Mumford & Sons to Play Forest Hills Tennis Stadium Tonight

Rego-Forest Preservation Council chairman discusses plans for stadium, but not all local residents on board.

The Forest Hills Tennis Stadium will host its first concert in more than 20 years tonight when Mumford & Sons plays the iconic venue.

The British folk rock group’s performance, which begins at 6 p.m., will be the first of 19 shows planned for the next few years at the stadium.

Michael Perlman, chairman of the Rego-Forest Preservation Council, said he thought the upcoming concerts at the stadium were preferential to an original plan by Cord Meyer Development to demolish the site and replace it with condos.

“Disney-esque condos would have torn the heart out of Forest Hills,” Perlman said. “Mixed-use creative revitalization will likely yield a greater long-term economic return. The stadium has potential for tennis matches, concerts, ice hockey, weddings, exhibits, school trip, charity events and art festivals.”

Perlman said more than 16,000 tickets were sold for the Mumford & Sons concert within an hour and that nearly $1.5 million has been spent to restore the tennis stadium since June.

The stadium has hosted a number of legendary performers from the 1950s through the 1980s, including The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, The Doors, Ella Fitzgerald, Diana Ross, The Monkees, Johnny Mathis, Barbara Streisand, Simon and Garfunkel, Donna Summer and Peter, Paul and Mary.

It also hosted tennis players such as Billie Jean King, Roger Federer, Martina Navratilova, Arthur Ashe and Althea Gibson.

It also made an appearance in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Strangers on a Train.”

The Rego-Forest Preservation Council launched a grassroots campaign in July 2010, calling for the preservation of the stadium, which the group argued could be used to boost tourism to Queens.

But not all Forest Hills Gardens residents are pleased with the stadium’s upcoming concerts. One reader, who did not want to be identified, said tonight’s concert was disrupting the community.

“We are being told that we will not be allowed in the park during the concert,” she wrote. “Furthermore, we will not be allowed out on the sidewalks or in the streets for the duration of the day. We will only be allowed to leave the neighborhood and return home to our apartments. We have every right to be there as we have been every day and will continue to be. We will not stand for this, so that an already overpriced tennis club can make more money.”

Linda August 29, 2013 at 09:48 AM
I live in the building across the street, and how wonderful to see this beautiful and historic stadium back in use. Yes, there were a few hiccups, but overall our day to day activity was not disrupted in any way. We went downstairs to listen to the music around 7:30pm and there was truly a festive feel in the neighborhood as folks sat in our little park and on benches outside the stadium. Kids were playing in the traffic-free street. No pedestrians were stopped from freely walking on streets (other than Burns Street) throughout the day. The NYPD did a great job of blocking thru traffic, so the fear of an unruly mob tearing up lawns, strewing garbage and urinating wherever didn't happen. And the music ended precisely at 10pm, so those of us who had to work the next day were able to get a good night's sleep.
Kitty August 29, 2013 at 02:19 PM
Sure it must have been nice if yiu didn't leave yiur home but myself and the other residents are outraged. We were denied access to burns street. Even with the promise of an ID check and a special pathway created just for us that was immediately shut down. At one point there was a barricade out up right next to the park and no one from burns was allowed to pass to get into the park. At the end of the concert instead of funneling them towards austin where perhaos the neighborhood could reap some benefits of the concert and they would patronize iur bars and restaurants, and where all the public transportation is, they sent them stumbling into our residential neighborhood lost and drunk...where they walked right Into our park and urinated RIGHT IN FRONT OF US. It must be nice to live in Linda's world but the concert in the forest hills where I was sitting was a DISASTER
Scott NY September 01, 2013 at 02:57 PM
I was at the concert and was part of one of the last groups to leave. The only way out was down Burns street to the LIRR station. I live there and when I tried to walk Continental Avenue toward Metropolitan I was stopped by the NYPD and warned that I was entering a private neighborhood and could only pass if I lived there. (I'm 50 years old, sober, with an old man beard.) So I'm guessing the drunken pissers that Kitty met were our very own Forest Hillians who on a regular basis have no respect for where they live and pee on my doorstep every Friday and Saturday night as they leave the bars or each other houses. The crowds, of which I was part, were pretty tame.
Scott NY September 01, 2013 at 03:01 PM
Using the same quote again as if it were true and just reflecting someone's unrecognized pre-fears as "evidence" of trouble is false and lazy Nathan 'copy and paste" Duke.
Kitty September 01, 2013 at 08:11 PM


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