Forest Hills, New York
OK, it's in....Queens; but Queens *is* one of the five boroughs of New York City. Located on Long Island, it's home to both of the City's commercial airports, La Guardia and JFK, Shea Stadium and various vestiges of two World's Fairs. Forest Hills itself is home to the West Side Tennis Club, formerly a world mecca of tennis before they moved the U.S. Open across the Grand Central Parkway to, gasp!, Flushing). FH has its own stop on both the Long Island RR and the NYC subway system (Express, no less; the E, F stop here, change for the local). Forest Hills High School, educated the likes of Simon and Garfunkel, Michael Landon, Burt Bacharach, Marty Ingalls and a guy who used to be married to Carol Lynley. It's also the alma mater of two TFGers, Cynthia Fontayne and Bonnie Fernald Fontayne, which is why we're mentioning all this in the first place. Ray Romano and Pia Zadora went to Our Lady Queen of Martyrs. For a longer list of Forest Hills celebrity residents and graduates, including Jerry Seinfeld, click here.
Memories of our hometown are many. It was a wonderful place to grow up during the 50’s and 60’s. We were surrounded by all kinds of ethnic groups. Our streets were like the United Nations. We had Russian and German Jews, Chinese, Japanese and lots of Italian American families. The aromas during the summer months were wonderful!
The "modern" history of Forest Hills began in 1908, when businessman Cord Meyer re-named the area formerly known as Whitepot. He sold 142 acres of his holdings, south of the newly electrified Long Island Rail Road, to the Russell Sage Foundation, which built Forest Hills Gardens, a private community in 1910. Bonnie's grandparents moved to Forest Hills in 1918; Cynthia's in 1944. (In 1936, the IND subway line opened up stations in Forest Hills. You can still take the E or F train and be in Manhattan in 20 minutes.) For a timeline of Forest Hills history, click here.
Remnants of the 50’s and 60’s include Witts, a turn of the century American soda fountain that still makes old fashioned ice cream over on Metropolitan Avenue (it has been continuously serving the community for over 70 years). Although it has been called Eddie’s Sweet Shop for nearly 30 years, it will always be Witts to us. You are served in the same sundae dishes, shake glasses sitting at the same counter and in the same booths! We went there every Sunday evening after Pilgrim Fellowship (no, really), and try to stop by for a sundae whenever we're in New York.