Forest Hills, a neighborhood in central Queens, comes in three parts.
- Beautiful Forest Hills Gardens, built as a planned garden city community starting in 1909, still the most exclusive address in Queens;
- Higher density housing, apartments, co-ops and condos, along and on the north side of Queens Boulevard; and
- Central Queens-style single- and multi-family homes, developed in the 1920s through 1940s, primarily in the area west and south of Forest Hills Gardens.
Neighborhood Boundaries and Main Streets:
Austin Street is the big shopping drag, Metropolitan Avenue is more local, and wide Queens Boulevard is car-busy.
Forest Hills Gardens:
Built as a planned garden city, the Gardens is a unique, private community. The Forest Hills Gardens Corporation owns the street and sewers, and ensures the buildings are kept to the original designs.
Though maintaining a hundred-year-old home can be tough, it's worth it. The neighborhood is simply beautiful, full of winding streets with Tudor and Colonial houses, apartments, and green spaces. It's exclusive, but also a diverse and family-centered enclave.
Forest Hills Real Estate and Apartments (Updated - January 2006):
- Rentals - For buildings along or north of Queens Boulevard:
- One-bedroom: $1,100-$1,700
- Two-bedroom: $1,300-$2,000
- Rentals in private homes near Metropolitan Avenue are more rare, but often cheaper.
- Co-op Sales
- One-bedroom: $180,000-$280,000
- Two-bedroom: $250,000-$450,000
In premier new buildings, sales at $750,000+.
- Sales in Forest Hills Gardens
- One-family detached: over $2 million
- One-family attached: $1-$2 million
- One-bedroom co-op: $500,000
- Fast appreciation in 2004 and 2005.
Forest Hills was farmland until the early 1900s, when the new Queensboro Bridge spurred developer Cord Meyer to buy local farms. Meyer coined the neighborhood's name. In 1909 Margaret Olivia Slocum Sage and the Russell Sage Foundation began the development of Forest Hills Gardens.
Expansion of the subway led to more development in the 1920s through 1950s. Forest Hills was the site of the US Open Tennis Championships from 1915 until 1977, held at the West Side Tennis Club (1 Tennis Pl).
Restaurants and Bars:
Austin Street has the fancy eats and lots of good everyday choices, but Queens Boulevard is the better value.
Try Nick's (108-26 Ascan Ave) for thin-crust pizza pies. Dirty Pierre's (13 Station Sq) serves good burgers in a cozy pub in Station Square. Bann Thai (69-12 Austin St) won praise in the NYC Michelin Guide. Eddie's Sweet Shop (105-29 Metropolitan Ave) is expensive, but worth the walk to Metropolitan Avenue for creamy, homemade ice cream.
- More - Restaurants in Forest Hills
Parks and Green Spaces:
Flushing Meadows Park is close, but a difficult walk, competing with highway ramps. MacDonald Park (Queens Blvd/Yellowstone Blvd/70th Rd) is for sitting and watching traffic. The Ehrenreich-Austin Playground (Austin St/76th Ave) was renovated in 2005. Other smaller open spots dot the area, especially in the Gardens.
Austin Street, the main shopping drag, likes to think it is hoity-toity, and it does have plenty of boutiques and small shops. Chain stores also pepper the strip from Ascan to 69th Place, including a Barnes & Noble at 70th Avenue. Always busy, Austin Street is thronged on weekend afternoons.
Metropolitan Avenue is known for antique shops. Shops on Queens Boulevard are varied. The new Stop & Shop (8989 Union Tpke) is the best local supermarket, but is cemented over in a small mall.
Crime and Safety:
Forest Hills is one of the safest neighborhoods in Queens. As always, keep your wits about you, especially at night. It's a bad idea to walk alone in Forest Park at night or in its more isolated areas.
The 112th Precinct (including Rego Park) reported the following crimes for the year-to-date (12/18/05): 2 murders (3 in 2004), 9 rapes (9 in 2004), 186 robberies (194 in 2004), 69 felonious assaults (60 in 2004), and 219 burglaries (391 in 2004).
- Issues and Worries: Overdevelopment, maintenance of historic Station Square and the Gardens, lack of parking, traffic congestion, and school overcrowding.
- Real Estate Agents:
- Library: 108-19 71st Ave, 718-268-7934
- Schools: In the 11375 zip code, there are five public elementary schools, two junior highs, and one high school. IndieSchools.org reports strong academics, but overcrowding in Forest Hills High School.
Parking: Austin St is tight. Try for a metered spot on Queens Blvd. Parking by permit in the Gardens.
- Parking Garages and Lots:
- Central Parking System, 10740 Queens Blvd (next to Midway movie theater)
- Allied Austin Parking Lot, 7000 Austin St (ask local merchants for discount coupons)
- Movie Theaters: Midway, 108-22 Queens Blvd, 718-544-5545; Brandon Cinemas 70-20 Austin St, 718-544-1021; Cinemart Cinemas 106-03 Metropolitan Ave, 718-261-2043
- After-School, Recreation, Pool: The Community House, 15 Borage Pl, 718-268-7710
- Post Office: 10628 Queens Blvd
- Parkway Hospital, 7035 113th St, 718-990-4100
- Forest Hills Hospital; 102-01 66th Rd, 718-830-4000 (part of North Shore-LIJ, formerly LaGuardia Hospital)
- Police Station: 112th Precinct, 68-40 Austin St, 718-520-9311
- Banks: Many banks have branches on Austin, 71st Ave, or Queens Blvd. The Ridgewood Savings Bank is the prettiest (107-55 Queens Blvd), and Commerce Bank is open the most hours (108-36/50 Queens Blvd).
- Community Board 6: 73-05 Yellowstone Blvd, 718-263-9250
- Business Organization: Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce, 7158 Austin St, 718-268-6565
- Zip Code: 11375