Only nine miles east of Times Square’s dazzling lights and crowded sidewalks lies Forest Hills, a picturesque neighborhood in Queens that seems a world away from the Manhattan concrete jungle. NYCGo even describes Forest Hills as “nearly bucolic” when compared to the other neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs.
Forest Hills boasts signature red-brick Victorian and Tudor architecture, as well as its claim to fame as the birthplace of The Ramones and Simon & Garfunkel.
Forest Hills is bound by Rego Park and Corona to the north, Flushing Meadows and Willow Lake to the east, Forest Park to the south, and St. John Cemetery to the west.
PC: Rego-Forest Preservation Council
Forest Hills was America’s first neighborhood built in the wake of the Garden Cities Movement in early 20th century England, which was popularized by British urban theorist Sir Ebenezer Howard. In addition to Forest Hills, the Garden Cities Movement inspired a plethora of other British “garden cities,” including parts of Sunnyside and Jackson Heights, and neighborhoods in Maryland, Virginia, Los Angeles, and New Orleans.
Forest Hills’ history dates back to 1909 when architect Grosvenor Atterbury was given the commission to design Forest Hills Gardens. Atterbury worked with landscaping firm Olmsted, Olmsted & Eliot of Central Park fame on the project.
Forest Hills Gardens, the most iconic part of Forest Hills, was a planned neighborhood for 6,000 residents and it offered an affordable alternative to the packed tenements in Manhattan.
Upon entering Forest Hills Gardens’ main plaza, Station Square, you may feel like you’ve been transported to another country. Station Square features a stunning manor house surrounded by red-brick roads, topped by a domed tower and surrounded by arcaded walkways, which resembles a mix between an Anglo-German country manor crossed with a fairytale village.
PC: Margaret Brown
In terms of regular subways, the E, F, M, and R trains can bring you into Forest Hills from most parts of Manhattan. However, the commute times are somewhat daunting. Expect a 30-45 minute commute to get into Times Square. For those who don’t want to stand on a crowded subway for 45 minutes, the LIRR station offers a faster commute for a pricier cost.
For above ground travel, the Q23 or Q38 buses can provide you with pretty flexible travel across Forest Hills.
PC: Margaret Brown
In Forest Hills, you’ll find many residents simply walking through the tree-lined streets and enjoying the relaxation of non-city life. There’s the typical shopping strips such as Metropolitan Avenue and Austin Street, where you’ll find many vintage shops and locally-owned eateries.
For those interested in an area that rivals Central Park, the 538-acre Forest Hills Park is the place for you. The park offers the expected, such as walking and hiking paths, a track, and tennis and basketball courts. However, it also boasts the less expected like pole-vaulting facilities, a 110-acre golf course, and seven miles of horse-riding paths.
Forest Hills is also home to the West Side Tennis Club, which hosted the U.S. Open for 60 years before it moved to its current home in Flushing. Right next to the West Side Tennis Club is Forest Hills Stadium, a popular concert venue that features many marquee performances during the summer.
PC: Forest Hills Station House
Not just known for its beautiful scenery, Forest Hills has some amazing restaurants and cuisines. One of them is the Forest Hills Station House, a restaurant and pub featuring a very diverse menu with items that will never fail to entice the tastebuds.
For a fantastic brunch menu, Jack & Nellie’s has long lines (and for good reason) so come early and come hungry. We recommend their iconic steak and eggs.
For those of you with a sweet tooth, stop by Eddie’s Sweet Shop for delicious homemade ice cream. Eddie’s is an old-school ice cream parlor that first opened its doors in 1925.
Bars are just as relevant and iconic as the restaurant scene. Not just known for their diverse foods, the Forest Hills Station House (yes, again) does provide some amazing cocktails and bitters. For just an overall great atmosphere where you can get a great beer on tap while watching the Mets win again, the Tap House is a fun and inviting sports bar. Open extremely late, come inside for their legendary happy hour.
PC: Evan Lee
Unfortunately, Forest Hills is probably one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Queens. The median home price has steadily risen over the past five years, it’s currently around $950,000 compared to $700,000 in 2013.
If you’re looking to move to the center of Forest Hills Gardens, the median listing price shoots up to around $2,100,000 or more, putting it on par price-wise with many Manhattan neighborhoods. Median rent has hovered around $3,400 for the past year.
For peace and quiet of idyllic Forest Hills, you’ll need to pay a price.
PC: Margaret Brown
Forest Hills is definitely one of our favorite neighborhoods in all of New York. It’s architecture, foliage, and general atmosphere are all extremely unique. If you’re looking for a getaway from the busy streets of Manhattan, we highly recommend Forest Hills. Hike in the Forest Hills Park in the morning, play tennis at the West Side Tennis Club in the afternoon, stroll around Station Square and Metropolitan Avenue in the evening, and catch a concert at Forest Hills Stadium at night.