Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Hanukkah! Our Landmarks Elicit Light, Soul, & Miracles

THEN: Rego Park Jewish Center at 97-30 Queens Blvd had its cornerstone laid in 1948. RPJC was designed by Frank Grad & Sons in a Bauhaus variation of the Art Moderne style, by the same firm which designed the Essex House on Manhattan's Central Park South. This photo is from 1950.
NOW: Rego Park Jewish Center proudly stands today, & has been honored by placement on the State & National Register of Historic Places in October 2009.
Happy Hanukkah! Let's celebrate in the name of miracles, and believe in the miracles of achieving preservation success stories to inspire us all. Too much beauty and historic significance is often sacrificed in the name of progress, but it is the gifted creations of mankind and the creations of nature that should withstand the test of time in a physical sense, rather than only existing in our minds or in the history texts. 
This is the Rego Park Jewish Center flickr photoset, and we are thankful that it has been placed on the State & National Register of Historic Places in October 2009 due to our research collaboration and advocacy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8095451@N08/sets/72157605758107073 
Given this distinctive status, Rego Park Jewish Center is now commemorated statewide & nationally, and the RPJC board has the option of for grants through the NYS Historic Preservation Office, as well as applying for funding through the NY Landmarks Conservancy non-profit's Sacred Sites Program.

Queens Borough President Helen Marshall's "Queens Synagogues National Register of Historic Places Reception," Dec 15, 2009 - Rego Park Jewish Center staff with BP Helen Marshall & Michael Perlman of Rego-Forest Preservation Council

We are thankful to our members of Rego-Forest Preservation Council, and our colleagues and friends who volunteer and support us as a community preservation organization.

Rego Park Jewish Center's mosaic mural adorns the Queens Blvd main sanctuary facade, & depicts scenes from the Old Testament. This mural was designed by Hungarian-born artist, A. Raymond Katz, a prominent figure in 20th century Judaic art in America.
Let's continue taking the steps towards preserving Rego Park, Forest Hills, and the great legacy of our neighboring communities.  

RPJC's sanctuary has 2 walls of stained glass windows which span the height of the sanctuary, & were also designed by the famed A. Raymond Katz.
Celebrate the "Festival of Lights," and seek and embrace miracles year-round. May there always be light!

Friday, December 9, 2011

All Aboard The QueensLine! Petition Drive For A 21st Century Queens Destination!!!

A fragment of the 3.5-mile stretch of the LIRR Rockaway Beach Branch Line is the Fleet Street trestle, which sits abandoned since 1962, Photo by Michael Gannon, Associate Editor of the Queens Chronicle.

Are you a fan of historic & environmental preservation, and recreation? Queens has a treasure waiting to happen! Visualize a mixed-use leafy & colorful path, offering a commanding view of Rego Park, Forest Hills, Woodhaven, Richmond Hill, and Ozone Park. As part of Mayor Bloomberg's PlaNYC 2030, every community resident should be within a 10-minute walk to a park.

Well... It takes moments to sign and post a comment on the PETITION to grant new life to the abandoned LIRR Rockaway Beach Branch Line as the "Queens (High) Line," which could become one of Queens' greatest assets. Please help spread the word through today's many methods of social media, and inform as many family members and friends as possible, to help reach a goal of 1,000 signatures as a start:


Follow & comment on "Envisioning The Queens High Line," which began as a blog by Anandi Premlall: http://queenshighline.blogspot.com

It greatly expanded into a 560-member Facebook Group, which began not long ago... Nov 13th, and I take pride in being one of the admins: http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/queenshighline

The cause has caught wind on Twitter too:

According to Peter Beadle, it would link the above Central & Southern Queens communities with Forest Park and the Brooklyn-Queens Greenway, and to nearby bike lanes leading to the recreational spaces of Rockaway Beach and Jamaica Bay, including the Shore Parkway path, Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and Gateway National Recreation Area. It would also connect at least five subway lines and numerous commercial districts, shops and schools.

As a case in point, at the NYC High Line, some only saw a structure unkempt for decades and called it an eyesore, calling for its demolition, but civic-minded NYC residents realized that beneath the grime, there was detail that read N-Y-C all over it. The High Line is a unique inspiration. It initiates greenery, spares a historic site from demolition, provides some recreation, hosts historic tours, connects and bonds our communities, creates jobs, and enhances community character and property values. It is a backyard treasure that becomes easily accessible.

A creative vision, teamwork, and perseverance resulted in the great success of the High Line in Manhattan, and the same can be achieved for a "Queens (High) Line." The wishes of the Queens community can be fulfilled through some of the same ingredients, and much can be accomplished through volunteers from all age groups, who walk Queens with every heartbeat.

This is a landmark opportunity to eliminate the heavy mass of litter at the site (wrecked cars, aluminum cans, plastic bags, tires), and sensitively and creatively reuse this 6-decade abandoned stretch for the 21st century. Imagine... how you can take your family and friends on a polished industrial relic bonding our Central & Southern Queens communities, and walking or bicycling through a 3.5-mile park and trail with some native vegetation and edible gardens, while reuniting with old friends and making new ones from Queens' diverse communities.

Trestle on Metropolitan Ave, Forest Hills of the abandoned LIRR Rockaway Line - A golden opportunity awaits! Photos by Michael Perlman, Rego-Forest Preservation Council

The trestles of the conceived Queens (High) Line were designed by the well-known American Bridge Company in 1908, at least in Forest Hills and Rego Park, which was when the company was only 8 years old. The company also played a role in the development of the Chrysler Building in 1929 and the Henry Hudson Bridge in 1936. We need to give more recognition to our industrial history. This is a photo tour on Old NYC of the LIRR Rockaway Line through the Whitepot Junction & Underjump (Whitepot was Forest Hills pre-1906), 63rd Dr to Fleet St, Fleet St to Yellowstone Blvd, Yellowstone Blvd to Metropolitan Ave, and other stops to a full-speed ahead to the Rockaways : http://www.oldnyc.com/rockaway/contents/rockaway.html

A plaque reading "American Bridge Company of New York" with the date of manufacture, often goes unrecognized, as it lies in the corners of some of our neighborhood's trestles.

As a historic preservationist and conservationist, and as Chair of Rego-Forest Preservation Council serving Rego Park and Forest Hills, which are 2 communities the conceived Queens (High) Line would run through, I am willing to lend my expertise, and explore and further develop the visions of my colleagues and I.

- Michael Perlman

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tale of 2 of Forest Hills' Earliest Apartment Houses

The historic Georgian Court, 109-20 Queens Blvd

The Alberta, a historic Tudor gem at 108-22 72nd Ave, which was originally 2 Roman Ave.

 Two of Forest Hills' earliest apartment houses are the Georgian Court and the Alberta, which are situated in the business and residential district in the heart of our neighborhood.

It is the compilation of low-density developments with mainly Tudor and Colonial design which surround the Austin St and Queens Blvd thoroughfares, and which grant character to what was once referred to as "Forest Hills Village" or "The Village." Let's think twice before insensitively altering or demolishing the low-rise residential and commercial sites along and in between these thoroughfares. Preserving, restoring, and adaptively reusing our assemblage of buildings which began in 1906, will pay respect to the fine craftsmanship and vision of our remarkable developers, urban planners, architects, and business owners, who would once strive to make our streestscapes harmonious and distinctive from Anytown USA. It was a complementary extension to the aura of the Forest Hills Gardens, and still is in many ways, with the exception of a few tacky aluminum or stucco-covered buildings, and the brick and steel sliver McOffices that began to rise on 72nd Ave.

We extend our gratitude to Historian Ron Marzlock of the Queens Chronicle's I Have Often Walked column, for publishing the history of the Georgian Court and The Alberta on June 23rd & June 16, 2011 respectively, and establishing the need for their preservation and that of the greater neighborhood:

Georgian Court: An Innovator in Forest Hills

test4Georgian Court: an innovator in Forest 
Hills   1
Georgian Court, located at 109-20 Queens Blvd, with tennis courts to the left, May 1931.

 Georgian Court holds the distinction of being the first apartment building built on Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills. It was an innovation for its time for many other reasons too.

It was designed by Manhattan architect Louis I. Brooks of 63 Madison Ave. and was the only apartment building built in Forest Hills during the Great Depression, opening for occupancy on Oct. 1, 1930.

All apartments were built with three or four rooms and were convertible to six- or seven-room units.

The building had two Otis elevators, individual incinerators for each unit, refrigerators and gas ranges. There were no dumbwaiters. It was Forest Hills’ first apartment building with colored tile to match the fixtures in both the bathroom and kitchen, a welcome change to the stark black and white of the 1920s. References were required for tenants to rent a three-room apartment for $100 or four rooms for $140, expensive at the time.

Georgian Court’s most attractive selling point was that it was situated next to beautiful tennis courts. However, that was short lived. It was announced on Dec. 3, 1936 that a new church and rectory were to be built there for Our Lady Queen of Martyrs for $365,000. Steam shovels broke ground in May 1938, residents lost their view and they endured the noise for the next year.

Today Georgian Court sits modestly on the boulevard, obscured by all the other structures towering over it. Compared to newer buildings, residents are still very happy with its solid construction and love their 80-year-old building.

More photos of the Georgian Court, courtesy of Michael Perlman

A Forest Hills Gem: The Alberta, Built in ’23

test4A Forest Hills gem: The Alberta, built in 
’23 1
A 1923 architect’s rendering of The Alberta, located at 2 Roman Ave, today’s 108-22 72 Ave in Forest Hills.

 The oldest apartment building in Forest Hills outside of the Gardens I have found to be The Alberta. John S. Myers of Manhattan was the builder, and he named the structure after his mother.
In 1922 Myers hired architect Rudolf C.P. Boehler to design a four-story luxury walk-up building at what was then 2 Roman Ave. Boehler worked mainly in Manhattan, from 1920 to 1954, and this was his only project in Queens.

Through a beautiful marble covered vestibule you enter The Alberta’s spacious, artistically treated reception room, from where marble stairs lead to the apartments.

One of the selling points was Myers’ willingness to arrange the color scheme in accordance with tenants’ wishes if leases were signed before completion of the building. Inspection began in late September 1923 and it was ready for occupancy on Oct. 15. Expensive for its time, The Alberta’s A and B line of four-room apartments cost $145 a month, the three-room C and E line was $110 and the two-room D was $85.

Another selling point was that, as advertised, the apartments had a commanding view overlooking Queens Boulevard to Kew Gardens in one direction and Jackson Heights and Elmhurst in the other.

The building has been renumbered 108-22 72 Ave. but retains the name Alberta. After 88 years it is in pristine condition, and serious thought should be given to its preservation as buildings like this will never be constructed again in Forest Hills. With the very high value of the land alone, this beauty could be put in danger of destruction at some point.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

In Memorium: Pat Dolan, Queens Community Leader

Photo courtesy of Bates, Susana Freelancer & NY Daily News
I was shocked and saddened to hear about the passing of Patricia Dolan, the President of the Queens Civic Congress, and a long-dedicated borough-wide advocate. She was struck by a car on the evening of November 15th at the intersection of Hillside Ave & 198th St. She was 72.  
Pat Dolan worked at the Queens Community House, and directed a para-transit system to aid senior citizens. She was the Chair of the Kew Gardens Hills Civic Association, and was a founder of the Flushing Meadows Corona Park Conservancy. One of her priorities was advocating for the protection of Queens neighborhoods from overdevelopment.
In a public statement, Queens BP Helen Marshall said, "Last night, the people of Queens lost a terrific and tireless leader who fought with knowledge and passion for libraries, senior citizens, parks, children, transportation safety, and every other issue that affects all of us. Pat dedicated her life to Queens. She was the epitome of a civic leader and the definition of a community leader." 
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn told the Daily News, "I am deeply saddened to have learned of the tragic death of Patricia Dolan, one of our city's great civic and community leaders. Pat was extremely involved in the preservation of quality of life not just for Queens residents, but for all new Yorkers. She was interested in and dedicated to making the city a better place to live.”
She will be greatly missed. We must continue to work together to preserve and fulfill her legacy, benefit from her teachings, and make our borough and city a safer and more attractive place to live and visit.
Memorial services for PATRICIA DOLAN
Tuesday, November 29, 2011 at 7:00 PM
Schwartz Brothers - Forest Park Chapel
114-03 Queens Blvd, Forest Hills, NY 11375
(Queens Blvd. and 76th Road)
Douglaston Patch, 11/16/11 
Times Ledger, 11/16/11  
NY Daily News, 11/16/11
NY Daily News, Article II, 11/16/11  
Queens Chronicle, 11/16/11 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Save Our 600 Trees At The Kew Gardens Interchange - Open Letter To NYS DOT

Highway Plans Will Uproot 600 trees, 600 trees will fall, Queens Chronicle cover photo by Peter C Mastrosimone, Sept 29, 2011
Time may be running out to save 600 trees, which the NYS Dept of Transportation reportedly plans to cut down at the Kew Gardens Interchange, affecting Kew Gardens, Briarwood, & other Queens communities and beyond. Below is an open letter originally sent on 10/28 to Landscape Architect Jim Lau of the NYS Department of Transportation, & now Landscape Architect Scott Levy. Please publicize & add your voice.
Subject: IMPORTANT: Kew Gardens Interchange Project - Creative Options To Rescue The 600 Trees Slated For Chopping

Dear Mr. Jim Lau & Mr. Scott Levy,
I understand you are the landscape architects of the NYS Dept of Transportation, who are assigned to the Kew Gardens Interchange Project. Many of my colleagues and I have read in local papers such as the Queens Chronicle, that 600 trees would be slated for the chopping block, as the roads undergo reconfiguration in Kew Gardens and Briarwood. I have some creative ideas, which I encourage you and the NYS Dept of Transportation to consider.
We feel there is no replacement for our beautiful, mature trees. The September 2010 tornado and the August 2011 hurricanes was responsible for the loss of about 4,000 trees cumulatively in our borough. Natural disasters are beyond our control, but proactively preserving our trees is within our control. The NY State DOT's plans to cut down 600 trees goes against my morals as a citizen and humanitarian. What may be "as of right" is not always right for the citizens. Trees convey life, beauty, are nature's pride, purify our air, keep the ground cool, are home to wildlife, and are historic to our Queens landscape.
Statistically speaking, the significant and very successful tree giveaway event that I coordinated in MacDonald Park in June 2011, as well as the tree plantings and giveaways occurring citywide through MillionTreesNYC, will not exceed the beauty and benefits posed by our mature trees in our lifetime. Applying measures towards the preservation and maintenance of our mature trees is most beneficial towards our community.
I urge the NYS DOT to creatively revise their Kew Gardens Interchange plans, in order to preserve the endangered trees. The roads can be reconfigured alternatively. In sections where revision is not at all possible, then Plan B would be to have the endangered trees moved by tree moving companies that specialize in commonly moving medium to larger size trees. Then they can be planted either in parks or on private property which lost a plethora of trees, and they could be named in honor of victims of 9/11, or in the memory of loved ones in a broader perspective. It could be financed by any combination of the State, Parks Dept, green organizations, banks, elected officials, and citizens. Some of the trees can also be given to the tree moving companies which have nurseries, and they can be sold.
Rather than New York State using the funds to chop down these trees, NYS should allocate those funds towards their salvation via transport. As long as our graceful and mature trees along the Kew Gardens Interchange are saved, that is what bears the greatest significance. It would be a sad day or time period in our history to witness the mass destruction of our mature trees, so please work with us by exploring our ideas, and hopefully a compromise can be reached for all parties. Please contact me ASAP. Thank you for your consideration!

Michael Perlman
Forest Hills, NY

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Forest Hills Tennis Stadium May Have A Sports & Entertainment Future

Proposed exterior perspective, Courtesy of Stadium Arts Alliance & rendered by John Ciardullo PC
Proposed site plan, Courtesy of Stadium Arts Alliance & rendered by John Ciardullo PC

At the legendary Forest Hills Tennis Stadium, the ball may be back in court. A non-profit known as the Stadium Arts Alliance is one of the contenders that submitted a proposal, in response to the West Side Tennis Club's Request For Proposals which ended on November 4th. The Stadium Arts Alliance would potentially lease the stadium and boost revenue for the WSTC. All particulars are not yet publicly known, but the US' 1st concrete tennis stadium would likely undergo restoration and conversion to accommodate tennis matches and hockey, with music and art festivals in the warmer months. 

A known alteration would be the installation of stadium seating in place of the authentic wood and iron grandstands, and a reduction of seating from 14,000 to 9,700. The dilapidated barbed-wire fence surrounding the property would be replaced by a traditional iron fence with brick posts, and the perimeters would be landscaped. A new walkway with an overhead brick archway with pitched rooflines and letters which read "WSTC Stadium." Two replicas of the Stadium's blue & gold glazed terra-cotta shields bearing the WSTC logo and "1923" would be installed on the gateway. Historic architectural features including the archways, eagles, shields, flagpoles, and cornice lines would undergo restoration.

Besides the Stadium Arts Alliance's proposal, Cord Meyer proposed a new plan for condos, and other proposals also involved demolition for residential development. For a proposal to materialize, it would be subject to a review by the Stadium Committee, and in 2012, it would need to pass by a 2/3 vote of WSTC voting-eligible members, followed by approval of the Forest Hills Gardens Corporation.

The Stadium Arts Alliance is comprised of developer & President Kevin McCabe, and Chairman John Banks. Kevin McCabe is the founding partner and chief executive of the Aviator Sports & Events Center at Floyd Bennett Field, and John Banks is the VP of Government Relations for Con Ed, and a NY Public Library and MTA board member.

A seemingly greater path towards the stadium's restoration and creative reuse was discovered on November 3, 2011, when the WSTC elected Roland Meier as their new President over Kenneth Parker, who was reportedly anti-preservation. In August 2010, Cord Meyer Development proposed condos on the site of the stadium, and in protest, WSTC Tennis Committee Chair Roland Meier resigned from his position. Some neighborhood residents, countrywide preservationists, WSTC members, and tennis and music notables joined Rego-Forest Preservation Council in opposition to the condo plan. After the October 2010 vote, Kenneth Parker expressed his disappointment that the Cord Meyer plan was rejected by more than half of its voting-eligible WSTC members.

Chairman Michael Perlman of Rego-Forest Preservation Council explains, "Since the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium became endangered in July 2010 for typical condos, we have advocated for the historic stadium's preservation and creative-reuse as a mixed-use venue, to benefit the greater community and the WSTC. We will continue to hold public relations campaigns, conduct outreach, coordinate petition drives and letter campaigns, and meet with elected officials and other influential parties. We have maintained a dialogue with some tennis buffs, preservationists, some celebs, & President Obama's Advisory Board on Historic Preservation, which supports preservation and reuse. On behalf of Rego-Forest Preservation Council, I submitted a comprehensive city landmark bid in July 2010, and a bid for the State & National Register of Historic Places in summer 2011, in which the latter would likely generate more funding for restoring (and ultimately reusing) the stadium, if approved. We will support any plan that encompasses tennis, music and art festivals, and restores the iconic features of the iconic Stadium. There is always hope towards preserving and reusing our historic sites, as long as there is creativity, dedication, and proactive teamwork. Mixed-use creative revitalization and restoration for our country's 1st concrete tennis stadium, and home to firsts in the tennis and music world, will convey historic pride, create jobs, and be a boost to our quality of life, character, property values, and local business, as well as become a 21st-century family destination." 

President Obama's Advisory Board on Historic Preservation admitted that the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission "irked its public duty," by not calendaring the stadium for a public hearing. Rego-Forest Preservation Council feels the LPC has a "double-standard" when it comes to Queens, since under the Landmarks Law's architectural and cultural provisions, the Stadium has the criteria for city landmarking, and it mentions nothing about a site's physical condition as a means for rejection. Sites in worse physical condition in Manhattan have been heard, landmarked, and restored. If it becomes a State & Federal landmark through NYS Historic Preservation Office (the Register), the West Side Tennis Club and any potential partner or owner can apply for federal tax credits, state grants, as well as other funds for repairing the stadium.

NY 1 News coverage, Nov 5, 2011:

Michael Perlman's feature story for Untapped Cities offers a comprehensive illustrated history, and explains the community rewards for collaborating to save a rare piece of Americana:

The storied stadium provides dimension to the streetscape! Photo by Michael Perlman
View from the top, as the eagles have a commanding view of Forest Hills, Photo by Peter Dutton
Have a seat in the grandstands & visualize legendary tennis players & musicians, which once again can play at the stadium, Photo by Peter Dutton

Saturday, October 15, 2011

MacDonald Park Meeting Calls For Proactive Approach By Our Volunteers To Restore Forest Hills' Historic Anchor

Since the early 1930s, MacDonald Park with its Gerald MacDonald statue, has been an anchor of Forest Hills. However, in early August 2011, park-goers and passersby began to notice disturbing issues. Chair Michael Perlman of Rego-Forest Preservation Council, submitted a 12-page photo survey to the NYC Dept of Parks, with copies to our elected officials: http://www.scribd.com/doc/62766462/Macdonald-Park-Maintenance-Problems
 Since the survey submission, members of Rego-Forest Preservation Council began discussing the creation of a voluntary subcommittee which would engage in proactive strategies for maintaining, beautifying, and enhancing MacDonald Park. On Oct 2, 2011, members were grateful to hold a meeting in MacDonald Park with Parks Manager Rene Herrera, who serves the CB 6 vicinity, comprising of Forest Hills & Rego Park. Hassan King of Partnerships For Parks has also been very helpful towards our cause, and plans on meeting with us as well. The Parks Dept could always benefit through the role of volunteers, considering the city's budget, and also as a result of the progress of a public-private partnership.

Primary Topics of Discussion

1. Almost 10 trees that were planted in April 2011 at the One Thing That's Green event have perished prematurely. It may be attributed to the late July drought. Those trees will be replaced, since they are under warranty. Rego-Forest Preservation Council members suggested replacing the irrigation system which was dismantled during the Sept 2010 tornado, & Rene Herrera thought it would be a good idea for us to look into the possibility of acquiring a drip sprinkler system.

2. We discussed the possibility of a mature tree moving company to strengthen the integrity of our park trees, by engaging in methods of stabilizing them and pruning when necessary. Historically speaking, mature trees can be excavated and transplanted! There is no replacement for a mature tree, which fosters much beauty, shade, and purification of our air.

3. Rego-Forest Preservation Council's subcommittee will assign volunteers to help maintain the park by cleaning, watering, and planting bushes, flowers, and trees upon agreement per project. We will be on the lookout for organizations that can donate these plantings, so bald areas on the lawn and some unkempt bushes will be addressed, for example.

4. The centerpiece of MacDonald Park is the historic Gerald MacDonald statue. Its base contains text, but weathering has taken its toll, making it difficult to decipher the statement of dedication. Rego-Forest Preservation Council plans on nominating the statue and the park for the State & National Register of Historic Places. If the nomination is successful, it will commemorate the park, and open the door to federal tax credits and state-matching grants, among other potential incentives, and allow for the restoration of the statue and park over time.

5. A bench that went missing, which was documented in our August 2011 survey submission to the Parks Dept (above) has been restored almost immediately thereafter, and graffiti on the MacDonald Park plaque has been cleaned off.

Press To Date

1. NY1 News interview: Forest Hills Residents Want Parks Dept To Fix Up MacDonald Park

2. Queens Chronicle: Civic Group Seeks Partnership

3. Forum West, Dead Trees In MacDonald Park Worry Residents

4. Forest Hills Patch, The history of MacDonald Park, written by Michael Perlman:

We thank Rene Herrera, Parks Manager of CB 6, and the Parks Department for their willingness to work with us. We also thank Hassan King of Partnerships For Parks for his assistance and plans to meet with us in the near future. 

If anyone is interested in joining our subcommittee to help maintain the park, and volunteer with and/or support Rego-Forest Preservation Council, please e-mail Michael Perlman at unlockthevault@hotmail.com

Monday, October 10, 2011

Facebook Groups: Please Take Action For S.O.S. (Save Our Stadium!) & Rego-Forest Preservation Council

Facebook is upgrading all of its groups. Even some of the most successful Facebook Groups were not given the option to upgrade to date. For those who are members of the S.O.S. (Save Our Stadium!) group (which has 190 members currently), please visit the link below. When asked on top of the page if you want to remain in the group when Facebook upgrades it, please press YES. Then you won't have any interruption of your membership for the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium Preservation cause: http://on.fb.me/SaveOurStadium
The Facebook Group for Rego-Forest Preservation Council has luckily been presented the option to upgrade months ago, & has made a smooth transition. Kudos to the 390 members. If you aren't already a member, please consider joining & supporting our historic preservation causes: http://on.fb.me/RegoForest
Please spread the word to ALL your neighbors & friends, and help preserve & enhance our community's historic character. Help our volunteer recruitment initiative as well. Thank you! 

Friday, October 7, 2011

America's Tennis Stadium Feature Story in Untapped New York by Michael Perlman

The storied stadium provides dimension to the streetscape! Photo by Michael Perlman
View from the top, as the eagles have a commanding view of Forest Hills, Photo by Peter Dutton
Have a seat in the grandstands & visualize legendary tennis players & musicians, which once again can play at the stadium, Photo by Peter Dutton
May the ball be in our court! Rego-Forest Preservation Council Chair Michael Perlman was presented with the opportunity to cover the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium Cause for Untapped NY. 
The feature story consists of a comprehensive illustrated history, and explains the potential for community rewards for collaborating to save a rare piece of Americana:

About Untapped New York: Untapped is about discovering the city anew. The lens is photography, the writing is historical, architectural, witty and hip. We show you not only what is there, but also what once was. We take you to places rumored and places true, locales abandoned and avenues prosaic; but always—cool.

"Queens Blvd Big Sweep" Needs Volunteers on October 15th, 8:30 AM - 3 PM

Want to dedicate a few hours of community service? Queens Boulevard Restoration Group & In Our Back Yard (IOBY.org) need volunteers to help clean the tree-lined medians of Queens Blvd in Forest Hills and Rego Park. Help restore the medians along Queens Blvd from 78th Ave to 63rd Dr, & make our community shine while helping the environment!
When? Saturday, October 15, 2011, 9:00 AM -3:00 PM. Meet at 8:30 AM

Where? Meet in MacDonald Park on Queens Blvd & 70th Rd, Forest Hills

Water, gloves, t-shirts, and lunch will be provided. Pitch in for as long as you want! 

To sign up or for more information, please e-mail info@queensblvd.org or call (917) 558-3802. Please bring your friends, neighbors, family, & help spread the word.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Commemorate Arthur Szyk with Forest Hills Jewish Center & The Arthur Syzk Society on 9/25/11 at 12:30 PM - A Ceremony Fit For A Legend!

Public Ceremony Marking 60th Anniversary of Famous Artist's Death
to be Held at his Gravesite on Sunday, September 25, 2011 at 12:30 PM

The renowned Arthur Szyk's Aron Kodesh (Holy Ark) at Forest Hills Jewish Center. In the New York Press, Szyk stated “This is my first work for a temple,” which was also his first 3-D creation for a synagogue. Meant to symbolize the crown and breastplate of a Torah scroll, it is unique how Torah design elements can serve as an inspiration for a ‘larger than life’ model. Architectural critics and historians consent that it is one of the most phenomenal 20th century Judaic works of art. - Photo & explanation provided by Michael Perlman, Rego-Forest Preservation Council

Long Island, New York - World renowned artist and activist Arthur Szyk, who designed the magnificent Ark of the Forest Hills Jewish Center (FHJC) in the late 1940s, will be remembered during a graveside ceremony at New Montefiore cemetery on Long Island, New York, on Sunday, September 25 at 12:30PM. Rabbi Irvin Ungar, curator of The Arthur Szyk Society, will travel from California to lead the commemoration.

Arthur Szyk was born in Łódź, Poland in 1894 and immigrated to the United States in 1940. The foremost anti-Nazi artist in America during World War II, he was also a leading advocate for the rescue of European Jewry and the creation of the State of Israel. Sixty years after Szyk's death in New Canaan, Connecticut at the age of fifty-seven, this ceremony will pay tribute to the artist's memory and legacy. Readings will include passages from the FHJC founding Rabbi Ben Zion Bokser's moving 1951 eulogy, which will be interwoven with thoughts and reflections on Arthur Szyk as an artist and as a great man.

The Szyk gravesite is located within Block 7, Section 5, Row C of the New Montefiore Cemetery, Pinelawn, Long Island, Suffolk County, New York. The ceremony is free and open to the public.

Directions: Long Island Expressway to Exit 49 North, follow service road to traffic light. Turn left on to Pinelawn Road (Wellwood Avenue). Follow to cemetery on left. The New Montefiore Cemetery may be reached at 631-249-7000.

For more information about the legacy of Arthur Szyk, as well as information on the Arthur Szyk Society and Forest Hills Jewish Center, please visit:


Invite: Birth of Historic Preservation 9/20/11 at Museum of The City of NY - Special Discount to RFPC Blog Readers!

You are invited to......

Preserving the Past: The Birth of Historic Preservation
Tuesday, September 20 at 6:30 PM

The burgeoning 19th- and 20th-century interest in Colonial styles of art and architecture coincided with the emergence of the historic preservation movement, whose earliest subjects were colonial sites, including Colonial Williamsburg, Mount Vernon, and the Powel House in Philadelphia. 

* Why did early preservationists focus specifically on the nation’s colonial past? 

* What were the ideological underpinnings of preservation?

Max Page, professor and author of several books, including The Creative Destruction of Manhattan, 1900-1940 (University of Chicago Press, 1999); Franklin D. Vagnone, Executive Director of the Historic House Trust; and others explore preservation and the Colonial Revival to understand their complicated relationship.

Co-sponsored by the Historic House Trust.

Reservations required: (917) 492-3395 or e-mail programs@mcny.org
$6 museum members; $8 seniors and students; $12 non-members

$6 when you mention Rego-Forest Preservation Council

- Museum of The City of New York
1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street
New York, NY  10029
(212) 534-1672

On a related note, the birth of the NYC Landmarks Law began in 1965, when Mayor Robert Wagner signed it into being, in response to the public outcry when the classic Pennsylvania Station was demolished in 1963.

1910 photo courtesy of the Evening Telegraph Blog