Friday, February 18, 2011

Forest Hills Inn Awaits Restoration... Will The Promise Be Fulfilled?

If the Forest Hills Inn's co-op board is able to pull together the funding for a long-awaited restoration of this prominent tower, the facade will once again be appreciated for its historic Tudor appeal, cultural prestige, and the unsightly scaffolding and netting that was erected in 2004 will be a chapter of its not-so-memorable "recent past."

Rendering of Station Square with the Forest Hills Inn, gracing the skyline in a circa 1909 ad. Note the English garden community feel, and the $14 to $18 quotes for a week's stay, which includes meals, the tea garden, golf, tennis, squash, & billiards. Restore the recreational aspect to Forest Hills! Courtesy of Michael Perlman Postcard Collection

Wide-angle of Station Square from LIRR Station on July 27, 2009. A century after its establishment! Sadly, netting obscures the facade for nearly 7 years. Photo by Chair Michael Perlman, Rego-Forest Preservation Council
Aerial view from The Kennedy House at 110-11 Queens Blvd towards Austin St & Station Square, Sept 23, 2010 - Photo by Chair Michael Perlman, Rego-Forest Preservation Council

May the Forest Hills Inn once again be a framing opportunity! This ornate work enhances the ambiance of Nick's Pizza on Ascan Ave in The Tilden Arms apt house.
The Forest Hills Inn is an anchor of Station Square, the Forest Hills Gardens, and the greater community. The Gardens, which was rated #1 in Cottage Living magazine in summer 2007, is our country's earliest and most highly regarded planned communities (1909), inspired by Ebenezer Howard's Garden City Movement. It is a superb and rare model of urban planning, with its Tudor mansions, few apartment buildings, private parks and streets, religious sites, community house, monuments, and the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium as another anchor. 

Station Square Photoset on Flickr by RFPC Chair Michael Perlman

According to published reports, when the deterioration of a pipe of the Forest Hills Inn came to its climax nearly 7 years back, it resulted in flooding, and some residents had to relocate. The facade was also in need of re-pointing and the replacement of some terra-cotta tiles. Netting and scaffolding was erected around that time.The restoration process has reportedly run overtime due to a dispute between the Forest Hills Inn's co-op board and the Forest Hills Gardens Corporation; the latter which ensures that the Forest Hills Gardens' extensive array of historic properties are safeguarded aesthetically, through historic Restrictive Covenants. The co-op board claimed that the Forest Hills Gardens Corp wanted them to remove the "unsightly" scaffolding. Litigation was pursued. A major concern was that if the Forest Hills Gardens Corp kept pursuing litigation, the funding secured for the Forest Hills Inn's restoration would be in jeopardy, in order to finance any necessary attorneys. In any case, it is important for a historically-sensitive restoration that would bring the Forest Hills Inn up to code, and not let legal matters play a major role, since it may jeopardize the future of what is known as a "landmark" by sight.

Let's party like it's July 4, 1919, as featured in a celebration poster. Station Square hosted patriotic festivals in its heyday. Will we schedule another celebration upon completion of the Forest Hills Inn's restoration?

 The Forest Hills Ledger has the full report of the Forest Hills Inn's current status, and hopes for a sightly future:

No comments:

Post a Comment