Tag Archives: Forest Hills

Precinct council meets new officers, domestic violence chief in Forest Hills

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angela Matua


New faces were introduced at the 112th Precinct Community Council meeting on Wednesday, March 18, at the precinct’s Forest Hills headquarters.

Capt. William Matusiak, who has been on the job for 31 years, will be joining the precinct as an executive officer from the Midtown North precinct.

Though Matusiak never served in Queens, he grew up in Maspeth and Woodside.

Sgt. Brian McGowen, who previously served the 109th Precinct, will be supervising area schools.

The new community affairs officer, P.O. Tony Jimenez, is originally from the 104th Precinct and is also a clergy liaison. He has worked for the NYPD for 22 years.

Chief Diana Pizzuti of NYPD Patrol Borough Queens North, said she hopes the new additions to the precinct will help “build relationships between cops and kids” especially “with the recent unrest” that has taken place across the country that has strained relations between police officers and the communities they serve.

Deputy Commissioner and Chief of Staff at the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence Tracy Weber-Thomas also addressed the community about what services are available for victims of domestic violence.

Approximately 282,000 domestic violence occurrences were reported in New York City last year, according to Weber-Thomas, with 53,000 reported in Queens. Of the cases in Queens, 1,300 were in the 112th Precinct, which covers Forest Hills and Rego Park.

The Queens Family Justice Center, located at 106-02 82nd Ave. in Kew Gardens, is a “one-stop service center” that will help victims of domestic abuse regardless of immigration status, gender identity, sexual orientation or the language they speak, said Weber-Thomas.

Weber-Thomas encouraged anyone who is a victim of domestic violence to visit the family justice center, where no appointments are needed to speak to a counselor. Children can play in a children’s room while parents meet with a prosecutor or apply for housing or financial assistance.

The city also runs a NYC Healthy Relationship Academy initiative that coaches children ages 17 to 24 to run workshops about dating violence and healthy relationships for adolescents and young adults.

Click here for more information about the city’s domestic violence prevention programs.


See it: Spacious Forest Hills home built to entertain, listed for $3.28 million

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Terrace Sotheby’s International Realty

The humongous home at 72-20 Harrow St. in Forest Hills has four bedrooms and four bathrooms in a whopping 5,000 square feet of space — and the heart of this giant is the kitchen.

The residence features an enormous kitchen with an open concept and breakfast area, which could probably host get-togethers with extended family or friends. The space also includes a wet bar and breakfast counter complimented by granite counter tops and custom cabinets. And the additional breakfast area is warmed by a stone fireplace, which is just one of five in the entire house.

The fireplaces are scattered throughout the residence, including one in the living room and another in a bedroom on the second level.

The home, which was listed by Terrace Sotheby’s International Realty for $3.28 million, might seem like a renovated classic at first glance with its Tudor exterior designs, but it’s not even a decade old, and a baby compared to the near century-old homes in the neighborhood.

Constructed in 2006, it was built for entertaining with a speaker system, media and game room, and a bar in the basement. There is a brick patio area and a large garden for outdoor parties.

But when the owner wants to relax in peace, the master bedroom makes for a great escape with a private dressing area, and a spacious bathroom that has a Jacuzzi tub.

Click here to see the listing.


Cops seek suspects in Forest Hills, Rego Park business burglaries

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police have released a photo of a man wanted for questioning in a burglary pattern at businesses in Rego Park and Forest Hills dating back to January.

The most recent burglary occurred on March 4 at the Key Food supermarket at 92-02 63rd Dr. in Rego Park after breaking into the market’s side door, police said.

Authorities said the crooks also visited that day the Da Mikelle II Restaurant, located at 102-53 Queens Blvd. in Forest Hills, broke through a rear door and removed an undetermined amount of money.

The person of interest is pictured in a security camera image taken at a nearby 7-Eleven shortly after the March 4 burglaries, authorities said.

Police described the six other incidents in the burglary pattern as follows:

  • On Jan. 24, the burglars broke through the rear wall of the Knish Nosh restaurant at 100-30 Queens Blvd. in Forest Hills and removed kitchen utensils and cash.
  • The following day, Jan. 25, burglars broke through the rear door of the Midorinatsu Hibachi restaurant at 111-16 Queens Blvd. in Forest Hills and stole cash, an ASIS laptop computer and two safe boxes.
  • On Feb. 18, the suspects entered through a skylight at the Rainbow store at 63-22 Austin St. in Rego Park and removed assorted drugs.
  • On Feb. 26, the burglars unsuccessfully attempted to break through the rear door of Colony Drugs and Surgical at 103-19 Queens Blvd. in Forest Hills.
  • The next day, Feb. 27, the crooks also failed in attempts to break into two Rego Park restaurants: Vstrecha at 98-98 Queens Blvd. and Nasicha at 98-92 63rd Dr.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.


See it: Stylish Forest Hills home hits market for nearly $2 million

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Terrace Sotheby’s International Realty

A Forest Hills home that recently had a striking interior renovation was listed for $1,989,000.

The home at 69-54 Groton St., which is being called “Dream Designer Home” by Terrace Sotheby’s International Realty, features four bedrooms and four and a half bathrooms in nearly 3,000 square feet of space.

A foyer with an enclosed sunroom greets residents into the home, and the living room has beamed ceilings and a fireplace.

The kitchen has custom cabinetry and Wolf appliances, and on the second floor, the master bedroom includes a spa-style bath.

There is a 400-square-foot terrace on the second level as well as two other bedrooms, although one has been converted into a dressing room.

The basement has a laundry area and another bathroom and there is a two-car garage in the house as well.

Take a look at some photos of the home below.


Forest Hills second-grader qualifies for international chess tournament in Greece

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy U.S. Chess National

Second-grader Amelie Phung is on her way to play chess in South America and finally Greece, while still making time for recess, class and some golf.

Seven-year-old Amelie of Forest Hills just finished a national chess tournament in California, where she traveled with her father, Tam, over the weekend. And after finishing with a qualifying ranking, she will now be representing the USA at the World Chess Championship in Greece later this year where she will face off against the world’s best junior chess players. In the meantime, she’ll make a quick stop in Columbia during the summer for a few rounds against children across the Americas under the age of 8.

“We’re using California and Columbia as a launching pad into the world,” Tam said. “She was able to hold her head above water in California and it’s paying off now with this trip to Greece. An absolute honor.”

Amelie’s adroit moves on the board were a hidden talent until she recently began to demonstrate exceptional skill over casual games against a group of regulars at her local park.

To hone Amelie’s growing skill, her father hired Irina Krush to coach her. An American chess international Grandmaster, Krush is known for her instructional videos called “Krushing Attacks” and when she’s not playing chess she’s teaching the game to Amelie at the Marshall Chess Club in Manhattan.

Amelie’s rating is currently around 1,200 and to be a Grandmaster, your rating has to be at least 2,600. For Amelie’s age group, maintaining a 1,200 by Jan. 1 was needed to qualify for the world tournament.

“I think we’re going to have to start rethinking Amelie’s future if she keeps demonstrating such a talent for chess,” Tam said.


Forest Hills second-grader to represent city in national kids chess championship

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy U.S. Chess National

Amelie Phung is only in the second grade, but she’s already planning her next big move.

Seven-year-old Amelie is headed to California with her father Tam this weekend when she will play in a national chess tournament. If she makes the right moves on the chess board, Amelie could win a chance to represent the USA at the World Chess Championship in Greece.

The Forest Hills chess prodigy, who attends a school for the gifted and talented on the Upper East Side, will be competing against other whiz kids under the age of 8.

“Chess was just a casual thing for us and then suddenly she started exhibiting this amazing talent for the game,” Tam said. “You start by winning a lot of games and then you start going to championships and next thing you know you’re hiring one of the country’s chess champions to tutor your kid.”

Amelie’s coach is Irina Krush, an American chess international Grandmaster, a title that is given to the world’s best players. Krush is known for her instructional videos called “Krushing Attacks” and when she’s not playing chess she’s teaching the game to Amelie at the Marshall Chess Club in Manhattan.

Tam first began to notice that Amelie was good at chess after she played with a group of older men who play in a local park.

Amelie’s rating is currently around 1,200 and to be a Grandmaster your rating has to be at least 2,600. But for her age group, Amelie’s rating puts her in the top five. All of this is new for Amelie’s father and he is learning more about a game that Amelie continues to progress in.

“There’s so much chess history in New York City and we feel honored that this year we’re going to be representing the city in the competition,” Tam said.

When the weather becomes warmer, Amelie will return to her true love, golf.

“The great thing about chess is it teaches her the discipline needed for golf,” Amelie’s father said. “And golf is where her true talents are. But who knows. Six months ago I knew almost nothing about chess.”


Woman, 85, dies after being struck by school bus in Forest Hills; driver charged

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


A school bus driver was charged for striking an 85-year-old Forest Hills woman who died two months later, police said.

Jeanine Deutsch was trying to cross the intersection of 108th Street and 70th Road, less than a block from her home, at about 12:50 p.m. on Dec. 19, when a yellow International school bus hit her. According to police, the bus was attempting to turn right onto 70th Road from 108th Street when it struck the woman.

Deutsch was taken to Elmhurst Hospital in serious condition. She was pronounced dead on Tuesday.

The bus driver, Isaac Sanson, 47, was arrested and charged with failure to yield right of way, police said, which is now a misdemeanor rather than a traffic violation under Vision Zero law.


What to know about Queens rents in January

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Charts courtesy of MNS Real Estate

Overall most Queens renters didn’t see much of a change in rates from December to January as prices increased just 0.21 percent to $2,103.96.

However, select areas experienced more significant changes, revealing important neighborhood trends, according to data from MNS Real Estate’s January Queens Rental Market Report.

It’s back over $4,000

The most expensive rents for studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments can be found in Long Island City, as is the norm. But in January, the average rents of two-bedroom apartments in Long Island City climbed over the $4,000 mark for the first time since May of 2014 to an average of $4,044, according to the report. After hitting a low of $3,747 in June of 2014, prices fluctuated for a few months before slowly rising toward the end of the year.

A bargain in Jackson Heights  

Tenants paid about an average of $1,514 for rental studios in Forest Hills in January, which is 6.62 percent less than the previous month and the largest percent drop that month. It was a significant decline in rates, but renters looking for a bargain should focus on Jackson Heights studios, where prices are $114 less at an average of $1,400 per month. Of the neighborhoods analyzed in the borough in January, Jackson Heights has the lowest prices for studios.

Rocketing Rego Park

Rego Park is continuing its hot streak. Average prices in the neighborhood are continuing to burn through residents’ wallets as new luxury units recently entered the market. For the month of January, average prices for two-bedrooms in the neighborhood rose a whopping 17.1 percent during the month to $2,598. From November to December 2014, Rego Park rental studios saw an stark increase of 12 percent in average rents.


Click here to read the full report.


Police looking for trio of thieves who stole fur coats from Forest Hills store

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

A group of high-end shoplifters was able to sneak three fur coats out of a discount designer store in Forest Hills earlier this month, according to police.

The suspects, two men and a woman, took the merchandise from Fox’s at 70-39 Austin St. about 3:10 p.m. on Jan. 7. After removing three fur coats from the racks and concealing them under their clothing, they fled the store.

Police describe the two male suspects as black and in their 30s. One man is about 5 feet 8 inches tall and 180 pounds; the second man is about 5 feet 9 inches tall and 190 pounds. The female suspect is black, in her mid-20s, about 5 feet 7 inches tall and 175 pounds. She has braids and was wearing a light brown hat.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.


Large weekend turnout boosts bid to save historic Forest Hills movie theater

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Cinemart has been collecting “powerful ammunition,” as the owner said, in its battle to remain open.

The almost century-old Forest Hills theater sold out most of its weekend showings of “American Sniper,” and owner Nicolas Nicolaou plans to use the high numbers in his bid to convince Hollywood movie companies to grant the theater first-run movies.

“We’re hoping this will allow us to see the executives of the film companies [so they will] give us the opportunity that this theater deserves: the opportunity to play upscale film,” Nicolaou said. “People in our community supported their local theater, somewhere that has history.”

After installing digital projectors, the theater gained the rights to play Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper.” But Nicolaou said this is just a test run and the future of the theater depends on the sales of tickets for the new movie.

“It’s powerful ammunition,” Nicolaou said about the high customer turnout over the weekend. “They want to see the money? Well, here it is.”

Nicolaou will be setting up meetings with the New York City branches of major media companies to discuss the theater’s viability to show first-run movies.

“We have the tickets to prove it,” Nicolaou said. “And if we have to do more we will do more.”


Ticket sales at historic Forest Hills movie theater skyrocket in bid for survival

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Cinemart’s sales and its future are looking up.

The almost century-old Forest Hills theater sold out most of its showings of “American Sniper” on Thursday night — the start of a crucial weekend for sales that will be used to determine if the theater should get first-run films and remain in business.

“I came home and saw all these ticket sales and I almost started crying,” owner Nicolas Nicolaou said. “The people of Forest Hills are telling Hollywood that we will not just die.”

And Nicolaou expects the sales to continue throughout the weekend.

“Yesterday was fantastic,” he said. “And we’re almost home free.”

Nicolaou is fighting for the survival of his theater, Cinemart.

The Cinemart opened in 1927 and Thursday’s high volume of ticket sales represents a turning point for the theater. The last several years were marked with disappointment and a severe loss of business because the theater didn’t have the rights to screen any first-run movies. The Cinemart’s last first-run movie was “Sex and the City” in 2008.

Movie-goers during a matinee viewing of "American Sniper."

Moviegoers during a matinee viewing of “American Sniper.”

But with the recent installation of digital projectors and an outpouring of community support, Nicolaou is now running “American Sniper” in a bid to become a first-run movie theater again and ensure the independent theater’s survival.

Movie studios will be using the Cinemart’s ticket sales this weekend for “American Sniper” to determine if the theater should continue to receive first-run films.

“For so many years we were quietly struggling and now it looks like we’re going to make it,” Nicolaou said.


Hollywood gives historic Forest Hills movie theater last chance

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

More than 85 years of Forest HIlls history hangs on the success of one weekend.

The Cinemart Theater opened in 1927, and for the last eight years, owner Nicolas Nicolaou spent thousands of dollars operating an obsolete theater that didn’t have the technology to feature first-run films.

But after making a $300,000 investment to add digital projection — the industry standard — to the theater, Nicolaou is getting a second shot from Hollywood to feature the industry’s latest movies.

“After all these years I was ready to throw in the towel, but I was finally able to get another chance for the theater,” said Nicolaou, whose family has owned the place since the 1960s.

On Friday, the historic theater will be featuring Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper,” and if Nicolaou sells enough tickets, the future of the theater will be ensured for another 85 years, the owner said.

But if the movie doesn’t draw a large enough audience, Nicolaou may have no choice but to close his five-screen theater since Hollywood studios will likely issue him no other first-run films.

“This movie will make or break this theater,” he said as the 11th hour approached. “I hope at the end of the day we will be there and the community has supported us overwhelmingly.”

For the past few weeks, Nicolaou has been caught up in a flurry of activity as he prepares the theater and reaches out to the community to increase ticket sales. When the dust settles next week, he will know if the movie made enough money to become a first-run theater again.

Nicolaou attempted to save the theater in the early 2000s by renovating the theater and creating the Theater Café with a bar, cozy fireplace and sidewalk café. But the renovations and cafe weren’t enough as the industry shifted to digital and the theater lost its right to screen new movies.

Forest Hills and Rego Park have witnessed the closure of the Trylon, the Forest Hills, the Drake and the Continental (UA Brandon), according to reports.


Open houses this weekend: Forest Hills, Hunters Point, College Point

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy StreetEasy and Douglas Elliman

106-20 70th Ave., #4B Forest Hills — $434,000 

This studio condo apartment in the The Milana in Forest Hills has one bathroom and a balcony. It features a hook-up for a washer and dryer, central AC and has hardwood floors throughout. The open house is on Sunday, Jan. 11 from noon to 2 p.m. Contact brokers Aroza Sanjana and Benjamin Koptiev of Warren Lewis Sotheby’s International Realty.

519 Borden Ave. #9J, Hunters Point — $1,275,000

This unit has two bedrooms and two bathrooms in 1,083 square feet of space in The Murano in Hunters Point. It features a 145-square-foot terrace with views of Manhattan and the Queensboro Bridge. The apartment comes with a parking space and other building amenities, including a gym, community rooms, storage, central AC and a bike room. Pets are allowed in The Murano. The open house is on Sunday, Jan. 11 from noon to 1:30 p.m. Contact brokers Brittany Fox and Doron Zwickel of CORE.


122-11 6th Ave., College Point — $568,000 

This townhouse comes with five bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms on two floors. It features a large living room, a renovated kitchen, a finished basement, a yard and an outdoor patio. The open house is on Sunday, Jan. 11 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Contact broker Laura Copersino of Douglas Elliman.



Former Gov. Mario Cuomo eulogized as advocate, crusader

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo via Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Flickr

Former Gov. Mario Cuomo was laid to rest Tuesday after a funeral that was attended by hundreds, including the state’s leading political figures, who mourned the passing of a three-term governor who rose from humble roots in Queens to become a standard bearer for Democrats across the nation.

The funeral at Manhattan’s St. Ignatius Loyola Church was attended by Bill and Hillary Clinton, Attorney General Eric Holder, Mayor Bill de Blasio and dozens of politicians from both sides of the political aisle who heard his son, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, deliver the eulogy.

Gov. Cuomo, during remarks that were broadcast live on TV, described his father as more of a humanist than a politician.

“At his core, he was a philosopher. He was a poet. He was an advocate. He was a crusader. Mario Cuomo was the keynote speaker for our better angels,” Gov. Cuomo said.

The most prominent political figure to come from Queens, Cuomo died on New Year’s Day at age 82 only hours after his son,  Andrew Cuomo, delivered an inaugural address for his second term as New York’s governor.

Holder attended the funeral as a representative for President Obama. A day earlier, several national figures attended Cuomo’s wake, including Vice President Joe Biden, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Cuomo’s former Republican rival George Pataki, who defeated Cuomo in a 1994 race for governor.

Most knew Cuomo for his role as governor and a lone voice of opposition against Ronald Reagan’s conservative vision for America. But Cuomo first gained recognition in Queens, where he was born, when a bitter dispute arose in 1972 over a proposal to build low-income public housing towers in Forest Hills. Then Mayor John Lindsay appointed Cuomo to mediate the dispute and he was ultimately successful, gaining him the title of the great facilitator.

“It’s to his credit to care enough about lower income New Yorkers and put that housing in such a nice area,” said Diane Shaffer, who lived in Forest Hills during that time. “He left a wonderful legacy and I wish there were more people like him in government.”

Cuomo lost two early political contests — first a Democratic primary for lieutenant governor in 1974 and then the 1977 Democratic primary for mayor of New York City when he was defeated by Ed Koch. He won his first campaign in 1978 in the race for lieutenant governor.

He ran for governor four years later, defeating Koch in the Democratic primary before going on to win the general election.

Cuomo graduated from St. John’s Preparatory School and attended one year at St. John’s University before he was lured away from college by an offer to play baseball for a minor league affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. But after suffering a serious injury when he was hit in the back of the head by a baseball, he returned to St. John’s University.


Open houses this weekend: Astoria, Bayside, Forest Hills

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of StreetEasy and Douglas Elliman 

112-01 Queens Boulevard #23B, Forest Hills — $890,000

This two-bedroom unit has 1,135 square feet of space, two bathrooms and two balconies. The apartment features views overlooking Flushing Meadows Corona Park. The building offers a doorman and full-time concierge, as well as a pool, a sauna, a steam room, and Jacuzzis. An E and F subway station is a short walk away.

The open house is on Saturday, Jan 3. Contact broker Karen DeMeco of Douglas Elliman for more information.


43-12 214 Place #5B, Bayside — $799,000

This two-bedroom apartment has two bathrooms and a total of 1,055 square feet. Rooms have hardwood floors and floor-to-ceiling windows. The Bayside building also features a gym and parking spaces and is pet-friendly. It is blocks away from the LIRR train station.

The open house is on Saturday, Jan. 3, and Sunday, Jan. 4. Contact Maria Carr, Larry Falabella and Lawrence Falabella of Douglas Elliman for more information.


26-20 21st Street #301, Astoria — $549,000

This apartment has 690 square feet and five total rooms with one bedroom and one bathroom. The unit has a balcony and features a washer and dryer, central air conditioning, a dishwasher and a hot tub. Pets are allowed in the building, and the N and Q trains are just a half-mile away.

The open house is on Saturday, Jan 3. Contact broker Samantha Freire for more information.