Forest Park: Queens’ Park, Woodhaven’s treasure
by Ed Wendell
May 09, 2012 | 2295 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A picture of one of the surviving hoses of the original carousel, located in Oak Ridge.
A picture of one of the surviving hoses of the original carousel, located in Oak Ridge.
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What a fantastic week for Woodhaven and Forest Park.

Just days after the beautiful Queens Greenhouse reopened after 4 million dollars worth of renovations came word that our beloved carousel would be making a triumphant return on Memorial Day Weekend. Anyone who has been following the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association knows how important the issue of the carousel has been to us and we look forward to the world’s greatest ride being open for business at Woodhaven’s First Annual Block Party, Saturday June 23rd at the picnic area (email us at info@woodhaven-nyc.org or call 718-296-3755 for details).

Forest Park is beloved by all and shared by the residents of many neighborhoods in Queens.  But if you are a resident of Woodhaven, you have to be proud as a peacock of the portion of Forest Park that falls within the confines of our neighborhood. Let’s begin with a beautifully maintained golf course, now in its 111th year with over 6,000 yards of playing surface and great views of the skyline of Manhattan.  

Just outside the golf course is the lovely Oak Ridge building, which for many decades served as a clubhouse for golfers and now serves as the administration headquarters for Forest Park. Visitors to the Dutch Colonial Revival style structure built in 1905 will be treated to numerous pictures and artifacts from the park’s past including one of the surviving horses of the original Forest Park Carousel.

Down the road from Oak Ridge is the George Seuffert, Sr. Bandshell, named after the legendary Queens bandleader who played on a wooden bandstand in the park around the turn of the century. They replaced it with our bandshell in 1920 and Seuffert and his son, George Jr., brought beautiful music to the park for the next seven decades. The Seuffert bandshell recently underwent a facelift with new lights, improvements to acoustics and all-new durable, comfortable benches.  The sounds of music, Shakespeare, children’s shows and more can be heard throughout the summer as Forest Park’s summer series stands up as one of the best free treats in the city.

Then, as you all know, we have the historic Forest Park Carousel featuring lions and tigers and horses, all hand-carved by Master Carver Daniel Mueller around the turn of the century.  The inside of our carousel is a must-see for local history buffs as it has beautiful paintings of notable Woodhaven and Queens locations.  

Across the Boulevard is the sports complex at Victory Field, looking sharp after nearly 4 million dollars of recent renovations which include a reconstructed track and multi-sport synthetic turf field, new bleachers, a state-of-the-art drainage system and new fitness equipment.  Originally dedicated in 1925 to the memory of the “Unknown Soldier” of World War One, in recent years it was renamed after Woodhaven’s legendary Assemblyman and Justice of the Supreme Court of Queens County, Frederick D. Schmidt.

And if that wasn’t enough, we have a fantastic spot to enjoy nature in Strack Pond (named after PFC Laurence Strack, the first Woodhaven resident to die in the Vietnam War), newly renovated tennis courts, a friendly dog run, a number of beautiful stone staircases, long winding trails to walk through and enjoy nature, and the aforementioned Greenhouse which provides plants and flowers to parks all over New York City.

All of these beautiful and historic locations are enjoyed and shared by the residents of communities all over Queens.

But all of these beautiful and historic locations listed above are located right here in Woodhaven. And we’re very, very proud of that.
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