Forest Hills, Queens (History)

(Neighborhoods In Queens)

neighborhoods_queens_forest_hills_300x300Forest Hills is an affluent neighborhood located in the New York City borough of Queens. Originally, the area was referred to as “Whitepot”.

 

HISTORY

The development of adjacent Forest Park, a park on the southern end of Forest Hills, began in 1895. Starting in 1896, the landscaping firm of Olmsted, Olmsted & Eliot was contracted to provide a plan for the park.(p428)

In 1906, Brooklyn attorney Cord Meyer bought abutting land made up of six farms (those of Ascan Bakus, Casper Joost-Springsteen, Horatio N. Squire, Abram V. S. Lott, Sarah V. Bolmer, and James Van Siclen) and then renamed the aggregated 600 acres Forest Hills. In 1909, Margaret Sage, who founded the Russell Sage Foundation, bought 142 acres (0.57 km2) of land from the Cord Meyer Development Company. The stated plan was to build good low-income housing and improve living conditions of the working poor, but the resulting huge property values made this claim totally impractical. Grosvenor Atterbury, a renowned architect, was given the commission to design Forest Hills Gardens. The neighborhood was planned on the model of the garden communities of England. As a result, there are many Tudor-style homes in Forest Hills, some more sprawling ones located in Forest Hills Gardens while most are located in the Cord-Meyer section (loosely bounded by 68th Avenue on the north; 72nd Road on the south; 108th Street on the west; and Grand Central Parkway on the east). The construction of this area used a prefabricated building technique; each house was built from approximately 170 standardized precast concrete panels, fabricated off-site and positioned by crane. 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 Forest Hills synonymous with tennis for generations.

 

DEMOGRAPHICS

The neighborhood is disproportionately home to the upper-middle class, of whom the wealthiest often live in the Forest Hills Gardens section.

Historically, Forest Hills has had many Jewish residents. This is not as true today, as the neighborhood is now 24% Asian, 12% Latino, and 4% black. Originally, the area was called Whitepot.