Sunday, September 30, 2018
Forest Hills is a ghost town
From the Queens Chronicle:
The recent disappearance of several Forest Hills fixtures continues an apparent trend in the neighborhood: the closing of businesses that its residents depend on.
Yellowstone Hardware & Supply Corp., founded in 1954, sold its last nuts and bolts back in November. As of Aug. 28, the venerable branch of Sterling National Bank, a cornerstone of the intersection of Continental Avenue and 108th Street, would offer no more interest or loans. This past spring, Key Food, which for decades stood at the corner of Queens and Yellowstone boulevards, closed its automatic doors forever.
A one-block stretch on Austin Street between 71st Road and 72nd Avenue reveals five deserted retail spaces, including those formerly occupied by New York & Company, a women’s clothing retailer, and a grocery store. A bridal shop is gone, too, along with the building that housed it. According to a hairdresser who declined to give his name but who indicated he has worked in the salon across the street for the past 14 years, the building was demolished about six years ago. The space remains an abandoned construction site.
Even a casual walk through the neighborhood offers plenty of other examples of properties that remain vacant. Continuing down Austin Street, one finds the window-covered remains of Sky Cafe, which served up tasty treats at the corner of 70th Road. A nearby AT&T Authorized Retailer is out of business, too, as is Barnes and Noble, one of the last remaining bookstores in the borough.
Toward the end of the street, where it meets Yellowstone Boulevard, Austin Wellness Pharmacy is but an empty shell behind a gated door.
The S&B Clothing Showroom for Men, which adjoined Key Food on Yellowstone, has been gone for years, perhaps a decade, some speculate. It was recently joined by the shuttered Aron’s Bakery, on the far side of the Long Island Rail Road trestle.
On the service road of Queens Boulevard, opposite MacDonald Park, an entire row of mom-and-pop businesses is gone: Party World, Urban Cuts & Color Salon & Spa, Yuriy’s Shoe Repair, Liz Cleaners, Worldwide Postal & Parcel Services and the corner Piu Bella restaurant.