Archive for January, 2008

After All the Hoopla (Congestion $ing)

So now we know. From the Gothamist this afternoon:

The Traffic Congestion Mitigation Commission has recommended a slightly different congestion pricing plan than the one the mayor made last year. Streetsblog got a look at the recommendation and toplines some of the details:

  • An $8 fee to drive into Manhattan south of 60th Street on weekdays between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. (the mayor’s plan had a cut-off of 86th Street
  • Trucks pay $21, except for low-emission trucks which pay $7
  • East and west side highways would NOT be free; the cordon would start at bridge exits in Manhattan
  • Increased on-street parking meter rates within the zone
  • Elimination of the resident parking tax exemption for off-street parking garages and lots within the zone
  • For EZ Pass users, the value of all tolls would be deducted from the fee up to $8
  • A $1 surcharge for motorists who don’t use EZ Pass
  • $1 surcharge on taxi and black car trips that start and end within the zone during pricing hours
  • A lockbox, or “dedicated transit account,” will be created, aimed mainly at funding the MTA Capital Plan
  • Short-term strategic improvements to subway, bus, and express bus service should be put in place before pricing kicks in

You can read the recommendation here (PDF) and Streetsblog’s Aaron Naparstek is at the meeting and tells us the commission’s recommendation “is an impressive piece of work.”

“The commission did a great job of taking the mayor’s plan and improving it by incorporating feedback from the public. The process was outstanding. I really hope that the Council and Assembly will see the wisdom in passing this and allowing this pilot project to go forward.. If they do, NYC will immediately be a model for 21st cent urban sustainability and any example to other cities around the world.”


January 31, 2008 at 5:42 pm Leave a comment

Jonny Be Good

m_11518157ce21a7bffef2459c81762e29.jpgIndie songwriter and musician Jonny Meyers lives in Jackson Heights and doesn’t shy away from mentioning his Forest Hills roots:

Song by song, Jonny Meyers is catching up with the traditions left quietly behind in his native Forest Hills—the small hub of Queens, that provided the breeding grounds for legendary writers like Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, Burt Bacharach, and the Ramones. Meyers’s catalogue to date is careful blend of romance and consciousness set to Jamaican and North American roots music that reflects the lyrical, musical, and raw emotional traces of his predecessors.

His music is pretty varied, reflecting myriad influences, but he’s got something and you can hear a bit of it on his Myspace page. You can also hear him live tomorrow night at Espresso 77 in Jackson Heights. The coffee and baked goods there are both way above average, giving you a few reasons to get over there for a cafe crawl.

Espresso 77, 35-57 77th St, Jackson Heights (5-min walk from Roosevelt station)

(718) 424-1077

January 31, 2008 at 12:08 pm Leave a comment

The Greening of Queens


It is blustery outside, so hold on to your hats and reusable supermarket bags because this just in:


A conference for green, environmental, park, volunteer and civic groups.
Exciting workshops, exhibits, film and a keynote speaker not to be missed!

March 8, 12 noon–4 pm

Come and network and learn with the greenest minds in Queens.

Venue to be announced. Details to follow shortly.

The most exciting and informative green event in Queens. Don’t miss it!


Note from Splitting Hairs: Partnership for Parks is behind this community forum, which will approximate the successful one that has been running in the Bronx for about 10 years. The basic idea is to get the community involved in making streets (waterways) greener, cleaner, and so forth. It’s a great opportunity for Queens residents to show that they care about what they live and have strong feelings about how it can be improved.

January 30, 2008 at 2:34 pm 1 comment

Gray Is the New Black

sebelius-state-of-the-union-democrats-77582bd8-a0e4-40cf-be2b-2eac161f6226_tn.jpgKathleen Sebelius and this gray-is-sexy piece by Anne Kreamer, author of Going Gray, have me in a good mood. As I dried my salt-and-pepper hair this morning, I mused on what might be ten reasons not to dye your hair.

  1. Save time.
  2. Save money.
  3. Put a few hair salons on Austin Street out of business. (The same might be said about manicures and nail salons.)
  4. No worries about whether the chemicals in the dye/treatment cause cancer.
  5. Better for the environment.
  6. Be a great role model for younger women, letting them know that they don’t have to buy into the misogynist and anti-aging messages that come daily through the media.
  7. Weed out the men who have something against women who look and act their age.
  8. Stop saying, “I look young for my age,” which is less about hair color and more about staying fit and being happy with who you are inside.
  9. Do away with the anxiety of when your roots are going to give you away.
  10. Get comfortable with the inevitable, and therefore yourself.

There you have it: Ten reasons to keep it real in Forest Hills (and everywhere else!).

January 29, 2008 at 9:32 am 5 comments

“Spirit of Communication”


That’s the name of the terra cotta relief that adorns the Forest Hills post office. Next time you walk in or walk by, look up above the doorway. It was fashioned in 1938 by Sten Jacobson, a WPA artist at the time whose livelihood depended on the government’s recognition that art has value and a prime place in society.

Since everything seems up for potential tear-down grabs around here, I’m drawing the line right here and now around this relief. It’s bad enough that all the development in the area is hodgepodged together (in large part because of “interesting” choices made by our local council members), with no sense of fitting in to the area’s original character. We lost the Trylon; we have to keep an eye out for whatever treasures remain.

Including our sorta-kinda version of the Little Mermaid.

January 28, 2008 at 6:59 am 3 comments

Health Alert

There has been another sudden death from meningitis. In just a few days, two beautiful, young people have have lost their lives, seemingly out of nowhere, leaving their families and friends to cope with unspeakable grief and NY health officials bewildered.

Both cases were not far from Forest Hills.

If you see any of this—

Symptoms of bacterial meningitis include high fever, headache, vomiting, stiff neck and rash.

—get yourself or loved one to a doctor, better yet, to the ER, for help and antibiotic.

January 26, 2008 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

A Piece of History


FoHi-relevant excerpts from the book Is Paris Burning?, a World War II classic book by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre (1965). And relevant, too, because Jan. 23 was National Handwriting Day.

For some men, the city ahead already had a special meaning. Lieutenant Colonel Dee Stone patted the worn envelope inside his field jacket as he heard the news. The letter was Stone’s talisman. He carried it since the night he left his home in Forest Hills, New York, in November, 1943, to sail for England. It had landed with him on D Day, followed him through the bloody hedgerows of Normandy. It had brought him alive to the outskirts of Paris, and tomorrow Stone would keep faith with its author. He would deliver it in Paris.


In her neat two-room apartment at 102 rue de Richelieu, Mme. Jacques Jugeat listened to the happy howls of the crowds in the street below. The seventy-one-year-old widow smiled with just a touch of sadness at the noise. She was alone in Paris, cut off from her family, and she was spending Liberation Day as she had spent most of the occupation, along with her thoughts. So lost was she in those thoughts that she failed to hear the first knock on her door. At the second she started and was sure it was a mistake. At the third, timid and afraid, she went to answer it.

There, standing before her, was a smiling giant in a strange uniform. He reached into his pocket and on this Liberation afternoon, the first American Mme. Jugeat has ever seen handed her a letter. It was from her only son 3,600 miles away in a country she had never known. The soldier before her was Lieutenant Colonel Dee Stone. Mme. Jugeat’s son was Stone’s next-door neighbor in Forest Hills, New York. The night Stone had left the United States, Jugeat had given him this letter to deliver in Paris. “It’ll bring you luck,” he had said. It was the letter Stone had carried as a talisman across Utah beach, throughout Normandy’s hedgerows to this dim Paris apartment.

Additional research, as forwarded to me by a resident of the building where Colonel Stone and Mme. Jugeat’s son were once neighbors, revealed that Dee Stone and his wife had a son, Dee Wayne Stone, Jr., born February 17, 1943, who was a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. At 23, on June 16, 1966, he started his tour of duty as a pilot. He was killed on November 11, 1966, along with two other crewman and one passenger when their helicopter was shot down. His remains were recovered in South Vietnam.

January 25, 2008 at 4:29 pm Leave a comment

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