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Thread: Queens Neighborhoods

  1. #31
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    From crack vials to baby strollers in one generation ...

    an urban miracle

  2. #32 Front_Porch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Manhattan 90210


    you never know what the future will bring -- maybe those will be the next generation of customers.

  3. #33
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    Exactly ^^^

    What goes up ...

  4. #34
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Manhattan - UWS


    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

    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

    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

  5. #35

    Default Maspeth, Queens

    Living in Maspeth, Queens

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

    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.

    The New York Times

    Such trajectories are common in this western Queens neighborhood, bounded on the west by Brooklyn, 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, 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 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, who wrote “Miss Lonelyhearts” and “The Day of the Locust,” is buried at Mount Zion.

    Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company
    Last edited by brianac; May 3rd, 2008 at 10:20 AM.
    Last edited by brianac; June 21st, 2008 at 06:40 AM.

  6. #36

    Default Ditmars-Steinway

    Living In | Ditmars-Steinway, Queens

    A Slice of Europe Near the East River

    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 >

    Published: June 22, 2008

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

    Slide Show Living in Ditmars-Steinway, Queens

    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 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 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.

    “Best food in the entire world, and every ethnicity is within a two-block radius,” said Peter Vallone 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 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 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, 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 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 built the Grand Central Parkway, which cuts across Astoria and onto the Triborough Bridge.

    Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

  7. #37

    Default Steinway, Queens

    Streetscapes | Steinway, Queens

    A Hilltop Idyll, With Grace Notes of the Past
    Last edited by Edward; February 15th, 2012 at 05:08 PM. Reason: Full text by Christopher Gray deleted

  8. #38


    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.

    Credit: 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.

    Credit: 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.

    Credit: Anderson/News
    Row houses along 66th St.

    © Copyright 2008

  9. #39

    Default Rego Park, Queens neighborhood

    Living In | Rego Park, Queens
    Yes, There Is a Place Named ‘Real Good’

    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 Graphic On the Market


    Community Profile
    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 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 Multimedia

    Graphic On the Market


    Community Profile

    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, 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. Drivers cite easy access to the Long Island 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 The New York Times Company

    To give you a feel for Rego Park real estate, take a look here

  10. #40
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    Oct 2002


    Quaint in Queens: Jackson Heights is cutest 'hood in the borough

    by Theresa Braine

    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.

  11. #41
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    Oct 2002


    Living In | Neponsit, Queens

    A Beach Shared by a Tight-Knit Clan


    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 >

    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.

  12. #42
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    Oct 2002

    Default Kew Gardens

    Off the Grid, but on the Radar


    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.

  13. #43
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    Oct 2002

    Default Rosedale

    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.

  14. #44
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Oct 2002

    Default Long Island City

    Long Island City Comes Into Its Own


    slide show

    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 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 “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.”

  15. #45
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    Oct 2002

    Default Forest Hills Gardens

    Forest Hills Gardens, Queens


    slide show

    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.

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