Must-Read on Bukharian McMansions

July 4, 2008 at 8:22 pm 84 comments

Kirk Semple of the New York Times has done the heavy lifting for us by researching and writing this article (online now, for Saturday) about very real tensions in our community. Now that it’s out there, let’s see what, if anything, comes of it. One positive development is that some in the Bukharian community seem sensitive to the antipathy their houses have created. Many non-Bukharian residents of Forest Hills were not so sure they were even aware, or cared, what their neighbors thought. Equally positive is gaining an understanding of how other people think. It’s a first step, perhaps, toward mutual understanding.

Questions of Size and Taste in Queens

Some salient excerpts from this elephant-in-the-room article:

The Bukharians contend that they are being misunderstood.

Indeed, what might seem on its surface like a parochial neighborhood quarrel over yards, fences and taste has revealed the complex civil society of a tight-knit immigrant community and the cultural tensions that have resulted from its rapid growth…

Critics of the new Bukharian architecture in Queens, many of whom are Jewish as well, have presented their complaints in private conversations with elected officials, at small civic meetings and on blogs. Some have taken the view that the Bukharian community is highly insular and that the Bukharians’ tendency to build different from the rest of the neighborhood reflects that…

Ms. Katz, who is chairwoman of the Council’s Land Use Committee, has been working with the City Planning Department on new zoning regulations that would limit the size of new houses in Cord Meyer and other architecturally sensitive areas and create what she calls “a more stable community.”….

“We like to utilize every single square inch of land, every inch of territory,” explained Rabbi Shlomo Nisanov, head of a Bukharian synagogue and community center in Kew Gardens Hills. “For some reason, people don’t appreciate it.”…

The Bukharian tendency to pave over everything is practical, he continued. Bukharians preferred a terrace or patio to a lawn, which he called “useless land.” A yard required mowing — “a waste of time,” he said….

The most ostentatious Bukharian construction has given Rabbi Itzhak Yehoshua, the chief rabbi of the Bukharian Jews in the United States, some pause. He said he urged modesty among his congregation in order to avoid tensions in the community, but he has met resistance.

“I tell them all the time that our ancestors taught us about being humble,” he said during an interview in his small office in the Bukharian Congress building in Forest Hills. “They say, ‘Rabbi, this is our home for entertainment, it’s our fortress. Now we work’ — and they work very hard — ‘and this is our understanding of America.’ ”….

Worried about the widening divide between the Bukharian and non-Bukharian communities in central Queens, Cynthia Zalisky, executive director of the Queens Jewish Community Council, a social services agency for immigrants, said she has been trying to soften the discussion about the Bukharian homes.

“It’s a very delicate situation,” she admitted. Property owners are entitled to their design decisions within the law, she said, but she is also trying to encourage the Bukharian immigrants to view themselves as “part of a whole, not just an entity unto themselves.”

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Entry filed under: Forest Hills.

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84 Comments Add your own

  • 1. MM  |  July 5, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    Lawns are a useless piece of land all of a sudden? My God what is wrong here! You don’t know how many people i know from Manhattan who love to look at the grassy lawns in FH and marvel at it.

    Good to know that Katz is against this.

    Reply
  • 2. karbeth  |  July 5, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    People who design/build houses like this are oblivious to what affect they have on the environment. FoHi is screwed, though, because those houses aren’t going anywhere and certainly there are more to come.

    Reply
  • 3. joe  |  July 5, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    Feed them cheeseburgers!

    Reply
  • 4. J  |  July 6, 2008 at 12:04 am

    The new houses in Forest Hills are increasing the property value of the neighborhood. This is a uselss article that sounds like jealously. Go do an article in the projects or dangerous neighborhoods and how they benefit the city.

    Reply
    • 5. Judah  |  October 1, 2009 at 10:36 pm

      This does not increase the property values….. since they will never sell to people that are outside their circle… and even if they did no one could afford the homes anyway.. They are ruining a once beautiful and historic neighborhood. SHAME SHAME ON THEM

      Reply
  • 6. ciprian  |  July 6, 2008 at 1:51 am

    I can provide some cultural insight into the mind of somebody who grew up in communism. I am myself from Eastern Europe, been here 8+ years.
    Because the commie govt could and would use one member of the family to rat out on another, unity meant survival, especially in a minority/religious community. Multigenerational living arrangements may seem to the average american as crowded, annoying or even squalid. To an East European family it means unity, power and better utilization of available economic resources. Why buy 4 houses in different parts of the city (and spend time and money to visit each other) when you can build one of these huge things and call it good?
    A lawn and big windows mean an open and inviting home to an american. To an immigrant it means feeling vulnerable and insecure from outside forces and/or the government. In order to achieve mental safety, you build big, strong, durable with a big wall around you and populate your home with many members of the family to protect what the clan has.

    Reply
  • 7. kay  |  July 7, 2008 at 8:36 am

    you’re in queens now. not e. europe. no one is looking into your windows. your homes are an eyesore with those columns and garish metal gates. if you want to be so insular and protected, take over a plot of land – like college point – and build your own gated community.

    Reply
  • 8. Iraquois Plisken  |  July 7, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    A lot of the environmental blogs, many of which are not primarily NYC focused, are talking about this article and have some interested words/opinions about what the Rabbi said. Hopefully this will put more pressure on the city to stop this mess.

    Reply
  • 9. Visionary  |  July 7, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    Where is all of this money coming from??????

    Reply
  • 10. Opinionated  |  July 10, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    I am am American born Bukharian. All i can say is that American’s are just jealous that they are here in the country for so long and are not able to build and expand like the bukharians who are here for maybe 15-25 years. Americans don’t know how to save money and use it wisely. Americans need savings accounts to control their spending and play in the stock market which doesn’t gaurantee your money back. Bukharians save every penny that they earn. They know exactly what they are going to use it for. They use it for their families and for their children to grow and be successful. Bukharians are expanding on synoguges and putting their hard earned money into businessess that they are sure will make them more successful.
    Don’t be hating. The Americans in the Forest Hills community should eaither recognize or move out.

    Reply
    • 11. Judah  |  October 1, 2009 at 10:42 pm

      You must be kidding me… How dare you insult people with your words. You claim you are an American but you go ahead and insult Americans. People should look around where they live and appreciate the area… not try to change it…You see you were born here so you do not know or remember the persecution of your people in Uzbekistan and other countries. Instead of trying to assimilate your people do things that isolate themselves further and bring on more misunderstanding. I quote you, “Bukharians are expanding on synoguges and putting their hard earned money into businessess that they are sure will make them more successful”. That make them more successful… THem.. You are only concerned with your own people. You see my family came from Russia in the late 1800’s …. and their attitude was to contribute to this beautiful country along with the Italians, Germans, Swedish, Irish, Chinese, Koreans, Russians and many other peoples… .We did not and will not keep to ourselves but contribute to the greater good of the American People.

      Reply
    • 12. Anona Mous  |  March 6, 2012 at 6:48 pm

      How about using your money for something less tacky? More tasteful? Money can’t buy class or taste!

      Reply
  • 13. Raphael  |  July 10, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    there is so much truth to both sides. It’s true, money cant buy taste. It’s true, this arguement is happening ’cause of jealousy. Where do you go from here? If one can’t control things beyond their reach, either submit and blend in or move!
    To the Americans that have a prob with Bukharians: name one race/culture that has established such a close community, created their own newspapers, magazines, youtube channels, organizations, private schools, kept their own dialect for 3rd generation in america, etc. You can’t name ONE except for Bukharians!
    To my fellow Bukharians: lets be a little more sympathetic to the people around us of different culture, the world DOES NOT revolve around us. Life is not about cars, bis houses, and watches the size of alarm clocks. Its nice to have those things but a be a bit more humble for God’s sake.

    Reply
  • 14. Eric And Jim  |  July 10, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    I don’t live in Forest Hills but read the story in the Times, used to live there, and am familiar with the neighborhood. With all due respect, I don’t think this is about jealousy. (Plenty of Americans in FH have plenty of money.) It’s about personal taste, and a yearning by some to not have the architectural nature of the neighborhood altered in such a stark way. In the town in New Jersey that I live in, there’s a lot of discussion about how to keep people from tearing down existing homes and putting up new ones. People feel very attached to the existing 19th and early 20th century homes — this is part of what drew us to the area in the first place. And one someone makes radical renovations that are not in keeping with the tone and style of the area — or does a complete tear down and build up — that does affect everyone around them. I think the houses that were shown in the Time article are horrible looking. I like grass and houses that are, well, a bit more understated. But I did find the explanation/rationale for why Bukharians build houses in this way interesting. I don’t think that the Bukharian community should take this criticism as an indictment of their culture. It’s just that people simply don’t like the houses they are putting up. And throwing words like “jealousy” won’t help. What will help is an attempt at mutual understanding, as both sides have valid points and, like it or not, are neighbors if not friends. (And maybe just a few less lion’s heads on the front lawn 🙂

    Reply
  • 15. Joe  |  July 10, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    Just read these main points..
    1) Most of you complainers in the Cord Myer area are Ashkenazy(European Jews). During World War II when European Jews were being murdered, many Bukharians were part of the Soviet army fighting the Nazis. Many Bukharians were prisoners of war or murdered trying to defend the Jews of Europe.
    2) This article was printed in the NY Times, which a Bukharian owns the NY Times Building. (Lev Leviev) You can google it, ask anyone if you do not believe me. He is one of the biggest Jewish donors.
    3) You are disgusted about new mansions being built in the area? I am disgusted when I go back and visit my old neighborhood in Brooklyn(Canarsie/East NY). Almost all of the many Synagogues are closed down. The majority of the community members were American Ashkenazy Jews. You do not want to be in that area at night, but don’t worry you will not see any “MC-Mansions” at all.

    Reply
    • 16. anonymous  |  June 17, 2010 at 2:17 pm

      thank god its not as bad. and i’m glad there is appreciation here. but honestly this neighborhoods is full of horrible drivers, drug dealing and extremely noisy. not to mention all the car break ins lately.

      Reply
  • 17. MILLIE  |  July 10, 2008 at 9:28 pm

    I KNOW THAT HOUSE LOL

    Reply
  • 18. nabat  |  July 10, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    LISTEN honestly, the buhies bought the land working as barbers or jewler and whatever the hell they are. and they are cheap as all jews are. just like the persians, and they saved there money so they can buy land and show off there wealth through there house property and they have alot of pride in being buharian althought now adays even there own women that wanna marry them are becoming ashamed of the uneducated men here. It might be jelousy but bukhies like to show off with style i guess. who cares THE NEIGHBORHOOD IS SAFE and not ghetoo. thats all that matters idiots.

    Reply
    • 19. someone.  |  June 17, 2010 at 2:00 pm

      Yeah its safe violence wise- but you have the younger generations of bukharians who don’t give a crap about anything. They sell drugs to everyone including minors in parks and buy cars that they can’t even drive well. They play LOUD music outside people’s homes at 2, 3, 4 o’clock in the morning. But worst of all their driving: I don’t know how many times I almost got hit by one of them and they just scream at you even though a) it’s your light and b) they’re impatient assholes.
      So yeah I mean there are older Bukharians that aren’t any better, but the younger ones are what ruin this neighborhood. Back, then you didn’t see any of this.

      Reply
  • 20. eddie  |  July 10, 2008 at 9:55 pm

    its plain jealousy — eat yourselves out — or learn

    Reply
  • 21. jim  |  July 10, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    This is not right, I completely understand the bukharian perspective. They have the money, they have the spiirit, why not build?! No one complains in New Jersey or Penn and the houses are ENORMOUS. Who cares if there are lions and expensive embellishments, they have a right to exhibit their wealth and portray their passion for architecture.

    Reply
    • 22. Judah  |  October 1, 2009 at 10:57 pm

      I understand your point… But there is a place for homes like these and that is in the suburbs and areas that can support those types of homes…

      Reply
  • 23. karbeth  |  July 10, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    Regarding Raphael’s comment, which offers a lot of insight, I couldn’t agree more about the cohesiveness of the Bukh. community. In fact, if there is one thing that I do envy here, it’s the community (def. not the houses–really). But does and will this community contribute to Forest Hills beyond itself? I think that in a way, the houses are a lightning rod for people’s concerns about that. Every house built is a reminder that the things people once valued about FoHi–and for some, the reason they moved here–may be on borrowed time. Many people besides the Bukharians are committing to staying in FoHi and trying to create a larger sense of community–but how does the Bukharian community fit into this?

    I appreciate the comments people are leaving and their efforts toward elucidating things on both sides.

    Reply
  • 24. jen  |  July 11, 2008 at 7:47 am

    this is so funny who cares what we build and we build it its no one bus. on how we run things or how we even get our things so everyone needs to back off and jus mind there own bus. the americans r just acting childish bc they have no idea wat to do with there money they die and take it with them and leave it to no one we build and pass it on to our family………… so just get a life and stop complaining!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
    • 25. Judah  |  October 1, 2009 at 10:58 pm

      why do you say Americans like you are not one? Do you not consider yourself American? If not then get the F out…

      Reply
  • 26. Simon  |  July 11, 2008 at 10:44 am

    Is grass really the problem? People work really hard to reach they’re ideal standards of living. I’ve lived in the area for 15 years, and some newly built houses stand out in a nice way while others are simply over done. I don’t believe it has anything to the with the people as a whole. Each person has individual taste and if they have the means to build a house to they’re liking, then i believe they should be allowed to do so. Now the city has certain laws that we need to follow when building a house. in Cord Meyer you are allowed to build a house fresh from the ground to your likings. Other places like the Gardens don’t allow you to do that. This is fine because they are trying to maintain a certain look to the neighborhood.But Cord Meyer is in a state of transition. Many houses are brand new, and others have not been touched. To stop the development of this area would make the neighborhood more uneven. The neighborhood is making a slow transition into being united. I think in a way this makes Cord Meyer zoning more liberal and open to individual ideas. I think it would be unfair if one worked hard to make it in life and was not allow to build a home the way they would like it.

    Perhaps the people who dislike this development can also bombard areas like Malba in Whitestone, where the Italians have homes twice as huge and done up with all types of fancy stuff outside.

    Cord Meyer is a developing area and has a bright future. to take away its rights would be unethical. We even got a new elementary school being built around here 🙂

    p.s. personal reason for no grass and trees in my backyard…..gotta keep my cars clean 🙂

    Reply
  • 27. proud jew  |  July 11, 2008 at 11:04 am

    People are such HATERS… to all you forest hillers who dont have a big fancy house…. say THANK YOU to the bukharian community!!! The time when the economy is so unstable and people are going into foreclosure because the value of their property is less then then the amount of mortgage that they owe on their house – here you have bukharians who build and strengthen the value of they neighborhood they move into. I am very proud to say I am one of these people! We work VERY hard to get where we are and believe me that a pathetic article like this will not stop us from achieving bigger and better goals! Go focus on crimes that are being commited, and stop counting our money!

    Reply
    • 28. Judah  |  October 1, 2009 at 11:03 pm

      how does one group of isolated peoples building huge homes help me or the US economy? It does not…TO strengthen the value of their neighborhood….. hmmmm how about contributing to the community as a whole… SOmething you need to learn how to do… that is the American Way… Community… Work together, build community, help your neighbor, love your neighbor…. You cannot justify your overspending when too many others are suffering

      Reply
      • 29. anonymous  |  June 17, 2010 at 2:21 pm

        I agree. If you have all that money why don’t you help the community???? We could use HELP not HOUSES. Send your money to help fund schools or donate it to organizations, you choose. But don’t sit here telling people you’re strengthening the community, when you have people like me and other who sit here and are called “jealous” when in reality were disgusted by your “contributes.”

    • 30. Borat Sadiyev  |  October 5, 2009 at 9:53 pm

      I agree. I don’t think the houses are big enough. In fact, for the amount of land, People should be allowed to build 10 or more stories. If it’s your land, you should build as many stories as you like.

      So I urge people in Cord Meyer to build even bigger.

      Jagshemesh!

      Reply
  • 31. karbeth  |  July 11, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    I heard about Malba, how the houses here are nothing in comparison. Yikes!

    Complaining and explaining are not the same thing, because for the most part, I’ve found the comments on this to be very civilized and respectful rather than “whiny” (yesterday’s word of the day:)). Those who are expressing concerns about the houses are not complaining or trying to tell others what they can and cannot do (that’s for the zoning laws). Rather, they’re explaining what makes them uncomfortable about the situation. As part of a community, this is what people do. And since a lot of people consider themselves part of the community of Forest Hills as a whole, and not just of their own home/family or ethnic/religious group, that may be where the breakdown in understanding originates.

    Reply
  • 32. Moldavian  |  July 11, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    I respect other peoples tastes and acomplishments. Its their properties, let them do whatever they want.

    The houses are not that fancy if you consider that there is 30 people living in each one.

    🙂

    Reply
  • 33. Moldavian  |  July 11, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    Oh and btw, 10 million dollar homes dont come from honest hard work. Any moron know that. They come from ripping off medical and auto insurance companies and other scams.

    I want to see how an honest person makes enough for a 10 million dolar home in 10 years of being in the country. Saving every penny? Oh please.

    On the other hand, Manhattan Beach in Brooklyn is just as bad, and noone is complaining. i say let the people build what they want and live how they like. THis is one of the liberties of being an American. Makes no difference if you are a Buharian American or any other.

    Reply
    • 34. Judah  |  October 1, 2009 at 11:04 pm

      I hear you on that… Where is the money coming from???

      Reply
    • 35. Borat Sadiyev  |  October 5, 2009 at 9:54 pm

      Why peoples say I make money from insurance, not paying taxes is not honest. My people make good money and taxes are too high. It makes sense to use what the system has to offer.

      Reply
    • 36. Fyre  |  July 27, 2010 at 2:54 pm

      Yep, they are all on welfare, My parents owned a shop in the Kew Gardens area. All of them have mansions and pay with EBT cards.
      They have cash businesses in the Diamond district on 47th st, Lost do what is called no fault claims.. basically scam insurance.

      So basically you pay for their 10m homes with your tax money.

      Reply
  • 37. regentpalms  |  July 11, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    These houses aren’t worth 10 million dollars, they’re not even worth 5 million. Any honest, hardworking american can take out a mortgage and build himself a house to their liking. Bukharians have no fear in being in debt and are willing to expand. The only thing that would stand in the way would be State laws, and in Cord Meyer there are no restrictive laws of what a home should look like. Like the old saying goes “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” those houses were broke and they are being fixed.

    Reply
    • 38. anonymous  |  June 17, 2010 at 2:13 pm

      actually many of the houses were perfectly fine. In your eyes you see them as “broken.” So your instinct is..”Demolish and rebuild into another UNEEDED giant house. I know many people who RENOVATE big houses and use the size theyre given…they dont over-do it. and these houses that im seeing are so BAD that its so sad. Not color-coordinated and just over-done.

      SAD.

      Reply
  • 39. jen  |  July 11, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    if u ppl havent heard but that house was broken into a few days ago u see this is all from bad eyes freakin jel. ppl

    Reply
  • 40. Mr. Forest Hills  |  July 11, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    Its too bad that brake-ins are not unheard of in FH. Cars and homes. Thats the real problem, not what people’s homes look like.

    Extravagant, they certainly are, and we do all have our personal prefference, but if you ask me, these houses are better than the run down peices of crap they replaced.

    What I value in my neighbours is peace and quiet. If they are quiet, they can build space rockets for all I care.

    Reply
    • 41. anonymous  |  June 17, 2010 at 2:15 pm

      but sadly there is no peace and quiet… notice the loud music coming from the cars that belong to underage bukharian drivers. please. it used to be quiet.

      Reply
    • 42. Fyre  |  July 27, 2010 at 3:00 pm

      There is no peace and quite in Forest Hills with these people around. The young ones start gangs, pick fights and beat women.

      Reply
  • 43. Fran  |  July 12, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    These houses are ugly, but so are most non-post-soviet architecture McMansions. The biggest problem is drainage which the Times reporter probably doesn’t understand.

    A follow-up would be interesting: What steps did the builder of this house take to take care of the run-off from his property since there is no earth and plantings to help the situation?

    Reply
  • 44. Dj  |  July 13, 2008 at 10:48 am

    Wow, to be honest, people are just hating on bukharians. In fact, its human nature, when one sees someone is doing better, and you don’t have it, you hate on them. The sad thing is, people sit down, invade privacy by taking pictures of peoples houses? Seriously, take initiative in your own lives. Why complain against other peoples lawns? believe me, their are bigger things affecting the environment. As per frans comment above, if these houses are ugly, you have no taste. Save up some money, and take a trip to Europe. This is a classy community, with an imagination. Its time to bring some class to the US. In fact, thanks to these bukharians that your complaining about, your apts and houses in the area have tripled in price. I dont see you guys complaining when you collecting that money. As a comedian by the name of katt williams once said, “the more haters you have, the better. It just means your doing good. If you start off with 4 haters in the beginning of the year, end with 40” ; )

    -Dj

    Reply
    • 45. Judah  |  October 1, 2009 at 11:06 pm

      no the more haters does not mean you are doing good… It means you are further isolating yourself…. Thou shalt not covet… they need to start reading their own religious text

      Reply
    • 46. Borat Sadiyev  |  October 6, 2009 at 1:07 am

      Yes, pull the race card. You can then do anything.

      Reply
  • 47. Thorn  |  July 14, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    While I can understand the nostalgia of people who see their neighbourhood change its face, nevertheless it is unamerican to dictate other people what they should or shouldn’t do with their property. You people didn’t mind when your mayor, Ed Koch built ugly looking housing projects for social parasites all over Brooklyn back in the 80s, so shut the hell up about McMansions.

    Reply
  • 48. sue  |  July 14, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    I CAME FROM SOVIET UNION 20 YRS AGO, AND WAS RUNNING FROM COMMUNISM, WHERE THE GOAL WAS– NO RICH PEOPLE AROUND!!!!!! EVENTUALLY, WITHIN 70 YRS SOVIET UNION HAS ACHIEVED THIS GOAL. THE WHOLE COUNTRY WAS IN DESPAIR, RUINS, POVERTY WHERE DRUNKEN WORKING CLASS RULED THE WORLD. HUMAN LIFE WAS NOTHING, PEOPLE WERE KILLED IF THERE WAS A HUNCH OF EXTRA INCOME. EVERYBODY WAS SUPPOSED TO BE POOR AND BE HAPPY ABOUT IT. I FEEL, UNITED STATES IS RUNNING TOWARDS COMMUNISM(STUPID LIBERALS!!!). tHEY ALSO DON’T NEED RICH OR INTELLIGENT OR ELSE. OUR FUTURE WILL BE PROJECT HOUSES, SUCKING UP STATE MONIES(THROUGH OUR POCKETS). SO, WHO DO YOU WANNA SEE IN FUTURE- SOMEBODY WHO CAN SUPPORT HIMSELF AND CREATING A BEAUTIFUL COMMUNITIES OR PARASITES WHO ARE SUCKING ON OUR MONEY???

    Reply
  • 49. Anonymous  |  July 15, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    No rich people around? Some people work hard, other people scam and steal !!!

    I just saw this on the news the other day 😦 Very upsetting.

    http://www.my9tv.com/i-team/

    Click the “Free Dental Treatment” on the right.

    These people are giving everyone a bad name. Scaming and stealing and making life more expensive for all of us.

    And surprise surprise, here is one of those big homes in the video.

    Where did you say that money comes from?

    If you worked hard for your money fair and square and pay your taxes, dont be so concerned about what other people think about your home. This country is all about the freedom of expression, build away! But if you scam and steal and cheat, please dont go aroudn telling people that you came to the U.S. 15 years ago and made 10s of millions the honest way. B.S !!!!!

    Reply
  • 50. Jay  |  July 17, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    How do you know who is stealing and who is not?
    Most of the people who built houses in forest hills are doctors, lawyers, dentists, own jewelry stores and etc..
    Why is it so hard to believe that people could actually be successful?
    There are people who builled houses in Great Neck, Little Neck, Manhattan Beach and in various parts of NYC that are much larger than the house FH. Are these people thieves as well?
    These people pay taxes just like everyone else. The government is not stupid. And knows whos doing what. Onless you have proof, don’t Hate.
    These people have their whole family working hard for years and saving money to buy these houses. They set goals and work long hours to achieve their status.
    In order to know about these people or any other people you have to study sociology.
    You have no idea who these people are and where the come from. You have to know the history of the Bukharian Jews to really understand them.
    Don’t be prejudice and jealous. And live your on life

    Reply
    • 51. Borat Sadiyev  |  October 5, 2009 at 10:00 pm

      I don’t understand why the race card is played.

      Drainage is a huge problem. Rain from the last few years have flooded the streets more so than ever because there is no longer soil/grass to soak up the rain.

      I don’t see why big houses can’t be built without removing all grass.

      Reply
  • 52. Anonymous  |  July 18, 2008 at 10:16 am

    It seems that jealousy and plain bigotry is a driving force here. No doubt about it. I understand position of people whose houses are 60 years old ran down and stand next to those beautiful mansions. It makes you feel
    bad. I understand. On the other hand, these people who sell those old crappy houses to bukharians for 1.1 or 1.5 million dollars don’t complain, even though the market value of those houses may be 1/2 of that. It is a free market, you don’t like the price, walk away. You don’t like your neighbors, sell your house you will get twice as much than its really worth and move to Jamaica. They don’t build big houses there.

    The thing is that Forest Hills has become an upscale neighborhood, and that is what it is.

    Another problem is that the people you look down to just off the boat, suddenly more successful than some of the complainers here. Never mind that some of them just run successful businesses, some of them are doctors or lawyers. The next thing those complainers use…class….:) It is just plain funny. If you did have class you wouldn’t be here

    Reply
    • 53. Borat Sadiyev  |  October 5, 2009 at 10:02 pm

      Building new houses is fine but the entire removal of lawn is creating a lot of sewer/ run off problems.

      Reply
  • 54. Old FH  |  July 18, 2008 at 10:57 am

    Wow, were talking points passed around at synagogue?

    If this were “Splitting Hairs in Malba”, I’d have something to say about Malba. But it’s not.

    When those ugly houses sit empty after the banks have foreclosed on them, the rest of us in the neighborhood will have to live with that. Thanks, guys.

    Reply
  • 55. Anonymous  |  July 22, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    Most Soviet jews came here about 15 years ago. So to have a 10 million dollar home, they must be VERY VERY succesfull (Like 1 million a year).

    So you ar eright, I do appologize to all those honest and hard working doctors and lawyers I must have offended, that really earned their living the honest way and payed their taxes and all…. LOL

    Suddenly more successfull? Sure they are. Like that dentist in the video.

    If the goal is to be like those other criminals in Manhattan Beach, then i take it all back. Mission accomplished!!!

    FYI Forest Hills has always been an “upscale neighborhood”. Its all a matter of opinion.

    Reply
  • 56. BUKHARIAN  |  July 23, 2008 at 9:27 am

    more power to BUKHARIANS who buy OLD OLD HOUSES in forest hills… that smell WITH PISSSS of dogs and cats and OLD LONELY SENIOR CITIZENS… this old houses just CRY OUT TO HAVE THEM BROKEN DOWN …. they all LEAK from inside…. all the PIPES are about to explode…. mice, roaches… who in the RIGHT MIND WOULD WANNA LIVE in the house like that… just to KEEP THE HISTORY…. SHUT THE F***** UP….. GOD BLESS AMERICA…. GOD BLESS BUKHARIANS…. who are turning america into beautifull country…. by building nice BEAUTIFULL HOUSES who are clean on the outside as well as inside….

    HATERS JUST ADMIT… YOU WISH YOU CAN BUILD A HOUSE LIKE THAT…. 10 GENERATIONS of your kids and grandkids after you no body will be able to build a house like that….

    and to all the HATERS…. BE CAREFUL while driving and STARING AT OUR MANSIONS… you might get into accident… keep your eyes on the ROAD… 🙂

    Reply
    • 57. anonymous  |  June 17, 2010 at 2:27 pm

      honey those houses you’re building are UGLY AS HELL. You imitate other peoples ideas and you make it even worse. you are making america beautiful? You’re not even known anywhere! No one in manhattan or the bronx or brooklyn, you name it, even knows what a Bukharian is. So youre making America beautiful? bullshit. your children are corrupting the peace and tranquility of what this neighborhood used to be asshole.

      Reply
      • 58. Anonymous  |  December 23, 2011 at 11:03 pm

        I AM A BORN AND RAISED BUKHARIAN,,,,VERY PROUD OF IT…I AM WELL EDUCATED AND VERY WELL OF IN LIFE. NOW I AM ACTUALLY HURT BY THE COMENTS BEING MADE ABOUT BUKHARIANS.
        WE ARE ALL HERE FOR FREEDOM AND ITS OUR CHOICE. I AM NOT SAYING THE HOUSES WERE BUILD ARE RIGHT OR WRONG BUT I KNOW ITS A PERSONS CHOICE AND PRIVATE DICISION ON WHAT THEY WANT AND HOW THEY WANTED. WE WORK HARD FOR OUR MONEY. WE DONT EAT BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER OUSIDE. WE COOK AND BRING TO WORK…WE KNOOW WHEN TO SAVE AND HOW TO SAVE…

  • 59. Anonymous  |  July 24, 2008 at 10:27 am

    It is too bad that mserable old people dont like the style of the new homes in FH. I really do think that most of them are very good looking and although a bit extravagant, they definately did bring value to the neighbourhood. Most buharians I know have real jobs or businesses and work hard, so they deserve to enjoy the fruits of their labor: marble floors and those two tone gold fences and all. 🙂

    However, the people who are actually proud of the fact that they stole enough money to own those REALLY HUGE houses that take up 2-3 lots and look like someone’s nightmare, belong in prison. I dont care if they are buharian or not, all criminals are the alike.

    Reply
    • 60. Borat Sadiyev  |  October 5, 2009 at 10:03 pm

      Huge problem is their walls intrude into other people’s property.

      Reply
  • 61. Jo  |  July 30, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    The people who claim Bukahrians get these “millions” are jealous and racist. It is not uncommon for these people to work 6 or 7 days a week, often all day. And the children live at home until they marry, allowing them to begin their lives financially stable, unlike several Americans who begin their adult lives either living paycheck to paycheck or in debt from college. They work hard and have good financial sense, that is there secret. You don’t even need a million dollars on hand to buy one of those home; this just proves how limitied your financial knowledge is and how you will never be successful. Are there some crooks? Probably. But not more so than in other cultures or neighborhoods. People need to stop being jealous and learn a lesson here.

    Reply
  • 62. Anonymous  |  December 31, 2008 at 6:38 am

    Looks like bel-air its nice, fresh prince…

    Reply
  • 63. Gabe  |  December 31, 2008 at 6:40 am

    Looks like Bell-air to me, from fresh prince

    Reply
  • 64. STEVE B  |  February 8, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    I find the mansion like construction in Forest Hills by the Bukharian community appealing but I cant stand the high walls and lack of the natural beauty that green lawns and trees provide. The Bukharian jewish community supposedly embraces god and his creations, where are the trees, grass and flowers? I guess a concrete prison like atmosphere for ones home is more righteous.

    Reply
  • 65. Virginian in FH  |  March 6, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    Enough with the “jealousy” talking points. Forest Hills Gardens has never received the kind of backlash that these eyesores have received. Using the jealousy play is intellectually lazy. Let’s collectively figure out why thousands of people in Forest Hills complain about homes pushed out to the sidewalks and perhaps 10 people complain about the homes with large lawns and ivy-covered walls in the Gardens.

    And We Saved It guy, I’m going to try that for about a decade.

    Reply
  • 66. Yehoshafat  |  March 7, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    Yehoshafat said…

    I pray in Bukharian synagogues, eat in their kosher restaurants and occasionally do business with them. Yet I’ve rarely met one who has honored his promises consistently.

    I do not envy their wealth nor begrudge their housing tastes. But I do fault many of them for ignoring the Torah command of “Mozei sefatekha tishmor,” that which comes out of your mouth (your words) you must keep.

    The Eighth Commandment directs us not to steal. According to the rabbis, deceiving another person through words or other means is just another form of theft.

    Being intelligent, smart, is good. But intelligence should not be used to deceive or pull the wool. Bukharians, like all new immigrants, should work to build more sensitivity and befriend their neighbors.

    They should take the chip off their shoulders and not show how superior or tough they are. They should not flaunt their wealth or boast about it. That causes anti-Semitism. They should not put down other Jews or American Gentiles or the American culture.

    It is America that has allowed them to come and settle here. It did same with my family from Europe and we worked our way up without boasting.

    One can maintain one’s Judaism and one’s culture without ticking off neigh-bors. Making an effort to learn English & operating by the laws of this society will help. Not tossing garbage around, not blocking pedestrian sidewalks and curbing your dogs will also help.

    Teach your children not
    to try to outsmart our governments. Give them a good Torah and secular education and be a little more humble and thankful. Begin to contribute more to this blessed society as you evolve here. Nearly every immigrant group has learned that. Success here is scored in attitude and education as much as it is in crude riches..Yehoshafat

    Reply
    • 67. Berta  |  March 24, 2012 at 8:27 pm

      I completely agree – I’m Buhkarian and it is such a struggle to get my family to understand and more importantly respect others of the non Buhkarian way of life.

      If I could get just one of them to do what they say they will do, my life would be so much easier.

      Reply
  • 68. Yehoshafat  |  March 9, 2009 at 5:03 am

    I know of two cases where the owners of big concrete mansions in Forest Hills could not sell their properties. Nobody so far wanted to buy the houses they built and sunk so much money into the construction.

    So how are the McMansions so profitable when they are no longer marketable? One Bukharian family may not want the design of another Bukharian family. Just because a buyer built one of these homes at great expense doesn’t mean he could sell it at the price he seeks or even sell it at all.

    Reply
  • 69. Yehoshafat  |  April 22, 2009 at 8:08 am

    Lying to the very end. Lying through her teeth before the whole world. “I had nothing to do with this murder,” she said after her conviction of life imprisonment w/o parole. Mazalrah. She killed her huband, orphaned her child, imprisoned herself for life, disgraced the Jewish people, brought dishonor to the Bukharian community and helped to ramp up anti-Semitism.

    All these, and yet the most important thing to her was to lie, to cheat, to try to outsmart the court and the government. If she were an observing Jewess she would confess her guilt and admit her crime. She would throw herself on the courts, her rabbi and the community that she would do “teshuva,” repentance.

    But because of arrogance, her adamancy, her
    parting words reflected the attitude she’s always had along, a smugness that she could kill with impugnity, that she could fool the authorities, pull the wool over the government…and damn the people.

    Rabbi Yehoshua, Mr. Kandov and the other officials have got to cast off Mazalrah as a pariah, someone different than the average
    Bukhairan young woman (or man). If they fail to do that, if they defend Mazalrah, we’re all in trouble. Tzedek, tzedek tishpot Amecha… Justice, justice shall you judge Your people. God have mercy on the good people, on most of us.

    Reply
  • 70. Arthur U.  |  July 14, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    I lived in philly my whole life and recently moved to Queens to find that there is so much more to life and expressing yourself. Then I come to read this article which was a surprise… if you earned your money then you should be able to spend it how ever you please within the goverened laws.

    For anyone worried about illegal earning, have no worries every one has their time. So for the neighbors concerend about us, take some time away from our concerns and sit down with your family and try to figure out a way to save up enough money to actually move to a more comfortable enviroment since you are no longer at ease.

    This goes for most immigrants, not just Bukharians; when you come to a counrty with nothing, your main concern is to prosper and provide for your family at any means and that remains in our blood for generations to come. As for Americans who live “comfortably” that is exactly why there is immediate drive to build up, and this is why most salary positions are occuppied by Americans. (Which we have no problem with, please continue to do so)

    Would you like it if we were concerend about how you had enough money to buy your new Ford Taurus at 65 with a 900 pension? No, you wouldn’t.. its your privacy. I think whats more interesting to know is why you waited your whole life to finaly get the car of your dreams at the point of your life when you can’t even drive it.

    Live, LEARN, and love what you have. Don’t waste your time sensitive lives worried about others… we deff dont waste ours, maybe thats how we have enough time to build castles. Cutting the grass takes time too…btw.

    Reply
  • 71. Judah  |  October 1, 2009 at 11:08 pm

    If one group of people is doing so well and the others in the community are not there is something wrong… One gains at the expense of the others…. Cherish your family, your community and your neighbors… Do not isolate yourself in a micro community.

    Reply
  • 72. Borat Sadiyev  |  October 6, 2009 at 1:12 am

    “We Bukharian’s can do anything we want. Because if you don’t like it, you are a racist and anti-semetic. ”

    “everyone knows this is not a housing community issue if we turn it into a race issue, even it has no remote relation”.

    Reply
  • 73. misha  |  October 26, 2009 at 11:45 pm

    buharians are hard workers…our secret is that we pray hard and work hard..we have a niche to know where to buy a business and how to run it..its just something within us..cannot be taught in any school except maybe a buharian house
    i understand how many americans feel left out and can never experience the joy of living large with large families (thankk GOD), but u guys can live like us u just have to want it …

    Reply
  • 74. Anonymous  |  May 21, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    Bukharians own these mega mansions, yet they use Food stamps….I’ve seen you swipe that EBT card wearing your fur coats…
    Explaint that you “hard workers”,,,,

    Reply
  • 75. Anon  |  May 29, 2010 at 6:53 am

    Bottom line: The only violent crime, and business scams I’ve seen since moving here are Bukharians. The whole notion of them being “peaceful, hard working people who know how to save their money” is utter nonsense. Criminals. There have been shootings in my neighborhood: all Bukharian. My friends have been approached by scam artists trying to force their business to join their scams: all Bukharian. I’ve seen violent altercations in stores at night: Bukharian. These people did not get their millions by “saving” and “working hard”. It is all dirty money obtained through scams and hurting others. Complete shame, because this is the image they have created for themselves.

    Reply
  • 76. someone.  |  June 17, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    Yeah, the neighborhood is safe violence wise- but you have the younger generations of bukharians who don’t give a crap about anything. They sell drugs to everyone including minors in parks and buy cars that they can’t even drive well. They play LOUD music outside people’s homes at 2, 3, 4 o’clock in the morning. But worst of all their driving: I don’t know how many times I almost got hit by one of them and they just scream at you even though a) it’s your light and b) they’re impatient assholes.
    So yeah I mean there are older Bukharians that aren’t any better, but the younger ones are what ruin this neighborhood. Back, then you didn’t see any of this.
    Regarding the homes, I have seen so many trees cut down and replaced for homes that are bigger than what they need. If they have so much money why not send it to help plant all the trees they destroyed.

    Reply
  • 77. Bilgemaster  |  January 5, 2011 at 8:36 am

    Funny, but my first thought on seeing that picture up top of the immaculate columned home with a nice paved driveway with a gull-wing-doored Mercedes was: “Nice!”

    I dunno…I suppose It must be a “context” thing, but this hard working stiff would happily trade my shitbox suburban 4 bedroom split level and ’96 Honda Accord for the spread shown in a heartbeat.

    Reply
  • 78. screwuall  |  February 3, 2011 at 3:24 am

    damn why are u guys so jealous just cuz u lived here all ur lives and cant make it big we build these huge houses cuz we can afford it.dont hate participate lol

    Reply
  • 79. Bulgarians rule  |  October 3, 2011 at 9:20 am

    Let’s not forget the wall street junkies who make millions if not billions on ripping people off! They make a bigger population than Bukharians do so please stop trashing people who have taste and make use of their land. It’s funny how I often see Americans stare and admire properties. Forest hills is the second best neighborhood in queens after Whitestone. It didn’t happen on it’s own. Property values went up, and all the trash moved out. I personally know the owner of the house in the NY times article and he made his money in real estate, the honest way, I have family who have 5 mc mansions in cord Meyers and they made their money the legal way in the diamond district in the 90’s. Judah it seems u have a little jealousy issue. There is nothing wrong with building a nice house for urself, if u have the money. There is corruption and scamming all over the world, to magnify Bukharians as the scammers is a little bias. Another fact for u, there are currently 10 more projects in the works in that neighborhood so unless u can walk around with a blindfold on, get used to it! The neighborhood is a great one, with decent people living in it!!!

    Reply
  • 80. Bulgarians rule  |  October 3, 2011 at 9:21 am

    Bukharians rule***

    iPhone auto correct sucks!

    Reply
  • 81. SG 2011  |  January 1, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    the new homes in cord myer cost about 2 million to build -not 10mil.

    Reply
  • 82. SG 2011  |  January 1, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    Building homes creates white collar jobs for architects ,bank managers and their secretaries,real estate brokers and their support staff. And create ,blue collar jobs for contractors,construction workers, plumbers, electricians, carpenters,
    roofers. New building increases the real estate taxes that the owners of these homes must pay to New York City .These tax revenues support public schools. Many of the immigrants in Forest Hills never directly benefit from the public schools their tax dollars support because they send their children to parochial schools
    thereby unburdening the public school system. These are all good deveolpments. I rejoice when a wealthy person spends money because of the dignified benefit it brings to so many. Its on par with charity or even exceeds it because spending creates jobs while charity sometimes is only a hand out .

    Reply
  • 83. Ka D'argo  |  June 22, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    I would not equate the building of a garish house with charity. Bukharian property owners can have many of the things they want in a home and still have it fit into the look of a neighborhood. We have the same issue in Fresh Meadows, and it is quite sad to see.

    Reply
  • 84. LEW D  |  August 15, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Critics of ugly Bukharin architecture now being built in Forest Hills have presented their complaints in private conversations with elected officials, at small civic meetings, and with neighbors. Most take the view that the Bukharin community is highly insular (clannish) and that their tendency to build different buildings from the rest of the neighborhood reflects their attempt to remain segregated from the rest of our community. As a neighbor friend expressed these people seem to be more interested in rebuilding their lost communities than assimilating into America. They have in fact have openly insulted their neighbors, destroyed the traditional American aritectural look of various neighborhoods by purposely building houses whose strange foreign style is in direct opposition to traditional norm. One is instantly struck and disturbed by the huge, ugly brick, and steel gated walls surrounding most of these houses. Are these walls built with the idea of keeping their families locked inside, or protecting them from the rest of the non-Bukharin neighbors? Perhaps they should be reminded that they now live in the most racially, religiously, and ethnically diverse part of the United States of America. Their lame justification that just because native born Americans are not as ostentatious building oversized houses, or driving overpriced imported luxury cars makes them believe that they are more successful than their neighbors. Buy how they would even be able to judge their opinions as they have self segregated themselves from the rest of the Jewish community by building, and supporting their own synagogues’. One commentator had the gall to complain about Ashkenazy Jews saying that he served in the Soviet Army, was that the same country that aligned itself with the Nazi’s from 1939 – 1941 before they were betrayed by Hitler? Fact check, older American Jews remembering the horrors of World War Two would never buy German cars. Another commentator on this blog mentions that many Bukharin’s send their children to private religious school without tax payer benefits, however they fail to mention the thousands of Russian geriatrics who never having worked a day in America having been allowed to retire here are getting millions of dollars in housing allowances, food benefit cards, and Medicaid benefits. Fact is that Rego Park has become known as the Medicaid Fraud capital of New York City, over 40 percent of our local population now receiving some sort of government assistance, and this is supposed to be a hard working American middle-class neighborhood. Most of the residents of this neighborhood now look down at Bukharin’s as being loud, rude, crude, inconsiderate neighbors, who don’t give a damn about anyone or anything but themselves.

    Reply

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