Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Costume, Jewelery

One more from the inbox:

Hey FH72 - have you noticed that the windows of Claire's Accessories now has signs up saying that they're going to be a Ricky's Halloween Costume shop? Will probably be a temporary location, as they have pop-up stores throughout Manhattan every Halloween season.

I hadn't noticed but thanks for the update. MickeyT over at Queens Central has been doing a great job following this (though looks like she'll have to update her lastest post on it). http://www.queenscentral.com/2008/09/02/guess-which-nabe-is-getting-a-rickys-its-not-fohi/

Side note: I'll be away from the blog for a few days, feel free to leave comments or check out Queens Central.com in the interim. By the way, yesterday was our biggest traffic day since I've been keeping track (about two weeks). Thanks for reading - have a great weekend.

Report Cards Out

Last year's grade in parenthesis.

PS 144 B (C)

PS 101 B (A)

PS 196 A (A)

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/16/nyregion/20080916_SCHOOLS_GRAPHIC.html

Broken down a bit further, the categories were Environment, Performance, and Progress.

196 got a "B" in Environment, "A" in Performance, "B" in Progress.
144 got "B's" across the board.
101 got a "B" in Environment, "A" in Performance, but got hurt in progress with a "C".

Lock 'Em Up

From this morning's inbox:

Really enjoy your blog. I just wanted to alert you to another rash of burglaries taking place in the neighborhood. I live on 72nd and QB, roughly across the street from Cheeburger, and a couple of detectives knocked on my door yesterday asking if I had seen anything suspicious because one of the apartments in the building had been burgled last week (entry through the fire escape window, top floor of the building). A day later I spoke to a neighbor who told me that there had been several breakins in one of the apartment buildings on the south side of QB as well.

Questions from the Inbox:

  • Love reading your postings...long time resident of FH and I enjoy your updates--I'm a runner so I usually update people based on what I see in store windows when I'm out early in the am.Do you what's coming on the block before the police stations--constuction site boarded up but no signage.
  • I am a forest hills native, and I’ve been trying to find info on Day Trading Firms in the area. I cannot find any. I thought I’d check in with you guys since you seem to be in the know on all things FH. Please let me know if you know anything. Thanks.
  • I came across your blog fairly recently and enjoy reading about the happenings of FH. My wife and I are looking to buy within the next year at Forest Hills.(actually we were there today). I just wanted to know if you have good names of realty people? Any ideas would be great. Thanks.
  • Just wanted to say I love your blog and read it religously. I grew up in Forest Hills in the Early 80's mid 90's and reading your blog gives me a little taste of home. I had a question for you, hope you could help me. I am looking for a studio and/or 1 bedroom apartment in Forest Hills. I was wondering if you knew of a good real estate agent that won't charge an arm and a leg for a brokers fee! Any tips are greatly appreciated, as you can imagine I am on a budget. Thanks for all you do for FoHi!



Tuesday, September 16, 2008

CHANGE into something nice

Forest Hills Bar Night Voter Registration Drive (Voter Registration Drive)

Join the Queens County Young Democrats, members of Forest Hills for Obama and other democratic supporters in registering young people at the Forest Hills hotspots. We will be meeting at the corner of Austin Street and 71st Avenue Continental.

Time: Friday, October 3 at 7:00 PM
Duration: 3 hours

MORE DETAILS:
http://my.barackobama.com/page/event/detail/voterregistrationdrive/gs5x5x


----------------

If any readers are with the McCain campaign and are planning an area get together, please feel free to email me or post in the comments and I'll make it a separate post.

5 Guys Coming To Almost Forest Hills


RKF strikes again, bringing in another chain that people actually want.

5 Guys Burgers and Fries joins Trader Joe's, Panera, and lesser demanded Staples and Michael's, making the unbelievable transformation of the Metropolian/Woodhaven Blvd. intersection from decrepit toxic eyesore just about complete. It will be in the Panera building.

Alexandria Times calls it a "Phenomenon that wins 'Best Burger' in nearly every market it enters.'

As sent to me from the corporate office:

Five Guys is growing rapidly across the country, and we do our best to list stores that are opening within the next few months on our website. Unfortunately, we can rarely predict the exact date that a store will open until just a few days prior to opening, but we will do our best to open our stores as fast as possible!
The Five Guys store to be located in Forest Hills, NY is projected to open in or around the Spring of 2009.

Projected Location:

Forest Hills
73-25 Woodhaven Blvd.
Forest Hills, NY 11375

Couple of interesting things here. First, RKF has consistenly marketed the intersection as part of Forest Hills, which it isn't. Though, I believe it might pass the Football Test (if you can throw a football from the zip code and hit the building, you can claim it to be in your zip). I'll have to check on the boundries.


But selling that development as Forest Hills tells me RKF thinks a lot of the 11375 name and people do want to do business here. Great news considering all the available space we have. Now if only Forest Hills proper can capitalize.

It's also apparent, off-Austin developments like the Trader Joe's shopping center, Atlas Park, Queens Center Mall, continue to cherry pick anchor stores like Trader Joe's, Amish Market, and H & M. Parking lots, clean grounds, and constant events (at least at Atlas Park) are tough to compete with - even though we have the subway, affluence, thousands of apartments, and existing anchor stores like Banana Republic, Gap, Midway, and Ann Taylor Loft.

Granted, we got Cheeburger Cheeburger, but 5 Guys is clearly hipper with stores in Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights, LaGuardia St. and Bleecker St. Having one at, say, Rouge would have been nice.

But as long as 5 Guys thinks it's Forest Hills, who are we to argue. Welcome.

Austin Street Counters RKF!

In a stunningly quick rebuke of RKF luring all the good chains to Metropolitan/Woodhaven, Austin Street gets an anchor store of its own. From the inbox:

The former Picolo Mondo store on 71st rd has been revealed today as the future site of "Broadway Bakery." New sign and awning appeared today.

No word on the future of the sign heard round the world.

Congratulations Michael Perlman




My boy Michael Perlman has been recognized as a "Star of Queens" in the latest Queens Courier. Perlman, 25, is an amazingly studied, prepared community activist who knows his stuff. Here's hoping he has a long career in city planning or whatever he decides to do.

http://www.queenscourier.com/articles/2008/09/10/news/stars/news03.txt

From the article:

Perlman says landmarking "reminds him of his childhood, when he used to take leisurely walks with his family on the streets of Forest Hills, admiring the architectural beauty of the buildings. He has particularly fond memories from marveling at the Tudor-style structures on Austin Street."

Perlman is always looking for people to join his Rego-Forest preservation committee, which is committed to preserve our area treasures. He wins some, he loses a lot, but the more help he gets, the better the odds. Email unlockthevault@hotmail.com for more information.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Curtains


Thanks to a tip in the comments, this very intriguing rental listing was found. It's for the Brandon Cinema.

This can be very good or very bad. Queens Movie Theater conversions do not have a great history.

The Crossbay I and II on Rockaway Blvd are a Modell's and Marshall's respectively. The Trylon situation is disgraceful. And the theater on Woodhaven Blvd which is now an Italian restaurant looks weird and a bit depressing.

While some might see loss, Forest Hills 72 readers see opportunity. You know that community theater/concert venue we've all said would complete the town? Can you get a more perfect location?

Much more to come. . .

Sorry Anonymous

I've had enough. I'm doing what every other NYC neighborhood blog has done and banning you indefinitely. I can't spend all day fighting with you, but I have to defend myself. No jokes, no penalty boxes - you obviously didn't get the humor.

If you really want to tell me what you think, you can do it to my face. Enough people know who I am if you want to find out. You spend all day insulting people on this site and I don't know why I let it go on for so long.

Now, I do hope you can find life outside of Forest Hills 72.com. Here's some help:

Step 1: Turn off your computer.

Step 2: Walk upstairs. Tell your mother you'll be back in a few hours.

Step 3: Interact with other human beings.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Weekend Poll

Newcomer? Long Timer? Outside looking in (through the comments)? Let us know.

Overcrowding 101

Reports are coming out of Wednesday's PA (Parents Association) meeting at PS 101, and apparently things are in total disarray.

Rumors say that overcrowding is reaching illegal levels, with kids as old as 1st grade having to stay home because there's no room at the inn.

How did this happen as late as first grade? As the elderly move on and young families take their large apartments, hasn't anyone anyone noticed class sizes getting bigger for pre-K? Is PS 101 in touch with area private nursery programs like Community House and Church in the Gardens who are turning kids away in droves? How could anyone be blindsided by this?

If it's true and first graders are getting denied an education, where is the coverage? Where are the scores of weekly newspapers, whose Forest Hills coverage has been abysmal lately.

While it's great that Mayor Bloomberg has made Broadway nicer to sit down and have a danish, our first graders are getting denied a basic right.

And where are Maltese, Huntley, Katz, Hevesi, and the myriad of other representatives so visible on Primary day.

I've said this on the site since day one. Public elementary schools in Forest Hills are the draw. It's not Jazz Thursdays, Nick's Pizza, the F train, or Austin Street. Those are nice, but the schools trump all of it combined. You screw those up, well, let's just say many of us won't be making so much fun of New Jersey anymore.

Anyone out there at the meeting on Wednesday? Please tell us what was said in the comments.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Aimee Higher


Aimee Salon, currently down by Natural is moving west. It will take over the Daniella space at 71-62 Austin St. Signage is already up and it looks nice. Kudos to them for not using an awning.

The question becomes what happens to the old Aimee's space. With neighbors Austin Fish Market, Hasaan Beauty Supply and half of Dmitry already vacant, a huge space is available. It is prime real estate as many in Forest Hills (especially parents) makes it down there at some point during the week for Natural, Nick's, PS 101, Community House/Church in the Gardens, or Our Lady Queen of Martyrs. Also, the AQUA section and the Gardens are right there.

Is the landlord trying to rent all four at once - maybe combining them? Seems plausible as the Beauty Supply store has been vacant for almost a year (they even took the tv in the window, playing a video loop of strings pulling hair out of a woman's face). The space available signs have a 212 area code attached, I believe the leasing company is Sutton Garrett.

In fact, it's been so vacant long, you can even see the "Space Available" sign in the Google Street Maps photo above (above the left half of Dmitry). Maybe they are holding out for something big and needed the Aimee's space - or it just might be time to lower the asking rent.

Anyone connected to the space, please email the blog or post in the comments if there's anything readers can do to help bring in something good.

Daily News: Forest Hills Best Neighborhood for Car Owners


In a head-scratching piece, Forest Hills has been dubbed as a top place for car owners to reside. Other places that earned top honors, Greenpoint, Dyker Heights, Red Hook, and Upper Manhattan. However, we're #1.

From the piece:

Having a car makes it easy to bounce around to the Forest Hills Tennis Club, the busy shopping corridor on Austin Avenue, and Queens Boulevard. Also, Astoria, a Queens nightlife scene as popular to some as Manhattan, is a 10 minute car ride away.

If you can't walk from Forest Hills Tennis Club (actually called West Side Tennis Club) to Austin Avenue (Street), then that must have been one hell of a match.

It's nice to be included on any top 5 list in a Real Estate section, and I think they meant well. But if you're into driving, Forest Hills shouldn't be at the top of your list. You can get more for your driving dollar in Middle Village, Glendale or Fresh Meadows.

By the way in the photo above, note there as many bicycles on the move as cars. Bike lanes now.

http://www.nydailynews.com/real_estate/toplists/5_neighborhoods_to_rent_in_for_car_owners/5_neighborhoods_to_rent_in_for_car_owners.html

(photo above of Austin/Ascan intersection by Daily News)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Where the Jobs Are

http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/queens/2008/09/08/2008-09-08_queens_had_largest_share_of_new_york_cit.html

The Queens neighborhood with the largest gain in the number of jobs between 1997 and 2007 - rather than a percentage increase - was
Forest Hills, 11375. It added 7,925 jobs, ranking it eighth in the five boroughs and making it the only zip code outside of Manhattan to crack the top 10 for the number of new jobs created.

The article doesn't specify what industries the new jobs are in, but I would guess medical and banks. It is commendable that even though Forest Hills really hasn't built any new office buildings, that we are competing with Manhattan zip codes for job growth during Manhattan's Bloomberg boom.

Hopefully, this report will give local officials the ammo to push for:

  • Better express subway service.
  • More (or one) bicycle routes to downtown.
  • Funding for cleaner streets (beyond the understaffed/overworked Doe fund).
  • More open space (a huge Bloomberg initiative in Manhattan and Brooklyn).
  • Pressure on landlords to be more open to food-based businesses for the lunch crowd.
Can you believe we are in the top 10 in job growth in a world capital and don't have one above average lunch place? Where do these execs and vendors take their clients, Gotta Get A Bagel?

Monday, September 8, 2008

District 10 Primary


Tomorrow, registered Queens democrats will chose a candidate for State Senate Democratic Primary in District 10, which contains big parts of Forest Hills in its northwest reaches. The race for the Dem nomination is between incumbent Shirley Huntley and challenger Allan Jennings Jr. The winner of tomorrow's primary will almost certainly win in the general election in November.

While State Senate might seem like an office of lesser importance, remember that Barack Obama was a State Senator as recently as 2004. It is a legit office.

On the one hand, you have Jennings, who the Queens Tribune called "
deeply disturbed." He is known to most as the politician who threw a piece of metal at a TV news reporter outside his house. As the Queens Gazette puts it "Jennings was thrown out of the council after being found guilty of several improprieties and is now attempting a comeback."

On the other is Huntley, who has turned a $28,500 home mortgage into a $290,000 debt thanks to poor financial planning.

A brief summation of each as found on the internet. Note, this is NOT supplied to me by the candidate:

About Allan Jennings:

From http://www.nyccfb.info/public/voter-guide/primary_2003/cd_statement/CD28_Jennings,_Jr._ER.htm (as supplied by candidate):

Councilman Allan W. Jennings, Jr. stands firm on his decision that voting "No" for property tax increase was the right thing to do. On November 25th 2002, he voted his conscience and in the best interest of his constituents by voting against the 18.5 percent property tax increase, which was very excessive. Councilman Jennings, who is highly effective, not only in his district but across the City, chairs The Civil Service and Labor Committee and serves on Finance, Public Safety, Cultural Affairs, Environmental Protection, Libraries and Intergroup Relations Committees. He was removed from the Finance Committee for his No vote on the property tax. Mayor Bloomberg withheld the renewal of his parking permit. Many of his colleagues in the City Council have stated that because of his courageous stand against the property tax increase, in the future they would take risks to protect the interest of the people in their district.

Councilman Jennings has secured $8.5 million for laptops for every child in the 3rd, 4th and 5th grade in his district over the next three years and is bringing Southeast Queens students into the next century. March 2003 PS48, PS96, PS123 and PS223 received their laptop computers. This September PS30, PS160, PS50, PS80 and PS121 will receive their computers and by 2005 under this innovative program PS45, PS55, PS100, PS155, PS124 PS40 and PS161 will receive this new technology in the classroom. Councilman Jennings hopes that this computer based education will bring a zeal for learning among our children. This is the first program of this magnitude to be launched in New York City.

Councilman Allan W. Jennings, Jr. is admired and is highly respected by his colleagues for his independence and his diligence to serve his constituency at all cost. He has been commended for his exceptional prowess and vision in supporting an agenda that includes all the people of the City of New York.


About Shirley Huntley:

From: http://www.nyssenate10.com/10/Biography.aspx

Shirley L. Huntley represents the 10th Senatorial District in Queens County. Having spent most of her life in the district she now represents, Mrs. Huntley knows very well the nature of its diverse communities.

Shirley L. Huntley presently resides in Jamaica, NY with her husband Herbert Huntley, with whom she operates a business-Huntley Enterprises, a maintenance company. Mrs. Huntley is a very proud mother and grandmother. She has served as an effective parent leader and a community activist. Her commitment to the best education for her own children as well as for the welfare of all children resulted in her becoming involved in the public school system and in many other community projects and organizations. Mrs. Huntley was elected to Community School Board 28 in 1993 with an overwhelming number of votes. In 1996, she was re-elected for a second term and she was the Community School Board 28 President until the dissolution of the School Board in 2004. In June 2004, Mrs. Huntley was appointed to the Community Education Council for District 28 by the Queens Borough President, the Honorable Helen Marshall. She was elected President of the Community Education Council for District in July 2004.


Senator Huntley has, over the years, gained recognition for outstanding services to the children and parents to District 28. Her persistent ability and determination has enabled her to make educational changes in her community. It is her strong conviction that public education is important to the future success of this city and its children. The collecting of information, being informed, developing civic awareness and the acquiring of a formal or technical education is necessary for socio-economic growth and development of our youth.

Senator Huntley has membership and affiliations in a number of organizations and committees. She has also received numerous awards and honors commending her for dedicated service to the community.

Senator Huntley was elected to office in 2007. Mrs. Huntley will focus her efforts in the areas of health care, education, and youth services.


With more Forest Hills races coming in November (most notably Maltese vs. Addadabo), feel free to post why you support or reject any local candidate. If you really want to sway opinion, please use a registered name. Happy days are Hills again!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Just When You Thought It Was Kinda Safe. . .

From the Inbox at 9:51pm Friday Night:

72nd Ave & Queens Blvd

Hey just FYI, some guy got hit by a car right in front of my apartment here. An older woman was driving a car and my boyfriend & I heard a loud bang. We didn't get up to look right away since there's always loud noises out there but we heard sirens a little while later. Three ambulances from 3 different hospitals showed up, they were pumping the guys chest rapidly. I don't think his heart was pumping. They took him away and the old woman has been here talking to police for about 2 hours, they put her in the ambulance to talk to her for awhile. Queens Blvd is taped off w/ crime scene tape and the investigation is still going on. I don't know how it happened, or why it's still on-going, just a heads up in case anything is in the papers. I took a video and some pics. Probably will be online later if you want to check them out. I don't have any of the guy (I kinda just stood there with my mouth open at that point) but I took some later.

If anyone has additional information, please post in the comments. Let's hope the guy is alright, but it sounds bad.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Seize and Release

9/4/08 update per the comments section:

I just called Sushi Oh....they're open. I spoke to a lady on the phone...she said they had been closed yesterday...but they're open as of 4:29 p.m. EST

I called and confirmed. So whatever the reason for the padlocks and the "Seized" sign, it appears it's been resolved. Sushi Oh-Pen!

Sushi Oh No!

SEIZED. That's what the bright orange sign said posted on the closed gates of Sushi Oh this morning, located next to Natural and La Cabana Express.

Reports of Sushi Oh's demise have been circulating for a while now and looks like it has completed the Forest Hills Restaurant 5 Steps Program. To refresh your memories, they are:

1. Open to a big Forest Hills crowd, smiles all around. (see Rouge)
2. Lose some of crowd, skimp on quality of ingredients to compensate. (See UJ's Luncheonette)
3. Lose Forest Hills crowd due to poor service, attract only visitors who don't want to walk (see Mardi Gras).
4. Become mean to your remaining customers (see T-Bone Diner).
5. For Rent (see Melange).

By the way, these were written when Rouge and UJ's were still open thank you very much.

Sushi seems a pretty low hanging fruit in a recession so losing one in this over-saturated sushi town is not surprising. "Oh" well.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Back 2 Skool

Parents, feel free to share experiences about the first day.

I've heard rumblings that 101 is turning kids away from Kindergarten, is that right? Also, what's the early word on PS 303, aka PS 3, aka School for Excellence, aka Little Red Schoolhouse? Do kids really have to wear uniforms? And can every first grader in 196 do long division yet?

Share in the comments section. . .

Sample of Things To Come?

Reading the comments, I came across a rare good one:

What is the situation with 2 stores on Austin that have signs in the window stating "sample sale"?
They look cheap and tacky with racks of junky clothing hung up.
One space is where the Games Workshop was and the other closer to Continental.

My wife asked the same question upon seeing in the Games Workshop one, a man in a yarmulke sitting at a card table at the doorway putting cash in a shoebox.

Austin Street is not a flea market. It's not Archer Avenue. If these landlords want to rent temporarily to relatives or associates or something, I guess that's legal, but I hope they know it looks like shit and won't do anything to help the other vacant stores get a tenant.

Instead of these street-fair like nameless temporary business, how about lowering the rent slightly and attract a store that's proven to be both good for the community and popular with its residents - like a Ripe, Bonfire Grill, Pampas Argentinas, Martha's, or Yogomonster?

Better yet, tell these fly-by-nighter businesses to sign a permanent lease, join the Chamber of Commerce, and contribute something.

Trade Fair Use

As the Trade Fair King, let me share some secrets with you to make your life easier in Forest Hills.

In the above diagram, you'll see Trade Fair's layout. The ovals are customers, the boxes are the registers. Register #5 opens only when the lines start to build - but it faces register #2. So if there's a wait, always get on the line for register #2 - but drift over to block any bastards who try to cut around you when the open register 5. When #5 opens (you'll know it when someone comes out of the office), it's yours. You're welcome.

Please feel free to share any tricks you've learned to improve life in Forest Hills.