Thursday, February 28, 2008

Crazy (N/W) Train

The good news - one of the members of the Astoria-based up and coming band "The Neurotics" actually lives in Forest Hills.

The bad news - it's the bassist (but he sings backups).

Check out the interview here: http://astorianyc.blogspot.com/2008/02/neurotics-5-questions.html

Best passive aggresssive shot at Astoria:
Question #5 What would you like see happen in/for Astoria in 2008?
M: I wouldn't mind seeing a bookstore in Astoria – independently owned or even a Barnes and Noble.
You mean like the in one in, I don't know, Forest Hills?

Check out the band here http://www.myspace.com/nuerotics

See them live here
March 16th
Trash Bar
256 Grand St.
(between Driggs & Roebling)
Williamsburg, Brooklyn NY 11211
718.599.1000

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

More Brooklyn Envy

Brookyn residents on parking permits - Bring 'em on! http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/31/6/31_06_residential_parking.html

A new facet of the city’s congestion-pricing plan would add a fee for Brooklyn drivers looking to park their cars on their own blocks — and if Monday night’s meeting on the proposal is any indication, many residents would line up to pay it.

“Free parking is not a divine right,” said Jo Anne Simon, a Boerum Hill activist. “This is about residents having the ability to park in their own neighborhoods without being crowded and having non-residents use their neighborhoods as a commuter parking lot.”

A round up of what the Brooklyn Pols think (hint, they love the idea):

(Brooklyn Heights Councilmember) David Yassky kept his speech short, pretty much sticking to the sentiment that RPP (residential parking permits) is good because it will "give neighborhood residents first crack at the parking spots on residential streets."

(Park Slope Councilmember) Bill de Blasio opened by saying, "I need to see complete, tangible, absolute progress on RPP before I can think of supporting congestion pricing." He then proposed that RPP zones should be allowed to sprout all over the city in neighborhoods near subway lines, to deter park-and-ride behavior.

DOT Deputy Commissioner Bruce Schaller. . .took pains say that RPP would be available to many neighborhoods on an opt-in basis.


Forest Hills is one of those neighborhoods, but our politicians don't want it. And I just can't understand why - I'm the guy who voted them in office, not the SUV driver from Jericho. Here are the neighborhoods that the DOT says can have residential parking permits if they want them (based on the workshop locations).

Upper East Side
Harlem
Long Island City
Park Slope
Brooklyn Heights
Fort Greene
Boerum Hill
Forest Hills

And my guess is we'd be the only ones not to opt in. And if we don't opt in, we should vote them out.

A Guide In Every Vestibule

Congrats to Leslie Brown for putting together an excellent marketing piece on Forest Hills businesses. I got it off the website (link to the pdf file here) http://www.shopforesthills.com/sfh_winter0708.pdf.
You'll see from the above part that I clipped, street fairs and summer concerts are back for 2008.

DUMBO and Dumber

A common response to someone who wants a hipper Forest Hills or create a mini neighborhood acronym is "move to DUMBO."

Thanks, but we'll stay here. However, you have to admire DUMBO's effort in getting this program instituted. . .

On Monday, the (DOT) unveiled the first installation in their Temporary Art Program, an initiative to spruce up otherwise drab and utilitarian streetscapes throughout the five boroughs.

The first piece of art was unveiled in DUMBO, and is an eight-foot-high and 70-foot-long mural on a corrugated metal fence alongside a DOT storage yard. "The streets are the living room of New York City, and starting here in DUMBO - and coming soon to neighborhoods citywide - we are transforming these rooms into galleries," said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

Why DUMBO?

DOT worked with the DUMBO Improvement District, the DUMBO Neighborhood Association, the DUMBO Parents organization and the d.u.m.b.o. Arts Center to bring Tan's work to the fence underneath the Manhattan Bridge.

"It is vitally important to us that our neighborhood remains a home for the arts for years to come," said Tucker Reed, executive director of the DUMBO Improvement District.

The program will create temporary art installation on city spaces that are in need of aesthetic enhancement. The agency intends to add five projects each year, working with local artists as well as business improvement districts and community organizations.

For those keeping score, Forest Hills, by choice, doesn't have an Improvment District. That okay, the last thing we need is free artwork on the decaying, unused railway tressles that our Community Civics refuse to make accessible.

http://www.foresthillstimes.com/StoryDisplay.asp?PID=6&NewsStoryID=7479

By the way, we came up with this idea last August. http://www.foresthills72.com/2007/08/that-thing.html

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Go to Health

The first reviews of the new vegetarian restaurant by the 67th Ave. subway stop are coming in.

http://www.chowhound.com/topics/492652


TIERRA SANA On Forest Hills/Rego Park Border

Just tried the newly opened Tierra Sana on 67th and Queens Blvd. I left happy. Nothing like it in the neighborhood. Creative food - specific - very healthy - which for me is great. . . The falafel and veggies were nice however the best part was the hemp seed sprouted grain bread which - call me crazy - was terrific

Just What We Need!

$2500 / 1200ft² - BY OWNER . BRAND NEW MEDICAL OFFICE ON YELLOWSTONE BLVD

1200 SQFT BRAND NEW CONSTRUCTION HANDICAPPED MEDICAL OFFICE. CAN BE EXPANDED TO 2000 OR 3OOO SQFT. 25 CAR PARKING LOT. RENT INCLUDES TAX, HEAT, WATER, PARKING. PLEASE CALL OWNER.... FRANK BAHAR

73-14 YELLOWSTONE BLVD AT JUNO STREET at NEAR METROPOLITAN AVE AND WOODHAVEN BLVD

http://newyork.craigslist.org/que/off/586691574.html

Monday, February 25, 2008

Zuppa di Plagarism?

What do these Forest Hills food blogs have in common this week? Everything on the menu.

From last week's Avenue Food:
we came close to throwing up our hands and trying our luck with one of the reliably mediocre restaurants that seem to thrive in Forest Hills. But there is one thing I hate more than eating food that sucks: spending lots of money to eat food that sucks. So I considered the meager holdings of our pantry. . .PASTA WITH PANCETTA, PEPPER, AND WHITE WINE

And from this week's Wednesday Chef:: We love Forest Hills, we really do. But . . .we've ordered mediocre Thai from the same little place so often that Ben finally told me this weekend that he is officially putting it on the No-Order list, along with the sub-par, yet expensive, Indian down the road, and the creepy Chinese that definitely resembles no other Chinese food I've ever come into contact with. And that's it. That's all we've got. So we're in a bit of a pickle, I'd say. . .One that requires taking matters into our own hands. . .PANTHAY NOODLES.

What's next, a Forest Hills 73?

Good Morning Forest Hills

Just a quick reminder that you now have to register to make a comment. I know it's annoying, but the anonymous comments got too mean and personal. I got the feeling everyone left ForestHills72.com madder than when they came here - and there are enough inconsiderate things in Queens to make us angry enough. Maybe it's a case of winter-blues and we can restore anonymous commenting soon.

In any case, feel free to register, comment, and disagree, but try not to get personal or insult just to insult. I'll try to do the same with the posts.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Two Words Actually Worse Than 'Value Depot'

Running unopposed.

It's early, but we're going to have a new Councilmember running the show in District 29 come November 2009. Melinda Katz's term is up. The early handicap from Queens Tribune:

In the 29th CD (Melinda Katz’s seat), former Councilwoman and Deputy Beep Karen Koslowitz will be the favorite but expect former Assemblyman Mike Cohen with the rumored support of Melinda Katz’s club to be in the fray. Lynn Shulman who ran previously has also thrown her hat into the ring.

This site will be very active in this election and we'll welcome comments from the candidates. Six years ago, Melinda Katz won by 8800 votes - and that was a landslide. That means if the readership is what I hope it will be come November 2009, we will have a say who takes office.

Over the next 20 months, we will know exactly what each candidate will do for Forest Hills and vote and campaign for our favorite accordingly. Many of us moved here during the Katz term (and you can't beat an incumbent in NYC - trust me I voted for Ognibene for Mayor in 2005), so this is our first real election.

We'll also give a voice to any of you who want to take a shot at the District 29 seat. Right now the three announced contenders are all Forest Hills veterans and personally, I'd love to see someone new shake things up. Potential candidates just need two things to make a successful run - time and money, which knocks out about 99 percent of us.

However, whoever leads District 29 come November 2009 will definitely not run unopposed.




From The Inbox. . .

My name is Michael Perlman, and I am Chairman of Rego-Forest Preservation Council, serving Rego Park and Forest Hills. We are an historic preservation group that advocates for preservation via landmarking & zoning, works with property owners for historically-sensitive rehabilitations, and encourages adaptive reuse of sites which bear architectural, cultural, & historical significance. I established my group in 2006, in response to the increase in demolitions and inappropriate alterations of significant structures, to the benefit of community residents who expressed concern, and also for the longevity of our community and its distinctive character.

The
Historic Districts Council (HDC) has a relatively new free series called "Monday Morning Coffee Talks." On Monday, March 3rd (8:30 AM - 10:00 AM) Ann Friedman, Director of the NY Landmark Conservancy's Sacred Sites Program, will explain how places of worship can utilize the program to their benefit, and acquire funding to potentially restore and rehabilitate their institutions (i.e. interior, exterior, roof, etc), while being sympathetic toward history. The properties do not have to be landmarked to be eligible for the program. Some most recent remarkable examples of the NY Landmark Conservancy's success for Queens sacred sites include, the in-progress restoration and rehabilitation of St. James Episcopal Church in Elmhurst & that of Congregation Tifereth Israel in Corona.

A recent HDC gathering which consisted of preservation professionals & interested parties in an informal setting, proved very successful. Rego-Forest Preservation Council encourages religious leaders, historians, & local community residents to attend. Some representatives who we have convinced, and will be in attendance on March 3rd are from: Our Lady of Mercy in Forest Hills, the Church-In-The-Gardens, & First Presbyterian Church of Newtown, amongst others.

Please let me know if you will be available ASAP, since space is limited. Then I will contact HDC's Preservation Associate Lauren Belfer to fill the tentative reservations. My e-mail is unlockthevault@hotmail.com. Please read the following links for more information:

For more information on this new & noteworthy HDC series:
http://www.hdc.org/calendar.htm#coffeetalks

For information on the NY Landmark Conservancy's Sacred Sites Program:
http://www.nylandmarks.org/organizations.php3?orgid=79&typeID=643&action=printContentItem&itemID=5040

The NY Landmark Conservancy religious properties survey effort that we are voluntarily contributing to:
http://hdcvoice.blogspot.com/2008/02/historic-resources-survey-religious.html

Looking For A Parking Permit? Keep Circling.

Our leaders are against Congestion Pricing, which is good. But they're also against parking permits. If you want them, please call or write community board 6, like I did, and tell them why.

From Queens Ledger"

"Although Community Board 6 has already denied their recommendation to congestion pricing, Assemblyman Hevesi, Councilwoman Melinda Katz, and former Assemblyman Michael Cohen spoke out against congestion pricing and residential parking permits."


I got a parking ticket yesterday for not feeding the meter in a snowstorm. They want me to walk a mile from the nearest spot with my son on icy sidewalks and snowy roads. Screw them, they can have the $35. But we need parking permits - we cannot be a park and ride for Manhattan commuters. Street space should go to residents first, not commuters or visitors. We have plenty - PLENTY - of garages and metered spots for them.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Register This

Just got home to 85 comments, most of them mean.

Couple of things:

The delivery list at Trade Fair was on the belt where you put your food. It would have been hard not to notice. It has nothing to do with privacy, it's a supermarket delivery list, you idiots.

Second, if you don't like the blog, don't read it.

Third, according to the comments, a photo of me, my wife, and son appeared in a local publication. I have no idea how it got in there, or more scarily, how someone knew I was the blogger (unless I was wearing my 72's). This is a hobby and the last thing I want you nutcases to know is my family's identity. That anonymous comment was so uncool, and I removed it. I don't know how to check IP addresses, and wouldn't anyway if did. Privacy, both yours and mine, means everything to me. Now, someone (anonymous of course) has fucked it up.

So, now, not only am I going to have to water down the posts for fear of real backlash (how 'bout this snow, crazy right?), I have to change the settings to make you register. Allowing these anonymous comments was probably a mistake - I just wanted maximum interaction. I don't mind people disagreeing with me, in fact, of all the Queens blogs, I think you'll find I practice the most restraint in the comments section when someone takes a shot.

But now you all can register and fight amongst yourselves with an identity. Or better yet, you can click on one of the billions of other urls on the world wide web.

So, have at it registered users. The rest of you, I hope you like two comments per post. One from Drake, the other from Who Don't Like Pizza.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

What Are You Doing Here?

Places whose popularity baffle me:

Boston Chicken - Always a long line, despite greasy food, inept staff, horrible layout.

The Midway Theater - Has anyone ever had a good experience here? Wait for the DVD.

Value Depot - Just pay the extra $2 and get it at Duane Reade. Have some self respect for Christ's sake.

Starbucks - Produces more Austin St. litter than McD's, Subway, and Tasti D-lite combined. Is the coffee that much better than a deli's?

Trade Fair - I peeked at the delivery list yesterday- there are people as far away as Briarwood getting deliveries. What is the supermarket like in their towns?

Portofino - Yes the owner is nice, but college dorm food halls make comparable pasta. Packed every night.

Did I miss anything?

Free Money - and Parking





Atlas Park owner and Forest Hills 72 Man of the Year Damon Hemmerdinger was spotted on Continental Avenue last week, joined by Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty, handing out money. It's part of his own economic stimulus program. He plans to hand out 20K after hitting many Queens business districts. There will also be free parking through June at Atlas Park.

It's a good idea from the creative Hemmerdinger, though I don't know how the Forest Hills merchants feel about a competitve mall campaigning on their turf. But it serves them right with Continental looking like it does in the video. Payless Shoes, that dump of a pizza place, the gross newspaper shop and Broadway Bakery. It's a sad day when the cleanest store front on a block is a cell phone store (AT&T). That's the block we need to upzone and get some real development $$$ up in here.

Otherwise, welcome Hemmerdinger and your money, your free parking, and your constant effort to make our shopping experience a better one. Someday, hopefully, more people will take you up on it.





Wednesday, February 20, 2008

If You're Going To Kill Someone Behind The Wheel, Make Sure You Come to Jamaica

You might have heard that a truck driver that had a seizure killed two British tourists in midtown the other day. The driver was (correctly) charged and is facing 30 years in prison for felony counts of manslaughter and reckless endangerment.

What you might not remember is that we had some of that a little over a year ago (November 2006) right here in Queens.

Alexander Juwah also had a seizure while driving a minivan, but our guy killed THREE people when he blacked out. On Springfield Blvd that day, he ended the lives of Jesse Rutledge Sr., 80; Jesse Rutledge Jr., 47; and Zetteleen Smith, 24, all of Laurelton. Mr. Rutledge Sr. was a Korean War veteran, father of four, and grandfather of four. Junior was a school teacher before going to law school. Ms. Smith was an artist.

BUT although they fought for our country and taught our kids, they weren't British tourists, so their lives weren't as valuable.

Their killer, Mr. Juwah orginally wasn't charged for months. From the NY Post: Initially, police said Juwah would not be charged in the horrific accident because he had suffered a seizure.

After some pressure (or whatever passes for public pressure in an outer borough) - Mr. Juwah was charged in August of 2007 for "false statements to the Department of Motor Vehicles on a license-renewal form".

It is a misdemeanor and Mr. Juwah was released on $1500 bail. He faces up to four years, which means he probably won't do any time if the case is even still open. So let's do the math. For the crime of driving with a medical condition of having seizures and killing someone:

British Tourist in Manhattan: 15 years per dead.

United States Korean War Veteran in Queens: 1.33 years per dead.

Read more about the lives of the Rutledges' and Ms. Smith here.

Where Are They Now: Ivan Drago

The latest on the AJ's rumor that won't go away courtesy of the "Writing NY" blog.

So I was obviously intrigued by this sign and chose to inquire. I spoke to Ernesto, who works there, and when I asked about the sign he got slightly flustered. “Someone started a rumor that we were closing, but we’re really not,” he said a bit angrily.

I asked a few more questions, but all I got from him was that they didn’t know the identity of the person who started the rumor. “If we knew, we’d crush him.”

http://writingny.blsci.org/2008/02/19/this-pizza-is-not-going-down/

Brunch is Served

The Bonfire Grill will be serving brunch on Saturdays and Sundays per one of the owners. No opening date is set, but March 1st is still on the radar.

Welcome news for the stroller pushing crowd that seem to be taking over East Austin. Austin House only has itself to blame for not seizing on the opportunity.

Chuck Berry's

Strawberry is downsizing. By that I mean it will become a Strawberry Junior's sometime in the next few weeks per a sign on the papered-up windows.

More proof that people with small children are choosing Forest Hills over the suburbs.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Stand By

Haven't been able to post in a while. Will update tonight. Nothing's happened anyway.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A Major Loss

Queens lost a huge figure yesterday as Forest Hills resident David Oats died this week. He worked his entire life to benefit the public, but it's his constant fighting for Flushing Meadows Corona Park that most will know him by.

Mr. Oats always challenged City Hall and its hypocrisy of banning cars from Central Park while allowing them on FMCP fields during the US Open. That, and about a thousand other causes that benefited you and me, are just a small legacy of what Mr. Oats leaves behind. On a selfish note, I really wanted him to succeed Helen Marshall as borough president so this is particularly sad.

Rest in peace, David. Thank you for everything.

More here. http://www.newsday.com/news/local/newyork/ny-nyoats095571816feb10,0,3096404.story

To learn how to carry the torch, see here http://www.theparkwatchdog.org/

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Secret (Kew) Garden

NY Times Real Estate section features a couple who want to move to Forest Hills, but settle for Silver Towers because they're cheap.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/10/realestate/10Hunt.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Money Quote: "I could not ever imagine myself buying something, and certainly not in Queens. I think I am in on some secret.”

Bright Idea

They finally turned on the lights at the Natural corner. A few of us were complaining that since the Baskin takeover, it was awfully dark for such a well trafficked corner.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Breaking News - Wine Gallery to Become "Bonfire Grill"


Rewarding news for those of us walking by Wine Gallery (72-27 Austin) the last few months wondering what's been going on. I confirmed with the owner last night that the Wine Gallery space will become a higher-end bar/restaurant called "The Bonfire Grill."

The new owners already operate two successful similar resturants in Manhattan. One on the Upper East Side called "The Uptown Lounge" (3rd Ave. bet 88th/89th), and one in Murray Hill called "Choice Kitchen NYC" (3rd Ave. bet 27th/28th). Both are rated well in Zagat's and Shecky's Bar Guide. And Citysearch reviewers rave about both, with the most recent reviewer calling Uptown Lounge "The Best Brunch on the UES" (nice).

I'm meeting with the new owners (whose contact information I got from the Cobble Hill-based architect working on the space) in two weeks but did get a chance to speak briefly to him on the phone last night. He described it a smaller version of the The Uptown Lounge and he went out of his way to say that "you're really going to be impressed by the food."
So very exciting news for Forest Hills. A lot of us have been clammoring for a cool bar with a thoughtful kitchen and it looks like that's what we got right here from across the river..

Look for an opening on or around March 1st and much more to come on on this site. Looks like we're not just for grandmothers anymore. . .

top photo from Forest Hills 72, bottom photo of Uptown Lounge from Shecky's.com

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Parking Permit Q and A

With thanks to Streetsblog.org, here are some Q and A in regards to parking permits - which Forest Hills is eligible for.

I urge all residents to support residential parking permits. A recent study done by the DOT (and presented at the workshop last week) revealed that 30% of weekday parkers in FoHi drive cars with license plates registered outside NYC. That's higher than even Park Slope (27%) which is famous for having no parking. It also doesn't take into account city residents from Glendale and Middle Village who park here and take the trains because they have no other option. Congestion Pricing will only make this much worse.

Write your community board and the DOT and tell them you want residential parking permits. We need to cut down the traffic and pollution. We cannot be a park and ride for Manhattan.

Q: When will there be a pilot program? A: If congestion pricing goes according to plan, a test RPP program would go into effect prior to spring 2009.

Q: What political authorization is necessary to proceed with RPP? A: The city can implement a temporary pilot on its own, but it needs state approval for a permanent RPP program.

Q: Will DOT hold forums in Sunset Park, Windsor Terrace, and other neighborhoods? A: DOT wants to be in touch with neighborhoods and anticipates talking to different Community Boards about RPP.

Q: How will boundaries be determined? A: DOT will look to community boards to help decide. The size of a zone should be reasonably compact, conforming to notions of what a neighborhood is (i.e. not just a few square blocks, but not half the borough either).

Q: Why give local employees permits at all? A: One view is that they contribute to the local economy and should be accommodated, another is that they should take transit or park off-street like other non-residents. Some sort of balance based on the context of the neighborhood is probably desirable.

Q: Won't the only stores that can withstand RPP be big boxes and those with big parking lots? A: No, most people who shop at local merchants are already parking at meters, so RPP wouldn't affect them. (That was the answer given; no one said anything about all the people who walk, bike, or take transit to shop and eat out.)

Q: What about people whose cars are registered outside the neighborhood in order to get cheaper car insurance -- will they be eligible for permits? A: There was no firm answer to this at first, then a consensus seemed to emerge that RPP permits should be based on where cars are registered, which would bring insurance cheats in line.

Q: What steps will be taken to ensure that permits are not loaned, stolen, or sold? A: They will
have the license plate or vehicle registration number on them.

Obama Army Attacks

The Obmananics were out in full force today on Austin St - right in the heart of Hillary Country. One of them told me there were 7 Obama volunteers and 2 Hillary ones. He also said a lot of people were telling him that they voted for Barrack.

Good to see Forest Hills politically active. I'm sure there were some pretty heated exchanges at Gotta Getta Bagel - and not just at people hogging tables.

East Side in Transition Part 2




Want more townhouse knock downs? We got 'em. This ad promises an "excellent opportunity for 5 floor retail/office development of 10,000 square feet." It's the townhouse at 108-21 72nd Ave.

You might remember, this same company sold the two townhouses on the same block (108-15/17 72nd Ave.) a few months ago - also marketing it as perfect for a knock down. So looks like the strategy is surround the guy in the middle (108-19 72nd Ave) until his townhouse looks as ridiculous as the one across the street and has to sell.

Don't look for any stellar retail to open up here. Though I love this part of town, it's not on the main strip and I don't know of any top-notch retail that's ever opened on a side street (except for 70th Rd, but that's right next to the subway). Maybe no-name travel/real estate agencies on the first floor with medical offices on the rest.

Why people are in a rush to knock these down while there stands multiple ugly one-story properties on Continental Avenue is beyond me. Let's hope whatever goes here designed with as much care as what it's replacing.

If you care, let your representatives know that you care - even if you're in favor of more development but want it planned and focused.

AJ's A OK

To the rumor making the Forest Hills blog circles that AJ's is closing to become a Chinese take out place. There's a big sign in the AJ window that says "We are not closing. AJ's is here to stay!"

Monday, February 4, 2008

East Side in Transition - A Forest Hills 72 Series





Over the last few days, I've discovered a number of projects being pitched that will forever alter the look of Austin Street, east of Continental. I am not against progress, but unchecked building without any cohesion creates 98th Ave in Elmhurst. I'd like to take a look at them one by one and hear your comments. This is a unique area and we should really think before we tear it down.

Remember, this is not the blog of record. It's just what I turned up doing a few internet searches so take it with a grain of salt. Some of the facts might very well be wrong. Don't take this as gospel, please. If you have better information , post it in the comments.

Project #1: The Rezone.

This is the most dramatic of the proposed changes. A group calling itself Forest Hills Joint Venture LLC, formed by two separate owners of five adjacent properties on 72nd Rd (across the street from Queen of Martyrs), have requested that the block be rezoned from a C4-2 (4 stories max) to a R7x (12 stories max).

No one is denying these properties are in need of an overhaul, and probably a knock down. What started as houses have grown into sloppy additions with trailer-like sheds now fronting them, serving as office space. The whole block looks temporary.

Judging by the other upzone requests on the sheet, it could takes years for a decision to be made. Although the community review process is under pressure and might be eliminated. But the fact that this one isn't even listed in the right Community Board shows that CB6 might not even know about it. It's listed for some reason in CB8.
The group looking for the rezone has hired Joseph Morsellino to represent them, who looks like he specializes in this sort of thing. Here is a list of Mr. Morsellino's clients according to NYC.gov. http://www.nyc.gov/lobbyistsearch/search?lobbyist=Joseph+P.+Morsellino

I'm not sure who owns the properties in question. I do know that many of the documents on two of the properties are signed by Mr. Aron Borukhov. An internet search shows there is an Aron Borukhov involved in real estate in Rego Park, but I'm not sure it it's the same.

There also seems to be some kind of affliation with Bindi Skin Care, who shares an office as the 72ND Forest Hills Associates who Mr. Morsellino reports to.

My 72 cents is unless this group has some kind of track record in real estate development, don't do the rezone. A C4-2 with four stories is bad enough, as Baharastani has proven. But when you're talking about 12 stories OFF of Queens Blvd, you're talking about a neighborhood change. And unless it's perfect - and not some kind of Fedders monster, pass on the rezone and let them build it on Queens Blvd. The Forest Hills Joint Venture group have owned these properties for a while and judging by the way they look now, how do we know their lack of taste and vision won't just be supersized with the R7X building?
Your comments are appreciated, just try to keep them civil and relevant.
top photo looking north from Austin St up 72nd Rd by Forest Hills 72

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Welcomoca

One of the anonymous commenters found the website for Moca in Hewlitt. Check it out http://www.mocausagroup.com/

I think it looks great. A little cheesy, but who cares. It'll be nice to have something lively in that dim UJ's space. I wish them well and I'm sure they'll be huge.


Friday, February 1, 2008

MoCA

Pretty anti-climatic at this point, but a handwritten sign painted on the old UJ's mailbox reads "Moca". So, it's official. Here's Newsday's review from the Hewlitt location:

MoCA Asian Bistro hits Hewlett like that proverbial oasis-in-the-desert. To judge by the crowds during its opening week, the stylish and ambitious place immediately is feeding on pent-up demand. The look is contemporary and the food a tasty mix of the familiar and the new. The menu ranges from a tuna-topped pizza and Vietnamese summer roll to curried seafood soup and Beijing duck. The quality at this early stage is consistent, too. You can have a basic wonton or miso soup, but instead consider the coconut-seafood chowder, a lush and tropical update on the New England approach. Special sushi rolls also are very good, including "triple toro," made with tuna, yellowtail and salmon atop spicy avocado; Peninsula maki, with lobster and avocado capped with fresh kiwi and mango sauce; a tempura roll with salmon, asparagus, scallion and tomato. Nigirizushi and sashimi are available, as are the standard sushi rolls. Red snapper with pineapple sauce, Thai-style mango chicken, coconut-green curry tofu and vegetables, and that flavorful Beijing duck are among the colorful main courses. You'll need more than one visit to take it all in.


Hours
Lunch, noon to 3 p.m.; dinner, 5 pm. to 9:30 p.m. seven days.

Assessment
Ambitious and very good.


So now that's it's official, let's break it down. . .

Winners:

Pizzeria Uno - New popular restaurant should bring lots of spill over that UJ's never provided.
Cabana - see above
Blockbuster - Though it looks on its last legs, should see a bump of people hitting it after dinner.
Piu Bello - Better post-dinner date clientele than Mardi Gras.
Staubach Center - Area needed one more big draw to woo large scale retailers, and MoCA should deliever.
Forest Hills Residents Within Walking Distance - Parking will be a nightmare, but pedestrians have a non-schlocky large-scale place that seems like it will be very lively.

Losers:

Bangkok Cuisine - Has a hell of a fight on its hands.
Jade - Is there room in this town for two large-scale Asian fusion restaurants? Awesome location and design so if Asian fusion doesn't prove economically viable anymore, hopefully will flip menus to something the market needs.
Peking Duck Forest - Should still get the old-timers, but how long will that last?
Santa Fe Steakhouse - Bar raised on these big places, can SF Steak answer bell? Huge sodas might not cut it anymore. Initial spill over will be nice, but now there is destination place on the row that very well has superior food.

No word on opening date, but expect big crowds and lots of hair gel the first few weeks.