Local politicians flocked to the defense of the storied Forest Hills Tennis Stadium, which sits as a crumbling eyesore, behind a chain link fence in the rather elite neighborhood.
Hours after an exclusive story in The New York Daily News said developer Cord Meyer is set to purchase the stadium’s 2.5 acres for $9 million and replace its courts and grandstands with luxury condos and swimming pools, Congressmember Anthony Weiner sent a letter to City Councilmember Brad Lander, who chairs the Council’s Landmarks Committee, asking for a study and oversight hearing “to determine the viability of landmarking” the stadium.
Cord Meyer’s proposal for the 15,000-seat stadium – once home to the U.S. Open until the late 1970s – would be to keep it partially intact, with residential units built within the structure.
“The West Side Tennis Club helped establish the sport of tennis in the U.S. Forest Hills is known for tennis, and tennis is known for Forest Hills. Sadly, the West Side Tennis Club has neglected an icon, letting it sit somewhat abandoned,” said Michael Perlman, chair of the Rego-Forest Preservation Council.
We cannot landmark every brick or building in Queens. Yes, it is an historic place, but so was Shea Stadium.
Replacing the old with new as Cord Meyer plans will achieve both purposes — preserve history and upgrade the neighborhood.
TAX INDIAN SMOKES
On July 1, Governor David Paterson and the Legislature increased the cigarette excise tax from $2.75 a pack to $4.35, the highest state tax rate in the country. The New York Association of Convenience Stores (NYACS) reports the 58 percent tax jump unleashed a new wave of cigarette tax evasion.
Tens of thousands of smokers – aghast at $9 to $12 pack prices – shifted their purchases to tax-free tribal smoke shops, the black market, and border states with lower tax rates.
We call on Governor Paterson to follow through on the scheduled September 1 start of tax collection on Native American sales of cigarettes to non-Indian customers,
The fewer cheap smokes available, the more smokers will have to quit for monetary reasons.