5. Simon and Garfunkel Produced Music Together While Students At Forest Hills High School

Simon & Garfunkel on stage in Feijenoordstadion, Rotterdam, Photo courtesy of Nationaal Archief on Wikimedia Commons

The dynamic duo of the critically acclaimed folk-rock band Simon & Garfunkel both have a shared upbringing around the Forest Hills area. Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel grew up together during the 1940s and 50s in the predominantly Jewish neighborhood of Kew Gardens Hills, three blocks away from each other. Both attended Public School 164 and Parsons Junior High School and would first become friends in 1953 after appearing together in a sixth-grade adaptation of “Alice in Wonderland.” The two spent the following few years learning to harmonize and write songs together, even forming a streetcorner doo-wop group called the Peptones with three other friends.

After matriculating to Forest Hills High School in 1954, Simon and Garfunkel continued to make music. In 1956, while recording their song “Hey Schoolgirl,” the two were overheard by promoter Sid Prosen, who signed them to his independent label Big Records at just 15 years old. Under Big Records, the duo assumed the name Tom & Jerry and received much acclaim for their music, even appearing as the headliners for Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand” alongside Jerry Lee Lewis. Finally, the duo released two more singles, “Our Song” and “That’s My Story,” though to less acclaim. Impressively, the two accomplished all of this while still being full-time students at Forest Hills High School, from which they graduated in 1958.

However, Simon and Garfunkel’s connections to Forest Hills did not end after high school. Both returned numerous times to the neighborhood to perform at Forest Hills Stadium, gracing the stage in 1966, 1967, 1968, and for two nights in 1971 for their final official concert together as a band. More recently, Paul Simon has performed solo at the stadium in 2016 and gave the final concert of his Homeward Bound farewell tour right in the heart of his home community at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in 2018.