Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Forest Hills Tennis Stadium Becomes Shelter During Tornado & WSTC Voting Day Postponed

A message from Chair Michael Perlman, on behalf of Rego-Forest Preservation Council:

  In regard to the iconic yet endangered Forest Hills Tennis Stadium, the West Side Tennis Club's informational meeting has been rescheduled to 7 PM on Thurs, Sept 30th, and will be held at the Forest Hills Gardens' Community House. There will be a closed-door meeting for WSTC members on Thurs, Oct 7th at 7 PM at the West Side Tennis Club. They would need a 2/3 vote by the voting-eligible members, and then the sale would go through to Cord Meyer, who plans to build typical condos in place of the majority of an icon.

    On the Oct 7th "judgment day" West Side Tennis Club members should think sensitively and creatively for retaining the iconic Stadium. They should keep in mind that it merits landmark status by city and state to commemorate history, while opening the door towards restorative funding for any owner. Also, it should come to mind that the revered Stadium should be creatively reused for the benefit of the greater public as initially conceived (called America's Tennis Stadium in an original 1922 rendering by the builder) and proven throughout a most distinctive history, rather than approving a sale for typical condos. That would be a least imaginative solution. Once an icon is gone, it can never be brought back. A mixed-use venture consolidating tennis, concerts, weddings, school trips, exhibitions, charity events, and music and art festivals, will not only save history, but yield a greater economic incentive for the whole neighborhood and city, and increase tourism. It is important to think outside of the box, and obtain city, state, and federal grants, while coordinating a series of fundraisers, which we will organize. This is a "Landmark" opportunity, so let's embrace it!

   Some people have questioned the Stadium's durability, but some of those same people and more, ran for cover during Forest Hills' rare tornado on Sept 16th (macroburst), and the Stadium survived well, while keeping the public safe. It proves its builder, The Foundation Company was not called that for nothing, and also proves that the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium has a rock solid foundation and structure. The Clubhouse of the WSTC, however, has sustained some damage.


  1. Mike,

    Are you just playing with words or was the Tennis Stadium in fact used as a shelter during the tornado? Not trying to poke holes in your story, I am just truly curious. But yes, it is pretty funny that this supposedly decrepit stadium got through the tornado just fine - ironic in fact. SAVE THE STADIUM!!!

  2. Yes, it is ironic. The Forest Hills Tennis Stadium actually did become a man-made shelter during the tornado. People from the Clubhouse and the courts, including others who happened to be passing by, managed to make their way into the Stadium structure. It also survived a 1950s hurricane, which hit Forest Hills.

  3. The stadium was untouched by last week's tornado. Doesn't that tell you something? Leave it alone. It's one of the few nice things left in this community.