And as the sun set, residents enjoyed Camila Meza Trio’s fusion of jazz and Brazilian folk elements in the company of their neighbors.
Jane Lau and her husband Victor Lau were newcomers in 2008, and have since added a 15-month-old daughter to the Forest Hills South family.
“Forest Hills South feels suburban, but it is right in the city,” said Jane. Victor added, “as soon as you enter, the garden is very relaxing and I can say I’m finally back home.”
Another perspective was offered by a pair of close friends, 17-year resident Jean Solomon and 65-year resident Sherry Shrage.
“In the nicest buildings on Queens Boulevard, residents don’t know their next-door neighbor,” said Solomon. “This is not an apartment house, but a special community.”
Shrage raised four children in the complex and has lived in four different buildings. She was a coordinator of the Mommy’s Club.
“We met daily and watched each other’s children,” she said. “Nobody needed a babysitter.”
Forest Hills South was designed by award-winning architect Philip Birnbaum between 1939 and 1941, and consists of 604 apartments in seven buildings that face a park-like setting. Last fall, residents came together to plant three new Tulip trees, as well as 100 Daffodils and 200 Tulips.
Over a year ago, Henri Simonetti and Bruce Beckwith moved to Forest Hills South.
“It is a nice, quiet neighborhood steps away from Queens Boulevard, and people are very welcoming,” said Simonetti.
As Beckwith glanced at the colorful Angel Trumpet Vine over the arched pergola, he said, “The gardens are where we read the paper and have our coffee. It is the combination of old and new trees which make the space so special, and the staff does a wonderful job.”
Former board president Charlotte Picot settled in Forest Hills South as a small child with her family, raised three kids of her own there, and now has a lifetime of history in the complex.
“I remember when our garages were empty, and now there’s a waiting list,” she said.
As the evening drew to a close, current board president, George McGrath raffled off copies of the band’s CD.
“We have people of all ages and cultures, which relates to the diversity of Queens,” he said, “and more families with young children who are moving in.”