Worst architecture in NYC: The Bukharian house

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Originally published by the Amsterdam-based project run by Mark Minkjan, Failed Architecture.

“Look, architecture is over,” declared longtime New York resident Kevin Walsh in 2008, in response to an article the Gothamist ran on new zoning laws in Forest Hills, Queens. Walsh, founder of the local nostalgia website Forgotten New York, was objecting to some of the remodeling efforts being undertaken the wave of Bukharian Jewish immigrants that began flooding the neighborhood earlier in the decade. Driven from their adoptive homelands in Central Asia by the collapse of the USSR, forced out of backwater republics with basket-case economies such as Uzbekistan or Tajikistan, many of them now pulled up stakes and practically airlifted into Queens. Unfortunately for the borough’s more “indigenous” (i.e., Ashkenazic) Jewish inhabitants, their Mizrahi cousins brought with them their culture’s bizarre building habits and aesthetic preferences.

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Ripped out of their native context within the Uzbek architectural vernacular and transplanted into a satellite district halfway out toward Long Island, the mammoth mansions the Bukharians began installing clashed harshly with the gentle gables and turreted masonry of the older, more manorial estates that previously made up this part of the city. Hoping to preserve the neighborhood’s prestige and air of respectability, residents of the “romantic suburb” of Forest Hill Gardens — a quaint Tudoresque cottagescape loosely inspired by the reformist principles of Ebenezer Howard — revived long-forgotten provisions from its building code that’d been collecting dust for years. With the help of some especially prohibitive requirements still on the books, they were largely able to quarantine the unwelcome newcomers. Stylistic elements originating in Bukhara were thus relegated to a series of cramped and out-of-sight blocks, neatly tucked away behind two rows of prewar high-rises across the way from Queens Boulevard, a treacherous twelve-lane thoroughfare.

Extravagant though they may have been at times, the old mock Tudor houses once dominant here now pale before the unbridled grandiosity of the Bukharian homes being built. All the conventional virtues of the Elizabethan home Muthesius celebrated a century before in his study of Das englische Haus are thus flouted, shattering any prior sense of proportion or typological uniformity. Rather than sturdy half-timbered façades and steeply pitched roofs, pale pink marble slabs made from imported Jerusalem Stone surrounded by tacky chromed-out fences and shiny metal gates. Instead of neatly manicured gardens, no gardens. Just paved lots, devoid of greenery, onto which they stack storey after storey in order to maximize occupancy over limited square footage. Of course, the rationale for this obsessive overuse of available land is rooted in a thoroughly reactionary ideology. Bukharians build mini-fortresses to house their enormous families, themselves a necessary consequence of the Biblical imperative to “Be fruitful, and multiply” (Genesis 1:22). A corollary to this injunction is almost certain domestic servitude for women in the community, a lifetime spent breeding or performing other menial tasks.

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For Failed Architecture’s category of “worst architecture,” then, I choose to nominate a whole class of problematic buildings rather than a single infamous building. New York has its fair share of bad architecture, but these are the worst.

— Ross Wolfe, The Charnel-House

66 thoughts on “Worst architecture in NYC: The Bukharian house

  1. Bukharian Jews transformed Forest Hills and Rego Park into most desirable areas of Queens. The values of neighboring properties have quadrupled as a result of this and the economy in general. It’s true that the architecture of newly erected building is far more superior than those that were build pre World War II without any style – but that’s no reason to be jealous. America is a country of opportunities – and if we the Bukharian Jews (or as you refer to us: “the unwelcome newcomers”) were better equipped to reach our American Dream – again that’s no reason to be jealous! Instead of bragging and complaining how off-the-boat little nation came over without any English and superseded many in standard of living – strive for something better in your life, treat it as a challenge, make these unwelcomed newcomers your row model.

    • You’ve got to be kidding me. ALL of NYC has increased tremendously in value, and Forest Hills was ALWAYS desirable for its greenery, decent schools, and proximity to Manhattan. If you wanted to narrow it to one group, you could easily say it was the elite living in the Forest Hills Gardens, Queens’ most exclusive wealth enclave. Don’t flatter yourself and your Bukharian kin. There are worse things to happen to a community than mega-mansions, but bigger does not equal better, something that these people without an understanding of architectural continuity or respect for the preexisting community cannot understand. And tell me – how many of those houses weren’t built on Medicaid reimbursements, *hint hint*?

      • Your so stupid… Such a tree hugger. I’m sure forest hills would have been even more desirable if they didn’t move in and the Spanish/Indian population took over instead.. With thier plaster houses. Let’s get real… Any neighborhood can go to sh*t… Take harlem for example

    • Not to take anyone’s side, … By the US law gives a personal right to live how you want. It’s how much you put in (work hard or not), and this what you will get in return. Everyone has a right to live like this (big houses and cars) and why not because you live only once, as long as you don’t do any harm to any living soul. America is all of opportunities and here we are reaching for that highest potential. No University in US given or signed you off with a Doctorate degree(MD, Lawers…etc)with a bribe, but simply like everyone else everyone earned their highest degrees. To get to that level it takes to scrub the floors working your way up…so be it you earned it, make a difference and enjoy the life by building your house, family and community. Author being jelous about bukharians with the short term goal achivement (avg. 10 yrs) unlike some american residents live since birth in Forest Hills and aren’t able to reach that potential and rise to live big(probably that includes author as well).. Why isnt author criticizing Steve Jobs or Mike Z.(Facebook) they made millions in 1-2 years (2006-2007) they weren’t rich as starting their business, they just worked hard and being presistant. Look at it positive….. those matchbox houses will not withhold hurricanes, unlike brick houses…..so that means building new and preserving brick house residence for many years to come.

  2. As a journalist, you deserve an F on this article. It is your opinion on the beauty of ugliness of the houses that are built in this neighborhood. However, the facts show that it is because of Bukharian Jews the real estate value in Forest Hills skyrocketed. No one cared about the wooden matchboxes that were previously here, and they were in no way ‘sturdy’ as you referred to them. These houses are well taken care of, unlike others around them that look abandoned and deserted with the grass reaching the windows.
    However, my issue is about the role of the Bukharian wives that you described in this article. Checking your facts first before reporting might be a good idea. The women of this community hold high level jobs, are very respected and not treated as slaves, that’s how you refer to them in your article. You owe an apology for portraying them in that light AND for offending a jewish religion by mocking the law to ‘be fruitful and multiply’. Horrible reporting on both of these issues.

    • Well, besides just firsthand experience interacting with the Bukharian community in Forest Hills and accounts from female friends who’ve struggled to escape the strictures imposed on them by religious and cultural convention (which I know can seem impressionistic), there have been sociological and demographic surveys that confirm what I mentioned in the article. Perhaps this is a bit dated, from summer 1996, but most of its points seem to hold up:

      Family Structure and Family Roles

      Bukharan families are usually large, very often with five, six, or seven children, and the three generations are very closely in­volved with each other. The majority of marriages are still arranged by relatives, and many marry inside the extended fami­lies. A traditional Bukharan wedding, still a central event in a person’s life, is very costly and festive, with up to 300 to 400 guests attending. Young couples usually live with the in-laws, mainly with the husband’s parents.

      Female Roles

      Before the Revolution, Bukharan men, like their Muslim neighbors, paid money for their brides, and Bukharan women wore veils. Since 1917, bride money and the wearing of veils have been prohibited by law, but the status of women in Bukharan families remains low. Neither education nor the professional status of the women can necessarily provide her with the respect of her family. Except for the most progres­sive families, Bukharan women always live under the power of men — their father, brothers, and then husband. Verbal and physical abuse of women are frequent and are not seen as something especially cruel or unusual.

      A double standard in sex roles is very common in these families. It is much more acceptable for a man to have premarital sex and extramarital affairs, whereas young girls are usually not allowed to date before they marry. Very often parents do not allow them to even attend parties at school or go out with girlfriends for fear of these girls’ possible “loose” behavior. A girl who loses her virginity loses her chances for a good marriage inside her community.

      However, a woman’s status increases with her age and number of children. An elderly grandmother, a babulen’ka, is often a decision maker for her adult children and may control the family wealth. Her daugh­ters-in-law are obliged to obey her, nurse her in sickness, and assist her in house­ work.

      This data was collected and analyzed by Anna Halberstadt and Adele Nikolsky, and can be read here.

      • While there are some valid points in the author’s opinion about the status of women in Bukharian communities – it’s more of a stereotype that Russian Ashkenazi Jews have of the small Mizrahi nation (speaking of which the author herself is a Russian Ashkenazi).

        Similar sentiment exists in Israel and US.. where somehow Ashkenazim feel more superior intellectually or otherwise..

        In addition, it’s a well-documented fact that the so called “civilized nations” (or western nations) have a inferior opinion of the middle eastern nations. Those who are familiar with history know that a few hundred years ago there was a reverse sentiment where Ashkenazim were considered inferior to Sephardim.

        In any case, the bottom line is that the article does not add any value, is destructive and full of negativity!

        – The Unwelcome Guest

      • Yes, that’s right!!! That’s exactly what we intend to do. Stay in our BUKHARIAN HOMES. With our Chrystal chandeliers on top of our heads. We intend to multiply. Have more BUKHARAN children. To build more BUKHARIAN homes. Our children will build BUKHARIAN businesses skyscrapers malls etc. so be prepared my friend

    • I agree he deserves a big fat F. If it wasn’t for us the market value on these disheveled properties would never get the prices that they are getting, hence the ” ie ashkenazi” families getting more that what they deserve for these properties! which by the way need to be demolished.

    • I wholeheartedly agree with you on that
      What the author said about the portrayal of Bukharian women is absolutely wrong and insulting.

  3. While the Bukharian houses are certainly not brilliant, they are still preferable to much of what these days passes for great architecture. Including much of the modernist muck praised on this blog.

  4. On a separate note, both Bel & Ed in their comments nicely illustrate what a bunch of philistines emigrants from the former soviet union are.

  5. Dear Thomas Dekkers, both Ed and Bel nicely illustrate why emigration exists — due to antisemitic people like you. Fortunately you do not represent an opinion of an average American. There are of course bunch of low-lives in every nation and we understand and accept that!

  6. 1. Like others said, Bukharian Jews have increase the home values in FH and RP. As someone who was in the home-searching process in the areas 10-15 years ago, I remember the homes as being impossible to live in. Very wooden, dusty, and old. I had to move to another area in Queens in order to find a decent home! Bukharians have changed this and created new and improved homes in the area. And everyone who owns homes (old or new) is happy about it because since the value of the homes increased and they can sell homes for a much higher price. This changed Rego Park and Forest Hills in very positive ways.

    2. Do you know how many Ashkenazi Jewish, Indian, Muslim, etc immigrants treated women as second-class citizens? You think Russian Jews treated their women any different? Please!!! Give me a break. I will not argue with you about the fact that in the Bukharian Jewish culture, it is traditional for the woman to not be educated and to cook and clean for the family, but times are changing buddy. More and more Bukharian Jewish women of the new generation are becoming educated, going on the graduate school, and obtaining prestigious job. Same goes for Russian Jews, Indians, Muslims, and other immigrants who traditionally treated women as second class citizens. Everyone just adapted to the modern American society. Your ideas about the community are very outdated. They would have been 100% accurate 15-20 years ago when Bukharians first came to the US, but times are changing and so is the community.

  7. 1. If these houses were built by white Americans, your article would not exist. The grandeur of these houses are tacky to you? That is strictly your opinion.

    2. Your comment about women is totally absurd. Each community has women that are suppressed by their men. However, not all our women stay home and cook and clean and get knocked up every year. We have educations, jobs (doctors, lawyers, pharmacists ), and are not as ignorant as you.

    3. Your article is a total display of envy.

  8. This article sums it up pretty nicely:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/05/nyregion/05forest.html?pagewanted=all
    The houses are unsightly, unnecessary, and unwanted by the community. Those paved over lawns are causing all kind of basement flooding problems because there is no longer soil absorption. Any argument about antisemitism is false and pathetic, so tired and so played out.
    No one is envious of these houses. Everyone rolls their eyes and laughs at these houses.
    If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. These people are destroying the established cultural landscape of a very good and stable neighborhood in the name of “improvement”. Why not “improve” the parts of Queens or Brooklyn or the Bronx that are actually downtrodden and could benefit from gentrification and investment by wealthy newcomers?

    • I have been living in Forest Hills for the last 20 years and I wholeheartedly agree with the article’s author. The homes are tacky, overdone and reflect the personalities of their inhabitants. Thank goodness these Buckharians cannot destroy Forest Hills Gardens where the homes are protected and good taste there will forever be preserved. Oh and the comments made about these overdone eyesores preserving the neighborhood’s property values is total BS; the original homes in the Gardens are worth more than ever. It’s a darn shame that the local politicians never implemented zoning laws which could have prevented this architecture nightmare from destroying the classy neighborhood it once was.

      • I don’t think anyone has a right to say what people do with their own property. If you’re willing to pay for it you can do with it what you please. If I wanted to spend a million dollars on a Ferrari just to crash it the next day. Well that wouldn’t be any of your business. And as far as “eyesore” goes… These old houses are nothing compared to these newly built lavish mansions.

    • Dear Derek. If you strongly believe that, don’t forget, where there are Jews, there always was and will be prosperity.
      we can turn anything into gold because we have brains and thrive to achieve things. We did not come to this country to live as many Americans do in studio apartments with their pets and with minimal job levels. And please don’t get me started on anti-Semitism. Brother!!!! it does exist. we just learn how to deal with it

    • First of all, we are apart of the community, so we get say as well!
      I lived in one of the old houses for about 5 years in Forest Hills and let me tell you that the conditions were terrible. The basement flooded every rainstorm we got even with our large, grass filled, front and backyard. Birds and mice kept finding there way into our house through holes in the roof and sides of the house (house was always clean). The walls were paper thin which provided no privacy and easy breakage. So when we say it was “Broke,” these old houses were the unsightly, unwanted, unnecessary, and frankly unlivable peaces of wooden junk that we greatly improved upon. We have greatly improved this community and our lives. If you are so annoyed by looking at our art than don’t. Stay away and let us live the way we want to. Let us enjoy our wealth in peace. Please accept our way of life, our style, our tradition. This is America after all. Please learn to accept diversity and let us be.

  9. Disgusting tacky, roll eyes at the chinziness. All Americans see these houses as complete eyesores. Only Russian defenders could ever love such things. Jealous? Jealous of tackiness? Never. Yuck disgusting, chinzy tacky.

  10. The funniest thing about this article is that the first house picture in this article is not even Bukharian. It’s on 112 St & Jewel Ave. Good research Ross Wolfe!

  11. Live and let live! America is “a melting pot”, and with that term comes cultural differences, that everyone needs to respect. The fact is, there are oppressed women in all parts of the world (including here), there are educated and uneducated people, good and bad everywhere, so lets not act so UNEDUCATED and be so ignorant as to pass judgment on people simply because we do not share the same values. build houses as you would feel comfortable living in, and if you feel that someone else’s house is tacky, well then so what!, you’re not the one who has to live there, why do you care? Is it really so hard to accept and respect each others differences without passing judgement? “believe in a rock if you want to, so long as you don’t throw it at me”

  12. You really are pathetic! Honestly this entire article simply shows how jealous you are. These people came to the country with nothing. Most of them got up and rose higher and higher. You’re probably like third or fourth generation here and your family can’t even afford a qaurter of that. Don’t bad mouth people for not settling like you and going out and making the money to build these “bad architectural” houses. They earned it and they have a right to build whatever they want wherever they want! You’re pathetic and you should find something to pick on. How about you go out on Long Island and critisize the ridiculous houses over there? Bucharians helped the economic growth by pumping money into these houses. I’m pretty sure the neighbors who sold were thrilled because that raised the value to their own properties. FYI I work in the appraisal industry and all I have to say it these houses are worth a ton of money!

  13. I grew up in good old forest hills. Actually up the street from the home pictured above. I lived on 110th and 70th road most of my life. I attended P.S 196, went to the deli in parkway hospital, played for hours in the park located in the cul de sac… That’s home sweet home. I would like to state two facts. First, the house in the picture isn’t owned by Bukharians. Second, these homes are not reflecting Forest Hills Gardens, (where I currently reside on Burns street.) The colonial style homes are here and will always remain here. The area you’re referring to is named Cord Meyer, “Northern end of Forest Hills.” The homes here needed a massive upgrade. Unlike the very maintained and well kept streets of “The Gardens” these homes looked horrendous. Many of them looked like summer homes in the Poconos. All vinyl and wood lol. Give me a break. Also, I assume the author himself has never been to California, as many of these homes are California style homes. Sounds like you should think of moving some wear like Massachusetts, or building a time machine and go back to the era of King James.

  14. Wow.
    What a disgrace of an article. Not only are you bad mouthing a culture you know nothing of, you make yourself look like a bitter hater.

    Shame on you for judging other people on how they choose to live their lives. Many of them left the only place they called home, refugees of war.

    Go hug a puppy. Maybe the ice in your heart will melt.

  15. I am a Bukharian, and despite the author’s obvious detestation of Bukharians, I agree that the homes built in these neighborhoods are extremely tacky and lack class.

    Classy Bukharians do not build these homes, regardless of how wealthy they are, just as other people with class in nyc do not. There are plenty of classy Bukharians who live in forest hills and in other parts of queens.

    Why do you think so many young Bukharians try to conceal their culture or are at the very least embarrassed by it? Not because they want to blend in – it is due to the bad names their parents give them by building these homes and by driving 3 white expensive cars.

  16. Interestingly enough, the author singled out Forest Hills and Buharians when discussing what is essentially an opinion on architecture. If you had done an iota of research, you would have realized that Malba and other areas near that neighborhood have been building houses just like these for decades before Buharians, but no mention of those neighborhoods? This coming to you from a Buharian female Doctor, by the way. In case you’re wondering how my oppressive husband allowed me a break from indentured servitude and (gasp!) child rearing long enough to to write this reply.

  17. as a “reporter” you suck. Get your facts straight and then critique! You know nothing about our past or present. Whatever misguided bullshit facts you have are just that. Both men and women hold high and respected positions in our communities, and secondly women were not bought for money as is per custom in the Muslim world. They were engaged at young ages to keep the women safe from Muslim neighbors because an unwed woman was fair game, meaning she could be kidnapped and sold, but if she’s married no one can touch her. Get your facts straight Wolfe: don’t be jealous that we are tearing down the bullshit little matchbox houses and building mansions and huge brick houses. Your facts and opinions are completely misguided and have no real basis other than your opinion. Like everyone else, bukharians have their fair share of bs within the community, but out of the whole world population we are a fraction of a fraction of a fraction, but look at what we can accomplish! We takin over, and there’s no room for your critique with overtones of antisemitism.

  18. “The majority of marriages are still arranged.” I don’t think so pal. The majority assumes most, and that is just not true whatsoever. I don’t remember the last arranged marriage I know about. Seriously, i can’t pin point to one. So that is bullshit. And ironically, you claim they have the worst architecture, yet your whole article dodges your thesis. You haven’t said one thing about the architecture at all. It seems as if your hating on the bukharian community because they’ve only been here for less than 25 years and live better than the majority of Americans in society today. Plus, your probably pissed that our homes look better than yours. Its ok. Its life. Someone out their is bound to hate…

  19. sounds like he is just trying attract more traffic to his blog by saying provocative things.. and then bragging on facebook about it. how pathetic…

  20. I live in Forest Hills and have done so for quite some time. Religion is a non issue here. What is important is that the people who are building these houses are destroying the integrity of the neighborhood with horrendously tacky houses that seem to be more about status than anything else. They are also in for a big shock as these homes begin to crumble around them due to the shoddy workmanship and inferior materials being used on these cut and paste monstrosities. I wish them well, I just wish they would pick up an architecture magazine and stop equating, shiny marble and columns with community respect.

    • what integrity.. those horrible frame houses and abandoned front yards ?? are you kidding me — look at the beautiful and rich architecture of these buildings.. i would argue they are too beautiful for Forest Hills….

      but in any case.. who are you what materials are inferior or shiny etc.. we will build what we like, where we like, and how we like….. while the author lives in apartment and clearly is jealous of these new savy and clearly smarter immigrants!

      omen to that!
      have an easy fast
      gentiles!

  21. Dear Mr. Wolfe,

    I’d like to preface my comment by saying I’ve never commented on anything on the internet before, but your tone in regards to Bukharian Jewish architecture offended me as a Jew (an Ashkenaz, by the way).
    This article was supposed to be about architecture, but it wasn’t about architecture. It was about your glaring hatred towards Bukharian Jews, using architecture as an excuse to write about it.
    Look, I’m with you on the fact––yes, fact––that Bukharian architecture is ugly. I mean it’s undeniable. Shit’s grotesque. But to start insulting their heritage, and to quote biblical verses to so snivelingly degrade not just their culture, but the Jewish culture as a whole, was completely unnecessary and out of context. That being said, you are not only a pompous asshole, but a shitty journalist.
    You little Wiesel, I can picture you sitting behind your little computer with a little smirk on your face, writing about how horrible the architecture is as if it’s going to be the end of the fucking world as we know, you self important jackass.
    Nobody gives a shit about your data Ross! Nor do they give a shit about Anna Halberstadt’s data! You know why Ross? Because this is supposed to be an article about architecture! And clearly you feel very stupid about your decision here because, like the sniveling little weasel that you are, you post a comment on your own article! You classless little Mitch you.
    And here’s what you comment, a shitty study you did that essentially concluded, “Bukharians have a rich culture, filled with values and principles that America clearly lacks today.”
    The Bukharian’s are here to stay Ross, but we’d all feel better if you’d crawl back into the hole that you came from which, judging by your hatred of Jews, might very well be Hitler’s asshole.

  22. I do live in Forest hills and I agree that those mansions are pretty unattracltive. However your comments on Judaism “be fruitful and multiply”is quite offensive in this article. Many of these women had to marry very young so they wouldn’t be kidnapped by muslims. I am not Bukharian.. But have been living in this area for many years ,please know that many of these women are also extremely well educated. Many are doctors, dentists or hold MBA degrees..Very unfair to judge a culture and a religion , a group of people by the architecture of their home.

  23. The comments about the religion are unnecessary, but the observations about the houses are 100% true. People who live in Forest Hills laugh at the ridiculousness of these houses every time another one is erected, To think anyone is jealous of them is laughable. They are jokes, and meant to display wealth that no one cares about. How about a little grass or a tree instead of 5 white cars parked on your concrete lawn?? And what is with the giant metallic fences? What army is trying to get in? Terrible, poor, poor taste! As a resident of FH for 34 years i am disgusted every time i drive by one of them….
    And lets not even talk about the ugliest of them all that is being constructed as we speak. I have NEVER seen a house so hideous. Talk about a house LOWERING property values, i cant imagine anyone wanting to live within 5 blocks of that thing. You all know it…that blue marble monstrosity……DISGUSTING!!!!!

  24. Yes, that’s right!!! That’s exactly what we intend to do. Stay in our BUKHARIAN HOMES. With our Chrystal chandeliers on top of our heads. We intend to multiply. Have more BUKHARAN children. To build more BUKHARIAN homes. Our children will build BUKHARIAN businesses skyscrapers malls etc. so be prepared my friend

  25. This is the funniest article I read in my life !!!! Seriously guys ? Who gives a F**** .. This world is filled with critizers . Let the buharians build what they want . They have a plan a goal and hey the money don’t hate .how about writing an article about the Q64 taking forever to come. .but I’ll give it up to you maybe adding a little more green (trees) would make it a little nicer .no?

  26. The stupidest article I have ever read! Bucharians work very hard for what they have so their should not be a reason as to why they don’t deserve it. This is a free country and if bucharians wish to build mini mansions in Forest Hills that their right and you are absolutly no one to judge. If you personality cannot meet the bucharians standards then be quiet and don’t be jealous. It doesn’t get you anywhere, but instead it just shows how you envy them and in many ways wish you could be like them. In fact, what makes you believe that you are better than Them? Because I’m sure that if someone gave you an uportunity to build the same house in Forest Hills you would do it without a second thought. But you actually don’t have a chance, so it is more than plausible to assume that your jealous and envy the bucharians.

  27. Having grown up in Forest Hills and still living in this wonderful neighborhood for many, many years I have seen all the housing changes. I grew up on the south side of ” the Boulevard” and have watched empty lots and farmland converted to modest sized apartment houses and then eventually to huge complexes. By the way, Jews were not offered the chance to live in the prestigious Forest Hills Gardens or able to play tennis at the Westside Tennis Club. Consequently homes were built on the north side ” of the Boulevard” where anyone who could afford to build there were not banned. Although not as big, in most cases, as those in the “Gardens” the Cord Meyer section homes were tasteful and appreciated for their beauty and individuality. It was always a pleasure, on a spring day, to walk through both these sections of Forest Hills and watch the trees and flowers beginning to bloom. In fact, any time of the year the beauty of both neighborhoods made you forget that you were only a stones through away from the City. Now, however there is little greenery on the north side. The trees have been chopped down and replaced with columns, the grass has been replaced by concrete slabs and vines have been challenged by shiny elaborate glowing fences. These huge homes might look nice on pieces of property that can accommodate their size but not on the acreage they are on. Do the builders of these homes consider landscaping at all and our environment? Now I only drive through the neighborhood, on the north side, to get to where I need to go. I can’t walk around to stop and ” smell the roses” because there aren’t any. You will find me on the south side walking, admiring nature’s beauty and the tastefully built homes with zoning.

  28. The author of this article should consider taking a bath in one of these bukharian house toilet bowls not tubs***. Maybe there perception would change and they would move in to the restroom and serve as a bathroom attendant. Nice upgrade I would say ;)

  29. The author of this article is many things. I have decided on taking the liberty of putting a short list together and detail those things out:
    1) Racist
    2) Hater
    3) anti-American (land of the free). We have something in NY called the building dept. if they are OK with it and it bothers you so much go talk to the plan examiner or go to the city zoning department you idiot!. These Bukarians are obviously not as educated as you, yet they managed to build mansions in your backyard. How you like them apples!! Loser!!!

  30. The author of this article failed as a writer and clearly is biased with a feeling of hatred and jealousy towards Bukharian Jews.
    Let me remind you why this country is so beautiful and strong. It is because America is a land of opportunity with freedom of speech, freedom to build any style of architecture, freedom to select any kind of car , freedom to CHOOSE TO BE SUCCESSFUL.
    If you don’t like the architecture, just don’t look at and keep going but to pick on a culture for being successful is absolutely unjust and disgusting.

    • The building of these grandiose homes has nothing to do with where people originate from. This is about constructing homes that are way too large for the size lot they are on and eliminating all the trees and greenery. The priority of these new home owners seems to be size with little thought to the environment. The place for these ostentatious fortresses are in areas where there is acreage. No one would blink twice if these homes were built on an appropriate piece of land. Yes, you can spend your money any way you want but have consideration for others and become part of the neighborhood instead of trying to change it.

  31. I’ve lived in Forest Hills all my life and yes the author couldn’t be more right and on point not only about the otro ious mansions Bukharians are building but also about the majority of their lifestyles being about breeding and treating women as maids. No one is jealous of them and their houses and it’s not like they built them a withhonestly earned money. At the very least they dont report all their cadh income and thus commit tax evasion and at the most they are separated on paper from their spouses so that the wife with her three or whatever kids can collect all the government benefits as a single mother while the husband reports some of his income and hides the other. The older ones have home aids who clean and cook for the entire household, si don’t get me started how the author and everyone lile him are jealous of their “success.” Dishonest money like that and free labor ftom these home aids isn’t something ill ever strive for or be jealous of. To all you lying Bukharians who are hiding behind lamp posts while yiu are talking on a cell phone on saturday (i.e. Shabbath), we know all about you and how you build uour mansions so stop pretending thst all of you are all so successful and we are just jealous, the percentage of Bukharians who are actually working on w-2s without snything on the side and paying their taxes and not getting anything from the government is miniscule compared to the overall Bukharian population and if you dont agree then you are in denial to yourself.

    • Very well written. It is true. My husband is a physician and he is aware of the way these families scam Medicaid. No jealousy. It is not hard earned money. Not by a long shot.

  32. The most famous (or infamous possibly to Bukharin community) is Dorrit Moussaieff who is married to the President of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson. Although born and raised in the Bukharin Quarter of Jerusalem her along with her family moved to London as a teenager. She speaks English and Hebrew, along with German, French, and Icelandic. Moussaieff was listed third on the Harper’s Magazine List of the most connected People in Britain and is a contributing editor to the British society magazine Tatler. As first lady she has helped to present Icelandic culture abroad, promoted Icelandic artists and identified foreign markets for Icelandic products. She is also active in raising money for disabled children. She was one of the few that has broken out of “the mold”.
    In my observation of our neighbors with the exception of a few, Bukharin women seem to live under the domination of their husbands which might help explain their growing divorce rate in America. It’s not unusual for their better educated working women to do all the domestic chores such as cooking, cleaning, laundry when at home. And like so much of what seems like third world tradition both emotional and physical abuse of these women by both husbands and older sons is common behind closed doors. Many of their young daughters are not allowed to attend after school gatherings, socialize with those outside of their culture or even go out with girlfriends from their own social circles. Meanwhile irresponsible Bukharin mama’s boys still living at home are allowed free reign, many given cosigned car leases allowing them to drive expensive cars in order to attract girls. Sad to say but the majority of Bukharin marriages in modern day New York City are still secretly arranged by relatives within family circles.
    As a native New Yorker I can say without a doubt that the Central Asian Bukharin’s are some of the most cloistered, self-centered, somewhat arrogant people I have ever met with in my life. They actually believe that their ugly weird combo Euro-Asian mix of mosque and old Soviet era architecture is both beautiful and classy. Large houses on small lots with unwelcoming high brick walls, metal gates along with high columns, tacky balustrades and cheap plastic canopies do not make for a welcoming house or classy neighbor. And even more ridiculous is an ugly concrete slab with parked cars in front of an oversized house instead of a beautiful classic garden with lawn, flowers and trees. And yes without a doubt many of us either openly or behind closed doors makes fun of and laugh and these badly designed and poorly constructed houses. Anybody that actually believes that the owners of these houses or their builders have contributed anything to the beautification or economic development of our solidly middle and timely upper-middle class neighborhood is delusional.

  33. Dear Buhars,

    We get it – you like to enjoy your money. This is the United States, you can do literally whatever you want whenever you want as long as you’re not breaking any laws. However, I do agree with many of the people commenting and much of the article. As a Forest Hills native of 21 years, allow me to speak on behalf of the community: you DID NOT come here and elevate the quality of the neighborhood. Whether you reduced it is up for debate, but that’s not what I’m saying.
    Regarding the property values in Forest Hills skyrocketing, it’s a multidimensional situation, as is everything in life. Forest Hills is perfect for the working class and upper class families who want to enjoy the suburban life while still having access to the urban life of Manhattan via a 20 minute train ride from 71st. Moreover, Forest Hills is a business hot spot that is desirable for many working class families who enjoy the convenience of near-by shopping.
    To say you came here to elevate the quality of the community is an extremely arrogant thing to say. Don’t bother throwing that one correlational piece of evidence at me (when the buharian community expanded, property values skyrocketed). Did you know that rape and ice cream sales are correlated? Why? Because there’s a third variable – heat. Understand that correlation does not imply causation. Just because the buharian community expanded during the time of a real estate boom does not mean the boom was directly related to the buharian community. There is a correlation between the two variables, but no causational evidence.
    Furthermore, it would be one thing if there was a mass request by the natives of Forest Hills to the buharian community to come to Forest Hills to elevate our status. However, we both know that didn’t happen.
    We in Forest Hills are probably the most tolerant people in all of the 5 boroughs. However, we do not appreciate it when we welcome a demographic and are returned poor attitudes and a false sense of superiority. We do not appreciate opening our doors to you, just to have you spit in our direction and unwarrantedly tell us how inferior we are to you, how we should strive to be like you, or how [not] jealous we are of you. No, we’re not jealous of you, your wealth, your homes, your cars, certainly not your personality, or anything else. We open our arms to you and you spit on us.
    Keep in mind as well, we know about your tax evasion schemes, and abuse of social welfare that is meant for the people who actually need it. We’re tired of watching you carry groceries paid with foodstamps into your 2015 sport Mercedes. That’s not a look of jealousy we’re giving you, it’s a look of disgust. We’re tired of you not legally marrying your wives so they collect single mother benefits. Start declaring what you actually make so you can pay the correct taxes like the rest of us. 108 street and the surrounding areas is a real world wet dream for the IRS. You’re probably thinking to yourself “well, there’s no way he knows what I’m doing because I don’t know this person who is writing this comment. He must just be jealous and making up things hoping to get it right.” No man, I am your local supermarket cashier; I am your local business owner; I am your friendly classmate; I am your local nursery school teacher; I am your local public school teacher; I am your playground-going youth; I am your neighborhood upper tax bracket retiree; I am tired; I am hurt by your poor neighborhood etiquette; I am embarrassed to have community members who only take from the community but do not reciprocate positivity or social improvement. Don’t come in to our community, stain it with your tacky out-of-place homes, and tell us you’re improving our status as a favor.
    There’s nothing we dislike more than someone who flaunts pseudo-superiority in someone else’s face.
    Also, don’t make this about race. Who can’t stand you the most? It’s your neighborhood Jews. As soon as you get pushed into a corner, you immediately play the antisemitism card, riding on the hardships of others. As a North African/German Jew (someone who experiences actual prejudice on both ends of the anti-Semitic spectrum), let me tell you that you’re not being singled out for your origins. You’re being singled out because of your pseudo-superior inconsiderate nature.

    • This guy Eric ^ soooo jealous, no worries though, if you commit yourself to hard work you too can achieve things regardless of being a bigot. And I don’t think the community “opened their arms” to their refugee neighbors… more like tolerated with [not] secret judgement (so there goes your high horse). I don’t live there anymore but if I did, I’d be looking down at the likes of your type, a Jew who looks down at other Jews and envies them when they struggle and succeed to make a new life for themselves in spite of all the obstacles.

  34. i hop we will deport all this asiatic trash. who let them in, we dont need their tribal sheet.

    immigration should be to serve americans, not to serve worthless asiatic tribalists, africans, latinos, and 3rd class turd world foreigners.

    these were the ones serving muslims like towel boys and owning christian slaves while licking the boots of their muslim rulers. send them out.

  35. If anyone paid attention. The older houses in that area were once thought to be big according to the previous times. I don’t think anybody complained than. Times, tastes and life styles chage. It’s called progression. And if anyone can’t stand the fact that you live in America to make it happen than refuse to be an American and give others to reach the American Dream.

  36. I’m not Bukharian my self I’m Italian but I have a lot of friends who are ,you people just don’t understand They are raising the value of the whole neighborhood and your homes , your home wasnt worth much as much as it’s worth now do you agree ,maybe some people like you just don’t understand that second of all it also has to do with jealousy cause some people just can’t do what the bukharians can and third of all stop being haters and get a better job so you can build and nice home too

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