Friday, April 25, 2008

Domo Arigato Mr. Inagaki. . .

Cherry Tree Blossom Celebration
Saturday, Apr 26, 2008

11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.Queens

Drums, dance and speeches to honor Mr. Inagaki, who collected Cherry Tree contribution seeds in Japan.April is MillionTreesNYC Month! What's MillionTreesNYC? It's a citywide, public-private initiative with an ambitious goal: to plant and care for one million new trees across the City's five boroughs over the next decade.
Location: Flushing Meadows Corona Park

I wouldn't expect Brooklyn Botanic Garden, but should be nice. Check it out. . .

Where Do You Want To Eat Tonight? How About Everywhere!

Tomorrow is the annual Taste of Forest Hills at the Community House on Ascan. $40 gets you samples from:

Amish Market, La Tavernetta, CPK, Q-Thai Bistro, La Vigna, Garcia’s, Dee’s Brick Oven Pizza, Pasticcio, The Family Restaurant, Metro CafĂ©, Da Silvana, London Lennie’s, db Wine Bar & Restaurant, Morrison’s Bar & Restaurant, My Kitchen, La Dolce Italia and more. . .

Call 718.268.7710 for reservations/more info. Event lasts from 1 - 4.

I don't know why they don't promote this better, it sounds like a good time. Sometimes I get the feeling I'm not wanted at these Community House events. . .

Somebody Open Something!

Just working on getting confirmation on some rumored store openings and closings, but haven't heard back.

In the meantime, random observations:

  • Austin Street Park should be opening any day now, if it hasn't already. They've painted a baseball diamond on part of it and put in new b-ball hoops and repaved it. Shouldn't have taken eight months, but we'll take it. Anything to move those annoying bigger kids away from the swings and 2 - 5 year old jungle gym. Go some some weed in the McD's parking lot like normal tweens.
  • Ripe is getting rave reviews, and it looked packed when I went by it to pick up my car at the Chevy shop. Just wish I didn't have to cross Continental to get there, but West-siders gotta eat too I guess.
  • The jewlery store next to Cheeses of the World is going out of business. Tiny store front, don't expect much.
  • Still no action on the two adjoining storefronts next to Dmitry.
  • Also still nothing on the huge Mandees/Annie Sez building, which is now starting to look bad.
  • The Chinese take out place at Ascan/Austin is "closesd for repair" for the next ten days according to a sign on the front. I peeked in and a lot of it was torn up. The faded pictures of Chow Mein were taken down above the counter too. I have no problem with Chinese take-out, just let's strive a little higher than chicken wings and hot sauce as your #3 special. You're bordered by Natural and Q for crying out loud.
  • Bonfire Grill's popularity seemed to cool off a bit, and hopefully it'll calm its opening night jitters. Once this place finds its stride it will be an excellent addition. We don't have a hang-out like it anywhere.
  • More to come. . .

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

FoHi in Blogs

This couple is moving to Queens from Florida (now that's the tail wagging the dog), but their realtor has had some bad subway commutes:

Through the help of former super intern Sheena the warrior princess, we have a realtor, Rolando, her boyfriend. We told him we need a place we can take York and someplace where Stacey doesn’t have sit on the Subway too long after her work day ends at midnight and I don’t have to commute too far out to Ronkonkoma.

We were thinking Astoria. It’s all the way out near Manhattan and didn’t seem too far from the highway for me.

He gave us Forest Hills. Supposed to be a nice neighborhood, but he also said it’s like an hour/hour and a half on the Subway for Stacey to get into Manhattan. Grandma disagrees. She remembers taking the Subway into the city from Brooklyn and it only took 45 minutes.

We have two new healthy options in Forest Hills. This Chowhounder votes for Ripe on Austin St. over Tierra Sana down by the Rego Park border:

It's funny to see so many posts about a place that essentially has pretty poor an alternative, try the new place Ripe that opened the other day couple door down from Corfu on Austin in that arcade mall...good fresh wraps, a super attentive owner on site,--place was packed and food was very good...chicken was exceptional quality.

But this person was thrilled with Tierra Sana (though it sounds like the poster has bigger problems with the neighborhood than finding a good smoothie):

. . .there has to be a place in Rego Park to get healthy vegan food and where you don't have to constantly remind yourself that you are in NYC, and not Tashkent! And where you can still see people who look as if they are reading Eckhart Tolle, and not stuck in a scene from Tolstoy. I really want to make Tierra Sana my new neighborhood lunch place!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

It's A Pie!

Thank you for voting in Forest Hills 72's first post Seventy Deuce poll. You have spoken and suggest to our Councilwoman she consider the name:

Who Don't Like Pizza Katz.

Though the Broadway Bakery handwritten sign that started a revolution has been gone for a few months now, it lives in our hearts. Great news for Katz, bad news for Katz' pregnant friends who were holding the name for their kids.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Windsor Some, Lose Some

The two Windsor storefronts look closer to opening. One is Cheeburger, which looks like will have a lot of neon inside. Looking forward to this one opening - give me bright and cheery neon over dim and depressing (UJ's) any day.

The other one is Meridian Spa, I think it said. It looks like it will be a high-end dermatologist office with lots of skin-related services.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Uglier By The Day

Baharastani Alley - formerly 72nd Ave - is approaching new heights of hideousness with some kind of brick growth fronting his new office boxes (which replaced a block full of townhouses).

FAR requirements? Who cares. Zoning? A mere suggestion. Contextual Architecture? Say what?

I have no idea what those brick columns are going to become, and my guess is neither does Bahar. Just as long as their concrete and permanent, that's all he needs.

On Your Way Home, Stop Off At One of the Two Beach Bum Tannings You'll See. . .

E/F train riders this weekend, remember to get off at Continental as the Kew Gardens bound E/F's don't stop at 75th until Monday.

Queens-bound trains skip 75 Av Weekend, Apr 12 – 14, 12:01 AM Sat to 5 AM Mon

Austin Street Playground Update

Remember how crowded Austin Street playground gets on nice days? Now imagine it when 75% of it is closed off.

They are making progress however, and it looks like the biggest change is they're installing a fence between the basketball hoops and the large paved area. Great news for those who want to ride bikes, scooters, skateboards without me yelling "watch it!" in the toddler area.

They are also redoing the benches and repaving everything east of the big kid jungle gym. The red lines above indicate where the chain-link fencing will be.

I just hope they get moving as nobody wants it to get too far into Spring without it operating on all cylinders.

Congestion Pricing - Who To Thank

Quick thanks to Melinda Katz and Andrew Hevesi who both had the onions to speak out against Bloomberg in the face of heavy pressure and turning down significant help down the road for future ambitions. From the last week's NY Times (before the downfall of the plan):

Although the administration and the Council’s leadership were able to gain support with promises of programs, projects and political aid in upcoming campaigns — as well as threats of taking those things away — opposition remained strong.

Everyone knows that Bloomberg has a history of buying votes - and Katz really could have taken the easy way out and taken the Mayor's $$$$$. But she didn't and she deserves a lot of credit.

By the way, the name the baby contest is just a silly gag and anyone who's had a kid knows it's perfectly fine to have fun with names during the incredibly stressful last few months. Sorry to those who don't get the joke - but it's not making fun of anyone. Especially Katz who deserves a huge thanks this week.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Name Melinda's Baby!

Congratulations to Melinda Katz on her pregnancy. In honor of the occasion, Forest Hills 72 is having a Name That Baby contest.

Please vote in our new poll. Can't promise the councilwoman will use the winner, but you never know. . .

Get Busy Bloggin'

I'll try to update the site more often. I know it's been pretty slow going. I've activated anonymous comments again to give you something to read when there's no posts - just please if you know who I am, don't share it. Everything else is fair game. . .

Let's see what's new. . .very little.

Trade Fair has switched to yellow bags. And their customer's average age seems to have dropped ten years in 2008. Whether that's due to the bags or a reflection of who's moving in is yet determined.

According to a photo on QueensCentral, the old UJ's site seems to be getting worked on. Could there finally be a reason to cross Continental besides shopping at the new internet store?

Nick's has responded to the price of flour skyrocketing by NOT raising its prices. Thought that should be noted.

The "for rent" sign has been taken out of the Rockaway Bedding sign on the North side of QB in the Forester building. I emailed Patricia Walsh of Cord Meyer who owns the space but got no reply regarding a possible tenant.

Early reviews of Bonfire Grill are mixed, and it seem it's more a bar than restaurant in the early going - but that's fine with me. It'll get better. As people here have noted, the design of the storefront alone gives it an A+. Could have been a nail salon, check cashing, cheesy boutique, bank, etc. . .

Theater Cafe is still open and is in fact looking for help. As I wrote a few weeks ago, I got an email saying their doors were chained and a "for sale" sign in the window. What a crock of shit that was - sorry about that.

More to come. . .

Monday, April 7, 2008

CP is dead (again). Hooray!!!!!

The bad idea that won't die looks like it's might just go away after all. Congestion Pricing is a plan to make Manhattan a slightly nicer place to walk to work at the expense of the other 6.8 million of us city tax paying residents. I never drive to work in Manhattan and I moved to Forest Hills so I wouldn't have to rely on a car - but that doesn't mean my child's health should be compromised for a Manhattan child - and that's what this plan was all about.

This plan was full of empty promises and pie-in-the-sky projections, from an agency that couldn't build one subway station with $800 million. The only certainty in the plan was that there would be less cars in Manhattan - where they would go is our problem.

More buses - that's what we get for becoming park and rides. If buses are so great, why are we spending billions on a 2nd Avenue subway? I like the parking permits, but all that means is that the cars would park in our garages instead of Manhattan's.

All one has to do is look at the environmental studies (which were blown off by the congestion pricing panel) of the Jamaica rezone to know horseshit when they see it. Let's take a look (from

What is the Jamaica rezone? It's a city-led effort to use eminent domain to jam as much pollutants into our borough as possible, with no say from the Jamaica residents. Let's take a look in this long, boring, but necessary post.

The congestion pricing panel promises 46 new subway cars on the E/F lines. Question - where are you going to put them? The Jamaica rezone EIS tells us: "There are a total of 30 E and F trains operating Manhattan bound during the AM peak hour, which is the capacity of the track. No addtional service can be provided under the existing infrastructure." (page 41).

Expect those 46 new trains in off-peak hours - if you even get that. Or that the tiny portion of the profit that CP generates that is allotted to our subway line pays for entirely new infrastructure. But be advised that it took the MTA $800 million to not renovate one subway station, so don't hold your breath for new rail infrastructure. By the way, even though there is no more room for subway cars, the massive Jamaica upzone is going forward.

Also from the Jamaica rezone EIS (which was blown off by the CP panel): "In the future with the proposed actions (the upzone), the total open space ration within the residential open space study area would decrease to .735 acres per 1000 residents, a decline of approximately 4.9 percent. This ratio is substantially below the CEQR guideline of 2.5 acres per 1000 residents." (page 25).

In other words, forget PlanNYC 2030, forget congestion pricing, forget the CEQR guideline.

By the way, the city does care about the green space in the Hudson Yards rezone. So much so that they made developers submit plans before it let the MTA sell the land. The winning bidder promised to create 13 acres of green space. Let's do the math:

Manhattan's Hudson Yards Rezone Green Space Allotment: 13 acres.
Queens' Jamaica Rezone Green Space Allotment: 0.39 acres.

Don't feel bad that congestion pricing failed - it should have. Had the city made it a truly city-wide initiative with definite transit plans that STARTED FIRST, it might have made it. But I'll repeat what I've been saying all along, and that I said in my first letter to all my representatives last year when the plan was first announced. Charging city residents to enter only one of the boroughs while charging them a personal income tax is asinine.

The Senate Assembly Democrats got it right. Thank you.

Read more about the environmental impact study regarding the Jamaica upzone here and find out how much the city really cares about Queens' enviornmental health.