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July 28th, 2004, 11:28 AM
Jackson Heights, Queens


July 27, 2004

Home prices have soared and communities been reborn as the streets of New York City have become safer over the past decade.

In 1993, we lived in a town with more than five murders a day, 11 burglaries an hour and a robbery almost every six minutes. Ten years later, there are 70 percent fewer murders, and the plummeting crime rate has led to a cultural and commercial renaissance.

Simply put, people feel safe where they didn't before — safe to spend their money in formerly crime-infested neighborhoods, and even to buy homes and raise children there.

"One of the key aspects of our economic-development plan is making the city and its neighborhoods more livable," said Mayor Bloomberg. "And the quickest way to do that is cut crime."

In this, the second part of The Post's in-depth series on the city's plunging crime rate, we look at how Jackson Heights, Queens — the Big Apple's former cocaine capital — sprouted trendy stores and co-ops, and siphoned off young professionals from Manhattan and Park Slope.

Jackson Heights, Queens — once New York's "cocaine capital" — is on its way to becoming the city's co-op capital.

Nestled in the pocket created by the BQE and the elevated tracks of the No. 7 subway line, Jackson Heights is home to a diverse community of Latin-Americans and South Asians, a longer-established white population and a growing gay and lesbian community.

And although Jackson Heights has been on the rebound for some time, only in the past five years has the community come into its own, with trendy new shops and an influx of young professionals.

"There were blocks in Jackson Heights where you would see broken glass on the street from cars being broken into," recalled state Sen. John Sabini (D-Jackson Heights), who grew up in the neighborhood. "You don't see cars with signs that say 'no radio.' That used to be commonplace. Now it's rare."

Police Department statistics for the 115th Precinct, which covers Jackson Heights, show that while major crimes like rape and murder have stayed more or less the same over the past five years, most street crime has continued to plummet. Assault and robbery have each fallen by more than a third and auto theft by almost half since 1997, when the city had already recorded historic reductions in crime.

Douglas Rolston, the 115th Precinct's commanding officer, credits the NYPD's long-standing approach of targeting low-level quality-of-life crimes before they snowball into more serious crime patterns. He also said the department's Operation Impact, which has placed some 40 newly graduated officers along a stretch of Roosevelt Avenue for the past year and a half, deserved credit for bringing crime down even further.

Insiders say Jackson Heights has bounced back faster than other communities because of its treasure-trove of high-quality historic housing — primarily the landmarked historic district encompassing 30 square blocks of 1920s-era stone apartment buildings. That core drove a boom in prices in the 1990s that led to a massive changeover of rentals to co-ops all over the neighborhood.

Richard Cecere, chairman of Jackson Heights' Community Board 3, said two-family semi-detached homes were selling for as much as $660,000.

"It's the co-ops," he said. "They've come back, and they've come back strong."

And that's led to even safer streets, said Joseph Corsini of 37th Avenue's Joseph Lock and Alarm.

"The buildings went co-op, the owners pumped money in, upgraded, put in intercoms and made sure there was less loi tering," Corsini said. "The community is now more stable."

Copyright 2004 NYP Holdings, Inc.

May 2nd, 2006, 10:24 AM
Astoria, Queens:

Discover Queens: Key to Astoria

German Guzman, 8, climbs the statue of Socrates in Athens Square Park, one of several parks in the area.
From Astoria Park, located on 19th Street between Ditmars Boulevard and Hoyt Avenue, visitors can see
spectacular views of the Triborough and Hell Gate Bridges, while strolling through the green space.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Located on the northwest tip of Queens, Astoria juts into the East River to the north and west and is bordered by Long Island City to the south and Sunnyside to the east. The Triborough Bridge, which broke ground in 1929, connects Astoria with the Bronx, Manhattan, and Randall’s Island. The Grand Central Parkway (GCP) connects the neighborhood with the rest of the borough.


A growing number of young professionals are staying a few subway stops longer on the train to call Astoria home as rents in Manhattan have skyrocketed. Brooklyn expatriates have also migrated to Astoria as parts of several neighborhoods, like Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill, have become too expensive for many young people to live. Moreover, for Astoria residents who want to save a few extra dollars on their rent bill, getting a roommate to share spacious apartments is a popular option.

“Having roomates is a sacrifice ... many people do it so they can afford their rent,” said Astoria resident Jen Ryan. For the two-bedroom that Ryan rents with her boyfriend, the couple pays about $1500 - a price that they compared favorably to the average rent in Manhattan for a two-bedroom apartment, which runs upwards of $3,000.

With a number of apartments, condominiums, and houses on the market, people interested in moving to Astoria have many options.

For a one-bedroom, Nina Kats, an agent for Century 21 Tri-Boro Terrace Realty in Astoria said the average rent is about $1,000 per month for a one-bedroom and $1,300 for a two-bedroom.

In her seven years in the real estate market, Kats watched the market slow after Sept. 11, 2001 and rents steadily increase over the past five years. In her experience, apartments and homes still go fast - with the hottest properties located closest to the train.

“The price [of rent] is very high,” said Christos Tsiampalis, a Greek-American immigrant who came to the United States 18 years ago. “There is construction everywhere.”

A recent scan of the New York Times classified advertisements brought up several local lots for sale, each with a price tag of several million dollars, but homes in the area have stayed affordable - at least compared to the rest of the city.
In July 2005, Co-ops sold between $150,000 and $350,000 and condominiums cost between $150,000 and $450,000. One-family homes sold for upwards of $500,000, with two-family homes selling for more than $600,000. Along 31st Avenue and 29th Street, elaborately constructed houses with roof terraces and Italian granite staircases are the newest housing stock in the neighborhood.

Although many Astoria residents work in Manhattan, the neighborhood is far from a bedroom community to its big brother borough.


With 15 elementary and middle schools in the area - four public and 11 private and religious schools - Astoria parents have several options in education for their children.

Choices range from the Queens Lutheran School to Our World Neighbor Charter School to El-Ber Islamic School to the St. Francis of Assisi School to Les Enfants Montessori School — all within a 30-block radius. However, most private schools come with a price tag - several thousand dollars per year in tuition.

Long Island City High School, 14-30 Broadway in Long Island City, is nearby, as is St. John’s Preparatory. St. Demetrios School and Annex houses students through grade 12.

A new all girls public school — the Young Women’s Leadership School - is also slated to open in the fall and will begin classes in Astoria, after renovations on its building are complete, by the start of 2007.

Although several new schools — like Our World Neighborhood Charter School, which opened in 2002, have lessened overcrowding in local public schools, several still hold more than the number their buildings were designed for.


Founded by Stephen A. Halsey and his brother, John Cook, who later founded Astoria, Oregon, the brothers named the village after their boss, John Jacob Astor, a fur merchant and capitalist.

Several streets in Old Astoria Village remain in tact from the 1600s -- when William Hallett Sr. received a land grant from Peter Stuyvesant for what would later become Astoria and Hallet's Cove.

Today, Astoria remains the only pre-Civil war village still in tact in New York City.

“It’s probably the most important historic neighborhood in the entire borough of Queens,” said Bob Singleton, president of the Greater Astoria Historical Society, calling Astoria an antebellum village. On 12th Street between 26th Avenue and Astoria Park South, remnants of the pre-Civil-war era remain, including “Tara,” a pristine-white home from the 1840s which sits at 26-07 12th Street.


Accessible from Manhattan by the N and R subway lines throughout the neighborhood and R, V and G lines at Steinway Street, Astoria also has a decent bus system that will carry passengers throughout the borough when construction disrupts subway service. The M60 bus carries residents to the Bronx and to LaGuardia airport.

For drivers, the Triborough Bridge is close by, connecting Queens with Manhattan and the Bronx. Parking in Astoria, however, remains relatively difficult, with alternate side of the street parking regulations in effect on many of the roadways and meters installed on most others. Meter maids patrol diligently, so visitors should cough up an extra quarter if they want to avoid the $35 ticket.

The price of returning to Astoria from Manhattan by cab runs about $20, a price that some residents say is reasonable for late-night rides.


An outdoor Zabar’s, Steinway Street was dubbed the longest outdoor shopping center in the world with over 1,100 businesses and 300 restaurants.

The number of cultural institutions in the area has mushroomed over the last several decades. With a $20 million grant, the Museum of the Moving Image renovated one of the former Astoria Studios buildings and established the museum in 1985.

The same year the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum, a converted factory with 13 galleries dedicated entirely to the famous sculptor, replete with a garden encircled within the building, was also formed.

A year later, Astoria artists fixed up an abandoned riverside landfill, now called Socrates Sculpture Park, letting neighborhood residents put their work on display and giving Astoria a place to play.

In the fall of 2001, Astoria Performing Arts Center held its first performance.

The pulse of nightlife in Astoria has also quickened with the openings of several clubs - Life, located at 30-07 Newtown Avenue, and Central, located at 20-30 Steinway Street.

Within the cavernous hookah bars along Steinway Street, Arab men and artsy young people stuff family-style dining tables around massive hookahs stuffed with apple and cinnamon shisha and play backgammon.

Several blocks away Czechs, Germans, and Irish sometimes with children in tow, pack the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden - the last remaining beer garden in New York City.

For a more athletic experience, Astoria boasts several parks - including Astoria Park, which has a large, outdoor swimming pool. Astoria Park Pool hosted the 1936 Olympic Swimming Trials.


A hodgepodge of nationalities and ethnicities, new immigrants and artsy professionals, Astoria is more aptly called “The Mecca,” because it contains more Greeks than any urban area outside Athens. However, Italians have the highest ethnic concentration of any of the 112 ethnicities in neighborhood, according to the 1990 U.S. Census. Large populations of Egyptian, Yugoslavian, Arab, Moroccan, Colombian, Cuban, and Puerto Rican immigrants also help make the neighborhood one of the most diverse places in the world.

“[Astoria] has energy and a vibe that comes from the many immigrants that live in the neighborhood,” said Assemblyman Michael Gianaris, who represents the area. Gianaris pointed to the diverse population for the wide variety of cuisines available in the neighborhood - which earned Astoria six rankings on the food 2006 Michelin Restaurant Guide. Trattoria L’incontro, Tverna Kyclades, 718, Brick Caf'e, Malagueta, and Piccola Venizia all took home recommendations.

Massachusetts-native Rik Sansone found himself living in Astoria seven years ago and loved the eclectic neighborhood. For work, Sansone had to move to several other areas in the tri-state - Hell’s Kitchen and Jersey City - but two years after his move from Queens, he decided to return. “[Astoria] is pretty quiet and affordable, but there you can always find nightlife around the corner,” he said.

In addition to the easy-to-swallow prices, Sansone said he was drawn to the artist community that has been flourishing in the area, comparing it to Bedford Street in Brooklyn. “Astoria has a really nice soundtrack for a community,” he said, “I would hear a live trombone player and violin player when walking to the subway.” The N and W trains are jammed with commuters, carrying sketchpads or with flute cases slung on their shoulders, he said.

For the burgeoning artists, Sansone, along with four other Astoria residents, started a group, called B-QUAK (Borough of Queens Artists Kumbaya). The artsy group meets monthly to simply “hang out,” Sansone said.

Although trendy cafes have sprouted up in the neighborhood, many parts of Astoria have retained the character of the 1950’s - with its two-family, connected homes, where kids play in the street until the sun goes down. When directors for the 1993 mob movie “A Bronx Tale” were scouting locations, they ended up in Astoria. Virtually all scenes in the movie were filmed in neighborhood -- in and around the 1920’s Matthew Model Flats - because unlike the borough where the movie was set, in Astoria, “time had stood still since the 1950’s.”


New businesses and commerce began to boom in the first half of the last century. However, several companies have been around since the 1800’s - including Steinway & Sons, the piano makers.

Astoria, in conjunction with its southern neighbor Long Island City, has gained a solid reputation in the TV and film industries. Kaufman Astoria Studios - formerly Astoria Studios - opened in 1920 and for 20 years became Paramount Studios East Coast production facility. The site also holds WFAN radio, Lifetime Television, Sesame Street and the American Museum of the Moving Image.

Along with “A Bronx Tale,” the movies “Goodfellas” and "The Money Pit" were filmed in the neighborhood. In addition, the 1970’s TV series “All in the Family,” which put a political spin on typical American sitcoms, was set in Astoria. Most recently, a documentary film about growing up in Astoria, "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints," took two big prizes at this year’s Sundance film festival.

For the retail hub of Astoria, shoppers head to 31st Street - underneath the elevated subway - Steinway Street, and Ditmars Boulevard. In 1991, 300 businesses along Steinway Street from 28th Avenue to 35th Avenue even started the Steinway Business Improvement District to promote their venues.

For life-long Astoria resident Assemblyman Michael Gianaris, the new construction has transformed Astoria, giving the hometown feel a more metropolitan edge. In the spot where he remembers playing stickball with his older brother, Bill - the back wall of the Stern’s warehouse on Ditmars Boulevard - a luxury apartment complex will open in June.

“It’s a positive change,” Gianaris said. “But we have to make sure that as development occurs the infrastructure of the neighborhood improves with it.”

Copyright © 2006 The Queens Courier

May 9th, 2006, 09:02 PM
Whitestone, Queens:

Whitestone Richest Neighborhood In Borough

This spectacular brick ranch home is just one of the many picturesque home in Whitestone.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Where: At the northernmost tip of Queens sits Whitestone, bordered by College Point to the west, Bayside and Utopia Parkway to the east, Bowne Park and 25th Avenue to the south and the East River to the north.

Housing: As arguably the borough’s most affluent neighborhood, Whitestone can be broken up in four ways. There are the large homes and even larger lots of Beechhurst, located in the northeastern part of Whitestone. There is also Malba and Whitestone Woods, considered the most expensive areas in the borough. Whitestone Woods’ price-range, in fact, begins at $1 million.

The southern half of the neighborhood may not be as flashy or expensive, but still keeps the neighborly Whitestone atmosphere. Located here you’ll find parlors “The Village,” at 150th Street and 14th Avenue. Because of its age-old tailors, pizza parlors and bakeries, it retains a warm and welcoming feeling. Also, on Cross Island Parkway and 154th Street are the Whitestone Shopping Center and the Waldbaum’s Shopping Center, located in Beechhurst at 154th Street and 10th Avenue.

The neighborhood as a whole has become a popular destination because “No. 1, it is very safe; No. 2, it has the best schools in the city; and No. 3, it’s very friendly,” said Whitestone native Frank Macchio, the Vice Chair of Community Board 7 and the President of the Construction Services Associates. Made up of mainly single-family homes, the average price of which are in the $700,000 range, with some escalating to as high as $4 million in Malba and Whitestone Woods, this area is booming.

Schools: Part of District 25, Whitestone is home to P.S. 193 in Beechhurst; P.S. 209, 185 and 79 in Whitestone; and Junior High School 194. Most high school students attend nearby schools such as public high schools like Bayside, Flushing or Benjamin Cardozo or Catholic schools like St. Francis Prep in Fresh Meadows or Holy Cross in Bayside. Recreation: Whitestone is home to two of the most popular and well organized youth sports organizations, the Dwarf Giraffe Athletic League and the De Phillips Athletic Club, which each offer basketball, baseball and football.

Furthermore, there is Whitestone Park, located underneath the Whitestone Bridge, with a great bocce ball court, and Little Bay Park, with a great view of Little Neck Bay and the Long Island Sound. The park has a roller hockey rink and a shoreline bicycle path and includes two football/soccer fields, a baseball field, and sitting areas along the shore.

Uniformed Services: Whitestone is served by the 109th Precinct, the largest in Queens, and Engine Company 295, located at 149th Street. There is also the Whitestone Volunteer Ambulance Corps, which has been around helping neighbors since 1947.

Commute: The one negative for this beautifully landscaped area is the lack of public transportation. The closest subway is the 7 train, accessible by the Q 15 bus. Express bus service is also an option for public transportation to Manhattan. The QM 2 runs from Beechhurst through the rest of the area, making its away along the Cross Island Parkway and Whitestone Expressway, and the QM 2A passes through Whitestone on Utopia Parkway and makes stops along Sixth Avenue in the city.

With its close proximity to the Whitestone and Throgs Neck bridges, one can get to “everything in New York City, Nassau County and Westchester” quickly, according to Macchio. “You can have lunch in Greenwich, Connecticut and be back in a half an hour.”

Copyright © 2006 The Queens Courier

February 2nd, 2007, 09:26 AM
After Greenpoint, Brooklyn- Blissville is next

Wedged in between Newtown Creek, Calvary Cemetery and the Queens-Midtown Expressway, Blissville is an isolated industrial neighborhood within the shadows of Manhattan.
Bordering West Maspeth to the east, Hunters Point to the west, Greenpoint to the south, and Sunnyside to the north, Blissville is ripe for gentrification. However, there is no public transportation with the exception of the Q67 bus which comes every hour at best. If one was to get to Blissville, you'd need a car, a bike, or your legs.
Most of Blissville, despite its name, is a desolate industrial landscape.
Greenpoint Ave. is Blissville's main street
Former P.S.80
View from Calvary Cemetary

February 2nd, 2007, 09:32 AM
Old Calvary Cemetary Gatehouse
St. Raphael's Roman Catholic Church
Greenpoint Cork Lounge
View down Starr St.
City View Motel
Industrial remnants
Former stop on the L.I.R.R.

As Greenpoint in Brooklyn becomes an ideal place to live and commute, so will Blissville. What Blissville needs is the continued development of Hunters Point, Greenpoint, public transportation, potential investors, and some cleaning up.
http://www.bridgeandtunnelclub.com/bigmap/queens/blissville/index.htm (http://www.bridgeandtunnelclub.com/bigmap/queens/blissville/index.htm)
http://www.forgotten-ny.com/STREET%20SCENES/blissville/blissville.html (http://www.forgotten-ny.com/STREET%20SCENES/blissville/blissville.html)

February 2nd, 2007, 11:17 AM
Why the Blissville kick? I doubt this part of LIC will develop until there's some infrastructure. Plus there's no access to Manhattan.

If this area does develop...it'll decades and decades from now, if ever.

February 2nd, 2007, 12:21 PM
Blissville is an older outdated name to that neighborhood. No one uses it today. That part is either known as Maspeth, Sunnyside, or LIC.

February 2nd, 2007, 12:23 PM
EDIT: Grrr, site lag. Don't mind this double post :(

February 2nd, 2007, 02:12 PM
Blissville is an older outdated name to that neighborhood. No one uses it today. That part is either known as Maspeth, Sunnyside, or LIC.

True true. That's part of what made me wonder about clubBR's recent posts about that name and him mentioning it. I consider that area LIC for the most part.

February 3rd, 2007, 03:06 AM
As L.I.C. becomes gentrified and unaffordable, I predict Dutch Kills to become the next artists' haven.

February 7th, 2007, 12:09 PM
More outdated neighborhood stereotypes (http://www.jibjab.com/jokebox/jokebox/jibjab/id/474253/jokeid/110960), but with barbies:

Mattel recently announced the release of limited-edition Barbie Dolls for the New York markethttp://content.jibjab.com/content/89abcff2c510da7089ef76d9cc7b00af7d4ac3b2
" Staten Island Barbie" This princess Barbie is sold only at The Staten Island Mall. She comes with an assortment of Kate Spade Handbags, a Lexus SUV, a long-haired foreign dog named Honey and a cookie-cutter house. Available with or without tummy tuck and face lift. Workaholic Ken sold only in conjunction with the augmented version.
"Bay Ridge Barbie" The modern day homemaker Barbie is available with Ford Wind star Minivan and matching gym outfit. She gets lost easily and has no full-time occupation. Traffic jamming cell phone sold separately.
"Lower East Side Barbie"http://content.jibjab.com/content/fffbbc467db3405e99dd43eba62eaec2f2fdada8
This recently paroled Barbie comes with a 9mm handgun, a Ray Lewis knife,a Chevy with dark tinted windows, and a Meth Lab Kit. This model is only available after dark and must be paid for in cash (preferably small, untraceable bills) ..unless you are a cop, then we don't know what you are talking about.
"Upper West Side Barbie"http://content.jibjab.com/content/359969d8e703ea1b63c7a7640a825ef35e257095
This yuppie Barbie comes with your choice of BMW convertible or Hummer H2. Included are her own Starbucks cup, credit card and country club membership. Also available for this set are Shallow Ken and Private School Skipper. You won't be able to afford any of them.
"Bensonhurst Barbie"
This collagen injected, rhino plastic Barbie wears a leopard print outfit and drinks cosmopolitans while entertaining friends. Percocet prescription available as well as warehouse conversion condo.

" Sunset Park Barbie" http://content.jibjab.com/content/a0cba14e44439c2d259074c3ffebf685e8282899
This brassy-haired Barbie has a pair of her own high-heeled sandals with one broken heel from the time she chased Ken out of Bay Ridge Barbie's house. Her ensemble includes low-rise acid-washed jeans, fake fingernails, and a see-through halter-top.
"Park Slope Barbie"http://content.jibjab.com/content/b96d2b346db6a4c1ad8a2303a569a89e3055d864
This doll is made of actual tofu. She has long straight brown hair, arch-less feet, hairy armpits, no makeup and Birkenstocks with white socks. She prefers that you call her Willow. She does not want or need a Ken doll, but if you purchase two Park Slope Barbies and the optional Subaru wagon, you get a rainbow flag bumper sticker for free.
" Red Hook Barbie"http://content.jibjab.com/content/2849e971bd3bc3347308567876125bdcfdaf0322
This Barbie now comes with a stroller and infant doll. Optional accessories include a GED and bus pass. Gangsta Ken and his 1979 Caddy were available, but are now very difficult to find since the addition of the infant.
"Greenwich Conneticut Barbie"http://content.jibjab.com/content/097adf4555ee8d912eba665fac911b030ca96ed3
She's perfect in every way. We don't know where Ken is because he's always out a-'huntin'. " Greenwich Village Barbie/Ken" This versatile doll can be easily converted from Barbie to Ken by simply adding or subtracting the multiple snap-on parts.

February 7th, 2007, 12:11 PM
Where's the hipster barbie?

February 7th, 2007, 12:19 PM
I don't get most of the neighborhood associations. LES for poor rural white trash? Bay Ridge for suburban soccer moms? Try LES for yuppies or hipsters and Bay Ridge for upwardly mobile immigrants (Russians, Greek, Arab, Chinese).

Sounds like the neighborhood associations are either decades out-of-date or written by a clueless non-New Yorker.

February 7th, 2007, 12:21 PM
I just noticed the Bensonhurst Barbie. Bensonhurst is an immigrant neighborhood and couldn't be more different than the description.

What about the Sunset Park Barbie? I didn't know a neighborhood of Mexican and Chinese immigrants would be evocative of a Barbie straight out of Deliverance.

Upper West Side Barbie with a Hummer? Hummers are ghetto. The Upper West Side is the polar opposite of ghetto and probably has one of the lowest car ownership rates in the city. Even stranger is alleged country club membership on the Upper West Side. There probably isn't a country club within 15 miles of 72nd and Broadway. Bergen County would have the closest country club.

February 7th, 2007, 12:59 PM
Even if not precisely accurate it's purdy danged hi-lay-rious http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/images/icons/icon14.gif http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/images/icons/icon14.gif http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/images/icons/icon14.gif

February 7th, 2007, 01:16 PM
Lofter, I'm willing to be you're a fan of Todd Haynes' Superstar (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superstar:_The_Karen_Carpenter_Story):


February 7th, 2007, 01:30 PM
Great viewing ^^^ for a cold winter night ;) .

What's not to love? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYiCvLJ2-u8)

February 7th, 2007, 02:35 PM
I just noticed the Bensonhurst Barbie. Bensonhurst is an immigrant neighborhood and couldn't be more different than the description.

What about the Sunset Park Barbie? I didn't know a neighborhood of Mexican and Chinese immigrants would be evocative of a Barbie straight out of Deliverance.

Upper West Side Barbie with a Hummer? Hummers are ghetto. The Upper West Side is the polar opposite of ghetto and probably has one of the lowest car ownership rates in the city. Even stranger is alleged country club membership on the Upper West Side. There probably isn't a country club within 15 miles of 72nd and Broadway. Bergen County would have the closest country club.
Hummer is ghetto? Definitely not.

February 7th, 2007, 02:44 PM
I think he meant declasse

February 7th, 2007, 02:49 PM
Hummer: Proof positive that money doesn't buy taste or class.

Hummer: Gentlemen, drive something that will let women know exactly how small your penis is.

February 7th, 2007, 02:52 PM
I just noticed the Bensonhurst Barbie. Bensonhurst is an immigrant neighborhood and couldn't be more different than the description.

What about the Sunset Park Barbie? I didn't know a neighborhood of Mexican and Chinese immigrants would be evocative of a Barbie straight out of Deliverance.

Upper West Side Barbie with a Hummer? Hummers are ghetto. The Upper West Side is the polar opposite of ghetto and probably has one of the lowest car ownership rates in the city. Even stranger is alleged country club membership on the Upper West Side. There probably isn't a country club within 15 miles of 72nd and Broadway. Bergen County would have the closest country club.

well he did way it was outdated...

February 7th, 2007, 02:59 PM
Hummer is ghetto? Definitely not.

Hummers are definitely ghetto. I only see them in working class or poor neighborhoods, and they're usually driven by some wanna-be thug. Along with Escalades, they scream ghetto.

February 7th, 2007, 03:23 PM
The Terminator and His Hummer (http://www.myh2hummer.com/the-terminator-and-his-hummer/)

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger stands with
General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz while refueling
the HUMMER H2H. The H2H is not intended for production.
(General Motors/Dan MacMedan)

February 7th, 2007, 07:23 PM
Hummers are definitely ghetto. I only see them in working class or poor neighborhoods, and they're usually driven by some wanna-be thug. Along with Escalades, they scream ghetto.
Then you must not get out much.

February 8th, 2007, 12:27 AM
yeah thanks for the barbie post.. funny!:)

February 8th, 2007, 01:24 AM
I don't want to encourage a hummer tangent, but if you haven't seen FUH2.com (http://www.fuh2.com/), you should.


February 8th, 2007, 06:53 PM
What a great website. I feel inspired!

October 4th, 2007, 11:03 AM
Corona, Queens

City Living: Corona, Queens


By Miranda Siegel
October 4, 2007

More than 150 years ago, residents of what is now Corona were hunting grouse, harvesting pumpkins and raising cattle. Then the advent of the Flushing Railroad in 1853 transformed the farmland -- branded West Flushing to appeal to developers -- into a thriving urban center.

Shortly thereafter, West Flushing was changed to Corona (the "crown jewel of Long Island") to distinguish it from the neighboring town of Flushing.

Long an intimate Italian enclave, Corona has in recent years developed into a burgeoning Spanish-speaking community. Koreans and Chinese are also calling Corona home.

"Walking through here, it's like a little United Nations," said Roman Collado, who came to Corona in the 1970s. "Everyone brings their food and culture to share, and for the most part, everyone helps everyone else."

Other residents are not as optimistic when it comes to relationships between the different groups.

"I'd be lying if I said there wasn't any racial tension here," said one resident, who did not want to be named. "I hate to say it, but it's true."

Despite these negative feelings, there is evidence that different populations have been able to find a common ground.

"I love this one Chinese restaurant," proclaimed resident Arturo Saenzde Viteri. "They do Spanish food and Chinese food, and they do both perfectly. The owners are Chinese, but they speak perfect Spanish."

Find it
Corona is defined by Junction Boulevard to the west, Flushing Meadows Corona Park to the east and the Long Island Expressway to the south.

Corona means "crown" in both Spanish and Italian, and you'll see those cultural influences when it comes to local food. Latin American, Dominican and Cuban eateries line Junction Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue; to the south, several Italian restaurants have clustered around Spaghetti Park. Chinese food -- including many Chinese-Spanish restaurants -- has a strong presence as well. Wherever you go, you're sure to be near a tamale cart, ice cream truck or fruit peddler.

Lemon Ice King of Corona
If you want to see a Corona resident beam with pride, just mention Lemon Ice King; you'd be hard-pressed to find anything that captures the area's old Italian flavor more than this low-key shop and its handmade ices. Listed on the hand-painted signs are all 29 flavors, including blueberry, licorice, fruit cocktail and peanut butter. Not in an icey mood? Rows of proud candy apples -- encased in caramel, crushed nuts or a candy shell -- are on display in the windows.
52-02 108th St.

Jardin de China
In business for almost 40 years, this Chinese-Spanish restaurant is a friendly place to enjoy lobster, congee, sausages and plantains. The menu is huge, and the possibilities are endless.
37-37 Junction Blvd.

Park Side Restaurant
Park Side on a Saturday night? As resident Artie Morace said, "Fuhgeddaboutit!" Corona's extraordinarily popular Italian restaurant is the real deal: tuxedoed waiters, valet parking, a large wine list and plenty of local old-timers feasting on classic dishes. After dinner, join in a bocce match in Spaghetti Park across the street.
107-01 Corona Ave.

Green Field Churrascaria
This vast, glutton-friendly Brazilian BBQ haven features all-you-can-eat buffets and carved meats for $16.95 (lunch) or $26.95 (dinner) per person. Rabbit, roasted quail and tiny, skewered chicken hearts can be had in addition to a variety of pork, chicken and steak dishes. To keep the meat a-comin', flip a switch at your table -- green for "bring more," red for "we have enough" -- to alert your server.
108-10 Northern Blvd.

Rincon Criollo
This 60-year-old restaurant with the "ambiente familiar" first opened in Havana before the owners -- three (then) young brothers -- were forced out. Here they re-established their business, now considered to be one of the best Cuban eateries in Queens. Try the ropa vieja, moros y cristianos, stewed oxtail and mamey shakes.
40-09 Junction Blvd.

A number of restaurants double as bars and clubs; most nights you'll also find live entertainment such as DJs, musicians and singers.

Estrella Latina
Entering Estrella Latina is like stepping into an enchanted forest composed of stained glass, mirrors and elaborate moldings. Hang around to savor the visuals and the drinks well into the night; Estrella is open until 4 a.m. daily.
39-07 104th St.

Packed into the main retail strips are numerous shops, most notably 99˘ stores and clothing outlets. A few decent thrift stores are thrown into the mix, but the real stars are the countless bakeries. Pop into one for a tub of dulce de leche, ask for a spoon and a roll, and prepare to gorge yourself.

Leo's Latticini (Mama's)
Founded several decades ago, the "Mama's" empire is now run by the original owner's grandchildren and great grandchildren. There's an Italian bakery with a leafy backyard garden, a fresh pasta shop and a salumeria, which is famous Queens-wide for its mammoth, juicy, fresh mozzarella balls. The heroes -- with their cured marbled meats, cold pepperoncinis and vinegar-soaked bread -- are absolutely wonderful.
46-02 104th St.

Corona's proximity to Flushing Meadows Corona Park is a huge plus. The sheer amount of fun one could have there -- with the museums, sculptures, botanical garden, zoo and playgrounds -- cannot be overstated. (As if that weren't enough, you'll also find Shea Stadium and the USTA National Tennis Center). The park is jammed on weekends and it seems like there's an ice cream truck every 20 feet.

New York Hall of Science
Kids go wild for this hands-on science center, which features more than 400 exhibits. The award-winning outdoor Science Playground -- which recalls a life-sized version of the board game Mousetrap -- teaches children various scientific principles as they scramble through nets, crawl into giant rabbit holes, talk through pipes and play with "sun catchers."
47-01 111th St.

Queens Museum of Art
Make the journey past the ice cream trucks and shrieking kids to this unexpected, spacious modern art museum in the middle of Flushing Meadows Corona Park. There are many highly regarded works on display, but you'll likely spend half your time spellbound in the dark, eerie space overlooking the world's largest model of New York City. Budget at least 10 minutes to find your and your friends' houses among nearly 900,000 model structures.
Flushing Meadows Corona Park

World's Fair Remains
What's left of the 1939 World's Fair? How about the one from 1964? Both events attracted tens of millions of people to Flushing Meadows Corona Park, which boasts a collection of structures built specially for the events. Stones marking two Time Capsules (to be opened 5,000 years from now), bronze sculptures, the Terrace on the Park and the towers of the New York State Pavilion are ripe for exploration. The highlight is the Unisphere, the 140-foot globe looming large over the park's trees.

Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Louis Armstrong House
Satchmo's pad and its original furnishings have been preserved in (almost) the same condition as his wife Lucille left them many years ago. Exploring this time warp is a treat even for those who aren't big trumpet-loving jazz heads: A bright turquoise kitchen, delightfully dated wallpaper, tiny TV sets and flashy mirrored bathrooms can be seen during the museum's one-hour tour. Afterward, head one block over to see the house of Louis' good friend Dizzy Gillespie.
34-56 107th St.

Spaghetti Park
Though nobody you talk to is really certain of Spaghetti Park's real name (it's William Moore Park, by the way), it's a place the locals know well. They come to watch bocce matches, attend festivals, shop at the flea markets or simply stake out a bench for the day. "I sit here in this park," said resident Artie Morace. "Every week, my sister comes and we go out to dinner at Park Side. Then I come right back here and sit." Enough said.
108th Street at 52nd Avenue

Langston Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center
America's largest circulating black-heritage collection is housed in this library. There's also an auditorium and art gallery where festivals, concerts and other events are held.
100-01 Northern Blvd.

Real estate Increasingly, Corona residents are seeing older houses torn down to make room for small, luxury condominiums.

"They keep knocking down all the old buildings and putting up new ones," said Arturo Saenzde Viteri. Resident Gianni Conti agreed. "The neighborhood is beginning to feel completely different."

In addition to the new condos, apartments in smaller buildings and two-family houses, as well as a few single-family homes, are what you'll find here.

Here's a sampling of what it will cost you to live in Corona:

To rent
-$825 for a studio in a rent-stabilized building (99th Street at 57th Avenue)

-$1,000 for a one-bedroom in a private brick house (111th Street at 44th Avenue)

-$1,150 for a one-bedroom with a backyard

-$1,300 for a two-bedroom in a private house (107th Street at Northern Boulevard)

-$1,350 for a luxury two-bedroom (Corona Avenue at 99th Street)

-$1,700 for a three-bedroom with a balcony (108th Street at 47th Street)

-$1,600 for a four-bedroom apartment

-$2,000 for a four-bedroom apartment

To buy:
-$109,000 for an L-shaped studio

-$173,000 for a one-bedroom co-op

-$238,888 for a two-bedroom co-op

-$259,000 for a first-floor one-bedroom condo

-$789,000 for a four-bedroom, two-family Colonial house

Corona's becoming increasingly crowded as more immigrants make their way to the area, a situation that is causing tension between longtime residents and their new neighbors. Opinions on whether immigrants have come to the United States illegally range from mere speculation to outright assertions.

"The biggest issues we are dealing with in America are our immigrations policies," said resident Roman Collado. "I appreciate the diverse aspects of the area, but certain problems are especially visible and need to be addressed."

Some of Corona's Italian residents have expressed concern that the neighborhood is no longer feeling as intimate and "Italian" as it once did.

"The Italian population here is getting older," said resident Gianni Conti, who was born in Corona. "And they're dying off."

Roman Collado has lived in the area since his entire family moved here from the Dominican Republic in the 1970s. He works at the Flushing Manor Rehab Center in Flushing.

What's your favorite place to eat in Corona?
Estrella Latina on 104th Street. It's an all-in-one bar, restaurant and club. Plus, its central location makes it easy to get to.

What's the best aspect of the community?
This is a community where people interact positively with each other, despite very diverse origins. Also, drugs are controlled now -- it wasn't always like that.

What's the worst aspect?
Mainly noise, but it's gotten better. In the '80s, drunks, fights and drug dealers often kept residents up late at night. Thankfully, not so much anymore.

Why do you live here?
My family and I are very happy here, everyone knows us and we know everyone else. People trust each other here: Bodega owners help you out by giving you store credit if you can't pay then and there.

What kinds of people are moving here?
Lately, immigrants from Central and South America, particularly Mexico and Ecuador. The area is attractive because everyone speaks Spanish: barbers, grocers, bank tellers, priests, handymen. A lot of people in those countries think New York is America, so it's a magnet despite being cold and expensive. They think you can make money -- a lot of money -- here, so they come.

How has the neighborhood changed?
It's become more of an immigrant community. I remember there used to be an "ethnic food" aisle at the supermarket; now the aisle has expanded to the entire store.

Queens Public Library
38-23 104th St., 718-426-2844

Subway: 7 to Junction Boulevard, 103rd Street-Corona Plaza, 111th Street
Bus: Q48, 58, 23, 72, 66

The 110th Precinct, which includes Corona and Elmhurst, reported three murders, 26 rapes, 265 robberies and 300 burglaries so far this year. For the same period last year, there were four murders, 30 rapes, 300 robberies and 285 burglaries.

High School for Art & Business, 10525 Horace Harding Expy.; IS 061, 9850 50th Ave.; PS 014, 100701 Otis Ave.; PS 19, 9802 Roosevelt Ave.; PS 092, 9901 34th Ave.; PS 143, 3474 113th St.; PS 16Q, 4115 104th St.; PS 28, 10910 47th Ave.

Copyright © 2007, AM New York (http://www.amny.com/news/local/am-corona1004,0,6040693.story)

October 9th, 2007, 11:22 AM
NYC has come a long way, baby. Twenty years ago, I used to wake up and find crack vials on my front stoop -- in a little starter neighborhood called Park Slope!

October 9th, 2007, 01:24 PM
Now, those Park Slope streets are littered with baby strollers.

October 9th, 2007, 03:13 PM
From crack vials to baby strollers in one generation ...

an urban miracle :cool:

October 9th, 2007, 03:40 PM
you never know what the future will bring -- maybe those will be the next generation of customers.

October 9th, 2007, 03:48 PM
Exactly ^^^

What goes up ...

October 18th, 2007, 12:42 PM
Queens Village, Queens

City Living: Queens Village


By Kara Warner
October 18, 2007

Blink and you might miss it, but just a 30-minute commuter train ride from Manhattan is Queens Village, a thriving, community-focused, family-oriented residential haven.

Settled by cattle farmers in the 1640s, the area was first known as Little Plains. In 1824, that was changed to Brushville, after an enterprising blacksmith named Tom Brush. Finally, with the arrival of Queens' first railroad station in 1834, the Long Island Rail Road made the last official name switch to Queens Village.

"The thing that brought [the city's first residents] out was the space," followed closely by the transportation, said Jim Driscoll, president of the Queens Historical Society. "It's really fairly easy to get into the city from here."

In the 1920s, Queens Village experienced a population boom during which the majority of the city's Victorian- and Colonial-style homes were built. The original farmers were pushed farther east, and a working middle class started to develop.

Post-World War II saw the arrival of veterans and their families, and some of the city's first minority groups of African and Latin Americans. Nowadays, Queens Village boasts one of the more diverse and accepting populations in the area.

"We're like a League of Nations," 76-year resident Eileen Vogt joked. "My neighbors are Haitian, South American and Guyanese," she said, insisting the diversity didn't change the city and was "an adjustment [that] was easy for me."

For Joe King, owner of Antun's catering, the influx of minority populations has enhanced his business tremendously.

"[It] used to be all you cooked was Italian and Jewish. Now we cook Caribbean, Haitian, Indian, Pakistani, even oxtail," he said with pride.

Find it Located in the east-central part of Queens, Queens Village is bounded by Union Turnpike to the north, Cross Island Parkway to the east, Murdock Avenue to the south and Francis Lewis Boulevard to the west.

The basics
Transportation: Long Island Rail Road: Hempstead Branch to Queens Village. New York City buses: Q1, Q2, Q27, Q36, Q88, Q43, Q76, Q77, Q83 and Q110. MTA Long Island buses: N1, N2, N3, N6, N22, N24 and N26
Police stations: 105th Precinct. 92-08 222nd St., 718-776-9090
Crime: So far this year, the 105th Precinct, which includes Queens Village, has reported seven murders, 23 rapes, 298 robberies and 438 burglaries. During the same period last year, police reported six murders, 33 rapes, 327 robberies and 371 burglaries.
Post office: 209-20 Jamaica Ave., 800-275-8777
Public library: 94-11 217th St., 718-776-6800
Schools: Creedmoor Psych Center School, 80-45 Winchester Blvd.; Jean Nuzzi Intermediate School, 213-10 92nd Ave.; Martin Van Buren High School, 230-17 Hillside Ave.; Merrick Academy-Queens Public School, 207-01 Jamaica Ave.; PS 18 Winchester School, 86-35 235th Ct.; PS 33 Edward M. Funk School, 91-37 222nd St.; PS 34 John Harvard School, 104-12 Springfield Blvd.; Queens College School for Math, 148-20 Reeves Ave.; The Bellaire School, 207-11 89th Ave.

Real estate
The Queens Village community and real estate market consists almost entirely of single family, Archie Bunker-style Colonial homes built in the 1920s. In order to make room for eager, first-time home buyers who make up most of the buyer's market, however, developers have taken to converting and renovating the original single-family structures, much to the annoyance of long-time residents.

According to Nick Gomez of ERA Real Estate, the influx of first-time home buyers is due in large part to the county's low property taxes. Gomez says the area also boasts great schools, easy access to Manhattan and an abundance of available parking.

To rent
Renovated basement studio between Hillside and Jamaica avenues: $800
One-bedroom apartment on Senior Boulevard: $1,150
Large one-bedroom apartment on 209th Street and 89th Avenue: $1,200
Two-bedroom garden apartment at Hillside Avenue and Hollis Court Boulevard: $1,200
Three-bedroom apartment at 100th Avenue and Springfield Boulevard: $1,500
Four-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment at 86-40 Range Street, near 235th Street and Hillside Avenue: $3,500

To buy
One-bedroom co-op on seventh floor of an elevator building in Hilltop Village: $117,000
Two-bedroom, one-bathroom co-op garden apartment in Bell Park Manor Terrace: $192,000
Three-bedroom, two-bathroom single-family home at 99th Avenue: $469,000
Three-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom Dutch Colonial house at 91-15 215th Place at 91st Avenue: $479,000
Four-bedroom, one-bathroom with backyard and finished basement on 200th Street near Hollis Avenue: $389,000
Five-bedroom, 4.5-bathroom Colonial-style home off Hillside Avenue and Springfield Boulevard: $789,999

To eat Like the majority of the country, the restaurant scene in Queens Village is dominated by fast food and take-out. However, if you're in the mood for authentic Portuguese seafood paella, Italian comfort food or "the best salad in Queens," you're in luck.

Mateus Restaurant and Bar
A 17-year staple on Queens Village's busy Jamaica Avenue, Mateus is a family-owned restaurant known for its authentic Portuguese cuisine, specifically its seafood paella. The restaurant has a distinct small town/neighborhood feel, almost like Cheers, but with a Portuguese twist. The friendly establishment is also popular with locals for happy hour and after-dinner drinks. 222-07 Jamaica Ave. 718-464-4522

Italian Affair
This deli-style hot spot of 18 years boasts a stellar menu item not often found on "best of" lists: salad. The chicken cutlet, grilled shrimp, Caesar and grilled calamari salads are best-sellers. An anonymous tipster says the secret to "the best salad in Queens" is in the house dressing. 225-02 Jamaica Ave. 718-352-4428

Cara Mia
Cara Mia is owned and operated by the Deciantis family and has been a Queens Village favorite for more than 30 years. Consistently ranked one of Queens' best restaurants, it is the place to go for authentic Italian comfort food and a "Welcome Home"-type ambience. House specials include all pasta dishes (they're made from scratch daily), the veal parmigiana and broiled Chilean sea bass. 220-20 Hillside Ave. 718-740-9118

To shop
Queens Village isn't full of name-brand shopping per se, but a slew of retail outlets can be found on the busy Jamaica and Hillside avenues. Worth noting are three of the neighborhood's oldest stores:

Kassel Drugstore
This one-stop shop offers a friendly staff and a tradition not normally found at CVS or Duane Reade. 21811 Jamaica Ave. 718-464-0200

Best Paint
Step inside to find masters of the mix-and-match with the charm of small-town service. 22023 Jamaica Ave. 718-464-1200

Howard Jewelers
Very reasonably priced and accommodating, this jewelry store makes shopping a stress-free experience. 21702 Jamaica Ave. 718-465-3335

To do
While the nightlife scene lacks in the form of booming clubs and noisy bars, there are a variety of family-friendly, throwback-style activities like horse racing, corn mazes and bingo.

Belmont Park Race Track
When it opened in 1905, the horse-racing track also hosted aerial tournaments and shows. Nowadays, it is home to the annual Belmont Stakes, where last year's surprise winner, top-rated filly Rags to Riches, took home the $1 million prize. Though the famously strict dress codes have softened over the years, "elegant attire is recommended" for attendees (business casual is okay; no tank tops for men). Clubhouse tickets cost $5 and grandstand admission is just $2. 2150 Hempstead Tpke., Elmont www.nyra.com

Queens County Farm Museum
This semi-hidden gem is the only functioning historic farm in New York City. The site encompasses 47 acres of land and is the longest continuously farmed site in New York state. The museum is open year-round for tours, hayrides and the chance to feed a few hungry (and friendly) sheep and goats, not to mention the Amazing Maize Maze, open through the end of the month. General admission is free (except on special event days and for the Corn Maze by Moonlight). 73-50 Little Neck Pkwy., Floral Park 718-347-3276 www.queensfarm.org

Queens Village Bingo Hall
This is an ideal place to spend a rainy day with the locals. There's nothing too fancy here, just the standard, sometimes frenzied bingo drill. The hall is open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 221 Jamaica Ave.

The buzz
Residents' chief concerns lie with the commercialization and conversion of historic areas. Experts cite a lack of regulation -- specifically, building inspectors --- as the main problem. Despite the locals' continued grievances, low taxes and affordable housing only make Queens Village more attractive to potential residents, which serves as further motivation for contractors and developers to capitalize on the city's steady influx in population with their housing renovations and conversions.


After working 25 tireless years for Queens Village's Community Board 13, lifetime resident Eileen Vogt has not only expert insight into the city's climate and hot-button issues, but the experience and opinions to match.

How long have you been living in Queens Village?

All my life. I grew-up here, met my husband here, who was also a Queens Village native. We were married 55 years and raised our two children here.

What do you do in your free time?

I'm retired, but very active at my church, Our Lady of Lourdes, where I volunteer two mornings and one afternoon a week for their Outreach Program. It's the church I was married in, where I went to primary school.

How diverse is Queens Village?

Very much so. The diversity has not changed the city at all. It was an adjustment, but easy for me. I am blessed with wonderful neighbors from South America, Haiti and Guyana. They maintain their homes better than I do.

What are your favorite shops?

We don't have much shopping. Jamaica Avenue used to be all little local shops, but it's now our commercial strip. I don't do a lot of shopping here, but I still visit Kassel drugstore, Best Paint and Howard Jewelers. Those stores have been around since I was a little girl.

What are some changes you've seen in the community?

Many of the original houses have been sold and converted against the law, which is partly to blame on the real estate developers and partly due to the city's lack of building inspectors. Contractors are tearing up houses, adding two, three, four attached houses. I don't like the changes to the look of the neighborhood.

What makes Queens Village a great place to live?

I'll tell you what's been an asset is the LIRR station. Our taxes are lower here than in Nassau County and, [with] the public buses, access to the city is easy. Everything here is convenient.


Copyright © 2007, AM New York (http://www.amny.com/news/local/am-cityliving1017,0,7046859.story?track=rss)

May 3rd, 2008, 05:37 AM
Living in Maspeth, Queens

Yes, Manhattan’s Over There. What of It?

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/05/04/realestate/600-livi-span.jpg Andrea Mohin/The New York Times
Well-kept small older houses still predominate in Maspeth, which takes pride in holding onto small-town atmosphere despite its proximity to Midtown Manhattan.

Published: May 4, 2008

AS small-town upbringings go, Robert Holden’s is a classic. He grew up in a small house on 74th Street, across the street from the house where his mother was born in 1924. His siblings came to view their neighborhood as a place to leave. For Mr. Holden, it was a place to stay, and in 1978 he bought a house around the corner, within sight of his boyhood home. He and his wife, Amy, reared three children in the house, and when his father died in 1993, his mother moved in upstairs.

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/images/photo/2008/05/04/20080504LIVINGIN/20080504LIVINGIN-B.JPG (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2008/04/30/realestate/20080504LIVINGIN_index.html)

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/05/04/realestate/190-livi-otm.jpg (http://javascript%3cb%3e%3c/b%3E:pop_me_up2('http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2008/05/04/realestate/04livi-otm.html',%20'812_373',%20'width=812,height=373,lo cation=no,scrollbars=yes,toolbars=no,resizable=yes '))

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/05/04/realestate/livi-map.jpg The New York Times

Such trajectories are common in this western Queens (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/classifieds/realestate/locations/newyork/newyorkcity/queens/?inline=nyt-geo) neighborhood, bounded on the west by Brooklyn (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/classifieds/realestate/locations/newyork/newyorkcity/brooklyn/?inline=nyt-geo), on the north by Woodside and Sunnyside, on the east by Elmhurst and Middle Village, and on the south by Ridgewood. The terms “blue collar” and “small town” come up a lot in this 2.5-square-mile area, whose lack of subway access to Manhattan (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/classifieds/realestate/locations/newyork/newyorkcity/manhattan/?inline=nyt-geo), only five miles away, feeds residents’ hopes that those terms will continue to apply for a long time.

“When people ask where we’re from,” Mr. Holden said recently, “we don’t say Queens, and we don’t say New York. We say Maspeth.”
He has immersed himself in its affairs more than most. As president of the Juniper Park Civic Association, Mr. Holden is deeply involved in the goings-on in Maspeth, as well as in neighboring Middle Village. (The dual commitment is natural, since Mr. Holden was raised on the neighborhoods’ border.)

On a recent afternoon stroll, Mr. Holden expressed appreciation for the smaller, older houses — which still predominate — and shook his head at the sight of newer multifamily homes — which have increased in number in the last five years or so.

“We’re losing the charm of the neighborhood,” he said, adding, “We’ve seen some of the neighborhoods in New York City (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/classifieds/realestate/locations/newyork/newyorkcity/manhattan/?inline=nyt-geo) that have fallen, and we don’t want that to happen here.”

Joan Sammon, an agent at O’Kane Realty, shared that nostalgia. “There are some nice blocks where you used to say, ‘I loved that house with the big old magnolia tree,’ ” she said. “And it’s gone, and now there’s this big brick higher-density house there.”

But such development concerns are relatively small. Claudia Gryvatz Copquin, author of “The Neighborhoods of Queens,” published last year, said that while there is an uproar in many neighborhoods about the construction of large houses on tiny lots, that concern does not extend to Maspeth.

And unlike Long Island City, Woodside and Sunnyside, Maspeth is not on the No. 7 subway line. “Here,” said Lou Pastorini, a broker with Coldwell Banker Phillips, “it’s still basically a double ticket.” He was referring to the need to take a bus to get to the subway.

Maspeth — which in 2000 had 37,000 people, according to census figures — also has large numbers of immigrants. It continues to absorb Polish and Irish families — ethnic populations that have been prominent here for generations. Polish immigrants, in particular, have been drawn in recent years as Greenpoint and Williamsburg, Brooklyn, have increasingly gentrified. Other immigrant groups in Maspeth include Germans, Italians, Lithuanians and, more recently, Chinese and Koreans.

Property owners’ pride is on display in Maspeth in many different ways. On a recent afternoon, Tony Nunziato, whose family owns Enchanted Florist, near the entrance to Mount Olivet Cemetery, could be seen admiring signs affixed to neighborhood trash cans that read “Welcome to Our Town.”

Grand Avenue, Maspeth’s main commercial strip, is lined with small restaurants and shops, many owned by the same families for generations. In the mid-1950s, the Long Island Expressway was built, effectively cutting Maspeth in half. Ever since, many residents have resented the resulting parade of trucks huffing along Grand Avenue toward the expressway.

But the intrusion has been weathered with small-town hardiness, and the expressway does little to dampen the avenue’s liveliness, even though it bisects it. To those on foot perusing the shops, crossing the expressway at Grand Avenue, which is on an overpass, amounts to only a slight interruption.

The abundance of civic groups — including the Maspeth Town Hall Community Center, Kiwanis and the local Chamber of Commerce — has provided the foundation for a long tradition of volunteer work and activism. In 2005, that force was harnessed by residents opposing construction of a Home Depot on the site of the old Elmhurst gas tanks, on Maspeth’s eastern border. The residents prevailed, and the area is expected to become a park.

Maspeth’s western end is primarily industrial, and the resulting pollution of Maspeth Creek and Newtown Creek has in recent years stirred environmental activism and gained the attention of city agencies and elected officials.

Detached one-family homes and attached town houses are, on average, in the low to middle $500,000s, brokers say. Two-family homes average about $100,000 more. Three-family homes, most of them built in the last five years, average over $800,000.

Brokers say that in the last year they have seen prices drop by 8 to 10 percent. “We’ve seen a lot of houses coming on the market at much higher prices than they’re going to go for,” said Ms. Sammon. Mr. Pastorini put it more bluntly, “A lot of them are sitting like lead balloons.”

According to him, Maspeth currently has 107 listings, compared with 76 at the end of last April. Homes have averaged 109 days on the market so far this year, as opposed to 96 days in 2007.

Maspeth isn’t an apartment-building neighborhood, but there are rentals, mostly in two-family houses. According to Ms. Sammon, one-bedrooms rent for about $1,000 a month, and two-bedrooms about $1,400.

It is not uncommon to hear a Maspeth resident say that there’s little to do for those who don’t live there, and plenty for those who do. They are not being rude, but acknowledging that many activities spring from Maspeth’s churches, schools and community groups.

On May 18, for instance, the Kiwanis club will be the host of a flea market at the Maspeth Federal Savings Bank. A week later, the day before Memorial Day, Maspeth will hold its Memorial Day Parade on Grand Avenue.

The local branch of the Queens Library is on Grand Avenue at 69th Lane.

Metropolitan Oval, on 60th Street, is believed to be the oldest soccer field in continuous use in the country, at least according to James J. Vogt, president of the Metropolitan Oval Foundation. The field opened in 1925. The area also has a number of diners, pubs and Polish delis.

Elementary schools include Public School 153, whose city Quality Review Report last year concluded, “Although the school enrolls more than 1,300 students, it has the feel of a much smaller school.” Last year, 69 percent of fourth graders met state English standards and 82 percent math standards, versus 62 and 74 citywide.

Public School 58 enrolls about 900. It is called School of Heroes, in honor of those in uniform who died on Sept. 11. (The Maspeth firehouse lost 19 firefighters that day, according to Ms. Copquin.) Last year, 70 percent of its fourth graders met state English standards and 80 percent met math standards.

Last year at Intermediate School 73, for Grades 6 through 8, 41 percent of eighth graders met state standards in English and 63 percent in math, versus 46 in each category citywide.

The nearest public high school, Grover Cleveland, is in Ridgewood. SAT averages there last year were 411 in reading, 442 in math and 408 in writing, versus 441, 462 and 433 citywide.

Last month, the city’s Department of Education proposed a combination intermediate and high school, to serve 1,650 students in Grades 6 through 12, for Maspeth. The idea has been welcomed by some as a way to alleviate the neighborhood’s shortage of high school seats, but criticized by others because the proposed location, on 57th Avenue at 74th Street, is near two other schools and would increase traffic congestion.

The Nos. 58 and 59 buses run along Grand Avenue, and the 54 runs along Metropolitan Avenue, the neighborhood’s southern border, and connect to subway lines. Unlike many other neighborhoods, Maspeth has no express bus to Manhattan.

Maspeth is named for the Mespat Indians, who originally settled near what is now Mount Zion Cemetery, on the neighborhood’s edge. In 1642, the first formal colony was established in the area, though conflicts with Indians caused settlers to flee east into what is now Elmhurst.

Mount Olivet Cemetery boasts a much-cherished Manhattan view, and Nathanael West (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/w/nathanael_west/index.html?inline=nyt-per), who wrote “Miss Lonelyhearts” and “The Day of the Locust,” is buried at Mount Zion.

Copyright 2008 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)
Last edited by brianac (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/posthistory.php?p=228312); May 3rd, 2008 at 10:20 AM.


June 21st, 2008, 06:21 AM
Living In | Ditmars-Steinway, Queens

A Slice of Europe Near the East River

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/06/22/realestate/22livi-600.jpg Kate Glicksberg for The New York Times
SUN-KISSED Row houses, many with rental units, run block to block in this ethnic area, which for decades was dominated by Greeks. Single-family row houses start at about $525,000; and two-families at about $650,000. More Photos > (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2008/06/19/realestate/20080622LIVINGIN_index.html)

Published: June 22, 2008

JUDITH KLEIN came for the food and stayed for the kitchen.

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/06/19/realestate/20080622LIVINGIN-B.JPGSlide Show (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2008/06/19/realestate/20080622LIVINGIN_index.html)Living in Ditmars-Steinway, Queens (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2008/06/19/realestate/20080622LIVINGIN_index.html)



A blogger by moonlight under the name Foodista, Ms. Klein was born in Slovakia and says that living in the culturally diverse Ditmars-Steinway area — near the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden — makes her feel “very at home.” Also nice: being able to gather provisions in this food-obsessed swath of Astoria and cook in a kitchen bigger than a breadbox. “My friends who live in Manhattan (http://javascript<b></b>:pop_me_up2('http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2008/06/20/realestate/22liv_graphic.html', '420_616', 'width=420,height=616,location=no,scrollbars=yes,t oolbars=no,resizable=yes')) are surprised it’s so large,” she said.

Matt Mahoney, another young commuter, described the area as “cheaper than Park Slope — and closer.” After boarding the elevated N line — which starts on 31st Street, above Rosario’s Italian deli and Choo-Choo’s Chicken ’n Crepes — he gets to his office on West 57th Street in 20 minutes.

“It’s the hottest area in New York City (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/classifieds/realestate/locations/newyork/newyorkcity/manhattan/?inline=nyt-geo) and the greatest community,” said George Delis, a former district manager for Community Board 1 and lifelong neighborhood tout. He pointed to a profusion of mom-and-pop stores and cafes, which give some streets a whiff of Europe (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/great-homes-and-destinations/destinations/europe/index.html?inline=nyt-geo).

“Best food in the entire world, and every ethnicity is within a two-block radius,” said Peter Vallone (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/v/peter_f_vallone/index.html?inline=nyt-per) Jr., a councilman and third-generation resident.

Stretching from Astoria Park, which runs along the East River, to La Guardia Airport, and from Bowery Bay down to Grand Central Parkway, Ditmars-Steinway has about 54,000 residents, about 60 percent white, 20 percent Hispanic, 9.8 percent Asian and 1.4 percent black — and 45 percent foreign-born, according to a Queens College (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/q/queens_college/index.html?inline=nyt-org) compilation of 2000 census data. Greeks colonized the area from the 1920s to the ’60s, joining Italian, Irish and German immigrants. Today, “the schools record 118 nationalities,” Mr. Delis said.

Depending on the broker you ask, prices are either holding steady or sinking slightly. Charles Sciberras, an associate at Re/Max Today, says they are about 8 percent below last year’s, with one-family houses starting at $525,000 and two-families averaging $750,000. Still, “anything under 700 will sell within 10 days,” he said. “Anything in a two-family category, between 750 and 775, will take about 30 days. Over 800, it’s sitting there and taking a longer period.” Rents are about $1,100 for a one-bedroom.

“Affordability? It’s got that,” said Louis Charbonneau, who works at the United Nations (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/u/united_nations/index.html?inline=nyt-org) and with his wife and two children recently moved to the area from Berlin. “Decent commute? It’s got that. And decent schools? It’s got that, too.”

What the area lacks are bookstores and vegetarian restaurants, says Crystal Fenton, who shares a two-bedroom here with her boyfriend and two large dogs. But, she said in an e-mail message, “it has a nice mix of people — young, old,” and “still has that New York ‘neighborhood’ feel.”

Despite an influx of “yuppies by the bushel,” as the Greek-born Mr. Delis put it, the neighborhood is largely working class. Neighbors build fences; dentists hang shingles. Some streets are so shorn of trees they get as bleached-hot in summer as a Greek isle.

Despite its small size — just under two square miles — Ditmars-Steinway packs in five power plants, generating about 75 percent of the city’s electricity. Add the planes at La Guardia and the traffic as prison employees drive on and off Rikers Island (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/r/rikers_island_prison_complex/index.html?inline=nyt-org), and no wonder some call the neighborhood Asthma Alley. “It’s not fair for one community to bear that burden,” Mr. Vallone said, “and it’s only going to get worse.”

But naysayers don’t stay downbeat for long. Mr. Vallone, 47, whose grandfather Charles marched in ecumenical “brotherhood parades” in Astoria, and whose father, Peter Sr., served as City Council speaker, says he wouldn’t raise his own children anywhere else.

If Manhattan has high-rises and Brooklyn (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/classifieds/realestate/locations/newyork/newyorkcity/brooklyn/?inline=nyt-geo) has brownstones, Ditmars-Steinway has one- and two-family red-brick row houses in a style that “I would characterize as nondescript,” said Gerald Caliendo, an architect who works in the area. They have small yards and often contain rental units.

Apartments over stores and offices are common.

The knot of activity around the N and W subway station at Astoria-Ditmars Boulevard unwinds as the street stretches east and west. At one end lies Astoria Park, with grassy hillsides and views through the plane trees of the Manhattan skyline and the Triborough Bridge’s lacy towers.

The Hell Gate Bridge is also visible, striding on elephant feet across the park and through the neighborhood, shadowing houses underneath.

The boulevard travels west to Hazen Street, the pipeline to Rikers Island, and a bit beyond. Victorian-era row houses on 41st Street are remnants of a village — complete with a school, church and post office — that William Steinway built in the 1870s for his piano makers and other factory workers. At the top of 41st Street, overlooking Bowery Bay, is a 27-room mid-19th-century fixer-upper whose owner, Michael Halberian, puts on the market periodically; he says he might part with it for $5 million.

Co-ops and condominiums include two recent conversions, both developed by Joseph Pistilli. Smaller condos are scattered about; others are under way.

Apartments generally sell for $200,000 to $400,000, and single-family attached homes for $525,000 to $600,000. Occasionally, a vintage Steinway house goes on the market at $550,000 or so, said Victor Mihailescu, an associate at Re/Max Today.

Marlene Perno of GM Dynasty Real Estate said it recently sold three large houses, around 35th and 36th Streets near 30th Avenue, for more than $1 million each. The Corcoran Group is advertising a two-family house on 35th Street near 24th Avenue at $1.1 million.

Generally, prices rise on streets tunneled with trees, and move down on the “subway challenged” streets, as Peter Horowitz of Amorelli Realty describes the area nearest La Guardia.

With some 200 small businesses in the area, according to Catherine Piecora, executive director of the Astoria Restoration Association, you’ll have no trouble getting a manicure or something to eat. The food choices run from the high-end Trattoria L’Incontro to vintage pastry shops like La Guli (“since 1937”) and eclectic delis like the Parrot Coffee Market (“European Balkan Middle Eastern Gourmet”).

The Astoria Restoration Association, created in 1979 to help spruce up the commercial district with wide sidewalks and benches, claims credit for one of New York’s first street fairs, now an annual event in the spring.

Astoria Park covers 65 acres, with a track, playground, tennis courts and landmark 1936 pool.

The Bohemian Beer Garden, on 24th Avenue near 29th Street, is a major draw. Coffeehouses include the Waltz-Astoria, on Ditmars Boulevard near 23rd Street.

Public School 122, a k a Mamie Faye, has about 1,370 students, prekindergarten through eighth grade, and describes itself as a magnet school for core knowledge. Eighty percent of its fourth graders met state standards in reading last year, and 93 percent did so in math; citywide percentages were 56 and 74.

P.S. 084, the Steinway School, has magnet programs in global arts and learning. It has about 390 students, prekindergarten through sixth grade; 63 percent of fourth graders met standards in reading and 75 percent in math. P.S. 085, the Judge Charles J. Vallone School, has magnet programs in theater arts and technology. It has about 450 students in prekindergarten through fifth grade; 70 percent of fourth graders showed proficiency in reading and 81 percent in math.

Intermediate School 141 enrolls about 1,080 students in Grades 6 through 8; 51 percent of eighth graders showed proficiency in reading and 69 percent in math.

It’s a 15-minute hop from the terminus of the N and W lines at Astoria-Ditmars Boulevard to 59th Street and Lexington Avenue. The Q19A bus runs on Ditmars Boulevard to the subway.

The Dutch, then the British, settled the area, forming hamlets that merged with Astoria in 1870 and with New York in 1898. When the Steinways built their enclave, in the 1870s and ’80s, “they wanted to create a utopian community for workers away from the strife of New York,” said Robert Singleton of the Greater Astoria Historical Society.

The area encompassing La Guardia was once home to a beer garden-cum-amusement park. Developers moved into the neighborhood in 1917, when the El started running. In the ’30s, Robert Moses (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/robert_moses/index.html?inline=nyt-per) built the Grand Central Parkway, which cuts across Astoria and onto the Triborough Bridge.


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August 9th, 2008, 06:03 AM
Streetscapes | Steinway, Queens

A Hilltop Idyll, With Grace Notes of the Past


August 9th, 2008, 07:58 PM
Hipster neighborhoods:

Sunnyside, Queens

Published: 08/01/2008 16:09:34
2 of 5

Art deco apartment buildings, English gardens homes, health food stores, a Romanian restaurant, an Irish bar, and a park characterize this historic and landmark neighborhood north of Queens Boulevard. The Sunnyside on the other side of Queens Boulevard gets no respect. Mostly Latino with some leading cultural institutions such as the Flux Factory and the Thalia Spanish Theatre, the south side of Sunnyside will soon is beginning to attract all nationalities who like its neighborhood feel and fair-priced rents. Two-bedrooms rent for as low as $1,600, which is in a hipster's prices range. The food in the area is good, too, and it's close to Greenpoint as Williamsburg. The 7 train is a 15 minute ride to Grand Central Station. Michele Sullivan, an agent for Welcome Home Real Estate, 718 -706-0957, knows the area well.

Thalia Spanish Theatre

Mott Haven, Bronx

Published: 08/01/2008 16:09:34
3 of 5

There's one bar, one coffee shop, plenty of antique stores, a bird store, and one of the city's finest garden centers. If you can't tell, we really like this neighborhood. A five minute walk from 125th Street and just underneath the Bruckner Expressway, Mott Haven enjoys a sleepy, almost Southern town feel, to its daily hum. Dimitri's Garden Center is located just under the foot bridge to East Harlem. The Bruckner Bar & Grill, with hamburgers as good as Corner Bistro, is across the street. Both are in walking distance to work/live lofts and inexpensive rentals. Hipsters like the quiet, artisan atmosphere and for now, lack of people. A huge loft two-bedroom can be had for $2,000. Call Jason Shand at 212-688-9090 if interested. One bedrooms rent for around $1,200 with some two-bedrooms going for as low as $1,300.

http://www.nydailynews.com/img/2008/08/01/t10_mott-haven.jpgCredit: M. Roberts for News
Bruckner Bar & Grill

Inwood, Manhattan

Published: 08/01/2008 16:09:34
4 of 5

Inwood hasn't even begun to see how popular it can become among the young and cool crowd. There are parks, the least expensive wine discount store in the city, mom and pop shops, Moroccan restaurants, development on the way, and great neighborhood street life. Some parts feel like the East Village 15 years ago with a bar on almost every corner. Rents start at around $1,620 for a two-bedroom in a pre-war apartment building. The services are improving in the area. There's a library branch and several elementary schools. The area around the East River will see retail development in the next few years. Columbia University's playing fields and athletic facilities are directly north of Inwood Park. A one-bedroom was on the market for $1,095. Call Noel George at 347-236-1862 if interested.

http://www.nydailynews.com/img/2008/08/01/t10_inwood.jpgCredit: F. Roberts for News
Steps leading up from 215th St. and Broadway to Park Terrace East

Ridgewood, Queens

Published: 08/01/2008 16:09:34
5 of 5

We're still bullish about this Queens neighborhood bordering Bushwick. Artists and students looking for non-campus New York life are trying to keep this quiet and reserved neighborhood just as it is now. Small boutiques selling discount brand clothing around the corner from Polish butchers and cafes a few blocks away from a Latino-influenced shopping corridor and residential stretch, Ridgewood has the making of a neighborhood on the rise. With rents in Cobble Hill hitting $2,400 and up for one-bedrooms and tiny two-bedrooms in Cobble Hill hitting $2,600 per month, Ridgewood rents have become a major attraction for the young, struggling, fashionable New Yorker. One-bedrooms rent for $1,200, two-bedrooms for as low as $1,500 and three-bedrooms for $2,200. Call Crifasi Real Estate at 718-821-6016.

http://www.nydailynews.com/img/2008/08/01/t10_ridgewood.jpgCredit: Anderson/News
Row houses along 66th St.

http://www.nydailynews.com/real_estate/toplists/5_neighborhoods_for_hipsters_priced_out_of_william sburg/5_neighborhoods_for_hipsters_priced_out_of_william sburg.html

© Copyright 2008 NYDailyNews.com.

November 13th, 2008, 06:41 PM
Living In | Rego Park, Queens
Yes, There Is a Place Named ‘Real Good’

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2007/07/22/realestate/22livi.xlarge1.jpg Joyce Dopkeen/The New York Times
Time Capsule Elwell Crescent, part of the neighborhood’s centerpiece. “Rego” is an acronym for the area’s 1920s builder, Real Good Construction.

Published: July 22, 2007
IN 1989, when Gabriel Kazakov was 14, his family moved to New York from the Central Asian republic of Uzbekistan and settled in a rental apartment on the edge of Rego Park in Queens, where thousands of others — Bukharian Jews like him and his family — transplanted themselves as the Soviet Union collapsed.
Multimedia http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2007/07/20/realestate/190-livi-otm.jpgGraphic (http://javascript%3Cb%3E%3C/b%3E:pop_me_up2%28%27http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2007/07/20/realestate/22livi_otm.html%27,%20%27408_487%27,%20%27width=40 8,height=487,location=no,scrollbars=yes,toolbars=n o,resizable=yes%27%29) On the Market


Community Profile (http://realestate.nytimes.com/Community/Profiles/Queens-Rego-Park.asp)
http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2007/07/20/realestate/190-livi-map.jpg The New York Times

Now a 32-year-old real estate broker with 5- and 6-year-old daughters, Mr. Kazakov knew when he began searching for a home last year that he need not look beyond the area where he had first become acquainted with the United States. He and his wife, Yelena, bought a co-op with two bedrooms, high ceilings and parquet floors in pleasantly familiar Rego Park, a 1.1-square-mile expanse of central Queens.
“We got settled there, grew up there and basically adapted to the environment,” he explained of his affinity for the neighborhood. “All my friends are still in the area. Plus, for kids, it’s safe.”
Long the modest cousin of Forest Hills, its refined neighbor to the east, Rego Park has lately been buoyed by upwardly mobile immigrants like Mr. Kazakov, who want to remain near their close-knit families and communities. Their cultivation of the neighborhood has had wide-ranging benefits, according to Igor Rafailov, the owner of E-Z Sell Realty and Mr. Kazakov’s boss.
“Russian immigrants are buying houses in Rego Park, renovating them in European styles, modernizing them and increasing their property values as well as the neighborhood’s value,” Mr. Rafailov explained. “The difference between Forest Hills and Rego Park is not as tremendous as it used to be.”
Rego Park’s Central Asian influence is underscored by aromatic Bukharian restaurants on 63rd Drive and 108th Street. Among the 44,000 residents, according to the last census, nearly 7,000 were of Russian and Central Asian ancestry, while thousands more hailed from China, Korea and Latin America and 17,000 were native-born Americans. Brokers note the common draw of good schools, plentiful shopping, handy transportation and attractive prices.
Steven and Jenny Ovadia moved in soon after they were married in 2004, having found that Forest Hills was out of their price range but Rego Park offered a quiet, desirable alternative. “We found a two-bedroom with a screened terrace and spacious living room — “just a nice apartment,” said Mr. Ovadia, 31, a librarian (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/l/libraries_and_librarians/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier) who previously lived in Astoria. “It was comparable to Forest Hills, but for less money.”
Ken Goldstein, a broker with Halstead Property, said that Rego Park, with its well-proportioned, affordable housing stock, is already following in the footsteps of neighborhoods like Jackson Heights in attracting an influx of Manhattanites.
It has added assets in terms of shopping, he said, citing the Rego Park Center mall, a New York Sports Club branch that opened in June and a Trader Joe’s store that is set to open this fall in Forest Hills just over the Rego Park border.
“I think there’s going to be tremendous interest in that area,” Mr. Goldstein said. “All the indications are right there.”
What You’ll Find
Straddling the quick-fire Queens Boulevard, Rego Park is bounded on the southwest by Woodhaven Boulevard and the southeast by Yellowstone Boulevard. The Long Island Expressway hedges its northwest border. The only boundary that seems subject to debate is to the northeast, where Rego Park meets Forest Hills, and brokers eager to make a sale tend to give borderline properties the wealthier Forest Hills designation. But that line is most often drawn at 108th Street.
The neighborhood’s architectural centerpieces are the houses in an area known locally as the Crescents, five semicircular streets that ripple south of the Long Island Rail Road tracks. Exquisite single-family homes are fashioned as Tudors or colonials and affixed with second-floor verandas, dappled stonework and lush gardens. Some renovated homes there have features like marble balustrades and inlaid brick driveways. The streets are narrow, shaded by old trees and edged with sidewalks where children trot to school.
Beyond the Crescents, Rego Park offers a mélange of other single-family homes, quaint row houses with peaked roofs, and six- or seven-story red brick apartment houses. North of Queens Boulevard between 63rd Drive and the Long Island Expressway are the white masses of Park City Estates, Park Plaza and Park City 3 and 4, hulking co-op buildings of up to 16 stories with more than 2,000 apartments.
Many of the tenants on 63rd Drive are small retailers like bakeries, dry cleaners, fruit markets and pharmacies; some have been there for years and command deep loyalty.
Recently, national retailers have asserted a presence at Rego Park Center, whose tenants include Marshall’s, Circuit City and Old Navy. Along with the Queens Center mall in Elmhurst to the west, the center has helped establish this section of Queens Boulevard as the borough’s major shopping nexus.
Skip to next paragraph (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/22/realestate/22livi.html?pagewanted=2#secondParagraph) Multimedia

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2007/07/20/realestate/190-livi-otm.jpgGraphic (http://javascript%3Cb%3E%3C/b%3E:pop_me_up2%28%27http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2007/07/20/realestate/22livi_otm.html%27,%20%27408_487%27,%20%27width=40 8,height=487,location=no,scrollbars=yes,toolbars=n o,resizable=yes%27%29) On the Market (http://javascript%3Cb%3E%3C/b%3E:pop_me_up2%28%27http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2007/07/20/realestate/22livi_otm.html%27,%20%27408_487%27,%20%27width=40 8,height=487,location=no,scrollbars=yes,toolbars=n o,resizable=yes%27%29)


Community Profile (http://realestate.nytimes.com/Community/Profiles/Queens-Rego-Park.asp)

Not all national retailers have found the welcome mat rolled out there, however. A plan to build the city’s first Wal-Mart beside Rego Park Center erupted in a political firestorm in 2004, with City Council members, union leaders and community members in forceful opposition. The plan was scrapped early in 2005.
In May of this year, after a lengthy collaboration with the Department of City Planning, ground was broken on the formerly contested site for a $550 million expansion of Rego Park Center that will include Century 21, Kohl’s, Home Depot and a 1,400-space parking garage. Although plans for the project’s residential component are not yet firm, the developer, Vornado Realty Trust, envisions as many as 400 apartments.
Some people are concerned about traffic at the new mall, which is set to open in 2009, while others are looking forward to the shops, according to Charles Zsebedics, the manager of Park City Estates.
“It’s created a lot of convenience for residents having shopping walking distance away,” said Mr. Zsebedics, referring to the mall’s first phase. “Now you’re going to have additional department stores. They’re basically supportive and feel it will enhance Rego Park.”
What You’ll Pay
Prices have fluctuated recently, but they still fall safely in the range of what many consider affordable.
“A couple years ago,” said Dinko Grancaric, an owner of Century 21 Benjamin Realty, “prices were going as nuts as anywhere in Queens. Now, things are starting to stabilize.”
For a co-op apartment, Mr. Grancaric said, buyers can expect to spend $200,000 to $230,000 for a one-bedroom and around $280,000 for a two-bedroom; sometimes that amount also covers an indoor parking space. He recently sold a one-bedroom co-op for $215,000 in Park City 3 and 4, a one-bedroom co-op for $215,000 in Park Plaza, and a two-bedroom co-op for $305,000. A two-family attached house in the area sold for $695,000.
Mr. Rafailov of E-Z Sell Realty noted that the number of condos in the area is increasing. A one-bedroom is likely to sell for $300,000 to $350,000, he said, while a two-bedroom would be up to $450,000.
Single-family houses tend to sell for $600,000 to $680,000, according to Damon M. Noland, an agent with Foxtons, who cited the recent sale of a three-bedroom colonial on Alderton Street for $550,000. In the Crescents, prices range from $800,000 to $1.5 million, Mr. Rafailov said.
Mr. Goldstein of Halstead Property acknowledged that rentals are sparse, as the area is dominated by co-ops. But among Rego Park’s rentals, he said, a one-bedroom costs around $1,100 a month and a two-bedroom around $1,700.
What to Do
Less than a mile from the center of Rego Park is Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, a 1,200-acre trove of activities including baseball, cricket and soccer, as well as fishing and boating on the 84-acre Meadow Lake.
Within the park is Shea Stadium, home of the New York Mets, and the National Tennis Center where the United States Open tennis tournament is played every year. In addition, the park houses the Queens Museum of Art (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/q/queens_museum_of_art/index.html?inline=nyt-org), Queens Botanical Garden and New York Hall of Science.
There are playgrounds scattered around Rego Park, and there is also Lost Battalion Hall, an indoor recreation facility on Queens Boulevard that includes a fitness room, computer center and Olympic-caliber weightlifting platform.
The Schools
The neighborhood is home to four public schools that serve kindergarten through Grade 8, all registering fairly robust results on city and state tests. At Public School 138 on 63rd Drive, 84 percent of fourth graders met English standards and 97 percent met math standards in 2005, versus 60 percent and 78 percent citywide. The other schools are P.S. 174 on Dieterle Crescent, P.S. 206 on 97th Place and P.S. 175 on 102nd Street.
There is no public high school in Rego Park, but many students attend Forest Hills High School, which had 3,700 students in 2005 and consistently ranks above average. In 2005, students there averaged 458 on the verbal SAT and 504 on the math; city averages were 443 and 472.
Other options in Rego Park include Our Saviour Lutheran School and Our Lady-Angelus School; just beyond neighborhood borders are Resurrection Ascension School and Forest Hills Montessori School.
The Commute
Residents often cite transportation as one of Rego Park’s best qualities, with the R, V and G subway lines stopping at the 63rd Drive-Rego Park and 67th Avenue stations. The E and F trains stop nearby in Forest Hills, which also has a 15-minute Long Island Rail Road connection to Midtown Manhattan (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/classifieds/realestate/locations/newyork/newyorkcity/manhattan/?inline=nyt-geo). Drivers cite easy access to the Long Island (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/classifieds/realestate/locations/newyork/longisland/?inline=nyt-geo) and Van Wyck Expressways and the Grand Central Parkway.
The History
Settled in the 17th century by English and Dutch farmers, the area that would become known as Rego Park was later farmed by Germans and then the Chinese, who grew vegetables for sale in Chinatown.
In the 1920s, the Real Good Construction Company bought farms south of Queens Boulevard and built houses and apartment buildings there. The area was coined Rego Park as a shortened form of the construction company’s name.
Going Forward
While the flourishing of Rego Park as a shopping destination is convenient, the proliferation of national retailers may sap customers from small businesses and alter the neighborhood’s atmosphere.


Copyright 2008 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

To give you a feel for Rego Park real estate, take a look here (http://rp.fjproperties.com)

June 27th, 2009, 08:56 AM
Quaint in Queens: Jackson Heights is cutest 'hood in the borough

by Theresa Braine (http://www.nydailynews.com/authors/Theresa%20Braine)


On an average Saturday, the main business drag bustles with people doing errands, many with children in tow. Saris, Muslim head scarves and J.Crew blend seamlessly. People stop and chat, greeting one another by name.

While this may sound like an international Mayberry, it’s 37th Ave. in the Jackson Heights Historic District. Drawing Manhattan and Brooklyn transplants as well as those from South Asia and Colombia, this small-town Queens neighborhood 30 minutes from Manhattan has a feeling of *camaraderie and cohesion.

“Everyone walks around saying hello,” said homemaker Radha Vatsal, 36, outside her apartment on a block of 1917 apartment buildings named the Greystones. “This neighborhood has the nicest apartments and best subway access.”

Her comments echoed those of most people on the playground and throughout the 35 square city blocks that make up the historic district, about a third of Jackson Heights proper. The U.S. Census Bureau does not provide figures for this subset of Jackson Heights, but it’s a fraction of the 71,308 people who lived within the zip code in 2001, the latest official figures available.

Residents are enthusiastic about the schools, the restaurants, the cultural diversity and the fact that the view from their window won’t change. Because the neighborhood is designated a landmark area, developers can’t just throw any building up on these streets. This gives the historic area a time-warp nature, something residents welcome in one of the largest cities in the world.

But there is great convenience to Jackson Heights’ historic district.

As most New Yorkers know, walk under the 7 train to the north side of Roosevelt Ave. and you’ll find your choice of Indian restaurants, Colombian bakeries and chicken joints, and Mexican taco stands.

What they don’t know is that the area is stately. When Jackson Heights’ buildings went up in the early 1900s they were marketed as a lusher alternative to Manhattan. Some said that wealthy New Yorkers even stashed their mistresses there. During the Great Depression some of the newest co-ops were rented out, costing above $100 per month for sprawling apartments. During the 1970s, the area teetered economically, as all of New York City did, and by the 1980s it had gotten
run-down enough to earn the moniker “Crackson Heights.”

Colombians started arriving in the late 1950s, drawn by low rents and plentiful work associated with the building of Shea Stadium and the World’s Fair. Later on, South Asian populations discovered the area, starting what is called “Little India.” Today these groups are joined by an increasing number of couples from other boroughs in search of more space for their growing families. The *diversity of this farmland turned urban oasis is a major draw. So is the history.

The origins of the district start with the Queensboro Corporation, under president Edward Archibald MacDougall, who bought 350 acres from various farmers. The Queensboro Bridge was under construction then, and there were promises of a subway train and a bus line. MacDougall envisioned spacious and airy apartment buildings surrounding communal gardens, and the first planned communities in all of the United States were born.

“It was the first to use the city block as the basic planning unit,” said Daniel Karatzas, a 50-year-old realtor who grew up in Jackson Heights and wrote a book on the historic district, “Jackson Heights: A Garden in the City.”

Most of the buildings went up between 1917 and 1925, Karatzas said, with the last ones finished in the mid-1950s. Apartment complexes sport names such as the Greystones, Linden Court, Hampton Court, Elm Court, Hawthorne Court, Laburnum Court, Cambridge Court, the Chateau, the Towers and Spanish Gardens. The streets and public spaces are kept up by the Jackson Heights Beautification Group, which meets regularly and sponsors events.

Distinguishing the historic district itself requires a map from the New York City Landmarks Committee of Queens Community Board 3 or the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission. It was registered on Oct. 19, 1993, by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission and comprises a rectangle stretching roughly from the east side of 76th St. to the west side of 88th and from the businesses behind Roosevelt Ave. up nearly to Northern Blvd.

In its heyday the district had a golf course, tennis club and other amenities, with community dances, bowling events and other activities.
But all that fell by the wayside when the land was sold after World War II. The junior high school, for instance, sits on the site of the former tennis club.

The Queensboro Corp.’s 1940s land selloff left Jackson Heights with “a lot of private open space but not a lot of public open space,” said Karatzas. This is a sore point with many residents, though it doesn’t phase families who flock to asphalted Travers Park to play ball or push their kids on the swings.

Two picturesque churches, a synagogue and a mosque are also part of the mix. At 81st St. and 35th Ave. the Community Methodist Church is graced with a small, red oval sign noting that Scrabble was invented there by one Alfred Butts, a parishioner and Jackson Heights resident who perfected the game with friends in the church’s rec room.

Greystone residents would have paid the same for 400 square feet in a five-story Manhattan walkup as they pay for 1,200 square feet in Jackson Heights.

Diversity comes in the form of age as well as ethnicity and religion.

“It’s very quiet here. No police activity,” said 80-year-old Luisa Perdomo, in Spanish, her only language. “It’s safe. Everyone speaks Spanish, and everything’s close.”

Peter Barbera, 53, and Eleanor Barbera, 46, moved here three years ago from a fourth-floor lower East Side walkup in search of an elevator, a laundry room “and a place for her to play,” Peter said, gesturing toward 2-year-old Emma, adopted from China. They paid between $250,000 and $300,000 for a bit less space than they had in Manhattan, where a similar-size home would have cost them well above $650,000. In return they got a two-bedroom apartment with two baths, a separate dining room and a strong co-op board whose garden committee keeps the grounds beautiful.

As in other city neighborhoods, prices decreased with the recession. Karatzas said the past nine months have seen a 10% to 20% drop. Closer inspection reveals the occasional facade in need of paint, and among private houses it’s not uncommon to see two attached homes that are mirror images of one another, except that one is carefully kept up and the other has chipped paint and an overgrown lawn.

Long-timers John and Shirley Brodeur, 84 and 80, respectively, remember when their building had its own telephone service, an operator in the basement of a building in the Chateau complex. Mortgages were unheard-of when they bought.

They paid $11,500 in cash for an apartment in 1960, sold it for $25,000 in the 1970s, and moved upstairs into a larger one they got for $24,000. Today the same apartment across the hall goes for about $400,000.

“I feel like we have an incredible community,” said 42-year-old Jane McNamara, who purposely chose a historic district when she moved back East from California with her husband, John Oddy, 45, five years ago.

“I feel really lucky,” she says. “I grew up in Manhattan, and if you had ever told me I’d be living in Queens I’d have run screaming.”

Jackson Heights is 30 minutes from Grand Central on the 7 train.

http://www.nydailynews.com/real_estate/2009/06/19/2009-06-19_quaint_in_queens_jackson_heights_is_cutest_hood _in_the_borough.html#ixzz0JdOobqXo&C

September 9th, 2009, 05:02 AM
Living In | Neponsit, Queens

A Beach Shared by a Tight-Knit Clan



BEACHWARD Street parking in Neponsit is banned all summer, so getting to the beach is accomplished either by foot,
or thanks to beachside residents who let neighbors park in their driveways.





More Photos > (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2009/09/03/realestate/0906living_index.html)

IT would be wrong to begin with anything but the beach. This tiny neighborhood, a mere four by eight blocks of the Rockaway peninsula in southern Queens, is bounded to the north by Jamaica Bay and to the south by the Atlantic Ocean. That proximity to the ocean defines Neponsit, from its blocks of waterfront mansions to the chummy neighborhood rituals that have sprung up to accommodate its beach-loving population.

With street parking banned from May 15 to Sept. 30, owners of houses near the beach routinely make their driveways available to neighbors, who sometimes leave their car keys in case the homeowners have to run out.

According to Robin Shapiro, an area real estate broker and 23-year resident, these rituals help to bind Neponsit’s population in a contract of interdependent neighborliness. The contract is happy for the most part — “it helps keep us tight-knit,” she says — but there was the implication that resistance to it is not well tolerated. If, for example, a neighbor with an abundance of beachfront parking should choose to hoard it for himself, well, he would be doing so at his peril, Ms. Shapiro said.

Area beaches have been in the news this summer: six people drowned there as of late August, most at night, after lifeguards had gone off duty.

On a recent sweltering Saturday, when the city had forbidden swimming because of tides, Neponsit’s beach still drew many families, spread out on blankets to picnic and tan. The beach is public (it was owned by residents until the city bought it in 1939), and borders the one at Jacob Riis Park to the west. But unlike Neponsit, Riis Park offers paid parking, so it draws far more visitors. Neponsit’s stretch of sand is largely left to its residents or outsiders with parking connections.

“We come out here all the time on weekends,” said Karina Lubowitz, who with her husband, Aaron, and their three young children had set up for the day on a blanket strewn with tiny shovels and beach toys. The family lives in Westchester County, but Ms. Lubowitz grew up in Neponsit and her extended family still lives there, on Beach 147th Street. Mr. Lubowitz, an investment banker, shrugged when asked what there was to do in the area. “There’s really nothing to do,” he said. “If you’re looking to get away, this is the place.”

It was this mellow, isolated quality that attracted William Scholander, who any day now plans to move into a five-bedroom three-bath house at Beach 143rd Street and Cronston Avenue, which he bought for $865,000 — “an absolute steal for the neighborhood,” as he put it. A Brooklyn native, Mr. Scholander, 32, had been living in Marine Park. He wanted an area that felt more remote, but that wouldn’t add substantially to his commute to Wall Street, where he owns a securities brokerage firm.

“I’m used to the busy life and fast pace and everything else,” he said. “When I go home, I want to relax and kick back. It’s like a hideaway. It’s not too far, it’s not too close.” For him, the beach was more of a bonus than a requirement. “I love convenient things,” he said of the beach’s proximity to his new home, which he plans to repaint and resurface, in addition to installing new bathrooms and a new garage door.


Fishermen routinely gather along Beach Channel Drive, not far from Mr. Scholander’s new house; they lean their rods on the concrete barrier overlooking Jamaica Bay and the distant, misty silhouette of Manhattan. According to census data, the population is about 2,000; 95 percent are white, 2 percent Asian, 2 percent Hispanic, and fewer than 1 percent black or multiracial.

As in other Rockaway neighborhoods, Neponsit’s numbered streets are preceded by the word “beach” — the neighborhood runs from Beach 142nd Street to Beach 149th Street — as if to compel enunciation of the word as much as possible. That reinforces what is already obvious, from the scent of salty air to the sight of beach-bound people in bathing suits, lugging chairs and surfboards along the sidewalks. And proximity to the beach has everything to do with real estate: walking north to south, a visitor may notice that the louder the waves, the grander the houses become.

Neponsit is zoned only for residential use, though some other Rockaway neighborhoods offer the services and amenities it lacks. Locals cherish its residential nature along with the street parking ban, which lends its beaches an air of exclusivity.

“Anytime a pin drops in Neponsit, everybody knows about it,” said City Councilman Eric Ulrich, whose district includes the neighborhood. He noted the “wonderful block parties” and said that compared with other parts of his district, Neponsit is “fairly easy to represent” — a place defined by a high quality of life and few problems. A representative example: His office recently received requests to repair the high chain-link fence separating the Neponsit and Riis Park beaches. Holes have been cut, allowing passage between the beaches. “It’s minimal,” he said.

The Neponsit Property Owners Association, a civic group, plants and tends trees and landscaping along malls on Rockaway Beach Boulevard and other neighborhood streets. Peter F. Sammon, the group’s leader and a resident of more than 50 years, says the association collects voluntary annual dues of $50 — $75 from those who live on beach blocks or along Rockaway Beach Boulevard, where tree and landscape upkeep is most costly and prominent.


“You pay a lot of money to live out here,” said Lisa Jackson, a broker with Neponsit Realty. Two- to three-bedroom bungalows, she said, start in the low $600,000s.

Prices increase closer to the beach, where “you’re basically starting at $950,000 and up,” said Annette Farina, the owner of Belle Harbor Realty, adding that a house at that price would most likely require work. (She said “a lot of these Rockaway old-timers” had never redone their kitchens or baths.)

Three- to four-bedroom houses not needing as much work start at $1.6 million, Ms. Farina said. But whatever the house size, anyone shopping on a beach block can expect to pay in the millions.

Prices have fallen about 4 percent from this time last year, according to Ms. Farina. Home sales take an average of five months, as opposed to two and a half months in 2008. In August, there were seven houses on the market.

Ms. Shapiro says summer house rentals are available; she cited a recent one on a beach block for $5,000 a month.


Commercial strips can be found along Beach 129th Street and near the Beach 116th Street subway stop. Still, Ms. Farina said, many items are available only outside the neighborhood. “As a man, if you wanted to look for clothing or shoes, you wouldn’t be able to.”

Leisure activity is also limited, she said, citing a lack of movie theaters, bowling alleys and roller skating or ice skating rinks. “A lot of people go out of the area for different things,” she said. Residents are granted discounts on bridge tolls.

Jacob Riis Park, a Gateway National Recreation Area, has basketball, paddle tennis and volleyball courts.


The local school district is also open to children in Far Rockaway and Ozone Park. Public School/Middle School 114 in adjacent Belle Harbor, on Cronston Avenue at Beach 134th Street, has an enrollment of 834 in kindergarten through Grade 8. A city quality review last year called it a “safe, secure and harmonious school” working to increase challenges for higher achievers. Last year, 99 percent of fourth graders met state standards in English and 99 percent in math, versus 69 and 85 citywide. Among eighth graders, 89 percent met standards in English and 90 percent in math, versus 57 and 71 citywide.

Beach Channel High School, in Rockaway Park, enrolls 1,409 students in Grades 9 through 12. The school has struggled; a city review last year found that “through the leadership, vision and resource management skills of its principal,” it was showing improvement. SAT averages in 2009 were 403 in reading, 398 in math and 401 in writing, versus 435, 459 and 432 citywide.


Neponsit is served by the QM16 express bus, which takes an hour and 15 minutes to get to Midtown Manhattan. There are also two local buses: the 35 and the 22. Neponsit does not have a subway station, but buses run to the Rockaway Park Shuttle, which connects to the A train.

The New York Water Taxi departs from Riis Landing, in nearby Breezy Point, taking riders to Bay Ridge and Lower Manhattan.


The street grid was laid out by the Neponsit Realty Company in 1910, according to the Encyclopedia of New York City. Hotels, stores and houses costing less than $3,000 were prohibited. A few houses became summer-only destinations, but Neponsit was designed for year-round living, unlike many other Rockaway neighborhoods.


February 27th, 2010, 12:07 AM
Off the Grid, but on the Radar



HILLSIDE A view of Audley Street in Kew Gardens, an architecturally rich neighborhood near two major airports.


KEW GARDENS is compact — flanked on one side by Forest Park, on the other by Maple Grove Cemetery. A walk from the greenery on one side to the greenery on the other isn’t very far at all, as long as you don’t get lost.
But the neighborhood, developed in the early 20th century on the site of a former golf course and named for the botanical gardens outside London, is an easy place to get lost.

Streets wind, curve and sometimes just stop; hills alter one’s perspective; and series of wood-frame colonial and Tudor houses give way to solid stretches of six-story prewar co-op buildings. Seeing for more than a block or two in any direction is a challenge, which is how residents like it.

“It’s a really interesting, textured community that’s 20 minutes from Midtown,” said Andrea Crawford, a 15-year resident and chairwoman of Community Board 9, which represents the area.

The convenient commute was what first drew Jeff Zimmer and his fiancée to the neighborhood in 2005, as renters who worked in opposite directions.

They are married now, but the commute hasn’t changed: Mr. Zimmer, 27, a structural engineer, drives to work on Long Island, and his wife, Valerie, 26, takes the train to Manhattan, where she works in marketing at an insurance brokerage firm.

What kept them in Kew Gardens, Mr. Zimmer said, was its small-town feel. “You could walk to the shops, see the same faces,” he said.

The neighborhood is sometimes seen as playing second fiddle to Forest Hills, which has “restaurants and everything” that Kew Gardens lacks, said Karen Eng, the sales manager at Century 21 Benjamin in Forest Hills.

“Forest Hills is where everybody wants to be,” Ms. Eng said, “so when they can’t afford Forest Hills, Kew Gardens is the next location.”

Yet the Zimmers were taken with Kew Gardens, despite its small downtown. In August, they bought an apartment in Hampton Court, a four-building co-op complex that backs up to Forest Park.

Their 1,000-square-foot unit is a junior four, a one-bedroom with an extra room that can be used as a small second bedroom or an office, Mr. Zimmer said. The couple paid $255,000.

These days they enjoy hiking in the adjacent park, which counts Frederick Law Olmsted among its designers, and walking to Kew Gardens Cinemas, a 1930s movie house that now operates as a popular six-screen independent theater. They take the express subway two stops to Flushing for dim sum, or three stops to Jackson Heights for Indian food.

And they have also taken advantage of the neighborhood’s proximity to two major airports.

“A lot of friends visit all the time because they’re coming in and out of either LaGuardia or J.F.K.,” Mr. Zimmer said. “Our place can be a bit of a launching pad.”


The business zone runs along Lefferts Boulevard, around the corner from Austin Street: the movie theater, some stores and restaurants, a bagel shop and the Long Island Rail Road station. The express subway stop is to the north, on Queens Boulevard next to Borough Hall and the county courthouse; a few businesses nearby serve that area.

Otherwise, this 320-acre area of about 25,000 people is mostly residential. The city tightened zoning in 2005, after local groups pushed to preserve single-family homes there.

“For a lot of years, we’ve really been a community under assault by developers,” said Ms. Crawford, who is also a member of the Kew Gardens Improvement Association, a civic group.

Preservationists are now focusing their efforts on a proposal to have part of the neighborhood designated as a city historic district. One result would be a requirement that property owners seek approval for external alterations to their buildings. The 2005 rezoning was effective in slowing large-scale development, said Ms. Crawford, a supporter of the historic designation, but “it didn’t take care of people covering their houses in pink brick and marble quartz,” or of “people paving over their front lawns.”

Although changes of this kind are arguably a matter of individual taste, Ms. Crawford said the properties being considered for designation “aren’t just run-of-the-mill houses,” and added: “You don’t see homes like this anymore. The detail in the mortar, just the care that was put into it — people don’t know how to do this craft anymore.”

Many older co-op buildings are among the propertiesbeing considered for inclusion in the district. One building type that preservationists do not prize is the high-rise apartment tower, of which there is more than one example around the fringes of the neighborhood.


Prices for single-family houses have remained relatively strong — in part, said Ms. Eng of Century 21 Benjamin, because supply is low. Olga Zakinova, an associate broker at Prudential Douglas Elliman, said the most prized houses were on the largest lots, which can reach 60 by 100 feet. Such properties, Ms. Eng said, can have four, five or six bedrooms. “Most of them are in the million-dollar range,” she said.

On the other hand, smaller and more densely packed houses — “Archie Bunker bungalows,” Ms. Eng calls them — cost $400,000 to $500,000.

Co-ops start at $150,000 to $180,000, for one-bedroom units in less sought-after buildings, and hit the low $200,000s in more popular locations.

Junior fours like the Zimmers’ start at over $250,000, with only the largest two-bedroom two-bath units exceeding $300,000.

In general, Ms. Zakinova said, co-op maintenance fees tend to be higher in Kew Gardens than in some other neighborhoods. She ascribed this to the style of building prevalent in the area: gated low-rise complexes, with spacious grounds that require a lot of attention.

Among rentals, one-bedrooms cost around $1,300 a month, two-bedrooms around $1,500. The neighborhood has earned the nickname Crew Gardens because of its popularity among airline crew members making short stops at the local airports. “Crash pads” for pilots and flight attendants can be found on Craigslist for $200 to $300 a night.


All public primary schools serving the area received top grades on their most recent city progress reports. Most students attend Public School 99 on Kew Gardens Road, where last year 81.6 percent met standards in English, 94.2 percent in math.

Some areas are zoned to send students to Public School 51, in Richmond Hill, for prekindergarten and first grade, and No. 56, nearby, after that. A few blocks next to Forest Park are zoned for Public School 90.

The three public middle school options — Junior High Schools 217 and 190, and Middle School 137 — are all outside Kew Gardens. Similarly, the closest high school is Richmond Hill High, to the south on 114th Street, which scored a C on its most recent report card, including an F for “student performance.”


The 538-acre Forest Park has a nine-hole golf course, a running track and seven miles of bridle paths. Its wide expanses are used as meeting sites twice a year by enthusiasts of orienteering, a sport that hones navigational skills through the use of map and compass.

Though Ms. Crawford acknowledged that the Lefferts Boulevard retail corridor could feel less than lively, she said there were high hopes that the movie theater, which reopened in its expanded form not too long ago and draws regular crowds, might bring new restaurants to the area.


From the Long Island Rail Road station, it can take as little as 17 minutes to reach Pennsylvania Station. There is also an express subway station on the E and F lines, and the Grand Central Parkway and Van Wyck Expressway are nearby.

“I work down in TriBeCa,” Ms. Crawford said. “It probably takes me about the time to get to work that it takes someone from Morningside Heights.”
The only downside, Mr. Zimmer said, is that trains are fairly scarce late at night. For those occasions, he said, the neighborhood has a good pizza place open into the early morning.


Maple Grove Cemetery opened in 1875, and according to the Encyclopedia of New York City, the area’s first train station was built to serve it later that year. The Richmond Hill Golf Course followed in the 1890s, though the construction of a new Long Island Rail Road station about a decade later spurred residential construction on its land.

Chinese immigrants began arriving in the neighborhood in the 1960s; today it is home to several distinct ethnic communities, including Koreans, Colombians and Bukharian Jews.


April 5th, 2010, 12:47 AM
A house divided: Brown family's home, bisected by border, is partly in Queens AND Long Island

BY Simone Weichselbaum

The Brown clan stands outside their house, which straddles the Queens/L.I. border.
The kids sleep on one side, parents on the other.

The Brown family lives in a house divided: When they walk inside, a left turn puts them in Queens - and a right in Long Island.

The border between city and suburb bisects their 1,500-square-foot Colonial-style home, giving the Browns the best of both worlds along with twin addresses: 247-27 137th Ave. in Rosedale, Queens; and 103 Gold St. in Valley Stream, L.I.

"The kids sleep in Queens," says mom Myrna Brown. "And we sleep in Long Island."

Brown, husband Lawrence and their eight kids are among 84 homeowners living in Splitsville, with one foot in New York City and the other in Nassau County.

The residents in this strange parallel land straddle Rosedale and Valley Stream, Little Neck and Great Neck, and Floral Park and New Hyde Park.

Along with two addresses, the "suburb slickers" often share two school districts - and the chance to shop for cheaper utilities, cable rates and car insurance based on their home field's advantage.

"It is a blessing," said Brown, 50. "We get our utilities from Queens, and we can use the Nassau County school district."

Brown estimated saving $96,000 over 12 years by sending her kids to Long Island public schools instead of Catholic school in Queens.

That's a good deal, considering the Browns' property is listed as 87% in Queens and 13% in Valley Stream.

"You have the beauty of both Nassau and New York City," said Nassau County assessor Ted Jankowski, whose job is to figure out how to tax these border-crossing properties.

Life on the edge isn't always so sweet.

Fellow border dweller Helene Simonetta, 54, once hoped to add a driveway to the Long Island portion of her property.

Simonetta, who owns 243 Fir St. in Valley Stream with her husband, Michael, was told they would have to remove a city fire hydrant from the Rosedale corner of her lawn to make room.

That's when things turned complicated.

"We have a Queens fire hydrant but a Valley Stream sewer," Simonetta explained. "So we would have to pay $20,000 to move the fire hydrant off our land."

The couple couldn't afford the tab, the hydrant is still there, and the driveway remains a dream.

Homeowner Dharmie Inder, 48, said paying taxes to the city and the county was threatening to drive him out of both.

His New York property taxes are $3,049 because he's 85% in Queens, records show. But Inder says his garbage pickup and emergency services come from Nassau, where his son attends Valley Stream Central High School and he pays $2,257 in property and school taxes.

New York sends him nothing but a tax bill.

"They are not providing me with services," the Manhattan button factory owner griped. "Why are my taxes double my neighbor?"

The man next door pays $1,990 to the city - but not a penny to Nassau.
Still, border life comes with its quirks and perks.

The Huber family boasts a front door in Great Neck, L.I., and a back yard in the Little Neck section of Queens.

"If we put out the garbage in the back the city picks it up, and if we put it in the front the county picks it up," said Fred Huber, 48, a stay-at-home consultant.

Although they pay an eye-popping $6,601 in Nassau County school tax, plus $5,071 in Nassau property tax, the Hubers sent their three children to Divine Wisdom Catholic Academy in Queens.

"We could have sent our kids to Great Neck school or New York City schools," he said. "I still consider myself a New York City person more than a Long Island person."

Unlike some of his suburban neighbors, Huber doesn't look down on city life.
"There is nothing wrong with Queens," he said.

http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/queens/2010/04/04/2010-04-04_a_house_divided_brown_familys_home_bisected_by_ border_is_partly_in_queens_and_lo.html#ixzz0kCJ4mW 84

May 14th, 2010, 06:38 AM
Long Island City Comes Into Its Own







slide show (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/05/09/realestate/20100509cover_ss.html?ref=realestate)

IT’S got sushi bars. A teahouse. An upscale grocery store. A cocktail lounge where the word “mixologist” could reasonably be uttered. Multiple options for doggy day care. It’s one stop from Manhattan, the views are fabulous, and, joy to the world, there are no alternate-side parking rules.

With all that and more, has Long Island City, 30 years after it was first labeled “hot,” finally become a self-sustaining neighborhood?

The evidence that this semi-industrial section of Queens is approaching some kind of critical mass is growing. More than a dozen new and converted condominium developments have opened in recent years, and several are sold out. And while thousands of housing units have appeared, a huge number of others — 5,000 or more — are due to be delivered by both public and private enterprises in the coming years.

Prices are rising, too, having mostly recovered from a dip during the Lehman Brothers slump. Though values for condos have not approached the levels of those in sister neighborhoods across the river in Manhattan, it’s not uncommon to pay more than $700 a square foot in Long Island City. Rentals in new buildings aren’t cheap, either; monthly lease rates in some ascend to heights of $3,000 and beyond (but come with unfettered vistas of Midtown, of course).

Perhaps more important for the new residents paying those prices, the list of local amenities is far longer than it was five years ago. Psychic changes are afoot, too.

Consider the great McDonald’s scare of 2010, wherein the blog liQcity.com posted an item about the Golden Arches’ landing a spot on Vernon Boulevard, the main drag. The response was swift and, tellingly, of the type you might expect in a place like Park Slope or Northside Williamsburg.

“Be prepared for fat lazy people discarding their burger wrappers on the street as they leave the restaurant,” one commenter wrote.

“Please let this be a joke,” said another, repeating the thought three times for emphasis.

It was indeed a joke — the blogger, Nancy Verma, quickly informed her readers that they were all April fools. But back in 1980, when New York magazine labeled Long Island City the city’s “next hot neighborhood,” it would have been impossible to conceive of coordinated neighborhood scorn for fast food. Heavy industry was the rule then, with residents mostly living in town houses and small apartment buildings.

Longtimers like the Cerbone family, which runs the well-known Italian restaurant Manducatis on Jackson Avenue, now share the neighborhood with the still-growing crop of condos. It’s difficult to turn a corner without seeing a new building like the Solarium on 48th Avenue or the Murano on Borden Avenue.

The Citylights co-op tower, which sat alone on the waterfront for years, now has a cadre of sleek, glassy neighbors. At the base of one of those buildings, you can buy $13.79 teriyaki swordfish kabobs and truffled Gouda for $25.99 a pound at Foodcellar & Company, a Whole Foods-like grocer that opened in August 2008. (It was followed by a Duane Reade next door, with $23 shampoos and Belgian ales on display.)

“Five years ago when we moved here, all around us it was just, like, warehouses and fields,” said Yulia Oleinik, who lives in the Arris Lofts building with her husband, Logi Bragason, and works for Unicef across the river. “Now there is all this variety of buildings and the infrastructure is coming big time. I just feel that the neighborhood is very much alive, and growing.”

Ms. Oleinik has tapped into the active artistic community that predates the condos, often taking in plays at underground theaters and shows at small art galleries. She and Mr. Bragason sample cuisine at the annual Taste of Long Island City event and loll by the waterfront in Gantry Plaza State Park, which continues to expand northward along the East River.

Yet like others in L.I.C., Ms. Oleinik is worried about the events of the past two years. Around the time of the Lehman Brothers crash, businesses along Vernon Boulevard started to close, prompting residents to wonder whether they were living in a bubble that was about to burst.

“We go through major amenity cycles,” said Ms. Verma, who has lived in the area several years. “The fall is always an upswing for retail, but in the winter there’s always a little decline. The year before last, I feel like 10 businesses went under.”

Today, an empty retail space at the foot of a new residential building is a common sight, as are “coming soon” signs, like the one on the waterfront advertising a library that remains a vacant lot for lack of financing. Other basic services are missing, as well.

“The most mandatory thing we need here on the boulevard more than anything is a butcher, and a hardware store,” said Gianna Cerbone-Teoli, who grew up in the neighborhood and owns the restaurant Manducatis Rustica on Vernon. “And a good bread man, a bakery,” she added.

Still, as some lights go out, others go on. A space on Jackson Avenue at 11th Street is to become Natural Frontier Market, a health food store. Over on Center Boulevard, the brothers who run the Michelin-anointed restaurant Shi are planning a Mexican place called Skinny’s Cantina across the street.

“It’s not a neighborhood to move to if you like the status quo,” said Jake Atwood, a charter resident of the Citylights building who runs the Web site QueensWest.com. “It is constantly evolving, in fits and starts. There are times when it looks like buildings are being built every five minutes.”

The price of entry has come up some, but not quite back to the highs of the pre-Lehman era. Eric Benaim, the president of the real estate firm Modern Spaces and a partner in the new comfort-food restaurant El Ay Si, said that prices began to rise around March 2009, when they had a starting point of around $500 per square foot. Today they have moved into the $600s and $700s.

What is more, the concessions and incentives that buildings were offering to new buyers in late 2008 and early 2009 have been scaled back.

“Before, they were really throwing everything at you,” Mr. Benaim said. “Now it’s not as many as last year. People are out there now. We do have a lot of real buyers, and it’s busy.”
In terms of actual prices, listings with Nest Seekers International for the Vere condominium, farther from the waterfront on Jackson, range from $389,000, for a junior one-bedroom, to $1.199 million for a two-bedroom penthouse with two terraces. Units at the Powerhouse, a converted factory on Fifth Street, range from $475,000, for a studio, to $1.325 million for a two-bedroom two-bath corner apartment.

The finishes there, as in other buildings, tend toward the luxurious.

“It was like, ‘Oh, was there a fire sale on Bosch washers and dryers?’ ” said Todd Smith, who was impressed by the amenities at the buildings he surveyed with his partner, Ethan Jones. They settled on the Powerhouse and moved there from Riverdale in the Bronx earlier this spring.

Some of the newer buildings have sold out completely, like 5th Street Lofts, a Toll Brothers development that sold the last of 118 units in winter 2009. Prices started in the upper $300,000 range for a studio; a unit with 1,600 square feet of space went for around $1.5 million, according to Scott Avram, a senior project manager at the company.

Sales started in February 2007. And at the Arris Lofts, where sales have been completed, Hanifa Scully of Corcoran Realty closed a deal for a three-bedroom in March for $1,275,000.

“I’ve never been so busy,” said Ms. Scully, who also lives at the Arris and said she had seen some prices pass $800 a square foot. “Since last September, I’ve seen a tremendous change. It’s very hot.”

There are plenty of new rentals, too, with prices to match. At 47-05 Center Boulevard, built and marketed by the Rockrose Development Corporation, one-bedroom units start at $2,600 per month; a studio with 490 square feet of space across the street at 47-20 Center, marketed by TF Cornerstone, rents for $1,925.

Brian Hennessey, who moved into the 5th Street Lofts in 2008 with his wife, Verena Arnabal, and their new daughter, Maya, made the jump to Long Island City from Murray Hill and hasn’t looked back. The couple shop at the Queens Costco when Foodcellar gets too pricey, and on weekends they hang out with a laptop at the teahouse, Communitea, on Vernon Boulevard.

“They just have the right recipe for success here,” he said. “It’s very easy to get to Manhattan. It’s at the right price point. It’s got all the luxury amenities that people want in the yuppie crowd, and it’s got a good community feel to it.”

Still, Mr. Hennessey is clear-eyed about what the neighborhood needs. Parking is a problem: when friends come to dinner, he has to help them find spots. The service interruptions on the No. 7 train are annoying. He wonders if facilities for dogs will ever come to be, as they aren’t allowed in most of Gantry Plaza State Park and there are few other places to take them.

Those issues may intensify in the coming years. The city’s Economic Development Corporation plans to develop up to 5,000 waterfront units at Hunters Point South, 60 percent of them as middle-income housing; construction should begin next year, said Gayle Baron, the president of the Long Island City Business Development Corporation. And Rockrose, which has already built several waterfront towers, has the rights and plans to build several more.

“I can only imagine that we’re going to wish these days would never end,” Mr. Hennessey said. “When the people come, I can imagine this becoming a very busy part of town.”
Standing over a cappuccino at her restaurant’s counter, Ms. Cerbone-Teoli is circumspect. Some of her regulars are old-timers, but some are new arrivals, and business is good.

As the neighborhood continues to find its way, she hopes that some kind of centralized planning will prevent overdevelopment and disorganized growth. But leaving all that aside, she’s tired of hearing that her home is becoming a happening place to be.
“People think it was just discovered,” she said reprovingly. “But Long Island City was always a great community. It didn’t just now become great.”


June 5th, 2010, 02:39 AM
Forest Hills Gardens, Queens







slide show (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/06/06/realestate/20100606liv_ss.html?ref=realestate#1)

LIVING in Forest Hills Gardens, a tucked-away hamlet in central Queens, wasn’t difficult for John Hazleton, who knew he wanted to move in when he first stepped into Station Square and saw a sea of red roofs and abundant greenery. Ernest Bristol, another resident, wanted to be near Manhattan but also the fresh air of Forest Park, while Ruby Ross Goodnow appreciated the chance to have a well-built house, nice neighbors, and her own garden and dogwood trees.

“What more could one wish?” Ms. Goodnow said.

Such were area denizens’ views, as published in a 1915 pamphlet promoting the Gardens — and the story today is largely the same.

The neighborhood is concluding a yearlong celebration of its 100th anniversary, dating to the first purchase of land by its creator, a planning foundation, in 1909. A final party Sunday night — called “The Party of the Century,” actually — comes the day after Children’s Day at Flagpole Green. For a year, people from the community have been emerging from their Tudor and colonial houses to take architectural tours and attend special dinners and performances, reminders of why they moved there in the first place.

Noelle Shearman, who lives on Summer Street with her family, didn’t choose to move there — she was born there. After moving away for college and then to live in San Francisco and Manhattan, she became engaged. And within two minutes of accepting the proposal, she turned to her future husband, Ethan Brown, and asked if it would be possible for the couple to move back to her parents’ neighborhood.

“Without even blinking, he agreed,” she said. But Mr. Brown did inquire whether the couple might at least live on a different block from his in-laws.

That they did. Today their children, Fisher and Micaela, play outside, part of a happy squadron — Ms. Shearman estimated that 7 of the 10 households on her block have children. And many of them are returnees like herself, willing to come back to the serious restrictions on property alterations and parking that accompany the benevolent control of the Forest Hills Garden Corporation.

The rules are a small price to pay, Ms. Shearman and others say, for the friends they make and the living architectural museum they walk around in.

“If you took the cars off the street, you couldn’t tell what year it was,” said Amy D’Amato, who in a few months will be moving in from a house just outside the neighborhood with her husband, Christopher, and three children. “It could be 1926; it could be 2010,” she said. “And I appreciate that.”


The preserved character of the neighborhood’s houses is such that a miniseries was just being shot there in late May: “Mildred Pierce,” a period piece for HBO about 1930s Beverly Hills, starring Kate Winslet.

The sloping, curving streets of the Gardens, an area about 14 blocks long and 8 wide at its widest point, offer a notable contrast to the often confusing avenue-street-and-road grid of Queens. Nor do the differences end there: The neighborhood shuns the borough’s numbered street system as well, preferring pastoral names like Beechknoll Road and Wendover Road, and it has its own road signs, painted a color called Harwichport blue.

The grand entrance to the Gardens is Station Square, accessible from Queens Boulevard if you brave the throbbing crowds along Continental (71st) Avenue and Austin Street, two serious commercial arteries. Once you pass under the Long Island Rail Road tracks and enter the square, a relative silence falls and the general ambience of the neighborhood is established.

Station Square has just a few businesses — a law office and real estate firm here, an Indo-Asian restaurant and dry cleaners there — and that is it for commerce in the Gardens. The rest is houses, both town houses and free-standing homes, numbering 890 in all, along with 11 apartment buildings, a few churches, a community house and the famed West Side Tennis Club, which was home to the U.S. Open until 1977.

The realm and its 4,500 inhabitants are in a sense governed by the Forest Hills Gardens Corporation, which oversees street paving, sidewalks, security, parking and landscaping (it installs about 70 trees a year), along with plenty of events and committees. The corporation is also in charge of enforcing the covenants that new owners must sign when buying property, which prevent exterior alterations without express approval. Community maintenance fees are mandatory; they average $1,500 to $2,000 a year, said Mitchell Cohen, the corporation’s president.

Its continued existence is testament to the deep involvement that many Gardens residents have in the affairs of their community. Neill E. Parker, an architect who is a chairman of the corporation’s architecture committee, says the amount of work that goes into evaluating and deciding on structural changes to the neighborhood’s houses can be substantial — with meetings up to five hours long.

As Mr. Cohen put it: “We have a lot of people who care so much and do so much for the community, and it’s all volunteer. It’s a labor of love.”


The real estate slowdown did not leave the Gardens untouched, though it may only have slowed the rate of increase in prices, which often outstrip those of surrounding areas of Queens.

“It’s not as if a meteor came down and created a big crater,” said Robert Hof, an owner of Terrace Sotheby’s International Realty in Station Square. “In the higher-priced homes, it was more of just a leveling off, because they were moving really quickly up.”

Inventory had been down somewhat, said Eileen Conway of Madeleine Realty, but is slowly coming back this year; there are 32 houses on the market right now. In general, Ms. Conway said, town houses cost $1.2 million to $1.6 million, and “right now, it’s a buyer’s market.”

As for free-standing houses, the price range can be quite wide. This average is somewhere around $1.7 million, Mr. Hof said, but they can go much higher; his wife and business partner, Susanna Hof, pointed out that a rare new-construction house on Tennis Place with seven bedrooms and five and a half baths is on the market for $5.9 million. Of the Hofs’ 2010 sales, a Spanish-style house on Olive Place with five bedrooms and a finished basement sold in March for $2.093 million.

Co-op apartments seem to come on the market less frequently than houses; they start in the $200,000s, for studios, and range as high as $700,000 for two-bedrooms. They rarely exceed the low $700,000s, Ms. Hof said.

One-bedroom rentals typically range from $1,700 to $2,100 a month; two- and three-bedrooms reach $2,800.


The lone public school, No. 101 on Russell Place, is well regarded. Last year, 92.4 percent of third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students met standards in English, 97.5 percent in math.

A junior high just outside the Gardens is the Russell Sage School, No. 190, on Austin Street near Yellowstone Boulevard. Last year, 90.1 percent of students met standards in math, 82.8 in English.

At Forest Hills High School, north of Queens Boulevard on 110th Street, SAT averages last year were 456 in reading, 460 in writing and 490 in math. State averages were 435, 439 and 432.

Many parents in the Gardens also speak highly of the Kew-Forest School, a private institution on Union Turnpike where tuition for Grades 1 through 12 ranges from $20,950 to $24,500. Ms. Shearman, who sends her children to Kew Forest, described it as the “best kept secret” of Forest Hills Gardens.


Outside of community events and the back-and-forth of the West Side Tennis Club, residents frequent the Church in the Gardens Community House, which offers a pool, a gym, various classes and after-school activities for children and families, and an annual “Taste of Forest Hills” event with wine and food for adults. Family memberships cost $625 to $750 a year. There are also two movie theaters within walking distance of the Gardens, on Austin Street and Queens Boulevard, along with all the shopping and dining that surround them.


Those living to the northwest can take the E, F or R into Manhattan from the Forest Hills stop; the express trip takes about 20 minutes. The Long Island Rail Road also leaves from Station Square and arrives at Pennsylvania Station in 15 minutes or so. (A monthly is $149.) Residents closer to Union Turnpike have the nearby Kew Gardens stops for the subway and the L.I.R.R.


In 1909, inspired by the garden city ideal of the British urban theorist Sir Ebenezer Howard, the Russell Sage Foundation in New York bought the plot that would become Forest Hills Gardens. The foundation hired the architect Grosvenor Atterbury and the landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted Jr.; Atterbury’s romantic ideals and love of the Tudor style informed the aesthetic.


October 18th, 2010, 07:38 AM
Echoes of Olde England





FOR those who envision Queens as stamped by cookie cutter — block after block of almost indistinguishable homes, like mood wallpaper for the ’70s TV show “All in the Family” — Auburndale might come as a surprise.

The one-and-a-quarter-square-mile neighborhood near Flushing packs a century’s worth of house styles into its neatly landscaped blocks, so many homes have distinct identities.
In fact, the fictional character who may come to mind on a stroll down these streets may not be Archie Bunker, but Hansel or Gretel. That’s because Auburndale is a treasure chest of Tudors, whose narrow windows, zigzagging roofs and prominent chimneys could almost be witches’ addresses.

In any event, residents seem to respond to the Tudors, with their generous mixes of stone and stucco veined in timbers of chocolate brown. Even when Tudors make up an entire block, builders seem to have taken pains to make each one stand out, said Frank Racanati, a resident who is an art director for a computer graphics company.

“There are so many prefab homes in Queens, and this was something different, something cozy,” said Mr. Racanati of his row house, whose front door, oddly positioned at a corner, guarantees that his property matches only “the house five doors down from me.”

Inside, he said, the U-shaped archways of his three-bedroom, which cost $535,000 in June, constitute a far more historic space than the humdrum rental he left near downtown Flushing.

On other streets, some residents say they see the menace of uniformity, as developers raze smaller, older buildings and replace them with big multifamily dwellings.

In response, the Auburndale Improvement Association, a 600-family organization, has joined with other groups to seek rezoning for the southern section of Auburndale, an area cut through the middle by Long Island Rail Road tracks.

The idea is to preserve the neighborhood’s small-scale, lawns-and-driveways character, which in some respects seems to have more in common with nearby suburban Nassau County than New York.

And years of intense lobbying appear to be paying off. This month, the City Council will vote on whether to rezone about 200 blocks to limit large buildings, according to a spokeswoman for the planning department.

For Joan Jaworski, a 32-year resident who also serves as the improvement association’s treasurer, that comes as great news. Next door to her last year, developers tore down a single-family wood-frame home and replaced it with a four-family semiattached. Had the new zoning been in place, she says, only a two-family would have been allowed on the 5,000-square-foot lot.

The rezoning “should have happened years ago,” she said, “but if it comes now, we will still be very happy.”

What the more restrictive zoning will do to property values remains to be seen, but not every resident automatically embraces the idea.

“I’m O.K. with people expanding, as long as it’s not an eyesore and blends in with the block,” said Caroline Tsung-Galan, explaining that her corner-lot Cape, which cost $550,000 in June, might need an addition at some point.

Staying put is important for Ms. Tsung-Galan, who grew up across the street and lived elsewhere for only three years, after college, when she owned a one-bedroom co-op in Oakland Gardens.

Multiple generations living steps apart in this way is another hallmark of Auburndale.
“When I run out of milk, I run across the street with my coffee cup,” said Ms. Tsung-Galan, who teaches nearby in Bayside. “This is how real it is: They were paving last time, and I got tar all over my slippers.”


Opinions about the neighborhood’s borders are as numerous as the thick-branched London plane trees that shade its streets. Some community leaders take a very broad view; brokers tend to slice up the area into a crazy-quilt of named enclaves.

But ask many residents, especially if they’ve lived here for decades, and a consensus emerges that Auburndale is roughly bounded by 162nd Street, 48th Avenue, Francis Lewis Boulevard and 32nd Avenue.

South of the tracks, the homes tend to be slightly more modest, with ranches and some chain-link-fenced yards, but also capacious Dutch colonials.

North of the tracks, in the more affluent area also known as Broadway-Flushing or Flushing North, sizable center-hall colonials and porticoed Mediterreans vie for space among the Tudors. This is particularly true on and near 35th Avenue, where the homes draw attention because they often sit on lots higher than the sidewalks.

About 25 blocks of this northern area are protected by a 2009 rezoning that limits larger development. And a covenant dating back to the neighborhood’s origins bans fences, prohibits flat roof lines and establishes setbacks.

But human safeguards proved pointless in September, when a tornado downed trees. Weeks later there were still stumps left jutting out of broken sidewalks, as on 39th Avenue at 192nd Street. They were eerily roped off with colored tape, as if a crime had occurred.

Buyers rather than renters are in the majority: 54 percent of the homes are owned, according to the last census data, versus 30 percent in the city as a whole. House hunters often hail from denser sections of Queens, like Sunnyside, Corona and Elmhurst — in search of space for newborns, say, or a patch of grass.

A large percentage of the population, which was about 25,000 in the last census, also tends to be Asian; many have Korean or Chinese ancestry, records show. Ms. Tsung-Galan’s family is a case in point. They immigrated from China in the 1970s, first to downtown Flushing and then, in the 1990s, to Auburndale for more space, she said.


The 72 homes for sale in early October ranged from a three-bedroom attached town house with Tudor details, for $499,000, to a three-bedroom detached colonial for $1.498 million, according to listings.

Sales are generally more sluggish than they were a few years ago, brokers say. But despite evidence that some prices in New York have fallen as much as 20 percent, Auburndale’s real estate market seems relatively healthy.

The average price of the 132 houses that sold in 2007 was $680,564, according to data from the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island prepared by Judy Markowitz, a broker with Re/Max Millennium. By contrast, the average price of the 87 homes that sold in 2009 was $618,064; so the dip was about 9 percent.

“We don’t have nearly the onslaught of short sales and foreclosures that the other areas have experienced,” Ms. Markowitz said. “It’s still a price war at a beauty contest.”


Stores are clustered on corners throughout Auburndale, providing places to get shirts dry-cleaned or take dance classes, and to do basic shopping without setting foot in a car.

But residents usually have to drive to Francis Lewis Boulevard when they want to stock up, at a pair of Waldbaum’s supermarkets. Or they may get dinner at BKNY, a popular Thai restaurant that shows soccer games at its circular bar.

Traces of Auburndale’s Italian heritage can be found at places like M & S, a pennant-draped market where a box of a dozen frozen raviolis costs $5.99.


Parents rave about Public School 32, where last year 80 percent of fourth-graders met state standards in math, 70 percent in English. At Public School 107, the fourth-grade percentages were comparable: 81 percent in math, 69 percent in English.

At Intermediate School 25 last year, 75 percent of eighth-graders met standards in math, 60 percent in English.

One of the area’s main public high schools, just outside the neighborhood, is Francis Lewis, which is known for having many ethnicities among its 4,500 students. It offers nine foreign languages, including Korean, Hebrew and Greek. SAT averages in 2009 were 528 in math, 457 in reading and 454 in writing, versus 432, 435 and 439 statewide.

There are also parochial schools like Holy Cross High School, a 55-year-old boys’ school that costs $7,850 a year.


There is no subway service, but there are two stops on the Long Island Rail Road’s Port Washington line: Auburndale, which doesn’t offer parking, and Broadway, which does but requires permits.

Six trains leave Auburndale every weekday morning from 5:56 to 8:05, arriving at Pennsylvania Station in 24 to 30 minutes. A monthly ticket costs $177, slightly less online.

There are eight city bus lines in the neighborhood, as well as the QM3, an express bus that runs down Northern Boulevard to Midtown for $5.50. There are also public buses to Long Island. Many commuters choose to drive to work, via nearby parkways and expressways.


In 2009 Martins Field, a rectangular park on 46th Avenue, was renamed the Olde Towne of Flushing Burial Ground, to honor hundreds of African-Americans and American Indians interred there throughout the 1800s. For decades before this history came to light, said Richard Hourahan, a curator at the Queens Historical Society, the park served as playground.


December 10th, 2010, 08:38 PM
A Little Land That the Subway Forgot


Brookville Park, looking toward Brookville Boulevard. Planes on the approach to Kennedy Airport
fly so low over Rosedale that some residents have wondered if the boulevard,
a main artery, was being mistaken for a runway.



FOR residents of Rosedale, which cozies up against Nassau County about 15 miles from Midtown Manhattan, being far from the center of things has its advantages.

Relatively speaking there aren’t many people in this southeastern corner of New York: a population of just 30,000 dispersed across two square miles, some on streets that dead-end on marshes.

This part of the city that subways never reached has other counterintuitive qualities. Buildings don’t block sunlight. Properties have lawns, often both front and back. And stores offer parking, so groceries don’t need to be lugged home by foot.

Four years ago, those were some of the factors that made Mary Haastrup happy in her move to Rosedale from Mill Basin, Brooklyn.

She came first and foremost for professional reasons, said Ms. Haastrup, who was born in Nigeria and sells bright African fabrics and other imports for a living. With a growing West African population in the neighborhood, she said, many residents want products that remind them of home. (Census figures indicate Rosedale is three-quarters black.)

Ms. Haastrup’s wares are displayed in a store on 243rd Street, in a commercial district.

She lives nearby in the upstairs unit of a vinyl-sided detached two-family that cost her $720,000 in 2006. She estimated that the same-size property would probably have run $1.3 million in Mill Basin, and recalled that neighborhood as more boisterous. Rosedale is “just much, much quieter,” Ms. Haastrup said.

All that is not to imply a lack of downsides. Peeking at the horizon in Rosedale, for instance, one gets a glimpse of Kennedy International Airport’s control tower. On some days, according to Ms. Haastrup and other residents, jets descend low enough that they seem about to mistake Brookville Boulevard, a main road, for a runway.

Fred Kress, a lifelong resident, says he actually enjoys distinguishing between the Aer Lingus and American Airlines flights from the front porch of house he shares with his grandparents.

In the 1940s, the family’s home cost $3,200. Today, after decades of steady improvements mostly made by him, it would probably fetch $350,000, said Mr. Kress, an insurance broker in Rockville Centre, on Long Island.

What has especially appealed to him about living in Rosedale over the years, he added, is residents’ level of commitment to quality-of-life issues. “You can either just live in a place,” he said, “or you can become involved in a place — and there’s a big difference.”

That became apparent to him as Rosedale battled crime waves in the 1970s and 1980s, as well as what he considered aggressive development in the last few years.

Mr. Kress, 48, an Eagle Scout, credits the scouts with inspiring him to form the Cornucopia Society in 1997 to address Rosedale’s litter and graffiti problems. The group also created food pantries that at their busiest, from 2001 to 2003, fed 600 families a month, he said.

In 2008, for the first time in decades, there wasn’t enough interest in Rosedale to field any scout groups, but Cornucopia still has 30 members. In addition, he added, members of the Rosedale Civilian Patrol, which was founded in 1975 as an aid to the 105th Precinct, still cruise the streets.

The 64-year-old Rosedale Civic Association pushed for the tighter zoning that cleared the City Council in September, he said. Those laws were needed, in his opinion, to crack down on the proliferation of six-family apartment houses whose residents’ cars were worsening parking problems.

Volunteers mean “community pride,” Mr. Kress said. “People here will take steps to protect their neighborhood.”


On a recent weekend morning, when viewed from Brookville Park in the southern part of the neighborhood, a plane was close enough that the treads on its landing gear were almost discernible. But people out for a stroll along the well-kept paths of the park barely broke from their conversation.

Like many Queens areas that sprang to life in the early 20th century, Rosedale has its share of green space, as well as a name that evokes nature.

The houses from that formative era, with enclosed ground-floor porches and third-story dormers, are clustered west of Hook Creek Boulevard, as on 248th Street; satellite dishes and shiny fences sometimes give them a modern gloss.

Modest brick houses with gabled ends turned streetward can be found north of Merrick Boulevard. And 1960s two-families, clad in clapboards upstairs and imitation stone below, line 149th Avenue near the Long Island border, where Francis Lewis Boulevard ends.

Memphis Avenue is home to some of the multifamilies that caused the zoning fuss, partly because they are much boxier than the one-families they replaced, said William Perkins, the civic association’s president, who moved to Rosedale from Flatbush, Brooklyn, in 2003.

Mr. Perkins isn’t blaming the 30 percent of residents who rent. But he is less happy with the actions of builders during the boom a few years ago. He described homes’ being slapped together with loose gutters and no lawns: “When you saw what was going on, you would say, ‘Wait a minute here, this was a pretty, manicured neighborhood.’ ”
He also wants crime to be a memory.

In 2007, Rosedale pushed the city to build a new police substation on North Conduit Avenue, convinced that poor police response time was linked to the distance of the main precinct, in Queens Village. Today 40 of the precinct’s 200 officers are deployed at this nearby site, Mr. Perkins said.

Even so, there have been 14 murders through Nov. 21, versus 7 by the same point in 2009; assaults and robberies are climbing, too.

The situation pales when compared with the 30 killings in 1990, for example. Also, Mr. Perkins pointed out, “crime is up in the rest of the city,” as evidenced by police statistics so far this year.


As of early December, according to the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island, there were 129 single and multifamily homes for sale, at an average of $430,089, for the 11422 ZIP code, which roughly corresponds with the neighborhood.

They ranged from a three-bedroom ranch built in 1925, for $199,000, to a four-bedroom colonial built in 2001 for $750,000. There were six co-ops, too, mostly in Laurelton Gardens, an older complex next to Laurelton Parkway, at an average of $117,833. Co-ops represent a sliver of the market — as do condominiums, which are found mostly on 258th and 259th Streets.

Homes are taking longer to sell. In 2007, according to data prepared by Re/Max Southshore Realty, the average time on the market was 30 days, versus 72 days this year.
Prices are down, too. In 2007, 112 homes sold, for an average of $508,870. Through the first 11 months of 2010, 90 homes sold, for an average of $367,770. That works out to a 28 percent drop.

One reason for it is the large number of distressed properties, said Kenny Sattaur, a broker for Re/Max. Three of the current crop for sale are bank-owned, and 29 are short sales. As Mr. Sattaur put it, “They’re having a huge effect on bringing down prices.”


At Public School 38 last year, 38 percent of fourth graders met standards in reading, 52 percent in math. After fifth grade, many head to nearby Public School 138; its eighth graders had a 49 percent proficiency rating in reading, 30 percent in math.

Poor test scores forced the closing of Springfield Gardens High School in 2007. The city replaced it with four smaller schools. Test results are still somewhat weak; the best SAT averages of the bunch last year were at George Washington Carver High School for the Sciences: 425 in reading, 435 in math and 418 in writing, versus 484, 499 and 478 statewide.


Because Rosedale sits on low land, near Jamaica Bay, flooding can be a nuisance, though that same landscape allows for almost effortless access into waterways that gurgle past golden saltwater meadows.

Kayaks can be launched from the end of Huxley Street, where a path angles down to Hook Creek by the remains of an old railroad bridge. The Parks and Recreation Department built a boat launch on the site in 2007.


There is no subway link to Manhattan. But the Long Island Rail Road’s Rosedale station was refurbished in 2008. Between 6 and 8 a.m., five trains run to Pennsylvania Station, with travel times of 29 to 34 minutes, though a few require a transfer in Jamaica. Monthly fares are $177, or $173.46 online.

Seven bus lines operate in the area, among them the X63, which offers five trips to Midtown from 149th Avenue between 6 and 7 a.m. They cost $5.50, and take about an hour and a half.


In a shaded park on 245th Street stands a gray plywood-and-tin Vietnam War memorial with 200 names on it. Residents say the monument, erected in spring 1968, is the second oldest in the country. “Look on these names, you who in these troubled times despair,” it reads. “Look on these names and thank your god our nation still has gallant men who care.”


December 14th, 2010, 05:12 AM
Of Queens and Kings


The zigzagging border between Brooklyn and Queens follows a curious and sometimes unsettling path, dividing streets and passing through both a campus and a cemetery.

DAVID PABANA was standing on a sidewalk one day this fall when a baseball some children had been playing with rolled into the fence behind him. He threw the ball back to the children. It was at once the most routine act of neighborliness and one of the strangest journeys a baseball can make in New York City. When the ball left Mr. Pabana’s hand, it was in Queens. When it landed, the ball was in Brooklyn.

Mr. Pabana stood on one side of a narrow residential street called Eldert Lane. The children were assembled on the other. In between was an unheralded stretch of the invisible, zigzagging, occasionally awkward and often-disputed 21-mile border demarcating New York City’s two largest boroughs.

The boundary was once a straight line that cut through the city grid, splitting blocks and properties — some people cooked their dinner in Queens but ate it in Brooklyn. In the mid-1920s and the early ’30s, the State Legislature redrew the border at least twice so that it would, for the most part, sit in the center of streets. It flows east off the East River down the center of Newtown Creek and hits land for the first time on an industrial stretch of Metropolitan Avenue. Then it traces a jagged path through umpteen neighborhoods, cutting through creeks and train stations, warehouses and parks, across the football field at the Franklin K. Lane schools and between the headstones at Evergreens Cemetery, causing daily confusion and complications for the thousands of New Yorkers who live and work by its side.

Life on the border has a who’s-on-first feel. Even longtime residents and letter carriers believe that Queens is over there when it is really over here; people insist they live in Brooklyn while they actually live in Queens; on Drew Street, many houses have both a three-digit Brooklyn address and a four-digit hyphenated Queens address.

At 1001 Irving Avenue, a warehouse once occupied by a luggage manufacturer, the first nine letters on the awning — “L-U-G-G-A-G-E E-X” — are in Brooklyn, the last nine — “P-R-E-S-S C-O-R-P.” — in Queens.

Mr. Pabana, 36, a carpenter who lives on Eldert Lane near 87th Road in Woodhaven, once had a Queens car service accuse him of living in Brooklyn (and try to charge him extra).

Edwin Velazquez, 63, a retired school bus driver who lives near the line down St. Nicholas Avenue, said that about a year ago, a Queens police officer refused to stop a fight because it was across the street in Brooklyn. “I said, ‘You’re kidding me,’ ” Mr. Velazquez recalled. “He says, ‘You got to call 911.’ ”


February 5th, 2011, 01:28 AM
A Migrants’ Enclave Attracts a New Breed









A WESTERN Queens neighborhood planned by an innovative developer beginning a century ago, Jackson Heights is a vibrant oxymoron: an enclave where much of the world is represented. Long a magnet for immigrants, the area today is dazzlingly multifarious: more than 30 languages are spoken, including Bengali, Korean, Spanish and Urdu. Nearly two-thirds of residents were born abroad, according to census surveys from 2005 to 2009.

But over the last five or six years, brokers say, new arrivals from far-flung lands have increasingly been joined by young professionals migrating much shorter distances: north from Brooklyn, or east from Manhattan and the Queens neighborhood of Astoria.

The ranks of these new buyers are thick with architects, academics, lawyers and artists.

“These are people who are not Wall Street types, and who tend to be creative professionals,” said Daniel Karatzas, an associate broker with the Beaudoin Realty Group and author of “Jackson Heights: A Garden in the City,” a history published in 1990 with support from a local civic group. “Fifteen years ago, this was not on their radar screen.”

Projit Mallick, a lawyer in his 30s who grew up in Kolkata (previously transliterated as Calcutta) and Los Angeles, is one Astoria transplant. Drawn by the abundant prewar housing stock, Mr. Mallick in 2004 paid $295,000 for a three-bedroom co-op on 82nd Street with his new husband, Andy Theodosiou, a naturalized Greek-American raised in Astoria. Their 1,500-square-foot apartment is a distinctive space created by a previous owner, who conjoined a pair of one-bedrooms, turning the superfluous second dining room into a third bedroom.

The combined units, which Mr. Mallick and Mr. Theodosiou redid themselves, proved a boon in another way as well. Mr. Mallick, a practicing Hindu, noted that the extra kitchen faced northeast, the quadrant associated in Indian tradition with the water element of the universe. This was an auspicious orientation for a prayer room, which he gave a modern flair with a chrome Sputnik lamp and a metallic blue wall.

“The other option was to turn it into a huge walk-in closet,” Mr. Mallick said. “God won over fashion.”

Jackson Heights was a good fit for Mr. Mallick in a couple of other ways as well. An avid cook, he makes frequent visits to the South Asian commercial district centered on 74th Street between Roosevelt and 37th Avenues, where he buys nuts and spices at the Indian food emporium Patel Brothers. And the area’s prominent gay community also increased Mr. Mallick’s comfort level. Although he doesn’t frequent gay nightspots on Roosevelt Avenue like Club Atlantis and Friend’s Tavern, he said, “you want to be in a neighborhood where you feel safe and welcome.”

As young professionals have moved into the area, a few sleek businesses have opened up to cater to them. Espresso 77, on 77th Street, serves a mean café au lait in a cozy storefront adorned with the silk-screens of a local artist. The owner of Table Wine, a specialty shop tucked in among older mom-and-pop stores on 37th Avenue, is known to recommend just the right bottle for dinner parties. And Starbucks has made a relatively unobtrusive foray into the area, taking up residence, hermit-crab style, in the 1947 former headquarters of the development company that conceived Jackson Heights.

“People like changes, but the majority of people don’t want too many changes,” said Vladimir Simkhovich, a 30-year resident and the broker-owner of Jackson Heights Properties. “And that’s the beauty of Jackson Heights.”


That the neighborhood possesses an unmistakable sense of place is no accident. The Queensboro Corporation, spurred by the 1909 opening of the Queensboro Bridge, which linked to 59th Street in Manhattan, bought and gradually developed a vast swath of land between Roosevelt Avenue and Northern Boulevard. Influenced by the Garden City movement and by the Georgian dormitories of Harvard University, the company’s president and architects set out to create a model middle-class urban suburbia, which took as its unit of planning the entire city block rather than an individual building.

The signature feature was, and remains, the “garden apartment” complex: a series of architecturally unified, cooperatively owned apartment houses built around an undivided, shared garden. Stylistically the complexes are often quite distinct from one another, so that a short stroll can take one past French Gothic mansard roofs, neo-Georgian gabled dormers, and Italian Romanesque/Renaissance towers.

The sense of a guiding hand behind the streetscape, and the generous proportions of its prewar apartments, appeal to design-conscious buyers.

“The rooms are gracious,” said Gloria Mizutani, an architect, who last April moved into a two-bedroom prewar apartment on 78th Street, for which she and her longtime companion, David Hendershot, paid $345,000. “And it’s really nice in the summer to have a nice, civilized glass of wine with cheese while sitting out in the private garden.”

Jackson Heights, with more than 67,000 inhabitants, is conservatively considered to be the parallelogram of land bounded by Roosevelt Avenue on the south, Junction Boulevard on the east, Northern Boulevard on the north, and the Brooklyn Queens Expressway on the west. But there is no unanimity on boundaries; many would include an area north of Northern Boulevard.

At the neighborhood’s heart is a landmark district whose irregular, jigsaw borders run from 76th to 88th Streets, between Roosevelt Avenue and Northern Boulevard. Its many co-ops offer generous quantities of light and air at a fraction of Manhattan prices.

“Important in its own time,” the architect Robert A. M. Stern has written, “Jackson Heights seems even more so now, when the shortcomings of virtually every one of our efforts to provide multifamily housing are all too evident around us.”


The most coveted co-ops are those in pre-1925 elevator buildings, which have fireplaces, formal dining rooms and blocklong internal gardens. Three-bedrooms in these buildings typically sell for $500,000 to $550,000, said Mr. Simkhovich, adding that two-bedrooms range from $400,000 to $500,000. Post-1929 prewar buildings are less sumptuous but still offer high ceilings and period details, and some have sunken living rooms; a two-bedroom with one bath sells for $280,000 to $350,000, said Mr. Karatzas, the Beaudoin associate broker, who compiles a quarterly sales report on the area.

One-bedrooms in postwar co-ops cost $120,000 to $190,000, Mr. Karatzas said; three-bedroom prices are in the mid- to high $200,000s.

In the 1920s the Queensboro Corporation also built picturesque red-brick English garden homes. Usually three stories high with a garage or common rear driveway, such a house sells for $575,000 to $850,000, Mr. Karatzas said, depending on condition and whether it is a one- or two-family. In the 1930s, two-story one-family houses went up; these sell for $550,000 to $650,000.

There are 49 houses on the sale market, and as for rentals, Diane Macari, a broker-owner of Exit Realty Lewis and Murphy, estimates that there are at least three dozen. “A one-bedroom would rent for anywhere between $1,100 and $1,800 a month,” she said.

An analysis by Louis Macari, Ms. Macari’s business partner and uncle, found that residential properties are spending an average of eight months on the market. “That’s substantially improved from last year at the same time,” he said, “where we had probably 12 months on the market.”


The area is a chowhound’s paradise. The Jackson Diner’s Indian buffet is legendary, and the Delhi Palace does a nice biryani. Lali Guras, known for its Himalayan fare, is a popular meeting spot for Tibetans from all over Queens. Pio Pio draws crowds for its Peruvian chicken.

Alternative lounges with a youthful vibe include D’Antigua and the Terraza 7 Train Cafe, where musicians play Latin music from a suspended stage.

During the Historic Jackson Heights Weekend on June 18 and 19, many of the neighborhood’s normally private interior gardens will be open to the public.


Public options include two on 37th Avenue, Public Schools 69 and Q222, both of which got an A on its recent city progress report. There are two intermediate schools, No. 230, on 34th Avenue, which got an A, and No. 145, on 80th Street, which got a B. The Renaissance Charter School, which runs from kindergarten through Grade 12, got a B from the city. SAT averages were 470 in reading, 492 in math, and 486 in writing, versus 439, 462 and 434 citywide.


The area is blessed with an alphabet soup of subways. The E, F, M, R and 7 trains all stop at the Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue/74 Street-Broadway station complex. The commute to Midtown Manhattan runs 12 to 25 minutes. La Guardia Airport can be reached by public bus in half an hour or less.


According to Mr. Karatzas’s book, Jackson Heights was named for John Jackson, the president of the company that ran the Jackson Avenue trolley along what is now Northern Boulevard.


February 18th, 2011, 05:39 AM
At the North Shore Towers, City Meets Suburbs


SELF-CONTAINED A view of Tower One from Tower Two of the North Shore Towers in Floral Park, Queens.
The complex has three 33-story buildings with more than 1,800 apartment units.

WHEN Dani Horowitz started shopping for a home to call her own, she was looking for a community with people her age whom she could “hang out with.”

Ms. Horowitz, 28, an Internet entrepreneur, canvassed Great Neck, but “there weren’t that many buildings that are owned, not rented, that have single people in their 20s,” she said.

“I gave up on the idea that I would move into a building that would be all my age.”

Then she happened upon the upscale North Shore Towers and Country Club, a gated community in Floral Park, where the city meets the suburbs and the Northern State Parkway meets the Grand Central Parkway. Wooed by the space, the 18th-floor view of Manhattan, and the amenities, she decided on a corner two-bedroom two-and-a-half-bath co-op for $625,000.

She decamped from her mother’s home in Albertson and in January moved into North Shore, a complex of three 33-story buildings with 1,844 units on 110 acres — with its own 18-hole golf course, ZIP code, power plant, election district, shopping arcade, 460-seat movie theater and express bus to Manhattan.

The Towers complex has long been a magnet for empty nesters, and Ms. Horowitz reckons that almost half of her new neighbors are snowbirds from Florida, many having moved from single-family homes in Nassau and Suffolk neighborhoods.

“At first I was very discouraged that everyone at North Shore Towers was so old,” she said, adding that the apartment itself, with its three terraces, was “gorgeous.”

Still, with prices down 25 percent, and new marketing efforts, the age pendulum may be slowly swinging back. Last year, despite the real estate slump, 98 units changed hands at the Towers, which made it one of the strongest sellers among luxury co-op buildings in New York City. (All three buildings are in Queens, but one hole of the golf course is in Nassau County.)

So far this year, 11 units closed and eight are pending, said Errol Brett, a lawyer for the co-op.

Known as a party hub when it opened as a rental in 1975, the complex drew divorcees and singles including the radio personality Howard Stern. Most evenings, the bar-restaurant that is now the complex’s catering hall was packed. On summer days the scene at the outdoor pools sizzled.

The complex was converted to co-ops in 1987; 110 units are still rent-stabilized apartments. Twenty percent of the original renters and co-op owners still reside at the Towers, said Mr. Brett, who represented the tenants’ association during the conversion.

Linda D. Rappaport, the on-site broker for Greenthal Property Sales, the complex’s management company, ascribed the strong sales in part to a backlog of demand from the two previous years, plus the first-time home buyer tax credit and a free introductory year of golf and tennis. The average sale price is $381,099. A renovated studio is listed for $215,000, with $815 monthly maintenance including indoor parking; one-bedrooms start at $199,000 plus $944 maintenance; three-bedrooms with three and a half baths start at $650,000, and have $3,100 average monthly maintenance.

The cold winter may also be helping sales. “The snowstorms are never a problem here,” was how Ms. Rappaport put it. “You really never have to leave.”

In addition to 2,500 indoor parking spots, the three buildings have an underground connection via an arcade. There is a restaurant, where Ms. Horowitz eats dinner four nights a week, as well as a bank; a grocery store; a drugstore; a beauty salon and spa and other shops; professional offices; a library; an art studio; and a club with card and billiards rooms, as well as a gym offering aerobics, yoga and spin classes.

Mr. Brett described the Towers as the “most unusual co-op in the country” because of the amenities, which also include thrice-weekly lectures and entertainment, a community feeling and “an $18 million reserve fund.”

Andrew Case, an actor in his late 20s, was torn between “the peace and tranquillity of Long Island and the hustle and bustle of New York City.” He decided on “a little bit of both.” In June 2009, he moved from a Great Neck apartment into a $180,000 640-square-foot alcove studio at the Towers with a partial view of the golf course and the South Shore treetops. “It’s a little slice of paradise,” he said. He “hits the bag” and practices mixed martial arts in the complex’s boxing gym, and swims in the 55-foot-long indoor pool.

Among the empty nesters are Laurel and Norm Barrie, who sold their home in Merrick for a three-bedroom unit with a terrace and two balconies. Ms. Barrie, 61, volunteers on a club committee getting new residents involved and “making sure everything stays youthful and vibrant and active,” she said. “I bought into not an apartment but a community, a definite lifestyle that makes it easy to call in May, and say we want to play nine holes at 1:30 and when we get down there the cart is ready.” To find another community with its own country club, she said, she would have to move to Suffolk County.

Dennis Rappaport, 65, was 31 and single when he moved into a rental unit at the Towers in 1976. He married Ms. Rappaport, the sales broker, in 1989, two years after the co-op conversion. They raised their son, Tony, in their two-bedroom apartment. Now 30, Tony owns his own apartment in the complex as do both his grandmothers.

Mr. Rappaport said that the complex was “going through a full circle,” with an influx of younger residents. “Some of the very people you see that are much older, weren’t when they moved in,” 30-some years ago.

As for Ms. Horowitz, she may someday be one of the Towers’ old folks. “It is definitely large enough for me to get married and start a family in,” she said of her apartment. “I’m not thinking of it as a bachelorette pad. I am thinking of it more long term.”


March 29th, 2011, 06:37 AM
Roomy Lots and Recurrent Teardowns





ANYONE unfamiliar with northern Queens could be forgiven for imagining that living at the foot of the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge might be more likely to involve sleeping on a flattened cardboard box than in a sprawling multimillion-dollar home with a swimming pool.

But despite its traditionally low profile, the 100-year-old residential enclave of Malba, nestled just to the west of the bridge along the gently undulating waters of Powell’s Cove, is one of the most upscale and picturesque neighborhoods in the borough.

A 10-minute drive from Citi Field and its vanished predecessor, Shea Stadium, Malba has been home to luminaries like William A. Shea, the influential lawyer for whom the ballpark was named, and Roberto Alomar, the former New York Mets second baseman.

Nine months ago, Mr. Alomar’s palatial 15-room house, on North Drive in Malba, sold for $2.8 million, the highest price fetched by a single-family home in Queens last year, according to Mitchell Slavuter, the broker-owner of Prime
Realty, who handled the deal. The residence, with its basement gym and movie theater, sits on an 11,650-square-foot lot.

“The beauty of Malba is that it’s one of the few neighborhoods in Queens where you get a good amount of land with your property,” Mr. Slavuter said. “The average-size lot for Queens is 40 by 100, but in Malba you find lots two, three, four, even five times that size.”

When Malba was settled beginning in 1908, the houses were built smaller than those allowed by today’s zoning. As a result, a stampede of buyers has descended on the waterfront community over the last decade, razing high ranches and Cape Cods, and replacing them with larger, often lavish new homes.

“I sold one for $2.8 million, and they knocked it down,” said Mary Ann Stravello, broker-owner of E & M Real Estate in Whitestone. “I sold another two for $4.5 million, and they knocked them down. So then the valuation of what was built came in so much higher that they call it the Beverly Hills of the East Coast.”

Whether or not this nickname is a bit of local hyperbole, the construction of showy new palaces, often in a Mediterranean style with red Spanish-tiled roofs, persists on Malba’s tree-lined streets. Among those who have kept contractors busy is Elvira Laurita, a Queens public school teacher, and her husband, Saverino Mercadante, a lawyer who works in Manhattan. In 2006, the couple paid $900,000 for a 1920s colonial on Parsons Boulevard, a block from the Whitestone Expressway service road.

Before moving in from neighboring College Point, they gave their new house a more contemporary look, adding two exterior balconies with decorative ironwork, as well as a grand 25-foot-high entry space. Two years and half a million dollars later, the couple moved in with their two small sons. When school is out, Ms. Laurita takes the boys picnicking on Malba’s beachfront, or fishing off its jetty. “We feed the geese,” she said. “They love it.”

Lately she has been itching to move again, but only to a larger home in Malba. “There’s no commercial property in the neighborhood,” she said, “so it’s like living in the suburbs.

But it’s right in the city. If I want to go to a show it’s 20 minutes, and I see the Empire State Building from my window.”


For all the expensive transformation this enclave of 410 houses has undergone in recent years, the community — and it is a community — retains a quaintness that can be traced to Malba’s origins in a much less urbanized time. The area was developed for wealthy boaters and fishermen on 163 acres bought by William Ziegler, the “Baking Powder King.”

The neighborhood’s name is an acronym derived from the first letters of the surnames of Malba’s five founders, all men from New Haven, Conn., who were affiliated with a subsidiary of the Royal Baking Powder Company.

To preserve Malba’s character and prevent commercial development, the “forefathers” (as Kathleen Georgio, the president of the Malba Association, calls them with a chuckle) set limits on where houses could be built. They also kept title to the beachfront; to this day, Ms. Georgio said, the group protects its control of the waterfront in court.

The association collects $325 a year from each household in its fluctuating membership of 100 to 175. It uses these voluntary dues to maintain a private security patrol and to tend the waterfront and three commonly owned triangles.

Within one of these triangles stands an antique guardhouse, which was restored in 2005 by the all-male Malba Field and Marine Club. Malba also has a garden club and a women’s club, which hosts tea parties at its 1910 clubhouse. A monthly newsletter, Malba News and Views, is delivered to residents.

“We have a chitchat column, which keeps everyone in touch with their neighbors: who’s sick, who had a baby, who’s graduating,” said Ingrid Longo, the editor. “Maybe it’s because of the clubs, but we have an interest in each other that brings us all closer together.”

Joseph Isaakidis, an owner of a pharmacy in Whitestone, says camaraderie drew him to Malba, along with his long love of one particular house.

Growing up in Whitestone in the 1980s, he had a fondness for a “cool old castle-looking house” he used to ride his bike past in Malba. In 2005, he spotted a “For Sale” sign in the yard. An old dream came alive, and Mr. Isaakidis paid $1.4 million for the house, a four-bedroom three-and-a-half-bath English Tudor on Point Crescent with a view of the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge.

He and his wife, Maryann, turned the attached garage into a family room, which they kept architecturally consistent by installing stained-glass windows from another Tudor scheduled for demolition. The work cost about $500,000.

For Mr. Isaakidis, Malba’s only drawback was its lack of a dock for the 28-foot cruiser he keeps in College Point. The Malba marina burned down around 1988. But a solution is near. On April 15, the Malba Yacht Club will open a $1.1 million marina at the tip of Malba Drive, funded by 29 residents who paid $30,000 to $40,000 each for slips.

The club will not allow parking, instead shuttling slip holders to the pier, which means that Mr. Isaakidis’s family can be waiting for him on their boat when he arrives from his pharmacy after work.

“Within a minute you’re in Long Island Sound,” he said, “and cruising at whatever speed you like.”


Only detached homes are permitted in Malba, where houses fall into two general categories: older and usually built in the 1920s to 1950s, or bigger and newer. The older houses include high ranches and colonials. Among the newer homes, Mediterranean designs are common, including eye-catching extravaganzas like a columned, salmon-pink stucco palazzo.

For the most part, “you’re not going to get into Malba for less than a million dollars,” said Ms. Stravello of E & M Real Estate. “And generally anything right on the water is $3 million and up.”

Homeowners whose property adjoins the strip of waterfront land owned by the Malba Association are usually permitted passive use of the beachfront, said Nicholas Kaizer, the group’s vice president.

Mr. Slavuter of Prime Realty says that older houses do occasionally sell for $800,000 or less, but only on Malba’s outskirts.

Inventory is typically low. A recent look found 13 houses for sale; 5 sold in 2009 and 7 last year, most for $1 million to $1.3 million. Mr. Slavuter said that most houses sold in that price range were being knocked down or expanded. “You can’t find anything for under $1.6 million that’s newly renovated with a decent number of rooms,” he added.


On June 25, a beachfront roast-pig luau will celebrate the marina’s grand opening. Every September, the Malba Field and Marine Club hosts a family hot dog party and vintage car show. Spa Castle, a 100,000-square-foot Korean spa in College Point, is a popular sanctuary.


Many children attend private schools. The Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Elementary School in Whitestone has programs for 2- and 3-year-olds, as well as prekindergarten through Grade 8. From there, some children attend St. Francis Preparatory School, a high school in Fresh Meadows, where SAT averages last year were 538 in reading, 550 in math and 550 in writing.

Malba is zoned for Public School 79 in Whitestone, which covers prekindergarten through fifth grade; the school got a C on its most recent progress report. Children in Grades 6 through 8 attend Junior High School 194, also in Whitestone, which earned an A.

Nearby public high schools include Flushing High School, where SAT averages last year were 372, 398 and 366. Some children attend the selective Bronx High School of Science, which had averages of 632, 685 and 643. Citywide averages were 439, 462 and 434.


Midtown Manhattan is about 30 minutes away via the QM2 express bus. The Bronx is a five-minute drive; Nassau County takes 10 minutes.


The streets of Malba were privately owned until the 1980s, when they were turned over to the city.


June 3rd, 2011, 08:42 AM
Colonials, Tudors and, Soon, a Casino









[/URL]A LOT has changed in Ozone Park, a neighborhood in southern Queens, since George Russo grew up there in the 1960s.

Back then, he said, the neighborhood teemed with German, Irish and Italian immigrants. Italian bakeries and butcher shops were commonplace.

Now those groups have smaller numbers, and many of their shops have been replaced by stores catering to the tastes of recent arrivals from Guyana, Colombia and Mexico, among other countries.

“This has always been a place for relatively new immigrant families trying to get a foothold and assimilate,” said Mr. Russo, 57, who has lived in Ozone Park for most of his life and runs a catering hall called Villa Russo just outside of the neighborhood. “What’s happened recently is no different.”

But an even greater change is coming this year — one visible even from a distance, because of the cranes doing heavy construction: New York City’s first casino.

It is being built at the Aqueduct race track, the 192-acre expanse straddling Ozone Park and South Ozone Park. Called Resorts World New York and developed by Genting New York, the casino will have 4,525 video slot machines.

It is not clear what its presence will mean for the neighborhood. Many residents are hopeful that it will bring jobs and money.

Last month, the casino announced it would hire 1,150 permanent workers, 350 more than it had originally estimated. Hiring has started, the casino said, adding that local workers would be taken on before others.

“It should be an economic engine for our community,” said Mr. Russo, who since 1986 has lived in a colonial that cost around $190,000. He estimated that it was now worth about $450,000.

For decades the neighborhood has been largely working-class, a slightly downscale area compared with its southern neighbor, Howard Beach. The pizazz anticipated from the new casino is not a quality already much in evidence. Off the main thoroughfares, like Rockaway Boulevard and Cross Bay Boulevard, the streets are mostly serene. Noise, what there is of it, comes from the planes taking off and landing nearby at Kennedy International Airport.

The casino could therefore have all the more impact, especially if it brought a significant increase of traffic to the side streets.

“If the traffic cuts through the center of the neighborhood, that’ll hurt,” said Jerry Fink, the owner of Jerry Fink Real Estate, who has sold property in the neighborhood for 14 years.

There is also concern that the crowds of gamblers could bring crime.

Like the city as a whole, Ozone Park has had a sharp decrease in major crimes in the last 20 years. In the 106th Precinct, which covers much of the neighborhood, including the area around Aqueduct, crime has fallen 77 percent over that period.

Eric A. Ulrich, who grew up in the neighborhood and now represents it on the City Council, says he expects 30,000 visitors a day to Aqueduct once the casino opens. Well aware of the residents’ concerns, he has been in talks with the precinct to prepare for the visitors.

Not long ago, he said, “there was a general feeling that the neighborhood was in decline. But now I really see things changing for the better.”


There is general agreement that neighborhood is circumscribed by Atlantic Avenue to the north and North Conduit Avenue to the south. The eastern boundary is usually recognized as 108th Street — give or take a few blocks in either direction — and the western section of Aqueduct. The Brooklyn border makes the line to the west.

Roughly 50,000 people live in an area a little over a square mile in size. Whites remain prevalent, according to recent census figures; there are also large numbers of Hispanics and Asians from countries including Colombia, Bangladesh and the Philippines.

The neighborhood, its stability enhanced by being largely owner-occupied, has a family-friendly air, with play sets and toys in yards. The real estate is mostly single- and two-family detached colonials on lots large enough for a backyard and parking.

An architectural exception is the area known as Tudor Village, in the southwestern section. As the name implies, it is filled with brick Tudor-style houses, many of them attached. Another enclave, Centerville, lies in the southeast corner, near Aqueduct, and is filled with slightly larger homes. The prices in both Tudor Village and Centerville tend to be higher than in the rest of the neighborhood.

Between Tudor Village and Centerville is another anomaly for the neighborhood, Magnolia Court, a gated community built in the last decade. Prices of the 48 condominiums in the complex — duplexes and simplexes outfitted with granite countertops and other upscale touches — ranged from about $375,000 to $550,000. Magnolia Court was developed by the Ervolino Group, whose chief executive, Ronald Ervolino, grew up in Ozone Park and neighboring Howard Beach and still has family in the area.

“The neighborhood didn’t have that kind of community,” Mr. Ervolino said. “But it’s always been a very vibrant place,” filled with people trying to work their way up the ladder.
“The neighborhood has changed a lot,” he added, “but its concept is the same.”


House prices have fallen as much as 25 percent, brokers say, since the height of the market several years ago.

Many listings are short sales — a factor that is keeping prices down, said John Rodriguez, the broker-owner of Exit Realty Central, an agency in the neighborhood. “It’s definitely a buyer’s market,” was his assessment.

Typical one-family houses, Mr. Rodriguez said, range from $375,000 to about $450,000. Two-families range from $475,000 to $600,000. A recent search of properties for sale found nearly 90 single-family houses and more than 100 multifamilies.

Homes in the southern part of the neighborhood, including Tudor Village and Centerville, near Aqueduct, have a slightly higher price tag — about $400,000 to $600,000.

But even with the slowness in sales, said Mr. Fink of Jerry Fink Realty, the rental market is active, and he is among those expecting things to pick up after the casino opens.
Two-bedroom rentals are priced around $1,400 a month, he said, and three-bedrooms run $1,500 or more.


The neighborhood is generously endowed with parks and playgrounds, including the London Planetree Playground, which has almost two acres, and the 24-acre Tudor Park. Rockaway Beach, a popular summer destination for residents, is a short bus ride away.

Liberty Avenue and Cross Bay Boulevard are lined with retail stores, both small shops and chains like Modell’s and Marshalls. Residents congregate at the restaurants here,among them Esquire Diner and Aldo’s II Pizzeria.


Among local schools is Public School 64, which has about 650 enrolled in kindergarten through fifth grade. Last year, 50 percent of fourth graders met standards in reading and 64 percent in math.

At Public School 65, which serves the same age groups, 46 percent of fourth graders met standards in reading and 54 percent in math.

Junior High School 210 has nearly 2,100 students. Last year, 45 percent of its eighth graders met standards in reading and 45 percent in math.

John Adams High School sits on the eastern side of the neighborhood, near Aqueduct. Graduation rates there have increased recently, to 61 percent, just below the 63 percent citywide average. SAT averages last year were 424 in math, 399 in reading and 404 in writing, versus 462, 439 and 434 citywide.

The neighborhood also has several private and parochial schools, including Saint Mary Gate of Heaven School and Divine Mercy Catholic Academy.


The A train makes several stops in the neighborhood. The commute to Midtown Manhattan takes about 45 minutes.

There are many buses to choose from; a handful, including the Q21 and Q41, which run along Cross Bay Boulevard, have stops near the Rockaway Boulevard A train station.
To the north, the Q8 runs along 101st Avenue and the Q24 along Atlantic Avenue. The Q7 serves the southwest, the Q11 the southeast.

Still, many residents eschew public transportation in favor of their cars, a choice made easier by plentiful on-street parking. The Belt Parkway, along the neighborhood’s southern border, provides easy access to many areas around the city.


In the late 1940s, Jack Kerouac wrote his first novel and plotted his travels for “On the Road” in his family’s walk-up apartment on Cross Bay Boulevard.

Pat Fenton, a writer who has tried to secure landmark status for the building, said Kerouac also spent time working in the drugstore on the building’s ground floor and frequented a bar across the street that is now called Glen Patrick’s Pub.

[url]http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/05/realestate/colonials-tudors-and-soon-a-casino.html?partner=rss&emc=rss (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/06/05/realestate/20110605_LivingInOzonePark.html?ref=realestate)

September 9th, 2011, 11:39 PM
Safe and Sound, Sweet and Spacious



A stretch of attached Tudors on 223rd Street in Cambria Heights, which has larger lots than
many other parts of Queens and is also light on traffic.


“I SAW four people out on the road the other day,” Roland Brown, a recent transplant to Cambria Heights in southeastern Queens, joked the other day about his new neighborhood. “It was like rush hour.”

He might have been exaggerating. But he was not complaining.

Quiet but not sleepy, manicured but not pretentious, Cambria Heights has long been a draw for middle-class families looking for single-family homes away from the city’s bustle but still within its boundaries.

That was the attraction for Mr. Brown, a maintenance worker at Kennedy Airport, who moved here in July from an apartment in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, after he found a detached Cape Cod-style home for $365,000. His family — his wife, Zaida; three children; and a grandson — can now spread out, he said, and take advantage of the backyard and finished basement.

“When I was younger,” said Mr. Brown, 65, “I knew of Cambria Heights as a good place with decent and hardworking people. That hasn’t changed.”

If anything, said Dennis Rappaport, the owner of Cozy Homes Realty, who has worked in the neighborhood for more than 40 years, the ambience has improved. Many owners have built small additions, he said, and more attention is paid to the yards.

One resident who delights in the outdoor space is Kelli Singleton, who moved here in 2001, spending $230,000 on a four-bedroom Cape. Ms. Singleton, now president of the Cambria Heights Civic Association, says she and her husband plan to build a vegetable garden before the weather gets cold.

“The aesthetics here are nice,” she said. “And it’s nice to be in a closely knit community.”

Those assets have been maintained even as property values have fallen in the past few years, Mr. Rappaport said. “I’m very proud of what I’ve seen here,” he added. “People here have a great concern for their children, and homeowners take great pride in their community.”

One avenue for displaying and furthering that pride is the civic association, which has been around since 1932. An example of its work: In 2005, fearing that developers were favoring structures much larger than the standard single-family home, the group pushed a zoning change through the City Council.

It then became more difficult for developers to add large commercial buildings or multifamily houses to the residential streets. Ms. Singleton says that although the move has not stopped all developers from trying to expand on property, it has at least provided ammunition for the group to use in opposing such projects.

It is easy to see why developers have their eyes on the area. For one thing there is space. Many of the lots are 40 feet wide by 100 feet deep, which is large for Queens.

And the community’s stability is apparent in the real estate listings. Jeffrey Langer, the owner of the Langer Realty Group, who has worked here about 35 years, said far fewer homes were on the market (67 in a recent check) than in surrounding communities like Laurelton and St. Albans.

Even the main commercial strip, along Linden Boulevard, is not particularly busy, aside from the Farmbria grocery store. The neighborhood doesn’t have many shops.

Safety is not much of an issue. Major crimes in the 105th Precinct, which includes Cambria Heights, declined 33 percent from 2001 to 2010, and 77 percent from 1990 to 2010.
“I was never really comfortable before,” said Mr. Brown, referring to the 10 years he spent in East Flatbush. “Now I couldn’t be happier.”


When Mr. Rappaport of Cozy Homes Realty opened his first office, in 1970, Cambria Heights was in the middle of a big turnover.

For decades, the area, about a square mile in size, had been home to residents of Italian, Irish and Polish descent. But they were leaving, and blacks were arriving. Now, according to census figures, about 90 percent of the neighborhood’s roughly 20,000 residents identify themselves as black or African-American. Haitian- and Jamaican-Americans have a particularly strong presence.
A demographic exception can be found along the neighborhood’s southern border, on 121st Avenue and Francis Lewis Boulevard. A small group of Hasidic Jews live there, remaining close to Montefiore Cemetery.

Shaped like a trapezoid, Cambria Heights abuts Nassau County on its eastern edge; Elmont is just the other side of the Cross Island Parkway. The remaining boundary lines, though at times a point of contention, are generally accepted to be Springfield Boulevard, to the west, and 114th Avenue to the north.

Cape Cods, both one- and two-story and often in brick, line most of the wide streets. Colonials and some Tudors — especially those in a long attached stretch on 223rd Street — fill in the rest.
The neighborhood feels roomy, in part because of the relatively large lots, the big trees and the lack of traffic. Brokers say all of those represent a strong draw for buyers, as is off-street parking, which often comes in the form of detached garages.


As in the rest of the city, prices in Cambria Heights have dipped in recent years. But because so many residents have lived in the area for an extended period, brokers said, turnover has been low. Foreclosures are relatively rare.

Still, prices now are about 20 percent lower than they were a few years ago, according to Mr. Langer.

The upside of the lower prices, he said, is that more first-time buyers are finding homes in their price range, bolstering what is still a slow-moving market.

Nick Leon, an agent with Century 21 Milestone Realty, says single-family houses often range from about $365,000 to $400,000. Two-families, which by his estimate make up about 5 percent of the market, sell for around $470,000.

Homes on the eastern side of the neighborhood tend to be more expensive; both Mr. Leon and Mr. Langer ascribed this to the fact that many of them are newer. A number were built in the 1950s, for example, instead of the 1930s.

Although most of the homes are owner-occupied, a few are available for rent. For both a single-family and a unit in a multifamily home, rent is roughly $1,500 a month.


The neighborhood’s draw is its quiet streets, so residents regularly travel elsewhere for dining, shopping and entertainment. But when they stick around, a popular option is a Caribbean meal at Brasserie Creole on Linden Boulevard.

The area also has several open spaces, including Frederick Cabbell Park, in the southwest. It has 4.6 acres and is equipped with a playground, spray showers and a couple of baseball fields.


Public School 176 serves kindergarten through fifth grade; in recent state tests, 75 percent of its fourth graders met standards in reading and 79 percent in math, versus 51 percent and 62 percent citywide.

Public School/Middle School 147 teaches kindergarten through eighth grade. This year 42 percent of its fourth graders met standards in reading, 47 percent in math. Among eighth graders, 36 percent met standards in reading and 53 percent in math, versus 35 percent and 53 percent citywide.

Just to the west of Springfield Boulevard, in the building that once housed Andrew Jackson High School, are four small magnet high schools. At the Mathematics, Science Research and Technology Magnet High School, one of the four, SAT averages in 2010 were 405 in reading, 430 in math and 405 in writing, versus 439, 462 and 434 citywide.

Among private schools in the area are the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic School and the Cambria Center for the Gifted Child. Both teach prekindergarten through eighth grade.


This is largely a driving community, a characteristic encouraged by the proximity of the Cross Island Parkway. Driving to Midtown can take as little as 30 minutes, without traffic.

Commuting by public transportation takes a bit more effort. The nearest subway stop is Jamaica Center, which has the E, J and Z trains.

The trains take 35 to 50 minutes to reach either downtown or Midtown Manhattan. The Q4 and Q84 buses travel through Cambria Heights and stop at the subway station about 15 minutes later. There is also an express bus, X64, that goes to Manhattan in the morning and returns to Cambria Heights in the evening.

The Long Island Rail Road has a couple of stops slightly closer than the subway, to the west in St. Albans and to the north in Queens Village.


Even into the 20th century, the area that is now Cambria Heights was primarily farmland and woods. Residential construction picked up in the 1920s, when Oliver B. Lafreniere, a real estate agent, started to develop the area, according to “The Neighborhoods of Queens” (Yale University Press, 2007).


October 21st, 2011, 09:31 PM
Attention, Shore Lovers

slide show (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/10/20/realestate/20111023-livingincollegepoint.html?ref=realestate)




A sitting area in Powells Cove Park has a great view of Long Island Sound and the Whitestone Bridge.

AS a name, College Point is something of a head-scratcher. Like Bowling Green or Canal Street, it is the kind of name that may once have been apt but seems now to have little bearing on reality.

Hunt high and low in this 2.3-square-mile mix of factories and tightly spaced houses in northeastern Queens (population 26,000), but you won’t find an institution of higher learning.

There hasn’t been one here since 1850, when an Episcopal seminary called St. Paul’s College closed its doors after 15 years. Today, not even a crumbled wall remains at the former site of the school near College Place. But what inspired William Muhlenberg, a Flushing clergyman, to establish St. Paul’s on that spot also seems to be what has drawn residents since: the waterfront views afforded by this thumb of land extending into the East River. Some stretches are blocked off by manufacturers, but others are open, offering idyllic places for contemplation.

Scenic as the water is, however, some residents see a down side to living on an East River peninsula bordered on its other side by the busy Whitestone Expressway: College Point can at times feel isolated. Linda Zulic, who arrived in 1975, recalls many years in which roads like 14th and 20th Avenues, Linden Place and College Point Boulevard always seemed the last in the borough to be plowed after big snowstorms.

“We were like a forgotten town,” said Ms. Zulic, who grew up nearby in Whitestone. She recalls as a child waiting for her school bus in a space so unpopulated that she could see it coming all the way from College Point.

Similarly, Flushing Airport, which closed in 1984, consisted of 70 mostly empty acres with wide-open runways, which only reinforced College Point’s image as an outpost at the edge of the wild. From at least the 1950s onward, remoteness made certain areas an easy dumping site for those seeking to dispose of things as varied as broken toys, old tombstones and toxic chemicals.

Ms. Zulic, who retired in 2002 from a job at a flooring company, lives in a five-bedroom two-story house that started out as a bungalow with a single story and two bedrooms. She paid $46,000 in 1975, and says that brokers estimate the house’s current worth at $650,000.

College Point, she says, feels less isolated today. A large shopping center that went up in the 1990s has a Waldbaum’s Fresh, a Petco and a Staples. It is on 20th Avenue, which during the building process was widened. The expanded roadway, however, has not helped much with the traffic.

In fact, it recently took 20 minutes to drive half a mile down 20th Avenue. That is why some residents worry about the impact of the Point, a $7 million hotel-and-retail complex going up in a former factory at 20th and 127th Street.

In addition to a 114-room hotel, the complex is to have a Mexican restaurant, a tea shop and a 10,000-square-foot grocery store, said Raymond Chan, the architect and one of the developers. “We think many people will walk here,” Mr. Chan said in response to a question about the traffic. He also pointed out that the site had become an eyesore.

The traffic issue also weighs on the mind of Wayne Lee, a Taiwanese immigrant who moved here with his family in the 1970s. This summer Mr. Lee, who sells insurance, was clipped by a car while riding a bike on 14th Avenue.

Even so, it is unlikely that Mr. Lee will move anytime soon from his home, a detached two-family colonial with four bedrooms. It cost $119,000 in 1979 and could sell for $400,000 today, he said, because his father, a carpenter, expanded the ground floor. He also said he was touched by the support he had received over the years from his neighbors.

“This town has always been good to me,” Mr. Lee said. “You can’t find this everywhere.”


When Mr. Lee moved to College Point, his family was one of five of Asian descent, he said. Today there are thousands. Indeed, of residents born overseas, about 25 percent are East Asian, according to census data, and many are Central and South American. They have greatly altered a landscape that for a century was German, Irish and Italian.

Streets seem to wear their past well, with homes from the 1920s, vinyl-sided in pastel hues, alongside attached brick houses with one-car garages.

There are even reminders of the 1800s, when the area was a summer getaway. At the wooden First Reformed Church, on 14th Avenue, which dates from that time, automated chimes on a recent morning rang out a “Kumbaya” that could be heard for blocks.

College Point Boulevard, a kinetic retail strip where cars slalom around trucks unloading cargo, has undergone many stages of change. Older businesses include a butcher called the College Meat Center, which opened in 1963. There is also a Peruvian deli, and at least two Colombian restaurants.

On a point along the northern shoreline, an early dumping ground has been partially remediated. James Cervino, a marine biologist who knows the site, says it was once an ideally secluded spot for discarding rubbish. Toxic chemicals have been found — along with hundreds of thousands of Barbie dolls, quantities of rusted metal drums and the broken remains of transformers.

Before all the dumping, “it was beautiful oyster reefs and marshland,” said Mr. Cervino, a longtime resident. “If it were there today, it would be state-protected wetlands. Nothing like this would ever have happened.”

The area now divides into three: a complex built in the 1980s, before current environmental standards were imposed, is flanked by two new developments built on remediated ground.

One of them, Soundview Estates, has 86 town houses, all but 3 of them sold since 2007, said Venus Lin, a broker with Apple Wealth Realty. Some houses overlook MacNeil Park, named for Hermon Atkins MacNeil, a native son who created a statue of George Washington on the arch in Washington Square Park.

The other condo, Powell Cove Estates, is going up. About half of its 202 hipped-roof units have sold since 2008, said Susan Curtin, the sales manager.

The ’80s complex is called Riverview. Last spring the land underneath it was declared a state Superfund site by the Department of Environmental Conservation after pollutants were found. (A department spokeswoman said there were 1,260 such sites statewide.)

Given how such reports can affect home values, Riverview residents are gun-shy on the issue. In any case, the conservation department takes the position that pollutants are not harmful except through direct contact.

Sales at the new complexes appear not to have been hurt. “We’ve done all the remediation required by the city,” Ms. Curtin said.

College Point’s south side is unequivocally industrial. Trucks rumble along heavily pitted 31st Avenue, where a new waste transfer station is rising. Nearby, a police training academy is being built.


In mid-October, 41 single-families were listed in the 11356 ZIP code, which covers most of the area, according to the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island. The average price was $530,000. At the low end, for $375,000, was a semidetached one-family; at the high end was a wood-frame on a corner, at $784,000.

There were also 32 condos, at an average of $459,000.

The downturn does not seem to have hit the local market too hard. In 2010, 31 single-family homes sold, at an average of $460,000. In 2007 there were 41 sales, at an average of $463,000.
Though middle-class, the area has “a lot of people that are self-employed,” said Vincent Gianelli, the owner-broker of Du Rite Realty Company. “They’re not as harmed by cutbacks.”


Since opening in 1870, the Poppenhusen Institute, a Second Empire gem that once served as a town hall, now offers free classes in art, acting and karate. This week, a haunted house is being set up there in two former jail cells.

Ms. Zulic belongs to the 350-member Famee Furlane, a social club geared toward those from the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of Italy. It offers bingo, Friday dinners and Italian lessons.


No subways serve College Point, but commuters can catch the Q20, Q25 and Q65, which loop through the neighborhood, to the 7 train terminus in Flushing. A rush-hour trip to Midtown from there takes 30 minutes.

There are also two express buses, the QM2 and QM20, which deliver riders to Midtown in 30 to 45 minutes.


Among the options is Public School 129, which teaches prekindergarten through fifth grade. Last year 84 percent of fourth graders met standards in math and 67 percent in reading, versus 62 and 51 citywide.

The closest middle school is Junior High School 194 in Whitestone. And a popular nearby high school is Flushing. SAT averages last year were 415 in math, 325 in reading, and 311 in writing, versus 460, 437 and 432 citywide.


The bust in the triangular park on College Point Boulevard, with the Lincoln-style beard, is a likeness of Conrad Poppenhusen, a German industrialist. According to Susan Brustmann, the director of the Poppenhusen Institute, he established a rubber factory in the 1850s on 15th Avenue and 114th Street, on a site now home to a Pepsi plant.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/23/realestate/college-point-queens-living-in-attention-shore-lovers.html?kjnd=fuTRUHvsTIXrvIsO6k6l3hmWuXrr8o978 4BxKi1Tfeo%3D-eb9f3f30-5199-481d-aae1-a57908ace077_yCaf6GdyyW1EqHmCe3Ou6zW4ijtC2aZ%2FEKQ %2F0sP0jAVW8JbLTPA5eSXcVYGun99S

November 28th, 2011, 05:42 AM
Tucked Away and Neatly Tricked Out



Slide show: Living In | Glendale, Queens (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/11/27/realestate/20111127livinginglendale.html?ref=realestate)




THE cemeteries that line southern Queens have moonlighted for decades, standing as a natural fence around Glendale, a subdued working- and middle-class neighborhood.

They helped keep the neighborhood relatively isolated. (The lack of a subway or commuter train station helped, too.) And that was not all bad.

“For a long time,” said Kathy Masi, a 33-year resident of Glendale, “we were hidden, and it was a wonderful thing.”

But in the last decade or so, change has found its way in. Some old industrial buildings were replaced by well-known retail stores like Trader Joe’s and restaurants like Chili’s. Traffic increased. People outside the neighborhood started to recognize its name.

“It’s just all part of growing,” said Ms. Masi, who heads the Glendale Civic Association of Queens. “Going from industrial to retail is a real upswing.”

So far, however, the evolution has not significantly altered the neighborhood’s residential landscape, said Thomas Macaluso, the owner of Macaluso Realty, who has sold homes in the area since 1974. That landscape is mostly made up of restrained one- and two-family houses, and Mr. Macaluso says prices have stayed relatively steady.

But he says he has noticed increased interest from people living in newly sought-after neighborhoods like Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where housing prices have increased in recent years.

Not that money is the only motivator. Scott Touwsma and his wife, Michele Lacentra, moved into a three-bedroom two-bath home this summer, paying about $500,000. They moved from Bushwick, Brooklyn, selling a commercial building they owned with apartments upstairs. The move, said Mr. Touwsma, who now works at a nearby Home Depot, was about finding a more family-oriented neighborhood.

He has not been disappointed. In August the family was invited to a block party. Also, around 2:45 each afternoon, the streets fill with children’s voices as they make their way home from school.

The family wanted a way “out of the hustle and bustle,” Mr. Touwsma said. “And we found it.”

For about 30 years, Joe Topornycky has lived on the 19th floor of the Forest View Crescent co-op. Some of the transformation has happened just across from his building, as a handful of shops, including a Starbucks, have moved in.

“I liked the area when we first moved in, but it’s only gotten better,” said Mr. Topornycky, 59, who works for the city’s School Construction Authority. “Especially recently, there’s been a marked improvement.”

Of the changes, probably none was bigger than the construction of the Shops at Atlas Park, a mixed-use development with a movie theater, stores like Jos. A. Bank and restaurants like California Pizza Kitchen, and office space.

Opened in 2006, the shopping center has struggled along with the economy in recent years. Early this year it was bought at a foreclosure auction by an affiliate of Walton Street Capital, a private investment firm, and Macerich, an owner and operator of shopping centers.

Timothy J. Steffan, the senior vice president for property management at Macerich, which now manages the development, said that plenty of potential remained, in large part because of the neighborhood itself.

“It’s a tight community,” Mr. Steffan said. “It has a sense of self, a sense of place, a loyalty among its townspeople. You can really do something there that has a sense of place and has legs for the long run.”


Inside its cemetery sandwich, Glendale is long and narrow, extending about two miles from west to east and sometimes less than half a mile from north to south.

The borders, residents and agents say, are generally considered Woodhaven Boulevard on the east, Fresh Pond Road on the west. To the north, the line is often drawn along the Long Island Rail Road tracks and Cooper Avenue. The southern line runs along Forest Park and several cemeteries, including Mount Lebanon.

Roughly 30,000 people live here, according to census figures. German-Americans have had a strong presence for more than a century, and in recent decades East European immigrants have gravitated here. There is also a strong Hispanic presence, although blacks and Asians are scarce.

There is an appealing variety of housing, most dating to the first half of the 20th century. Off the main roads like Myrtle, the streets are serene, and many are canopied by large trees.

One-family brick Tudors, both attached and detached, are probably the most exclusive of the homes, but attractive colonials with tiled roofs provide competition. There is also a big supply of semidetached and two-family wood-framed colonials, many with driveways. A few streets are lined with handsome six-family brick buildings.

Just east of Woodhaven Boulevard is Forest View Crescent. A 240-unit building, it converted to co-ops out of the Mitchell-Lama program in 2009.

Joanne Florio, the building’s manager, said that 21 units had sold since 2009, and that 11 were now on the market. The apartments, which come in one-, two- and three-bedroom layouts, cost $175,000 to $300,000. Many of the units, like Mr. Topornycky’s, have views of both Manhattan and Forest Park.


Considering the housing variety, prices do not vary greatly. In a recent search, Michael P. Tirelli, an owner of Kaye Realty and Development, which has its office in the neighborhood, said that he found 25 one-family homes for sale, ranging from $389,000 to $629,000. He found 46 two-family homes, listed from $385,000 to $779,000.

Prices can be slightly higher in the eastern part of the neighborhood, in what some residents call Upper Glendale. The homes and lots there tend to be somewhat larger, and it is where most of the brick Tudors can be found.

Foreclosures and short sales have remained relatively rare here in recent years, agents said, explaining that the neighborhood had avoided the worst of the real estate downturn.

Lillian Matej, an owner of Cooper and Katz, a local real estate company, said that over all, prices had dropped 10 percent or less since their peak a few years ago. Some pockets of homes, she said, lost much more value, but other pockets lost none at all.

Apartment buildings are uncommon in Glendale, but many rentals are available in the multifamily homes. Mr. Tirelli says one-bedroom apartments rent for $1,000 a month and two-bedrooms for $1,300 to $1,500.


In addition to the Shops at Atlas Park, there are small bakeries and meat markets lining Myrtle Avenue. A stalwart of the neighborhood, Zum Stammtisch, a German restaurant on Myrtle, continues to be a popular destination.

Although the cemeteries provide plenty of greenery, the neighborhood does not really have a park to call its own. But Forest Park and the Forest Park Golf Course are just next door.


Glendale residents take pride in their schools, particularly Public School 113, which has recently expanded and now teaches through eighth grade. It has about 925 students; in recent state tests, 74 percent of fourth-graders met standards in reading, 89 percent in math, versus 51 and 62 citywide. At Public School 91, which runs through fifth grade, 57 percent of fourth graders met standards in reading, 63 percent in math.

At Intermediate School 119, which serves about 900 students from sixth through eighth grade, 59 percent of eighth graders met standards in reading and 59 percent in math, versus 35 percent and 53 percent citywide.

Queens Metropolitan High School, on the northeast edge of the area, moved into a new building in 2010. It runs only through 10th grade, but is expected to expand. At Forest Hills High School, northwest of the neighborhood, SAT averages in 2010 were 468 in reading, 491 in math and 462 in writing, versus 437, 460 and 432 citywide. There are also several private schools, including Sacred Heart School and Saint John Evangelical Lutheran Elementary.


For those living on the far west side of the neighborhood, the M train is within walking distance at the Fresh Pond Road station. It takes roughly 40 minutes before the train weaves through Lower Manhattan. The L train, at the Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenues station, is also an option, though it is about a dozen blocks farther west.

Many residents drive to work in Manhattan, which can take less than half an hour without traffic. Ms. Masi of the community board works as a paralegal in Midtown, driving a company car, and using company parking.

But since much of the neighborhood is not within walking distance of a train, residents rely heavily on the buses, including the Q55 and Q29. The QM24 and QM25 provide express service to Manhattan during the week, taking 40 to 60 minutes to get to their final stops.


German immigrants moved to the area as long ago as the Civil War, farming the land and later opening beer gardens and picnic grounds, according to the Queens Library. Land was used mainly for farming until after World War I, when other industries, including breweries and textile factories, established a presence.


January 1st, 2012, 12:43 AM
Architectural Eye Candy




Slide Show (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2011/12/29/realestate/20120101Living-in.html?ref=realestate)
WHEN it comes to areas awash in well-kept old buildings, Ridgewood, in west-central Queens, might not come to mind as quickly as, say, Brooklyn Heights.

But maybe it should. Its two square miles are packed with eye-catching designs; about 10 percent of it — 350 buildings — has landmark status, even if it isn’t on the radar of most New Yorkers. And with an additional 940 buildings coming up for a vote before the Landmarks Preservation Commission in the next two years, Ridgewood could soon have nearly 1,300 with landmark status — about the same number as Brooklyn Heights — which would mean 40 percent of its cityscape was protected.

One doesn’t have to be an architecture buff to note what makes the area special. Thick dark-brick arches encircle windows on row houses, turning what could be humdrum rectangles into openings that look as if they belonged in a castle.

On 60th Street, near Bleecker Street, this Romanesque Revival style is displayed in gray arches against brown walls; across the street, the arches are a mottled orange. Along Putnam Avenue, near Woodward Avenue, they are a bit squared off, while on Forest Avenue — on the facade of a rare standalone, a former mansion — they are decorated with women’s faces.

Of the 62,000 residents, some are pleased that the outside world is discovering this architectural beauty, and others worry that the landmarks panel may go too far. “There’s apprehension,” said Joe Haufe, a computer consultant and longtime resident involved in community groups. “Neighbors ask me, ‘What does this all mean?’ ” Some neighbors are afraid satellite dishes will have to come down; Mr. Haufe is wondering whether a metal fence in his backyard can stay. (Landmarks designations can apply to the backs of homes as well as the fronts, a commission spokeswoman confirmed.)

Mr. Haufe lives in a five-bedroom 1910 two-family owned since 1940 by the family of his wife, Elaine Tramposch-Haufe. With original pocket doors and a new roof, it could sell for $545,000, based on a recent appraisal, he said.

The alternative to landmark protection, he acknowledged, can engender problems of its own. He cited two properties on Madison Street with vinyl siding covering their cornices. The change seemed to have been made to avoid having to repaint.

Still, considering how many different populations have lived in Ridgewood and moved on, wear and tear is to be expected. First there were Germans, who built the area in the early 1900s; they were followed by the Gottscheers, a European group dislocated in the aftermath of World War I. Mid-20th-century arrivals included Romanians and Yugoslavs; more recently, Dominicans put down roots in the western section. A decade ago, it was Poles who arrived in droves, uprooted by gentrification in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Currently, the area is attracting a different type of émigré: artists priced out of Williamsburg in search of cheaper lofts, which they have discovered along Ridgewood’s gritty edges.

Since 2003, Roman Popescu, a developer, has lived in a 2,500-square-foot loft at a former train-engine shop, near the border with Bushwick, Brooklyn. His parents, who are from Romania, ran a knitting mill in the building, which cost $250,000 in 1994. Mr. Popescu convinced them it had greater potential for artists, so they converted it.

“Williamsburg became as crowded as Union Square, and artists need great big spaces,” said Mr. Popescu, who now has all 13 spaces leased to artists or artisans, some of whom also live on site. He is seeking a zoning change to allow nonartists to reside there, too.


The Romanesque buildings basically come in two flavors: two-units with bay windows, and six-units with flat fronts. It is rare to find one taller than three stories; the low skyline leaves many sidewalks bright with light all day.

Many buildings have modest stoops. Others, as on 70th Avenue near 60th Lane, have porches, a few enclosed. They face quiet sidewalks with evenly spaced trees, on blocks that end at nail salons or bars, like the Windjammer, at Bleecker and Grandview Avenue.

In much of Queens, owner-occupied single-family homes are the rule. But Ridgewood is for renters, who according to census figures account for 75 percent of the housing stock — compared with 57 percent in the borough as a whole. Ridgewood beats out even Manhattan, where renters total 70 percent.

Condominiums, so far, are rare, though a 32-unit building called High View Estates, at 1980 Starr Street, is being marketed by Coldwell Banker Phillips. Two-bedrooms start at $369,000, said Lou Pastorini, a sales manager.

People disagree about exact borders. In fact, the issue of where Bushwick begins has even aroused some disputes. For years, Bushwick and Ridgewood shared a post office and a ZIP code, 11227. In the 1970s, high crime rates and arson plagued Bushwick, while Ridgewood was unscathed. But Ridgewood residents saw their car and fire insurance rates climb all the same, based on what was happening around them.

Ultimately, with the help of Congresswoman Geraldine A. Ferraro, the neighborhood broke away in 1980 and got its own post office, ZIP code 11385.

Bad blood threatened to resurface again a decade ago. Census changes forced a redistricting that mandated a second City Council seat for Ridgewood. But one of those council members would also represent Bushwick, which didn’t sit well with many people.

“We have different needs than they do,” said Paul Kerzner, president of the Greater Ridgewood Restoration Corp., a nonprofit advocacy group largely responsible for the preservation in the area. But, praising the person who won the seat, Councilwoman Diana Reyna, he added, “Our fears were not realized.”


In late December 63 houses were listed, at an average of $683,000, according to the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island, though some sales took place between families and friends, brokers say, and thus were not captured.

Those homes ranged from a two-family attached wood-frame, in a short sale, at $359,000, to a red-brick two-family, with storefront below, at $989,000. A more typical property was a 1901 gray-brick two-family, near Linden Hill Cemetery, at $780,000.

Prices have fallen by about 17 percent. In 2011, 26 one- and two-family homes sold, at an average of $479,140, according to listing service data from Maria Collazo, an associate broker at Exit Kingdom Realty. In 2007 there were 42 sales, at an average of $575,652.

Foreclosures account for some of the softening, brokers say. But also, fewer homes have been listed, because in uncertain economic times, units can be rented out. “They’re a great source of income,” Ms. Collazo said.

Rents, meanwhile, run $1,000 to $1,200 for one-bedrooms, said Victor Celli, a local landlord, who said that as the sales market has weakened, rental demand has been “crazy.”


The M subway, which has four area stops, reaches Midtown in about 30 minutes. The L, which has two stops, takes 20 minutes to reach 14th Street (where it has several stops, east to west).
Most buses in this border area, predictably, are Brooklyn lines, like the B13, B20 and B38, though there are two express buses, the QM24, which reaches Midtown in about 35 minutes, and the Q25, which reaches Lower Manhattan in an hour.


Myrtle Avenue, the main commercial strip, appears vibrant, though its occupancy rate slipped recently to 95 percent, from 98, said Theodore M. Renz, executive director of the business improvement district, which dates to 1988.

With stores selling discount clothes, boots and jewelry, as well as live carp, which were swimming in a tank outside Green Dot Marketplace on a recent morning, Myrtle also offers many places to unwind, in the form of wooden benches and small angular parks.

Businesses along Fresh Pond cater to the Polish population. Krolewskie Jadlo, a restaurant decorated like a fairytale fortress, has tripe soup, which it serves in an edible “bowl” — a hollowed-out roll.


One option for elementary school is Public School 71, on Forest Avenue, which teaches through Grade 5 and enrolls 983 students. On state exams last year, 61 percent of fourth graders met standards in math, 43 percent in reading. Citywide, those percentages were 62 and 51 percent.

Ridgewood Intermediate, or Intermediate School 93, teaches sixth through eighth grades.

Grover Cleveland High School, on Grandview Avenue, enrolls about 2,100. SAT averages last year were 429 in math, 401 in reading and 397 in writing, versus 460, 437 and 432 citywide.


Border disputes with Brooklyn are nothing new. After the city consolidated in 1898, tensions flared because the border was a razor-straight line cutting through some apartments, which created confusion about who should vote where, said George Miller, the historian at the Greater Ridgewood Historical Society. In 1925, the border was redrawn to run around certain blocks, resulting in the current zigzag pattern.


April 19th, 2012, 06:21 AM
Serene, for All Its Hip-Hop Cred



Uli Seit for The New York Times
Detached single-family houses, like these on 205th Place and 109th Avenue, make up the bulk of the housing stock in Hollis. Many date to the 1920s.

109th Avenue

More Photos » (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2012/04/15/realestate/20120415_LIVINGIN.html)

SINCE 1962, Anita Friday’s home on 205th Place has provided her a vantage point for the waves of change that have come in succession to Hollis, her family’s corner of Queens. At the start the population was predominantly white, said Ms. Friday, 80, who is black, and who recalled that over her first decade as a resident, most of her white neighbors moved away to Long Island.

Even as the racial makeup shifted, though, Hollis kept hold of its essence as an orderly and largely working-class community — one where people ride a bus to the subway to get to work, and where houses and lots are small, and most lawns neatly trimmed.

Ms. Friday is a former president of her block association and a retired federal government employee. Her husband, Reedy, who died in 2002, worked for TWA at Kennedy Airport. Neighbors, she said, have included postal and subway workers. In recent years, they have come from farther-flung places: Haiti, Panama, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic.

A few blocks away on 205th Street, Ava Winston, who has lived in Queens all her life, said she had moved to Hollis about four years ago so her children could be within walking distance of school.
“The blocks are pretty quiet,” she said. “Everybody around here works.”

Ms. Winston’s street is also known as Run-DMC JMJ Way, after the rap group, which made the neighborhood famous with songs like “Christmas in Hollis” and “Hollis Crew.” Joseph Simmons, known in the group as Run, grew up on the street, as did his brother Russell Simmons, the music impresario, who has recalled Hollis in the 1970s and ’80s as a middle-class neighborhood increasingly plagued by drugs. Run-DMC’s D.J., Jason Mizell — also known as Jam Master Jay — lived in the area until his murder in 2002 in nearby Jamaica. One side of the Hollis Superette, on the corner of 205th Street and Hollis Avenue, bears a mural commemorating his life.

Yvonne Reddick, the district manager of Community Board 12, which represents the area, describes Hollis today as a neighborhood with many longtime residents, where absentee landlords are relatively rare. “It’s a stable community,” she said. “It’s a community where the homeowner takes pride.”

In Ms. Friday’s opinion, however, some pockets of the neighborhood have changed for the worse. A passageway trestle under the Long Island Rail Road tracks that many pedestrians use as a conduit to Jamaica Avenue is covered in pigeon droppings and has needed cleaning for well over a decade, she said. And Hollis Avenue, the main commercial street, feels desolate at times.

“We don’t have the things that we had when we moved here,” Ms. Friday said, recalling the days when the avenue had a bakery, a movie theater and a deli, among other thriving businesses.

Now, many retail spaces are empty, and many businesses — including the movie theater — have been replaced by storefront churches.

“We have to go out of our neighborhood to get something like some good Italian pastries or whatever,” Ms. Friday said. Thinking of how busy the street used to be, she added, “It makes you sad.”

But most residential blocks remain attractive, and her house held much of its value even in the bad real estate market. Houses in Hollis do not stay empty long, she said. New people are always there, waiting to buy.


Covering a little more than one and a half square miles, Hollis has about 34,000 residents, according to 2010 census data. The neighborhood straddles the Long Island Rail Road tracks; the blocks to the north include Hollis Park Gardens, a subsection bounded by Hillside Avenue, Jamaica Avenue, and 192nd and 195th Streets where houses date to the 1920s and lots are 100 feet deep and 60 to 100 feet wide. According to Asad Bajwa, an associate broker at Prudential Douglas Elliman, Hollis lots tend to run 20, 25 or 30 feet wide.

Another subsection, this one nameless, lies west of Farmers Boulevard, marked by tall trees that shade the houses on many blocks.

Most properties, whatever their exact location, are detached and designed for single families — though there are a few apartment buildings and some attached houses. In addition to Hollis Avenue, Farmers Boulevard and Jamaica Avenue have modest commercial districts.

Mr. Bajwa said Hollis, like many of its neighbors, had suffered in recent years from the economic downturn. Foreclosures and short sales have become more common, he said, and sales data indicate that inventory is still increasing while prices decrease.

Still, he added, “it avoided the worst, because if you go right south of there, to South Jamaica, other markets got hit much worse.”


Eddie Saeed, an agent at Elliman, says single-family houses generally sell in the $400,000 range. Two-family houses, which are rare, sell at a premium, he said. For example, a typical two-family house, comparable in size to a $400,000 one-family, might sell for $600,000.

Mr. Bajwa says sale prices are down 25 to 30 percent in recent years. The few attached or semiattached houses, which tend to be on the small side, now sell in the $270,000 range.

There are also some pricing anomalies, Mr. Saeed said. He is marketing a seven-bedroom one-family house on a 60-by-100-foot lot. The price is $699,000, “which is on the high side,” he said, “and the sellers know it.” Their optimism has not yet been rewarded, though he noted that someone had offered $600,000 in cash. The sellers turned it down.

For owners more eager to sell, Mr. Saeed said: “It’s a popular neighborhood. If you list a house priced right, you can sell it within 60 to 90 days.”

Rentals are rare. The few one-bedroom apartments on Craigslist or Streeteasy cost $1,000 to $1,250 a month.


There are no large parks in the neighborhood, though the 358-acre Cunningham Park, one of the largest in Queens, is not far to the north along Francis Lewis Boulevard. It has sports fields, wooded trails and access to part of the Vanderbilt Motor Parkway, a paved bicycle path that began life as a major thoroughfare but was shut down in 1938.

Among the businesses on Hollis Avenue are Tastee Jerk, a West Indian restaurant, and other Caribbean dining options. A guided-tour company, Hush Tours, takes busloads of the curious through the neighborhood as part of a survey of Queens hip-hop landmarks.


Most elementary students in the southeastern corner of the neighborhood are zoned to attend Public School 134, on 109th Avenue. The school earned a C on its most recent city progress report, with 33 percent of tested students deemed proficient in English, 35.3 percent in math. Students to the southwest attend P.S. 118, on 109th Road, which also got a C, with a 37.9 percent proficiency rating in English, 35 percent in math.

Much of the northern part is zoned for P.S. 35, on 90th Avenue. Its most recent city grade was a D; 47.4 percent of tested students were proficient in English, 57.2 percent in math.

Middle schools include Intermediate School 238, on 182nd Street, which got a B on its progress report, with 37 percent deemed proficient in English, 53.1 percent in math. Intermediate School 192, on 204th Street, scored a C, with a 20.1 percent proficiency rating in English, 29.2 percent in math. The Pathways College Preparatory School, which serves Grades 6 through 12, shares the building. Its middle school scored a C, with 34.9 percent of tested students proficient in English, 46.4 percent in math.

In the Pathways school’s high school, SAT averages among college-bound seniors were 401 in reading, 397 in math and 393 in writing, versus 436, 460 and 431 citywide.


The nearest subway is the F train at Hillside Avenue and 179th Street. Farther to the west, the E, J and Z trains stop in downtown Jamaica. All are reachable, from Hollis, by buses that run along Hillside, Hollis and Jamaica Avenues. The ride to Midtown Manhattan by bus and subway takes well over an hour.

The trip to Penn Station from Hollis’s Long Island Rail Road station, at 193rd Street and Woodhull Avenue, is quicker: about half an hour. But it costs more: $8.75 for a regular ride during peak hours, or $193 for a monthly pass.

Many residents own cars, but the commute to Manhattan can be challenging. It involves the Van Wyck and the Long Island Expressways; there can be long delays during rush hours, and potentially any other time.


The name Hollis comes via Frederick W. Dunton, the first developer of the area, which was once known as East Jamaica. He was a native of Hollis, N.H. The Long Island Rail Road station was built in 1885 but burned in an arson in 1967. It was replaced by a small shelter in the 1990s.


June 1st, 2012, 04:48 AM
Long on Trees, Short on Costs


Uli Seit for The New York Times
Garden units off 75th Avenue impart the suburb-in-the-city ambience that typifies Glen Oaks,
an enclave on the Queens border with Nassau that came into its own in the aftermath of World War II.

More Photos » (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2012/05/27/realestate/20120527-LIVING.html)

GLEN OAKS, on the Queens border with Nassau County, is dominated by a series of co-op apartment complexes, both garden and high-rise. But it doesn’t take a visitor much time to be able to reimagine this neighborhood of about 15,000 people as it must have been in previous lives — as farmland, country estate and golf course.

The most notable co-ops are Glen Oaks Village (http://www.glenoaksvillage.com/index.html), nearly 3,000 units spread among two sections of two- and three-story brick buildings that went up after World War II, and North Shore Towers (http://www.northshoretowers.com/), a gated trio of 34-story high-rises dating to the early 1970s. Each sits on more than a hundred acres that once belonged to William K. Vanderbilt, and residents say the gardens and open space — not to mention the nearby Queens County Farm Museum, a working farm — give the area a quiet livability that is rare within the city limits.

“I call it New York City’s secret community,” said Bob Friedrich, the president of the village’s co-op board, adding that from some parts of the complex, “you can literally look out your window and see all sorts of farm animals.”

Glen Oaks Village, which was built in 1947 and converted to co-ops in 1981, is focused on keeping its roughly 10,000 residents in their units for the long term, said Mr. Friedrich, in explaining why the rules governing renovations and expansions are so flexible. Owners of second-floor units are permitted to expand upward, turning attic space into a full-scale upper floor, and ground-floor owners are allowed to reclaim basement space for living quarters, he said. The board also encourages owners to build decks, terraces and separate rear entrances, partly as a way to improve property values.

“The apartments are smaller, because they were built a long time ago,” Mr. Friedrich said, “so by giving people the opportunity to enlarge their apartments, they stay rather than leave.”

Pets are allowed, he said, and services in the complex include trash pickup six days a week and snow-shoveling in the winter. In warm weather, the board provides $24 vouchers that can be redeemed for flowers at local plant nurseries, including the farm museum.

Christine and Harry Bergen, residents for 32 years, raised their son in the complex, and recently added a terrace off their kitchen. Ms. Bergen, who is on the co-op board and heads its admissions committee, says a younger generation of residents have come to enjoy the development’s charms.

Ms. Bergen meets most of them when they arrive, and she added, “My committee, they always say, ‘Oh, what nice people I just had.’ ”
The other visually prominent complex, North Shore Towers, includes 1,844 units built starting in 1971 on the highest point in Queens, next to Grand Central Parkway. It is visible for miles.

Originally rentals, the complex converted to co-ops in 1987, though there are still a few sponsor-owned rentals, and subletting is allowed.

A building that connects all three towers, which residents call the “arcade,” has food stores, a coffee shop, a bank, a dry cleaner and a movie theater. The stores are open to the public but used mostly by residents, said Annette Kroll, a resident who has been selling apartments in the towers since the co-op conversion. The complex also has five tennis courts, indoor and outdoor pools, a health club and an 18-hole golf course.

Views from high floors, Ms. Kroll said, stretch to the Manhattan skyline and the Atlantic. With all the services, she added, “it’s like going to Canyon Ranch and not spending $500 a day.”


Long Island Jewish Medical Center lies at the eastern end of the 1.25-square-mile neighborhood, near the city line, and residents of the local complexes include staff members and patients. Julia Shildkret, a local broker, said North Shore Towers had gained a reputation as an elder community, though Ms. Kroll said younger residents had been arriving in recent years as well.

Brian Lynn, who bought a one-bedroom last year in Parkwood Estates, a 400-unit complex next to the farm museum, said he was “very comfortable” in what he described as a “nice little enclave.” With apartments making up so much of the housing, it is also relatively inexpensive.

Mr. Lynn, who splits his time between Glen Oaks and his partner’s place in Manhattan, said he paid $167,000 for his unit, along with $628 a month in maintenance, which covers many utilities and a parking space.

Besides the self-contained developments — Glen Oaks Village with its red bricks and white trim, Parkwood Estates with similarly scaled buildings in yellow stucco — there are pockets of one- and two-family detached houses, mostly along Union Turnpike. With this mix, the area provides starter homes for young families, said Ms. Shildkret, who sold a previous home for Mr. Lynn.

Houses in another small subdivision — Royal Ranch, an out-of-the way cluster near the parkway and North Shore Towers — are among the more expensive, brokers say. That is partly because of their large, secluded lots.

Residents’ one big complaint, Mr. Friedrich said, is infrastructure upkeep; many curbs date to 1946. Their crumbling has caused flooding that local government has been slow to address.

That said, however, Glen Oaks Village has benefited from the city’s Million Trees campaign (http://www.milliontreesnyc.org/html/home/home.shtml): about 300 have been planted in the complex, he said.


Kathy Gibbons, the branch manager at the Bellerose office of Laffey Fine Homes, says co-ops in Glen Oaks Village generally sell for $220,000 to $290,000 — though prices vary according to condition and the number and type of improvements. For garden units generally, Ms. Shildkret said, one-bedrooms have recently sold for $150,000 to $175,000, two-bedrooms for $180,000 to $275,000. The one three-bedroom co-op to change hands recently, she said, citing data from the local multiple listing service, sold for $265,000.

Mr. Friedrich says residents generally have a keen appreciation of the affordability of their property taxes, especially when compared with those in neighboring Nassau County.

Semidetached houses near Union Turnpike, Ms. Shildkret said, generally sell in the $400,000 range, detached houses closer to $500,000. But some houses can be more expensive — up to $700,000, Ms. Gibbons said, citing the Royal Ranch area, where properties come on the market infrequently.
Prices in North Shore Towers vary, Ms. Kroll said. Studios and smaller one-bedrooms sell in the $200,000 range, she said. Penthouses can exceed $1 million. (One-bedrooms top out at 1,300 square feet, two-bedrooms at 1,700 square feet and three-bedrooms about 2,000.)

In flusher markets, Ms. Kroll said, large penthouses changed hands for more than $3 million. A 2,700-square-foot penthouse in a current listing is being offered at $1.395 million.


The Grand Central Parkway, which connects to the Northern State Parkway just over the city line in Nassau County, is the northwestern border.
The Q-46 bus connects to the E and F subway lines on Union Turnpike in Kew Gardens. There are also express buses to the financial district and Midtown. The Long Island Rail Road is available to the south, in Bellerose and Floral Park. Residents say the commute, by any means, takes 45 minutes to an hour.


Tenney Park, at the center of Glen Oaks Village’s eastern section, has basketball courts, Little League baseball fields and a playground — all open to the public. Also scattered throughout the complex are shuffleboard, bocce and volleyball courts, a soccer field and lighted tennis courts, many of which are for Glen Oaks village residents only.

Most of the stores and restaurants in the area are on Union Turnpike. Small shops near 248th Street include a 99-cent store, a grocery, a hookah lounge and an Indian restaurant. Another commercial area, near Little Neck Parkway, has a 7-Eleven, a hair salon and a bank.

The Queens County Farm Museum (http://queensfarm.org/), south of Parkwood Estates on Little Neck Parkway, covers 47 acres and calls itself the longest continuously farmed site in New York State. It is open free year-round — seven days a week from April to November, with egg sales held Wednesday through Sunday.


The area lies within the prized School District 26, with most students zoned for Public School 186, on 72nd Avenue in Parkwood Estates. The school received an A on its most recent city progress report, with 79 percent of tested students showing mastery in English, 87.9 percent in math. No. 115, on 261st Street, serves the southern half of Glen Oaks Village; its grade was a C, with 68.4 percent proficient in English, 75.8 in math.

Zoned middle schools include Junior High School 67, on Marathon Parkway, where 81.9 percent were proficient in English, 94.4 percent in math. It got an A on its most recent report card.

SAT averages at the high school component of Q811 — a kindergarten-through-Grade-12 facility on Marathon Parkway — were 408 in reading, 428 in math and 407 in writing, versus 436, 460 and 431 citywide.


Vanderbilt owned the land that is now Glen Oaks Village and North Shore Towers until his death in 1920, after which it was sold to the Glen Oaks golf club. Many early residents of Glen Oaks Village were returning veterans.


August 12th, 2012, 01:12 AM
A Satellite With Great Views of Home Base


Slide Show (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2012/08/12/realestate/20120812-LIVING.html?ref=realestate)

Julia Gillard for The New York Times
Gantry Plaza State Park


WHEN Kirsten Sharett met her husband-to-be, he was living in an industrial area in Long Island City, near a raw and rat-infested waterfront.

“He worked at the United Nations, so it was really convenient,” Ms. Sharett recalled. “But I just thought it was desolate and miserable.”

That was almost 17 years ago, and never in her wildest dreams did Ms. Sharett conjure up a future in which she would be living with her husband and 3-year-old daughter in a sleek rental building on that same waterfront.

“I never even considered Long Island City,” she said. “It was like, why? It was never even in my frame of mind.”

A significant reason why, of course, is that Long Island City, which has shed much of its grittiness and is now home to almost 30,000 people, has six subway lines just one stop from Midtown Manhattan. That convenience has drawn Manhattanites seeking cheaper rents.

Ms. Sharett, who recently moved into a two-bedroom apartment at 47-20 Center Boulevard, said that now that she had made the mental shift, she realized she was in the perfect neighborhood.
Particularly down by the waterfront, with new restaurants and shops moving in, Ms. Sharett said, she has everything she needs within walking distance.

“They’ve built a compound here, where my daughter’s preschool, the drugstore, the grocery, the park are all one block away, and the soccer field is right in front of us,” she said. “We could not live like this in Manhattan.”

It was in 1997, when the Citylights co-op was built, that Long Island City’s waterfront began the long hike from neglected industrial wasteland to serene residential area.

Until 2003, when the Avalon Riverview opened, Citylights was the lone tower taking advantage of breathtaking Manhattan views. Since the early 2000s, a half a dozen more towers have been built, primarily by TF Cornerstone, adding both condominiums and rentals.

Christine Ezeogu, a United Nations employee, has lived in a one-bedroom in Avalon Riverview North for almost five years. She said that she had thought the global financial recession would lead to a lowering of rental prices, but that except for a renegotiation in 2009, it hadn’t. Since then her rent has gone up by about 20 percent.

“I haven’t seen the prices go down in the neighborhood,” she said. “In fact, they seem to be going up.”

One of several factors in the strength of rental values could be the transformation of the waterfront — 12 acres of it so far — into Gantry Plaza State Park (http://nysparks.com/parks/149/details.aspx/), which has four piers, garden, a mist fountain, and several playgrounds and ball courts.

Part of the project has involved restoring Long Island City’s signature gantries, which once loaded barges and rail car floats. The park is still being expanded, in both directions.

And more development is planned. Besides two towers it is currently renting out, TF Cornerstone is building an 820-unit rental tower at 45-45 Center Boulevard and plans a 586-unit rental tower at 46-10 Center. The area, called East Coast, is clustered around the giant Pepsi advertisement that has long been a signature element of Long Island City’s skyline. Just to the south, at Hunters Point South, the city is planning 5,000 housing units, 60 percent of them affordable to middle-income families. The first phase of construction there should finish in 2014.

Residential development is also moving inland, brokers said. That includes the Queens Plaza area, as well as the Court Square section around the 50-story Citigroup tower. One of the area’s largest projects is under construction in the latter area: LINC LIC, being built by Rockrose Development, has a 709-unit rental tower that is almost complete.


Boundaries are often subject to disagreement, but those generally accepted for Long Island City stretch from the waterfront north to 36th Avenue and east to Northern Boulevard, down to Queens Boulevard and Van Dam Street.

There are two main residential sections: one sometimes called Dutch Kills, north of Queens Plaza and merging with Astoria; the other, Hunters Point, south of the plaza. Predominant housing has historically been two-family homes — wood frame or brick — which began appearing around 1910.

In the more recent developments, the one kind of housing in short supply is the three-bedroom, according to brokers. Despite the groups from Astoria, including mothers and children, commuting into Long Island City, some of them daily, to take advantage of the waterfront park, said Eric Benaim, a resident who heads a brokerage called Modern Spaces, his developer clients still consider three-bedroom apartments a bit of a risk.

Mr. Benaim says he is advising developers to lay out their apartment buildings so that two smaller units can be easily combined.

“At the Industry, a building we’re representing that’s over 90 percent sold now in the Court Square area,” he said, “we just sold two five-bedroom apartments, where each buyer combined two smaller apartments. One recently closed for about $2.3 million.”

But the area hasn’t yet reached such price heights that no artist can afford to live in it. For many years, artists priced out elsewhere have moved here, though the art scene has never quite coalesced into a bohemia of the likes of, say, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Still, there are galleries and museums. And the Museum of Modern Art has a branch called MoMA PS 1, which throws summertime Saturday parties for thousands.

Residents also cite the theater scene. The Creek and the Cave, a bar, restaurant and performance space that has hosted the comedians Louis C. K. and Colin Quinn, has been joined by a comedy club, Laughing Devil. A third comedy club is to open in the Court Square area, said Adrian Lupu, a senior vice president of NestSeekers Real Estate. And there are spaces like the Chocolate Factory and the Secret Theater.


New-construction studios, which are hard to find, rent for about $2,100 a month; one-bedrooms for about $2,500; and two-bedrooms for $3,100 or more, Mr. Lupu said.

Condos typically range in price from about $400,000, for a studio; to about $550,000 for a one-bedroom; and about $870,000 for a two-bedroom, Mr. Benaim said. There are a few three-bedrooms, in particular at the View on the waterfront, that have been achieving and even surpassing $1 million. As Mr. Benaim put it, “A lot of million-plus buyers are coming out now, which we never really saw before.”

The more reasonably priced apartments, naturally, tend to be in older two-family homes, agents said.

A one-bedroom would rent anywhere from $1,800 to $2,100; a two-bedroom in relatively decent condition would rent for about $2,500, said Rick Rosa, an executive vice president of Prudential Douglas Elliman, who lives in the area.


There are a dozen subway stations in Long Island City; about five of the stations are just a stop away from Midtown. They serve the 7, E, M, R, N and Q trains, among others. Arriving in Midtown can take as little as five minutes, and motorists to and from Manhattan have a choice of the Queensboro Bridge and the Queens-Midtown Tunnel.

There are also a handful of bus lines, including the 103, 102, 69, 100 and 39. Many residents commute on the NY Waterway ferry from the Hunters Point South/Long Island City stop. From there it is five minutes to the East Side, 25 minutes to the financial district. The Long Island Rail Road also has two stops in Long Island City.


Besides the expanding waterfront park, residents like to brag about the trendy new restaurants. A couple of Manhattan spots, Spice and Corner Bistro, recently opened satellites along a block of Vernon Boulevard, the area’s commercial strip. Nearby is a new Elliman branch, as well as another pioneer from Manhattan, the medical group Tribeca Pediatrics.

“On that block, it’s just boom, boom, boom, you see four Manhattan businesses,” Mr. Rosa said. “It really gives people that confidence that things are changing here.”

For the more sports-minded, the Long Island City Community Boat House offers free kayaking. In the Queens Plaza area, the city recently completed a $44 million face-lift, adding a bikeway, a pedestrian walk and a 1.5-acre space called Dutch Kills Green.


Some schools are overcrowded, particularly near the waterfront, but new facilities are going up. A 662-seat school for kindergarten through Grade 8 is under construction at 46-15 Center.

There is also a 1,200-seat intermediate and high school under way in Hunters Point South, where a 22,000-square-foot library is scheduled to open in 2013.

Expecting further growth, public and private schools are expanding. Public School 78Q, which covers kindergarten through Grade 5, has plans for a new facility. Les Enfants Montessori School has expanded to accommodate 100 more students.

The area has a handful of middle and high schools, including Long Island City High School at Broadway and 21st, where SAT averages in 2011 were 412 in reading, 433 in math and 410 in writing, versus 436, 460 and 431 citywide.


Colonized by the Dutch in the early 17th century, the area remained rural until the mid-1800s, when it was linked to Manhattan by rail and ferry. By 1898, the villages of Hunters Point, Dutch Kills, Astoria and Ravenswood, which had recently joined to form Long Island City, became part of New York City.


October 9th, 2012, 06:48 AM
Douglaston Works at Being So Near, So Far


The Queens neighborhood of Douglaston—a onetime vacation community for wealthy residents of Manhattan and Brooklyn—has long been an official part of New York City, but it still feels likea land apart.

Its quiet, tree-lined streets and stately, detached homes seem far more suburban than urban. It contains sections of a 650-acre park, with wetlands, hiking trails and an environmental center. The landmark area of Douglas Manor sits on a peninsula jutting into the picturesque Little Neck Bay, which is popular for swimming and sailing.

http://s.wsj.net/public/resources/images/OB-UW295_NYOPEN_D_20121005212117.jpg (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444223104578036582664680170.html?m od=WSJ_NY_RealEstate_LEFTTopStories#)
View Interactive (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444223104578036582664680170.html?m od=WSJ_NY_RealEstate_LEFTTopStories#)

"When we go into Manhattan, we say we're going into the city," says Mike Gannon, a trustee and researcher with the Douglaston and Little Neck Historical Society. "It's always been kind of the country, not really the city, even though we are part of the city."

Because Douglaston is within the city, property taxes are lower than in nearby Nassau County. The nearby Throgs Neck and Whitestone bridges offers some drivers a relatively easy commute.
There is no subway service in the neighborhood and getting around without a car is difficult, but Douglaston has its own Long Island Rail Road stop on the Port Washington line. The line's trains, which don't pass through the railroad's hub of Jamaica—cutting down on transfers and delays—travel between Douglaston and Penn Station in less than 30 minutes.

The median listing price in Douglaston is $259,000, according to StreetEasy.com, with prices ranging from less than $200,000 for one- or two-bedroom co-ops in prewar buildings to well over $1 million for historic homes in sought-after sections. Brokers say single-family houses tend to start around $800,000 and soar into the millions, including some of the costliest homes in Queens.

Douglaston's name derives from the prominent Douglas family, which sold land to the Rickert-Finlay Realty Co. about 100 years ago to create the Douglas Manor Association, a planned garden community. The association today owns and operates the neighborhood's entire waterfront, with a dock, pier, beach and a waterfront park.

In 1997, the Colonials, Tudors, Mediterranean Revival and Arts and Crafts-style houses, which, among others, comprise Douglas Manor, became part of the Douglaston Historic District.
Many of the manor's 600 homes were designed by prominent architects such as Gustav Stickley and Josephine Wright Chapman. New homes can't be built or existing homes altered without approval from the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission.


Within Douglas Manor is the Douglaston Club, a private yacht, tennis and pool club based in a 19th-century building once owned by the Douglas family.

"We preserved it. We saved our trees, we saved our houses," says Rod O'Connell, the owner of Bryce Rea Associates, a real-estate firm. "People stay for generations. My family is there since 1945, and we're hardly the oldest family in the area, so there are a lot of roots here for all of us," he said.

Many residents also have long memories: Earlier this year, local preservationists and elected officials succeeded in convincing the city to restore the original names of six streets in the now-landmark Douglaston Hill section which were switched to numbers decades earlier, in keeping with the Queens numbered system.

"The local people never really gave up the street names," Mr. Gannon says. The restored names include Pine and Poplar streets and Orient Avenue.

Parks: Parts of the 650-acre Alley Pond Park fall within Douglaston. Its features include wetlands, ball fields, playgrounds, tennis courts, hiking trails and the Alley Pond Adventure Course. The Douglas Manor Association's waterfront includes a park and dock that are restricted to members. Nearby is the public Douglaston Park Golf Course.

Schools: Douglaston is part of District 26 and local public schools include P.S. 98 the Douglaston School, with about 270 students. It received a B rating from the city for the 2011-12 school year, as did J.H.S. 67, the Louis Pasteur School.

According to state data, 65% of eighth-graders in District 26 met or exceeded proficiency standards in English Language Arts in 2010-11, compared with 70% the year before, and 86% did so in math, compared with 81% the previous year.

Local private schools include the Divine Wisdom Catholic Academy, a three-year-old Roman Catholic school with students in prekindergarten through eighth grade.

Dining: Restaurants in Douglaston include Il Toscano Ristorante, on 235th Street, an upscale Italian restaurant, and Strawberry's Sports Grill, a two-year-old barbecue and comfort-food pub created by the former Mets and Yankees star Darryl Strawberry.

Shopping: Some shops are along 235th Street, and a Fairway opened last year on 61st Avenue.

Entertainment: Movieworld, a theater on 61st Avenue, shows first-run movies, as well as Indian movies every two weeks.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444223104578036582664680170.html?m od=WSJ_NY_RealEstate_LEFTTopStories

October 14th, 2012, 12:33 AM
Another Place Named for Those Murrays



Slide Show (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2012/10/14/realestate/20121014-LIVING.html?ref=realestate)

THE Murray Hill on the East Side of Manhattan isn’t the only neighborhood of that name in the city; another one, in Queens, is just east of downtown Flushing. It took its name from members of the same Murray family, which at one time owned a vast plant nursery there, as well as houses on both sides of the East River.

But history alone, it seems, is not enough to keep a New York neighborhood firmly on the map. The area has become home in the last decade to large numbers of new immigrants. As a result, many residents don’t know the name; they may even say with conviction that it’s across the river.

One longtime resident whose memories of the neighborhood validate its history is John C. Liu, the city comptroller — but he acknowledges that that history has more or less faded from the collective consciousness. “I feel both privileged and disturbed that I might be one of the last remaining links to the history of Murray Hill,” said Mr. Liu, who lived here for several years as a child and lives about eight blocks away today.

In his eyes, the neighborhood’s center is the Murray Hill station of the Long Island Rail Road; from there it stretches in all directions about three to five blocks. By this definition, it would cover about two-tenths of a square mile.

But the area’s perimeter provokes broad disagreement — which itself can perhaps be seen as a sign of declining neighborhood awareness. The most expansive definition, covering almost 1.5 square miles and encompassing about 36,000 people, has the western boundary at Parsons Boulevard, the southern edge along Sanford Avenue and Northern Boulevard, the northern border on Bayside Avenue and the eastern along Utopia Parkway.

But some put the eastern border about halfway that far east, at 154th or 155th Street. For them Murray Hill makes up only the southwestern quadrant of the more inclusive map, and at least historically this view has traction, as this quadrant was the site of the Murray family’s original land.

Still others, among them area real estate brokers, consider Murray Hill as consisting only of the Broadway-Flushing Historic District and Bowne Park (http://www.bownepark.com/) area — not even the Murray Hill Long Island Rail Road station. That area is also often called North Flushing.

For Mr. Liu, it’s not that the buildings have really changed — there are still the same apartment buildings, laundromat and candy store — but that the residents have. Decades ago Murray Hill was populated largely by Irish, Italian and some Greek immigrants; today’s immigrants are Korean and Chinese.

Northern Boulevard, a commercial thoroughfare, reflects that population change in much of its signage, which is in Korean as well as English. Between 149th and 154th Streets, it is home to some of the area’s most popular Korean barbecue restaurants.

“The Korean businesses really took over Northern Boulevard,” said Nancy Comerford, a broker/owner of American Heritage Real Estate, who lives and works in the area, “and the Chinese businesses took over Main Street in Flushing. Eventually the two streets intersect.”

Murray Hill can be congested at times, and it can be hard to find parking. But it generally has a slower pace than downtown Flushing. “This area is in high demand,” Ms. Comerford said, “because you’re so close to the railroad, to the buses, to the shopping.”


Hong Xia Ge, who moved from downtown Flushing about two years ago after buying a 1925 three-bedroom colonial, particularly appreciates Murray Hill’s tranquillity. She learned about the area through her real estate agent, Jessica Huang of the Energized Realty Group. Ms. Ge’s house, on a 40-by-100-foot lot on 150th Place, is a few blocks from Bowne Park, where she likes to jog, but it also gives her good access to the commerce in downtown Flushing. She declined to say what she had paid for the house, but the asking price on record for that listing was $699,000.

“I like the Murray Hill neighborhood — it’s very quiet,” Ms. Ge, who is originally from China, said through an interpreter. “We’re close to the park, and also, I can go to the downtown Flushing supermarket, and it’s very convenient.”

The area around the Murray Hill train station has mainly multifamily buildings, with rentals, co-ops and condos. The historic district around Bowne Park has primarily single-family homes, with a few multifamilies here and there.

One of the area’s strongest attributes is the ease with which residents can get to neighboring points of interest, like Flushing Meadows Corona Park (http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/fmcp) and Kissena Park (http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/kissenapark), said Huang L. Kuo, a sales associate at Re/Max Team in Jackson Heights.

“There’s so much around you,” he said. “You could hop in the car, and in 10 minutes you’re close by the larger parks, and the Queens Botanical Garden and other places.”


“Murray Hill has come back quicker than some other neighborhoods” since the 2008 global financial crisis; prices on co-ops and houses are strong, said Judy Markowitz, a broker and owner of the Energized Realty Group, who lives and works in the area. But there has been quite a bit of condo development in the neighborhood around the station, so condo prices have been falling.

The median price for a condo is about $337,000, down from about $381,000 in 2007. The range for a one-bedroom co-op is $145,000 to $150,000; for a two-bedroom co-op, $150,000 to $200,000, Ms. Markowitz said.

The average sale price of a house — with 20 sold so far in 2012, and another 15 to 20 in contract, she said — is just over $710,000.

There are roughly 22 single- and two-family houses for sale, along with 22 condos and 25 co-ops, Ms. Markowitz said, citing the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island.

Prices can be high for the houses in the historic district around Bowne Park, many of which were built in the early to mid-20th century and include Tudors, colonials and ranches, agents said.

A single-family attached or semi-attached house would sell in the mid-$400,000s, while a two-family would start at $750,000, said Vincent J. Gianelli, a broker and owner of Re/Max Energy the Du-Rite Group, which has operated in Flushing for 60 years. At the top of the range, larger single-family detached houses can reach $2 million to $3 million, he said.

One-bedrooms rent for about $1,100, two-bedrooms for $1,500, and three- or four-bedrooms for $1,800 and up.


The Long Island Rail Road has stops at Broadway and Murray Hill; the trip to Pennsylvania Station in Midtown takes about 20 minutes. The Flushing-Main Street station of the 7 subway in downtown Flushing is less than a mile from most points in Murray Hill, and the Nos. 12, 13 and 28 buses are among several that go from parts of Murray Hill to downtown Flushing. There is also the QM3 express bus to Manhattan. The drive into Midtown takes about 20 minutes with minimal traffic, Ms. Markowitz said.


One of the largest shopping centers in the area is Murray Hill Plaza, on Northern Boulevard at 156th and 157th Streets, which has the popular Korean market HMart and other shops, as well as dining options like Sukarak, a casual Korean restaurant.

Another small niche of excellent Korean barbecues is by the Murray Hill train station, around 41st Avenue between 149th Place and 149th Street, Ms. Markowitz said.
Bowne Park has almost 12 acres, shaded by American elms, oaks and weeping willows, with a small pond used seasonally as a boating area and ice-skating rink. The park also has a playground and basketball courts.

Bocce ball courts are frequently used by the Italian-American families of Murray Hill, said Marion Bommarito, who has lived here 26 years, citing a nephew as a participant. Other parks in the general area include Flushing Fields (http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/Q086/map) (also called Memorial Field), which has a track and tennis courts, and Margaret I. Carman Green-Weeping Beech Park, where the Queens Historical Society is housed in the historic Kingsland homestead. It originally stood in Murray Hill, at about 155th Street and Northern Boulevard.


Part of School District 25, Murray Hill has strong elementary and middle schools, as well as a broad selection of parochial schools like Holy Cross High School and St. Andrew Avellino School.
Among the public schools are No. 22 Thomas Jefferson, which got an A on its most recent progress report, with 71.6 percent of tested students showing mastery in English, 84.6 in math.

SAT averages in 2011 at the Flushing International High School in Murray Hill were 312 in reading, 416 in math and 315 in writing, versus 436, 460 and 431 citywide.


The Murrays’ nursery stretched south of Northern Boulevard to Roosevelt Avenue, covering almost 110 acres, said Richard Hourahan, a collections manager for the Queens Historical Society. It was a downhill trip to what is today Flushing Creek, where products were loaded onto barges to float into Manhattan.

The nursery, along with others in the area, left its legacy in a number of avenues with names like Jasmine, Quince and Laburnum.


November 25th, 2012, 04:00 AM
Side by Side, Yes; Carbon Copies, Never



Uli Seit for The New York Times
In a place where some blocks seem more like the suburban Springfield in “The Simpsons,”
the city has sought to protect the low-slung profile so much in evidence along 160th Street.

More Photos » (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2012/11/22/realestate/20121125-living-in-spring.html)

JAZZING up the look of homes comes with the territory in Springfield Gardens, a midsize middle-class enclave in southeastern Queens 14 miles from Manhattan.

Its Capes, with their basic triangle-on-a-rectangle forms, were probably carbon copies of one another when built 60 years ago. But in the years since, they have accrued a wealth of individualizing details.

There is circle-patterned siding in grays and browns, evoking stone walls in the country. There are dove, lion and elephant figurines, white as alabaster, animating the tops of fences. And then there are the bright chrome and gold railings, glittering like mirrors. All of which helps guarantee that no two properties end up too much alike.

In many ways, putting an expressive stamp on the area has also been an act of celebration on the part of the African-American population that migrated here from Manhattan and Brooklyn from the 1940s through the ’60s. Trading cramped apartments in run-down areas for roomy spreads in just-built neighborhoods bordered on a cathartic experience, some veterans of that era explain.

“It was really opening up racially back then, and it was exciting to be here,” said Julia Rinehardt, who in the 1950s, after her wedding, decided to say goodbye to her Harlem rental and relocate to Springfield Gardens.

Ms. Rinehardt’s two-family colonial, built in the 1920s, provided plenty of space to raise three children. But it also, she said, connected her to her history: before World War II, when her family moved to New York to find work, they had had a similar house in Jacksonville, Fla.

True to neighborhood form, the six-bedroom three-and-a-half-bath house is colorful. The squash-toned top stories are paired with a henna one below. And red and white paint stripes the brick wall out front.

In 1957 the house cost $17,000, said Ms. Rinehardt, 89, who worked for the city’s Department of Social Services. Today it might bring $400,000, she said, basing her estimate on a recent appraisal.

Civil servants also flocked to Rochdale Village (http://www.rochdalevillage.com/), a 5,860-unit Mitchell-Lama co-op that opened in 1963 and was the country’s largest until Co-op City went up in the Bronx some years later.

Sprawling across a 20-building campus, Rochdale was founded with strict rules to guarantee affordability. Even today, the top allowable income for a family of six in a three-bedroom is $148,000.

In the early 1960s, Nesbitt Benjamin was living in an apartment in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. He was tantalized by Rochdale’s stated mission to provide a clean, safe and racially homogeneous environment.
In 1964, for a $5,000 down payment and about $125 a month, Mr. Benjamin was awarded a two-bedroom one-bath apartment at Rochdale, with a terrace that provides views of Coney Island.

At first the racial balance was impressive: of the seven units on his floor, white families lived in four, and black families in three. Today there’s a white family in one unit, and black families in six, roughly in line with the mix in the area, but any ebb in diversity is hardly a reason to leave.

“It has been a joy to be here,” said Mr. Benjamin, 80, who is retired from a career with the Transit Police. “This is the best place in the world.”


The diamond-shaped neighborhood, which covers nearly three square miles, is crisscrossed by busy boulevards.

In between are quieter blocks, lined with sidewalks, trees and a few lawns; some seem more like the suburban Springfield in “The Simpsons” than any New York City place. Indeed, one half expects to meet a resident who lives on the corner of Maple and Main, rather than 140th Avenue and 170th Street.

On two occasions, in 2005 and again in 2011, the city rezoned parts of the area to preserve its low-slung profile, though developers have made incursions. Newer multifamilies with four units packed under one roof face 141st Avenue, for example, across from more spacious standalone properties.

The population of 52,000 is about 90 percent black, according to census data. Many are from the Caribbean, or have relatives who are; Jamaica, Haiti and Trinidad are well represented.

Twenty years ago, violent crime was severe, though it has mellowed somewhat. In 1993 there were 39 murders in the 113th Precinct (http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/html/precincts/precinct_113.shtml), which also covers higher-crime South Jamaica; in 2001 the number was 10, according to New York Police Department figures. Last year there were 17, and this year 16 so far.

Residents point to the positive trends. And many praise the Springfield Gardens United Methodist Church, a parish that dates to the late 1800s. Its pastor, Cecil B. Stone, they say, has led a push in the last two decades to get more young parishioners to attend college.


In mid-November there were 98 homes for sale in the 11413 ZIP code, which covers about half the neighborhood; the average list price was $364,000, according to data from the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island.

The properties ranged from a detached one-family colonial, near busy 147th Avenue, at $129,000, to a detached two-family colonial, with seven bedrooms and three and a half baths, at $650,000. Separately, at Rochdale, one-bedrooms start at $7,200, with about $700 in monthly charges.

There were dozens more listings for sale in the Springfield Gardens section of the 11434 ZIP code, with similar features and prices, according to the listing service. Taken together, the two zones had at least 150 homes on the market. But one wouldn’t glean that by driving around, because for-sale signs are almost totally absent.

The signs more in evidence are the red-and-white ones advertising “Cash — We Buy Houses,” and their presence may hint at why sales aren’t more prominently advertised: brokers say many owners are selling under duress, having fallen behind on mortgage payments, and they don’t want to advertise their predicaments with signs.

Many of those troubled loans, which stem from subprime mortgages, have earned Springfield Gardens and its surroundings a dubious distinction, housing data reveal: one of the most foreclosure-racked parts in the city. In fact, during the depths of the recession in 2009, hundreds of new foreclosure filings were recorded there monthly. Moreover, neither of those years saw any single-family home sales in the neighborhood, according to data from Paul Miller, a sales agent with Cross Island Real Estate.

Things on the foreclosure front have settled down — more or less. There were 42 new filings in October, versus 5 in October 2011, according to RealtyTrac, the data company. But a RealtyTrac analyst pointed out that recent citywide numbers are up, too, and that the spike largely means years-old cases are finally making their way through the court system.

So far this year 12 houses have sold, at an average of $299,000, which suggests “the market is on its way back up,” Mr. Miller said. And assuming buyers can get loans, they can afford “a house where your family can have a backyard, near nice parks, shopping and public transportation,” he added.


Public School 52 teaches 560 students through fifth grade. On state exams this year, 42 percent of third-graders met standards in math, 52 percent in English, versus 49 and 49 citywide.

About 870 students attend the Catherine and Count Basie Middle School for Grades 6 through 8. But Springfield Gardens High School graduated its last class in 2008, after problematic years with knife fights and shootings; it is now home to four smaller, specialized schools. The more traditional August Martin High School, where crime has also been an issue, enrolls 1,000 students.

SAT averages there in the last academic year were 371 in math, 377 in reading and 360 in writing, versus 461, 434 and 430 statewide.


Attractive parks, Baisley Pond (http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/baisleypondpark) and Springfield (http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/Q107/), bookend the neighborhood, though Hurricane Sandy downed many of their old oaks.

Restaurants offering Indian-style roti, the flatbread popular in the Caribbean, turn up on Guy Brewer Boulevard, which was named for a broker who encouraged blacks to relocate from Harlem in the 1940s, according to historical accounts.

And Rochdale has two public shopping malls.


Springfield Gardens is served by the Locust Manor stop on the Long Island Rail Road. Six trains are available on weekdays between 7 and 9 a.m., though Sandy has temporarily put a stop to the 7:46. The trip to Pennsylvania Station takes 26 to 32 minutes. Monthly fares are $193.

Bus service includes the x63, which runs express to Manhattan. Passengers who board at Baisley and Merrick Boulevards arrive at East 57th Street about an hour later.


Ponds in the area once supplied Brooklyn with drinking water, funneled through pipes along Conduit Avenue. Rochdale went up on the site of the former Jamaica Race Course, a popular mile-long track that opened in 1903 and ran its last horse race in 1959.


January 12th, 2013, 08:25 AM
Indo-Caribbean Content, Victorian Style


https://www.nytimes.com/images/misc/spacer.gif https://www.nytimes.com/images/2013/01/13/realestate/13liv-gazz/13liv-gazz-popup.png

Slide Show (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2013/01/13/realestate/20130113-LIVING.html?ref=realestate)

RICHMOND HILL, in southeastern Queens, is the ultimate study in New York diversity. It is a place to eat Caribbean cuisine, shop for Bollywood movies, worship at a Sikh temple and stroll through streets lined with Victorian-era houses, a slice of pure Americana.

Extending down the south slope of Forest Park (http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/forestpark), the neighborhood evolves from the quiet streets just off the park, where the old wood-framed homes are found, to vibrant “Little Guyana” along Liberty Avenue, its southern border with South Ozone Park.

“There are churches next to mosques next to mandirs,” said Richard S. David, the executive director of the Indo-Caribbean Alliance, a social service agency that works in the neighborhood. (A mandir is a Hindu temple.)

Ivan Mrakovcic, the president of the Richmond Hill Historical Society and a vice chairman of Community Board 9, says he also sees religious diversity near his home in the Victorian section, where an Orthodox synagogue sits near Lutheran and Roman Catholic churches.

Mr. Mrakovcic moved to Richmond Hill in 1994, finding it more affordable than Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, where he had originally looked in order to be close to family. The way he describes it, the area offers both urban and suburban living. “You can have a vegetable garden and mow the lawn, but the J train is three blocks away and it’s a short walk to the park,” he said, also noting that the Rockaway beaches are a 20-minute drive.

According to 2010 census figures compiled by the city Planning Department, Richmond Hill covers about three square miles and has nearly 63,000 residents, including Asians (27.4 percent), Hispanics (36 percent), whites (11.2 percent), and blacks/African-Americans (11.1 percent).

Among those populations are the neighborhood’s Indo-Caribbean residents: Guyanese immigrants of South Asian ancestry who began settling in the area in the 1960s, Mr. David said. Now, the community includes second- and third-generation Americans.

“A lot of people are renting basements or housing family members,” said Seema Agnani, the executive director of Chhaya Community Development Corporation, a housing agency that works with South Asians in New York City. “All floors of those homes are occupied.”

For immigrants especially, housing space has been particularly limited by the foreclosure crisis, which hit hard in parts of Richmond Hill. “People fell prey to predatory loan practices and many refinanced during the height of the high interest rates,” Ms. Agnani said. Financial troubles were compounded when homeowners who held service jobs or who worked in construction saw their incomes drop.

“It was really a loss of income together with the bad loans that pushed a lot of homeowners over the edge,” Ms. Agnani said, adding that the housing market is slowly improving.

It is south of Atlantic Avenue, in an area also known as South Richmond Hill, that Guyanese-Americans have settled in large numbers. There, homes are smaller and more closely spaced.

Liberty Avenue serves the Indo-Caribbean population with its many small businesses: sari stores, Guyanese bakeries and restaurants, and fish and vegetable markets. Colorful wares and clothing are displayed on sidewalks, which bustle with shoppers.

According to Mr. David, Sikhs took root here during the height of the real estate market in the early 2000s, when some Guyanese-Americans in the area moved to Florida, Pennsylvania and other states and often sold their homes to Sikhs. The city’s largest Sikh temple, the Sikh Cultural Center, is at 117th Street and 97th Avenue.


The area is low-rise, made up of single- and multifamily homes with a smattering of apartment buildings. The northern part has larger houses, many of them fine examples of Queen Anne Victorian architecture, adorned with gables and inviting verandas.

The historical society has unsuccessfully petitioned the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission to designate a historic district in the northern part. Mr. Mrakovcic said a new petition would seek to cover a smaller area between Forest Park and Myrtle Avenue.

Homeownership turnover in this microneighborhood of Richmond Hill is low, especially since the downturn of 2007 and 2008, said Mitra Hakimi, a real estate agent who works in Richmond Hill and other Queens neighborhoods. She said some owners were testing the market now, putting their houses up for sale to see how much buyers would be willing to pay.

Inventory is more plentiful below Atlantic Avenue. Some homes share narrow driveways that lead to free-standing garages that abut backyards of neighboring properties. This part of the neighborhood is lined with block after block of neatly kept homes, most with aluminum siding in white and light colors and well-tended front gardens.


Home values suffered during the mortgage crash. “Before the 2008 financial crisis,” Ms. Hakimi said, “you couldn’t find a property under $250,000; It didn’t exist. Now you can easily find one.”
According to a search of properties in Richmond Hill on the Multiple Listing Service last month, 159 properties — predominantly single- and multifamily with some mixed-used buildings — were for sale.

On the high end was a six-bedroom Victorian with a formal living room and a home office, listed for $779,000.

The least expensive was a four-bedroom listed at $150,000, as a short sale, in which a bank sells the property because the mortgage debt has surpassed the home’s value. It was one of 43 short sales on the list of 159.

Prices are still depressed compared with levels before the crisis. According to Ms. Hakimi, a house that sold for $470,000 in 2004 would very likely sell for $100,000 less now. Rooplall Phagu, an agent with Family Choice Realty in Richmond Hill, said he saw a similar trend. A large two-family home listed for $480,000 to $550,000 would have sold for as much as $650,000 before 2007, he said.

Ms. Hakimi added: “It is a price-driven market. Nobody is going to overpay. They want to buy, but at the right price.”


Richmond Hill is well served by the subway system, which has elevated lines running along two avenues. The rides to Manhattan are direct, if long. The northern part of Richmond Hill has J trains along Jamaica Avenue. A trip to Grand Central Terminal from the 104th Street station takes about an hour and requires a transfer to the 6 train at Canal Street. The A train has a branch that runs along Liberty Avenue ending at the intersection with Lefferts Boulevard, the center of Little Guyana. The journey from the Lefferts Avenue stop to Times Square takes about an hour.

Residents also can take a bus to the nearest Long Island Rail Road stop in Kew Gardens; the trip to Penn Station in Manhattan takes 17 minutes.


Residents of northern Richmond Hill have easy access to Forest Park, which has a golf course, a horseback-riding school and equestrian path, a historic carousel, playgrounds, ball fields and trails for hiking and running. Shopping and eating on Liberty Avenue are also popular. Mr. David says Guyanese-Americans who live in the Bronx and Brooklyn come to Liberty Avenue to do their grocery shopping. Ms. Agnani added: “On the weekend, it’s very thriving on the streets with music and food. The diversity of our city — it comes out very clearly there.”

The commercial area in northern Richmond Hill along Jamaica Avenue has experienced the loss of longtime businesses like Jahn’s ice cream parlor, which closed a few years ago. A shopping center being built along Hillside Avenue at Lefferts Boulevard promises the arrival of a Dunkin’ Donuts, a rare fast-food presence in the neighborho


Richmond Hill High School, with about 2,500 students, got a C on its most recent city progress report. Its combined SAT average last year was 1156, versus 1325 citywide. The neighborhood has a number of elementary schools, among them Public School 90 Horace Mann School, which has 860 students and got an A on its most recent progress report. No. 66 Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis has 500 students and also received an A. For middle school there is No. 137 America’s School of Heroes, which has nearly 2,000 students and got a C.


A mural depicting the neighborhood’s beginnings in the late 19th century can be found inside the Queens Library at Richmond Hill on Hillside Avenue. The American artist Philip Evergood painted it in the 1930s with funding from the Works Progress Administration. Covering a wall above the fiction section, the work shows three scenes: a crowded and squalid immigrant neighborhood in Manhattan; a group of prosperous real estate barons surveying plans for a new garden community near a railroad stop; and a bucolic scene of trees, homes and happy mothers and children in the newly created Richmond Hill.


April 14th, 2013, 05:42 PM

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April 14th, 2013, 05:44 PM
Forest Hill Gardens

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July 17th, 2013, 07:30 AM
That "contemporary" looks horrible. $1.6 million? :eek:

Belle Harbor, Queens: The Good, the Bad and the Beach


Sasha Maslov for The New York Times
The main attraction, and the main source of concern since Hurricane Sandy last year, is the waterfront, which flanks Belle Harbor on two sides.

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/misc/spacer.gif http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2013/07/21/realestate/gaz1/gaz1-popup.jpg
164 Beach 138th Street A five-bedroom five bath contemporary (http://www.robinshapirorealty.com/homepage.htm?in_listing=5793676&in_brokercode=XRSR01) with ocean views, listed at $1.6 million

More Photos » (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2013/07/21/realestate/20130721-LIVING.html)

Normalcy seemed to reign in Belle Harbor during a recent patch of hot, steamy weather. Children rode bikes and played ball on quiet streets. Residents, carrying folding chairs and towels, headed out to swim at the public beach, which runs the length of the neighborhood.

But the serenity was moderated somewhat by the buzz of rebuilding that persists in Belle Harbor, which was hard hit by Hurricane Sandy last year. Nearly nine months after the storm, crews were hammering away at houses, landscapers were coaxing gardens back to life and Dumpsters remained parked on streets for material still being cleared from homes.

Beachfront properties were destroyed and houses flooded, either to basement level or higher, residents said. Homes on Beach 130th Street were destroyed by a fire that broke out after the storm.

Market activity since Sandy reflects the gap between the appeal of a seaside enclave and anxiety about its vulnerability, on a strip of land between Jamaica Bay and the Atlantic. On the one hand, brokers report interest, as people want to live near the beach. “We’re selling everything we get right now,” said Lisa Jackson, who owns Rockaway Properties, adding that her agency had closed on 19 houses since January. On the other, some shoppers seeking a piece of paradise worry that the cost of flood insurance will rise once the Federal Emergency Management Agency completes a review based on surveys done after Sandy, a process that officials say could take a couple of years.

Dan Repetti, a salesman for a school photography firm who lives in Bergen Beach, Brooklyn, wants to buy in Belle Harbor despite cost concerns. “It’s beautiful,” said Mr. Repetti, who recently married. “Once you pass over the Marine Parkway bridge, it’s a whole new world.” Yet he acknowledged that a sharp increase in insurance costs could strain his finances and make it hard ever to sell the property.

Ms. Jackson says many homes in the area already cost their owners $458 a year in flood insurance. If FEMA deems these properties at even higher risk, she added, annual costs could rise into the thousands.

But Mr. Repetti noted that with agencies expanding flood zones to include areas like Bergen Beach — opening them up to the possibility of high premiums — he might as well buy in Belle Harbor, where he always wanted to settle. He hopes to find the right property by the end of the year.

The area, which covers a little more than a square mile, offers obvious charms. Streets are tree-lined, and many houses have wraparound porches adorned with flowers. Neighbors know one another, and the beach is at most a few blocks away.

Brokers say buyers’ desire to live here often outweighs fear. “Some people are scared but people still want to be here,” Ms. Jackson said. “It doesn’t feel like you are in the city. It’s our own little world, very quiet, very peaceful.”

Robin Shapiro of Robin Shapiro Realty, who lives nearby in Neponsit, said the market was even active right after the storm, with demand for rentals among displaced residents. “If you are afraid,” she said, “this isn’t the place for you.” What she points out to clients is the proximity of this beach community to Manhattan. “That’s what it’s all about.”

What You’ll Find

According to the 2010 census, the two tracts that cover Belle Harbor have about 7,000 residents, 92 percent white, 5 percent Hispanic, and the rest Asian and African-American. The housing stock is mostly single-family homes in a variety of styles — a beachfront contemporary, an 80-year-old shingled colonial, a brick Tudor or a showy large house recently built on a tear-down lot.

Ms. Shapiro says about 40 houses are currently for sale. Most are being sold by older residents, who did not want to face the expense and inconvenience of repairs, or whose children convinced them that Sandy necessitated a move to higher ground.

Some have been repaired and retrofitted with new boilers and heating systems; others are being sold as is.

What You’ll Pay

Prices have fallen since Sandy. Brokers estimate that they are 10 to 30 percent lower than before the storm. Just how much a property is discounted depends on different factors; discounts are not as steep on repaired houses.

Also, some sales have been in cash, because banks will not approve mortgages on homes whose kitchens are not fully functioning or whose walls are not finished. Ms. Jackson says some buyers, seeking such a property so they can redo it to their taste, receive a larger discount because they are paying in cash. Four of the 19 sales her agency completed this year were for cash, she said.

Current listings range from a large beachfront property listed at $1.9 million to smaller homes on the bayside that sell for $550,000 to $650,000.

“Higher-end houses are having a harder time finding their value,” Ms. Shapiro said. “People looking for a bargain don’t want to pay in the $800,000s, and people who own those houses don’t want to go down too low. They can’t come down too much because these houses have value.”

She illustrated her point by telling the real estate tale of a home on the beach block of Beach 141st Street. Before Sandy, it was listed at $1.05 million. Then its owners dropped the price to $999,000. Today it is listed at $899,000. Buyers are looking to knock that down to $800,000, which owners are not ready to accept.

But as for homes in the $500,000-to-$600,000 range, they are “going like hot cakes,” Ms. Shapiro added.

What to Do

The beach defines the neighborhood, which has plenty of swimmers, fishers, walkers and joggers. During the summer months, rules that prohibit street parking on weekend days guarantee residents the beach almost entirely to themselves. Beach 129th has a charming shopping district; nonchain shops include a pharmacy, a grocery, a bakery, a barber and a dry cleaner.

The Commute

Commuters have different options, but they all take time. The Transit Authority recently restored A train service to the Beach 116th Street/Rockaway Park station, the subway stop closest to Belle Harbor. From there, a trip to 42nd Street in Manhattan takes about 90 minutes. Some residents drive to the B and Q subway stop in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, which takes about 15 minutes; they park in a municipal lot and take the train, shaving about half an hour from the trip to Midtown. Also, there is the ferry service added after the storm knocked out the subway. It is available at least through the end of the summer. The trip to Wall Street from the Beach 108th Street ferry terminal takes 50 minutes and costs $2 one way. The QM16 express bus to Midtown is yet another option.

The Schools

The Belle Harbor School, Public School/Middle School 114, teaching through Grade 8, has about 770 students; it is in the center of the neighborhood. According to the Department of Education’s most recent progress report, 81 percent of tested students reached or exceeded proficiency on state tests in English, 83 percent in math, versus 47 and 60 percent citywide. The public Scholars’ Academy, in Rockaway Park on Beach 104th Street, starts at sixth grade and has 1,140 students. SAT averages last year were 504 in reading, 541 in math and 500 in writing, versus 496, 514 and 488 citywide. Another option is the school at St. Frances de Sales Church in Belle Harbor, which teaches through Grade 8.

The History

Belle Harbor was developed as a residential area in 1907 by the West Rockaway Land Company, according to the Encyclopedia of New York. The company divided the land into lots for single-family houses, and installed sewers and sidewalks. It also sold land to the Belle Harbor Yacht Club, which today has an imposing white building overlooking Jamaica Bay at Beach 126th Street.

The superstorm is not the only tragedy to have befallen the area. In November 2001, just two months after the 9/11 attacks, American Airlines Flight 587 (http://www.nytimes.com/2001/11/13/nyregion/crash-flight-587-overview-260-jet-die-queens-crash-6-9-missing-12-homes-burn-us.html) crashed there, killing all 260 people on board and 5 on the ground.


September 11th, 2013, 12:02 PM
Far Rockaway

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September 11th, 2013, 12:07 PM

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September 25th, 2013, 02:13 AM
Bayside: A City Suburb With Enclaves


Niko J. Kallianiotis for The New York Times
The Throgs Neck Bridge is the backdrop for this building, one of many in the 60-acre
Fort Totten Park, whose centerpiece is a Civil War fortress.

More Photos » (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2013/09/29/realestate/20130929-LIVING.html)

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There was a time in the early 20th century when Bayside rivaled nearby Long Island havens for the affluent and celebrated — for instance Sands Point, a North Shore enclave often associated with Fitzgerald’s “Great Gatsby.”

Then came construction of the Cross Island Parkway in the late 1930s, effectively cutting Bayside off from the water. That set the area on a different course from North Shore communities like Douglaston and Little Neck, which still have grand waterfront estates.

But Bayside bounced back. Today it is an upper-middle-class community where single-family homes predominate; it has excellent schools and ample parks — an archetype of suburbia, but within the boundaries of New York City.

“People who want to live in Bayside really want to live in Bayside — that’s all there is to it,” said Betsy Pilling, a lifelong resident and the broker/owner of Pilling Real Estate, which has been in business in Bayside for 40 years. Ms. Pilling described Bayside residents as homeowners with a strong civic interest who are “paying a lot of money, so they have to be motivated to want to live here.”

Detached three-bedroom houses start at $600,000 or so; there are few, if any, affordable housing options, so buyers tend to be affluent, brokers said.

The area was settled in the 1600s by English land grantees, evolving by the mid-1900s into a neighborhood that attracted prosperous Irish-, Italian- and German-American families. In the last two decades, Korean- and Chinese-Americans have been its fastest-growing ethnicities, many moving east from the Flushing area, said Daniel Algar, the broker/owner of East Coast Realtors in Bayside.

It is a neighborhood of enclaves — among them Bay Terrace, Bayside Gables, Weeks Woodlands and Bayside Hills — strung together by the vibrant shopping strip along Bell Boulevard. Each enclave could be defined as a neighborhood in itself, but residents typically see themselves as Baysiders first.

Each enclave developed in a different era, and in the early 2000s, all were in danger of becoming overrun by sprawling new single- and multifamily homes — until impassioned Baysiders came together and pushed through a rezoning proposal, said Jerry Iannece, the chairman of Community Board 11, which covers Bayside.

Alison McKay, a resident of the Bellcourt enclave for eight years, owns one of the few remaining Victorians in the area. The director of the Bayside Historical Society (http://www.baysidehistorical.org/), Ms. McKay says she treasures the four-bedroom house. “It’s really pretty,” she said. “I’m the third owner, and the second owner did a lot of the renovation, so it’s got central air.”

While Ms. McKay would not say how much she paid, Mr. Algar says homes like hers would sell in the low $800,000s, as attractive single-family homes are always in demand.

“If an owner is truly looking to sell, and the house is priced within the correct range,” he added, “it will go almost overnight. If it’s priced right on the money, you’re going to get close to if not above asking price.”

What You’ll Find

Bayside, which takes up a rather large chunk of northeastern Queens, is generally described as being bounded by the East River and Little Neck Bay to the north, Union Turnpike to the south, the Cross Island Parkway to the east and, to the west, Utopia Parkway and Francis Lewis Boulevard.

The enclaves that define Bayside each consist of detached single-family homes, though there are some co-ops and condominiums: Bayside Gables is a gated community with contemporary and Tudor-style homes, while Bellcourt is an area of mixed architectural styles. Weeks Woodlands has two-story colonials and Tudor houses, while Tall Oaks has one- and two-story colonials, Tudors and ranches.

To the north is Bay Terrace, built in the 1950s and ’60s with garden apartment co-ops and two-family homes; nearby is a more recent, gated development called Bay Club at Bayside. The Oakland Gardens area tends to have more ranches, “splanches” and Capes, along with some co-op developments and two-family homes.

“If you’re in Bayside, any way you throw a rock, you’re in good shape,” Ms. Pilling said. “You’re in a really nice neighborhood and a good, solid community.”

Mr. Iannece, who lives in Bayside Hills, a 1930s community of colonial, Cape and Tudor-style single-family homes with lawns, says Bayside residents take fierce pride in their communities. Houses in his neighborhood start around $625,000 and can run into the $700,000s; its ambience is defined by grassy, meticulously landscaped malls and streets lined by mature trees.
“We’re passionate about our neighborhoods,” Mr. Iannece said, “whether you’re from Bayside Hills or Weeks Woodlands or East Bayside.”

What You’ll Pay

In mid-September, Bayside had about 95 single- and multifamily homes on the market, along with 335 condos and co-ops, according to the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island (http://www.mlsli.com/). The most expensive enclave is Bayside Gables, where the average price of a single-family home is more than $1 million, and there are homes worth $2 million and up.

One-bedroom condos are priced in the high $300,000s and up, while two-bedrooms start in the mid-$500,000s, said Maria Carr, an agent in the Bayside office of Douglas Elliman Real Estate.
Co-ops can provide a cheaper alternative, with smaller one-bedroom garden apartments starting at $150,000, and two-bedrooms starting at $225,000, Mr. Algar said. Yet there are also co-ops priced as high as $600,000, depending on size, the development and the amenities, he said.

The Commute

Bayside residents laud the ease of commuting on the Long Island Rail Road’s Port Washington line, which takes under 25 minutes to arrive in Manhattan. Conversely, driving in often-heavy traffic can take 90 minutes, residents say, and express bus lines aren’t much faster, including the QM 2, 3 and 20. Local buses include the 13, 16 and 12 lines.

What to Do

Bayside has several green spaces, among them the 46-acre Crocheron Park (http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/crocheronpark/) adjacent to 17-acre John Golden Park (http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/Q012B/), offering baseball, basketball, tennis and playgrounds. For golfers, 110-acre Clearview Park (http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/Q010) has an 18-hole course, and 657-acre Alley Pond Park (http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/alleypondpark) has a driving range and miniature golf. The Alley Pond Environmental Center (http://www.alleypond.com/) is a nonprofit educational organization that children in particular enjoy.

Fort Totten Park (http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/forttotten) is 60 acres on Little Neck Bay surrounding a preserved Civil War fortress. Besides the battlements, it has an outdoor pool, soccer fields and a nature center, and around Halloween it has “haunted lantern” tours of the historic Water Battery.

The Schools

Perhaps Bayside’s biggest attractions are its school districts, Nos. 26 and 25, frequently the highest-rated in the city, with some schools among the best in the state. Bayside’s Public School 188 Kingsbury and P.S. 203 Oakland Gardens were recently ranked the 13th and 15th best-performing schools on state tests, according to the New York City Department of Education.

Bayside High School and Benjamin N. Cardozo High School are popular. SAT averages at Bayside last year were 462 in reading, 523 in math and 464 in writing, versus 434, 461 and 430 citywide. SAT averages at Cardozo were 480 in reading, 545 in math and 489 in writing.

Parochial options include Sacred Heart School of Bayside, which offers prekindergarten through Grade 8. Bayside is also home to Queensborough Community College.

The History

Bayside was a pleasure-ground for actors, directors and producers in the theater and movies of the early 20th century. Pearl White, the star of “The Perils of Pauline,” used to stroll down Bell Boulevard leading a small white pig on a leash.


December 25th, 2013, 11:22 PM
Beechhurst: Stepping Out of Whitestone’s Shadow

December 17, 2013

Emon Hassan for The New York Times
Much of Beechhurst’s housing stock is single-family homes; some of the pricier ones can be found on Riverside Drive, which runs along the shore.

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Emon Hassan for The New York Times
160-11 10th Avenue
A four-bedroom three-bath colonial home (http://susannegutermuth.elliman.com/new-york-city/160-11-10-avenue-queens-tpmomyl) with two half baths, listed at $1,988,800.

Residents of Whitestone, Queens, like to say that the only people who call the waterfront enclave at its northeastern corner “Beechhurst” are the people who live there — no one else differentiates between it and the rest of Whitestone.

But that may be giving short shrift to this 70-block area, which has a storied history going back to the early 1900s and a closely integrated sense of community among its approximately 7,600 residents. To some, the charms of their colonial, Cape, Mediterranean, Victorian and Tudor homes remain unsung, along with those of their high-rise waterfront co-ops with copious amenities and views of the Throgs Neck and Bronx-Whitestone Bridges. They rave about their private beach on the East River.

Anthony Carollo, a resident since 2005 and the broker-owner of Carollo Real Estate, says the area remains unknown to a lot of outsiders because, geographically, “there’s no reason to visit the neighborhood unless you live there.”

“There’s no through traffic here,” he added. “You’re surrounded by water, so it’s a nice quiet little area; it’s a little sleeper of a community.”

Barbara Gordon, a longtime resident of Cryder House (http://www.cryderhouse.com/), one of the area’s most expensive waterfront co-ops, and a real estate agent with Century 21 Bay Benjamin, also described the neighborhood as off the radar. “This area is a beautiful community with well-kept, immaculate homes, and I always say I live in Beechhurst,” she said. “However, I’ve noticed in my ads recently that some people don’t know it, so now I also put Whitestone.”

In Ms. Gordon’s view, this lack of awareness is unfortunate, as Beechhurst has a lot to offer, particularly Cryder House, which has 237 large co-ops in a 20-story high-rise with its own beach and dock.

Census data show the population as down by about 3 percent from 2000 to 2010. Even so, brokers said, there have been newcomers, among them young professionals and “snowbird” retirees, who head to Florida in the winter. Enough have arrived to diversify this middle-class area — which has long been Irish- and Italian-American, and especially popular with the families of police officers and firefighters.

William Kwok, 27, a Flushing resident buying his first home, conducted a three-month quest that ended in Beechhurst. A native of Long Island, Mr. Kwok said he had been looking for a similar slice of suburbia in the city, without the high taxes.

Once he discovered Beechhurst’s array of single-family homes, he spent time looking with his parents and eventually found a three-bedroom 1920 colonial. He bought it for almost $700,000 in August.
Mr. Kwok says the location near the Cross Island Expressway is perfect for commuting to his job as a city employee; he has also been impressed by his affable, welcoming neighbors.

“Beechhurst does make the effort to try to make everyone come together,” he said, adding that once he had moved in, he immediately went to work renovating. That passion for perfection is one he shares with many. Nelly Andrushenko, a resident and the broker-owner of Power Realty, said this was one quality that stood out about Beechhurst: “People take such loving care of their properties.”

What You’ll Find

Beechhurst, which occupies roughly the northeast quarter of Whitestone, is frequently seen as bounded by the Cross Island Expressway, the Throgs Neck toll road, the East River and 154th Street, though some stretch the neighborhood to include the area bounded by Clintonville Street and 10th Avenue.

The majority of the housing is single-family, though there are two-families here and there, Mr. Carollo said. Beechhurst was rezoned in 2005 to stymie a trend of demolishing smaller, older houses to build oversized properties. Although many buyers are still in the market for teardowns, the regulations limit the size of the home they can build, Ms. Andrushenko said.

Its most exclusive area is Robinwood, a roughly 23-block southeastern area that has its own security guards, and homes on large lots, some 100 by 100, Ms. Andrushenko said. Those looking in wealthy neighborhoods like Malba, also in Whitestone, and Bayside Gables in neighboring Bayside, frequently ask about Robinwood, she said.

Along the waterfront, Beechhurst has a string of co-op apartments and condominiums in high-rises and townhouses. In addition to Cryder House, there is LeHavre on the Water (http://www.lhocorp.com/), with 1,032 units; Cryder Point, with about 360; the Towers at Beechhurst, with about 90; Wildflower Estates, with about 30; and Beechhurst Shores, with nearly 50.

What You’ll Pay

Of the almost 40 houses that went on the market in Beechhurst this year, 20 of them have closed, said Judy Markowitz, the broker-owner of the Energized Realty Group. The cheapest was an attached two-bedroom home, which sold for $539,000; the most expensive, on Powells Cove Boulevard near the waterfront, went for $1.35 million, she said.

Brokers corroborated that the least expensive sales, typically of attached homes, are in the $500,000 range; but as for the top of the market, they said, it can reach $3 million, especially for a string of gated homes on Riverside Drive along Beechhurst beach and some homes in Robinwood.

Although the area’s housing weathered the housing crash, the co-op market has struggled, brokers said. Of 75 co-ops listed this year, only 17 have sold, with an average listing price of $214,500 and an average sales price of $207,963, Ms. Markowitz said.

About 49 of the listed co-ops expiredor were pulled, she said, “indicating that while over all the market has strengthened since 2009, the co-op market here is still oversaturated with inventory.”

The Commute

Many make the 20-minute commute into Manhattan by car (it’s about 45 minutes in heavy traffic). There is no subway in Beechhurst, but residents can hop the local Q15 bus to Flushing for the Long Island Rail Road or the 7 subway. The QM2 express bus gets to Midtown in about 45 minutes.

What to Do
Beechhurst Beach is maintained for local use by a group of homeowners, Mr. Carollo said. Also nearby in Whitestone, Boosters Beach is open to Beechhurst residents; a family membership is $200 a year, plus an initiation fee of $100. The 55-acre Little Bay Park on the eastern edge of Beechhurst offers a dog run, ball fields and a shoreline bike path.

Beechhurst has shopping plazas at 154th Street with Key Food and Waldbaums supermarkets. Restaurants include Due Ponti, on an old yacht club site with views of both bridges, and Logan’s Cafe, in the co-op complex at LeHavre on the Water.

The Schools

Beechhurst falls in District 25, one of the city’s top school districts. Public School 193 Alfred J. Kennedy got a B on its latest city progress report, with 49.2 percent of tested students showing mastery in English and 60.9 percent in math, versus 47 and 60 citywide. There are also parochial schools in Whitestone, like St. Luke’s, for prekindergarten through Grade 8, which is close to Beechhurst.

After Junior High School 194 William Carr, there is Bayside High School, where SAT averages last year were 462 in reading, 523 in math and 464 in writing, versus 434, 461 and 430 citywide.

The History

An early 20th-century waterfront real estate development named after a grove of beech trees, the area evolved into the westernmost portion of the glitzy North Shore of Long Island in the 1920s, said Jack Eichenbaum, the Queens borough historian.

With early residents like the vaudeville star Harry Richman and the actress Mary Pickford, Beechhurst had its share of estates, the most prominent of them Wildflower, a neo-Tudor with elaborate brickwork built in 1924 by Arthur Hammerstein, the Broadway producer and uncle of the lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II.

Today the home is part of a condo conversion and townhouse complex called Wildflower Estates.


June 1st, 2014, 06:36 AM
Woodside, Queens: An Affordable, Convenient Triangle

MAY 28, 2014

Credit Robert Stolarik for The New York Times

Slide Show (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/01/realestate/woodside-queens-an-affordable-convenient-triangle.html?partner=rss&emc=rss#slideshow/100000002904821/100000002904826)

In March, the Icon 52 (http://theicon52rentals.com/), a new building on Queens Boulevard in Woodside, opened to renters. Its 66 units were marketed as affordable luxury apartments with amenities that included a roof deck with views of Manhattan.

Six weeks later, the apartments — which ranged from studios renting for $1,500 to $1,700 a month to two-bedrooms renting for $2,350 to $2,600 — had all been taken, according to Greg Kyroglou, a salesman for Modern Spaces, a real estate company that handled the Icon 52 rentals.

“We work a lot in Astoria and Long Island City, where a lot of people have been priced out,” Mr. Kyroglou said. “We found they’re willing to go to Woodside. If you’re getting the same type of apartment that you would find in Long Island City and it’s $1,000 cheaper, you’re going to be willing to move.”

Some buyers also have been discouraged by the high price of real estate in nearby neighborhoods and started to look in Woodside, said Lisa D’Amico, an associate broker with Douglas Elliman Real Estate. They “cast a wider net and end up in Woodside,” she said. “They are moving along the subway line, and I think Woodside is just beginning to be discovered.”

Ms. D’Amico sells co-ops in Woodside’s Boulevard Gardens (http://www.boulevardgardensqns.com/), a Depression-era complex of 10 buildings on 11 acres with gardens, lawns and a playground.

32-58 54TH STREET
Two-family (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/&quot;http://www.mlsli.com/homes-for-sale/NY/Woodside/11377/32-58-54th-St-109486314&quot;) with a two-bedroom unit and a three-bedroom unit, listed at $940,000.
Robert Stolarik for The New York Times

“We’re right on the Astoria border and blocks from Long Island City in this great little triangle,” she said, “but at prices far less than you would pay in those two neighborhoods.”

50-28 64TH STREET
One-family (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/&quot;http://www.mlsli.com/homes-for-sale/NY/Woodside/11377/50-28-64th-St-103421766&quot;) attached home with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, listed at $589,000.
Robert Stolarik for The New York Times

Despite the nascent interest spilling over from nearby areas, Woodside is at its heart an affordable and vibrant immigrant community.

55-25 31ST AVENUE
One-bedroom (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/&quot;http://www.mlsli.com/homes-for-sale/NY/Woodside/11377/55-25-31st-Ave-117292361&quot;) one-bath co-op in the Boulevard Gardens complex, listed at $225,000.
Robert Stolarik for The New York Times

After a wave of immigration of Irish, Germans and Italians in the early 20th century, the area more recently has attracted arrivals from Central and South America and from Asia. Here you find Ecuadoreans, Colombians and Chinese among other nationalities. Filipinos also have congregated in Woodside, creating what is known as Little Manila, a strip of Roosevelt Avenue from 62nd to 71st streets lined with Filipino shops and restaurants.

Ana Chan, an associate broker with Wagner and Kelly Real Estate, said diversity is one of the first things people notice when being introduced to Woodside. “In one day, you can talk to people of eight or nine different nationalities,” she said.

Robert Graziano, 47, a computer programmer and musician, said he bought a one-bedroom co-op in Woodside last August after looking in Sunnyside and finding it too expensive. While the affordability of his new home was what drew him to Woodside (he paid $170,000 for a 700-square-foot apartment), he enjoys the neighborhood’s international atmosphere.

“Being a musician-artist type, I have lived in areas with hipsters and I love that, but I also like to see families, and here you have the Filipino community, Ecuadoreans and some Colombians,” he said. Before moving to Woodside, he rented in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn.

Mr. Graziano is also seeing some changes in Woodside. “In the supermarket,” he said, “there is the aisle with Goya products but also one with microbrew beers.”


October 4th, 2014, 10:32 PM
Downtown Flushing: Where Asian Cultures Thrive


Uli Seit for The New York Times

Slide Show (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/05/realestate/downtown-flushing-where-asian-cultures-thrive.html?ref=realestate&_r=0#slideshow/100000003147827/100000003147837)

People who live and work in downtown Flushing sometimes call it “the Chinese Manhattan (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/classifieds/realestate/locations/newyork/newyorkcity/manhattan/?inline=nyt-geo).” Both downtown Flushing, in north-central Queens (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/classifieds/realestate/locations/newyork/newyorkcity/queens/?inline=nyt-geo), and Manhattan are centers of commerce, transportation and finance, and both have shiny new buildings with expensive and sought-after condominiums.

“Where else but Manhattan are you going to find a place that stays up 24/7,” said Councilman Peter Koo, who represents Flushing and lives downtown. He also owns several pharmacies there. “It’s really convenient. You can do anything imaginable in a 10-block area.”

Downtown Flushing is known for its restaurants, bakeries and Asian specialty stores and its easy transportation into Manhattan. The No. 7 subway line ends at Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue, in the center of the neighborhood, and the Long Island Rail Road has a station near the No. 7 train. Dozens of bank branches do business on the main avenues, and a new shopping mall, the Shops at SkyView Center, is fully rented out to national retailers.

A two-bedroom two-bath condo (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/&quot;http://www.mlsli.com/homes-for-sale/NY/Flushing/11355/133-38-Sanford-Ave-120905626&quot;) in a new building, listed at $1.08 million.
Uli Seit for The New York Times

The neighborhood has the feel of an Asian city. During the morning rush hour, hawkers sell Chinese-language newspapers to commuters heading to the No. 7 train. Colorful fruit and vegetable displays add to the area’s character.

Residential life centers on a five- to six-block radius around the intersection of Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue. Brick apartment buildings, some dating to the 1920s, line side streets, along with newer condominium buildings that offer views of Manhattan in the distance, beyond La Guardia Airport.

Real estate agents say that notwithstanding the congestion and noise, many people want to be in the middle of downtown Flushing’s action.

From a real estate perspective, “Queens, in general, is really taking off” and “Flushing is the epicenter,” said Michael Dana, the president of Onex Real Estate Partners (http://www.onex.com/Onex_Real_Estate_Partners.aspx), the developer of the Shops at SkyView Center as well as of Sky View Parc (http://www.skyviewparc.com/en/), the luxury condos above the center at College Point Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue. All 448 Sky View Parc condos have been sold, and early next year construction will begin on a second phase, adding 250 more units by mid-2016, Mr. Dana said.

Another sign that developers are bullish on Flushing is a big project that broke ground earlier this year: Flushing Commons (http://www.nycedc.com/project/flushing-commons). On a five-acre site that was a parking lot, it will include a town square, commercial space and 600 residential units. The first phase is set for completion in 2017.

Downtown Flushing’s appeal as a residential neighborhood lies in its concentration of Asian life and culture. While Chinese predominate, there is a sizable Korean community, with its businesses centered around Union Street.

Real estate agents say people seeking to live in the area include Chinese-Americans moving from other New York neighborhoods, new immigrants looking to be close to relatives, wealthy Chinese buyers investing in property to rent out and empty-nesters downsizing from suburban homes.

“They would rather be in a two-bedroom apartment in Flushing than a house on Long Island (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/classifieds/realestate/locations/newyork/longisland/?inline=nyt-geo) where they feel isolated,” Councilman Koo said. “Everything is here, and they can speak the language.”

What You’ll Find

The 2010 census put the population of Flushing, encompassing an area beyond downtown, at 72,000 — 69.2 percent Asian, 14.9 percent Hispanic, 9.5 percent white and 4.2 percent African-American. A 2013 Department of City Planning report that looked at new immigration patterns found about two-thirds of Flushing’s population was foreign-born.

A two-bedroom two-bath condo (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/&quot;http://www.mlsli.com/homes-for-sale/NY/Flushing/11355/address-not-available-from-broker-132003899&quot;) in a 1964 building, listed at $699,000.
Uli Seit for The New York Times

Most properties for sale downtown are condominiums, ranging from modest units in older buildings to million-dollar-plus apartments in newer ones.

Wesley Yeager, 64, a consulting engineer, put a deposit on a three-bedroom penthouse in 2009 at Sky View Parc before the complex was built. Living then in suburban New Jersey, he wanted to move to New York City for his work. He was seeking value for money, and wooing his companion, Dr. Qinghong Huang, who is Chinese and has an internal medicine practice in Elmhurst.

“My thought was to buy a really nice place where she would feel comfortable,” Mr. Wesley said. The couple moved into the Flushing condo, which cost $1.25 million, in 2012.

“I came to Flushing and fell in love with the community,” he said. For Dr. Huang, he added, it is “the best of both worlds — foods of her childhood and freedoms of America.”

What You’ll Pay

A recently renovated one-bedroom one-bath condo (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/&quot;http://listings.listhub.net/pages/MLSLINY/2690015/?channel=trulia&quot;), listed at $265,000.
Uli Seit for The New York Times

A search in late September of downtown Flushing listings on the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island (http://www.mlsli.com/), which covers Queens, turned up only a few dozen properties. Inventory is tight, said George Fang, an agent with RE/MAX Universal Real Estate who works in downtown Flushing. “If the price is right, it is going to sell.”

Sales prices range from $192,000 for a one-bedroom one-bath co-op in a 1957 brick building on Barclay Avenue to $1.28 million for a six-bedroom duplex in the new Kings Development building on Prince Street. In the middle are one- and two-bedroom apartments in older buildings selling for $250,000 to $500,000.

On the high end of the rental market is a four-bedroom penthouse in the sleek Arcadia Condo (http://www.arcadiacondo.com/) building on Main Street that Fanny Wang, a sales representative with the Wing Fung Home Realty Group, said she is seeking to rent for $7,000 a month. One-bedroom condo rentals in Victoria Tower on Sanford Avenue, where she is a listing representative, range from around $2,200 to $2,500 a month.

Mr. Fang said he believes prices in downtown Flushing now exceed pre-recession levels. He said a two-bedroom apartment that sold for $230,000 to $250,000 in 2007 would be priced now at $250,000 to $300,000.

The Commute

The No. 7 subway line is the main conduit to and from downtown Flushing. An express No. 7 train during the morning rush hour takes around 40 minutes to get to Times Square. The Long Island Rail Road is another option; trains from the Flushing Main Street station take around 20 minutes to Penn Station. About 20 bus lines serve the neighborhood and transport commuters from outlying areas to the No. 7 line. Major highways and airports are in proximity to the neighborhood.

The Schools

Public School 20 John Bowne (http://schools.nyc.gov/schoolportals/25/q020/default.htm), at 142-30 Barclay Avenue, has 1,437 students in prekindergarten through Grade 5. It received a B on its latest Department of Education progress report. Students at Flushing High School (http://www.flushinghighschool.org/), which has 2,400 students in grades 9 through 12, recorded average SAT scores in 2013 of 397 in critical reading, 424 in math and 383 in writing, compared with citywide averages of 437, 463 and 433.

What to Do

The shops and restaurants of downtown Flushing are a huge draw for residents and outsiders alike. Some of the most interesting excursions are to mini-malls tucked into buildings off Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue. For example, the New World Mall (http://www.newworldmallny.com/) has stores selling groceries, cosmetics, housewares and electronics on its upper floors. In the basement is a huge food court where dozens of stands sell stir-fries, soups, dumplings, bubble teas and hand-pulled noodles. The Shops at SkyView Center (http://www.shopskyviewcenter.com/) is a more modern and Western-style mall where shoppers can choose from any number of national retailers and restaurant chains.

Downtown Flushing is within walking distance of the Queens Botanical Garden (http://www.queensbotanical.org/) and is one subway stop from Citi Field (http://newyork.mets.mlb.com/nym/ballpark/), where the New York Mets play, and the U.S.T.A. Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, where the U.S. Open is held. For cultural events, Flushing Town Hall (http://www.flushingtownhall.org/) presents a rich program of global arts.

The History

Flushing was the site of the drafting of a document believed to be one of the earliest in American history proclaiming the right to religious freedom. The document, the Flushing Remonstrance (http://www.nyym.org/flushing/remons.html), signed by a group of 30 local residents in 1657, was a response to a decree against Quakers by Gov. Peter Stuyvesant.


March 24th, 2015, 12:49 AM
Awesomely amazing photos of Queens neighborhoods, Nexis :).

Sunnyside, Queens, ‘Mayberry’ Near Midtown

MARCH 18, 2015

Uli Seit for The New York Times

Slide Show (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/22/realestate/sunnyside-queens-mayberry-near-midtown.html#slideshow/100000003576078/100000003576082)

Sunnyside, in western Queens, is a stark contrast to the gleaming glass residential towers rising in nearby Long Island City. Here is an old-fashioned New York neighborhood of squat prewar apartment buildings, rowhouses and shopping streets that still have mom-and-pop businesses.

“We call it Mayberry,” after the small town portrayed in the 1960s sitcom “The Andy Griffith Show,” said Amy FitzGerald, the owner of Welcome Home Real Estate on Skillman Avenue in Sunnyside.
“People are very friendly,” said Ms. FitzGerald, who moved to the neighborhood with her husband 16 years ago from Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

Ciaran Staunton, a resident since 2001 and the owner of Molly Blooms pub in Sunnyside, said residents were quick to rally around community issues such as repaving a local street. “People come together because this is a good neighborhood and we want to keep it good,” he said.

Sunnyside’s boundaries correspond roughly with those of ZIP code 11104, an area of nearly one-half square mile with a population of around 27,000. The neighborhood is perhaps best known for its Sunnyside Gardens Historic District (http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/downloads/pdf/reports/SunnysideGardens.pdf), one of the first planned communities in the United States. Built between 1924 and 1928, this enclave feels like an old English town, with its gabled brick townhouses, verdant courtyards and pathways weaving between buildings.

41-48 47TH STREET A two-family townhouse (http://streeteasy.com/sale/1147881-house-41-48-47th-st-sunnyside) in the Sunnyside Gardens Historic District, listed at $1.2 million.
Uli Seit for The New York Times

Strolling along the streets of the Gardens district, one might imagine that time had stopped somewhere back in the early 20th century, but that would be an illusion. Sunnyside has not been immune to change brought about by a growing interest in Queens among New Yorkers priced out of Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn. Property prices and rents have been rising in recent years, real estate agents say.

Janet Gallagher, 68, a retired lawyer, is among the recent arrivals. A longtime renter in Park Slope, Brooklyn, she found herself out of a lease five years ago and looking for a new place to live.

After renting in Sunnyside, she recently bought a one-bedroom co-op there that she plans to move into soon. “It looked like a viable, real neighborhood with a very mixed population, and it’s convenient to Manhattan,” Ms. Gallagher said.

While Sunnyside retains some of its identity as a historically Irish-American neighborhood, it has a broader mix these days. A 2013 Department of City Planning report, “The Newest New Yorkers,” (http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/census/nny.shtml) said foreign-born residents of the area encompassing Sunnyside, Hunters Point and West Maspeth included Ecuadorean, Colombian, Chinese, Korean, Bangladeshi and Mexican immigrants.

More change may be coming to Sunnyside. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced during his State of the City (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/04/nyregion/new-york-mayor-bill-de-blasios-state-of-the-city-address.html?_r=0) address last month a plan to build more than 11,000 units of affordable housing at Sunnyside Yards, the rail depot adjacent to the neighborhood.

City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, whose district includes Sunnyside and who lives in Sunnyside Gardens, said residents were “rightly concerned” about the effect of such a project on services like the already crowded No. 7 subway train.

“Just about every Sunnysider needs to get on that 7 train” for work, he said, “and it is increasingly unreliable.”

What You’ll Find

Real estate in Sunnyside is predominantly a mix of six-story apartment buildings from the early 1940s, many of which have been converted into co-ops and condominiums, and attached rowhouses of varying sizes. Inventory is extremely tight. A search on March 12 of the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island (http://www.mlsli.com/), which includes Queens, showed 15 properties for sale in Sunnyside

“Competition for whatever comes available is fierce,” said Nilo De la Torre, a real estate agent with Century 21 Sunny Gardens Realty. One-bedroom co-ops and condos are the most widely available. Larger apartments and houses are more scarce, Ms. FitzGerald said, especially in the Sunnyside Gardens district.

What You’ll Pay

The high demand for properties has steadily pushed up prices. For example, Ms. FitzGerald said one-bedroom co-ops — now selling for up to $325,000 — were going for $250,000 a couple of years ago. Studios that sold for $110,000 are now fetching up to $175,000, she said.
In the Sunnyside Gardens area, single-family, three-bedroom townhouses are selling in the low $800,000s, and two-family townhomes in the mid-$900,000s; the very rare three-family home to come on the market can sell for up to $1.2 million, Ms. FitzGerald said.

43-33 48TH STREET, #4I A one-bedroom one-bath condominium (http://www.mlsli.com/homes-for-sale/43-33-48-St-Sunnyside-NY-11104-142763560) under renovation, listed at $479,000.
Uli Seit for The New York Times

Outside Sunnyside Gardens, home prices range from around $700,000 for a single-family home to $850,000 for a two-family house to about $1 million for a three-family rowhouse, she said.

Rental prices, too, have risen, said Mr. De la Torre. One-bedroom apartments typically rent for between $1,750 to $2,100 a month, compared with $1,600 to $1,800 a month three years ago, he said. “Many people who have lived in Sunnyside for a while wouldn’t be able to afford their apartments if they started looking for something now.”

What To Do

Along busy Queens Boulevard, residents can find a Starbucks, a White Castle fast-food restaurant and a Key Food Fresh ’n’ Save Marketplace. More commercial activity happens along Greenpoint Avenue and on Skillman Avenue, which are filled with local food markets, restaurants and bars, coffee shops and other small businesses. “There is no shortage of places to meet people and hang out,” Ms. Gallagher said.

The Thalia Spanish Theater (http://www.thaliatheatre.org/), on Greenpoint Avenue, is bilingual, sometimes alternating performances in English and Spanish, and also presents music and dance.
The community comes out for annual events like the St. Pat’s For All (http://www.stpatsforall.com/parade2014.html) parade, held in early March. Residents also congregate at the Greenmarket (http://www.grownyc.org/greenmarket/queens/sunnyside) on Skillman Avenue and at local playgrounds.

50-21 39TH PLACE, #2G A one-bedroom one-bath co-op (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/22/realestate/%20http:/www.century21.com/property/50-21-39th-place-2-g-sunnyside-ny-11104-C2123220628) in a 1961 building, listed at $214,800.
Uli Seit for The New York Times

What the neighborhood lacks is a large public park. Sunnyside Gardens Park (http://sunnysidegardenspark.org/), a three-and-a-half-acre private park, is open to membership by residents of Sunnyside Gardens only.
The Schools

In September, Sunnyside welcomed a new elementary school, Public School 343 the Children’s Lab School (http://www.ps343.org/home), with prekindergarten and kindergarten offered this first year. Additional grades will be added each year until the school serves students through Grade 5.

Other schools in Sunnyside include P.S. 150 Queens (http://schools.nyc.gov/schoolportals/30/q150/default.htm), which offers a gifted and talented program. It has around 1,240 students in prekindergarten through Grade 6. Results from the Department of Education’s 2013-2014 Elementary School Quality Snapshot showed 43 percent of its students met state standards in English, compared with 30 percent citywide, and 63 percent met state standards in math, compared with 39 percent citywide.

The other large public elementary school in the neighborhood is P.S. 199 Maurice A. Fitzgerald School (http://schools.nyc.gov/schoolportals/24/q199/default.htm), which has around 1,000 students in kindergarten through Grade 5. Its Quality Snapshot showed 33 percent of the students met state standards in English and 50 percent met state math standards.

The Commute

The No. 7 subway train serves the neighborhood at two stations — 40th Street-Lowery Street and 46th Street-Bliss Street. A trip from the 46th Street-Bliss Street station to Grand Central Terminal takes 15 to 20 minutes.

Manhattan-bound No. 7 trains, especially during the morning commute, are often packed by the time they get to Sunnyside. Residents also have had to contend recently with weekend service shutdowns for track repairs and signal upgrades.

The History

The architects of Sunnyside Gardens were influenced by the English garden city movement, with its ideals of “health, open space, greenery, and idyllic community living for all,” according to “The Encyclopedia of New York City (https://books.google.com/books?id=lI5ERUmHf3YC&pg=PT5911&lpg=PT5911&dq=&).” In the 1940s, the Gardens district attracted artists and writers who moved there from Manhattan to raise families, and the area became known as the “maternity ward of Greenwich Village.”


March 30th, 2015, 08:08 PM

Kew Gardens

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7592/16725227449_a669c37b55_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rtXaqv)
Union Turnpike - Kew Gardens,Queens (https://flic.kr/p/rtXaqv) by Nexis4Jersey09 (https://www.flickr.com/people/42178139@N06/), on Flickr

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7649/16723992380_35cf3b86f5_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rtQQhd)
Burns Street - Forest Hill Gardens,Queens (https://flic.kr/p/rtQQhd) by Nexis4Jersey09 (https://www.flickr.com/people/42178139@N06/), on Flickr

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7287/16723738448_d6427eeea6_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rtPwN5)
Burns Street - Forest Hill Gardens,Queens (https://flic.kr/p/rtPwN5) by Nexis4Jersey09 (https://www.flickr.com/people/42178139@N06/), on Flickr

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8703/16885508396_763a4678d3_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rJ7Dn7)
Burns Street - Forest Hill Gardens,Queens (https://flic.kr/p/rJ7Dn7) by Nexis4Jersey09 (https://www.flickr.com/people/42178139@N06/), on Flickr

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8711/16885505816_bbf2eb25fe_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rJ7CAC)
Park Lane - Kew Gardens,Queens (https://flic.kr/p/rJ7CAC) by Nexis4Jersey09 (https://www.flickr.com/people/42178139@N06/), on Flickr

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8706/16704076207_69f077d8b3_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rs5KTV)
Grenfell Street - Kew Gardens,Queens (https://flic.kr/p/rs5KTV) by Nexis4Jersey09 (https://www.flickr.com/people/42178139@N06/), on Flickr

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7641/16704075617_82d890544c_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rs5KHK)
Grenfell Street - Kew Gardens,Queens (https://flic.kr/p/rs5KHK) by Nexis4Jersey09 (https://www.flickr.com/people/42178139@N06/), on Flickr

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8708/16289025504_2bb12db38d_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/qPpvMj)
Grenfell Street - Kew Gardens,Queens (https://flic.kr/p/qPpvMj) by Nexis4Jersey09 (https://www.flickr.com/people/42178139@N06/), on Flickr

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7629/16723986520_104e900fff_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rtQNxb)
82nd Ave - Kew Gardens,Queens (https://flic.kr/p/rtQNxb) by Nexis4Jersey09 (https://www.flickr.com/people/42178139@N06/), on Flickr

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8715/16291386493_01a5ff9043_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/qPBBC2)
Austin Street - Kew Gardens,Queens (https://flic.kr/p/qPBBC2) by Nexis4Jersey09 (https://www.flickr.com/people/42178139@N06/), on Flickr

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8744/16289023084_35c8451b98_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/qPpv4A)
Long Island Railroad at Kew Gardens (https://flic.kr/p/qPpv4A) by Nexis4Jersey09 (https://www.flickr.com/people/42178139@N06/), on Flickr

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8704/16911400565_7395410381_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rLpmcP)
Long Island Railroad at Kew Gardens (https://flic.kr/p/rLpmcP) by Nexis4Jersey09 (https://www.flickr.com/people/42178139@N06/), on Flickr

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8739/16723980930_f9b0a10ec6_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rtQLSN)
Long Island Railroad at Kew Gardens (https://flic.kr/p/rtQLSN) by Nexis4Jersey09 (https://www.flickr.com/people/42178139@N06/), on Flickr

April 12th, 2015, 11:21 AM


https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8773/16876391989_c347a1f97e_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rHiVnF)
Douglaston - Queens,New York (https://flic.kr/p/rHiVnF) by Nexis4Jersey09 (https://www.flickr.com/people/42178139@N06/), on Flickr

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7665/16874820698_1af4c33810_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rHaShs)
074 (https://flic.kr/p/rHaShs) by Nexis4Jersey09 (https://www.flickr.com/people/42178139@N06/), on Flickr

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8745/17061142972_83ae7dcd53_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rZCPps)
Douglaston - Queens,New York (https://flic.kr/p/rZCPps) by Nexis4Jersey09 (https://www.flickr.com/people/42178139@N06/), on Flickr

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8803/16440173164_9d86f08300_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/r3LbHs)
Douglaston - Queens,New York (https://flic.kr/p/r3LbHs) by Nexis4Jersey09 (https://www.flickr.com/people/42178139@N06/), on Flickr

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7704/16442465123_cf892ac974_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/r3XW2Z)
Douglaston - Queens,New York (https://flic.kr/p/r3XW2Z) by Nexis4Jersey09 (https://www.flickr.com/people/42178139@N06/), on Flickr

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8695/16855214587_eb5ca51fd8_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rFro54)
Douglaston - Queens,New York (https://flic.kr/p/rFro54) by Nexis4Jersey09 (https://www.flickr.com/people/42178139@N06/), on Flickr

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7609/16875067830_ef1071e765_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rHc8Km)
Douglaston - Queens,New York (https://flic.kr/p/rHc8Km) by Nexis4Jersey09 (https://www.flickr.com/people/42178139@N06/), on Flickr

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7708/17061827351_2005b8fa73_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rZGjR6)
Douglaston - Queens,New York (https://flic.kr/p/rZGjR6) by Nexis4Jersey09 (https://www.flickr.com/people/42178139@N06/), on Flickr

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8703/17061141202_31a827332b_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rZCNSW)
Douglaston - Queens,New York (https://flic.kr/p/rZCNSW) by Nexis4Jersey09 (https://www.flickr.com/people/42178139@N06/), on Flickr

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7596/17061826511_fbbd7bb172_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rZGjAB)
Douglaston - Queens,New York (https://flic.kr/p/rZGjAB) by Nexis4Jersey09 (https://www.flickr.com/people/42178139@N06/), on Flickr

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8778/16875066620_1a330b7ff9_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rHc8ou)
Douglaston - Queens,New York (https://flic.kr/p/rHc8ou) by Nexis4Jersey09 (https://www.flickr.com/people/42178139@N06/), on Flickr

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7643/16874816598_902030675e_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rHaR4L)
091 (https://flic.kr/p/rHaR4L) by Nexis4Jersey09 (https://www.flickr.com/people/42178139@N06/), on Flickr

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7641/16875030630_099371232a_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rHbWFY)
Douglaston - Queens,New York (https://flic.kr/p/rHbWFY) by Nexis4Jersey09 (https://www.flickr.com/people/42178139@N06/), on Flickr

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8799/16440166704_243143efaa_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/r3L9N5)
104 (https://flic.kr/p/r3L9N5) by Nexis4Jersey09 (https://www.flickr.com/people/42178139@N06/), on Flickr

April 12th, 2015, 11:22 AM

Little Neck

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7685/16440177844_8c02fa5cf9_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/r3Ld79)
Little Neck - Queens,New York (https://flic.kr/p/r3Ld79) by Nexis4Jersey09 (https://www.flickr.com/people/42178139@N06/), on Flickr

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8810/16440177184_df51628580_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/r3LcUL)
062 (https://flic.kr/p/r3LcUL) by Nexis4Jersey09 (https://www.flickr.com/people/42178139@N06/), on Flickr

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7654/17061832151_a1881d7a0d_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rZGmgR)
Long Island Railroad&#x27;s Port Washington Branch at Little Neck Station (https://flic.kr/p/rZGmgR) by Nexis4Jersey09 (https://www.flickr.com/people/42178139@N06/), on Flickr

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7714/16876393819_58854a3704_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rHiVVe)
Long Island Railroad&#x27;s Port Washington Branch at Little Neck Station (https://flic.kr/p/rHiVVe) by Nexis4Jersey09 (https://www.flickr.com/people/42178139@N06/), on Flickr

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7705/16874822788_fce2ed722d_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rHaSUu)
067 (https://flic.kr/p/rHaSUu) by Nexis4Jersey09 (https://www.flickr.com/people/42178139@N06/), on Flickr

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8727/17061831321_7b08c0e4bf_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rZGm2x)
Long Island Railroad&#x27;s Port Washington Branch at Little Neck Station (https://flic.kr/p/rZGm2x) by Nexis4Jersey09 (https://www.flickr.com/people/42178139@N06/), on Flickr

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8684/16442467403_b092989a3b_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/r3XWHi)
Little Neck - Queens,New York (https://flic.kr/p/r3XWHi) by Nexis4Jersey09 (https://www.flickr.com/people/42178139@N06/), on Flickr

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8705/17061143942_aae11012b2_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rZCPGb)
Little Neck - Queens,New York (https://flic.kr/p/rZCPGb) by Nexis4Jersey09 (https://www.flickr.com/people/42178139@N06/), on Flickr

July 21st, 2015, 03:04 AM
I read about this somewhere ages ago and could never find it again.

Why Are the Mean Streets of Queens Numbered the Way They Are?

July 17, 2015
By Shiloh Frederick


It’s easy to tell if you’re dealing with a Queens address–there’s the hyphenated street number and the variety of numbered thoroughfare names (Street, Place, Road, Avenue, Lane, Terrace). The really hard part, however, is actually getting to that address in Queens, especially if you’re a resident from another borough to whom it feels like trying to maneuver your way in another country where you don’t know the language. But instead of continuing to find ourselves lost (http://www.6sqft.com/vanity-addresses-like-432-park-avenue-might-be-the-reason-youre-getting-lost/), we decided to get to the bottom of this complicated system.

Prior to the consolidation of New York City in 1898, what is now known as the borough of Queens was only a hodgepodge of unconnected towns, each of which had its own road system and addresses. Once the towns were combined into one borough, having multiple road systems was becoming a hindrance to fast-growing Queens. So by 1911, the borough hired engineer Charles U. Powell to replace the old systems with a carefully planned grid system.

http://www.6sqft.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Map-of-Queens-1891.jpg1891 map of Queens via NYPL
In the Queens grid system numbered avenues run west to east, while streets run north to south; it’s the reverse of Manhattan’s grid. In theory, this seems pretty simple to grasp, but a couple of things have forced exceptions to these rules. For one, Queens has a funky shape on account of the border it shares with Brooklyn and the natural geography of Long Island. Because of its shape, some avenues don’t run the full course across the island while other avenues end up curving.

Image via Google Maps

The other exceptions equate to growing pains. When Queens became more populous and new houses and buildings were arising, it was necessary to create streets, or rather avenues, that weren’t previously part of the grid system. They had to be accounted for somehow, but completely redesigning the grid system was not going to happen every time a new avenue was built.

Instead, city planners came up with a clever, albeit confusing, way to incorporate these new pathways. Rather than renumbering the grid, city planners decided that these new avenues weren’t going to be called avenues; instead, they would be called roads and drives. For example, if multiple avenues had been created between 45th Avenue and 46th Avenue, these new paths would get the titles of 45th Road and 45th Drive, respectively.

This saved city planners the headache of completely overhauling the system, but in return it has created headaches for everyone else due to the inconsistencies in the system that can’t be predicted without looking at a map. While some avenues have the whole nine yards of lane-naming in between them, other avenues would have a just a road or nothing at all.

Queens addresses do come with navigational hints, however. Most are set up in this form: XX-XX YY Street/Avenue, where there is a set of numbers on both sides of the hyphens. While the number behind the hyphen is the number of the building, the number in front of the hyphen actually signifies the address’ nearest cross street (or cross-avenue). For example, the address 12-34 56th Street means that you’re looking for a building numbered 34 on 56th Street and the closest cross street to this address is 12th Avenue. This would also be the case for an address like 34-58 54th Avenue. You would be looking for a building numbered 58 on 54th Avenue and the nearest cross street would be 34th Street. As expected, adding roads and drives into the mix complicates the system, but at least you’ll know that you’re on the right path. That being said, perhaps the best piece of advice for navigating Queens in the 21st century is when in doubt, google it–or ask a Queens native for directions.