Thursday, August 27, 2009

This Week's Forum West and South

City Prepares to Open Eight New Schools in Queens

Overcrowded Dist 24 Gets Bulk of Projects

By Conor Greene

The city School Construction Authority is set to open 23 new facilities around the city this fall, including eight in Queens. Locally, officials and parents of children within District 24 hope five projects in that area will bring relief to the area’s overcrowded schools, as the city prepares to add 3,000 seats to the area over the next two years.

Nick Comaianni, president of Community Education Council 24, said the amount of money the city is dedicating to the area is a major victory, but stresses that overcrowding conditions still exist throughout the district. “Getting all these seats is very important and is definitely going to alleviate a lot of overcrowding, but we’re still overcrowded,” he said. “We managed to get one-third of the entire budget in Queens put into District 24. For me, that was a big accomplishment for myself and my fellow board members.”

Despite the progress, the area still needs additional seats, especially on the high school level, that are zoned for local students. “That’s one of the things we’re missing,” he said, noting that 500 seats in the new Metropolitan Avenue complex have been set aside for District 24 students. “We did an excellent job. That’s what happens when you work together with the local elected officials and the community education council – you get things done,” added Comaianni.

This marks the “most ambitious school construction program in the city’s history, and Queens has already started to see this investment pay off,” said DOE spokesman Will Havemann, adding that the five new buildings in District 24 will help “alleviate elementary school overcrowding.” By 2012, the city will also have opened close to 10,000 new high school seats across the borough, he added.

“Ensuring that students have the opportunity to go to school in uncrowded, state-of-the-art facilities is one of our top priorities, and we worked hard in Queens and across the city to make sure that tour school construction efforts keep pace with students demand,” said Havemann.

The following is a glance at each of the local projects, as provided by the School Construction Authority. On Tuesday, a Department of Education official told CEC 24 members that all of the buildings are slated to open on time for the start of the school year.

At PS/IS 49 in Middle Village, a $36.7 million project will provide a new addition and renovation of the existing building on Penelope Avenue. The facility now boasts a fully air conditioned accessible three-story building serving students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. Specialty classrooms include a music suite, science lab, a gym, guidance, medical and administrative offices and a library. The addition also includes a parent/community room and staff work areas, while alterations to the existing building include creation of five classrooms.

In all, the project will provide 410 seats, according to the SCA. Construction began in August 2007, with the addition completed this past month. Renovations to the existing building will continue through March 2010.

Also in Middle Village, a new school was built on the site of PS/IS 128 on 65th Drive. The four-story building for students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grades includes 21 standard classrooms, two special education classrooms, and reading, speech and small instruction rooms. Specialty rooms include an art room, music room and a science classroom including lab space. There is also a 5,400-square-foot gym, a 2,700-square-foot library, a 3,564-square-foot student cafeteria, a 500-square-foot staff lunch/conference room and a 4,800-square-foot auditorium. In addition, the building now offers five citywide special education classrooms, speech and physical therapy rooms, guidance and nurses’ offices, a parent/community room and a medical suite.

The $49.4 million project created 497 seats and is expected to be finished by September. Demolition of the old building and completion of a new playground is expected in May.

In Glendale, PS/IS 113 on 79th Avenue was expanded through a $40.5 million project that will result in 446 seats. The two-story, fully air conditioned handicapped accessible addition provides a new main entrance with elevators to all floors of the new and existing building. The addition includes 11 classrooms, three pre-kindergarten classrooms, two science labs and prep rooms, two special education classrooms, an art room and a music room.

The project also resulted in a 5,400-square-foot gymnasium and a 7,500-square-foot cafeteria/kitchen complex. New and existing spaces include new fire alarm systems, public address, telephone, security and data systems, backed up with emergency power. Alterations to the existing school include a new library in the lower level, medical and guidance suites and improvements to the auditorium. Space has also been created for a school-based support team, parent/community room and a small group instruction room. Site improvements include a new early childhood playground covering 3,000 square feet, repaving the main play area and new fencing and landscaping.

The existing building housing PS/IS 102 on Van Horne Street in Elmhurst has also been renovated with a new four-story fully air conditioned and handicapped accessible addition for students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grades. It includes three pre-kindergarten, five kindergarten, five first grade, five second grade and 17 standard classrooms. In addition, there are three special education classrooms, two science labs and a resource room, a music suite and two art studios.

Other amenities included in the $56.2 million project, which will result in 936 seats, include a new 479-seat cafeteria totaling 2,339 square feet, a full-service kitchen, resource rooms, medical, guidance and administrative suites, a 5,400-square-foot gym and custodial office. In the main building, the existing cafeteria will be converted into a play space and a 1,859-square-foot library. Site improvements include a 3,000-square-foot early childhood education playground and larger play yard with running track.

The final project in this capital plan for District 24 is the renovation of the Elmhurst building that formerly housed St. Bartholomew School on 43rd Avenue. That building, which the city is leasing, received a new kitchen, windows, roof, electrical upgrades and room conversions through the $6.4 million project started in June 2008.

Three other projects were also completed around the borough in time for the opening of school next month: the new Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Astoria, the second phase of the PS 78 annex in Long Island City and conversion of the former American Martyrs School on Peck Boulevard.

At a cost of $77.7 million, the new five-story Frank Sinatra School of the Arts will serve students in grades 9 through 12 with a focus on enhanced education and programs in performing and visual arts. In all, the building has seating for 998 students.

According to the SCA, the information provided regarding project cost reflects the amount of the construction contract and doesn’t cover ancillary costs such as land acquisition (where required) and furniture.

Capital, Credentials and Creativity: Is Steve Wynn the Right Choice for Aqueduct?

By Patricia Adams

Kleenex. Tissues.
Clorox. Bleach.
Q-Tip. Cotton swab.
Bic. Ball point pen.
Hoover. Vacuum.
Jell-O. Gelatin.
Steve Wynn. Fun.

Many industries have seen tried and true products adapted as generic trademarks. The human example of the aforementioned bunch being Steve Wynn, an internationally recognized casino/resort/real estate developer, who likes to dress fun up and invite everyone in.

The billionaire gaming guru is often credited with orchestrating the dramatic comeback and expansion of the strip in Vegas during the 90’s. His companies are responsible for building or re-building some of the most widely recognized resorts in the world: The Golden Nugget, The Mirage, Treasure Island, Bellagio, Wynn and Encore.

Having established successful gaming and entertainment venues from Las Vegas to Macau, many community residents are questioning just how Steve Wynn, whom they see as synonymous with Las Vegas, will fit into the landscape of Ozone Park. After all, say local critics of the Wynn Project, the proposal totally strays from the character of the neighborhood; it simply is too grand.

Representatives from team Wynn recant the notion of such thoughts immediately. “It’s the philosophy of Steve Wynn that we should not underestimate what people want,” said Tom Breitling, senior vice-president of strategy & development Wynn/Encore. “Inherently people have good taste and they want to have fun. Our business is showing them a great time.”

And while we’re visiting the subject of fun on the local front, part of the Wynn plan is to make an investment that focuses on the glory days of old—when thoroughbred racing was a sport as rich as the colors of the jockey silks. Silks that will be represented by a line of colored flags along the facade of the Wynn design for Aqueduct. “We’re hoping to re-create the former excitement of racing; bring new, big stake races back to New York, to Aqueduct,” said Breitling.

But the focus on the racing component is just one part of Wynn’s concept for Aqueduct. Among the top four contenders for the bid, Wynn is the only one that will tackle the project with all new construction at the site. “The existing clubhouse is simply not conducive to comfort for patrons,” according to Kim Sinatra, senior vice president and general counsel for Wynn Resorts.

The existing structure of Aqueduct cannot adapt to more than one of the buzzwords in the Wynn plan. Convenience. Flow. Comfort. Their idea is to compartmentalize the gaming floor so that customers can feel totally comfortable and relaxed in more intimate surroundings. Signature Wynn is their attention to detail. “We look at it from A-Z,” said Breitling, “it’s the 1,000 little things that people most appreciate and look forward to.”

The project design will find guests able to enter through numerous points, either directly from a 2,500 parking garage, or from entrances for those travelling by train or bus. Once inside, patrons will be met with a floor plan that has continuous flow designed to maximize the experience. Another feature touted by Wynn Resorts is a staff to customer ratio that is the highest in the industry. Visitors can enjoy a race book room, a famous Wynn Buffet, and host of other eateries and retail outlets all while being catered to by a staff hired by a very serious Human Resource department. In fact according to statistics, getting a job with Wynn is much more like planning a career—this is a company where desk clerks and black jack dealers can work there way into high-level positions.

But perhaps the most integral part of the structure of the Wynn plan has more to do with brass tacks than aesthetics and fun. Wynn Resorts is prepared to deliver funds promised to the state immediately upon being chosen. One-hundred million at the announcement of the bid, followed by one-hundred million upon closing and another one-hundred million over the life of the 30 year contract with the state. Wynn Resorts will provide more than 6,000 jobs as a result of the project, hiring and training local residents as part of the employment program.

The money factor in this equation is one which state and local officials are considering very carefully. As a result of a failed bid by former and current bidder, Delaware North, the microscope of finance is over the heads of all bidders.

It appears that Wynn’s $300 million bid is the highest among the lead competitors, Aqueduct Entertainment Group, SL Green and Delaware North, the group who has returned in this round of bidding. A central concern to officials is whether or not the bidders can deliver the funds promised. Weighing the evidence says Wynn absolutely has the money, which is not contingent on future happenings. If chosen they have committed to the guaranteed sum of $300 million for New York State.

For the people of south Queens most directly impacted by the winning bidders, there are many factors to consider. And when they look beyond the glitz and glamour of that which is Wynn, perhaps they will also note the company’s foundation --clearly rooted in financial strength, industry experience and customer focus.

For the elected officials who will contribute to the decision of choosing the winning bidder, the onus is upon them to deliver the candidate who can absolutely guarantee the money promised the state without exception.

In summing up Wynn Resorts as the best partner for the community and for the state, Tom Breitling offered his explanation. With regard to the man who would re-define the current conception of a racino, Breitling says simply and with a smile, "With Mr. Wynn, there is a certainty of execution." In other words, with Steve Wynn behind the curtain, the show will go on.

This concludes The Forum series on the companies involved in the bidding process. A decision is expected to be made in the very near future with a possible announcement coming from Governor David Paterson on Labor Day from Saratoga Race Track.

Above: Steve Wynn at the entrance of the atrium at Encore Las Vegas. (Photo courtesy of Wynn Resorts.)

Ozone Park Man Struck and Killed

Hit by Driver While Coming Home From Work

A quiet Ozone Park community was saddened over the weekend by the death of local resident Donald Bryan. The 32-year-old was coming home from the Jacob Javits convention center where he worked as a security guard.

Bryan took a cab home after finishing his late shift and had just arrived at his home near Sutter Avenue and 85th Street when he was struck by a late model Lexus shortly after 1 a.m.

As Bryan began walking to his house, witnesses say a car “roared around the corner,” according to publisher reports. The vehicle was driven by 18-year-old Alfred Barcenilla Jr. After Bryan was struck he flew into the air and landed on the rear windshield of the car, shattering it.

A neighbor, Christopher Gianni, tried to perform CPR on Bryan. “I knew he was in really bad shape,” Gianni said. I was holding his hand and he told me he felt really cold. That’s when he started to slip away. A short time later, Bryan was pronounced dead at Jamaica Hospital.

Following the impact, the Lexus came to a stop after hitting a gate at the cemetery on 84th Street off Pitkin Avenue. It is there, that friends and family constructed a makeshift memorial to Donald Bryan. His brother John, told reporters that he and his brother were really close. “We always enjoyed laughing together,” said John. My world is turned upside down right now.” John Bryan said he wasn’t angry with Barcenilla, he felt pity for him instead, having taken a life.

The 18-year-old driver was not hurt in the accident. He was tested for alcohol but was not charged. Barcenilla graduated from St. Francis Preparatory School last year. According to published reports his father, Alfred Barcenilla Sr., said “He’s going to have this nightmare for the rest of his life,”

One couple at the scene said they didn’t know the victim or the driver, but they lived across the street. “We were coming home from a wedding and just pulled into the driveway. Everything happened so quickly,” said the neighbors. “Both of these families will be in so much pain.”

PS/IS 87 Upgrades and Concerns Over Playground Highlight Meeting

Superintendent Honored; Swine Flu Concerns Discussed

By Conor Greene

Hot topics at this month’s Community Education Council 24 meeting in Glendale included the ongoing push for upgrades at PS/IS 87, concerns over the conversion of the playground at PS 91 into a public park and a possible outbreak of swine flu this fall.

The meeting, held on Tuesday inside PS 91, began with a farewell to outgoing Superintendent Catherine Powis, who is retiring after 37 years with the district, and included election of the council’s officers for the coming year.

Superintendent Powis Honored

Prior to her final report as superintendent, Powis thanked many of the people she has worked with over her three-plus decades in the district. “I’m reordering my priorities,” she told the board and residents. “They’re called Sarah, Kate and Megan.”

She said her time here has been “very rewarding” and that she was “very fortunate to spend it in this wonderful district… I am very proud that I am part of this great district and its accomplishments,” she added, before being presented with a plaque from the council, a proclamation from Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (D-Ridgewood) and heartfelt praise and well wishes from a number of parents.

Push for PS/IS 87 Upgrades Continues

Carlos Mercado, president of the PS/IS 87 parent’s association, told Sandy Brawer of the DOE that parents are “still fighting for our extension.” Among the most pressing issues is the lack of bathrooms, with just two stalls serving about 225 students on one floor. “We have kids who have medical needs who can’t wait,” he said. Other issues include the gym and cafeteria, which are not large enough to accommodate the school’s 600 students.

According to Mercado, the school agreed in 2000 to become the area’s first kindergarten through eighth grade facility under the understanding that the building would be expanded to handle the additional students. However, Brawer, the DOE’s Deputy Executive Director, had a different recollection of those events. “We understood that the facilities weren’t there to meet the needs of K through 8,” he said, adding that the parents still wanted to move forward with the change in grade structure.

Still, Brawer, who recently took part in a tour of the building, said he understood where the parents were coming from. “We do understand the cafeteria issues, and we do understand the bathroom issues,” he said. He noted that aside from the facility issues, “the building is in excellent shape” structurally. In addition, the majority of capital dollars generally go towards creating new seats within the overcrowded district. Hearings on the DOE’s next five-year capital plan will take place this fall, he added.

“We acknowledge some of the issues and are looking at what funding is available,” said Brawer. Once the DOE and SCA reviews the options, he will bring a proposal back to the education council. He wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a full addition, but stressed that officials are “going to be looking at competing interests in District 24 as to what the priorities are… The hope is that we will be able to do something to make it better.”

Council Vice President Peter Vercessi, who is a school administrator on Long Island, pushed Brawer to characterize whether the school’s facilities are at or below average. Brawer responded, “The building has needs, no doubt about it… but there are a lot of buildings in New York City that have needs.”

PS 91 Playground Concerns

Several residents expressed concerns over the city project to convert the playground at PS 91 into a public park that is open after school hours and on weekends. Parents and board members accused the DOE of pushing this project on them without providing an opportunity for public input and fear the property will be destroyed.

Brawer explained that the project is part of a mayoral initiative designed to make the space available to the community. However, residents pointed out that there is a public park just two blocks away and said living next to a school yard is very different than living next to an open park. “They put a park out there but never had any community input,” said CEC 24 President Nick Comaianni, agreeing with residents who are concerned the location will become a magnet for misbehavingteens. “This is an ideal spot if I’m a teenager and I don’t want anyone to see me,” adding that the project never came before the council.

“Nobody in this community was notified – they’re just forcing this down our throats,” added a resident who lives adjacent to the school and wants the park only open during school hours. “We want this for the children of PS 91. They deserve it.” Adding insult to injury was seemingly minor decisions by the DOE such as to install regulation height basketball hoops, which are only useful for older teens. “The 104th Precinct has too much to do to come here every time we call,” she added.

Comaianni said the issue isn’t necessarily with the overall program, but rather the poor implementation of it in this case. “The program is not a bad program – I think the issue is you put it in the wrong school,” he said.

Brawer said he would bring these concerns back to DOE officials. He wouldn’t say definitively who has the final say as to what hours the park would be open, but noted that city money was used with the understanding that the community-at-large would benefit. He said the principal “has some leeway” as to the park’s usage, but wanted to look into the issue further.

Preparing for Swine Flu Outbreak

Dermot Smyth, the area’s United Federation of Teachers representative, asked the board to consider devising a strategy to deal with a possible outbreak this fall of the swine flu, which killed 522 people across the country earlier this year.

Smyth referenced a recent report issued by a presidential panel report predicting a “plausible scenario” in which as many as 120 million people across the nation become sick, overwhelming hospital emergency rooms. The report suggested that as many as 1.6 million people could be hospitalized, with 300,000 intensive care patients.

He asked the council if the proper preparations are taking place on a local basis and asked members to come up with a “protocol” by next meeting. “We can’t leave it up to the chancellor and mayor” and instead need a “local answer,” he said.

In response, CEC member Brian Rafferty asked what exactly Smyth had in mind, noting that the council has limited power and doesn’t decide if schools are closed due to a swine flu outbreak. Comaianni reminded Smyth that the council’s requests in the spring that additional schools be closed were ignored.

Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) said her office would assist in coming up with a plan. “We need to make sure we get enough vaccinations… for those who are most susceptible,” she said, adding that a 27-year-old NYPD officer recently died from swine flu complications. “We need to make sure in our community that elderly and pregnant moms are the first to receive the vaccine. Then we have to make sure it’s available to the young,” she said.

A Crowley spokeswoman later said the councilmember is working with the health department to make sure proper precautions are taken in Queens, which was hardest hit by the swine flu outbreak this past spring.

Council Elections

Before the start of the regular meeting, the council held its annual elections. Comaianni was again named president and Vercessi was reelected as vice president. This year’s treasurer is Jeanne Forster, while Shwe Zin OO was again named secretary.

Officials Demand Repairs to Jamaica Ave. Elevated Tracks

Say Eyesore is Hurting Businesses, Accident Waiting to Happen

By Conor Greene

Area elected officials and community leaders are pushing the MTA to repair the elevated subway tracks above Jamaica Avenue, arguing that years of neglect has produced a dangerous eyesore that is stifling economic development in the area.

State Senator Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach), Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) and Maria Thomson of the Greater Woodhaven Development Corp. gathered with residents near the intersection of Jamaica Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard on Monday to draw attention to the need for immediate structural repairs.

“For far too long, the Jamaica Avenue elevated train has been neglected,” said Crowley. “This is an accident waiting to happen… It is a serious situation that has to be addressed.” She noted that the structure was included in the MTA’s five-year capital plan that just expired but was eliminated due to lack of funding. Now, Addabbo and Crowley are pressuring the MTA to ensure that the work is included in the upcoming capital plan.

“I’ve been coming along Jamaica Avenue since I was a kid… and it hasn’t changed since I was five years old,” said Addabbo. “It looks the same, and that’s a sad story. I’m hopeful to bring this project to the forefront.”

Thomson, who has been involved with the GWDC for more than two decades and is a thirty-plus year resident of the neighborhood, said “it’s time for Woodhaven to get some attention from the MTA” after being ignored for years. “For far too long, Woodhaven has suffered with this monstrosity,” she said, adding that the GWDC has been pushing to have the tracks repainted and repaired for the last 15 years.

Crowley and Addabbo made the case for repairs in a letter to Senate Conference Majority Leader Senator John Sampson, urging him to immediately move the project forward.

“Jamaica Avenue is lined with businesses and we believe it is on the cusp of turning into a thriving economic engine for the borough… Unfortunately, the most prominent feature is the rusty and deteriorating overhead J-line subway,” they wrote. “The condition of the elevated train not only deters visitors but is, most importantly, an accident waiting to happen.”

While the project has yet to go out to bid, Crowley said the repairs would likely require a multi-million dollar contract. “That’s what happens when you neglect steel for far too long,” she said. “I’m not sure why they haven’t [solicited bids] and that’s why we’re here today… People like to shop in a beautiful business district… It’s a tough economic time and painting the elevated train would definitely help businesses in the area.”

In response, MTA NYC Transit spokeswoman Deirdre Parker said agency officials “realize the importance of regular painting of the steel elevated subway structures to protect against corrosion, extend the life of the structure and improve neighborhood aesthetics.”

The proposed 2010-2014 MTA capital program contains $521 million for line structure rehabilitation, painting and enhancements including overcoat painting of 18.5 miles of elevated structure on the Brighton, Broadway-7th Avenue, Canarsie, Culver, Jamaica, Rockaway and White Plains Road lines. In addition, repairs are planned for 7.3 route miles of elevated structure on the Jamaica line and the Far Rockaway and Rockaway Park viaducts, added Parker

Groundbreaking in Glendale: Community Garden to Get Underway

By Patricia Adams

Dorie Figliola has lived in Glendale for her whole life. And according to those who know her best, the community activist leaves no stone unturned when it comes to her beloved Glendale. When she noticed an unused piece of land on 88th Street near 74th Avenue, Figliola started thinking about how wasted property could turn into something that would benefit the community.

It didn’t take long to recognize a great project for the undeveloped quarter of an acre spot on the property of the Yeshiva Gedolah Seminary—a community garden where neighborhood school kids could plant a vegetable garden.

When Figliola started the wheels turning, she picked up the phone to several local officials, the Glendale Civic Association, community members and organizations.

In arranging to “borrow” the property from the Seminary, Figliola worked out the details with building manager Abraham Markowitz and administrator Rabbi Katz. “It’s a very nice thing for the community to have. We are happy to offer this space for everyone to use and enjoy,” said Markowitz.

Community residents and organizations including the Greater Ridgewood Youth Council and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Haspel Staab Post in Middle Village joined with elected officials, Senator Joe Addabbo and Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley in picking up their shovels for a ceremonial groundbreaking last Thursday.

At the center of the shoveling pack was a beaming Figliola. “I just couldn’t stand us having to look at all the weeds. Everyone is really liking this,” she said. “It’s all part of bringing families back to Glendale.”

Others involved in helping the project get off its feet is district manager of CB 5, Gary Giordano, and the Glendale Kiwanis Club which donated $500 to begin the project.

The cleanup is slated to begin in early September and many have promised to pitch in with their time and materials required. The local Home Depot manager has told Figliola to compile a list of everything she will need and the store will see about furnishing supplies for the project.

“This is a great chance for Glendale to have some more much needed green space. The garden will really be something beautiful on 88th Street,” said Gary Giordano. And according to plans, children from a number of schools in the area will have the chance to get some fresh air and test out if they have green thumbs.

This week Figliola finally got the keys to the gate that surrounds piles of cement and overgrown weeds. “Now we have the keys and we’re just waiting for the lease," Figliola said there are so many people to thank, especially CB 5 member Tom Rossi, an attorney who has donated his time to negotiate the lease. At the end of the paper trail is what Figliola hopes is a very happy and a very green ending.

Jay Dee Bakery Closes its Doors

Russian Restaurant Will Replace It

By Conor Greene

Local preservationists and historians were saddened to learn that Jay Dee Bakery on Queens Boulevard has closed its doors and will be converted into a Russian restaurant.

While the Rego Park neighborhood institution - well known for its kosher treats - will be lost forever, Michael Perlman of the Rego-Forest Preservation Council is spearheading an effort to save the distinctive features of the Art Deco building on Queens Boulevard. He recently tried to convince the owner to preserve and adaptively reuse the property to no avail.

However, the owner did agree to give away any salvageable Art Deco features to any individuals, museums or groups that are interested in obtaining a piece of the bakery’s history for free. “The Rego-Forest Preservation Council is hoping that several features will live on elsewhere and showcased or creatively and adaptively reused, which has been done countrywide,” said Perlman. “We would be sad if these unique businesses’ Art Deco attributes are demolished forever.”

Perlman first learned in mid-July that the bakery was closing its doors after 60 years. “I had to do a double-take,” he recalled. “I found it heartbreaking on the basis of it being one of the earliest remaining businesses in the neighborhood, one of the oldest mom and pop style bakeries in the boroughs, an Art Deco commercial gem that drew patrons in, which is currently few and far between,” said he, recalling visits to the bakery as a child.

Among the available items are a Jay Dee Bakery neon sign; Ravenna green mosaic columns surrounding the window, which feature a class Art Deco orange and red vertical swirl pattern; Art Deco Lucite door and steel handle with “pull etched vertically; green terrazzo exterior floor; circular Art Deco recessed ceiling and indented cake displays built into upper walls.

On Wednesday, Perlman said he has received e-mails from more than a dozen individuals and groups interested in preserving the items. Among them was a couple who are in the process of moving the famed Cheyenne Diner from its old location in Manhattan to Alabama, meaning some of the Jay Dee’s history will live on down south.

For more information, contact Perlman at