Tag Archives: Forest Hills

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.



Former Gov. Mario Cuomo dies at 82

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via Kenneth C. Zirkel /Wikimedia Commons

Updated Friday, Jan. 2, 5:26 p.m.

Former three-term Gov. Mario Cuomo, once a leading and passionate voice for the liberal wing of the Democratic Party and one of the most important political figures to come from Queens, died on Thursday. He was 82.

Cuomo, who was raised in Jamaica, passed away only hours after his son, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, was sworn in for a second term during an inauguration held in Lower Manhattan at the World Trade Center.

The elder Cuomo had been ill for months. His last public appearance was on Election Night when he was with his son during a victory celebration.

Gov. Cuomo spoke about his father during his inaugural address Thursday morning, noting that “we’re missing one family member.” Cuomo spent New Year’s Eve with his ailing father and family, even reading him his speech.

“He couldn’t be here physically today, my father. But my father is in this room. He is in the heart and mind of every person who is here. He is here and he is here,” Cuomo said pointing to his head and heart. “And his inspiration and his legacy and his experience is what has brought this state to this point. So let’s give him a round of applause,” Cuomo said.

According to the governor’s office, Mario Cuomo “passed away from natural causes due to heart failure this evening at home with his loving family at his side.”

Cuomo was remembered as an important voice in both state and national politics.

“From the hard streets of Queens, Mario Cuomo rose to the very pinnacle of political power in New York because he believed in his bones in the greatness of this state, the greatness of America and the unique potential of every individual,” said Sen. Charles Schumer.

“My prayers and thoughts are with the governor, the whole Cuomo family, and all who knew and loved Mario,” Schumer said. “Our hearts go out to Gov. Andrew Cuomo who gave a great speech today that I am certain his father was proud of.”

In a statement issued by the White House Thursday night, President Obama paid homage to Cuomo as “an Italian Catholic kid from Queens, born to immigrant parents,” who “paired his faith in God and faith in America to live a life of public service — and we are all better for it.”

“He rose to be chief executive of the state he loved, a determined champion of progressive values, and an unflinching voice for tolerance, inclusiveness, fairness, dignity and opportunity,” Obama said in his prepared statement.

The son of Italian immigrants who owned a grocery store in South Jamaica, Cuomo cut his political teeth in Queens.

Cuomo first rose to public prominence in 1972 when he was appointed by Mayor John Lindsay as a mediator during bitter a dispute over a proposal to build low-income public housing towers in upper-middle Forest Hills. Prior to that, he had successfully represented Queens homeowners in high-profile disputes with the city and private developers.

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.

Cuomo went on to earn a law degree at St. John’s, where he continued to teach part-time while he practiced law in both the private and public sector before entering politics.

As a Democratic governor during President Reagan’s administration, Cuomo was among the few in his party to challenge the then-popular president. He became the leading voice for the party’s liberal wing even as the nation skewed conservative in the 1980s.

It was his stunning keynote speech during the 1984 Democratic Convention in San Francisco that fueled speculation that Cuomo could seek the presidential nomination down the road. Cuomo himself continued to stoke the speculation until the last hour before the filing deadline for the New Hampshire primary in 1991.

But he remained a prominent voice within the party, known and admired for his soaring oratory.

Cuomo came up in 1993 as a potential Supreme Court nominee by President Clinton. But then in his third term as governor he removed his name from consideration for the top court.

Cuomo is survived by his wife of 60 years, Matilda Raffa Cuomo, his children Margaret, Andrew, Maria, Madeline and Christopher, and 14 grandchildren.

A wake will be held for Cuomo on Monday at the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Home, located at 1076 Madison Ave. in Manhattan, with calling hours from 1 to 5 p.m. and from 7 to 10 p.m. The following day, a funeral service will take place at the St. Ignatius Loyola Church at 980 Park Ave., also in Manhattan, at 11 a.m.


Man groped woman, pushed her to the ground at Forest Hills subway station: NYPD

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

A woman walking on a Forest Hills subway platform was groped and pushed to the ground by a man earlier this week, police said.

The 38-year-old victim was on the southbound F train platform at the Queens Boulevard and 75th Avenue station at about 7:40 a.m. on Tuesday when she was attacked, police said.

As the woman was walking on the platform, the suspect grabbed her from behind, touching her buttocks and private parts, before pushing her to the ground, cops said. The victim was not injured.

According to police, the suspect was last seen running east along Queens Boulevard then south on 76th Avenue, and was wearing a dark jacket and a green or possibly camouflaged hat, and carrying a dark-colored backpack. He is described as Hispanic, 5 feet 9 inches tall and has a stocky build.

Police have also released a video showing the suspect running after the attack.

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.


Astoria face and body painter brings out inner child with colorful designs

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of The Cheeky Chipmunk

For one Astoria artist, your face is her canvas.

Lenore Koppelman, 39, is the owner and artist behind The Cheeky Chipmunk, where she has turned face and body painting into living, breathing art.

Born in Queens and raised in New Orleans, La., Koppelman recalls that it was a tradition for her and her family to go to the French Quarter every Sunday after breakfast and get their faces painted. Koppelman said that every Sunday morning she would talk about what she would get painted on her face that day.

As she grew up, she went to college for interior design, and her inner knack for art and creativity followed her throughout the years.

Having lived in Forest Hills from when she was 3 to 6 years old, Koppelman decided to return to Queens eight years ago, and she made the move to Astoria. But her decision to make a career change did not happen until just last year.

While on a walk by Astoria Park with one of her best friends, Pamela Bob, Koppelman pondered over what her true calling was. Realizing that she loved art and loved working with people, she put the two together.

“We both realized at that moment [the face painting business] was going to happen. So I just felt this wave of calm come over me, like I had finally figured out what I was here to do,” Koppelman said. “I got goosebumps and said, ‘I am going to be a face painter.’”

She began painting her friend’s children’s faces for free and realized that something was missing.

“I was terrible. I was really bad. I had no idea how difficult face painting was. I think a lot of parents think, ‘How hard can it be?’” she said. “I then said, if I’m going to really do this, I’m going to have to learn how to do this.”

She began practicing, on herself and others, and reached out to the face painting industry. Koppelman said she was surprised to see the unity in the face and body painting community and she began attending workshops, and meeting other face painters at “jams.”

Koppelman also signed up for an online community called FABA (Face and Body Art) TV, where instructors from around the world share tutorials and tricks on design ideas. She also attended a workshop called Face Painting University and got to learn from professionals in the industry who had appeared in shows such as Skin Wars and Face Off.

“It really took wanting this so badly in order for me to really commit to learning it. This was a whole other level of passion and want. And aside from my little boy and husband, I couldn’t think of anything else I’m more passionate about,” Koppelman said.

Since taking the classes and becoming involved in the community, Koppelman said she felt an increase in confidence. Since September, she has been starting to book more gigs painting faces and bodies, and she even dabbles in maternity belly paintings.

The decision to name the business The Cheeky Chipmunk came from a childhood nickname given to her by her parents and her love for alliteration. She’s now busy offering face and body painting for almost any occasion, from birthdays to corporate events.

Koppelman has also spent her time volunteering for different organizations and events, most recently at a fundraiser held at an Astoria bar called The Quays for a local boy suffering from a rare blood disorder.

She said her favorite moment is the reveal—the moment when a child or adult opens their eyes after sitting patiently through the painting process just trusting her.

Although she is constantly learning and changing designs to meet the latest fads, Koppelman said she still can’t believe she is finally doing what she loves as a career. She hopes to one day publish a book with all her paintings done on her own face and start doing paintings on things in New York she would like to celebrate.

“It’s all about having fun and getting in touch with something inside of you that is magical and youthful and free,” Koppelman said. “Nothing horrible will come of it; it’s paint, it washes off, and it’s a good time. I would love to see more people find that kid inside that just wants to be free. Let the glitter fly free.”


Forest Hills Tudor co-op complex getting $5M in repairs

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Christopher Bride/ PropertyShark 

Members of a near-century-old Forest Hills Tudor-style co-op have borrowed $5.2 million to make modifications and improvements to the buildings.

The Tennis View Apartments at 4 Dartmouth St., which were built in 1917, according to a representative at National Cooperative Bank (NCB), have deteriorating roofs. The co-op recently borrowed the money from NCB to revitalize the roofs and modernize the elevators.

The deal was arranged by Mindy Goldstein, senior vice president at NCB’s New York office.

The Tennis View Apartments comprise 175 units throughout five seven-story buildings, which were converted to co-ops in 1971.

There is no planned date for the construction as yet.



Queens Chamber celebrates winners of annual building awards

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

The Queens Chamber of Commerce hosted its 99th annual Building Awards on Thursday, recognizing architecture and design of new buildings around the borough.

Out of 100 total entries, just 19 new construction, interior and rehabilitated use projects were selected as winners from various categories, including public use, office space, commercial and residential.

City Planning Director Carl Weisbrod was the keynote speaker at the event in the LaGuardia Marriott Hotel. The Chamber’s President’s Award was given to College Point-based developer Mattone Group.

In terms of new construction, the modern, glassy, three-story commercial building by K.O.H. Architecture at 215-15 Northern Blvd. in Bayside was among the winners. The building is home to a Tiger Schulmann, a Pizza Hut and a day care.

Plaza College’s newly opened campus in the Forest Hills near the intersection of Queens Boulevard and Union Turnpike was among winners in the rehabilitative use category. The school moved following a devastating fire that destroyed its Jackson Heights campus at 74-09 37th Ave. The new campus serves 750 students and features labs and medical classrooms.

Mediterranean and soul food fusion restaurant Pa-Nash of Rosedale, which opened in April, was also a winner in the rehabilitative use category, as well as the Queens Library’s redesign of the teen space in the Cambria Heights branch.

Pa-Nash 3

Below is the full list of winners.


New Construction

Category                                                         Project

Schools                                                            Public School 330Q

Commercial                                                     215-15 Northern Blvd., Bayside

Office Buildings                                             Jackson Heights Office Building

Multi-Family, Low Rise

(up to 3 stories)                                               Xiaoyan Jin Residence


Single Residences

(1 family-detached up to 3000 sq. ft.)              Grippi Residence


Single Residences

(1 family-detached over 3000 sq. ft.)               Vaccaro Residence


Multi-Family, High Rise

(4 or more stories)                                           Multi-Family Residential Building

Mixed Use

(residential/commercial/industrial)                  Antonelli Building


Rehabilitation, Readaptive Use, Alteration or Addition

Category                                                         Project

Public Buildings                                             Queens Library @Cambria Heights-Teen Space

Colleges                                                          Plaza College

Schools                                                            P.S. 81Q

Commercial                                                     Pa-Nash Restaurant & Lounge

Single Residences

(1 family-detached up to 3000 sq. ft)               Annie Hsu Residence



Category                                                         Project

Colleges                                              Queens College Rosenthal Library

Commercial                                                     Murphy’s Lobster Grill

Single Residences

(1 family-detached over 3000 sq. ft.)               Long Residence



Bramson ORT College expanding main Forest Hills campus

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

A small two-year college in Forest Hills has signed a lease for more space nearby to expand its facilities as part of a plan to become a larger institution.

Bramson ORT College, which currently enrolls 610 students, is renting 8,000 square feet of additional space at 68-80 Austin St. — a block away from the school’s main building at 69-30 Austin St.

The school hopes to build a new library, a student lounge, a bookstore, faculty offices and some new classrooms in the new space, which is under construction and will be completed by early 2015, according to school President Dr. David Kanani. Kanani said the expansion is part of a full reconstruction of the school to hopefully become a full four-year institution.

“We are restructuring the school, we are restructuring our staff, we are restructuring our facilities, we are adding new programs. We are really intent to make this one of the best two-year, career-oriented, post-secondary junior colleges in Queens, if not the state,” Kanani said. “And then after that, once we put that in good working order, then we will hopefully go for a four-year college.”

Recently, Congresswoman Grace Meng helped Bramson ORT from losing federal funds, which caused a difficult financial situation for the small school. The U.S. Department of Education was delaying financial aid for the school, and Meng intervened to bring both sides together and hasten the delivery of the funds to the institution.

Bramson ORT College, which has a campus in Brooklyn, has a history that stretches back to 1942. The school was originally established to serve refugees and immigrants during World War II.

Today it provides students with degrees in accounting, business management, computer technology, electronics, graphics and web design, paralegal, pharmacy technician and programming, among other subjects. Kanani hopes the expansion and reconstruction of the school will attract better students as well.

“I believe that when you improve the quality of the school as a whole, automatically you attract better students,” Kanani said. “Better students for us means students that want to learn.”


Pearl Jam fans to hold fundraiser at Kew Gardens bar in ongoing efforts to bring band to Queens

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Danny Clinch/Flickr Creative Commons

Pearl Jam fans are holding a fundraiser at Austin’s Ale House in January as part of a push to raise money for a crowdfunded attempt to get the ’90s band to play at Forest Hills Stadium.

The organization, Pearl Jam Forest Hills, has raised over $60,000 so far, bringing the head of the organization, Daniel Sheffer, closer to his dream of seeing the band live at Forest Hills Stadium. The money will be used to try to lure the band to play at the stadium.

“It’s beyond my wildest dreams. We’re thankful for all of our supporters,” Sheffer said. “It’s like there are actually people who believe in this and it makes us want to keep going and pushing harder.”

Forest Hills Stadium has held many high-profile music shows over the years, including the Talking Heads and the Beatles. The Who is slated to play in 2015. But if Sheffer and his ilk are successful in convincing the band to come, it would be the first completely publicly funded concert held in the venue.

The fundraiser will be held on Jan. 8, and Sheffer is confident in the the bar’s ability to host the fundraiser since they’ve held other similar events before. Sheffer is also taking the opportunity to help raise money during the fundraiser for charity organizations like the Wounded Warrior Project and Team Gleason.

People who come to the fundraiser can choose what organization they want to give money to. They will also be able to contribute to the Vitalogy Foundation, a nonprofit organization created by the band members of Pearl Jam.

“We’re staying humble, and whatever happens, we consider what we’ve already done a success,” Sheffer said.




Broker of the Week: Susanna Hof, Terrace Sotheby’s International Realty

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Susanna Hof

Susanna Hof and her husband Rob are owners and lead brokers of Terrace Sotheby’s International Realty. Hof has deep roots in Forest Hills, where real estate has been part of her family for generations. She is actively involved in neighborhood organizations, working to improve and preserve those qualities that make Forest Hills a unique community within an urban metropolis. Hof recently spoke to Real Estate Editor Liam La Guerre about the residential market in Forest Hills.  

La Guerre: Why should people move to Forest Hills?

Hof: People who know Forest Hills would agree that it’s very unique. It’s in New York City and it takes only 13 minutes to get to midtown Manhattan from Forest Hills, but it has the look of the suburbs.

La Guerre: What makes it appealing?

Hof: Here in Forest Hills, you honestly get more bang for your buck. It has a very lively atmosphere with many great restaurants and the West Side Tennis Club. How many places can you live this close to Manhattan and have a country club with a junior Olympic-sized pool? Throughout the whole community, there are little parks that are often filled with children playing. We also have Forest Park, where there is horseback riding, a golf course, playgrounds, and jogging paths and bike paths. It’s quite an astounding number of factors that people are looking for.

La Guerre: Has the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium, which recently started playing concerts again, added value to neighborhood?

Hof: I think the concerts have been working out really well. They are bringing people here so that they see the community, but it’s adding an element of hip to the area. If you add this hip element to it, mixed with good restaurants and fun places to go, it kind of becomes something for everybody.

La Guerre: What are the residential prices like compared to other areas in the city?

Hof: Here prices have risen significantly in the past three years. We found this year that houses selling under the $2 million point have multiple offers the first week.

La Guerre: In terms of Queens, the borough is selling at a slower pace than last year. From your experience has it been the same in Forest Hills?

Hof: No, definitely hotter. Things are selling very quickly. Over the $2 million point things are a little tougher, but under $2 million things are just flying off the shelves. It’s the price point that people can afford. What used to be a year ago $1.1 million is now definitely a strong $1.5 million. And what was $1.5 million is now $1.9 million, because of the increase over the year.

La Guerre: How diverse is the residential market in Forest Hills?

Hof: Forest Hills is a very diverse community. It was founded to be diverse, and in that sense there are all different size houses. There are smaller townhouses, there are medium-sized detached houses, and there are larger, more estate-like properties, and there are condos around the gardens in Forest Hills and newer ones being built in the neighborhood. There are also co-ops and rental buildings.

La Guerre: With the recent completion of luxury condo building The Aston, do you think developers are noticing Forest Hills?

Hof: I think they are looking at where we are — 13 minutes from Manhattan — [and] the cost of real estate in the city, so they are seeing this as very desirable living situation for people who are looking to go into the city but want to live outside the city.

La Guerre: How do you see Forest Hills transforming in the future?

Hof: Homes in Forest Hills Gardens have strict architectural standards. You can’t tear down those houses. People can’t come in and take down an old Tudor. It just can’t happen and it won’t happen. In terms of Queens Boulevard, there was a change in zoning upping the stories. And those older, lower story buildings will probably be taken down and things like The Aston will replace them. In terms of Austin Street, it would be nice if that could be upgraded. Hopefully with a new interest in this direction that would improve the area.