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Queens Chronicle

Snapshots of the Kew Forest area

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Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2014 10:30 am

Before the construction of the Interborough Parkway in 1933 one wasn’t quite sure where Kew Gardens left off and Forest Hills began. Even the name of the section of Forest Hills right up against Kew Gardens had a transitional flavor to it: Kew Forest.

On the north side of Queens Boulevard at the corner of 78th Avenue was the Kew Gardens Theater. The Pickman Building stands on the site today.

Across the street, the building at 118-12 Queens Blvd., the one with the for-rent sign in the photo, was rented out in 1931 and became Hartos’ & Demertgis’ Kew Forest Restaurant. Steven Demertgis remained there until his death in 1977. It was later renamed Ford Cafe, and then the Kew Gardens Tavern. Today it’s O’Hanlon’s Sports Bar. The subway entrance and exit is now at their front door.

Queens political clubs like the Kew Forest Democratic Club, above the space for rent in the photo, in the 6th Assembly District got local things done. Another proactive group was the Thomas Jefferson Democratic Club. Despite a strong Democratic club presence, however, the Republicans were in charge until Democrat James Burke was elected borough president in 1941.

In the 1970s, the New York State Liberal Party was next door, at 118-14.

Today Kew Forest is bustling, just as popular and crowded as the Continental Avenue-Austin Street area and just as hard a place in which to find a space to park.

Welcome to the discussion.