Geraldine Ferraro Democratic Clubs inaugural meeting in Forest Hills

District Leader Michael Cohen

District Leader Michael Cohen with Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi and Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz

The Geraldine A. Ferraro Democratic Club held their inaugural meeting at Banter Irish Bar and Kitchen, located at 108-22 Queens Blvd., on Wednesday in Forest Hills, combining the two current clubs in the district. Councilwoman and District Leader Karen Koslowitz, District Leader Michael Cohen and the Community Empowerment Democratic Association (Robert F. Kennedy Democratic Association) joined Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi, State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky and Borough President Melinda Katz to help kick off the new club in honor of former Congresswoman Ferraro. “You have more people, you can get more accomplished,” Koslowitz said of the benefits of having one unified front.”The sky is the limit.”


Local business owners expand their reach

A column by Michael Perlman in the Forest Hills/Rego Park Times

Young restaurateurs with big dreams can achieve much success.

That is the case for Peter Kambitsis and Elias Kalogiros, who are partners and friends since high school, and have planted their roots in Forest Hills.

Ripe Juice Bar & Grill at 70-13 Austin Street opened in 2008, followed by Exo Café at 70-20 Austin Street in 2011.

After proving how healthy meets trendy, they have now unveiled Freshark Juice Bar & Grill, their first franchise at 312 Sunrise Highway in Rockville Centre. [FHT]



Google tablet rentals begin at Forest Hills Library

Starting today, the Forest Hills Library, located at 108-19 71st Ave., is now offering Google tablet rentals to their readers.

While this service is new to the neighborhood, the program originally began last year after Google donated 5,000 tablets to the Queens Library to enhance programs damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

The tablets; pre-loaded with health resources, e-books and e-magazines as well as information for job seekers, are available for first-time renters with an photo ID and a signed release waver. [DNA]



Fall Harvest Festival

Celebrate the new season with a special fall-themed event from the Parks Department and Councilman Eric Ulrich at Victory Field in Forest Park this Sunday from noon to 3 p.m.

Bring out the whole family for a number of live performances, crafts, games, pumpkins, face painting and more near the intersection of Woodhaven Boulevard and Myrtle Avenue.

Call the Parks Department at 718-235-4100 or email for more information.


A century of the Hasselriis family

Floyd Hasselriis with his wife Helen in their Forest Hills home.

A column by Michael Perlman in the Forest Hills/Rego Park Times

Born in 1922, one of the Forest Hills Gardens’ oldest residents is Floyd Hasselriis, who lives with his wife Helen, and is proud to tell his Forest Hills story, which includes the life of his father, Malthe M. Hasselriis (1888 – 1970), a nationally recognized artist.

Hasselriis’ grandfather was a native of Denmark and arrived in Whitepot in 1904, which would be renamed Forest Hills in 1906. He lived in the earliest Neo-Renaissance rowhouses on Roman Avenue (now 72nd Avenue) between Austin Street and Queens Boulevard.

He had two daughters, who wed brothers Caspar and Malthe Hasselriis, and each had four children. In 1916, Malthe purchased 116 Ascan Avenue for $16,000, which was the birthplace of Norman, Jeanne, and Floyd. In 1923, they moved to a larger home at 52 Seasongood Road.

As an apprentice, Malthe painted old houses, and afterwards worked with Royal Mural Painters in Copenhagen castles, mastering the technique of staining glass windows and painting murals. In America, Malthe began as a commercial artist who illustrated the faces of models for fashion catalogues.

“My father made as much as $13,000 a year in those days,” said Hasselriis.

However, advances in photography reduced the need for commercial artists, and around 1930 preferences shifted. [FHT]


Cinemart Cinemas at risk of closing

A column by Michael Perlman in the Forest Hills/ Rego Park Times

The Cinemart as it looked in August of 1980. (Photo: Jim Azzara)

In an age of large corporations governing the movie industry and films customarily available on DVD, Netflix, and Movies On Demand, independent theater owners in particular need to have a gimmick in order to lead a successful business.

At first, single-screen theaters shuttered, and now some multiplexes are vanishing at a fast rate. Forest Hills and Rego Park have witnessed the closure of the Trylon, the Forest Hills, the Drake and, most recently, the Continental (UA Brandon).

Now the historic Cinemart Cinemas, located at 106-03 Metropolitan Avenue, is at risk of joining that list if the community does not lend their support. To increase the Cinemart’s viability, owner Nicolas Nicolaou is open to public input.

Not long after Nicolaou renovated the five-screen theater in the early 2000s and introduced the Theater Café with its bar, cozy fireplace, and sidewalk café, the realities behind the movie industry shifted.

“The major Hollywood studios cut off any first-run movies to our independently owned theater eight years ago, and we have been operating at a loss,” said Nicolaou. “Our community deserves an upscale first-run facility. We should not have to travel away from our area to watch a movie, and also deserve having choices.

“We are part of our neighborhood for almost 90 years, and have added historic character and business to our community,” he added. [Read More]



Tennis Stadium promoters receive citations for noise violations

Following what promoters thought was a near flawless concert series at the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium, new complaints have surfaced and citations for noise violations have been issued by the city.

Despite hip-hop beats from a late summer performance by rappers Lil Wayne and Drake, as well a handful of A-list musical acts that played the legendary concert and tennis venue, complaints from nearby residents were few and far between according to some local leaders.

Community Board 6 (CB6) reported just eight total complaints for the entire summer. There were some warnings regarding the noise levels from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) during a recent Friday night performance by The Replacements, so promoter Madison House Presents representative Mike Luba said his company brought in sound blankets to dampen the noise for the final performance from Phil Lesh and Friends on the following Sunday night.

“We weren’t issued any problems all summer,” Luba said. “When we left Friday, we were told everything was fine, and did the show Sunday and everything was fine there. Then early in the week we were issued a citation, so it’s a little frustrating.” [FHT]



Two Forest Hills visionaries remembered

Philip Birnbaum and Alfred Kaskel hold an award from the Queens Chamber of Commerce for one of their many buildings

The population of Queens continues to grow, but how often do we take a moment to appreciate the novelty and distinctive characteristics that contributed to its diversity and appeal?

Meet the award-winning duo of architect Philip Birnbaum (1907-1996) and builder Alfred Kaskel (1901-1968) of Carol Management, a pair of noteworthy community visionaries. They sensed opportunity in Forest Hills in 1939, when they realized its accessibility and growing population, resulting from the development of the IND subway line in 1936 and the 1939 World’s Fair.

Their numerous apartment houses within the confines of Yellowstone Boulevard and 108th Street uniquely merge Colonial and Art Moderne styles. From 1939 to 1942, they built the Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Andrew Jackson and Benjamin Franklin.

Their buildings were marked by detailed large lobbies with picture windows overlooking a central courtyard with sunken fountains. They are also noted for curved brick corner terraces and exposures that maximize sunlight and fresh air. Some of their lobbies were furnished with antiques collected in Europe.

“My father worked with Alfred Kaskel for perhaps more than 30 years,” said Dara Birnbaum, a video artist and professor. “They were amazingly close with much mutual respect.”

Read the full story at the Forest Hills/Rego Park Times.


Kiwanis fundraiser at Lynn’s Riding School

The Kiwanis Club of Middle Village is hosting an indoor horse and pony ride fundraising event this Saturday, Sept. 27 at Lynne’s Riding School, located at 88-03 70th Rd., Forest Hills, from 4 to 6 p.m.

Tickets are $10 for three rides around the ring. Parents must walk with small children and are also welcome to ride — 200 lb. limit.

Following the event, children are also invited to meet a firefighter for a special fire safety experience with the FDNY.