March 20, 2019 By Jon Cronin
The restoration of the brick roadway at Station Square is nearly complete and the historic area is expected to reopen to traffic in May.
The roadway at Station Square, which is located by the Forest Hills LIRR Station and is the main entry point to Forest Hills Gardens, has been undergoing a major revamp over the past year to prevent it from deteriorating beyond repair.
The job has involved lifting all the historic red bricks and then putting them back down so they are level. Damaged bricks have been replaced, while those that were kept were either cleaned or repaired.
“I would say 80 percent of the original bricks were kept,” said Tony Barsamian, a Forest Hills Gardens Corporation board member. The new bricks, he added, were custom-made to match the originals.
Barsamian said that the corporation had been repairing the bricks on a patchwork basis in recent years but eventually came to the conclusion that the whole surface had to be redone. Furthermore, the roadway was not level in places so they bricks needed to be re-laid.
The work began in April and the area has been closed to vehicular traffic east of 71st Avenue for the past year. Construction was expected to finish in December but the project has been delayed due to weather.
Barsamian said that the square was built in 1912 and the red brick roadwork was put down to match charming European villages.
“It was built then with the best craftmanship at the time,” Barsamian said. “This time we are using the same quality and craftmanship as then–just with today’s technology.”
Barsamian said that the original masons built a roadway that lasted 100 years. “We’re trying to restore it to make sure it lasts another 100 years,” he said.
The bricks are being laid with sand, much like they were originally. Barsamian said that they are not using mortar since it cracks in icy conditions.
The square is part of the private Forest Hills Gardens community, which was created in 1909 by landscape architects Grosvenor Atterbury and Frederick Law Olmsted Jr.
Barsamian said that there will be a ribbon-cutting to celebrate the reopening. He said that those residents who helped organize the work will be honored, and that attendees will get to admire “the beauty, grandeur and functionality” of revamped square.