Forest Hills Stadium gets new life

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QUEENS, N.Y. -- It's a hidden gem in Queens: Forest Hills Stadium. Built in 1923, it was the former home of the U.S. Open where legends like Billie Jean King and Arthur Ashe once placed on grass courts.

It was also a major music venue with bands like The Beatles touring there back in 1964. But in 1977, the U.S. Open moved to a larger venue in Flushing, Queens. When that moved, so did the crowds and the stadium sat empty, desolate and forgotten.

"It was a full blown forest. Things were growing out of compost," said Mark Luba, president of Madison House Presents. " If you leave things around for decades, nature takes it back."

Luba says that at one point there was a discussion to knock down this gem and build condos instead. Luckily, it was never torn down and in 2013 reopened as a major music venue. Mumford and Sons opened to a crowd of nearly 16,000 people, bringing new life to a once-forgotten stadium.

"It's deceptive and that's a beautiful thing," Luba said, noting that the renovation took hard work, love and dedication.

Two years after the reopening, Forest Hills stadium is proving to be a destination stop for big names. This week, Ed Sheeran opened their summer concert series with two sold out performances.

This weekend, The Who returns to the stadium for the first time since playing there in 1971. D'angelo, James Taylor, Van Morrison and others round out the 2015 summer concert series.

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