Residents of Forest Hills Gardens, a bucolic neighborhood amid the bustling borough of Queens, New York, often refer to it as their “little secret.” And for good reason. The community dates to 1909. With strict covenants enforced by the Forest Hills Gardens Corporation, owners cannot alter the exterior of their homes without express approval. Therefore, the private enclave remains much as it was originally built more than 100 years ago.
Covering a 175-acre plot purchased by the Russell Sage Foundation in the early 20th century, architect Grosvenor Atterbury and landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. were commissioned to plan the town. Inspired by the British garden city movement, they built a neighborhood of Tudor-style homes, community parks and commercial spaces.
The entrance to Forest Hills Gardens is Station Square. Conceived as the business center of the community, Station Square is also the entrance to the Long Island Rail Road. On the other side of the railroad tracks is lively Austin Street with its many restaurants and shops. Station Square proudly welcomes visitors and residents, setting the tone for this quaint village virtually untouched by the surrounding urban development.
Other unique characteristics of the neighborhood include Tudor-style architecture, curving streets, old-fashioned street signs and idyllic street names like Seasongood Road and Rockrose Place in place of numbered streets.
This tight-knit, family friendly community has about 4,500 residents, almost 900 homes (both townhomes and single family), 11 apartment buildings, a few places of worship, and a community house recreational facility that hosts activities and programs for children and adults. In addition, the Forest Hills Gardens Corporation oversees street paving, sidewalks, security, parking and landscaping (installing about 70 trees a year).
The proximity to Manhattan is also a draw for many residents of Forest Hills Gardens. Getting to midtown Manhattan on the E, F or R subway lines takes about 20 minutes, or about 15 minutes to Penn Station on the LIRR.
Today, Forest Hills Gardens remains one of the most exclusive addresses in Queens. You can call this historic neighborhood home with one of these available properties currently on the market.