NFT New York Forest Hills

Forest Hills

With digs that range from the jaw-droppingly extravagant mansions of Forest Hills Gardens to the comfy co-ops of Austin Street, Forest Hills offers everything…except adequate parking. Home of Simon & Garfunkel, even the Beatles occupied the Tudor towers of the Forest Hills Inn during their first U.S. tour. Marvel Comics' Spiderman, Peter Parker, came to live at his aunt’s Forest Hills home upon the death of his parents - - and the 2002 blockbuster film includes numerous scenes filmed on location in the central Queens neighborhood. Located a quick 15 minute LIRR ride from midtown Manhattan, until 1978, world attention turned to Forest Hills' Westside Tennis Club each September for the prestigious U.S. Open Tennis Championship. Though the tournament has since moved to neighboring Flushing and the stadium no longer offers concerts by legendary bands like The Who and Chicago, the Westside continues to operate as a tennis club and lays claim to being the site of what has to be the most bizarre double bill in music history: A 1967 Monkees concert with Jimi Hendrix Experience as support act. Over the past decade, Forest Hills, for years primarily a Jewish community with 10 synagogues in the area, has become a melting pot of cultures including Russian, Asian, Middle Eastern and East European. The town’s cuisine reflects this diversity, with Cuban, Cajun, Japanese, Thai, Italian, Indian and Turkish never more than a block or two away.See more.

Austin Street, from Ascan Avenue to 69th Drive, is the entertainment heartbeat of the area, a bustling drag of neighborhood boutiques, restaurants and bars that sit comfortably alongside the myriad retail chains and franchises that have invaded Forest Hills over the past few years. Thankfully, for every chain store along Austin Street, you’ll find an independent establishment that oozes individuality and character.

Going south from Austin, you'll encounter the gates of exclusive Forest Hills Gardens and its winding roads and magnificent Tudor and Colonial homes with their spires and towers. Spacious greens are reminders that this private community's original landscape artist was Frederick Law Olmstead, son of the designer of New York's Central Park. Take a leisurely stroll through the Gardens, as parking here is strictly forbidden unless you're lucky enough to know one of its often celebrated residents - - Geraldine Ferraro and writer Jimmy Breslin both called Forest Hills Gardens their home. In that case, a sign prominently displayed on your windshield, stating your status as a visitor and the address you are visiting, will give you a grace period.

As you emerge from Forest Hills Gardens, the streets become more commonplace, the homes more modest. You’re en route to Southern Forest Hills, and its major strip, Metropolitan Avenue. Best known for antique shops, "Metro," as the residents call it, has of late given rise to a gastronomic re-invention with a number of new and innovative dining establishments giving the eateries along Austin Street and Queens Boulevard some stiff competition.

The north side of Forest Hills is bordered by Queens Boulevard, a frantic highway whose hit-and-run history has earned it the nickname "Boulevard of Death." Remaining on the south side of the boulevard, you’ll find movie theaters, and neighborhood restaurants, some having been in operation for decades. Risk life and limb to cross over to the north side of Queens Boulevard, and you're face to face with the twinkling blue lights of the Kennedy House and the twenty-seven story Pinnacle, two of the most luxurious buildings in the area.

Thirsty? Drink up at Forest Hills' diverse selection of watering holes. Try a Guinness on tap at The Irish Cottage, sample one of the 600 martinis shaken up at Bartinis, sip fine wine at Danny's Wine Bar or savor a frosty cold margarita at 5 Burros. Cheers!


You'll find what you're craving in Forest Hills at prices that, compared to the city, are positively cute. Cruise the culinary world with some of NYC's best pizza (Nick's Pizza), ethnic specialties (Q, Cabana, Pampas) and sweet surprises (Eddie's Sweet Shop, Martha's Country Bakery). A bagel with a schmear (Hot Bialys), anyone?

Make a beeline to the quirky independent shops of Austin Street and Metropolitan Avenue. For funky home décor, check out Soleil and Homefront; for threads, Jacklyn's and Oz Boutique. Fans of the funny pages shouldn't miss Royal Collectibles, a riot of vintage comic books and baseball cards.


This Neighborhood Featured in...
5 Ways to Taste the Silk Road

By Layne Mosler
Though New York cabbies hail from all over the world, many of them were born along what was once the Silk Road. Guided by taxi drivers from Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Iran and Turkey, Layne Mosler explores five restaurants where chefs still cook under the influence of spice swaps on the ancient trade route.

On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Layne Mosler
Photo:  Layne Mosler

Believe it or not, it's rare to find sarson ka saag (mustard green puree) at Indian restaurants in New York--and it's even rarer to find a version as tasty as the one at Tandoor. Pair the saag with pudina paratha (flat bread with fresh mint leaves) and you have a combination so glorious you won't miss the meat. Tandoor also makes a mean chicken tikka masala (think perfectly cooked chunks of chicken and a sauce that relies more on a vibrant masala than on tomatoes or cream for flavor). Soft, chewy onion naan, with fresh scallions and rosemary, is a great foil for this dish. Well worth a journey on the R train.

Posted By:  Jennifer Keeney Sendrow
Photo:  Jennifer Keeney Sendrow

Moishe's Deli
Moishe's is one of many Russian/Central Asian bodegas catering to the local Jewish community, remarkable because it's conveniently located right next door to the mighty bagel emporium Hot Bialys. Among its small selection are plenty of freshly baked cookies and breads, barrels of dried fruits and nuts, frozen and canned goods galore, a few cases of meats, cheeses, and assorted prepared foods, and, of course, phone cards. This Queens County juror was happy to take home a bag of frozen Russian veal dumplings made in Brighton Beach, a vacuum-packed hunk of spicy Armenian basturma, a chewy wheel of Uzbek lepeshka bread, a pound of garlicky carrot salad, and a tub of super-sour cream for under $20. The only disappointing purchase was a fresh meat pastry: light and flaky on the outside, mysterious and gray on the inside.

Posted By:  Stuart Kurtz
Photo:  Stuart Kurtz

Eddie's Sweet Shop
It's like stepping into a Norman Rockwell painting. Take a stool at the original marble counter and get served ice cream in cold steel dishes. Ditch the paper cups. That whipped cream doesn't take orders from an aerosol can; it's made fresh. The Cintrano family has been getting the scoop since 1968, but the shop goes back over ninety years. Four families have presided over the freezer. Toffee chip, vanilla chip, butter pecan, and peach (in summer) are favored at Eddie's. There are no gimmicks, only reliable stand-bys: banana splits, milkshakes, malts, and sundaes. Leaded glass--not real Tiffany lamps but we'll work with them. The freezer is from the '30s and still in use. There's an old-fashioned display case for toys (remember Pinky balls?). There's even an old-time phone booth. The fittings somehow enhance the flavors. It's all real, in case you thought this kind of joint went the way of ten-cent subway fare.

Posted By:  Jennifer Keeney Sendrow
Photo:  Jennifer Keeney Sendrow

Hot Bialys & Bagels
If sentenced to serve as a Queens County criminal court juror, one can do worse than to follow the crowd over to Hot Bialys at mealtime. The shop's namesake carbohydrate is really nothing special, but the bagels are good, the coffee decent. The lunchtime roster of classic deli sandwiches draws a chatty crowd of regulars--court employees, lawyers, judges, and even a smattering of what could be defendants--making eavesdropping much more fun than turning on the iPod. My best overheard exchange: "Well, here we are again, both having the beef on rye." "Yep, that bitch got me again. Damn." Dick Wolf would like this place.

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