BY LUIS GRONDA
Forest Hills is a place that has produced a lot of notable people.
From musicians to actors to novelists, Forest Hills has been home to many famous people that have impacted several industries including entertainment, music and art.
Among the most famous Forest Hills natives are four members of one of the most influential punk rock bands in the music industry: The Ramones.
The original four members of the band: Joey, Johnny, Tommy and Dee Dee Ramone were all from the area. The quartet all attended Forest Hills High School, where the members first met.
Johnny and Tommy Ramone, whose real names were John Cummings and Thomas Erdeyi, were in another band together when they met the other two members of what would eventually become The Ramones.
Dee Dee, whose real name was Douglas Colvin, was the first to adopt the Ramone moniker and the rest of the band would later follow suit.
A profile of the band that appeared in a September 1976 edition of New York Magazine briefly described where its members hung out growing up in Forest Hills.
“In those days, the Ramones (You’re not supposed to tell their real names) did the whole Queens scene. They stood around Jahn’s ice cream parlor trying to score chicks, they drove up and down Yellowstone Boulevard, they ate burgers at Wetson’s,” it said in the story.
The four original members have all passed away, with the last one, Tommy Ramone, dying earlier this year.
The famous singer-songwriter duo Simon and Garfunkel also have origins in Forest Hills.
The pair, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, originally grew up in the same neighborhood in Kew Gardens Hills and were childhood friends. They attended the same junior high school, Parsons Junior High School, and high school, Forest Hills High School. Garfunkel was born in Forest Hills while Simon moved to Queens at a young age.
During their junior year in high school, the two began performing songs together, thus planting the seeds for what would eventually become Simon and Garfunkel.
The pair went on to write hit songs such as “Mrs. Robinson,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and “Cecilia.” They even played some shows at the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium back in the late 1960s when the facility still hosted the U.S. Open.
The late Geraldine Ferraro, one of the most influential women in New York politics, called Forest Hills home and also represented the neighborhood when she was a member of Congress.
She was named assistant district attorney in 1974 and then won an election for a congressional seat in 1978. Her district included Forest Hills as well as other neighborhoods like Astoria and Ozone Park. She was then selected as the running mate for Walter Mondale’s presidential bid in 1984, the first time a woman ran on the party’s national ticket.
After she passed away in 2011, the corner of Ascan Avenue and Austin Street was co-named in her honor.
Other notable people to come from Forest Hills includes: comedian and actor Ray Romano, Ernie Grunfeld, a former player and general manager of the New York Knicks, and David Caruso, an actor who has starred in two famous cop shows, “CSI: Miami” and “NYPD Blue.”
Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400 ext. 127, email@example.com or @luisgronda.