Located primarily on Austin Street between Continental and Ascan avenues, the area was nicknamed by local residents as “The Village” but as redevelopment pressures increase, sites that are worthy of preservation based on their architectural style, history, and age are endangered.
Three of the earliest apartment houses in The Village are The Alberta, Harding Court, and the One Continental Avenue Building. They were designed by architect Rudolf C.P. Boehler, who is well known for projects in Manhattan from the 1920s to the 1950s.
In an April 1928 ad, the four-story Alberta Apartments at 108-22 72nd Avenue offered 29 apartments for rent from $65 to $105. Since Forest Hills was largely undeveloped, The Alberta was advertised for its view of Kew Gardens to the east and Elmhurst to the west, with an abundance of sunshine.
The Alberta was built by John S. Myers and named after his mother. Distinctive features include a pitched flagstone roof, half-timber effect accomplished by brick and stucco, and ornamental balconies. The foyer area consists of two-tone marble walls, moulded ceiling, and marble stairway.
Nearby, Boehler designed the six-story Tudor-style Harding Court Apartments at 109-01 72nd Road. This development was underway in September 1923, and bears homage to President Warren G. Harding, who passed away while in office that same year. Built by the Stanhold Company, it was one of the earliest multi-story elevator apartment houses in Forest Hills, and 44 apartments rented from $45 to $75.
In May 1929, the Forest Hills Library became a tenant, attracting 500 subscribers in its first couple of weeks.
The façade also featured half-timbers, gabled slate roof, and courtyard leading to a stone entranceway. Inside is a spacious vestibule with detailed stone walls, mantle, and arched ceiling.
The One Continental Avenue Building at 107-37 Continental Avenue was designed as a four-story complement to the ambiance of Station Square. The top three floors have three apartments each, and in 1926 a tenant could rent an apartment with five large room and bath for $125.
Some of the earliest retail tenants on the first floor were Sage Forest Hills Associates, Forest Hills Beauty Shop, and Hughes and Lewis Dressmakers.
Distinctive features include pitched slate roof and an arched entryway with vines extending from cartouches that lead to a central section of limestone quoins topped off by a crest.