Reverse Mortgage for your Forest Hills home?

- This is sponsored content for the Forest Hills Gardens Blog –

Forest Hills has been a highly desired neighborhood for many years, but real estate agents in the area say prices for houses are now reaching record highs.

The rise of prices is being stimulated in part by the high demand from those who want out of Brooklyn and Manhattan and families looking to settle in a community with low crime, tree lined streets and a plethora of transportation options.

In the past year, a single family Tudor home at 72 Tennis Place, in Forest Hills Gardens, sold for a record $4.3 million. The three story home has seven bedrooms, five bathrooms and a backyard patio.


What is a Reverse Mortgage?

A reverse mortgage is a special type of home loan that lets you convert a portion of the equity in your home into cash. The equity that you built up over years of making mortgage payments can be paid to you – while you remain living in your home. Visit a leading Reverse Mortgage company in Queens to learn more.

defer_social-security_retirement_benefits_with_reverse_mortgage-resized-600Why is Counseling needed and why is it important?

When applying for a Reverse Mortgage one of the prerequisites is the completion of HUD counseling. HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) underwrites all Reverse Mortgages. Counseling must be completed before your application can be submitted to underwriting. This requirement has been put into place as a safety measure to protect seniors and their homes.

Before you apply for a Reverse Mortgage you will be instructed to schedule an appointment with a third party HUD approved counseling agency. Theses agencies have no affiliation with any lenders and only serve the purpose of educating seniors considering applying for a Reverse Mortgage. The counseling session consists of a phone call appointment which typically last between 30-45 minutes.


During the call, a HUD approved counselor will discuss:

  • Financial Implications of a Reverse Mortgage
  • Costs of Obtaining a Reverse Mortgage
  • Repayment Conditions of a Reverse Mortgage
  • Borrower Obligations while using a Reverse Mortgage
  • Alternatives to a Reverse Mortgage


After all of the above has been thoroughly explained, the counselor will answer any additional questions the applicant may have.

I always encourage the borrower(s) to invite important family members to participate on the call. Since they are looking out for the applicant’s best interests, it usually makes sense for them to be part of the process. Please note that the applicant must be present on the call and able to answer identifying questions.

HUD counseling has proved to be yet another great leap forward in providing additional security in the Reverse Mortgage Process. A Reverse Mortgage is a financial tool, and like any tool, it is only effective when used correctly.

For additional information about HUD counseling or general Reverse Mortgage questions, visit a top reverse mortgage company in NYC.


The Cinemart Movie Theater in Forest Hills receives strong support from community

Residents of Forest Hills and surrounding areas of Queens came out in full force to support the historic Cinemart theater on the brink of folding.

The Cinemart Theater  hosted sell-out crowds for multiple showings of “American Sniper” and other films on the bill, said owner Nicolas Nicolaou.cc_img1

The show of support was strong enough to postpone the short-term plans to close the financially struggling theater, he said.

“The community wants to send a message that this theater has something special for them and the character that comes with being here for 90 years,” he said.



This weekend is make or break for Forest Hills Cinemart Movie Theater

If you are familiar with the Cinemart Movie Theater in Forest Hills, you know that the theatre does not show brand new, first run films. The reason being that the theater did not have the technology to do so.

But after a $300,000 investment to add industry standard digital projection to the theater, owner Nicolas Nicolaou is getting a shot from Hollywood to feature the industry’s newest movies.

On Friday, the historic theater will be showing Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper,” and if the largetheater sells enough tickets, the future of the theater will be secured for another 85 years, Nicolaou says.

However, 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,” said Nicolaou. “I hope at the end of the day we will be there and the community has supported us overwhelmingly.”


Learn Mosaic Art in Forest Hills

Are you a resident of Forest Hills and want to try something new?
Learn the beautiful art, craft and history of authentic Byzantine mosaic artistry.
Classes are informal and friendly with an emphasis on learning and fun!
Session One – 11:30AM- 2PM – February 3, 10, 17, 24, March 3 and 10Session Two – 7PM – 9:30PM – February 3, 10, 17, 24, March 3 and 10

Session three – 7PM – 9:30PM – February 5, 12, 19, 26, March 5 and 12

All students will be permitted to make up one missed class at the studio. Classes are for beginners with no prior experience necessary. All supplies, tools, smalti (glass) and substrates * are provided.

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Class Schedules and Pricing – $300 per session
*Session = 6 Classes*Call Linda at: 646.872.8494 for more info. or email


Pearl Jam fans raise $100,000

Fans of the band Pearl Jam are begging the band to come play for them at the newly-restored Forest Hills Stadium this summer, and they just might pull it off.

Inspired by a previously successful campaign to bring the Foo Fighters to Richmond, Virginia, a crowdfunding initiative was started two months ago, and already it has brought in $104,262 from 452 backers as of noon on Wednesday, January 7, 2015.

“This would be a unforgettable evening(s) for the band, the fans, the crew and NYC. We have the support of several PJ groups on FB and Twitter and will give our proposal to Pearl Jam management no later than 1/2015,” says the Tilt fundraising site dedicated to the crowd fund. “If The Beatles, The Who and Dylan can play Forest Hills why not add legendary Pearl Jam to the mix?”

So far, Pearl Jam’s management has not responded to requests for information as to whether the band will oblige their fans, but in November reporters were told that the band was on a rest break following a two-year tour cycle.

A fundraising event is scheduled to take place tomorrow night at 8 p.m. at Austin’s Ale House, located at 82-70 Austin Street in Kew Gardens.

The fundraising goal of the Tilt campaign $1 million, and unless the full goal is met – or the band decides to  play the show – no one will be charged, according to organizers.


Groping on the F train platform in Forest Hills

0Police are looking for a man who allegedly groped a 38-year-old woman on the southbound F train platform at the Queens Boulevard and 75th Avenue station in Forest Hills.

At around 7:40 a.m. on Tue., Dec. 30, police say a 5’9 Hispanic male grabbed the woman from behind, touching her buttocks and private parts before pushing her down to the ground.

He later fled the scene and ran eastbound along Queens Boulevard and then south on 76th Avenue, according to reports.

There were no reported injuries.

Officers say the man has a stocky build and was last seen wearing a dark colored jacket, dark colored backpack and had a green or camouflaged hat.


Artist looks to transform local arts scene

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

The visual arts scene in Forest Hills is on the rise, with new galleries at OvoSodo Italian Bistro at 110-60 Queens Boulevard, Red Pipe Organic Café at 71-60 Austin Street, and La Boulangerie at 109-01 72nd Road.

Enter Katherine Liepe-Levinson, a 32-year Forest Hills Gardens resident and an award-winning magic-realist photographer, who coordinated an art exhibition and holiday party at Ovo Gallery on December 18.

The event was well attended by neighborhood residents, business owners, and some out-of-towners. The show featured eleven works from Liepe-Levinson’s recent “Pond Series.” The works, which were shot at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge, are for sale and will remain on exhibition through February.

“I focused on some of the wondrous effects of water reflections, in order to make the ordinary pond strange and extraordinary, and have viewers ponder more deeply on the beauty and necessity of protecting our natural resources,” said Liepe-Levinson, who added that her ongoing endeavor is to capture freshwater ponds throughout Queens and Long Island as a means of conservation advocacy.

Guests felt her works resembled paintings, and referred to them as decorative, meditative, and thought-provoking.

“The vibrant colors and patterns are attributed to my use of camera angles to create natural polarization results, using high speed lenses to pause action, and carefully watching the play of the wind in the trees and on the surface of the water, creating reflections that look like abstract paintings,” the artist explained.

Contrary to popular belief, the use of Photoshop or related effects programs are not part of her palette, but rather a high-end digital camera, followed by processing the raw format images in Lightroom with traditional darkroom principles.

Liepe-Levinson hopes to promote other local artists. In a well-received presentation, she proposed the idea of establishing the Forest Hills Alliance of Artists and Restaurants/Cafes and called for volunteers. Ideally, the program would be launched in the early summer and feature an initial mini-art crawl.

“Many of our most desirable neighborhoods were first home to artists, such as in SoHo, Chelsea, and Williamsburg,” she said. “Forest Hills offers a great location and neighborhood feel, coupled with the nearby Queens Museum and entertainment choices. It’s a natural place to grow a more notable home for the arts and an even more desirable neighborhood.”

Visualizing two to three-month exhibitions featuring other artists at OvoSodo, Liepe-Levinson has already presented a contract to co-owner Roberto Lamorte for a plan of two to three-month rotating exhibitions.

Visit the Forest Hills/Rego Park Times for the full story.