Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Middle Child

Here's how the housing ladder works in the 11375.

- Buy a Co-op
- Move to Arbor/Forest Close row house
- Move to Gardens House

I write a lot about the youngest child (co-op) and of course the Gardens house gets all the attention like a typical oldest. But as usual the middle child gets bubkis. Well there's a blog out to change that.

Catch up with an Arbor Close renovation and give the middle child some self esteem

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Dude, Where's My Historic Townhouse?

Now that's a renovation. 72nd Avenue never looked so freaking ugly. Thanks Mr. Baharastani. Keep fighting Michael Perlman.

Cutting Class

Nice job by Micciche (Austin/Ascan) who did it up this year for Valentine's Day. Christmas blue star turned into pink heart. Is green next? Here's an example of a business that actually cares about the aesthetic of the neighborhood.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Attention Hillary Haters

Queens Phone Banking 2/4 (Organizing)

Help us recruit new supporters and volunteers by reaching out to our fellow New Yorkers, urging them to support Barack Obama in the upcoming primary on February 5th!

Come over to the Local 1182 Office - 7th Floor
108-18 Queens BlvdForest Hills NY 11375
Monday, February 4 at 6:00 PM
3 hours
Jonta Williams
Contact Phone:

Local 1182 Office (Forest Hills, NY)
108-18 Queens Blvd 7th FloorForest Hills, NY 11375

E, F, R, V to 71st & Continental

If you call my house, please tell me what this man stands for. Warning, if you say the word "change" I'm hanging up. Or, better yet, buy a calling card and dial California because there's no way he's winning New York.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Overture, Curtain, Lights

The 101 Broadway fundraiser at the Community House (the Gardens one) is tonight at 6pm. Call ahead if you want to go - for more information.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Our Burden

It's not easy transforming a shopping district. It's not easy staving off the riff-raff and wishing more stores that catered to Forest Hills residents were here. But one very effective way is to voice what you want with your wallet. So, here's my purchase history for the last 24 hours. I'm trying to give the stores I like my business. Like I said, there is a burden - I could have gotten some of this stuff cheaper at big chain stores. But then you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.

Tuesday evening:

One set of twin bed sheets at Laytner's. $19.95.
One fleece blanket at Laytner's. $29.95.
One meatball and peppers pizza at Nick's. $18.50.
3 bags of Apple Cinnamon Soy Chips at Natural. $.99 each.
One package of Breyer's Vanilla Ice Cream. $3.99 at Trade Fair.

Nothing so far.

Analyzing the data, the Laytner's purchases I'm most proud of. Service is good, selection is nice, and prices are just as good as Bed Bath and Beyond, located in the most horrible place in Central Queens - the Rego Park mall (what do you think that mall will be like the day we get our tax rebates from the Government?). Laytner's also has some excellent furniture downstairs. Please give it a shot before you go to Ikea.

The Nick's pizza purchase. Well, they're the best and yes I could have called somewhere else and probably gotten a bigger pie for a couple of bucks less. But this is the burden I'm talking about. Nick's is crucial to both AQUA and Garpartment residents.

The Natural Soy Chips are actually cheaper than the same ones at Trade Fair ($1.29 there).

The Trade Fair ice cream was a concession, but their ice cream is always cheap and it was late.

More purchase data tomorrow as it comes in. How did you do? No Value Depot "Dirucell" batteries I hope.

Aimee, Whatcha Gonna Do (with yourself)?

Even the salons are hitting the road in the face of rising rents. This is one of the big ones on ECon.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

AQUA Week at Forest Hills 72!

Just got around to reading the comments. In honor of your rude insulting bashing of an area nickname (Cord Meyer, Van Court and The Gardens are allowed to have their own nicknames because there were already there and we can't change anything ourselves), I'm posting only in nicknames this week. You can figure them out. If you don't like it, buy a Queens Courier and get the f off the blog. Enjoy the Shalamar Diner review - I heard it got four pushcarts.

Leading off of course, is AQUA: Just Like Mother's now delivers.

In Metarchie News: My Kitchen is expanding into the Judo place next door.

In the Four Digit district: Terra Sana looks just about complete.

In NorFor News, the smoke shop next to the old Rockaway Bedding now has a cool little video rental machine. Unfortunately, the newest release is Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

In Gardens news, I hope the 101 fundraiser went well - which got all of one legitimate comment to Sorisi's 55. If, like me, you couldn't attend but want to support the schools arts program, please visit Your apartment will keep its value thanks to 101 and 196. Stop writing about what an idiot I am for coming up with something creative, and write a check for $10.

Parking Workshop Summary

The summary for November's parking workshop has been posted online. Some very cool ideas, like tax credits for the car-less and of course, parking permits.

The revolutionaries over at StreetsBlog took the opportunity to bash Forest Hills residents because it found one line in the 12 page single spaced document that actually said it was nice having a car. From the Streets Blog (their text is italicized):

It's pretty dry reading but there is some interesting material on pages 9 to 11 under the header, "Neighborhood-Specific Discussions." For example, in the Forest Hills, Queens workshop:

Some participants felt that it was a right of residents to own cars because of the distance between Forest Hills and the Manhattan urban core. Those defending car ownership rights felt that it was the compromise made to not live as close to Manhattan.

Interesting, this "right" to own a car. I wonder if Queens car owners' rights include the right to free, convenient parking? Let me double check my copies of the U.S. Constitution and the New York City Charter and see if I can dig that up...

Reading through the comments on the blog, you'll come across such cooperative comments like:

. . .you sound almost as short-sighted and selfish as those Forest Hills residents. . .

And. . .

. . .Manhattan's "public" streets are too public and I want that to change. I want CP, heavy tolling on the bridges, and streets redesigned and reclassified to make most of them either car-light or car-free. And I totally challenge the idea that anyone has a "right" to drive cars into a place that was clearly not designed for them, and where they are in fact unwelcome intruders to the majority of local (meaning Manhattan) residents who walk and use mass transit. . .

And that's what bothers me most about Congestion Pricing. Because at the core - whether they know it or not - it is a policy to make people pay a cover to enter the Country Club. It's not about pollution or congestion. You think that these very successful people who could live anywhere in the world would choose Manhattan if they were concerned about congestion? That's like moving to Ecuador and complaining about the heat.

So Forest Hills residents spent hours that Tuesday night to work with DOT representatives to figure out Manhattan's traffic problems only to be bashed by the nerds on StreetsBlog - the NYC Streets Renaissance - because one person didn't give the right answer. Kiss my ass guys.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Catching Up. . .

News notes:

Chez Moi has a moving sale sign posted in the window. It's in a great spot right across from Sephora so hopefully something good will move in.

Natural's expansion is finished and it looks great. It's much more open. The new space is mostly organic stuff.

Mandees/Annie Sez is gone.

Leather Connection is going out of business.

Zoya took over the Inside NYC space at 71-21 Austin. You won't notice a difference.

Sonoma Coffee Cafe in AQUA is open. AQUA is the group of prewars and row houses bordered by Ascan ave, Queens blvd, Union tkpe, Austin st.

The CVS at 67th and QB has responded to Rite Aid's closing by still insisting on having only one cashier open no matter the length of the line.

The curtains have been removed at The Wine Gallery space (there's paper blocking the windows) and all Leslie Brown knows is that's it's going to be a "pub". Confirmed via email this weekend. Let's hope it's a good one.

Hasaan's Beauty (next to Dmitry) is gone too. It's next to Dmitry's open space and both have the same sales agent (Sutton Garrett in Manhattan) so my guess is one business will take over both spaces.

So, lots of turnover. But except for the Mandee's/Annie Sez, mostly small spaces.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Lite's Out

Tasti D Lite is history. Well, actually they just moved a few doors down. As of this weekend, they will be located in the strange mini-mall, where the tallest man walks 15 inches tall and dogs pick your pocket for laughs. A land where mermaids sing and the sun rises at night. And they have a photo place.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Leave the Kids, Take the Checkbook

Broadway comes to The Community House on Saturday night. "Winter Lights - an Evening of Music" is being presented at 15 Borage Place to benefit the Arts program for the budding Mozarts at PS 101. $65 a person gets you Wine and hors d'oevers and dessert - and a warm feeling inside knowing you done good. Headliner is Ann Kittredge of The Great White Way (but enough about the Gardens, she's on Broadway too!).

First class entertainment ending at 8:30pm within walking distance from your apartment for a great cause. You can skip Trading Spaces this week. for more info. Space is limited so call in advance.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Want to know where the 5 Burros owners do when they're away? They go their second home on the Pacific coast of Mexico. What's the Spanish word for envious?

The New York Times tells us the rest

“It’s just really laid-back and super casual,” said Marla Cornejo, who lives in Queens and who discovered Puerto with a friend 30 years ago. In May, she bought a house just feet from the beach with her husband, Jorge. The couple, who own the 5 Burro Cafe Mexican restaurant in Forest Hills "


Friday, January 11, 2008

Needs TLC

Pizza and Lease for Sale on 71st (Continental) Avenue

Reply to: 2008-01-07, 4:01PM ESTLease includes three floors. 1st Fl operating pizza over 40 years. 2 fl restaurant under construction, 75% completed in conjuction with 1st Fl. 3rd Fl is a 2 Bedroom recently renovated apt. 10 years lease. All 3 floors $10,800 rent. Reduced price for quick sale. Best Offer. Call Zef @ (718)793-8947 or contact at the location 107-21 71 Ave (Continental) Avenue, Forest Hills..
photo by

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Final Seventy Deuce of 2007

Here it is, The Brass Ring. I submit to you the nominees for 2007 Forest Hills Man of the Year.

Damon Hemmerdinger: 2007 saw the completion of his vision of turning a Central Queens abandoned industrial rail terminal into a outdoor shopping plaza straight out of the OC. Chose Borders and Amish Market over Fedders and Medifraud. Heroic.

Barry Fishbach: One of the main players at RKF responsible for bringing Trader Joe's to Forest Hills. Like Hemmerdinger, saw an eyesore (in this case a huge printing press building) and somehow convinced the hottest franchise in the country to move there instead of Park Slope or the Upper West Side. Even the NY Times couldn't believe it (barely hiding their disdain). Ramifications haven't even been begun to be felt, though Staubach Center is first sign.

Anthony Weiner: The first voice against Congestion Pricing, one of the few who'll take on the scarily powerful Bloomberg. Wisely chooses Forest Hills over Brooklyn. Seen around town on weekends in his beat up Mets hat, never above chatting it up. The next mayor of New York City gets his milk at Natural.

Barbara Stuchinski: You know that school that everybody in the city wants built in their district? She got one for 1900 students a few blocks away. You know that one-family downzoning that everybody in the city is demanding on their blocks, she got it right in the middle of where she lives. Barbara didn't have a good year - she had a great year, and I know she'll take the Man of the Year nominee with good humor. Because from what I hear, she's as tough as any man around.

Steve from Queens Central: It stared with a blog post about Red Hook and ended with a new online town center for Forest Hills and surrounding areas called In between there were appearances on Brian Leher's radio and television shows, an article in Time Out magazine, and a weekly column in Forum West newspaper. Put Forest Hills on the virtual map.

You're Invited

Whether it's Congestion Pricing, East River Tolls, or some kind of license plate restriction, the City is determined to keep cars out of Manhattan (where traffic is no worse than any other borough). That means the cars are coming here. Here's the flyer I received that lets you voice your opinion on how you think Forest Hills should prepare. Plus, it's a great way to get one on one time with DOT representatives.

Boulevard of Life

I wrote the Queens Blvd Restoration Group shortly after a post I did about beautifying Queens Blvd and got an immediate and detailed response from founder Steven Melnick (great Forest Hills name). Mr. Melnick has taken on the Herculean task of making Queens Blvd better all around. He needs help. Here are some highlights of past accomplishments and future needs from the email:

  • The city quickly installed 300 parking meters on the outer medians, however no one thought of the necessity of maintaining these now heavily used medians. The meters were being emptied regularly, but the trash that was accumulating on the medians was not being cleaned up.I personally financed a massive cleanup from Union Tpke to Yellowstone--- over 300 bags of trash were collected over 2 weekends!
  • Contractors also had walked away from filling in the new median extensions in Forest Hills and Rego Park.A tour with Melinda Katz and DOT got the job completed-- after pedestrians had to navigate around huge holes in crosswalks for nearly 1 year.
  • A 2005 letter writing campaign and petition to Mayor Bloomberg for improved safety and much needed resurfacing has finally yielded some great results. Beginning in Spring'08, the entire 7.5 miles of QB will be resurfaced. (It has not been done since 1994!)
  • To revamp the entire thoroughfare will take hundreds of $millions.We will be very happy if we can have all the medians repaired and beautified. We need greenery!!!! The major sticking point in the FH and RP sections is that the subways run just 24 feet below the surface.
  • We have done tree surveys covering Union Tpke through the LIE and submitted them to the Parks Dept Forestry Division. They have cut down many dead trees and started replacing the decades-old tree stumps with new trees last year. More trees to come in Spring 08! We have implored Bloomberg to allocate several hundred trees to QB as part of his million trees campaign. I would like to get the 75+ banks that line QB to pitch in and sponsor several trees each. ( I am still mulling this idea)
  • We need a groundswell of new support. We fear that one day the city will throw up its hands and just turn County Road 25 into a permanent highway, removing everything in its path. An unimaginable nightmare.

So Melnick is on the case, but if you want to lend a hand, I'm sure he'll take it. Find out how you can help at

Come On, Dad! Please?

Funny piece in today's Daily News about The Hemmerdingers and the Q23. Son Damon runs Atlas Park as we all know. He wants the Q23 (which runs down Austin West) to go to his Shopping Center and has been lobbying for it for years. As luck would have it, last October, his father Dale was named Chairman of the MTA which, of course, oversees the buses.

It sparked some fireworks at last night's community board meeting when the re-routing proposal was brought up.

Irate Queens residents blasted the proposal at a community board meeting last night and were expected to do so again at a property owners' gathering tonight.

"It seems like Atlas gets whatever they want," said Gloria Morgenstern, 45, who lives four blocks away from the mall.

Morgenstern? I thought that was Bunker's house. Did Gloria marry Rhoda? Damn liberals. Other quotes:

But Hemmerdinger's son, who runs The Shops at Atlas Park in Glendale, insisted his powerful dad won't advocate for the stops at the upscale mall.

"He'll have nothing to do with it," snapped Damon Hemmerdinger, the mall's development director. "This is not about him."

I hope father and son win - I'm rooting for Atlas Park to make it. People in Glendale don't seem to mind all the noise and pollution when they drive to Forest Hills.

But Damon seriously, forget about the bus. Can your dad score any of those R160's found on the L line?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Flying the Coup

Just got an email from Leslie Brown that confirms that Popeye's will not be in the UJ's space. You may now call your brokers and tell them "never mind."

Speaking of Parking

There's an excellent lengthy piece about Austin Street parking in this week's little known Queens Ledger. It talks about parking problems for the business owners.

Money Quote from the owner of Jacklyn’s (one of the truly nice clothing stores on Austin Street):

"The problem with parking on Austin Street is an easy one to fix," he explained. "They should just make it a one-way street, like they do in Manhattan. By keeping it as a two-way street, they are doubling congestion and doubling double-parking. I don’t know why they wouldn’t do that."

It was ideas like these that DOT was looking for at November’s congestion workshop, held just off of Austin Street at the Forest Hills Jewish Center. The meeting, which was, to put it generously, sparsely attended, was primarily made up of politicians and community leaders, with few actual storeowners or residents represented. When asked if they had heard of the previous meeting or the upcoming DOT meeting, most storeowners were surprised to learn about it.

It isn't the first time One-Way on Austin Street has been addressed. In our "Ask Leslie" segment a few months ago, Leslie Brown said that the DOT after a study a few years back decided it wasn't viable. I'd be okay with a one-way Austin Street, if they replaced the other lane with a bike lane and wider sidewalks. Not just to make it easier to drive down.

I've never seen a "Full" sign in front of any Forest Hills garage in all my years living here, so I can't take the parking problem too seriously for our visitors. It's not that Forest Hills doesn't have parking, it's that visitors don't want to pay for it.

Does Your Schedule Permit?

The DOT is conducting a follow up workshop on Forest Hills parking ramifications should Congestion Pricing go into effect. Same format as in November, round table discussions.

Only this time, they're going to be discussing results of data collection they've took on curbside occupancy rates and turnover in Forest Hills. So it should be more substansive than the last one, where they were just soliciting public opinion.

Wednesday January 30, 2008
7pm - 9pm
Doors open at 6:30pm

Forest Hills Jewish Center
106-06 Queens Blvd. (entrance on 69th Rd.)
Between QB and Austin St.

The flyer I received says RSVP required, but I'm sure you can just show up. However, if you really want to be guaranteed a space - please RSVP to (use Forest Hills Workshop as subject line) or call 917-339-0488.

Even if you don't care about parking permits (and you should), it's a nice way to open communication between Forest Hills and reps of the DOT. Bike lanes, public plazas, Queens Blvd modification (and beautification), will only be acheived through communication.

Community Board 6 Meeting - TONIGHT

With Austin Street going through major changes, residential parking permits brewing, new schools being constructed, trees getting chopped from the LIRR tracks that go through Forest Hills, it might be a good idea to make the Community Board meeting this month.

January 9th at 7:30pm.
80-02 Kew Gardens Road

Now that the Starbucks is on the next block, there's no excuse to miss it.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Sports Section

Good Daily News article about the Staubach Center in Monday's paper.

Ex-Cowboys QB Roger Staubach pushes 'upscale' Forest Hills project

Money quote: The landlord hired Staubach's crew, hoping they can score major tenants for the project and boost the potential of nearby properties that the same landlord owns, said Patrick Smith, Staubach retail executive.

"We think Austin St. is a very vibrant retail marketplace and that this location is the best location on the whole street," Smith said.

Who is Patrick Smith? "Retail Executive" is a little bit of an understatement. He's Executive Vice President & Principal, of Staubach Retail. It's very cool that he's personally involved and knows the Daily News is interested in the project. And it's also a very good sign that he and the landlord have longer term goals in mind than cell phone stores and tanning salons.

Yes, but what has he done lately. . .From his bio on Patrick provides senior-level real estate advice to some of Staubach's major retail accounts in the Northeast including Sears Holding Corporation, Wal-Mart, Walgreen Co., Whole Foods and Circuit City.

That's right, he's got an in at Whole Foods. Suddenly rumor mongering isn't so offensive, is it?

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Less Popeye's, MoCA

Forest Hills breathed a sigh of relief tonight thanks to an anonymous comment posted 6:30pm. The comment states:

Anonymous said...
People, that UJ place will be replaced by a fusion asian cusine, called MOCA Asian Bistro and will be open in spring 2008. There is one in Long Island also. Go check it out!

It's closed now so don't bother calling tonight, but a few people who did see this post called and according to them, it is confirmed - MoCA in Hewlett is opening in Forest Hills. I'll call tomorrow when they're open again and see if I can get the exact address. The post looks pretty authentic, from the exact name of the restaurant, down to the "Go check it out!" hint that it's from someone connected to the existing place.

Maybe Leslie Brown or Peter from UJ's (both of whom I emailed looking for intel) called someone there and told them to make a statement before people start fleeing the 11375. One guy already sold his Lane Towers co-op (according another iron-clad reliable anonymous comment).

From a quick search, MoCA sounds a lot like Jade (or is it JaDE) with the hip decor and Japanese/Thai cuisine. And it's apparently very popular out in Hewlett - aka Forest Hills' triple-A team. And Bangkok Cusine must be psyched they invested their life savings to open a place, only to have a bigger place with the same menu open next to it a year later with same landlord.

Leslie said last week in the Forest Hills Ledger that it would be a Japanese place, so points for her and the Ledger for being right all along.

So for now it looks like the Popeyes rumor wasn't strong to the finish. Unless of course an anonymous comment Sunday night on a neighborhood blog is actually wrong. Because I have to tell you, a reference number of "Popeyes" submitted by an architect connected to an already-existing Popeyes on West 72nd St (I mean West 172nd St) is quite a coincidence.

Friday, January 4, 2008

I Am What I Am

Here's that document some in the comments section thought I made up.

As I said in the original post - don't panic. First, it's only a reference number - could be meaningless. Second, it's only a fast food joint, not a maximum security prison. It's really not any worse than Wendy's.

Here's what I think from looking at all the documents I've posted and put in screen shots for your review: I think we're looking at a sit-down buffet style deli. One of those big ones we all have close to where we work. With the soggy dumplings and baco bits. It's only a guess - but all the steam tables requested (and sheer size of UJ's) give me that impression. And quite frankly, Forest Hills needs a place to sit down and eat without long wait service.

That wouldn't explain the reference number however. That one is a mystery. I've emailed Leslie Brown to see if we can do another Ask Leslie segment, but have heard no response. It might be because it was over the holidays. But her site ( did see a pretty big increase in traffic judging from her poll (77% first time visitors) so I hope we can do it again.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Uh Oh

Now don't panic. But the UJ's space has been rented. And as you might have noticed, the reference number for the Department of Buildings is "POPEYES".

Stay calm. Sit down. Further down on the application, a lot of the kitchen equipment is in line with Japanese restaurant that Leslie Brown hinted at was going to be taking over the space in the Forest Hills Ledger last week. Although even in that scenario, all the "steam tables" requested don't exactly spell out Nobu.

Yet questions linger. Why would a reference number be "Popeyes" for a Japanese restaurant. Can Popeyes sustain a place of UJ's size? Probably not, however, it is possible that the owner will break up the space into two restaurants since "minor partition" is part of the renovation as listed on the document. Time will tell. But I'm guessing to some of you, UJ's filthy bathrooms never looked so good.

Austin Street In Transition

More openings closings on our most loved/hated commercial street.

Laila Rowe is gone. The Atlas Park location remains. No word on a new tenant.

Inside NYC, a ladies clothing store is gone. In its place is a ladies clothing store which looks like will open today.

Garo's Bootery in direct path of the Staubach Center Express has posted their Lost Our Lease sign. It's the exact same one found in the Viva Bimbi window. Wonder if Roger handed them out for Christmas.

Hair Salon next to Concrete Jungle, gone.

However you'll be happy to know that both Beach Bum Tanning's are still alive and kicking. On New Year's Eve, I saw a guy outside the 73rd Rd. location who was either a customer or employee (I can never tell who because all that store is is people hanging out on the leather couches). Anyway, the guy was outside smoking a cigarette (a prerequisite for Beach Bum Tanning employees) and was wearing a I Love NY t-shirt with the heart of "love" replaced with a pot leaf. Then he goes back inside to hang out or work or get a beach bum tan. What is going on there?

Come Tumblin Down

The wall separating Natural and Baskin Robbins has been torn down inside and looks like a matter of weeks before we get the official Natural enhancement.

According to an earlier Daily News story, the extra space will be for produce. Though the equipment in the new space looks more like heavy duty refrigerators like you'd find in the butcher or deli section.

Here's hoping for deli. Who hasn't been caught up in that awkward line moment where you're waiting for cold cuts but still kind of on line for the register. Hurry up, hurry up. . .oh just go ahead of me.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Last Night's Fire

If you heard all those sirens last night and thought to yourself "this sounds a little more intense than usual", it was. As posted in the comments, this links to the story

The address is 68-64 Yellowstone - The Andrew Jackson, a great looking presidential rental building about a block away from the playground. From the WABC TV story, it looks like no one was hurt.

No word on what started it, but just a reminder - if you haven't thrown out your Christmas tree - do it first thing tomorrow.

Two More to Go

Two more Seventy Deuces until we close the book on 2007. Hope you had a good New Year. I saw a movie at Cinemart down on Metropolitan. Not the best or cleanest theater in the world, but one preview then the movie starts. No commercials, no stupid intros (we all know there's a concession stand) just one preview then "No Country for Old Men".

Okay, on to the second to last award of 2007. Business of the Year. This one is for the store that had the best performance throughout 2007 - the store that if closed, would be disastrous for Forest Hills. And the nominees are:

Natural Market - Selling wasabi peas before wasabi peas were cool, this mom and pop behemoth is a symbol of the growing affluence of the younger people moving here. If it were ever to go under, and say, a Twin Donuts moved in, it's time to call Margaret Brady.

Danny Brown's - A great restaurant grows in Forest Hills. Possibly spurring the opening of Pampas Argentina (early 2008) and My Kitchen (now open). The face of the new Metropolitan and one of the only sure things in Forest Hills cuisine.

Nick's Pizza - Something has to separate us from the mallification of Austin Street and this helps a lot. A smart, urban pizza place that, if we had 10 more like it from here to Yellowstone, would make Austin a much better place.

Barnes and Noble - An institution for families and something to do for everyone else. Who can't kill an hour or two here? The closest thing we have to a town square.

Banana Republic - Can a mega-chain be underrated? BR has exactly two outer borough street stores - one in Brooklyn Heights and the other on Austin Street. The rest are in Manhattan. Try going into BR corporate headquarters and ask that they consider opening a store in Jackson Heights. You'd get a smile, they'd shake your hand and say "I'm sorry, I know the name is confusing. But Banana Republic is a clothing store".