Op-ed: Protecting Forest Hills Stadium

Forest Hills Stadium
Thomas Grech
QNS file photo

After more than a decade since its rebirth, it is unfathomable to consider Forest Hills without our venerable 101-year-old Forest Hills Stadium. The iconic venue is an asset to our community in so many ways – from creating jobs, to supporting local organizations, to providing invaluable links to our community’s rich history. Amazingly, a small band of unrealists who fail to understand that communities are constructed on the mutual grace and respect of our neighbors, want to shut down Forest Hills Stadium for good.

A tiny fraction of individuals – no matter how unreasonable – can accomplish big things if left unchecked. With unrealistic lawsuits and willful disinformation being wielded against Forest Hills Stadium, we must all stand up and show our unity and resolve.

Over the course of the season, the venue creates thousands of jobs for local residents, and as President of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, I know the catalyzing impact the venue has had on local small businesses. Events at Forest Hills Stadium draw attendees from all over who dine, drink and shop in our community.

In addition to the positive economic impact, Forest Hills Stadium is a good neighbor, who delivers for our community every day. They loan equipment and teams for local projects, including snow removal. They close financial gaps for all sorts of local non-profits and neighborhood groups. And starting this fall, they will even play host to our youth flag football league.

The presence of Forest Hills Stadium in our community provides indispensable links to our past. This is a venue that has hosted the likes of the Beatles and Bob Dylan, Harry Belafonte and the New York Pops.

It was at our Stadium, right here in Forest Hills, where Althea Gibson made history in 1950 when she became the first African American to compete in the U.S. National Tennis Championship. Their values and history of thoughtfulness reflect our own.

When the Stadium re-emerged from utter ruin more than a decade ago, the universe seemed to balance, and a level of pride returned to Forest Hills. This icon of global and local historic significance had been left fallow and literally rotted for years.

Several acts of imagination, cooperation and care lifted our bent but unbroken 100-year-old divining rod back to life. However, the Stadium only truly returned to glory because of the community and our spirit. And it will only remain with the full-throated support of the community and our spirit.

Living in Forest Hills is awesome for so many reasons. We all care. We share values. We protect each other. Our neighbor Forest Hills Stadium needs unflinching support. They’ve got ours. We hope they can count on yours too.


*Thomas Grech is the President and CEO of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, which seeks to foster connections, educate for success, develop and implement programs and advocate for members’ interests.