By Gabriel Rom

Edwin Wong, co-founder of the Forest Hills Asian Association, likes to think of his organization as the new kid on the Forest Hills block.

The association, another in an ever-growing constellation of Forest Hills civic groups, was formed last February to give the neighborhood’s rapidly growing Asian population a greater voice.

Last week the FHAA held its first annual “state of Forest Hills civics” event at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills.

Members of several Forest Hills civic and political organizations were on hand, including the Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce, Forest Hills Friends of MacDonald Park, and the 112th Precinct Community Council.

“Thank you for everything you have done, because you have done a lot,” said Gail Gordon, vice chairwoman of Community Board 6.

“We hope to keep this momentum going, because it’s just a great idea to get civics together,” she added.

The event, a mix between a town hall and a cocktail party, allowed those who are organizing civic life in the area to stump for their groups and give updates.

Ted Lehmann, spokesman for the Forest Hills Hospital, announced its name change to Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Medical Center, while David Schober, a professor of music at Queens College, announced a new Forest Hills concert series.

Wong also announced that this Saturday the Queens Memory Project, a digital archive which aims to record and preserve contemporary history across Queens, will be coming to the Forest Hills branch of the Queens Library, to collect and record various historical artifacts related to the history of the Asian-American community in Queens.

The association began, Wong said, when he attended an Asian-American outreach event for City Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) and realized that less than half of those in attendance were of Asian background. He reached out to Koslowitz saying that he wanted to increase outreach.

According to U.S. Census data, the Asian population in Community Board 6, which includes the neighborhoods of Forest Hills and Rego Park, has doubled over the past two decades. In 1990, the population was less than 14,000–about 13 percent of the neighborhood’s total population–to over 29,000 in 2010, or around 25 percent of the neighborhood’s population.

A diverse group of Asians live in Forest Hills and Rego Park including Indians as well as those of Korea, Japanese, Chinese, and Vietnamese ancestry, according to figures from the 2010 Census report.

“We can do our own events, but that’s just being an organization in the community—not of the community,” Wong said. “We just wanted to get everyone together.”

Reach reporter Gabriel Rom by e-mail at or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

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