Forest Hills man convicted of pimping out two teenage girls



A Forest Hills man was convicted of charges related to the pimping out and statutory rape of two teenage girls, aged 13 and 16, back in 2011.

Queens County District Attorney Richard Brown announced that Peter Gerardi, 30, of Forest Hills, was convicted of one count of compelling prostitution, three counts of second-degree promoting prostitution, two counts of third degree promoting prostitution, twenty-one counts of statutory rape, eleven counts of statutory criminal sex act and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

In a separate, unrelated crime, two brothers pleaded guilty to felony charges in a gunpoint sex trafficking case.

“The defendants in these two cases are guilty of having taken advantage of vulnerable young women and forcing them to participate in a modern day version of slavery by coercing them to work as prostitutes for their financial gain through threats of physical harm and intimidation,” Brown said. “These cases make it abundantly clear that prostitution is not a victimless crime but a terrifying and despicable offense against society – and the young women that it enslaves. These convictions send a clear message that crimes such as these will not be tolerated in Queens County.”

In 2011, Gerardi allegedly befriended both he 13-year-old girl and the 16-year-old. According to court documents, both reluctantly agreed to prostitute themselves for him. It was said, according to Brown, that he became violent with both of them when they did not do what he wished. He also allegedly engaged in sexual acts with both of them.


NYPD Arson Unit looks into 6 recent Forest Hills fires

Police are investigating why there were at least six separate instances of Forest Hills homes being destroyed by fire over the past month. The 112th Precinct have sought out help from the NYPD’s arson unit after proclaiming the six fires to be suspicious.

The events began on October 20. Five of the six fires were on properties located between Queens Boulevard and Grand Central Parkway from 65th Avenue to 70th Road. A few of the fires spread to neighboring homes. There was a seventh fire, which was the only one to occur at an apartment building, but that fire appeared to be from an electrical problem. “These fires have caused extensive damage to the buildings,” said owner of Servpro of Forest Hills / Kew Gardens, Eddie Lopez. “My team and I are adept at repairing the damage; preventing the next fire in this area is the real topic at hand,” said the fire damage repair expert.

The mystery around this set of fire deepens. Each of the properties are owned by different people and there isn’t a connection between home repair jobs such as construction companies. Police have sent out more uniform officers to patrol the area. While they are passing out fire tips, they are also on the lookout for anyone who looks suspicious. According to CBS, police officials have a video of a man walking into a building right before a fire erupted.


Shake Shack to open in Forest Hills


Wikimedia Commons/m01229


Are you a fan of Shake Shacks’ classic milkshakes, burgers, crinkle-cut fries and hot dogs? Well, founder Danny Meyer is bringing the second standalone Shake Shack to Queens and this time it will be in Forest Hills.

According to Eater NY, the new Forest Hills location will be at 71-26 Austin Street (hello long lines and traffic jams). The restaurant will replace the empty space that was once occupied by Strawberry, who closed earlier this year due to rent issues. Currently, Queens Center Mall is working on a standalone Shake Shack that will open sometime in 2016. There is no official word on when the Forest Hills location will open up.

If you are craving the burger joint at this very moment, you can head to locations at JFK or within other boroughs and Long Island. The other Queens location is at Citi Field.

Are you excited for the opening of Shake Shack? Let us know!


Danny Brown Wine Bar & Kitchen gets shut down by fire

Danny Brown, one of Queens’ top five chefs, was handed yet another turn of bad luck when a fire erupted at his restaurant.

In recent months, Brown’s restaurant, Danny Brown Wine Bar & Kitchen, announced that they were closing their doors at the end of the year due to rent issues. The famed restaurant also suffered the loss of the prestigious Michelin star.

The fire began around 2:30 a.m. in the boiler room on November 1. Fire officials believe that the fire started due to a water heater’s close location to combustible materials. Although there are no injuries reported, there was severe damage. For instance, the restaurant lost the drop ceiling in the basement.


Danny Brown Wine Bar & Kitchen Facebook

“We did suffer damages to the electrical in the basement, water and smoke damage,” Audrey Brown, co-owner of the restaurant, said to DNAinfo. “We are doing our best to get up and running, but it is quite a climb, the boiler room has to be re-built and we still don’t have our refrigerators back.”

Before reopening, the Health Department will have to inspect the restaurant.


Forest Hills insurance broker busted for larceny, insurance fraud

Andrew Teitelbaum, a licensed insurance broker operating out of Forest Hills is accused of grand larceny, insurance fraud and other crimes for allegedly writing policies for “dollar vans” but claiming the high-risk vehicles were used for other purposes to get discounted rates, according to Queens County District Attorney Richard Brown. He’s also accused of putting the insurance policies in the names of mystery friends, instead of the actual drivers.

“While the direct victim in this case is an insurance company, everyone who pays for auto insurance is also victimized with higher premiums,” said District Attorney Brown. “The defendant is accused of knowingly writing policies for ‘dollar vans’ but stating on insurance forms that the vehicles would make deliveries only or claimed other less risky usage. It is alleged that an undercover investigator visited the defendant’s Forest Hills office and twice walked out with cheaper premiums, and once even received an additional discount for taking a safe driver course even though he’d never taken the class.”

Teitelbaum, 59, of Lakeside Lane in West Hampton, New York, operated DG East Point Insurance Agency at 98- 20 Metropolitan Ave. in Forest Hills. He faces charges of second-degree larceny, second and third-degree insurance fraud, third-degree grand larceny, second-degree forgery, first-degree identity theft, first-degree falsifying business records and first-degree scheme to defraud. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.


Aaheli restaurant opens in Forest Hills


Yelp/Matt L.

While the Forest Hills area has seen its fair share of restaurant closings, eatery violations and new markets in the past couple of months, you can now add the addition of a new Indian restaurant to the list.

Aaheli recently opened at 71-51 Yellowstone Boulevard, the same location where Pomegranate Glatt Kosher stood before closing earlier this year. The restaurant, which offers both Northern and Southern Indian cuisines, first opened in 2009 in Manhattan where it received good reviews among patrons, including a 4-star rating on Yelp.

Some staple dishes include Badshahi Rogan Josh, a lamb curry with ground spices and tomato gravy, as well as chicken vindaloo, a Goan style chicken cooked with potatoes in a spicy sauce. There are over 20 vegetarian dishes, including sabji saag malai, which consists of cauliflower and potatoes in a spinach sauce.

The restaurant is just one of a few Indian eateries in the area. For food lovers, the close proximity will surely be appreciated.