Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tierra Insana

Per an email from Michael Perlman, who I guess is friends with the owners of Tierra Sana, comes a press release with this interesting concept:


FOREST HILLS, NY (Jan 29, 2009) – Queens and citywide food enthusiasts will soon have lots more to crave for, without breaking their budget! “Tierra Sana” (healthy earth), a health café and lounge situated in the heart of Queens (100-17 Queens Blvd near 67th Ave), takes great pride in announcing Pay What You Want Tuesdays, beginning Feb 3, 2009.

This novelty concept will be a means of offering the community a relief from the status of the economy, while enjoying nutritional, yet tasty food. People deserve the chance to eat healthy! Patrons will have the privilege of ordering a healthy breakfast, lunch, & dinner from a diverse menu, and paying what they feel it is worth. Pay What You Want Tuesdays apply to the Health Café menu which includes breakfast specials, paninis, wraps, sushi, appetizers, soups, salads, hot platters, desserts, fresh juices, tea/juice infusions, and also applies to neo-tribal cuisine dinners. It excludes alcoholic beverages and delivery
.

Donut Jump

From Chopper 72 (actually from the email in box):



Either work is finally being done inside the Twin Donut building, or its hostages are escaping from the attic.

Great photo, funny caption. Excellent job.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Know Plow

How were your streets today? Austin Street looked like a mountain road as of about 8:15am. Nothing but snow and sliding.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Final Dispatch from the Front of the Continental War

I've intercepted a communication from an undisclosed location behind the East's lines. Transcript follows:

Weiner: General Ferraro.

Ferraro: Yes, Lieutenant Weiner.

Weiner: Disturbing news from our spies on the West.

Ferraro: Go ahead, Lieutenant.

Weiner: The West is going nuclear.

Ferarro: You mean. . .

Weiner: Chains.

Silence.

Weiner: General Ferraro?

Ferraro: I'm here.

Weiner: What are we going to do? I mean, we did great with the battles of Oko and Q, but at some point a truce has to be considered.

Ferraro. If they're going chains, we'll go chains.

Weiner: That means complete annihilation. Not to mention, our chains aren't exactly. . .I mean Barnes and Noble alone. . .

Ferraro: Fire them up.

Weiner: Geraldine! We can't possible compete. . .

Ferraro: Fire them up!



And that's were the Continental War took a horrific turn. The final, and bloodiest battle of the Continental War is in your sidebar.

Winnick One for the Aqua

AQUA (Ascan, Queens blvd, Union tkpe, Austin) residents and Gardeners taking the 75th Avenue stop have renewed hopes of something good coming to the Beach Bum Tanning space (Queens Blvd & 73rd Rd., south side).

The DAKOTA REALTY 4 U!!!!! for rent sign has been replaced with Winnick Realty. Complete with a 212 number.

While it doesn't guarantee anything, at least it's a well-known operation with contacts at the kind of retailers who would be a step up from Beach Bum.

I've emailed Winnick asking if they wanted any guidance from this site's readers about what we would want. No response yet, but it's worth a shot.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Atlas Park Benched


A letter emailed to me this week - which I didn't open until this morning.

The above basically says Damon Hemmerdinger is out as manager of Atlas Park leasing, and corporate will take over from France. It is effective in mid-February. Outgoing quote:

"I believe in Atlas Park and I believe that the residents of Queens want, deserve, and can support high-quality, aspirational retail, restaurants and entertainment."

It's a terrible day for Atlas Park, as you can bet incoming stores will solely be judged by who's willing to pay the highest per square foot.

Corporate: Let's see, I can get Frankie's - a toy store selling creative wooden toys with an embedded child-friendly hair salon willing to pay $35 per square foot - or I can get a Blimpie who'll pay $40.

So, it looks like Atlas Park haters (who I'll never understand) get their wish and the unique, upscale open-air center will become filled with cheapo crap, signed by a company five thousand miles away. Or maybe all the stores will close - now that's something to celebrate.

Hemmerdinger's Future:

Though the letter sounds remorseful, this is the best thing to happen to him. I would expect him to begin what would be a successful career in politics. He's got the money, the look, the lineage, and the community ties. All that was holding back was his constant concern about holding shopping center tenants to a higher standard. Now he doesn't have to worry about that anymore.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Boris Mikhailov Tells You What He Thinks

When some people see a name like Mikhailov associated with a Cord Meyer property, they think "here come the marble columns and lions."

But check out the first line of his newest listing on MLS.

"When They Built Homes With Care. Magnificent Tudor On One Of The Most Prestigious Streets Of Cord Meyer"

Just a reminder that not all folks whose names end with "lov" want to tear everything down. The house really does rock - and for only 1.6 million, it's yours.

(If the above link doesn't work, it's # 2148532)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Kennedy Is Said to Withdraw Senate Bid


Caroline: You can't fire me, I quit.
Patterson: You can't quit.
Caroline: Because I'm fired?
Patterson: No, because you've never had a job.

And so ends one of the most awkward chapters in New York political history. What a waste of time, when there's no time to waste. Speaking of wastes, , ,

Olympics
Congestion Pricing
Kennedy

Count up the man-hours. Put a price on it. Then flush it all down the toilet.

Houses Aren't the Only Thing They're Tearing Down in Cord Meyer

Kevin over at Forgotten NY reports on the end of an old-school traffic light on certain corners in Cord Meyer. You'll know what I'm talking about when you see them here:

http://www.forgotten-ny.com/SLICES/stopped.cold/stopped.html

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Oh, How Time Sneaks Up On You

A new awning was put up at the old Sushi Oh storefront, and it has changed it's name to Sushi Time. The awning is black with a pair of chopsticks surrounding a roll and looks like it will remain a take out place.

It was reported here last month. http://www.foresthills72.com/2008/12/sushi-oh-pen-part-ii.html. Still no word on the small neon Geisha in the window.

Hola, Adios

Beautiful New Mexican Restaurant for Sale (Forest Hills)
Reply to: mailto:sale-998198861@craigslist.org?subject=Beautiful%20New%20Mexican%20Restaurant%20for%20Sale%20(Forest%20Hills) [?]Date: 2009-01-18, 8:00PM EST

Mexican restaurant with less than one year in operation up for sale. Ten year lease remaining.
Location: Forest Hills

http://newyork.craigslist.org/que/bfs/998198861.html

Community Board 72

From the Inbox:

Heidi Harrison Chain, President of the 112th precinct community council encourages your participation in our Vial of Life Program. I am thrilled that we are able to provide this life saving program for you with the help of Captain Tamola and the112th Precinct. Each year at the beginning of the year we offer this program to you. If you have completed the forms last year it gives you a chance to update your records.

This vital program enables emergency responders who respond to a house or apartment to have the medical and personal information about an individual who is unable to provide this information to them. We will give you the forms and we will give you the magnets. The information forms are for you to complete and then keep in your house in your refrigerator. The Vial of Life magnets and forms will be available at our January 21st council meetings.

For more infomation, contact Heidi Harrison Chain at: council112@yahoo.com

Friday, January 16, 2009

Zoning Out

Good piece on The Real Deal website about the Austin Street rezone. Quote:

"For those of us that live in the community of Forest Hills, we don't even like to go down to Austin Street because it's so crowded," said Susanna Hoff, who owns Terrace Realty in Forest Hills with her husband, Robert. "What the community wants to see done is to have appropriate rezoning that doesn't increase density in order to satisfy developers."

Several community groups in the area have written to their City Council member, Melinda Katz, and Queens Borough President Helen Marshall to voice their concerns about the rezoning, including Hoff, the Friends of Station Square, the Forest Hills Van-Court Association and the Forest Hills Gardens Corp.

http://ny.therealdeal.com/articles/austin-street-may-see-residential-development-with-rezoning

Previously covered here: http://www.foresthills72.com/2008/10/reduce-reuse-rezone.html

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Continental War - Food Battles

The war intensifies with a series of battles on several fronts. See sidebar for details.

Chain Joins the Gang

Press Release found in this morning's Inbox.

Heidi Harrison Chain has launched her campaign for City Council.

Heidi Harrison Chain is a community leader working hard for you, with a history of accomplishment and the ability to bring people together. For many years Heidi has worked with the NYPD regarding public safety issues, quality of life, emergency preparedness and police-community relations. She has been called “one of our hardest working community leaders” and has an acknowledged reputation for consensus building, project management, and problem solving.

Heidi Harrison Chain is an Attorney serving as director in the Office of Legal Affairs of the New York City Department of Finance. She is uniquely qualified to address the problems that will be facing our community and our city over the next few years. Heidi has the expertise and experience to work with all city agencies gleaned from 20 years as a dedicated public servant.

Heidi Harrison Chain holds leadership positions in community service organizations, civic organizations, and Community Board 6. Positions include: President, 112th Precinct Community Council; Chief of the Community Emergency Response Team; Executive Vice President, Forest Hills Community and Civic Association; Past President, Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association; Past Vice Chair - Secretary CB6; Youth Committee Chair, CB6; Economic Development Committee Chair CB6; member of the Rego Park Forest Hills Lions Club; Recipient of many awards for dedication to service to the community.Once elected to the council, Heidi Harrison Chain will continue to work with you to improve our community.

Electronics Media

In Rego Park news, Circuit City is closing all of its stores. A location like that with parking and neighbors like Bed Bath and Beyond and Old Navy, I think will draw interest from many. In fact, it'll probably be an upgrade from Circuit City. Though it was a big workforce.

In Forest Hills news, PC Richard's was robbed. From the New York Post:

Cops said the four intruders were seen on surveillance video forcing open the store gate and slipping inside the PC Richards on Queens Boulevard near 76th Avenue shortly before 5 a.m. on Jan. 9.

They hauled away thousands of dollars worth of electronics, including surround-sound audio systems, and escaped in a white van, police said.

No word if the thieves took out warranties on the merchandise, which would result in them being robbed back.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Europantastic

Here is the menu for the Europan Bakery/Cafe opening on the corner of Restaurant Row and Austin Street. It will be the most successful restaurant in Forest Hills history. Why five Asian fusion places opened before we got one of these is still a mystery.

http://www.europanbakerycafe.com/menu.html

Body Moves

Metropolitan Avenue's popular Tree of Life studio is moving to the new Koptiev center across the street (Metropolitan and Continental). From their website:

We are happy to announce we will be moving to our new location, 102-06 Metropolitan Ave (across the street), in early 2009. If there are any practitioners interested in renting space,
please contact David Rene Alkalay by calling:718-544-5997


Meningitis Alert at Church in the Gardens

I'm told that there has been a child diagnosed with meningitis in the upstairs (Pre-K) class at The Church in the Gardens.

The Pre-K class is closed and nursery (downstairs) is still operating. Parents have been notified via handed-out letter.

I don't have all the details. For more information, please call The Church in the Gardens at 718-268-6704.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Second Continental War

With the opening East of Continental versus West of Continental war just about complete, let's move into round two: Yogurt Place With Umlaut In Name.





Oko from the East takes on Yogomonster in the West.

Friday, January 9, 2009

East West Rivalry

Vote in Forest Hills 72's 2009 East-West Shootouts, where we pit one from East of Continental vs. one from the West. You get 72 hours to vote.

The opening fight on the card is a good one - Ladies' Hair Cut.

Rebels D&L take on the master (and former employer). Micciche.

Atlas Stand?

Also from the Inbox:

I know you commented on Atlas before and just wanted to see if you heard about the closings there.
Blue Tulip is closing (entire national chain went out) by Jan. 31st. Then we heard Pasticcio had closed. True! We went by this weekend and the place was closed with no sign on the door explaining the closure. What a shame. My wife and I had dined there a bunch of times and loved the food and the decor. Also heard rumours that J. Jill and Shiro's would be closing.

Word is management is unbending on wanting this to be really upscale shopping but if this keeps up we'll see the whole place shut down. If they can't provide the shopper base they advertise who'll want to open a store there? Why go so upscale (and elderly) in your offerings?

They keep getting buses rerouted to their mall but will the high-end customers take the bus? Funny how the one neighborhood they are always touting as their base, Forest Hills, is the one they couldn't get a bus rerouted from.Shouldn't the 23 be the one they should have nailed down first?

Euro Gonna Like This

From the Inbox:

On my walk home last night I noticed that Garo's Bootery and Viva Bambi (or whatever that overpriced kid's clothing store was called) have signs in their windows noting that they're going to be putting in a Europan Bakery Cafe there

Sounds promising, as does the neighboring Aged Steakhouse. Good job by the landlord by putting in some more good tenants.

Well, Maybe Not Forever


Looks like Gerard Towers residents will soon be making the haul back to Natural as Organic Forever goes on the market. You can thank Trader Joe's for this one. Nice people in there so here's hoping they change their mind.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

First Post of 2009 - The State of the Forest Hills Union

Honorable Weiner, Councilmember Katz, Assemblyman Hevesi, esteemed readers from McMansions on 112th Street to the row houses on Manse - the state of Forest Hills is strong.

With a tough 2008 behind us, the residents of Forest Hills are looking at a bright future with the fundamentals in place to thrive in the years ahead. Our schools are solid but crowded. Our commute, once the envy of the outer boroughs, is getting bogged down by crawling express trains and no sane bicycle access to Manhattan. Our shopping district had some great hits in 2008, but some unfortunate misses.

We’ll start with the reason many of us moved to 11375. . .

Education:

While some argue whether overcrowding is detrimental to a child’s learning environment, there is no debate that 101 and 196 are packed. Parents are getting more vocal about it and that’s a good thing. With more families priced out of Manhattan and not ready for the car-culture of the suburbs, expect more kids to move in. They will be joined by local children priced out of the private schools making overcrowding an issue that won’t go away by itself.

The new school complex on Metropolitan Avenue is an excellent start – as long as it is locally zoned and properly enforced. Another promising development is the Red Apple School trying to get approved in the old Ethan Allen space. Red Apple schools, a Chinese-affiliated program, have earned high marks in other places of operation in NYC and there’s no doubt it would be a huge success. At this date, they are still getting disapproved on building plans. I call upon our local leaders to reach out to the Red Apple building applicants listed on the documents – easily found on ACRIS – and find out what is needed for a fast and legal building plan. Red Apple is only for 2 – 5 year olds, but with Pre-K 101 kids going into a lottery and kindergarteners getting sent outside the zone, our district needs relief now. Whatever the hold up is, fix it.

Our Commute:

2008 was a hard year for subway riders. When Long Islanders are beating you home, you start wondering what you’re doing here. It is essential to get those express trains moving faster. It should not take 45 minutes to go from Manhattan to Forest Hills on the express train. Let me make this clear – move your ass. If that means removing the seats except for handicapped/elderly, do it. Rush hour pricing like they have on the LIRR – start it today. If the problem is merely functional like the F train’s painfully slow switch to the tunnel at 36th St in Queens, fix that. It’s slowing up the whole line.

The E r160 trains are a welcome sight and word is the F will be receiving them soon as well. Let’s hope with them come new signal technology to decrease the time between trains.

LIRR complaints are minor, like consistent 5 – 10 minute lateness on certain trains or unreasonable ticket office hours (if it’s below 20 degrees, keep it open). In general the LIRR was good to Forest Hills in 2008.

Austin Street:

Though it receives less attention from our Community Civic than Metropolitan Avenue, Austin Street showed a lot of fight in 2008. For Rent signs are still too abundant, with some high profile spaces being vacant for too long. Annie Sez/Mandee’s and the stretch of stores between Dmitry and Latina Cabana are two of the biggest and the eyes of the community are watching them. Let’s hope the lag time is because the landlords are waiting for the right tenant to commit.

But we did welcome some outstanding new business and for that we should be proud. Oko and Yogomonster provide bright and clean environments for residents to have coffee or a frozen snack. Ripe is a smash. Even Broadway Bakery gets kudos for its new store a block east of its current one. Who don’t like redemption?

On a larger scale, the bar was raised when Bonfire Grill tore up The Wine Gallery and became an instant hot spot. A few doors down, Modus responded by transforming into The Tap House, a sports bar complete with burgers and wings. Restaurant Row welcomed the neon lights of Moca and the new steakhouse Aged is coming along very nicely.

For a town that consistently complains about its restaurant options, you can’t bitch about 2008. No we didn’t get an outer borough flagship like Grocery or Trattoria Lincontro, but progress was definitely made from 2007. And Metropolitan Avenue hit it out of the park when it came to restaurant openings.

Real Estate:

All of this is anecdotal and maybe people are struggling, but it seems like prices held up okay. Dips across the board, but you still can’t find an Archie Bunker in 101 for under 550K. Condos might be slow selling, but no firesales like many predicted. As long as you can own for what you’d pay in rent, you’re okay – and Forest Hills never got too crazy. The schools and commute will also prevent a major crash.

Co-ops would be wise to lower the down payment requirements however. What good does it do to make a young family and potential upstanding resident put down 25% of 400K (100K) just to make an offer. Are you really happier with the buyer who pays with all cash? Get with reality in this down economy and make it ten percent down like many Manhattan co-ops have done.

Our Politicians:

An abysmal year for our leaders, no other way to put it. They forced upon us the extended term limits that everybody voted against twice. We getting a senator nobody voted for appointed by a governor nobody voted for, backed by a billionaire mayor who changed the law. Years from now, it will be known as one of the darkest times for democracy in New York history and the fourth estate has been depressingly silent.

In 2009, I implore you, vote the bums out.

Options are starting to come in. I’ve been emailed several press releases from potential city council district 29 candidates. Joseph Nocerino, Mel Gagarin, Bob Delay have sent me nice notes and political veterans like Karen Koslowitz and Michael Cohen have expressed interest. We will be focusing on this race throughout the year.

Culture:


Forest Hills was one of the few zip codes that put lack of culture as one of our biggest problems in a recent NYC survey and the respondents are dead on.

With plenty of places to get your nails done or eat a frozen yogurt, where does someone go do see live music before 10pm? Or after 10pm for that matter? Where are the readings at Barnes and Noble? Why is the only free activity for little kids in this kid-bursting neighborhood a day at the big-kid-packed Austin Street Park? Why is the only theater in Forest Hills a church basement in Glendale?

Whether it’s the Spiderman 3 premiere which was embarrassingly held in Astoria over Forest Hills, or the lackadaisical attitude I received when inquiring about our Summer Streets or public plaza participation, there has to be a more aggressive authority to bring culture to Forest Hills.

Let’s work with local business like Young Chef’s Academy or Belle Arti to offer some kind of one-off class so you don’t have to sign for a full semester – much like the Harry Potter parties the Community Bookstore has in Park Slope. Let’s commission the Queens Artists group on Metropolitan to paint over one of the LIRR overpasses – get a band and invite kids to help. Let’s get creative. Let’s close down 71st Rd. on Sundays – or Austin Street for Summer Streets. Let’s have a rock concert.

Finally, a word has to be said about the terrible job the West Side Tennis Club has done. In 2007 they hosted two excellent tournaments and welcomed the public with open arms. T-shirt give-aways, radio station appearances, and kids activities. This year they had one tournament, and it was awful. No sponsor tents, no music, no fun. Just a small metal grandstand in the blaring August sun and a jug of water. It obviously wasn’t meant for spectators and to have world class players on empty and silent court was embarrassing to witness and I’m not even a member.

West Side Tennis Club listen up. Being exclusive is great and all – but tough times are coming. Please finish getting a corporate sponsor for that beautiful but decrepit stadium and have events there. Doesn’t have to be the Beatles and Hendrix like the old days. Whether it’s tennis or the New York Pops or Fleetwood Mac, an open air stadium five minutes from the express subway and LIRR is absolutely f’king priceless. Not to mention you have hundreds of thousands of LIRR commuters passing it daily to see a big bright logo. If you can’t sell that to Jet Blue or Chase, than you couldn’t sell a dollar for fifty cents.

Communication:

Our community board, civic group, elected officials, and local businesses all stink at communicating with the public. I created this blog for that purpose and the only people who email me are Katherine Thome and Steven Melnick – and I promote their causes. I’ll find out about the Taste of Forest Hills three weeks after it happens or the children’s day picnic at Flagpole park that happened last month. There very well might be a ton of cultural events going on, but no one knows about them.

It says a lot when a bowling alley in Flushing named Jib Lanes gets more Forest Hills promotion than a Forest Hills event.

The Future:

We Forest Hills residents are in a great spot. Our schools are top notch and I’m proud to send my kid to one of them. The LIRR is a 12-minute shuttle into Penn Station. And if you miss the 8:25, just walk up a block to the express subway. The East Side Access project will give us yet another transportation option.

We also have a great look, but that needs to be defended. We fell asleep in Cord Meyer and that’s pretty much gone, as is 72nd Avenue.

We have to do a better job in working with developers and explaining why boxy office buildings and monster houses are not the draw. Heskel Elias gets it. You can build something like the Duane Reade/Staples building or renovate the Ann Taylor space to make it a modern reflection of its tudor past. And there’s no question it will enhance the value of the surrounding area.

We have a lot of work to do, we have to fix the overcrowding in our schools, speed up our express subway, host more cultural events, and protect the beautiful but threatened look of Forest Hills. But the great news is infrastructure is in place for all if it as is an intelligent, caring populace.

Thank you and may Bloomberg bless Forest Hills.