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An Old Venue Revived: Forest Hills Stadium

Typically when you go to a concert, it is held at a venue you have been to, or at the very least, heard of. In this case I had never heard of, or been to this venue. When I heard that Drake and Lil’ Wayne were going on tour, and they would be in my hometown of Queens, NY, I had to go.
The venue they chose? Forest Hills Stadium.
It is a tennis stadium. Even radio personalities and everyone I asked didn’t know what to expect from this venue. No one had ever been there. I did a little researching to get a feel of what I could be getting myself into, but I still felt a little left in the dark. I had been to Forest Hills so many times and have never seen this stadium.
I did however find out that not only was it the site of the US Open in the 1920’s before it was moved to the Arthur Ashe Stadium, but that The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Barbara Streisand, and Simon & Garfunkel have all performed there in the 60’s and 70’s.
When the day final came to go to the concert, I was anxious to see what this place was going to look like, and how the seating was going to be. I could tell I was in the right place when I got to the area because I saw an excess amount of people, even though Forest Hills is usually crowded, and an abundance of police. After stopping to grab some food because concerts never start on time, the best thing to do was follow the crowd.
If you drive to the venue, prepare to park far and walk or get towed or booted if you try to park close by. There are signs saying you can only park with a permit.
***Take public transportation to the stadium. The E/F/R subway lines to Forest Hills – 71st Avenue or the Long Island Rail Road to the Forest Hills Station.***

Forest Hills Stadium Drake vs Lil Wayne Concert
Forest Hills Stadium Drake vs Lil Wayne Concert

As I walked to the venue I realized that it was a trek to get to the actual entrance of the stadium. Not sure how long I was walking, but it felt like awhile. It also seemed a bit disorganized. The lines were more like groups of people everywhere. If you wanted to drink inside, you had to stand on another line to show your ID and get a bracelet, otherwise you could just go in. I skipped that line and headed in.
Once inside there were a bunch of pop up places to grab food, which I thought was pretty cool. Standard prices, $4 for water. There were also merchandise stands and a porta-potty area. There were a ton of porta-potties, with no set line to use one. As usual they were so disgusting. Holding it if you can is suggested.
Heading to your seat is a bit of a challenge in itself. Before you can climb the steps to get to your seat people are re checking your tickets. Then you walk up steep narrow steps. Once you finally get up the steps you can see the entire stadium. It looked pretty cool. The concert was sponsored by Capcom so they had Drake Vs. Lil Wayne on the stage in video game form. There was an app you could download to determine who came on stage first, which I thought was pretty cool.
Seating at the Forest Hills Stadium ©2014 Holly Dayz

The seats weren’t the best. The majority of the seats in the stadium were actually hard benches. I picked great seats as far as the stage was concerned. The benches are numbered so you have a little spot. People were spilling drinks on others, and there was no back support. It was very uncomfortable. I knew it would be murder on the back. There is however a small section of the stadium with actual seats, unless you sat in the fold out chairs in front of the stage. If you aren’t a fan of smoke or people being too close to you, this isn’t the venue for you. You’re in very close proximity to people,and whatever it is they are doing. I was a bit annoyed, but I tried to block it out.
Crowd as Drake Flies Over the crowd ©2014 Holly Dayz

The entire concert looked sold out. I was wondering how the neighbors felt about all the people and very loud music as the stadium is in a residential neighborhood. The concert was amazing and as a Drake fan I was glad the audience chose him to win the battle that night.
Drake Performing for the win! ©2014 Holly Dayz

Once the concert was over and you begin to take that long walk back, I noticed how much garbage was everywhere. It was pretty disgusting. If I lived in the neighborhood I would be pretty upset. There were also bright lights the police set up that were shining into apartment houses, which would have also upset me if I lived there. Some of the residents were sitting outside watching everyone walk by.
Overall it was a great concert and a pretty cool venue. It was an experience and depending who would be performing there, I would consider going again.

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  • Lauren

    I haven’t been to Queens yet, but this seems like an ok venue for popular events. I agree that seats should be more comfortable!

    • Holly Dayz

      I wish they were more comfortable! I liked the thought of it, didn’t know this had even existed till I heard about the concert.

  • patricemfoster

    The Forest Hill Tennis Stadium look packed. I use to live in Queens don’t remember Forest Hills a long time. Thanks for sharing.

    • Holly Dayz

      It was! This was hidden in a residential area of Forest Hills because I had never even heard of it till they announced the concert.

  • lawswrites

    I like the idea of reviving an old venue. Especially somewhere that has a great history like the US Open and has held such amazing events!

    • Holly Dayz

      Yea! It was a great experience. Depending on who is performing I would go back.

  • Angela Anderson (@angelatravels11)

    Such a cool outdoor space with history. I would definitely go to a concert there 🙂

    • Holly Dayz

      It was a nice experience.

  • Denise

    Wow that’s incredible I would love to have experienced being a place where some of the greats in music have been. I am all for restoring places particularly heritage sites so this is just wonderful.

    • Holly Dayz

      It was pretty cool to know so many great artists have performed there. I tried to imagine it.

  • carolcolborn

    I do hope you were comfortable! But it must have been so big…a lot of seats weren’t filled!

    • Holly Dayz

      It wasn’t that comfortable, but I made the best of it. It ended up getting pretty crowded as it got closer to the start time of the concert.

  • Pola (JettingAround) (@jettingaround)

    I like the before and after shots – somehow the venue looks more intimate that I imagined. Too bad though about the uncomfortable seats!

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