Help a Forest Hills author create a mural celebrating the neighborhood’s history

Michael Perlman (inset) wants to celebrate the rich history of Forest Hills with a historic mural in the neighborhood.
Photos via Facebook/Legendary Locals of Forest Hills and Rego Park

One local historian is working hard to bring a historic mural to Forest Hills and has created a fundraising event this weekend to help bring the project to fruition.

Michael Perlman, author of the book Legendary Locals of Forest Hills and Rego Park, is an expert in everything Forest Hills, and wants to see the history of his neighborhood enshrined in a mural, much like many of the other murals he has seen in his home town and neighboring communities.


“After noticing and appreciating other recent murals in our neighborhood, I was a man on a mission to play a major role in the creation of a new mural that bears homage to our local history in a way that has not been pursued before,” Perlman said. “It will be generate community pride, beautify our community, commemorate our history and enhance our local culture while benefiting education.”

According to Perlman, the mural will pay tribute to Ascan Backus, who is regarded as the most successful farmer in the northeast in his time. Ascan lived in Forest Hills before 1906, back when it was known as Whitepot.

The history mural will also feature the founding of Forest Hills Gardens in 1909, which became America’s earliest planned garden community, Perlman said.

The rest of the mural will be a surprise for the community, Perlman added, but it will feature other local notables and historic scenes including some architects and developers.

Although the mural is almost done, Perlman and the artists who helped work on the project do not want to give away the location of the work of art just yet.

“Since the rendering is nearly complete, the well-known artists and I cannot yet reveal the site of the mural, but we can assure the public that it will be a testament to our history, beautify our neighborhood, and serve as a boost to local education and the arts,” he said.

In order to get the mural created, Perlman has relied heavily on the support of Forest Hills residents, local businesses and fundraisers, such as the one being held on Sunday, Jan. 22, which will feature best-selling comic book artist John Stanisci — a resident of Forest Hills.

“So far, the mural has been funded through donations by community residents and visitors, as well as organizations including Knish Nosh, London Lennie’s, Ridgewood Savings Bank, Ripe Juice Bar, Exo Cafe, Banter, Cipollina Gourmet, the West Side Tennis Club, Belle Arti Center for the Arts and Portofino Ristorante,” Perlman said. “During the holiday season, Century 21 Dept. Store in Rego Park donated gift cards and wreaths, which were distributed to donors as a means of gratitude at my two prior fundraisers at Knish Nosh and Roast n Co.”

At the fundraiser, Stanisci will be selling and signing prints of his work on Marvel and DC characters including Spider-Man, Batman, Star Wars, and Captain America. He will also do character sketches upon request. All proceeds from the event will go to benefit the Forest Hills History Mural Fundraiser.

The fundraiser will be held on Sunday, Jan. 22, from 3:30 to 8 p.m. at La Boulangerie, located at 109-01 72nd Rd. in Forest Hills.