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
$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

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

NYC Trees Need Your Help - Any Sum Makes A Great Difference!

damaged trees 
on Ericsson Street
A common picture of Hurricane Irene's devastation. Photo courtesy of MillionTrees NYC
When Hurricane Irene hit the eastern seaboard in late August 2011, it was responsible for the loss of over 2,000 trees, according to Million Trees NYC.

Backtracking, the tornado in Sept 2010 was responsible for at last 3,100 fallen trees in our borough, not to mention those damaged significantly. Our trees are an aesthetically & environmentally beneficial component, as well as historic component of all neighborhoods citywide. They become members of our extended family.

Fortunately, Million Trees NYC is the face behind an endeavor to raise funding for the replacement of the loss trees throughout NYC's 5 boroughs. Please consider donating to assist NYC street and park trees, or to assist tree planting on private property such as schools, and housing. This is a noble cause, so please take a few moments to also spread the word. Even a few dollars would be appreciated:
One of the few remaining historic Elm trees in Central Queens, which survived the tornado but not the hurricane. It sustained a large collapsed limb, which damaged the trunk. Sadly, this 7-story graceful Elm tree, which was at least 60 years old & was loved by many local residents, was taken down within days. All that remains is barely a stump on the corner of the Howard Apts on 66th Rd off the north side of Queens Blvd. Perhaps routine pruning would have paid off, & the tree would have still been around today. Photo by Michael Perlman, Rego-Forest Preservation Council.
The purple oasis of Cherry Plum trees was compromised at Parker Towers along Queens Blvd in Forest Hills. Let's hope these trees will be resurrected. Photo by Michael Perlman, Rego-Forest Preservation Council
A once bold Maple tree, which provided much beauty & shade in Forest Hills' Federoff Triangle falls. Photo by Michael Perlman, Rego-Forest Preservation Council.
Forest Hills' historic MacDonald Park was struck again, after losing around 70 trees during last year's tornado. This tree was likely planted by volunteers when MacDonald Park received some upgrades in the 1980s. A tree we will miss. Photo by Michael Perlman, Rego-Forest Preservation Council.   


Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11, 2011 - We Are Stronger Than Ever!

We will always remember our heroes, our survivors, our victims, and all families and friends of September 11th. 
It is hard to believe it has been 10 years. I remember waking up, and witnessing the unbelievable on TV, along with my family. We were in denial, not knowing what may be the next target. First the Twin Towers and then the Pentagon, not to mention all those who perished as the planes crashed, and the hero who saved the White House. As we experienced the largest attack in American history, it showed how caring and brave Americans are. Under crisis, we unconsciously and consciously looked out for each other. I remember the fire crews, police, and the Port Authority who rushed to the Towers to save who they can. The heroes inside the Twin Towers became one family, helping each other flee in every way possible.
Mayor Giuliani coordinated the response of various city departments, while organizing the support of state and federal authorities for the World Trade Center site. Within days, stories of the rescue and those who perished emerged. The rescue mission was ongoing between the rubble. Candlelight vigils filled thoroughfares.On September 23, 2001, the World Trade Center Memorial Service was held at Yankee Stadium.
Our Twin Towers fell, but our courage and unity never sunk with it.
This postcard is captioned "April 4, 1973 - Sept 11, 2001"

This pre-9/11 view reads "Long live liberty!" We must keep strong, even when they attempt to reduce our country and its people.

On Thurs, Dec 11, 2008, the NY Daily News reported "The survivors' staircase, the 37 concrete steps that scores of people raced down to flee the World Trade Center attacks, was moved Thursday for the final time. A massive yellow crane hoisted the 22-foot-tall staircase into the air and placed it 150 feet away at the entrance to the future Sept. 11 museum." According to, "The Stairway stands as a uniquely important historical artifact, and a dramatic symbol of hope and survival." The NY Landmarks Conservancy played a great role in the rescue of this artifact:

Survivors' Staircase, WTC, Courtesy of
On April 26, 2011, ABC News announced the 9/11 Memorial is set to open on the 10th anniversary of the attacks:
Superb coverage with 9/11/01 photos on Drake's Edge of The City Blog:  
Google News thread on September 11, 2011 memorials: 9/11/11

Saturday, September 10, 2011

9/14 INVITE: Colonial Revival in Extremis at the Museum of The City of NY - Rego-Forest Preservation Council Discount

You are invited to a special event at the Museum of The City of New York.........

Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at 6:30 PM
Cherry Trees and Giant Porticos: Colonial Revival in Extremis

Colonial Revival is in many ways America’s national style, with incarnations ranging from architecture to painting, music, sculpture, furniture, gardens, and literature. As with many nationalist expressions, it can at times become exaggerated, humorous, and perhaps even weird.

Richard Guy Wilson, occupant of the Commonwealth Professor’s Chair in Architectural History at the University of Virginia, will examine some of the ways houses such as Washington’s Mount Vernon and portraits of the founding fathers, have been utilized for a variety of purposes, sometimes with strange results. 

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

$6 when you mention the Rego-Forest Preservation Council
E-mail Chair Michael Perlman at with comments or questions.

On a related note, the American Style exhibition began June 14th & will end on Nov 6, 2011. Backtracking, the Colonial Revival Then & Now lecture and discussion took place on July 19th, and was well-attended.

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

9/12/11 Event: Historic Building Survey Basics, Monday Morning Coffee Talk at Neighborhood Preservation Center


Historic Building Survey Basics

The Neighborhood Preservation Center (232 East 11th Street, NYC) will host a Free and Open to the Public event.

The most frequently asked question by community activists is “How do I know if my neighborhood could be a historic district?" It all starts with an architectural survey. Preservation consultant and HDC Vice-President Gregory Dietrich will explain the basics of identifying and evaluating historic properties, as a first step toward neighborhood preservation. This program is intended for community members who are interested in defining objectives, identifying historic assets, and devising an effective strategy to preserve their neighborhood's distinct sense of place.

E-mail sromanoski at hdc dot org (in proper e-mail format) to reserve a space.