Home > Tennis Stadium > An Open Letter to Our Officials

An Open Letter to Our Officials


Michael Perlman, chairman of the Rego-Forest Preservation Council, asked if I would post his letter about saving the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium:



Dear Congressman Weiner, Senator Stavisky, Councilmember Koslowitz, & Assemblymember Hevesi,

I am writing on behalf of Rego-Forest Preservation Council. We extend a special thank you for composing a joint letter to the Landmarks Preservation Commission on August 12, 2010, requesting a feasibility study. Gratefully, you have responded to the pleas of a vast coalition of local and national landmark individual & organizational supporters, in the face of a historic international icon, the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium, and also expressed the need for the Landmarks Preservation Commission to hear and designate more landmarks in Queens. You acknowledged the sentiments of the greater public, who hopes to see the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium landmarked (by city and state) to commemorate its history and grant funding, and purchased by a more creative and deserving party who would restore and reuse it with everyone in mind, to ultimately boost jobs, business, tourism, and convey pride. From its rendering in the 1922 MIT Technology Review, it was depicted as “America’s Tennis Stadium,” and was proven to be an influential venue as an architectural first, and for its firsts in tennis and music history, but seemingly poor marketing decisions by boards of the West Side Tennis Club in recent years let it go astray.

Under Cord Meyer Development’s condo-minded proposal on August 10th at a private meeting at the WSTC, a portion of the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium’s facade would be retained, but the soul of the iconic Stadium, including the grandstands, interior stone work, and field, would be sucked out for out-of-context condos, more closely resembling a Brutalist Style structure of the Cold War, or “Disney-esque” to phrase it mildly. It would usher around 200 residents into the Forest Hills Gardens, and be another case of overdevelopment in Queens. Our schools are already burdened. It is doubtful that a modern design would be approved over the preservation of an iconic site by the Forest Hills Gardens Corporation, in the face of Restrictive Covenants. The Corporation has always prevented demolition of historic sites, and maintained the neighborhood’s historic identity and property values, since the Forest Hills Gardens’ creation 101 years ago. If not landmarked, its potential loss would designate it the “Pennsylvania Station of Queens.” Let’s speculate how future generations would look back, if the government and public had a chance to rescue and reuse this noble site for (smaller) tennis matches, (subdued) concerts, weddings, community events, school trips, exhibits, etc, but failed.

Our consensus is that building typical condos of “Anytown USA” and demolishing the majority of an icon in order to settle a debt (according to published reports), would be the most selfish, short-sighted, and unimaginative approach. There are some sites so significant to our community and nation’s heritage and backbone, and so few and far between, that any compromise would account for a major loss. One may ask, “Shall we be remembered as defeatists or civic-minded creative visionaries?”

We hope that you will continue to fulfill your role on behalf of the majority of constituents and national supporters, in order to defend one of our nation’s greatest “landmarks at heart,” and a 21st century family destination of great potential character-wise and economically, if marketed and reused creatively, with the assistance of city and state funding, and fundraising by groups such as ours. Thank you very much!

Sincerely,

– Michael Perlman
Rego-Forest Preservation Council, Chair

regoforestpreservation.blogspot.com
unlockthevault@hotmail.com
http://www.flickr.com/photos/8095451@N08/sets/72157607136282297/

Rego-Forest Preservation Council, Chair (Rego Park & Forest Hills)

http://regoforestpreservation.blogspot.com/

Four Borough Preservation Alliance Corp, Queens VP

Queens Preservation Council, Bd. of Dir.

Central Queens Historical Association, Bd. of Dir.

Friends of The Ridgewood Theatre, Chair

Friends of The RKO Keith’s Flushing Theatre, Member

Committee To Save The Forum Diner/Cheyenne Diner/Moondance Diner, Chair

  1. JEFFinFHs
    August 31, 2010 at 1:41 AM

    Great letter and I applaud the effort but Im afraid its a waste of time – we are told Cord Meyer has distributed enough campaign contributions to neccesary elected officials to get zoning changed and a green light from Gardens.

    Its a similar strategy that was used to build the Windsor building across from the midway 5 yrs ago – zoning prevented that tall a building ( formula based on sq footage) and again, certain politicians cleared the path.

    This will be sad and ultimatly, bad for Forest Hills – but sadly, may be headed for the wrecking ball.

  2. Travel GC
    September 1, 2010 at 11:23 AM

    Thank you very much for posting this. I hope JEFFinFHs is ultimately wrong, and I would hope the FHG residents will consider the long term effects more closely.

    It will be a sad day for Forest Hills if Cord Meyer is allow to develop. Let us hope it will not come to this. One wonders if there will be enough support to protest in front of the stadium before the vote occurs and that there will be good local media coverage.

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