Friday, September 18, 2015

Yard Sale To Help Repair The Forest Hills Inn, 9/20

You're Invited! Help repair the historic Forest Hills Inn by attending the 1st Annual Yard Sale at the Tea Garden at 1 Station Square, Forest Hills Gardens.

September 20, 2015 from 10 AM - 4 PM

Book Signing by Michael Perlman, Author of “Legendary Locals of Forest Hills and Rego Park.”

Lots of great items await!

(Rain Date: September 27)

Friday, May 29, 2015

5/31 Barnes & Noble All Day Celebration - Help Save Forest Hills Character!

FREE SPECIAL EVENT at Barnes & Noble at 70-00 Austin St. on SUN, MAY 31 from 10:00 AM to 7 PM

Barnes & Noble and Author Michael Perlman are proud to invite the community to Customer Appreciation Day. The eventful lineup will feature:

- A book “Buy-In” to help support Barnes & Noble, which is under threat of closing… Purchase any book all day long.

- Free food from Knish Nosh, Red Pipe Organic Café, & La Boulangerie

- Beginning at 10 AM: Raffle – Enter to win a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook 7” tablet!

Free B&N tote bag for the 1st 200 customers making a purchase.

- 2:30 PM: Children’s storytime with SKITTLES THE CLOWN, balloon animals & face painting 

- 4 PM: Performances by notable musicians LOU MICHAELS & DOUG LEBLANG

- 5 PM: Author MICHAEL PERLMAN will have a book talk & signing of his new book, “Legendary Locals of Forest Hills and Rego Park” & notable magician MICHAEL CHAUT will leave his audience spell-bound: 

More to come! Please invite your friends.

Press Roundup



Forest Hills Times:

Times Ledger:

Queens Chronicle:

In Gothamist:
"Barnes & Noble in Forest Hills is more than a typical chain store," Michael Perlman said. "Rather, it feels like a 22,000 square-foot mom and pop shop, since patrons are not treated like a number, and there are a number of superb community events for all age groups."

Thursday, May 7, 2015

May 17 Forest Hills Tree Giveaway To Donate 1,250th Tree To The Public

For Immediate Release

Contact: Michael Perlman
Forest Hills Tree Giveaway, Coordinator
Four Borough Neighborhood Preservation Alliance
Rego-Forest Preservation Council, Chair
Reserve a tree in advance at

May 17th Forest Hills Tree Giveaway To Donate 1,250th Tree

QUEENS, NY (May 2015) - As spring is in full swing, the Forest Hills Tree Giveaway has become a community tradition in MacDonald Park on Queens Boulevard and 70th Avenue.  Locals among citywide residents will line up in the park on Sunday, May 17 between 1 PM and 3 PM, and take home a small tree or perhaps a few among 200 free trees. Adopters will then plant their tree(s) in their residential front yard or backyard, at an apartment building with permission, in a schoolyard, or at their commercial property. 

The Forest Hills Tree Giveaway, which is held annually in May and periodically in October, will be the seventh event since 2011, bringing the total of adopted trees to an approximate 1,250. Adopters can select from 5 tree species, which consist of American Elm, Yellowwood, Fringe Tree, Red Buckeye, and Dawn Redwood. This will add to the diversity of trees donated at earlier events, where names included Black Gum, Magnolia, and Tulip.

Flashback: Capturing the essence of the May 2014 Forest Hills Tree Giveaway 
“These are great native trees that provide shade, food and shelter to animals, or tend to offer classic shapes such as the ‘V’ of the American Elm,” said Mike Mitchell, New York Restoration Project (NYRP) Director of Giveaways. He continued, “A stately excurrent growth pattern can be found in the Dawn Redwood with its red, peeling bark, and stunning flowers can be observed on the Fringe Tree, Yellowwood, and Red Buckeye.” 

This event is made possible through Four Borough Neighborhood Preservation Alliance (4BNPA) in partnership with NYRP and MillionTreesNYC. Lead sponsors are Toyota and TD Bank, and lead partners are plaNYC, NYC Parks, and NYRP. A supporting sponsor is jetBlue. Volunteers are derived from the 4BNPA, Rego-Forest Preservation Council, and Trylon Vet Care.

NYRP began coordinating tree giveaways in 2008. As of 2011, 4BNPA had the mission of advocating for landmarks and curbing overdevelopment, but then realized how environmental preservation is a significant complement to the city’s architectural achievements, which led to their partnership. Preservationist Michael Perlman became the Forest Hills Tree Giveaway coordinator. Perlman stated, “After the spring 2015 tree giveaway season ends, the quantity of citywide donated trees since the founding of the giveaway program will be somewhat greater than 50,000, which is a miracle within itself.” 

Perlman explained, “As extreme weather patterns intensified in recent years with a macroburst and two hurricanes, numerous trees succumbed within seconds. Despite loss, it helped influence communities to preserve mature trees and plant new ones.” The extensive range of benefits associated with trees include enhancing property values, marking a community’s history, offering a serene and colorful setting, capturing stormwater, reducing runoff, filtering and cooling the air, and conserving energy.  

NYRP remains committed toward adding new tree species to the varied tree canopy of the 5 boroughs. Mitchell said, “Diversity in NYC is very important because of the risk of disease and pests. Having a lower percentage of all tree species in our city means we can avoid a single issue creating the terrible side effects of losing tree canopy, like an increase in summertime temperatures or stormwater runoff events.”  

Inspirational stories are often linked to tree giveaway events. Mitchell explained, “My daughter Wren Mitchell was born in April 2014, and this year we finally moved to an apartment with a backyard that our landlord allowed us to landscape. In honor of her birthday, we planted four trees, and each was planted with the help of my parents, my wife, and her parents.” He continued, “What a great way to gather and celebrate our daughter by planting trees that will grow throughout her lifetime.”

At the tree giveaway, adopters are routinely photographed with their trees. Additionally, tree adoption certificates name trees after local landmarks, historic streets, and notables, which helps foster a relationship among adopters and their trees.

“We expect that within thirty years, after most of the trees have grown to maturity, there could be more than 10 acres of tree canopy established in Forest Hills and Rego Park alone from 4BNPA’s efforts,” said Mitchell.

On May 17, 2015, those who wish to adopt a potted tree should line up earlier than 1 PM in MacDonald Park.

The public can reserve a tree by visiting or by registering for a tree at the event on a first-come, first-served basis.
“Like” Forest Hills Tree Giveaways on Facebook:


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Landmarks Law Turns 50 & Is Marked By Praise, Criticism, & Commitment

To nominate a landmark-worthy site, interior, or district, complete a Request For Evaluation form:

Mayor Robert Wagner signing the Landmarks Law, April 19, 1965, Photograph by Margot Gayle, Courtesy of the New York Preservation Archive Project

New York City’s Landmarks Law, which falls under the jurisdiction of the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), is being recognized by citywide residents as it turned 50 on April 19th. One such commemoration was the illumination of the Empire State Building in blue, gold, and white. On April 16th, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the New York City Council presented LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan with a proclamation to honor the Landmarks Law, the LPC, and the preservation community.

History has proven that it may take a travesty to result in some success stories. Back in 1963, hundreds of New Yorkers marched, urging the city to preserve the classic Penn Station back in 1963, but watched in awe as the wrecking ball slammed the grand ionic columns, eagles, and palatial arched interior. In 1965, the city responded to those pleas when Mayor Robert Wagner signed the Landmarks Law, but it could not resurrect Penn Station’s glory.

Nevertheless, the LPC did not act swiftly to calendar, hear, and designate other unofficial landmarks such as Howard Johnson’s Restaurant on Queens Boulevard in Rego Park, nicknamed “The largest roadside restaurant in the United States,” and the Singer Building, one of America’s first skyscrapers to be illuminated at night. 

Howard Johnson's not landmarked in time & demolished... all for a banal black glass office tower. Note the Trylon & Perisphere monuments, the symbol of the 1939 World's Fair in the background.
   It may be difficult to visualize a cityscape without landmarks such as Carnegie Hall and Grand Central Station, and Individual Landmarks and Historic Districts in Washington Square Park and SoHo. However, these properties and neighborhoods nearly faced demolition, if not for the heroic preservation advocacy of respectively violinist Isaac Stern, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and urban theorist and author Jane Jacobs.  

LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan explained, “Over the past 50 years, we have protected over 33,000 architecturally, historically, and culturally significant buildings and sites throughout all five boroughs. I am proud to say that since I was appointed Chair, we have designated around 1,700 additional buildings.”

Referencing the Preservation Department’s excess of 13,000 work applications for landmarked properties annually, she said, “The Commission rigorously reviews these applications to find architectural solutions to meet today’s exciting challenges of sustainability, adaptive reuse, and new construction in historic districts, all while preserving the significant architectural features and character of the landmarked properties.” She then extended gratitude to her fellow Commissioners and staff members, alongside the dedication of property owners who become stewards, architects who are creative yet historically-sensitive, and preservation advocates and community groups who often play a major role in public hearings after nominating sites and districts by submitting a Request For Evaluation (RFE) form.

Many community residents feel that Forest Hills and Rego Park, which have a shared history that dates to 1906 and 1923, have long been underserved by the LPC in the name of Individual Landmarks (facades), Interior Landmarks, and Historic Districts. Forest Hills has three landmarks which are the Remsen Cemetery (designated 1981), the Ridgewood Savings Bank (designated 2000), and Engine Company 305, Hook &Ladder Company 151 (designated 2012). Rego Park has yet to receive designations. 

Engine Co. 305, Hook & Lader Co. 151, Photo by Michael Perlman
Ridgewood Savings Bank, 107-55 Queens Blvd, Photo by Michael Perlman
Remsen Cemtery, Photo by Michael Perlman
Dadras Architects, a firm led by partners Robert Dadras and Victor Dadras, are the founders of the Downtown Revitalization Group, a collaborative which specializes in the revitalization and redevelopment of main streets and neighborhood commercial corridors, as well as historic preservation, urban design, and adaptive reuse. Now they wish to assist Forest Hills and Rego Park with their preservation, revitalization, and landmarking initiatives.

The firm emphasized the need for greater public education about architecture and the landmarking process. Dadras Architects explained, "Landmarking is overwhelmingly successful in every scenario; from economically to socially to environmentally. Property values have increased, historic architecture has been restored, and new buildings nearby have been designed better." They continued, "Preservation always costs less than building anew, is greener, supports your local businesses, and enables potential grants and tax credits for restoration."

"Preservation should extend beyond the Forest Hills Gardens," stated Dadras Architects. They proposed a historic preservation weekend in Forest Hills and Rego Park, consisting of tours and educational conferences as an initial step. 

Historian Jeff Gottlieb, President of Central Queens Historical Association, leads the Downtown Forest Hills Tour at the corner of Austin St & Continental Ave, September 2010
“There is minimal awareness of the rich history of Queens,” said Linda Fisher, a Forest Hills resident and a licensed NYC tour guide. She continued, “Neighborhood history can come alive through walking tours, lectures, and oral histories by residents.” Locally, she envisions numerous landmarking candidates including the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium, the Metropolitan Industrial Bank building (Bank of America), the Forest Hills Post Office, and the former Jamaica Savings Bank. 

Metropolitan Industrial Bank building, 99-01 Queens Blvd in 1952, Courtesy of Queens Chamber of Commerce
Metropolitan Industrial Bank building at 99-01 Queens Blvd in 2014, Photo by Michael Perlman

Former Jamaica Savings Bank at 89-01 Queens Boulevard, Elmhurst in 2009, Photo by Michael Perlman
A National Register of Historic Places site: Forest Hills Post Office, 106-28 Queens Blvd, Photo by Greg Godfrey  
Forest Hills Tennis Stadium, Photo by Michael Perlman
Anita Nelson, also from Forest Hills, cringes when she spots McMansions in place of landmark-worthy homes in the Cord Meyer section of Forest Hills, such as the Al Jolson house, and suggested Individual Landmarking to spare the remnants. Additionally, her wish list includes the Queens Medical Society building, Sterling National Bank, and Arbor Close and Forest Close. “With the advent of social media, it’s easier to bring these campaigns to the attention of local citizens who would like to become involved,” she said. 

Forest Close, Photo by Michael Perlman
Arbor Close, Photo by Michael Perlman
Medical Society of The County of Queens, 115-25 Queens Blvd, Photo by Michael Perlman
Sterling National Bank at 108-01 Queens Blvd in 1963, Originally Masonic Temple followed by Boulevard Bank

The Al Jolson house, a Tudor Gothic gem facing demolition in 2006
Astonished by the lack of local designations, Rego Park resident Lisa Stone said, “It is an outrage that more buildings receive landmark status in Manhattan than in Queens. I will research landmark-worthy buildings in Rego Park, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, and Elmhurst, and lobby the LPC to assure that they swiftly earn the title they richly deserve, beginning with the Midway Theatre.”

Echoing her sentiment, architect and musician William Gati of Kew Gardens referred to the LPC’s Manhattan address. He said, “There are borough offices for City Planning, the Department of Buildings, and all major agencies, except the LPC. This lack of representation indicates a philosophy that the boroughs are not as important as Manhattan. I strongly believe Queens would be better served if we had our own LPC borough office to address specific requests.”

Edward Wendell, President of the Woodhaven Cultural & Historical Society, eyes Historic District status for a large section of Forest Park and the LaLance & Grojean Factory Clock Tower, and said, “I hope the 50th anniversary celebration will bring attention to the many extremely worthy locations around Queens. Each site we can secure with landmarking is one to be enjoyed for generations to come.” He questioned, “Why imagine what these places looked like or view them in old pictures?”

LaLance & Grojean Factory Clock Tower at the turn-of-the-century, Courtesy of Project Woodhaven

This feature also appears in the Forest Hills Times

Friday, February 27, 2015

March 6 at 7 PM - Michael Perlman's Book Signing at Barnes & Noble, Forest Hills To Recognize Celebrities Among Notables

For Immediate Release


Michael H. Perlman
Author of “Legendary Locals of Forest Hills and Rego Park”

Signing & Presentation at Barnes & Noble To Launch New Book on Forest Hills & Rego Park Celebrities/Notables

QUEENS, NY (March 2015) - Introducing "Legendary Locals of Forest Hills and Rego Park," a new 128-page book written by native Forest Hills resident and preservationist Michael H. Perlman and published by Arcadia Publishing. On March 6, 2015 at 7 PM, Perlman will conduct a book signing, presentation, and question and answer session at Barnes & Noble at 70-00 Austin Street in Forest Hills. Readers will discover the unique stories of over 200 Forest Hills and Rego Park notables including celebrities, who have shaped its culture and history, and may have impacted society.

“My book features an array of quotes from notables including celebrities, as well as descendants of notables, which grants an eternal presence to their voice,” said Perlman. “The average individual that I encounter is unaware of the heavily concentrated quantity of celebrities whose lives were influenced as a result of living or working in Forest Hills or Rego Park, where its historic surroundings are a breeding ground for culture, the arts, and various trades.”

A diverse showcase will offer insight on musicians, actors, artists, sports figures, politicians, farmers, architects, developers, inventors, philanthropists, and longtime business owners. Wherever possible, home addresses are featured. Notables include Jerry Springer (wrote the book’s foreword), Helen Keller, Carol Channing, Ray Romano, Burt Bacharach, Stevie Wonder, Sid Caesar, Carroll O’Connor, Donna Karan, Geraldine Ferraro, Grosvenor Atterbury and Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr, Philip Birnbaum, Ascan Backus, Walter Dorwin Teague, Simon & Garfunkel, the Ramones, Dale Carnegie, Malthe Hasselriis, sisters Gypsy Rose Lee and June Havoc, Dennis Tito, Bob Keeshan (“Captain Kangaroo”), John Beltzer, Doug Leblang, and Michael Chaut.

Also featured are several community destinations, which are associated with the appearances of notables. Some “landmarks” are the Forest Hills Gardens, Forest Hills Tennis Stadium, the Midway and Trylon theatres, Eddie’s Sweet Shop, Knish Nosh, Ben’s Best Delicatessen, and the former Fairyland Amusement Park, Hamburger Train, and Boulevard Tavern and Stratton entertainment venues.

Michael H. Perlman is a writer, news columnist, editor, and public relations consultant. He is chairman of Rego-Forest Preservation Council and a recipient of the Historic District Council's 2014 Grassroots Preservation Award. His pursuits range from singing in Carnegie Hall to photography, graphic design, and tree giveaway events.

Perlman stated, “I hope my readers will explore the historic neighborhoods of Forest Hills (1906) and Rego Park (1923), as well as acquire an interest in their neighborhood’s history. I envision a greater audience feeling inspired by the accomplishments of their past and present neighbors to become notables on either a personal level or in their community or society.”

For more information, visit and “Like” his Facebook page:

For updates, visit


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Rediscovering Modernism in Queens - A Call for Preservation!

1st prize winner Metropolitan Industrial Bank, now Bank of America, 99-01 Queens Blvd, Photo by Michael Perlman

By Michael Perlman

The Queens Modern project is commemorating and exploring the appeal and significance of mid-century modern architecture in Queens, which often goes unappreciated.

Last year, Brooklyn resident and historic preservationist Frampton Tolbert, former deputy director of the Historic Districts Council, received an independent project grant from the state Council on the Arts for the endeavor, which can be found at

It is questionable as to why modern architecture in Queens and citywide is largely unrecognized and lacking of landmark designations, when in fact a minimal requirement for a landmarked site is to be 30 years old.

“There are many possible reasons, including that Queens architecture in general is considered less significant than architecture in other boroughs,” said Tolbert. “Part of this project is an effort to change that.”

Another goal is to showcase an array of forgotten and untold stories behind the development of noteworthy modern buildings, which will include everything from developers such as Alfred Kaskel to architects like Simeon Heller to owners, including the Leo F. Kearns family.

Tolbert considers Queens Modern a natural evolution of his popular blog, He currently serves as the director of development and communications at the Center for Urban Pedagogy, and sits on the boards of Victorian Society New York and the Recent Past Preservation Network.

The Queens Chamber of Commerce is known for its annual building awards, which encourages and recognizes creative development. Queens Modern chronicles the period of 1948 to 1970, when the chamber honored approximately 400 Queens buildings. Tolbert's mission is to personally survey all sites.

Currently, Queens Modern features 150 of the projects, but Tolbert plans to spotlight all the award-winners from this period, in addition to other sites from the era.

“I've discovered so many unique threads and stories, and really have scratched the surface,” Tolbert said. “In my mind, the height of design and development was the 1950s and 1960s.”

He pinpointed classic examples of modernism such as the Leslie Apartments (1948) at 150 Greenway Terrace in the Forest Hills Gardens; the Metropolitan Industrial Bank (1952), now known as Bank of America at 99-01 Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills; the former Scandinavian Airlines System building (1955) at 138-02 Queens Boulevard in Jamaica; and Barkin, Levin & Co. (1958) at 12-12 33rd Avenue in Long Island City.

“I am very intrigued by the Metropolitan Industrial Bank, which is very unlike architect Philip Birnbaum's other works, which tended to be large brick apartment buildings for the middle and upper class,” said Tolbert. “I feel the idea that this was a showcase of modern industrial materials needs to be explored further.”

For Tolbert, conducting research is a work in progress, and his site will continue to grow. He said, “I've discovered so many unique threads and stories, and really have scratched the surface.” He continued, “I look forward to highlighting more information about prolific but largely unknown architects, such as John O'Malley and Raymond Irrera, examining development trends like the increase in Catholic church construction, as well as discussing how major working and middle class housing developments including Lefrak City, Electchester, and Glen Oaks Village came about.” 

 Furthering the mission of Queens Modern, he said, “I would like to convene a panel of speakers to discuss modernism in Queens and New York City in general. I also hope to coordinate an event including an exhibit at the Queens Chamber of Commerce.”

A similar version of this feature appears in the Forest Hills Times:

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Save The Cinemart Theatre & Watch "American Sniper" - A Major Film By Clint Eastwood

You can  help rescue the historic Cinemart Theatre by seeing a major film screening which begins this week! Please share with everyone & buy tickets:

Cinemart Cinemas at 106-03 Metropolitan Ave in Forest Hills has a second chance for survival, since Warner Bros. Pictures has at last licensed a first-run film, “American Sniper,” which is also one of the year’s most acclaimed films, produced and directed by Clint Eastwood.

* Previews will be screened on January 15 at 7 PM, 8 PM, and 9 PM, and include free popcorn and a drink with refills.

* Beginning on January 16, there will be 8 to 9 daily screenings through the Oscars (February 22) and likely beyond.

The Cinemart is being tested! If the film does not draw a large enough audience, owner Nicolas Nicolaou may have no choice but to close his 5-screen theater, which dates to 1927, since Hollywood studios will likely issue no other first-run films. However, he is determined to make every effort.

The Cinemart's year-round lower price policy consists of a $6.00 admission for weekday matinees (12 PM to 5 PM) with an extension to Tuesday evenings. Seniors and children pay $6.00 at all times. General admission for adults is $9.00. Patrons can anticipate complimentary popcorn and a drink with Wednesday and Thursday admissions.

If ticket sales prove successful, the owner envisions restoring and renovating one of the borough's last continuously operated independent movie theaters.

The Cinemart as the Inwood Theatre, June 1949