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Forest Hills Historian Begins Fundraising Series for Secret Mural Project, to Include Help From Local Marvel and DC Comic Book Illustrator

Dec. 13, 2016 Staff Report

The Ramones and Billie Jean King won’t be the only notable figures to be immortalized by murals in Forest Hills.

Michael Perlman, local historian and author of “Legendary Locals of Forest Hills and Rego Park,” has taken it upon himself to begin a series of fundraising events to cover the costs of erecting a mural that will showcase this neighborhood’s historic local figures and scenes. The mural will be displayed in the “heart of Forest Hills,” he said.

Insisting that the artists involved would like to keep details of the project — such as the location — a surprise until spring, Perlman hinted that “the mural will in part be an ode to the ‘Whitepot’ days,” which used to be the name of the land that Forest Hills currently rests on, until the land was purchased and renamed in 1906.

“It will have Civil War roots, and feature between five and seven notables such as early architects, developers, and farmers,” Perlman said. “It will also include historic scenes such as a bird’s-eye view of farmland and buildings which were demolished long ago.”

Perlman hopes to raise $4,000, which will help him secure permits and supplies, such as high-quality paint and primer.

Ridgewood Savings Bank, London Lennie’s and Exo Cafe have each contributed funds for the project, with a series of other local businesses in talks with Perlman to help the group reach their goal.

This past Sunday, a fundraiser was held at Knish Nosh, located at 98-104 Queens Blvd., between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm. For a suggested donation of $50, about a dozen visitors received a “mystery” gift card from Century 21 department store valued between $5 and $500, as well as a holiday wreath valued at approximately $40.

Illustrations by John Stanisci

By the end of the event, the fundraising goal of $4,000 had not been reached. Perlman, however, is planning a second fundraiser with the help of New York Times Bestselling Graphic Artist John Stanisci.

Stanisci, a Forest Hills resident, is best known for his work in Marvel and DC comics featuring Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man to name a few. In 2011, Stanisci’s illustrations in “Batman Beyond: Hush Beyond” helped place the book at #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list of graphic novels.

This second round of fundraising will be held at Roast N’ Co on Wednesday December 21st, at 100-12 Queens Blvd., where between 6:00 pm and 10:00 pm Stanisci will be selling signed prints of his work. Half the sales proceeds will go toward funding the new mural.

Individual donors who contribute a suggested amount of $50 (businesses, a suggested amount of $500) before December 31st will still be eligible to receive one of the gift cards offered by Century 21, as well as a holiday wreath while supplies last.

Donations can be arranged with Michael Perlman by e-mailing:

Photo from first fundraiser (Left to right: Michael Perlman, Linda Perlman, Chef Ana Vasilescu, local residents Alicia Venezia and Stephen Melnick)

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Click for Comments 

Speaking of secrecy, why is the author of this article not identified? I can understand not wanting to disclose the possible location of the mural (so as to not drive up acquisition costs), but why not provide a rendering of the mural? In my opinion, even a rough sketch would help in building support for this endeavor.

Ray V.

Maybe the author was Michael Perlman himself? And are contributions tax deductible? Not that I would donate to such a blind project with so many more worthy causes as mentioned above.

Carlos Weiss

I’m all for art but this seems like a thinly veiled project for the author to promote his book. At this time it is far more important to donate money to the increasing number of homeless in our neighborhood. What is more necessary, a mural or getting food and coats for the needy this winter. Just look around at MacDonald Park, the 71 Ave subway and all around. A mural will not distract from the real problems that our money and time could be put to much better use for.

Friends of MacDonald Park

Thanks Michael Perlman for your tireless efforts in trying to foster community spirit in Forest Hills. We need more people like you willing to devote their time and energy toward the betterment of the community. Keep up the great work.

Jody Frangioso

I think this mural is a horrible idea. Whitepot!! And ode to Whitepot??? Those were the days when Jews and Blacks were prohibited from residing in the area, why would you want to glorify and memorialize that?

Helen Day, Richmond Hill Historical Society

This mural of Forest Hills History will be a wonderful addition to the community. Hopefully, more of these will be done in other communities to highlight our history.

FH resident 11375

I feel that the artists have a right to not release their rendering and the location, until the rendering is complete. I am certain that our community will have a gift for generations to come.

FH resident 11375

I feel that the artists have a right to not release their rendering and the location until the rendering is complete. I am certain that the community will have a gift for generations to come.

Duck Dong

Mr Perlman while legit in his belief that a public mural will be a good thing for the community is in no way interested in anything but promoting himself by having his name on the mural. You can go directly to Andrew Hevesi’s office, Local Community board or the Chamber of Commerce and get the funds needed between you want complete control over said mural, you go the Perlman way.

Carlos Weiss

And how is he an actual historian? Does he hold any degrees in history? Does he teach history? Anyone can gather info and put into a book like done online all the time. What is really going on?

Al Isaacs

He has posted in local Facebook groups, and the authenticity of his posts are often challenged due to inaccurate information. Most notable was a post–complete with a photo-shopped pic of the store with balloons in front–celebrating that a new lease was signed by the Barnes and Noble on Austin St. Target announced their new lease hours later.

That said, am I wrong to understand only five people–including Perlman and his mother–actually showed up?


I don’t understand a secret public works project. What kind of self-important maniac keeps a piece of art that will have important historical value a secret and still raise funds to support it? I question the judgement of any individual or business that would contribute to this without any details.


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