Monday, October 17, 2011
Several factors led to diner's demise
From the Times Ledger:
The Forest Diner on 108th Street in Forest Hills closed last month after slinging food for about 30 years, and some residents said its passing was a watershed moment in the history of the neighborhood.
Chai Frouz owns a store next to the diner near 63rd Drive and said the area is not the same as when the diner opened in the 1980s.
“There used to be a line to get in there on Sundays,” said Frouz, “But not anymore. The neighborhood changed.”
The numbers back up his story.
According to data from the 2000 and 2010 U.S. Census, the population in both Rego Park and Forest Hills declined from 44,189 to 43,600 and 70,204 to 68,733 people, respectively.
Citywide, the weak growth numbers reported by the census were disputed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
In Rego Park and Forest Hills, those population declines went hand-in-hand with housing vacancy rates that in some cases doubled over the 10-year period.
In 2000, the rental vacancy rate in Rego Park was 2 percent. In 2010, it was 3.8.
That number jumped from 2 percent to 4.4 percent in Forest Hills over the same period.
The two neighborhoods also became more diverse in the 10 years between each Census, with Asian and Hispanic populations increasing by several percentage points.
A representative from Zand Realty, which is trying to sell the vacant space, said the economy was to blame for the diner’s closing.