While many young families leave Manhattan and head directly for the burbs, Forest Hills is widely considered a “best of both worlds” scenario for many parents. The one-stop on the LIRR, express subways and buses make for a quick and convenient commute to the city, the array and accessibility to shops and restaurants within walking distance, the abundance of child friendly activities and resources, and the quaint neighborhood feel nestled within a bustling, urban environment help residents retain a city lifestyle, without the big city price tag.Nevertheless, it does not surprise any family living here when friends and neighbors with young children announce they are packing up and heading to Long Island. The recurring and sometimes harrowing question inevitably arises within our parenting community — “are you staying?”
How many families knowingly embrace the neighborhood as a convenient stop over before undoubtedly moving to the suburbs, who has decidedly planted firm roots here, and who lives in the great in-between?
After living in Forest Hills for five years, Ami Goldwasser, an event producer and her husband Michael, a record producer, found themselves at a familiar crossroads. With a two year old daughter, and hopes of expanding their family, would they stay? “I loved Forest Hills. I loved walking around the neighborhood and doing errands with my daughter without having to get in and out of a car. I would go into the city without thinking about anything. But I always wanted a house and more nature, which meant a suburban lifestyle. I wanted my kids to have a backyard and be able to ride their bikes on a street. I wanted a lot more space and a little more tranquility,” Goldwasser said.
Now residing in Old Woodmere, and having recently found out baby number two is on the way, the Goldwassers are now in a three bedroom home, with a backyard and basement they have converted into a recording studio for Michael and playroom for their daughter. “I love having more space and not having to worry about if we’re too noisy for our neighbors. A driveway right in front of my house is great too,” Goldwasser said. “But yeah, I do find it isolating at times. I also miss the ease of just going outside and having everything within walking distance. I don’t get into the city as much as I used to. Having to drive to the station, and coordinate a train schedule seems like too much work now,” she laughed.
On the flip side, Maria Mastromarino Rann is here to stay. A mother of two, she has always felt that Forest Hills provided her family with a genuine sense of community. “I feel like I have so many options here. I had a wide variety of preschools to choose from and feel really fortunate that we live in a such terrific school district,” said Rann. “You can always count on the parks being busy with kids and running into some friends and wind up spending the afternoon together.” She also added, “It is a really quick drive into the city or out to the Island if we want to just visit friends for a couple of hours too. You really can’t beat the how geographically convenient it is to just about everything.”
Both Ami and Maria’s sentiments will continue to echo throughout our community as young families continue to flock to, and flock out of the neighborhood. Whatever they decide for the long-term, most parents will agree that Forest Hills is a truly special place to raise children and they have formed friendships that will undoubtedly survive a quick cross over the NYC border.
By Jennie Abrams Rosenberg