United States Post Office, Forest Hills Station

106-28 Queens Boulevard;
Lorimer Rich, 1938-40;
National Register Property|

This Art Deco style post office is one of five constructed by the Works Progress Administration in Queens. Designed to be a showpiece in the neighborhood, the one-story building is clad in reddish brown terra-cotta above a granite base. It features a statue above the entrance on Queens Boulevard entitled “The Spirit of Communication” by sculptor Sten Jacobson. The statue was very controversial at the time of its unveiling, as it depicts a bare-breasted woman holding a clock in one hand and a dove in the other. Walk south on 70th Avenue and turn left on Austin Street, a commercial hub in Forest Hills, then turn right onto 71st Avenue and under the train tracks into Station Square. Soak up this iconic view of the beautiful plaza.The post office was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

MacDonald Park

Queens Boulevard between Yellowstone Boulevard and 70th Road;
Monument: William Henry Deacy, 1934|

Queens Boulevard was expanded gradually over many years, beginning in the early 1920s. After an expansion phase in 1931, this small park was formed. In 1933 it was named after Captain Gerald MacDonald (1882-1929), a World War I veteran and Forest Hills resident who was held in great esteem by the community. Toward the park’s eastern end is the Gerald MacDonald statue, which was designed by architect William Henry Deacy, sculpted by MacDonald’s brother-in-law, Frederic de Henwood, and unveiled in 1934.

Ridgewood Savings Bank

107-55 Queens Boulevard;
Halsey, McCormack & Helmer, 1939-40|

The first branch of the Ridgewood Savings Bank, the location was chosen for its proximity to public transportation and the area’s growing population. Situated on its own triangular lot, the limestone-clad bank is a prominent structure on bustling Queens Boulevard. Aside from its location, the bank is noteworthy for its mix of Art Deco and Modern Classical style design. Its rounded ends are connected by side walls with alternating flat and curved panels, as well as large windows and decorative motifs that include eagles, wavy lines and clock faces. At the rounded ends, vertical piers mimic Classical columns and bronze doors and window grates at the main entrance feature simple spear and fan motifs. Just off of Queens Boulevard at 108-19 71st Avenue is another civic structure: the Forest Hills Branch of the Queens Public Library, a simple brick building designed by Boak & Raad and built in 1957.

RKO Midway Theatre

108-22 Queens Boulevard;
S. Charles Lee for Thomas W. Lamb Associates, 1942|

Named for the World War II Battle of Midway, this theater boasts 2,000 seats. Thomas W. Lamb was a prolific theater designer, having been responsible for roughly 300 theaters across the country. This theater bears the distinction of being his last project and one of only a few designed in the Art Moderne style. Its undulating limestone façade features a large vertical beacon with letters spelling out “MIDWAY.” The structure currently houses a United Artists cinema along with a variety of shops and restaurants.

108-36 Queens Boulevard

Theobald H. Engelhardt, 1944-46;
Mural: Richard Haas, 1989|

Though this bank building is fairly undistinguished and much changed since its construction, it is well worth a visit. The building originally housed the Stratton Restaurant & Bar, which was replaced in 1986 with the Home Savings Bank of America. The bank commissioned a quirky detail for the curving façade during its tenure: a mosaic tile mural depicting Forest Hills, with Station Square in the foreground, Queens Boulevard in the middle ground and Manhattan’s skyline in the distant background. Also enclosed within its gold-tile border are boxes depicting some of the area’s distinctive architecture. The mural displays charming community pride in both Forest Hills and its broader urban locale.

Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs School

110-6 Queens Boulevard, Maginnis & Walsh, 1938-39;
72-55 Austin Street
Maginnis & Walsh, 1928|

The parish of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs was founded in 1912, as the development of Forest Hills was in full swing. Its original wood frame chapel building burned down in 1929, just after the completion of the church’s beautiful neo-Gothic school building. It would be ten more years until a new sanctuary would be built, with services taking place in the school’s auditorium in the interim. Modeled after England’s Durham Cathedral, the cruciform sanctuary building was constructed of granite and limestone and features an abundance of stained glass. It is the largest Catholic church in Queens.

If you walk along Queens Boulevard on 72nd Avenue, you will see some of the earliest residences in Forest Hills, which are commemorated by a plaque on number 108-19.

Holland House

73-37 Austin Street;
Benjamin Braunstein, 1929-30|

This imposing Art Deco apartment building features red brick façades with intricate brickwork and exquisite limestone moldings. It is one of the neighborhood’s finest examples of apartment house construction that arrived in Forest Hills once both the LIRR and the subway made their way to the neighborhood.  Advertisements for the building described it as a “Ten-story apartment 14 minutes from the Pennsylvania Station with all the advantages of a Park Avenue residence.” Peek down 73rd Road to see some other early apartment houses, including The Mayfair, a fanciful structure with ornate brickwork and limestone carvings.

Forest Close & Arbor Close

Austin Street between 75th and 76th Avenues;
Robert Tappan, 1925-27|

Forest Close and Arbor Close are distinct developments whose construction and history are inextricably linked. The two rowhouse communities were commissioned by the Cord Meyer Development Company, and each encircles a shared, yet private, green space. Such a layout was appropriate for the already lush neighborhood of Forest Hills and similar to other Queens communities, such as Sunnyside Gardens, which were also developed as suburban enclaves. Cord Meyer originally intended to construct more closes extending as far as Union Turnpike to the east. However, with the stock market crash of 1929, the others were never completed. Both Arbor Close and Forest Close were designed in the neo-Tudor style, with half-timbering, slate tile roofs and brick and stucco cladding. Each grouping also includes a block of garages in the same style, which feature copper cupolas at their centers. Robert Tappan was responsible for both Forest and Arbor Closes, as well as for many single-family houses in greater Forest Hills. A concentrated number of Tappan houses may be found north of Queens Boulevard in the Cord Meyer section of Forest Hills. When the subway arrived in 1936, development patterns in Forest Hills shifted in favor of larger-scale apartment houses. Luckily, Forest and Arbor Closes managed to remain and have only increased in desirability with home buyers. This is due in part to the existence of covenants, established at the time of their construction, that protect their special character. These covenants are in perpetuity, lending some measure of stability for the continued maintenance of their architectural features and overall cohesion. In anticipation of potential internal and external pressures, the communities are investigating ways to strengthen these controls.

Six To Celebrate Tour- Forest Close, Queens-Pictures

Forest Close, Queens
Saturday, June 7, 2014 (WALKING TOUR)

Led by architectural historian Barry Lewis, this walking tour covered some of the highlights of Forest Hills, one of the city’s most beautiful suburban-style communities developed in the early 20th century. Featured on the tour was Forest Close, a nook of 38 neo-Tudor houses surrounding a communal garden. Designed in 1927 in the spirit of the garden city movement, Forest Close can be described as an enclave within an enclave, its private orientation and country-inspired architecture lending charming appeal.

Six to Celebrate Tours 2014

Meeting Location Information Will Be Sent To Those Who Have Registered A Week Prior To The Tour 


Atlantic AvenueAtlantic Avenue, Brooklyn
Saturday, June 14, 11:00AM (WALKING TOUR)
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A commercial thoroughfare for more than one hundred years, Atlantic Avenue is a diverse retail and dining destination connecting the historic neighborhoods of Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill. Join us as tour guide Joe Svehlak leads this walking tour between 4th Avenue and Hicks Street, discussing Atlantic Avenue’s architecture, social and commercial history, as well as areas that have been more recently redeveloped.


Forest Close, QueensForest Close
Saturday, June 7, 11:00AM (WALKING TOUR)
View Pictures of the Tour
Led by architectural historian Barry Lewis, this walking tour will cover some of the highlights of Forest Hills, one of the city’s most beautiful suburban-style communities developed in the early 20th century. Featured on the tour is Forest Close, a nook of 38 neo-Tudor houses surrounding a communal garden. Designed in 1927 in the spirit of the garden city movement, Forest Close can be described as an enclave within an enclave, its private orientation and country-inspired architecture lending charming appeal.


Park AvenuePark Avenue, Manhattan
Tuesday, June 17, 6:00PM (WALKING TOUR)
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After a years-long preservation campaign by a coalition of residents, activists and community groups, 2014 is Park Avenue’s year! In February, the Landmarks Preservation Commission held an important Historic District hearing to landmark Park Avenue’s unprotected blocks, and in April, the Commission voted to landmark the district! Votes by the City Planning Commission and City Council are expected in the coming months. Join tour guide Justin Ferate on this walking tour of New York City’s premier historic boulevard and learn more about the effort to protect Park Avenue’s historical and architectural significance.


From Yiddish to Chinese and Beyond: A Walking Tour of Historic Libraries in ChinatownSeward Park Branch, exterior, west façade, 2010 (HDC)
Thursday, July 10, 6:00 PM (WALKING TOUR)

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Visit two of the busiest Carnegie libraries in the New York Public Library system as well as other sites of interest between and near them, including one of the oldest graveyards in New York, Al Smith’s childhood home, and Knickerbocker Village, a forerunner of later urban renewal projects. The tour, led by John Bacon, HDC board member and Director of Planned Giving at The New York Public Library, will start at the McKim, Mead and White-designed Chatham Square Library and conclude at the Seward Park Library, which became a New York City landmark in 2013.


Madison Square North, ManhattanMadison Square North
Sunday, September 14, 11:00AM (WALKING TOUR)

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This architecturally diverse neighborhood includes pre-Civil War rowhouses, late 19th century hotels, early 20th century loft and commercial structures, and the remaining buildings of the famous Tin Pan Alley. To better reflect the neighborhood’s boundaries, local residents and advocates have submitted a Request for Evaluation to the Landmarks Preservation Commission to expand the Madison Square North Historic District. Join us as HDC Board member and Madison Square North expert Marissa Marvelli leads a walking tour of this fascinating neighborhood.


Staten Island CemeteryStaten Island’s Historic Cemeteries
Saturday, September 27, 11:00AM (TROLLEY TOUR)

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Celebrate Halloween early with a visit to Staten Island’s historic places of memory and rest. Led by Lynn Rogers, executive director of the Friends of Abandoned Cemeteries of Staten Island, this trolley tour will explore three cemeteries dating to the early 19th century. Stops will include the Marine Hospital/Quarantine Station Cemetery, where thousands of Irish Famine Immigrants were reinterred in April 2014; the Staten Island/Fountain Cemetery & Native American Burial Ground, a haunted site and the city’s largest abandoned cemetery (8 acres); and Lake Cemetery, a working class cemetery where many Civil War and WWI Veterans were buried.


Park Avenue, Manhattan
Monday, October 6, 6:00PM (Walking Tour)

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The June 17 Six to Celebrate tour of the newly designated Park Avenue Historic District quickly sold park avenue tour out and was extremely well received. As such, Urban Historian Justin Ferate will conduct a second tour – beginning at Park Avenue at 91st Street and traveling south along the avenue. The upper segment of the new district boasts of elegant apartment houses by such impressive architects as J.E.R. Carpenter, George & Edward Blum, Mott B. Schmidt, Emery Roth, Mills & Bottomley, and others. In addition, we’ll view religious structures by some of America’s noteworthy ecclesiastical design firms: Patrick C. Keely, Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson, and Schickel & Ditmars.

Join us on this walking tour of New York City’s premier historic boulevard. Learn more about the histories of these remarkable architectural treasures and the effort to protect Park Avenue’s historical and architectural significance for future generations.

A Tale of Three Carnegies: A Tour of Historic Libraries in Harlem and the South Bronx
Saturday, October 18, 2:00PM (WALKING TOUR)



Following the July tour of Carnegie libraries in Chinatown, John Bacon, HDC board member and Director of Planned Giving at The New York Public Library, will return to lead another tour of Carnegie libraries in Harlem and Mott Haven. In Harlem, we will visit the 115th Street and Harlem Libraries, and view the impressive Mount Morris Historic District in between. Bring your Metrocard, as we will then hop on the subway to the South Bronx to visit the beautiful Mott Haven Library and take in its notable children’s floor.