Bigger and better things

I am in dire need of a raison d’etre, and I’m increasingly thinking I’d like to start a community website covering Forest Hills. I’m talking blog, message boards, that sort of thing. Frankly, we’ve got nothing. I’ve been poring over sites like the excellent Astorians and QueensWest.com and seething with insane jealousy. I really, really think this neighborhood is worthy of something like that. Forest Hills NY is confusing and had its last post in January, and the Forest Hills Forum is mostly real-estate flames. Meanwhile, we have some excellent local bloggers, like Sarah of Avenue Food, but I don’t know of anyone who’s blogging about Forest Hills on a regular basis.

New York Magazine’s Neighborhood Watch archives have exactly zero entries on Forest Hills. That’s shameful, and we need to fix it. Basically, I’d like to try to build a sense of community around here among people who do more than just complain.

I’m pretty sure I’m going to do this, and I think I can already envision it. My only question: How wide-ranging should this be? I feel like anything covering just Forest Hills would die on the vine — not enough people would be interested in visiting and contributing. But how far do we go? I’m thinking “Central Queens” — but what is Central Queens? The Queens Chronicle, sadly the most authoritative source I could find, defines it as Forest Hills, Rego Park, Kew Gardens and Briarwood. But should we cast an even wider net? How about southeast to Richmond Hill and Jamaica? West to Elmhurst and even Jackson Heights?

Would anybody be interested in this? Would you like to contribute? What areas would you like to see covered? Is anybody there? (I would be so pleasantly surprised if I got any answers.)

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14 responses to “Bigger and better things

  1. I’ll chime in a vote for getting something going for an FH type of board and seeing you’ve already got some sort of framework in place, I assume it wouldn’t be too huge of an undertaking. I actually contacted the person who runs foresthillsny.com a while back with some suggestions; apparently the reason he keeps things closed off to open posts without registering are due comment spam and the inability to corral it. You could also argue that the legitimate comments were also junk as you pointed out are mostly flame wars on real estate. Invariably, it will probably turn out to be much of like you see on chowhound or the likes with the best/worst pizza debates and what closed up store on Continental will turn into what bank chain next. I think there are some current vacancies that have excellent potential! Feel free to contact me at the provided email address. I think it would be a great contribution to have a place for the

  2. Hmm… my comment seems to have gotten cut off…finishing off that line should have been “great contribution to have a place for the

  3. And for my final trick, realizing that my comment containing a less than sign was interpreted as HTML, “for the less than 85 year old population of Forest Hills.” Grrrrr. Seems pretty anti-climactic now on the third attempt.

    Larry

  4. Don’t worry, I still thought it had gravitas. I’m actually not as close on this as you might think, and I haven’t done a WordPress install and mod in years. But still, I could probably get something up fairly quickly and I think I’ve got a domain name (which I will not reveal here for fear of theft).

    Thanks for the “less than 85 year old” line, because that’s kind of my point. All the available media about the area seem so old, and I know this place has gotten a lot younger lately.

  5. Hi Steve,

    I’m leaving my comment here rather than at the other post, “Forest Hills Review Reviesed,” as you said you don’t check that one often. However I think I’ll update from time to time over on that one, as it seems to be where the “moving to FH” action is.

    First, THANK YOU VERY MUCH for all those helpful thoughts about looking for homes in FH! That is indeed a big help!

    Second, I think a FH community website is a good idea. Steve, you may be on a cutting edge here! Or maybe not. But I think folks would be interested in real estate, restaurants, movies, bookstores, community events, out-of-the-way gems, that sort of thing.

    Not even having yet set foot in FH, I have no idea about geographic boundaries to the enterprise. My only thought on that is: you don’t want something so big it will overwhelm you.

    I’ll keep you posted on Parker Towers and other peregrinations.

    All best, Micah

  6. There is one blog out there which is primarily about FH, rather than just originating there. It’s new but seems decent so far:

    http://foresthills72.blogspot.com

  7. Sounds like a good idea. Though what size the audience for something like this would be, I don’t know. It would be nice to glavanize the younger people moving into the area. Get people involved, something I haven’t gotten around to doing. For instance, why doesn’t Forest Hills have a green market? I imagine a small group of interested people could get something like that done. Much like Glenn at Upper Green Side (http://www.uppergreenside.org/) did for his ‘hood.

    That and stuff about food. I like to eat.

  8. Atlas Park had a Greenmarket last summer on the weekends. There were usually only two or three farmers there. They had great stuff, but I’m not sure how much business they were doing. Like the rest of Atlas Park, it’s an outstanding resource, executed and delivered well, that the neighborhood seems to be ignoring. I guess nobody wants to pay $3 to park.

    I think FH could definitely support a greenmarket, with our population density and high incomes. I’m just scratching my head trying to figure out where it would go. Maybe the playground at PS 101? It’s in the middle of The Gardens but not too too far from the tall buildings on QB.

  9. Hi Steve–

    I would be an avid supporter if you were to start such a site. I think it would be a good idea to include other neighborhoods, at least Rego Park and Kew Gardens.

    Maybe in addition to message boards, you could include articles/blog posts–written by you or other contibutors–aimed both at locals and people considering moving to the neighborhood. (As in why they should move here.)

  10. Building a community website is not easy, but it can be rewarding.

    My $0.02..

    Jake of QueensWest.com

  11. Hey, thanks for the great advice, everyone. Happily, I agree with all of it — this is coming together more and more. I’m now pretty sure I’m going to do this, it’ll cover Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Rego Park and Briarwood (I spend zero time in Briarwood, but hey, who am I to dispute the Queens Chronicle?), and it’ll be a place for the latest news-slash-advice-slash-evangelism on the area in addition to being a discussion site. I’d love it if it became a flashpoint for community activism of one sort or another. Green markets for everyone!

    Hey, Jake, wait ’til you see the domain name I have in mind. It’s an homage, if you will.

    I really like that Forest Hills 72 blog, too. Maybe that guy would like to contribute.

  12. Hey,

    Feel free to visit and comment on my site – I’d also be happy to contribute to other sites.

    I feel the same way you guys do about there being a ton of unfocused energy regarding our area.

    We have more money and better transportation/infrustructure than anywhere in the city and now we’re getting the cool people to replace the elderly who are finally leaving. I’m totally into uniting to make sure Forest Hills 2.0 is even better than the one that was created in 1910.

  13. Hey, I was actually looking for your e-mail address last night so I could write and ask you if you were interested in contributing. I just found your blog a couple of days ago (through these comments) and was really enjoying it — you’ve got exactly the kind of attitude and voice I’d like to have in one form or another on the new site. There was actually a ton of stuff I wanted to comment on, but I didn’t want to go back and write in too many old posts.

    I should also mention that I’ve already started using “AQUA” — which is my home, too — on a regular basis. You know the block with Tango, Pinang and Midori Matsu? AQUA Restaurant Row. Never had a way to distinguish it from 70th Road until now.

  14. Feel free to lift stuff from my site and I’ll post stuff in your comments. You’re the grandaddy of Forest Hills blogs so just name whatever it is you need.

    AQUA Rules!!!!

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