Forest Hills Gardens, Queens

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Forest Hills Gardens, Queens

Forest Hills Gardens is a planned community located in Forest Hills, in the New York City borough of Queens. Its streets are privately owned but open to traffic. The northern border runs along the Long Island Rail Road tracks, the eastern along Union Turnpike, and the remaining borders form an irregular line from the stadium at the West Side Tennis Club to near the intersection of Union Turnpike and Kessel Street.


The area consists of a 142-acre (0.57 km2) development, fashioned after a traditional English village, that is one of America's oldest planned communities. It is modeled after the English planned garden suburb community Hampstead Garden Suburb, located near Golders Green, in London. The layout, with a central "square", and the similarity of many of the street names in both communities was clearly intentional. The community, founded in 1908, consists of about 800 homes, townhouses, and apartment buildings, mostly in Tudor, Brick Tudor or Georgian style, in a parklike setting designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., son of noted landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and partner in the Olmsted Brothers firm. Designed with transportation access in mind, the community's central square is adjacent to the Forest Hills Long Island Rail Road station. The largest apartment buildings stand closest to the station, while more distant buildings are smaller and have larger yards. Although most buildings are single-family homes, the development also includes garden apartment buildings and retail space. Today, the area contains the most expensive housing in the borough of Queens, and some of the most expensive in all of New York City.

The Church in the Gardens

Architect Grosvenor Atterbury used an innovative construction method for some of the houses, most notably on Park End Place: each house was built from approximately 170 standardized precast concrete panels,[1] fabricated off-site and positioned by crane. The system was sophisticated even by modern standards: for example, panels were cast with integral hollow insulation chambers.

The streets were fully laid-out in 1910, many of them winding specifically to discourage through-traffic. Though Forest Hills Gardens is private property, it is not a gated community and through traffic, both automotive and pedestrian, is permitted. Street parking, however, is restricted to community residents; visitors must know a resident or face fine and wheel clamping. The project was almost completed by the mid-1960s when all but the last few remaining lots were developed.

In 1913, the West Side Tennis Club moved from Manhattan to Forest Hills Gardens. The U.S. Open and its predecessor national championships were held there until 1978, making the name "Forest Hills" synonymous with tennis for generations.

The restrictive covenants for Forest Hills Gardens contain no explicit economic, social or racial restrictions[2] even if "working-class people" were said to be excluded by Eric P. Nash in a 2002 New York Times article, in his review of A Modern Arcadia.[3]

In 2007, Forest Hills Gardens was voted "Best Cottage Community" by Cottage Living magazine.[4]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Christopher Gray "Designing for High and Low", "The New York Times", October 22, 2009. Accessed August 7, 2012.
  2. ^ S. Klaus, A Modern Arcadia, p. 115
  3. ^ Eric P. Nash "BOOKS IN BRIEF: NONFICTION; Ye Olde Borough of Queens", The New York Times, September 1, 2002. Accessed January 6, 2008
  4. ^ Ward, Logan; and Hanson, David. "Our Top 10 Cottage Communities for 2007", Cottage Living. Accessed September 4, 2007.[dead link]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°42′57″N 73°51′39″W / 40.71583°N 73.86083°W / 40.71583; -73.86083