Forest Hills Stadium won’t be torn down to build condos after all, at least not yet. Members of the West Side Tennis Club voted 123-123 on Thursday night to reject a proposal to sell the former U.S. Open stadium to developer Cord Meyer for $8 million or so. (A two-thirds vote in favor was required for the sale to go through.)
What will happen next to the 1923 stadium is entirely up in the air. “We’re going to be exploring other options; that’s all we can do,” club president Kenneth J. Parker told the New York Times, while admitting no other options have been formally proposed as of yet.
Preservationists have proposed landmarking the structure (which would potentially open up the possibility of getting historic rehabilitation tax credits, a la Fenway Park). Other suggestions include playing a pre-Open exhibition tournament at the stadium, as other Grand Slam cities do, or making it the permanent summer home of the New York Philharmonic. Or they could just try to get Talking Heads to reunite.
New York has yet another stadium controversy afoot: On Tuesday night, the West Side Tennis Club in Queens unveiled for its members a plan to replace its 1923-era stadium with condos (and hideously ugly condos, too, if the rendering is any guide). The facade of the stadium, formerly the home of the U.S. Open and host to concerts by the Beatles and Talking Heads, among others, would be retained under the plan.
Club president Ken Parker insisted that saving the stadium would cost too much: “The stadium itself cannot be used. It’s not safe for people to climb into it.”
Several elected officials called yesterday for more community input into the project, with U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner declaring, “Just because the decisions are being made by people in white tennis shorts and not gray suit jackets doesn’t mean that the community shouldn’t have a say.” The Wall Street Journal’s reporter, meanwhile, noted on the paper’s blog that member reaction is mixed: “While some members want to save the 15,000-seat stadium, others recognize that residential development is a sensible use.” “Recognize”? Editorializing much there?