This striking six-bedroom, four-and-two-half-bath Tudor house in Forest Hills has a lot going for it. Listed for $3.549 million, it oozes curb appeal with a glamorous red clay tile roof and showy stained glass windows. But perhaps the biggest perk is access to a shared private park.
The listing says that the house was built in 1930. But according to Robert Hof, the listing agent and a neighbor and co-owner of Terrace Sotheby's International Realty, that figure is pegged to inaccurate city records, and the house was actually built at least as far back as 1918, as a newsletter dating to that year contains an illustration of its original footprint. The house was expanded at some point to cover a sprawling 3,500 feet.
Game of Thrones fan will especially appreciate the glass-work, which features the motif of a golden lion up against a red backdrop. Squint just a bit and you'll see nearly the same gold lion surrounded by red on the banners of House Lannister of Casterly Rock. And just like the Lannisters and their private palace gardens, those who live here have their own park space in addition to a several thousand square foot backyard.
The private park is one of several that was planned out by the original developer to lure people away from the congestion of tenements and foster a sense of community.
"You were essentially asking people to live in the middle of nowhere at the time," says Nicholas Hirshon, a William Paterson University communication professor and author of a book on Forest Hills.
Today the parks host Easter egg hunts and political stump speeches. As early as 1915 they would have hosted Independence Day parades, colonial themed pageants, and theatrical performances, according to Hirshon. In 1920, the opera Cinderella in Flowerland was staged in one of the development's neighboring parks. That same year a war memorial honoring World War I servicemen was unveiled. And exactly 100 years ago, nearly every house in the community hung Christmas wreaths in an organized show of Christmas spirit.
The park behind the listed house is irregularly shaped and smaller than the other, named parks in the neighborhood, which are open to the public. Among the private parks, it's on the larger end at about 18,000 square feet, according to Susanna Hof, co-owner of Terracy Sotheby's.
The Forest Hills Gardens Bulletin described the house as, "unconventional in that the living room and its ample porch face a pretty private park in the center of the block, giving privacy so rarely found in the United States, but which one finds almost universally in Continental countries." The writer also thought the home's "quaint octagonal stair tower" was "admirably suited" to the neighboring architecture.
Robert Hof believes the golden lion is original. So, probably not inspired by the Rains of Castamere ballad. One of the two pictured fireplaces, the tile flanked one in the living room, is also original.
Some more modern features include a heated two-car garage, and a laundry room. There's an enticingly suburban-sized kitchen with an additional prep sink. The kitchen has high-end finishes such as oak cabinetry and painted tiles.
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