Forest Hills, a neighborhood in central Queens comes in three parts. Forest Hills Gardens, built as a planned garden city community starting in 1909 and still the most exclusive address in Queens. Home for many is in apartments, co-ops, and condos along and on the north side of Queens Boulevard. West and south of Forest Hills Gardens are Central Queens-style single- and multi-family homes, developed in the 1920s through 1940s. The New York Times characterizes Forest Hills as giving its residents an urban vibe with a quieter suburban lifestyle and points to its quick and accessible transportation to Manhattan.
Whichever side of the boulevard you live on, this suburban neighborhood is teeming with kids, has lots of public outdoor space and schools that out-perform those in the city.
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 U.S. Open Tennis Championships from 1915 until 1977, held at the West Side Tennis Club.
Neighborhood Boundaries and Main Streets
To the south, Union Turnpike and Forest Park border Kew Gardens. Middle Village and Rego Park are on the west at Woodhaven and Yellowstone boulevards.
Restaurants and Bars
Austin Street owns the fancy eats and lots of good everyday choices, but Queens Boulevard is the better value for restaurants in Forest Hills
Try Nick’s for thin-crust pizzas. Dirty Pierre’s serves good burgers in a cozy pub in Station Square. Bann Thai won praise in the NYC Michelin Guide. Eddie’s Sweet Shop is expensive but worth the walk to Metropolitan Avenue for creamy, homemade ice cream.
Parks and Green Spaces
From Queens Boulevard it’s not a bad walk south to Forest Park, a real gem with walking, biking and horse trails, plus all sorts of athletic fields and a Golf Course.
Flushing Meadows Park is close but a difficult walk, competing with highway ramps. MacDonald Park is for sitting and watching traffic. The Ehrenreich-Austin Playground 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 Avenue to 69th Place. Always busy, Austin Street is thronged on weekend afternoons. Metropolitan Avenue is known for antique shops. Shops on Queens Boulevard are varied.