Vet moves on after blaze

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Nearly 10 months after a fire ripped through a Rego Park block of stores, the owner of Trylon Vet Care is still paying rent for the abandoned, burnt-out shell where he used to do business.

But Dr. Steve Wyler could not be happier.

After hanging in limbo for nearly seven months because the landlord of the block on Queens Boulevard did not repair the property nor commit to renewing his lease, the popular neighborhood veterinarian will be setting up a new, state-of-the-art care center on Austin Street in Forest Hills.

“Things worked out for the best,” Wyler said. “We are in the heart of Forest Hills.”

Wyler’s lease for his old property will expire April 12, and his new location will likely open a few weeks later.

“We can’t wait to come back,” Wyler said. “The owners [of the old location] could not agree on what they wanted to do. They had to make a decision that was in their best interest and unfortunately I was the one suffering that entire time.”

Jerry Rothschild, of 99th St. Realty Co., a company listed as a partial owner along with Samson Management by city Department of Buildings documents, said the ´╗┐building, at 98-83 Queens Blvd., is in the process of being renovated.

“The construction is in progress,” he said. “It has been a slow go, but our plan is to rebuild.”

The charred husks of several stores remain unchanged on the block, and according to John Gatanas, co-owner of Tower Diner on the corner, it has cut down on business.

“There’s not much passer-by traffic anymore. It definitely affects business,” he said. “It’s an eyesore, it’s dirty and it’s bad for the neighborhood. I heard they’re going to fix up those stores, but when I don’t know.”

But Wyler will not be returning to the site and his new facility is even better than the old one.

Wyler will have a digital X-ray machine, a larger waiting room with flat-screen televisions and oxygen and anesthesia pumped into three examination rooms — one especially for exotic animals.

That exotic animal room is also new for Wyler, who takes pride in his cross-species expertise.

The room will be temperature-controlled and specially designed for the birds, rabbits, chinchillas or even reptiles Wyler treats.

“A snake can have symptoms similar to a person. They come in sneezing, coughing or with discharge from their nose,” he said. “I once treated a 15-foot albino Burmese python that had pneumonia.”

And Wyler might even see that python again, since he has largely retained his customer base through social media despite lacking a physical location for nearly 10 months.

“After we put up a Facebook page, our loyal clientele immediately showered us with support,” Wyler said. “They said, ‘We don’t care where you open, we’ll go anywhere.’”

His Facebook account currently has 209 fans.

But after an intense search for a space that was both zoned correctly and had a landlord who favored a long lease, former patrons can head to 68-60 Austin St. to visit the new and improved Trylon Vet Care/Austin Street Vet Center.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4566.

Updated 10:56 am, October 12, 2011
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