Born in Flushing, Nicholas Hirshon, 27, grew up on Metropolitan Avenue in Forest Hills and remembers his long walks to Austin Street as a journey to the city.
In his newest book, “Images of America: Forest Hills,” he reconnects with his childhood roots and delves into the rich history of America’s first garden city.
“It’s for the people who don’t know anything about Forest Hills, and for the people who are from Forest Hills who want to learn about the things they have never seen before,” Hirshon explained. “All of the old buildings from 1900 and 1910 are still around, and if you look at the photos in the book you will be amazed to see how similar it is today.”
Hirshon gathered his abundance of images from Community Board 6, Forest Hills Gardens Corporation, Queens Library archives, and the LaGuardia and Wagner Archives, as well as from friends and community members from all over the community.
“I went though something in the neighborhood of 2,500 photos in different places, and whittled it down to about 200,” he said. “I had over 1,000 photos of Station Square alone, but they were all ones you’ve seen already.”
Hirshon has always kept his ties to the neighborhood.
When he became a reporter for this paper and later the Daily News, he always stayed in touch with the developments at the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium, and is now interested in following the new developments in its revitalization and returning concerts.
“I think that if it was demolished it will set a really bad precedent,” he said. “Anything that helps preserve that stadium and give it an effective reuse for decades to come is a great development.”
Forest Hills native and comedian Ray Romano offers his perspective of the neighborhood in the book’s foreward. He writes of his days working in bars and the cinemas, time spent at Forest Park, and attending school at P.S. 144.
Today, Hirshon is excited to show the book to his neighbors in Forest Hills, and spread some of the history he has always appreciated with the rest of the world.
Hirshon will present a slideshow of Forest Hills film cameos on Friday, March 29, at Cinemart Cinemas at 106-03 Metropolitan Avenue in Forest Hills following a free screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Strangers on a Train,” a film shot at the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium in 1951.
Also, be sure to attend Hirshon’s book signing on April 18 at the Barnes and Noble at 176-60 Union Turnpike in Fresh Meadows.