CVS/Kinko's fenced off with signage from Ibex Construction - a top construction firm. Why would Ibex be hired for a little store next to Cobblestone's Pub? I know they're trying to upzone that CVS/Kinko's and build something on top of it, but that's across the street.

Yom Kippur Over

Empty stores. Parking spaces everywhere. No line at Bonnelle. Oh well, it was nice while it lasted.

Oh come on, they say the same thing on Christmas Eve. Good Yontif.

Bob Brody Almost Killed at Mardi Gras

Good essay from Forest Hills writer Bob Brody -who the NY Times loves. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/23/nyregion/thecity/23bull.html?ref=thecity

It happened ten years ago, and he really wasn't almost shot, but saw a guy running down Austin St. with a gun. Almost as shocking, he liked the blackened catfish. Hey now!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Trader Joe's in "Late October"


Per a Trader Joe's employee at the new site, the store will be open in "late October." When I pressed on an actual date, he said "all I can say is late October".

So, let's start counting down to "late October" - a.k.a. the day all the big sites stop looking at this one.

Two More FoHi Restaurants Particpate

Thanks for the heads up from one of the commenters. Two more restaurants join Restaurant Week. They are:


Q Thai Bistro (Ascan and Austin).


Thai Austin (across from Mardi Gras below street level).


Can't believe Q is doing it. $20.07 barely gets you saltines at that place. Nice opportunity to check it out if you haven't been there for a while. That's the whole point of the promotion.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Sold These Houses!


The townhouses have been sold - or are under contract at least. Listing below

108-17 72nd Avenue, Forest Hills, NY (East side of 72nd Avenue between Queens Boulevard and Austin Street.)

Mixed-Use Investment Buildings,Outer BoroughsA two-story, 9600 SF mixed use property located on the East side of 72nd Avenue between Queens Boulevard and Austin Street. This 15 unit property (4 offices + 11 residential units) has up to 24,960 SF of development rights and is ideally located steps away from the Austin Street retail strip. Perfect property for a developer or an investor in one of the most desirable locations in Queens. Asking Price: $3,995,000 Representative/s: Nikolay Diankov Under Contract
Photo above of Michael Perlman from Queens Chronicle


Monday, September 17, 2007

On Second Thought - It's Great Here

With a little more negativity than ususal creeping into both the posts and the comments in the past few days (back to school crankiness is my guess), it might be a good time for a reminder of why Forest Hills is so great in the first place. From Streetsblog:

In conjunction with a new exhibition, Jane Jacobs and the Future of New York, eight walking tours will take participants to places associated with Jane Jacobs’ life and work and to communities that illustrate her planning principles — or call them into question.

Forest Hills: Garden City in the CityRecently ranked the no. 1 "cottage community" in the U.S. by Cottage Living magazine, Forest Hills Gardens exemplifies the "garden city" planning that Jane Jacobs criticized. But are there also Jacobsean virtues to greater Forest Hills?

Leader: Francis Morrone, architectural historian.
When: October 20, 2007 2:00 pm
Where Meet at Austin St. and Continental Av., near 71st Av./Continental Av. subway station Forest Hills, Queens
Cost $15; $12 for members of the Municipal Art Society
RSVP Not required

Forest Hills vs. Atlas Park

Interesting NY Times article last year about Atlas Park, with many mentions of Forest Hills.

Bernadette Cusack, a spokeswoman for Amish Market, said the company had spent nearly three years looking for space in Forest Hills but gave up because it could not find a site there that offered "a decent amount of parking."

Other interesting quotes:

Mr. Hemmerdinger says some retailers have been reluctant to enter neighborhoods in Queens that sit outside long-established retail areas like Forest Hills.

"We've had to work at getting the tenants we want here to pay attention," he said in a recent interview. "Frankly, it's been a grind."

Key phrase - "tenants we want here" not just "tenants".

Rents at Atlas Park are competitive, at $40 to $50 a square foot, Mr. Hemmerdinger said.

Patrick Breslin, the president of the retail group at GVA Williams, a real estate services company in Manhattan, said the rents were considerably lower than those for shops in Forest Hills, which run $125 to $135 a square foot.

The company says it is working to attract some of the large high-fashion retailers that cater to both men and women, like Banana Republic.

They got ArtWorld, Coldstone Creamery, and Amish Market, nothing to stop them from swooping up Banana Republic. Also, judging from Atlas Park's job listings site, everyone seems to be doing okay.

Is Atlas Park done raiding the Forest Hills cookie jar? Is anyone here working as hard as Hemmerdinger to get the right stores for the community?

I know one thing, our hometown boy Heskel Elias (who I like) now has a pretty interesting 36 year-old rival in Damon Hemmerdinger. It'll be intesting to see who gets the next big retailer. Better get to to work on that hotel Heskel.

Restaurant Week and Lee Martin Party

Queens Restaurant Week kicks off today and runs through Thursday night this week and next. Here are your Forest Hills options:

Rouge Bistro and Uno's on Restaurant Row.

Sarabella on Metropolitan.

Family Restaurant in AQUA

Wine Gallery on Austin East.

It's three courses (lunch or dinner) for $20.

Also Lee Martin Salon on Austin East celebrates its one year anniversary tonight with free wine and cheese. I might go and see if there's anything they can do with this $12 butcher job I got at Austin Fancy Cut.

Two Sides to Every GemStory

GemStory Union SquareGemStory Forest Hills

I'll say it anytime there's a less than stellar opening. Could've been a check cashing place. Could've been 99 cent store. Could've been cell phones or Antenka. It's not that bad everyone. Somehow Union Square (the only other US location) seems to be doing okay.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Here's a GemStory

As first reported on QueensCentral.com, the Art World space next to Johnny Rocket's is going to be a GemStory. It's a women's trinket shop to give ladies something to do while their boyfriends pay the cell phone bill at Sprint.

Community Impact: Neutral. The only thing going for this place is that the only other US location is in Union Square. And it's run by real Asians so it's got that Fay-Da/Sakura Ya exotic feel to it. Does that Asian kitsch/Manhattan connection outweigh the fact that it's a crap store?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Need Extra Cash?

This would be a cool gig.

Reply to: audrey@dbwinebarandkitchen.com

Date: 2007-09-13, 3:39PM EDT

Neighborhood Wine bar & restaurant is seeking Bartender: Friendly, outgoing, experienced bartender who is comfortable in a semi-formal work environment. Experience a must, wine knowledge a big plus. Must be available during the week and on some weekends.

Source: http://newyork.craigslist.org/que/fbh/421615382.html

Chamber of Commerce - Way to Promote!

Here's the first paragraph some area Chamber of Commerce websites' description of their town. After reading, which one would you invest your business in?

Long Island City

Long Island City is the westernmost part of Queens, just a few minutes across the East River from midtown Manhattan. Its close proximity to midtown, and its ample transportation connections, has made it an increasingly attractive location for all types of businesses.
New York City is moving ahead with various projects to encourage additional commercial development in Long Island City, while preserving already well-established manufacturing, distribution and industrial services, and supporting a thriving arts sector.


DUMBO:

Ever since Robert Gair discovered a location with access to shipping just north of the new Brooklyn Bridge in the 1880’s, the neighborhood saw a rise of factories, warehouses, and dock storehouses. Now known as Dumbo (which stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), these old factories have been converted into million-dollar lofts and old warehouses into art galleries and theatres. Dumbo is not quite Brooklyn brownstone and not quite Manhattan glass condo. With its exposed Belgian block streets anchored by massive bridge structures, Dumbo has a unique character all its own.

Forest Hills

Forest Hills, an ethnically diverse area, is composed of young families as well as a large senior population. In recent years Russian immigrants have joined our neighborhood. Middle Eastern and Eastern European specialty food markets, Russian language video stores and establishments catering to the Russian Jewish population can be found on 108th Street.



No Nick's. No db Bistro. No Barnes and Noble or West Side Tennis Club. And this is who is pitching us to the commercial world. Granted, further down they get into the Gardens, tennis, shopping, and talk about more commercially attractive things - but why lead with Russian language video stores on 108th?

I know that the development director of Cosi isn't surfing Chamber of Commerce sites for location ideas. But somehow Atlas Park got Joseph A. Bank and Pasticcio, and we got Value Depot and Great Buttons - even though Atlas Park's biggest claim is that they're "next to Forest Hills."

Thursday, September 13, 2007

From The Team that Brought You Trader Joe's. . .



RKF, the real estate group that brought Trader Joe's to Forest Hills never rests.

The building next to TJ's (pictured above) has been officially converted by city zoning from offices to retail. The entire second floor at 8200 square feet has already been rented to a yet-unknown tenant. 8200 is big - that big ugly Men's Warehouse down Austin St. is 5500.

So, how do you follow Trader Joe's? We don't know. But with a history of Staples, Michael's, and Sports Authority, you gotta think two things: big and chain.

Morning Line
H & M 20:1
Strauss Auto 15:1
Best Buy: 25:1
American Apparel: 50:1
Babies R Us: 8:1
Diesel: 100:1
Petsmart: 30:1
Field: 4:1

Novo Media Blitz

From Queens Chronicle: ‘Novo’ Luxury Condo Developer Dazzles Buyers In Forest Hills

What else can you say? Brilliant move putting the sales office on Austin St, with Ann Taylor Loft, Rouge Bistro, Martha's Bakery all right outside the window. But my gut tells me that this whole project is for investors only who want to tap into the Forest Hills rental market which is very underserved.

Or maybe it's for buyers who don't want to tell a nosy co-op board where the money comes from. But even then, they'd probably rent it out. Owning a Forest Hills rental is recession-proof - a great school district, an LIRR station, express subways, The Gardens, - there will never be a lack of people wanting in, especially a real luxury building (not Parker Towers).

And who knows what kind of money is going into buying these places. Let's just say it's all cash. Cash you don't want on bank statements. No property tax (abatement). So your whole monthly cost is common charge - a few hundred dollars. Plus you get the rent and a property to unload anytime you want. I wouldn't be surprised if Novo hits its price.

64th Ave and Yellowstone - Manhattan East

This one in the Queens Courier and focused on the opening party last week. http://queenscourier.com/articles/2007/09/13/news/news04.txt

Quotes:

“This is like a Manhattan sales party,” said Kew Gardens resident Kanessa Tixe, a public relations person for Quinn & Co. in Manhattan. “This is definitely big news in the area.”

So far 25 percent of the apartments have been sold, and after the opening, brokers were invited to sell units as well.

Traditionally developments are often built in neighborhoods that are up and coming but lacking community resources, Developer Sha Dinour said. However, Forest Hills already has an established community and infrastructure.“Look at Austin Street,” he said, “It could be any street in Manhattan.”

Many of the new residents are from Manhattan, and Dinour imagined a couple, one person working on Wall Street and the other in Long Island.

But most impressive of all, it gets the seal of approval of an actual Manhattanite

“I think of Forest Hills as competitive with Manhattan but the price is better,” said Manhattan native Barbara Rossi, who said she has been tempted to cross the East River “far too many times.”

Wow, the Manhattanite seal of approval. Powerful stuff.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

For Sale: Everything



Novo condo apartments (64th and Yellowstone) hit the real estate websites today. I believe the taxes are annual but common charges are monthly. Check the realtor to make sure.
Go to http://nytimes.com/pages/realestate/ to see individual units.

I Said Coming Soon Damnit!






The above image is of a stop work order that was issued yesterday in reponse to the on-going construction despite the SWO (stop work order) issued last week - in response to continuing construction despite the whole plan being rejected by the city. Can anyone stop David Koptiev?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Forest Hills 72 Bulletin: Get A Sneak Peak at Trader Joe's Today!




Trader Joe's Part Time Crew Member!


Trader Joe’s, your unique grocery store, is coming to Rego Park in Queens and we're looking for energetic part time Crew Members to work in our store! If you like people, love food, are ambitious and adventuresome, enjoy smiling, and have a strong sense of values, Trader Joe’s is definitely for you. Come be part of the excitement!


To Apply…To be considered, please apply in person at the NEW store September 11th through September 16th from 11am-7pm. You must apply in person to be considered. And don’t forget to tell us that you heard about us online! We look forward to meeting you!

The Comeback of Karen Koslowitz

Forest Hills Councilmember Melinda Katz gets booted at the end of 2009 due to term limits. While the election is more than two years away, one hopeful has already expressed interest. Per the NY Sun:

A former council member of Queens who was termed out of office in 2001, Karen Koslowitz, said she is "thinking very, very seriously" about running for her old seat.

"I did a lot of good things as a councilwoman," Ms. Koslowitz, the deputy president of Queens, said. "The fact is, I'm allowed to run for the City Council and it's up to the people in my district" to decide "if they want me."

Koslowitz was our councilmember before Melinda Katz. There's a debate going on whether under current term limit law she should be allowed to return - that's what the NY Sun article is about.

I believe Koslowitz was a good councilmember for Forest Hills. She definitely is interested in Austin Street and fought like hell to get that strip club Runway 69 closed, which some say was the turning point of the new Forest Hills.

After that, there was a ton of development where the club was including the Barnes and Noble, TGI Fridays', The Disney Store (now Ann Taylor Loft), Uno's, and basically the formation of the west side of Austin Street.

She also in power for the $7 million renovation of the LIRR Forest Hills station, which was christened by Gov. Pataki. Plus secured $960,000 for improvements to Continental Avenue from the LIRR tressle to Queens Blvd. So she's not a candidate to be dismissed out-of-hand.

As the election grows closer, this blog will focus on other possible entrants (all complete speculation at this point), including Katz spokesman James McClelland, Forest Hills resident and civic champion David Oats and others.

Community Board 6 and Forest Hills in general is a hot spot for political ambition (Weiner/Geraldine Ferraro/Hevesi). Expect a better race this time around than Melinda Katz' last two uncontested victories. - who with her bio, history, and community ties was simply unbeatable.

But with Koslowitz's apparent interest, it's already heating up.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The September Concert

In honor of 9/11, small concerts will take place throughout the city. Think "Make Music New York" - it's the exact same idea.

59 small concerts will take place in Manhattan. There will also be ones at Astoria Bagel Shop, Cunningham Park, El Olivo in Astoria, Macy's a QC Mall, Mombar in Astoria, Atlas Park, Socrates Park in Astoria, St. Michael's in Astoria, and Waltz in Astoria. Nothing in Forest Hills.

It would have been nice to be surprised with a "Network Cafe" or "Jade" but they probably didn't know about it (neither did I until this afternoon).

However, per the http://www.septemberconcert.org/ website:

If I don't sign up, can I perform spontaneously? You sure can. Bring your guitar to your neighborhood park. Or stand on a street corner. Go visit a nursing home. Play music for your friends and family in your living room. Please do share with us afterwards, though, what you did, when and where, and we will add it to our records.

Reviews of Forest Hills Places Visited This Weekend

Austin Fancy Cut: Worst $12 haircut I've ever gotten - and I've gotten some bad $12 haircuts. I'll stick to the $12 barber next to Nicks (didn't feel like waiting).

Trade Fair: Out of bananas. Went to C-Town, where the fruit had mold on it. Went next door to Natural, ponied up and got organic fruit that looks like it came out of a magazine. Perfect.

Rite Aid (formerly Eckerd): Gotta clean this place up guys. It's not busy enough to be in such a shambles. But the employees are really nice and it's less than a block away.

Street Crossings: One incident where I screamed at a car, but otherwise pretty calm.

Sprint Store (my wife's phone broke): Left after ten minutes without the line moving once. I'd rather be at DMV than a cell phone store.

Ming's Laundry: Drop off in morning, ready that night. $31 for a bag full (didn't see the weight), plus separate bag with bedding. Between quarters and detergent, I figure it would have cost me $10 to do it myself, so it's a $20 luxury. Will make it up by making own dinner on Thursday, which is my take-out swing night. Can't do take-out Thursday following a Ming's week. Friday and Saturday are in no jeopardy.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Reviews of Non Forest Hills Places Visited This Weekend

Queens Center Mall: Very nice. But at 1pm, get the f- out.

Juniper Valley Park: The most underrated park in Queens.

Pop Diner: Excellent decor, irony lost on 95% of the clientele. Think 1960's airport lounge. And solid food.

La Tavernetta: Better than ever. Freshest fish at an area Italian restaurant by far. Renovation didn't improve size, but tables and lighting is much nicer.

Fair at Atlas Park: Carnies dug up from 1970's. $7 for a 90-second children's ride with an adult and two year old? Ugly setting. Pass on this one and go early to Coney Island.

Return of the Cold War

First, our boy David Koptiev got his plans denied for a shopping center on Metropolitan. Then the city slapped a stop work order on the site when he went ahead anyway.

Now, those scary Russian restaurants/nightclubs/dance halls/gambling dens/concert venues/temples/catering halls/ in the depressing part of town have caught the eye of the city.

In the article in the Queens Tribune, both King David II and Da Mickelle have been issued multiple violations for various zoning infractions. From the Trib:

Last Saturday night, both were being used as venues for private parties. Wedding guests spilled out of King David. Inside a full band entertained and the dance floor filled with revelers. And across the street, a birthday party was being held at Da Mikelle II. Visitors from Russia, Israel and New Jersey paused for fresh air.

Ugh. Whether Italian, Persian, Russian or Israeli, there is no zipperhead worse than a New Jersey zipperhead. The article continues:

According to DOB spokeswoman Caroline Sullivan, six violations have been issued to the King David Restaurant since July 2006. “Four of these violations were for occupancy contrary to the certificate of occupancy or for altering the building without a valid certificate of occupancy,”

Da Mikelle's manager:

“I wasn’t aware that there was any dancing,” he said. “That’s news to me.” The manager went on to claim that the kitchen closes at 11 p.m. and had no comment regarding the late hours that guests remained inside the restaurant.

So good news for the neighbors who complained in this part of town, which I'm still unsure whether it's Forest Hills or Rego Park.

As for Koptiev on Metropolitan, I hope he gets he issues straightened out. What was there before was a horrible auto repair place and a small retail center would be a big improvement. And who knows, enough fighting down there might lead to the Da Mikelle owner to call Koptiev and ask him if he's interested in bailing on the shopping center idea and build a Da Mikelle III.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Coming (Not Too) Soon









Looks like Gabe got a little ahead of himself. A stop work order was placed Wednesday on the proposed six-store shopping center at Continental and Metropolitan. It followed a complaint made last Thursday about illegal construction. I guess people like auto repair shops after all.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Poll Closed, New Poll Open


The newstand nice guy vote has been called early due to lack of response. It goes to the Continental one outside the main subway entrance. All respondents get change from the NY Post in seven dimes and a nickel.

The new poll is about bike lanes. The City is making a big push to establish bike lanes, but seems to have forgotten about FoHi. We have none. One is proposed to go on Continental between Austin and Metropolitan, but has been since 1997 so don't hold your breath. I guess white paint is a tall order for the city. Either that or they still think our median age is 83.

So, with the city in a bike lane painting mood, our poll asks - where do you think we need them in Forest Hills?

I put up suggestions where I see the most bikers - but feel free to put your ideas in the comments section.

Above image is of proposed bike lanes for Forest Hills per the Department of Transportation. They've been proposed for years with no action taken.

Dmitry Half Off, Half Gone

Remember when Dmitry clothing on East Austin St.rented the space next door and expanded? Well they're closing the original space and moving everything into the new one.

So we'll have another space for rent on Austin St., albeit very small and nothing set up (i.e. no place for kitchen or bar).

Art World Cartoon Gallery We Hardly Knew Ye

Per one of the commenters, the cool looking Art World Cartoon Gallery sign that I saw yesterday - it was from 1960 and is being painted over. The place will actually be women's accessory shop.

Hard to get happy after that one.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Poll Closed, Uno Numero Uno

In a close race, Pizzeria Uno edged out Johnny Rockets 37% to 28% as Forest Hills favorite chain restaurant. TGI Friday's and Boston Chicken finished at 24% and 13% respectively.

While individual owned restaurants are the clear favorites among native Hillbillies (I kind of like the moniker), many of you suggested chains that might do well here. They are (with my italicized comments next to them):

Cheesecake Factory. Pass. You think we have weekenders now?

PF Chang's. Try East Ocean Palace or Tung Shing House. Better food, no three-hour wait.

Pinkberry. Never heard of it.

Legal Seafood. Nice. Too expensive for weekenders, and we really need a good seafood place. Only problem, where would it go. If Jade fails, start writing letters - I think it would be awesome.

Panera. I don't get the appeal - you can get the same quality bread at the bakery section of Stop and Shop. But people seem to love it.

Chipolte. I've heard a lot about this place. Joe the commenter suggested this link if you want to campaign for one. Good thing is they're all owned by corporate (like Trader Joe's) so maybe if they see enough support, they'll make a move. Write them at http://www.chipotle.com/#flash/development

As always, your comments are welcome whether attributed or anonymous. As far as the existing chains go, I think Johnny Rockets has the best service so I'd vote for them.

Meet the New Art World, Similar to the Old Art World

There's a lot of action at the old Art World space (next to Johnny Rockets), with a sign reading "Art World Cartoon Gallery" and help wanted signs. I have no idea what a cartoon gallery is, but the sign looks nice.

Trader Joe's Hours Announced


Still no opening date, but the hours will be 9am - 9pm seven days. That's the same as most TJ's, but closes an hour earlier (10pm) than Union Square.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Act Out

Auditions for The Tempest, by William Shakespeare, will be held Sunday, September 9th, at 2:00PM, and Monday, September 10th, at 8:00PM @ Grace Lutheran Church. Auditions are held on a first-come/first-served basis, but we like to remain flexible in case we want to see people act off each other. Callbacks, if necessary, will be announced at the auditions.

http://www.parksideplayers.com/


Grace Lutheran is at Union Turnpike and Continental Ave. The show is in November so by then you'll have Trader Joe's, db's, Pampas Argentina, Eddy's Sweet Shop. It's a regular theater district. . .

FoHi in Menus

Here's a neat site that lists the menus of many Forest Hills restaurants.

http://www.allmenus.com/restaurants/NY/zipcode/11375/?region_type=zip_code&region_value=11375

FoHi in Blogs

Here's a quick weekly review of what people are saying about our town from the inside out. . .

This former Beantown resident doesn't want to admit living in Queens, but can't deny that the Forest Hills branch of the library kicks ass http://dlonyclyfe.blogspot.com/2007/08/queens-library.html

Okay, here is the coolest part. So I get the attention of one of the people on the official looking other side of the counter, tell her it's my first time here and she patiently shows me how to use the utterly awesome cool checkout system.

This girl rode the subway out to Forest Hills and found it's nice http://eastcoastwestcoast.typepad.com/eastcoastwestcoast/2007/08/the-outer-reach.html

I set a personal record for subway distance this weekend, riding the F train out to Forest Hills, Queens, a little slice of greenery that bore a closer resemblance to London or Holland than to New York City (which, I had to keep reminding myself, is where we were still located).

And this Washington DC insider now living in Burbank CA names AJ's Pizza as the best pizza place in America. http://valley-of-the-shadow.blogspot.com/2007/08/weekly-roundup-3.html

What is your favorite Pizza place? Mine is AJ's Pizza in Forest Hills, NY. Nothing beats an Upside down Sicilian slice on a winter's day.

No Wheels

Just a reminder this Labor Day weekend, that bicycles are not allowed in the Austin Street park (Austin St. and 76th Rd.).

Lately, there have been kids riding bicycles around in what has traditionally been the toddler area and the little ones running around are going to get creamed. The sign at the front clearly says "No Bicycles, Scooters, or Roller Blades."

I know there's nowhere to ride a bike around AQUA, so if you can't make it to Forest Park a few blocks away, please keep the bikes and scooters around the benches area. Use your head and don't let your kid ride around the small jungle gym and swings. I know of at least one crash that resulted in a hurt little girl. It's common sense, just don't your kids ride around the toddler area/fountain. Thanks.