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  • Writer's pictureCCFH

Turn down the volume: Neighbors of the West Side Tennis Club’s Forest Hills Stadium need...

"The 100th anniversary of the historic Forest Hills Stadium in Queens should be a milestone the whole community can celebrate. But it’s been seriously tarnished by the inconsiderate way the stadium’s owner, the West Side Tennis Club, has been treating its neighbors.

In a community where many Jewish people live, the tennis club’s board has approved a rock concert on Rosh Hashanah, one of the holiest days of the Jewish year. They’ve greenlighted an unprecedented number of events, 30 in all, more than twice the usual number, some of them on school nights in June around the time of final exams.

Things have gotten so bad that the Forest Hills Gardens Corp., which represents some of the homeowners living near the stadium, sued the West Side Tennis Club on Tuesday. The next day the tennis club sued the Gardens Corp. We are not involved in those lawsuits, but we view them as a natural result of the way the tennis club, the concert promoter, and our elected officials have failed to take the concerns of the community seriously.

Last year, concerts repeatedly, and illegally, ended past the 10 p.m. limit, which meant that the flow of crowds, staff, and heavy equipment leaving the stadium continued well past midnight. Adults and children could not sleep. People living near the stadium reported that parts of their home were shaking because of the bass from the powerful equipment the bands use in the stadium. Trash left by concert-goers littered local streets. Traffic jams and parking problems abounded.

When people try to talk to the board of The West Side Tennis Club about these issues, they either do not respond or they say, “talk to the concert promoter.” But the concert promoter is the tenant. The West Side Tennis Club is the landlord. The board of the West Side Tennis Club approves the number of concerts and has to accept responsibility for what happens on its property. What has been happening recently hurts the entire community. It damages the quality of peoples’ lives and the value of their homes. More and more residents of Forest Hills will be negatively impacted if this behavior goes unchecked.

We believe there should be reasonable restrictions on the number of events and the way they are conducted. The concerts should comply with the city’s noise code, especially when it comes to low-frequency bass that can harm people’s health and cause their homes to shake. Traffic, parking, and sanitation problems need to be addressed. Concerts should end promptly at 10 p.m., as they did for many years before the pandemic, and there should be no fireworks or day-long events.

Our elected officials need to be much more responsive to these quality of life issues. To date, they have been far too deferential to the concert promoter and the tennis club. But significant responsibility for making things right lies with the board members of The West Side Tennis Club. They could start by talking to us, as neighbors generally do. Is that so unreasonable?"

Read the full op-ed here:

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