Forest Hills Asian Association launches 1

Forest Hills Asian Association co-founder Edwin Wong, center, state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. and others celebrate the official launch of the newly formed civic group at a Lunar New Year party on Tuesday night.

There are other hip things to do in Forest Hills besides shop or enjoy craft beer on Austin Street.

Creating civic associations is getting to be quite popular as well.

Just weeks after the formation of the Forest Hills, Rego Park, Kew Gardens — Our Communities civic group, the Forest Hills Asian Association officially launched its organization with a Lunar New Year celebration at Jade Eatery on Tuesday.

Asian Americans make up approximately 25 percent of the population of Forest Hills, and in a phone interview with the Chronicle on Tuesday, co-founder Edwin Wong said the driving factor behind the association’s founding was the fact that the Asian community didn’t have its own civic group despite its growing numbers.

“I did notice there had been a lot more Asians moving in, but I didn’t realize it was that many,” said Wong, a Forest Hills resident since 2006. “I’ve always been involved and supported causes in the Asian American community, so I figured to gather an official group to really engage the community.”

The group, originally titled the Asian Business and Cultural Civic Association, conducted a soft launch in December and has maintained a social media presence ever since, with approximately 80 members on its Facebook page.

But Wong said the FHAA has recently started reaching out to other community organizations such as Community Board 6, the 112th Precinct Community Council, the Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce and various Asian and non-Asian businesses in the area in order to gain traction.

“We’re trying to build relationships,” he said. “We’re really an organization trying to do multiple things, not just focusing on business or cultural stuff. We figure we can reach out to more people that way.”

Despite the group’s name, it is open to residents of any nationality and ethnicity, as well as those who live outside Forest Hills but frequent the area for either work or leisure.

“It’s open to everyone, not just Asian Americans,” he said.

The same goes for Forest Hills businesses, regardless of ethnicity, according to Wong.

“We want to help not just the Asian businesses, but the non-Asian businesses as well,” he said. “We really want to engage everyone.”

No official meeting dates have been scheduled as of yet, as building interest in the community is the group’s top priority. But Wong said they are hoping to organize a restaurant week sometime in May to help celebrate Asian cuisine, something he hopes will draw people of various nationalities from all over Queens to the area.

“We want to do it in May for Asian Pacific Heritage Month,” the Maspeth native said. “We’re trying to work out the details right now.”

Wong said they also hope to host another restaurant week in the fall and a holiday-themed event in December.

Anyone interested in joining the group is asked to email