The rumors are true. Baskin Robbins has closed and Natural will take its place. It was confirmed today by me with the management of both places (thanks for the tip in the comments).
First, we have acknowledge Baskin Robbins. The opening of this place rivaled Trader Joe's in its neighborhood anticipation. And it was still drawing crowds on the weekends.
Baskin served Forest Hills well and was a centerpiece on the great intersection of Ascan and Austin. It will be missed. It's one of the first neighborhood institutions that has closed during the new wave of Forest Hills residents (like King George and Woolworth's before us) and and one day we'll be boring newcomers with "I used to take my two year old to the Baskin Robbins there every Friday."
But life goes on as does the appropriately named SS Natural. And just like a steamship, Natural is plowing ahead and taking over yet another space.
You think they'll go meekly into the night while Trader Joe's gets all the press. No way. They might not smile all the much, but they know what Forest Hills wants.
Congratulations Natural. Your inventory is the best in Forest Hills and it's clear that everyone knows it. Safflower mayonnaise? No problem. Twelve different flavors of Soy Chips? How about 14. Many people cite Natural's rocketing popularity in the last five years as the clearest sign of Forest Hills' trend to more younger and affluent outside the Gardens.
It's expensive, but as I've said many times, there's a cost for high quality and it's when people charge a lot for mediocrity (Sarabella) that it's time to get upset. Natural delivers the goods, and whether you like their no smile policy or not, you can't stop the SS Natural. Why do you think you never see Fresh Direct trucks south of Queens Blvd?
And why do you think Trader Joe's just got a little nervous?