Sunday, May 22, 2011

June 12, 2011 Tree Giveaway Event Helps Restore NYC's Historic Tree Canopy Since The September 2010 Macroburst

For Immediate Release

Contact: Michael Perlman, Queens VP
Four Borough Neighborhood Preservation Alliance

Four Borough Neighborhood Preservation Alliance To Hold June 12th Tree Giveaway Event - Restoring NYC's Historic Tree Canopy!

NYC's 5 Boroughs (May 22, 2011) - The boroughs are about to become greener at the Four Borough Neighborhood Preservation Alliance Tree Giveaway Event. The first event of its kind in Forest Hills is scheduled for SUNDAY, JUNE 12, 2011 from 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM at historic MacDonald Park on 70th Ave & Queens Blvd (circle). 
100 free trees will be dispersed on a first-come, first-serve basis, and property owners and representatives will line up, and have the option of adopting a Cherry or Blackgum tree by completing an agreement. The trees are approximately 7 - 8 ft, are potted, and weigh 30 lbs. Each property is eligible for 1 tree donation, and is required to be planted on private property within a few days of the event. 
After parts of Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island experienced a rare macroburst on September 16, 2010, Queens VP Michael Perlman of the 4BNPA documented some of its devastation, sent a proposal to New York Restoration Project (NYRP), and developed a bond. 4BNPA agreed to host a tree giveaway event to restore the natural and historic beauty of our boroughs, with the volunteerism of members of Rego-Forest Preservation Council, which Perlman chairs in Rego Park and Forest Hills. 
Perlman explains, "Many people don't realize the benefits of our trees, until some of which were a century old, succumbed in seconds. We mustn't take anything for granted. Trees convey life, beauty, contribute to our environmental sustainability, and enhance property values. MacDonald Park was selected as the event site, in order to shed light upon a concentrated space that lost 60 mature and historic trees, and to initiate memories of a positive community event. Forest Hills was one of the greatly damaged neighborhoods, and we seek to restore its 'forest' factor. If all residents dedicated some time, we can make a major difference citywide."

Aimee Mara Zehner explains, "I was in it, hiding in my car, under an overpass approaching the Grand Central from the Jackie Robinson. I was blessed to be protected by an overpass. As soon as it passed and I could see, I began driving. It was the first few trees I saw, and I knew it was a tornado, and not just a blinding windy downpour. As I drove past more trees and then the cars, I cried. The devastation was horrifying. I was in shock for hours. The loss of the trees makes me cry when I pass them to & from work, since I appreciated them for years. When trees face mortality, it's a sad day."

Joseph Bruno of the NYC Office of Emergency Management reported 3,113 fallen trees in Queens, and 4,000 more damaged. Some of the most devastated varieties included Sycamore, Oak, Maple, Linden, Cherry & Apple Blossoms, Evergreen, and Weeping Willow. A fallen tree took the life of 30 year-old PA-resident Aline Levakis on Grand Central Parkway, cars were smashed, utility poles and traffic lights fell, and properties with major damage had to be condemned.

This tree giveaway event is made possible by the Four Borough Neighborhood Preservation Alliance in partnership with New York Restoration Project and MillionTreesNYC (MTNYC), and through the generous support of Put Down Roots tree giveaway sponsor JetBlue, and MTNYC lead sponsors BNP Paribas and Toyota. Forest Hills Jewish Center will be the holding site for the trees prior to the event, and Key Food will loan load luggers to help transfer trees to MacDonald Park. 4BNPA and Rego-Forest Preservation Council will design an installation depicting the tornado's devastation locally, and name each tree on the basis of local "landmarks," notable residents, and historic street names. Students of the Queens Community House Beacon Program will design an installation of trees with poetry and slogans.

Tree Species Photos

Nyssa Sylvatica Blackgum
Prunus Cerasifera Thundercloud, Courtesy Missouri Botanical Garden PlantFinder
Prunus Cerasifera Thundercloud, Courtesy Missouri Botanical Garden PlantFinder

Prunus Cerasifera Thundercloud, Courtesy Missouri Botanical Garden PlantFinder
Prunus Subhirtella Autumnalis, Courtesy of midwesternplants com
Prunus Subhirtella Autumnalis, Courtesy of midwesternplants com

MacDonald Park throughout its many seasons before the tornadoes....

MacDonald Park, where 56 trees fell after the tornadoes, with many more damaged.....

The monumental Weeping Willow trees outside The James Madison before & after the tornado...

More tornado destruction....

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Religious Sites Open Doors Statewide on May 21 & 22 - Happy 25th Anniversary, Sacred Sites Program!

Mark your calendars! On 5/21 & 5/22, YOU are invited to tour numerous religious institutions, as part of The NY Landmarks Conservancy's State-wide Open House Weekend.  

Religious institutions which received Sacred Site grants &/or Lucy G Moses Preservation Awards for their restoration, will participate. The Sacred Sites Program is having a 25th Anniversary celebration, so what better way to celebrate with the public, who has played a major role in the process for a quarter of a century?!?!
Take these religious sites as case studies, & most of all, enjoy this rare state-wide tour with your family & friends. For more information, visit The New York Landmarks Conservancy's website: 

Landmarking Restores Church of The Resurrection: A Case Study!

Church of The Resurrection Episcopal, Richmond Hill/Kew Gardens, circa 1910, courtesy of
The Church of The Resurrection Episcopal in Kew Gardens has a new chapter in its history text! It is a case study showing how State & Federal Landmarking served as a catalyst for historic commemoration and funding for restoration work. It now has a new roof, and there's no reason why the church cannot live on for another 137 years!
 According to the Forest Hills Times, "The church was able to replace the roof thanks to a $10,000 grant from the New York Landmarks Conservancy, which was given to the church because it is both a state and federal historic site. A $250,000 matching grant was also awarded to the church by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation."
The article then explains, "While in the process of replacing the roof, the main stained-glass window, which features four archangels, was found to be in bad shape. The window was carefully removed, restored and reinstalled."
Landmarks are cornerstones of all communities. It requires teamwork and creativity to preserve, and adaptively and creatively reuse them, if a site has to accommodate a new use. 
If you have an interest in exploring such landmarking and funding incentives, please e-mail 
Which other historic religious and non-religious sites are on your wish list for a similar restoration?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Green For Queens Community Earth Day Fair

As supporters of environmental preservation and our community spirit, Rego-Forest Preservation Council takes pride in the 2nd Annual Green For Queens Community Earth Day Fair.......

Take your family & friends to a FREE environmental festival on Sunday, May 15th from 1 PM to 4 PM at the Central Queens YMHA/YWHA at 67-09 108th St, Forest Hills, NY


Earth-Friendly Fun For Kids:

  • Wildlife Children’s Theater of the Central Park Zoo
  • Big Apple “Circus to Go”
  • Music and cooking for kids!
  • Create an edible eco-system & eco-crafts.
  • Learn about worm composting!
  • Snakes & Worms & Other Wild Animals!
Green Vendors, Exhibits, & Talks for Adults:
  • Sustainable Food: local & organic cheese & coffee tastings, vegetarian cooking demonstrations, and more!
  • Bestselling Author Anna Lappe speaking on Diet for a Hot Planet at 3:00 PM (Babysitting available during Anna Lappe’s talk.)
  • Learn how you can save energy, save $ & fight global warming!
  • Recycle: cell phones, rechargeable batteries, clothes & shoes.
  • Sign up for a FREE energy audit or for clean wind energy. (Bring one year of your gas & electric bills along)
  • Learn about neighborhood organic food coops, community gardens, white roofs, bike paths, and green walls.
  • Free reusable water bottles, shopping bags, and CFL light bulbs!
And....  Delicious, healthy snacks for all!

Event flyer:  
For more information:
Call (718) 268-5011, ext. 151, or e-mail

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Iconic Forest Hills Tennis Stadium Rejected For Landmark Hearing

 For Immediate Release

Contact: Chairman Michael Perlman
Rego-Forest Preservation Council

Iconic Forest Hills Tennis Stadium Rejected For Landmark Hearing

QUEENS, NY (May 4, 2011) - On May 3, 2011, local to international landmark supporters of the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium were dismayed to receive a form letter from the Landmarks Preservation Commission stating that after "a careful review of the current condition and architectural integrity of the above-referenced property, a senior staff committee of the Landmarks Preservation Commission found that the building does have some historic significance related to cultural and historic events that have taken place at the site and does retain intact architectural features. At this time, however, the property will not be recommended to the full Commission for further consideration as an individual New York City landmark.  The reason not to recommend further consideration is due to the deteriorated state of the building’s architectural features."

On behalf of Rego-Forest Preservation Council, Chair Michael Perlman states "By not calendaring a public hearing for the historic Forest Hills Tennis Stadium on local to international levels, this proves the LPC's dereliction of public duty, and of the architectural & cultural provisions of the Landmarks Law. The Landmarks Law does not reference a site's condition as a means for rejecting a public hearing. Despite, there have been buildings in Manhattan or Brooklyn needing major repairs, which have been calendared, heard, and landmarked, and have been restored or are now undergoing restoration. Some case studies are The Windermere, West Park Presbyterian Church, & Coignet Stone Co" (*LPC reports & press below).

Chairman Michael Perlman launched a grassroots campaign on July 23, 2010 by submitting a Request For Evaluation form with 50 pages of primary sources to the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission, recommending the Stadium, Clubhouse, grounds, & interiors for NYC Landmark status. Perlman also reached out and met with local politicians. A landmark letter campaign and petition drive to the LPC and elected officials is ongoing.

 On October 7, 2010, Cord Meyer Development's proposal to build condos and demolish the majority of the stadium was rejected by West Side Tennis Club members, after not receiving a 2/3 vote (required by bylaws) to approve a sale. Perlman explained "Disney-esque condos would have torn the heart out of Forest Hills. Mixed-use creative revitalization would yield a greater economic return in the long-run, and may feature tennis matches, concerts, weddings, exhibits, school trips, charity events, music and art festivals, etc. It would abide with its original and proven mission as "America's Tennis Stadium" according to a 1922 ad. It has the potential to be a 21st-century family destination, bring our communities closer together, boost tourism, convey historic pride, educate our children, help local businesses through tough economic times, and be an incentive for newer businesses i.e. on the Austin St corridor." 
The Forest Hills Tennis Stadium embodies firsts in tennis, music, and architectural history. Designed by award-winning architect Kenneth Murchison and built by The Foundation Co, it was the first concrete tennis stadium countrywide, and was the first home to the US Open, Davis Cup, & Wightman Cup. It hosted players such as Bill Tilden, Helen Jacobs, Billie Jean King, Roger Federer, and Arthur Ashe & Althea Gibson who broke the racial color barrier. The Stadium also played cinematic roles, as it featured key scenes of Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers On A Train. The annual Forest Hills Music Festival and concerts took ground in the late 1950s - late 1990s, featuring The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, Ella Fitzgerald, Diana Ross, The Monkees, The Who, Johnny Mathis, Barbra Streisand, Simon & Garfunkel, Trini Lopez, Peter, Paul, & Mary, etc.
Rego-Forest Preservation Council will continue advocating for city, state, & federal landmark status to commemorate an icon while opening the door to funding (grants & tax credits) for a restoration and historically-sensitive upgrades (potentially $12 million), exploring an amendment to Transferable Development Rights (TDR), and advocating for creative mixed-use revitalization and seeking benefactors. We hope the West Side Tennis Club will confide in us an ally, and work cooperatively towards a viable future for the historic Forest Hills Tennis Stadium, which reflects the sentiments and ideals of the greater American public. 


1. Rego-Forest Preservation Council Photoset featuring Stadium, Clubhouse, Memorabilia -  

2. Forest Hills Tennis Stadium: Gallery 1 featuring Joe Shlabotnik/Peter Dutton's photos -  

3. Forest Hills Tennis Stadium: Gallery 2 featuring Joe Shlabotnik/Peter Dutton's photos -

*Case studies of Landmark victories despite ailing infrastructure

1. The Windermere (400-406 W 57th St, NYC), an early apartment house was designated on June 28, 2005:

2. Coignet Stone Company (360 Third Ave, Brooklyn) was designated on June 27, 2006:

3. West Park Presbyterian Church (165 W 86th St, NYC) was designated on Jan 12, 2010: