Forest Hills Gardens, Queens, New York City
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Forest Hills Gardens is a community located in Forest Hills, in the New York City borough of Queens. The area consists of a 142-acre development, fashioned after a traditional English Village, that is one of the country's oldest planned communities and the most prominent American example of Ebenezer Howard's Garden city movement. The community, founded in 1908, consists of about 800 homes, townhouses, and apartment buildings, mostly in Tudor, Brick Tudor or Georgian style, in a parklike setting designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., son of noted landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and partner in the Olmsted Brothers firm. Architect Grosvenor Atterbury proposed an innovative construction method: each house was built from approximately 170 standardized precast concrete panels, fabricated off-site and positioned by crane. The system was sophisticated even by modern standards: for example, panels were cast with integral hollow insulation chambers.
The streets were fully laid-out in 1910, many of them winding specifically to discourage through-traffic. Though Forest Hills Gardens is private property, it is not a gated community and through traffic, both automotive and pedestrian, is permitted. Street parking, however, is restricted to community residents.
The project was not completed, however, until the mid-1960s when the last remaining lots were developed. Although most of the buildings consist of single-family homes, the development also includes some garden-apartment buildings and retail space. Today, the area contains some of the most expensive housing in the borough of Queens.
In 1913, the West Side Tennis Club moved from Manhattan to Forest Hills Gardens. The U.S. Open and its predecessor national championships were held there until 1978, making the name "Forest Hills" synonymous with tennis for generations.
Homes in Forest Hills Gardens were sold with deed restrictions, until the mid-1970's, which forbade sale of homes to Jews, blacks and working-class people.
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