• “What’s next here, Jay-Z?”

    by  • 19 Jun ’14 • rock and roll, the majesty of queens • 0 Comments

    The reunited semi-replaced Replacements are coming to NYC. I feel slightly uneasy about that fact, but I’m quite excited about the venue: the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium!

    The old home of the US Open is a legendary rock concert venue. It’s legendary mostly for time and place. The sound system was apparently awful, the aisles and backstage cramped and the streets and train stations overwhelmed by the throngs of rampaging kids. But at a time that rock-n-roll and youth culture were surging and there wasn’t much in the way of non-classical concert venues, the stadium served as a useful home for some of the first big New York concerts by The Beatles, Dylan, the Doors, the Stones – you name it.

    When I lived a few blocks away, the stadium had long been supplanted by Arthur Ashe at Flushing Meadows. It was a quiet relic. I’m not sure what went on behind its ivy walls in that sleepy neighborhood. There were nights when I would try to imagine what it would be like to hear the distorted tinny amplified sounds of Keef’s clarion-call riff kicking off “Satisfaction,” fighting to be heard over the screams of a thousand girls wafting through the air like a bad block party.

    So, the opportunity to see a show there? I’m in (if the scalpers don’t beat me to it). But it got me wondering, when did they start running rock concerts in Forest Hills again?. And then I found this gem, from the Queens Chronicle:

    Last year’s sold-out Mumford & Sons concert at the iconic Forest Hills Tennis Stadium may have been declared an impressive success by elected officials and community leaders, but some area residents hope the curtain comes down on any future shows.


    “I can’t tell you what torture it was that day, getting back and forth,” Tola said to the crowd of around 70 people. “What’s in it for us?”

    Tola, a resident of Exeter Street in Forest Hills for the last two years, defended his stance against concerts being held at the venue by claiming the shows booked by Madison House Presents will bring disruptive noise and open drug use by spectators to the immediate area.

    “You’re bringing that element. You’re inviting them in,” he said. “What’s next here, Jay-Z?”

    Stay classy, Queens. The NIMBYism, well, you can get that just about anywhere. But the dog-whistling racist NIMBYism? Well, that’s a Queens art form. And until the return of rock-n-roll to Forest Hills Tennis Stadium was one of the better known art forms in the borough. It’s time for new art in Queens. Even if it is an oldies concert.

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