On September 21, the Community House hosted its annual barbecue for its members and their guests. More than 200 people in the dining hall enjoyed a buffet consisting of catered and homemade food.
A highlight of the evening was the re-dedication of the ornate Hof Hall brass plaque in the lobby, where a restoration and renovation of the space took place from August 19 to September 4. After a round of speeches, Lily Zivkovic stepped down as chairman, naming vice chairman Jack Seng as her replacement.
“It is one thing to create something to one’s benefit, and it is entirely different to create something to benefit the whole community,” Zivkovic said. “It is my last duty and honor as the chairman of the board to formally renew the Community House’s gratitude to the Hof family. The plaque marks the beginning of our communal journey every time we enter the Community House.”
In 1926, Grosvenor Atterbury designed the Tudor-style Community House and Henry Hof served as the Building Committee chair. Grandson Robert Hof and his wife Susanna Hof of Terrace Sotheby’s International Realty, along with other family members, celebrated the commemorative occasion.
Six generations of the Hof family have called Forest Hills Gardens home since 1909.
“It was our intention to honor the efforts of Rob's grandparents, who had a vision of a place where children and adults in the community could gather, share friendships, and fun times, and where community organizations could meet,” said Susana Hof. “All the ideals that Lillian and Henry Hof envisioned have been realized for many generations of Forest Hills families.”
The redesigned lobby features a polished plaque, the removal of non-original wood wall paneling and a classical tin ceiling.
“We have made it a point to try to do one major project a year to keep our building clean, safe, and up-to-date, without taking away from its original look,” said Jojo Serventi, Community House director since July 2003.
Serventi said that includes programming, which includes social events like The Taste of Forest Hills, basketball and soccer clinics, zumba classes, and water aerobics.
Seven years ago, Seng volunteered to spearhead Father & Son Day, which evolved into Parent & Child Day. Now he will steer the organization into the future.
“I personally would like to see the Community House do more to help the less fortunate, be it creating an ongoing food drop-off center or raising funds for a homeless shelter or domestic abuse center,” he said. “Creating a recreational program for parents with special needs would be really great, too.”