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Group Pushing to Preserve 90-Year-Old Tudor Houses in Forest Hills

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | January 15, 2014 9:12am
 Forest Close, at Austin Street and 75th Avenue, was designed in 1927.
Forest Close
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QUEENS — A New York City historic group is pushing to preserve a group of more than three dozen Tudor homes in a 90-year-old Forest Hills development, the organization announced.

Forest Close, a development at Austin Street and 75th Avenue, consists of 38 neo-Tudor houses surrounding a communal garden, according to the Historic Districts Council, a nonprofit organization that advocates for historic preservation.

The complex was designed in 1927, but it has never been landmarked by the city.

“The area is well worth preserving,” said Simeon Bankoff, the executive director of the HDC. “It’s beautiful.”

Since 2011, the organization has selected six New York City areas or institutions every year as part of its “Six to Celebrate,” a group of sites that should become "preservation priorities," the organization said. 

The areas are chosen based on applications submitted by neighborhood groups. Forest Close was picked from among more than two dozen applications the HDC received last year, Bankoff said.

The organization takes into account the architectural and historical value of the site.

Bankoff said that the Forest Close Association, which submitted the application, limits the amount of changes that residents can make to their homes in an effort to maintain the area's historic significance, but “they were interested in learning more about preservation tools.”

He said the HDC will now work with the community on preservation strategies. The nonprofit will also provide assistance with issues such as collecting historic documentation about Forest Close. The goal is to increase the public's awareness about the development as well.

The group will also organize a walking tour and publish a booklet about Forest Close. In previous years, the HDC has been able to help local groups create two new National Register districts, including Far Rockaway Beachside Bungalows, and two New York City historic districts, including Bedford Stuyvesant/Expanded Stuyvesant Heights, according to the organization's website.

Michael Perlman, chairman of the Rego-Forest Preservation Council, said he believes "Forest Close merits historic district status under the landmarks law." He also noted that the adjacent complex of Arbor Close is equally important, as both developments were designed by "the famed architect Robert Tappan, who lived in Forest Hills, in the 1920s as a shared vision by the Cord Meyer Development Corporation," Perlman said.

The five other areas and institutions selected for this year's “Six to Celebrate” list are: a portion of Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, 19 historic cemeteries on Staten Island, Madison Square North in Manhattan, a portion of Park Avenue on the Upper East Side and New York Public Libraries.