Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tax-i

In a move that's sure to infuriate the Mayor, Albany lawmakers have scrapped East River tolls and are instead looking to impose a fee on taxi rides. From the Daily News:

Cab passengers would have to pay 50 cents more per ride under a version of an MTA bailout plan being discussed Tuesday.

If the Mayor and his followers' true intention to this toll/congestion pricing crusade is to lessen traffic and pollution, they'll be okay with this. But since it's really about punishing outer borough cars for having the gall to enter Manhattan, expect everyone to blast it.

Make no mistake, there is a feeling at City Hall and in the newspapers that people who drive from Queens into Manhattan for free are somehow getting away with something. Never mind that they can drive anywhere in the country for free and that they pay hefty city income and property taxes.

I don't have a dog in this fight. I don't drive into Manhattan and I think people who do are either idiots are have no other option. I just don't want to Manhattan-bound drivers to be taxed into park and riding from Forest Hills so Grammercy residents can have a nicer walk to work.

Impose a citywide 20% parking garage tax and be done with it.

http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2009/03/31/2009-03-31_paterson_says_no_tolls_on_bridges_but_50.html

From the Inbox - Opening Day for Girl's Softball

On Sunday, April 5th 2009, The Girls Softball League of Forest Hills will open this season with a celebration kick-off.

Field 3 has been newly dedicated to Girls Softball and hosts many changes including new lights to play night games, a new clay level infield, and a new electronic scoreboard.

The celebration will take place at the baseball fields located at 66-01 Fleet Street. Come join us as 115 girls in 3 divisions and 10 teams take the field to kick off the 2009 season. Local leaders will be in attendance as the new scoreboard is unveiled.

The ceremony starts at noon on Sunday with a game to follow immediately afterward.

The FHYAA is dedicated to providing organized athletic programs including girls softball, soccer, basketball and baseball for the youngsters in the Forest Hills, Queens community.

House Party



Is the Tap House the new hot spot in Forest Hills?
Last Friday at 1:3oam, 'House' was completely packed with really loud music and police cars parked out front. Music could be heard for blocks, and presumably the adjacent apartment building, which explains the cops.

Is a rooftop deck next?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Thursday, March 26, 2009

More McMansion Madness

Queens Chronicle has more of the same. . .

Quote:

If the new zoning is approved, it wouldn’t undo any of the current structures. However, Dayan said it would have a dramatic affect on the Bukharian community, which has always lived close together. If the rezoning passes, he suspects many homeowners would move to Long Island, where they can buy larger lots.

http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=20287352&BRD=2731&PAG=461&dept_id=574907&rfi=6target=_blank

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Toll This

Nothing gets the Mayor or the local newspapers' ire up more than lawmakers standing in the way banning outer-borough cars from Manhattan. The Daily News went as far as printing phone numbers of the responsible representatives urging us to throw the bums out.

Mayor Bloomberg tells us that we're mad as hell and the press eats it up. Sorry, but I've been mad as hell since he raised our property taxes 25% in the last few years - where was the News' outrage then? That's going to cost a lot more than the subway increase.

All Malcolm Smith wants to do is have someone audit the MTA before we take them at their word, and he gets lambasted (as anyone does who doesn't fully comply with bannign cars from Manhattan). Personally, I want to see how the MTA completely botched the selling of the West Side Rail Yards at the height of the market because Bloomberg and Doctoroff were obsessed with a football stadium? How much did that cost us?

I won't even get into all the other nickel and diming things the mayor has done to make life more expensive ($100 tennis permits, $45 parking tix, heavy tax hikes) while dismissing criticism as saying 'New York is a luxury product.'

But NOW he's worried sick about an extra $20/month leaving my pocket. He doesn't give a rat's ass about that - he just wants the tolls. I know he'll get them, I just want him to know he's not fooling anyone.

I'd rather pay the extra $20 per month than have my town overrun by commuters and pollution so Manhattanites can have a nicer bike ride to work.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I'll Tell You The Title of the Post Once the Train Passes

Forest Hills Gardens residents are pissed about the LIRR train noise again. Apparently it's gotten worse since they cut down trees along the tracks.

Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-Queens, Brooklyn) said in a statement that a sound barrier should be installed along the tracks. “The LIRR has long been an uneasy neighbor to the residents of Forest Hills Gardens. We need a hearty sound barrier where the crumbling wall once stood.”

You know Congressman, the sound gets emitted on both sides of the tracks. How about a sound barrier on the north side too. Or better yet, how about people realize that they bought an apartment next to a railroad.

http://forumnewsgroup.blogspot.com/2009/03/resident-seeks-relief-from-lirr-noise.html

Bath House

After getting your dog checked out at the new 24/7 vet in the Windsor, get him cleaned on 71st Rd. Then make sure to throw your plastic bag filled with crap on my sidewalk.

Losing our Culture


Everbody's favorite skateboarding and tattoo culture emporium Concrete Jungle had its windows papered over recently.
This place lost me when they put a huge p.a. system on the terrace and blasted deafining music during the last street fair. Actually it lost me when they starting selling skateboarding and tattoo culture.


Monday, March 23, 2009

101 in a Million

This Daily News article on Pre-Kindergarten registration had a graphic in its print edition that listed PS 101 as the 5th hardest pre-k in New York City to get into. You have a 9.2% chance of getting in. Admission is based on a lottery, not on merit. Children in the zone and siblings have first dibbs, but even they aren't guaranteed anything.

I don't know if every school has a pre-k program, but if you're planning on PS 101, you should have a back up plan. Like moving to New Jersey.

Friday, March 20, 2009

From the Inbox;

Just wanted to let you know I just ate at the new diner on austin st. near the police station. I was great! Everything was clean (brand new to be exact). The food was everything diner food needs to be. You should check it out and give them a writeup on your blog. It's certainly not a trendy or hip place, but every neighborhood needs a good diner and I welcome this one to the neighborhood. Also, I am not affiliated with this diner in any way.

Good to have you posting again and keep up the great work.

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



Sony Music wants to interview people who grew up in Forest Hills with Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel for a Spring 2009 radio special and podcast series about this legendary duo of FHHS '58 grads.

We're interested in stories about them as kids, especially their earliestperformances at school events or casually among friends. We'd also like to know what it was like to then see them in town as big starsheadlining at the Tennis Stadium (with the Doors opening!).

If you'd like to be interviewed, please contact Andy Cahn atcharliewatts@gmail.com. Our producer would like to record this theweek of March 26-30 and can come to where ever it's convenient foryou. Examples of our work is online athttp://podcasts.legacyrecordings.com/tag/joyride.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Musica di Chairti

Elegant Italian Restaurant w/Bar (Forest Hills)

Reply to: see below Date: 2009-03-17, 11:26AM EDT
Queens, New York-Prime Location-Heavy pedestrian & car traffic 96 seats with additiona outside seating (approx 46) in Summer Open 7 days Long Lease available Catering & delivery Great opportunity for restaurant buyers Well know & established restaurant Brown Harris Stevens 516.203.8158


In a town where Tutto Bene, Sarabella, La Vigna, and that one by the post office change hands like a mobster changes his cell number, another string of white Christmas lights is looking for a new owner.

http://newyork.craigslist.org/que/off/1078913159.html

House of the Rising Roof

Tensions flare at a Cord Meyer McMansion meeting. Read all about it here: http://www.queensledger.com/pages/full_story?page_label=news&article-Forest%20Hills%20Rezone%20Has%20Racial%20Undertones%20=&id=2091677-Forest+Hills+Rezone+Has+Racial+Undertones&widget=push&instance=lead_story_left_column&open=&

Passionately opposed to the new changes was Albert Dayan of the Bukharian Jewish Congress, who spoke on behalf of the new homeowners in Cord Meyer. "We cannot fit into the homes that are proposed by the new city plan," he pleaded to the community board members.

Dayan pleas were met by negative reactions and rumbling in the room.

Lights Are Out at Broadway

Who don't like credit crunches?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I Donut Believe My Eyes


Twin Donuts is moving closer to bringing a little Queens Plaza to Continental Ave.

Now We Know Whey They Called it "Aged"


Because that's what we've all done while waiting for it to open. Still no sign of life since the storefront was completed last year.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Flagpole Muggings?

There's a rumor going around that there have been a few muggings around Flagpole park recently. Anybody know anything?

There Will Be Vomit

Happy to say the bars were packed on St. Patrick's Day, with the suprise winner for most crowded - The Tap House.

True Value

The annual Co-Op market value list is out. It determines property tax, which in turn goes into maintenance. As usual, they are all over the place.

68-30 Burns St? Valued at $65.00 per square foot.

1 Ascan Ave? $53 per sqaure foot (18% less than Burns St.)

Looks like Martha Stark is working too hard.

Get your co-op/condo value here: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dof/html/pdf/condo_coop_comps/qncoop2009.pdf

Monday, March 16, 2009

Property Tax Going Up?

Don't worry, we've got the High Line coming!

For those who don't know, the High Line Park is a new $200 million city/state funded park which overlooks the new $500 million city/state funded Hudson River Park. Both of which are easily accessible to all of New York. Just take a subway, (which is running local every weekend due to construction) for about an hour and twenty minutes to 14th St/8th Ave. Get out and walk about half a mile. Total travel time each way, about two hours. Then spend the entire day looking down on white people enjoying Hudson River Park down below - and thinking of the two hour local commute home on the hot and filthy subway.

Mayor Bloomberg calls it an important part of the west side development. Something tells me that if Tribeca had to make do with only the Hudson River Park, the West Side would be okay. Just something to think about next time the Mayor says the city is broke (which should be any minute now).

Pedestrian Mall on Station Square

Mayor Bloomberg does have some great ideas. And one of them came to fruition while I was away. Turning part of Broadway into a pedestrian mall is necessary. Unlike the High Line, this really is a huge tourist draw (one of the world's biggest) and it makes total sense to make it safer and more enjoyable. I commend the Mayor for getting it done. Broadway had fallen into a state of congestion which made it hard to enjoy. Bloomberg's plan is a homerun.



A draw to Forest Hills which has also fallen into a state of traffic confusion is Station Square. Why cars were allowed to dominate this "Sqaure" is mind-boggling, and Forest Hills most attractive landscape is sadly its most dangerous. But obviously the city is in a mood to take Sqaures back to the people they were designed for.



Here's how it might look. No reason not to get it done now while the mood is right. Councilmember 29 wannabe's? Should make a nice campaign platform. . .

Forest Hills 72's Man of the Week:

Brad Leventhal.



With only an inch of hard evidence, this little known Queens ADA made international headlines by winning one of the most important criminal cases in Forest Hills history.


I've been holding off writing about this because everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Plus, I was away when most of it was going on, but it was easy to follow online thanks to the excellent reporting by the NY Times and Daily News (the Post was a distant third).


Why was it such an important case? Because had they gone free, the feeling of fear in that community (and of that community) would be overwhelming. Without a conviction, murder would seem legal 108th St.


Plus, when you think of the utter selfishness of the crime - a murder in full view on a Sunday in a children's playground. What if it had gone wrong. What if the bullets had come out he other end? What if there was a struggle? I won't even go into the psychological ramificaitons of playing hopscotch one minute and watching a man being shot to death the next.


This is a crime that had to be solved. For the Malakovs and for Forest Hills.


Leventhal presented his case masterfully. My favorite part being when everyone questioned why on the first day of cross examination, he didn't bring up the fact that she didn't hear the gun. Then spent 9 hours the next day on how she didn't hear the gun, slamming his hand on the jury box (which made every news account of the trial). Brilliant. I hope he writes a book about it and I hope the star witness gets a piece.


If you didn't follow the trial, go back and read the news accounts day by day. Fascinating.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

What's the Best Thing about Bonfire Grill?

The new site: http://bonfireforesthills.com/index.php

I've got to start charging for all this promotion.

5 Guys Is Nize

It's open. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/601221

Park in the Home Depot lot and walk towards Woodhaven. Not worth losing your parking spot, but if you're at Trader Joe's check it out.

McManic

http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=20278853&BRD=2731&PAG=461&dept_id=574907&rfi=6

“It’s closing the barn door,” Stuchinksi said, “but already the horse is all over the place.”



By the way, where'd you hear about this first?

His Casa Really Is Su Casa

http://newyork.craigslist.org/que/bfs/1068987461.html

Here's the deal. I own and operate a Mexican restaurant on Metropolitan Ave in Forest Hills, and I am looking to find a tenant to sign a new lease for my space. The space seats about 40 people and has a complete kitchen with a basement for storage. Pending approval of the landlord, I am looking to secure a ten year lease at 5750 per month with a 4% annual increase. Good credit is a must. The landlord requires a two month deposit ($11500), and the tenant is responsible for a portion (I believe 33%) of any property tax INCREASES during the leasehold term. Because the combination of bad weather (winter) and a bad economy is not the greatest of mixes for a restaurant, we are currently only operating during the weekends. Please keep this in mind if you are looking to check the place out during operating hours. That's it. No Key Money. No Gimmicks. Simply agree to the terms of the lease, and the place is yours. Start operating the next day if you like! Please email any questions or concerns you may have, or call me. Good Luck.

Weiner = Pulled Out?

Congressman and Mets fan Anthony Weiner looks to be dropping out of the mayoral race. The Times alludes to the difficulty of beating Bloomberg because he's so popular. But the real difficulty is cash. Where the hell is Weiner going to find donors in this economny when he's running against a billionaire who fixed the game?

Depressing.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/12/nyregion/12weiner.html?hp