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.


9th National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

Do you have outdated, unused or unwanted prescription drugs collecting dust in your medicine cabinet?

In an attempt to prevent increased pill abuse and theft, doors to the 112th Precinct (68-30 Austin St.) will be open for a no-question drop-off on Saturday, September 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. as part of the 9th National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

DEA agents will be on hand to accept the pills at the precinct and others across both Brooklyn and Queens.

Call the 112th Precinct at 718-520-9311 or visit for more information.


New Vision Zero measures taken on Queens Boulevard

Community Board 6 district manager Frank Guilliscio assured the new changes on Yellowstone Boulevard would be discussed with DOT at the November meeting.

In response to dangerous conditions for both pedestrians and bicyclists, the city has now banned drivers from making a left turn from Yellowstone Boulevard onto Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills.

But some members at Community Board 6 voiced their concern over the recent change at last week’s board meeting at the district office on Kew Gardens Rd.

Gail Gordon, first vice chair of CB6, said she is worried that drivers will turn towards 69th Street and cause congestion along the narrow business district.

“Where is the traffic going to go?” Gordon asked. “I don’t have an understanding and that’s why I’m concerned.”

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



Mission of the Forest Hills/Rego Park Lions Club

For over a century, Forest Hills and Rego Park has been fortunate to have culturally and generationally diverse residents who engage in tireless efforts to enhance the quality of life for their community and society, where today’s volunteers becoming tomorrow’s shapers.

This is very much evident at the Rego Park-Forest Hills Lions Club, which held a ceremonial dinner at Portofino Ristorante, 109-32 Ascan Avenue, on September 7. Members and their families and friends witnessed Rince Calder’s appointment as president for the 2014-2015 term, which was previously filled by Pauline Lam.

Calder, a 15-year Lion, stepped up with grace and said she is open to ideas.

“I hope to increase our membership and add new projects to our agenda,” Calder said. “Don’t be skeptical of the unknown, and give yourself without the expectation of receiving something in return. When you glance at what you have done for others, this will be your reflection of kindness and compassion.”

Read more at the Forest Hills/Rego Park Times.


Embattled P.S. 101 teacher defended by colleagues at Boy Scout Troop 96

11160756125_fa2ba07bd7_mThe reinstatement of a teacher who was accused of choking a female student in his first grade class last year has parents at PS101 up in arms. But many who have worked closely with him say the allegations are out of character for the Troop 96 Scout Leader.

Richard Parlini was removed from the classroom at PS101 in Forest Hills Gardens last year, charged a $2,500 fine and required to attend a six-hour training course.

“Ensuring the safety of all students is a top priority and we work with each school community to make sure all children have safe and supportive learning environments,” a DOE official said.

In reaction to the DOE decision to keep Parlini out of the classroom, Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz said, “At this time, I am satisfied that the teacher in question will not be giving instruction in a classroom. Future developments, if any, will be closely monitored by my office.”

According to a previous statement by the DOE, the claim that Parlini actually put his hands around the neck of one of his female students is unsubstantiated, though he has been disciplined previously for claims of verbal abuse and corporal punishment in the classroom.

Parlini’s colleagues from Boy Scout Troop 96 tell a different story.

“I’ve received emails from the scoutmasters that have worked with him and they have never observed anything that would make them uncomfortable,” Adario said.

Read more at The Forest Hills/Rego Park Times.


Kew Gardens Fall Flea Market

preview-en-usThe Kew Gardens Fall Flea Market will  be held on Saturday, September 13, 2014 from 8AM to 5PM, (rain date September 20, 2014.)  The Flea Market is being held at the LIRR North Parking Lot, 82-60 Austin Street in Kew Gardens. The ’Heavenly Angels Animal Rescue’ will be there with dogs and cats for adoption from 1 to 5 PM.  Shop over 30 vendors selling books, albums, household items, antiques, clothing, collectables, pottery and much more. 100% of the vendor fees benefit the JHMC Pediatric Department.