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Thread: Queens Neighborhoods

  1. #46
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    Oct 2002

    Default Auburndale

    Echoes of Olde England

    By C. J. HUGHES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

  2. #47
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    Oct 2002

    Default Rosedale

    A Little Land That the Subway Forgot

    By C. J. HUGHES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

  3. #48
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    Oct 2002


    Of Queens and Kings


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  4. #49
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    Oct 2002

    Default Jackson Heights

    A Migrants’ Enclave Attracts a New Breed


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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


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


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

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    Oct 2002

    Default Floral Park

    At the North Shore Towers, City Meets Suburbs


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  6. #51
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    Oct 2002

    Default Malba

    Roomy Lots and Recurrent Teardowns


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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


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


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

  7. #52
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    Oct 2002

    Default Ozone Park

    Colonials, Tudors and, Soon, a Casino


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

  8. #53
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    Oct 2002

    Default Cambria Heights

    Safe and Sound, Sweet and Spacious


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

  9. #54
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    Oct 2002

    Default College Point

    Attention, Shore Lovers

    By C. J. HUGHES

    slide show

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

  10. #55
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    Oct 2002

    Default Glendale

    Tucked Away and Neatly Tricked Out


    Slide show: Living In | Glendale, Queens

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Opened in 2006, the shopping center has struggled along with the economy in recent years. Early this year it was bought at a foreclosure auction by an affiliate of Walton Street Capital, a private investment firm, and Macerich, an owner and operator of shopping centers.

    Timothy J. Steffan, the senior vice president for property management at Macerich, which now manages the development, said that plenty of potential remained, in large part because of the neighborhood itself.

    “It’s a tight community,” Mr. Steffan said. “It has a sense of self, a sense of place, a loyalty among its townspeople. You can really do something there that has a sense of place and has legs for the long run.”


    Inside its cemetery sandwich, Glendale is long and narrow, extending about two miles from west to east and sometimes less than half a mile from north to south.

    The borders, residents and agents say, are generally considered Woodhaven Boulevard on the east, Fresh Pond Road on the west. To the north, the line is often drawn along the Long Island Rail Road tracks and Cooper Avenue. The southern line runs along Forest Park and several cemeteries, including Mount Lebanon.

    Roughly 30,000 people live here, according to census figures. German-Americans have had a strong presence for more than a century, and in recent decades East European immigrants have gravitated here. There is also a strong Hispanic presence, although blacks and Asians are scarce.

    There is an appealing variety of housing, most dating to the first half of the 20th century. Off the main roads like Myrtle, the streets are serene, and many are canopied by large trees.

    One-family brick Tudors, both attached and detached, are probably the most exclusive of the homes, but attractive colonials with tiled roofs provide competition. There is also a big supply of semidetached and two-family wood-framed colonials, many with driveways. A few streets are lined with handsome six-family brick buildings.

    Just east of Woodhaven Boulevard is Forest View Crescent. A 240-unit building, it converted to co-ops out of the Mitchell-Lama program in 2009.

    Joanne Florio, the building’s manager, said that 21 units had sold since 2009, and that 11 were now on the market. The apartments, which come in one-, two- and three-bedroom layouts, cost $175,000 to $300,000. Many of the units, like Mr. Topornycky’s, have views of both Manhattan and Forest Park.


    Considering the housing variety, prices do not vary greatly. In a recent search, Michael P. Tirelli, an owner of Kaye Realty and Development, which has its office in the neighborhood, said that he found 25 one-family homes for sale, ranging from $389,000 to $629,000. He found 46 two-family homes, listed from $385,000 to $779,000.

    Prices can be slightly higher in the eastern part of the neighborhood, in what some residents call Upper Glendale. The homes and lots there tend to be somewhat larger, and it is where most of the brick Tudors can be found.

    Foreclosures and short sales have remained relatively rare here in recent years, agents said, explaining that the neighborhood had avoided the worst of the real estate downturn.

    Lillian Matej, an owner of Cooper and Katz, a local real estate company, said that over all, prices had dropped 10 percent or less since their peak a few years ago. Some pockets of homes, she said, lost much more value, but other pockets lost none at all.

    Apartment buildings are uncommon in Glendale, but many rentals are available in the multifamily homes. Mr. Tirelli says one-bedroom apartments rent for $1,000 a month and two-bedrooms for $1,300 to $1,500.


    In addition to the Shops at Atlas Park, there are small bakeries and meat markets lining Myrtle Avenue. A stalwart of the neighborhood, Zum Stammtisch, a German restaurant on Myrtle, continues to be a popular destination.

    Although the cemeteries provide plenty of greenery, the neighborhood does not really have a park to call its own. But Forest Park and the Forest Park Golf Course are just next door.


    Glendale residents take pride in their schools, particularly Public School 113, which has recently expanded and now teaches through eighth grade. It has about 925 students; in recent state tests, 74 percent of fourth-graders met standards in reading, 89 percent in math, versus 51 and 62 citywide. At Public School 91, which runs through fifth grade, 57 percent of fourth graders met standards in reading, 63 percent in math.

    At Intermediate School 119, which serves about 900 students from sixth through eighth grade, 59 percent of eighth graders met standards in reading and 59 percent in math, versus 35 percent and 53 percent citywide.

    Queens Metropolitan High School, on the northeast edge of the area, moved into a new building in 2010. It runs only through 10th grade, but is expected to expand. At Forest Hills High School, northwest of the neighborhood, SAT averages in 2010 were 468 in reading, 491 in math and 462 in writing, versus 437, 460 and 432 citywide. There are also several private schools, including Sacred Heart School and Saint John Evangelical Lutheran Elementary.


    For those living on the far west side of the neighborhood, the M train is within walking distance at the Fresh Pond Road station. It takes roughly 40 minutes before the train weaves through Lower Manhattan. The L train, at the Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenues station, is also an option, though it is about a dozen blocks farther west.

    Many residents drive to work in Manhattan, which can take less than half an hour without traffic. Ms. Masi of the community board works as a paralegal in Midtown, driving a company car, and using company parking.

    But since much of the neighborhood is not within walking distance of a train, residents rely heavily on the buses, including the Q55 and Q29. The QM24 and QM25 provide express service to Manhattan during the week, taking 40 to 60 minutes to get to their final stops.


    German immigrants moved to the area as long ago as the Civil War, farming the land and later opening beer gardens and picnic grounds, according to the Queens Library. Land was used mainly for farming until after World War I, when other industries, including breweries and textile factories, established a presence.

  11. #56
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    Oct 2002


    Architectural Eye Candy

    By C. J. HUGHES

    Slide Show

    WHEN it comes to areas awash in well-kept old buildings, Ridgewood, in west-central Queens, might not come to mind as quickly as, say, Brooklyn Heights.

    But maybe it should. Its two square miles are packed with eye-catching designs; about 10 percent of it — 350 buildings — has landmark status, even if it isn’t on the radar of most New Yorkers. And with an additional 940 buildings coming up for a vote before the Landmarks Preservation Commission in the next two years, Ridgewood could soon have nearly 1,300 with landmark status — about the same number as Brooklyn Heights — which would mean 40 percent of its cityscape was protected.

    One doesn’t have to be an architecture buff to note what makes the area special. Thick dark-brick arches encircle windows on row houses, turning what could be humdrum rectangles into openings that look as if they belonged in a castle.

    On 60th Street, near Bleecker Street, this Romanesque Revival style is displayed in gray arches against brown walls; across the street, the arches are a mottled orange. Along Putnam Avenue, near Woodward Avenue, they are a bit squared off, while on Forest Avenue — on the facade of a rare standalone, a former mansion — they are decorated with women’s faces.

    Of the 62,000 residents, some are pleased that the outside world is discovering this architectural beauty, and others worry that the landmarks panel may go too far. “There’s apprehension,” said Joe Haufe, a computer consultant and longtime resident involved in community groups. “Neighbors ask me, ‘What does this all mean?’ ” Some neighbors are afraid satellite dishes will have to come down; Mr. Haufe is wondering whether a metal fence in his backyard can stay. (Landmarks designations can apply to the backs of homes as well as the fronts, a commission spokeswoman confirmed.)

    Mr. Haufe lives in a five-bedroom 1910 two-family owned since 1940 by the family of his wife, Elaine Tramposch-Haufe. With original pocket doors and a new roof, it could sell for $545,000, based on a recent appraisal, he said.

    The alternative to landmark protection, he acknowledged, can engender problems of its own. He cited two properties on Madison Street with vinyl siding covering their cornices. The change seemed to have been made to avoid having to repaint.

    Still, considering how many different populations have lived in Ridgewood and moved on, wear and tear is to be expected. First there were Germans, who built the area in the early 1900s; they were followed by the Gottscheers, a European group dislocated in the aftermath of World War I. Mid-20th-century arrivals included Romanians and Yugoslavs; more recently, Dominicans put down roots in the western section. A decade ago, it was Poles who arrived in droves, uprooted by gentrification in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

    Currently, the area is attracting a different type of émigré: artists priced out of Williamsburg in search of cheaper lofts, which they have discovered along Ridgewood’s gritty edges.

    Since 2003, Roman Popescu, a developer, has lived in a 2,500-square-foot loft at a former train-engine shop, near the border with Bushwick, Brooklyn. His parents, who are from Romania, ran a knitting mill in the building, which cost $250,000 in 1994. Mr. Popescu convinced them it had greater potential for artists, so they converted it.

    “Williamsburg became as crowded as Union Square, and artists need great big spaces,” said Mr. Popescu, who now has all 13 spaces leased to artists or artisans, some of whom also live on site. He is seeking a zoning change to allow nonartists to reside there, too.


    The Romanesque buildings basically come in two flavors: two-units with bay windows, and six-units with flat fronts. It is rare to find one taller than three stories; the low skyline leaves many sidewalks bright with light all day.

    Many buildings have modest stoops. Others, as on 70th Avenue near 60th Lane, have porches, a few enclosed. They face quiet sidewalks with evenly spaced trees, on blocks that end at nail salons or bars, like the Windjammer, at Bleecker and Grandview Avenue.

    In much of Queens, owner-occupied single-family homes are the rule. But Ridgewood is for renters, who according to census figures account for 75 percent of the housing stock — compared with 57 percent in the borough as a whole. Ridgewood beats out even Manhattan, where renters total 70 percent.

    Condominiums, so far, are rare, though a 32-unit building called High View Estates, at 1980 Starr Street, is being marketed by Coldwell Banker Phillips. Two-bedrooms start at $369,000, said Lou Pastorini, a sales manager.

    People disagree about exact borders. In fact, the issue of where Bushwick begins has even aroused some disputes. For years, Bushwick and Ridgewood shared a post office and a ZIP code, 11227. In the 1970s, high crime rates and arson plagued Bushwick, while Ridgewood was unscathed. But Ridgewood residents saw their car and fire insurance rates climb all the same, based on what was happening around them.

    Ultimately, with the help of Congresswoman Geraldine A. Ferraro, the neighborhood broke away in 1980 and got its own post office, ZIP code 11385.

    Bad blood threatened to resurface again a decade ago. Census changes forced a redistricting that mandated a second City Council seat for Ridgewood. But one of those council members would also represent Bushwick, which didn’t sit well with many people.

    “We have different needs than they do,” said Paul Kerzner, president of the Greater Ridgewood Restoration Corp., a nonprofit advocacy group largely responsible for the preservation in the area. But, praising the person who won the seat, Councilwoman Diana Reyna, he added, “Our fears were not realized.”


    In late December 63 houses were listed, at an average of $683,000, according to the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island, though some sales took place between families and friends, brokers say, and thus were not captured.

    Those homes ranged from a two-family attached wood-frame, in a short sale, at $359,000, to a red-brick two-family, with storefront below, at $989,000. A more typical property was a 1901 gray-brick two-family, near Linden Hill Cemetery, at $780,000.

    Prices have fallen by about 17 percent. In 2011, 26 one- and two-family homes sold, at an average of $479,140, according to listing service data from Maria Collazo, an associate broker at Exit Kingdom Realty. In 2007 there were 42 sales, at an average of $575,652.

    Foreclosures account for some of the softening, brokers say. But also, fewer homes have been listed, because in uncertain economic times, units can be rented out. “They’re a great source of income,” Ms. Collazo said.

    Rents, meanwhile, run $1,000 to $1,200 for one-bedrooms, said Victor Celli, a local landlord, who said that as the sales market has weakened, rental demand has been “crazy.”


    The M subway, which has four area stops, reaches Midtown in about 30 minutes. The L, which has two stops, takes 20 minutes to reach 14th Street (where it has several stops, east to west).
    Most buses in this border area, predictably, are Brooklyn lines, like the B13, B20 and B38, though there are two express buses, the QM24, which reaches Midtown in about 35 minutes, and the Q25, which reaches Lower Manhattan in an hour.


    Myrtle Avenue, the main commercial strip, appears vibrant, though its occupancy rate slipped recently to 95 percent, from 98, said Theodore M. Renz, executive director of the business improvement district, which dates to 1988.

    With stores selling discount clothes, boots and jewelry, as well as live carp, which were swimming in a tank outside Green Dot Marketplace on a recent morning, Myrtle also offers many places to unwind, in the form of wooden benches and small angular parks.

    Businesses along Fresh Pond cater to the Polish population. Krolewskie Jadlo, a restaurant decorated like a fairytale fortress, has tripe soup, which it serves in an edible “bowl” — a hollowed-out roll.


    One option for elementary school is Public School 71, on Forest Avenue, which teaches through Grade 5 and enrolls 983 students. On state exams last year, 61 percent of fourth graders met standards in math, 43 percent in reading. Citywide, those percentages were 62 and 51 percent.

    Ridgewood Intermediate, or Intermediate School 93, teaches sixth through eighth grades.

    Grover Cleveland High School, on Grandview Avenue, enrolls about 2,100. SAT averages last year were 429 in math, 401 in reading and 397 in writing, versus 460, 437 and 432 citywide.


    Border disputes with Brooklyn are nothing new. After the city consolidated in 1898, tensions flared because the border was a razor-straight line cutting through some apartments, which created confusion about who should vote where, said George Miller, the historian at the Greater Ridgewood Historical Society. In 1925, the border was redrawn to run around certain blocks, resulting in the current zigzag pattern.

  12. #57
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    Oct 2002

    Default Hollis

    Serene, for All Its Hip-Hop Cred


    Uli Seit for The New York Times
    Detached single-family houses, like these on 205th Place and 109th Avenue, make up the bulk of the housing stock in Hollis. Many date to the 1920s.

    109th Avenue

    More Photos »

    SINCE 1962, Anita Friday’s home on 205th Place has provided her a vantage point for the waves of change that have come in succession to Hollis, her family’s corner of Queens. At the start the population was predominantly white, said Ms. Friday, 80, who is black, and who recalled that over her first decade as a resident, most of her white neighbors moved away to Long Island.

    Even as the racial makeup shifted, though, Hollis kept hold of its essence as an orderly and largely working-class community — one where people ride a bus to the subway to get to work, and where houses and lots are small, and most lawns neatly trimmed.

    Ms. Friday is a former president of her block association and a retired federal government employee. Her husband, Reedy, who died in 2002, worked for TWA at Kennedy Airport. Neighbors, she said, have included postal and subway workers. In recent years, they have come from farther-flung places: Haiti, Panama, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic.

    A few blocks away on 205th Street, Ava Winston, who has lived in Queens all her life, said she had moved to Hollis about four years ago so her children could be within walking distance of school.
    “The blocks are pretty quiet,” she said. “Everybody around here works.”

    Ms. Winston’s street is also known as Run-DMC JMJ Way, after the rap group, which made the neighborhood famous with songs like “Christmas in Hollis” and “Hollis Crew.” Joseph Simmons, known in the group as Run, grew up on the street, as did his brother Russell Simmons, the music impresario, who has recalled Hollis in the 1970s and ’80s as a middle-class neighborhood increasingly plagued by drugs. Run-DMC’s D.J., Jason Mizell — also known as Jam Master Jay — lived in the area until his murder in 2002 in nearby Jamaica. One side of the Hollis Superette, on the corner of 205th Street and Hollis Avenue, bears a mural commemorating his life.

    Yvonne Reddick, the district manager of Community Board 12, which represents the area, describes Hollis today as a neighborhood with many longtime residents, where absentee landlords are relatively rare. “It’s a stable community,” she said. “It’s a community where the homeowner takes pride.”

    In Ms. Friday’s opinion, however, some pockets of the neighborhood have changed for the worse. A passageway trestle under the Long Island Rail Road tracks that many pedestrians use as a conduit to Jamaica Avenue is covered in pigeon droppings and has needed cleaning for well over a decade, she said. And Hollis Avenue, the main commercial street, feels desolate at times.

    “We don’t have the things that we had when we moved here,” Ms. Friday said, recalling the days when the avenue had a bakery, a movie theater and a deli, among other thriving businesses.

    Now, many retail spaces are empty, and many businesses — including the movie theater — have been replaced by storefront churches.

    “We have to go out of our neighborhood to get something like some good Italian pastries or whatever,” Ms. Friday said. Thinking of how busy the street used to be, she added, “It makes you sad.”

    But most residential blocks remain attractive, and her house held much of its value even in the bad real estate market. Houses in Hollis do not stay empty long, she said. New people are always there, waiting to buy.


    Covering a little more than one and a half square miles, Hollis has about 34,000 residents, according to 2010 census data. The neighborhood straddles the Long Island Rail Road tracks; the blocks to the north include Hollis Park Gardens, a subsection bounded by Hillside Avenue, Jamaica Avenue, and 192nd and 195th Streets where houses date to the 1920s and lots are 100 feet deep and 60 to 100 feet wide. According to Asad Bajwa, an associate broker at Prudential Douglas Elliman, Hollis lots tend to run 20, 25 or 30 feet wide.

    Another subsection, this one nameless, lies west of Farmers Boulevard, marked by tall trees that shade the houses on many blocks.

    Most properties, whatever their exact location, are detached and designed for single families — though there are a few apartment buildings and some attached houses. In addition to Hollis Avenue, Farmers Boulevard and Jamaica Avenue have modest commercial districts.

    Mr. Bajwa said Hollis, like many of its neighbors, had suffered in recent years from the economic downturn. Foreclosures and short sales have become more common, he said, and sales data indicate that inventory is still increasing while prices decrease.

    Still, he added, “it avoided the worst, because if you go right south of there, to South Jamaica, other markets got hit much worse.”


    Eddie Saeed, an agent at Elliman, says single-family houses generally sell in the $400,000 range. Two-family houses, which are rare, sell at a premium, he said. For example, a typical two-family house, comparable in size to a $400,000 one-family, might sell for $600,000.

    Mr. Bajwa says sale prices are down 25 to 30 percent in recent years. The few attached or semiattached houses, which tend to be on the small side, now sell in the $270,000 range.

    There are also some pricing anomalies, Mr. Saeed said. He is marketing a seven-bedroom one-family house on a 60-by-100-foot lot. The price is $699,000, “which is on the high side,” he said, “and the sellers know it.” Their optimism has not yet been rewarded, though he noted that someone had offered $600,000 in cash. The sellers turned it down.

    For owners more eager to sell, Mr. Saeed said: “It’s a popular neighborhood. If you list a house priced right, you can sell it within 60 to 90 days.”

    Rentals are rare. The few one-bedroom apartments on Craigslist or Streeteasy cost $1,000 to $1,250 a month.


    There are no large parks in the neighborhood, though the 358-acre Cunningham Park, one of the largest in Queens, is not far to the north along Francis Lewis Boulevard. It has sports fields, wooded trails and access to part of the Vanderbilt Motor Parkway, a paved bicycle path that began life as a major thoroughfare but was shut down in 1938.

    Among the businesses on Hollis Avenue are Tastee Jerk, a West Indian restaurant, and other Caribbean dining options. A guided-tour company, Hush Tours, takes busloads of the curious through the neighborhood as part of a survey of Queens hip-hop landmarks.


    Most elementary students in the southeastern corner of the neighborhood are zoned to attend Public School 134, on 109th Avenue. The school earned a C on its most recent city progress report, with 33 percent of tested students deemed proficient in English, 35.3 percent in math. Students to the southwest attend P.S. 118, on 109th Road, which also got a C, with a 37.9 percent proficiency rating in English, 35 percent in math.

    Much of the northern part is zoned for P.S. 35, on 90th Avenue. Its most recent city grade was a D; 47.4 percent of tested students were proficient in English, 57.2 percent in math.

    Middle schools include Intermediate School 238, on 182nd Street, which got a B on its progress report, with 37 percent deemed proficient in English, 53.1 percent in math. Intermediate School 192, on 204th Street, scored a C, with a 20.1 percent proficiency rating in English, 29.2 percent in math. The Pathways College Preparatory School, which serves Grades 6 through 12, shares the building. Its middle school scored a C, with 34.9 percent of tested students proficient in English, 46.4 percent in math.

    In the Pathways school’s high school, SAT averages among college-bound seniors were 401 in reading, 397 in math and 393 in writing, versus 436, 460 and 431 citywide.


    The nearest subway is the F train at Hillside Avenue and 179th Street. Farther to the west, the E, J and Z trains stop in downtown Jamaica. All are reachable, from Hollis, by buses that run along Hillside, Hollis and Jamaica Avenues. The ride to Midtown Manhattan by bus and subway takes well over an hour.

    The trip to Penn Station from Hollis’s Long Island Rail Road station, at 193rd Street and Woodhull Avenue, is quicker: about half an hour. But it costs more: $8.75 for a regular ride during peak hours, or $193 for a monthly pass.

    Many residents own cars, but the commute to Manhattan can be challenging. It involves the Van Wyck and the Long Island Expressways; there can be long delays during rush hours, and potentially any other time.


    The name Hollis comes via Frederick W. Dunton, the first developer of the area, which was once known as East Jamaica. He was a native of Hollis, N.H. The Long Island Rail Road station was built in 1885 but burned in an arson in 1967. It was replaced by a small shelter in the 1990s.

  13. #58
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    Oct 2002

    Default Glen Oaks

    Long on Trees, Short on Costs


    Uli Seit for The New York Times
    Garden units off 75th Avenue impart the suburb-in-the-city ambience that typifies Glen Oaks,
    an enclave on the Queens border with Nassau that came into its own in the aftermath of World War II.

    More Photos »

    GLEN OAKS, on the Queens border with Nassau County, is dominated by a series of co-op apartment complexes, both garden and high-rise. But it doesn’t take a visitor much time to be able to reimagine this neighborhood of about 15,000 people as it must have been in previous lives — as farmland, country estate and golf course.

    The most notable co-ops are Glen Oaks Village, nearly 3,000 units spread among two sections of two- and three-story brick buildings that went up after World War II, and North Shore Towers, a gated trio of 34-story high-rises dating to the early 1970s. Each sits on more than a hundred acres that once belonged to William K. Vanderbilt, and residents say the gardens and open space — not to mention the nearby Queens County Farm Museum, a working farm — give the area a quiet livability that is rare within the city limits.

    “I call it New York City’s secret community,” said Bob Friedrich, the president of the village’s co-op board, adding that from some parts of the complex, “you can literally look out your window and see all sorts of farm animals.”

    Glen Oaks Village, which was built in 1947 and converted to co-ops in 1981, is focused on keeping its roughly 10,000 residents in their units for the long term, said Mr. Friedrich, in explaining why the rules governing renovations and expansions are so flexible. Owners of second-floor units are permitted to expand upward, turning attic space into a full-scale upper floor, and ground-floor owners are allowed to reclaim basement space for living quarters, he said. The board also encourages owners to build decks, terraces and separate rear entrances, partly as a way to improve property values.

    “The apartments are smaller, because they were built a long time ago,” Mr. Friedrich said, “so by giving people the opportunity to enlarge their apartments, they stay rather than leave.”

    Pets are allowed, he said, and services in the complex include trash pickup six days a week and snow-shoveling in the winter. In warm weather, the board provides $24 vouchers that can be redeemed for flowers at local plant nurseries, including the farm museum.

    Christine and Harry Bergen, residents for 32 years, raised their son in the complex, and recently added a terrace off their kitchen. Ms. Bergen, who is on the co-op board and heads its admissions committee, says a younger generation of residents have come to enjoy the development’s charms.

    Ms. Bergen meets most of them when they arrive, and she added, “My committee, they always say, ‘Oh, what nice people I just had.’ ”
    The other visually prominent complex, North Shore Towers, includes 1,844 units built starting in 1971 on the highest point in Queens, next to Grand Central Parkway. It is visible for miles.

    Originally rentals, the complex converted to co-ops in 1987, though there are still a few sponsor-owned rentals, and subletting is allowed.

    A building that connects all three towers, which residents call the “arcade,” has food stores, a coffee shop, a bank, a dry cleaner and a movie theater. The stores are open to the public but used mostly by residents, said Annette Kroll, a resident who has been selling apartments in the towers since the co-op conversion. The complex also has five tennis courts, indoor and outdoor pools, a health club and an 18-hole golf course.

    Views from high floors, Ms. Kroll said, stretch to the Manhattan skyline and the Atlantic. With all the services, she added, “it’s like going to Canyon Ranch and not spending $500 a day.”


    Long Island Jewish Medical Center lies at the eastern end of the 1.25-square-mile neighborhood, near the city line, and residents of the local complexes include staff members and patients. Julia Shildkret, a local broker, said North Shore Towers had gained a reputation as an elder community, though Ms. Kroll said younger residents had been arriving in recent years as well.

    Brian Lynn, who bought a one-bedroom last year in Parkwood Estates, a 400-unit complex next to the farm museum, said he was “very comfortable” in what he described as a “nice little enclave.” With apartments making up so much of the housing, it is also relatively inexpensive.

    Mr. Lynn, who splits his time between Glen Oaks and his partner’s place in Manhattan, said he paid $167,000 for his unit, along with $628 a month in maintenance, which covers many utilities and a parking space.

    Besides the self-contained developments — Glen Oaks Village with its red bricks and white trim, Parkwood Estates with similarly scaled buildings in yellow stucco — there are pockets of one- and two-family detached houses, mostly along Union Turnpike. With this mix, the area provides starter homes for young families, said Ms. Shildkret, who sold a previous home for Mr. Lynn.

    Houses in another small subdivision — Royal Ranch, an out-of-the way cluster near the parkway and North Shore Towers — are among the more expensive, brokers say. That is partly because of their large, secluded lots.

    Residents’ one big complaint, Mr. Friedrich said, is infrastructure upkeep; many curbs date to 1946. Their crumbling has caused flooding that local government has been slow to address.

    That said, however, Glen Oaks Village has benefited from the city’s Million Trees campaign: about 300 have been planted in the complex, he said.


    Kathy Gibbons, the branch manager at the Bellerose office of Laffey Fine Homes, says co-ops in Glen Oaks Village generally sell for $220,000 to $290,000 — though prices vary according to condition and the number and type of improvements. For garden units generally, Ms. Shildkret said, one-bedrooms have recently sold for $150,000 to $175,000, two-bedrooms for $180,000 to $275,000. The one three-bedroom co-op to change hands recently, she said, citing data from the local multiple listing service, sold for $265,000.

    Mr. Friedrich says residents generally have a keen appreciation of the affordability of their property taxes, especially when compared with those in neighboring Nassau County.

    Semidetached houses near Union Turnpike, Ms. Shildkret said, generally sell in the $400,000 range, detached houses closer to $500,000. But some houses can be more expensive — up to $700,000, Ms. Gibbons said, citing the Royal Ranch area, where properties come on the market infrequently.
    Prices in North Shore Towers vary, Ms. Kroll said. Studios and smaller one-bedrooms sell in the $200,000 range, she said. Penthouses can exceed $1 million. (One-bedrooms top out at 1,300 square feet, two-bedrooms at 1,700 square feet and three-bedrooms about 2,000.)

    In flusher markets, Ms. Kroll said, large penthouses changed hands for more than $3 million. A 2,700-square-foot penthouse in a current listing is being offered at $1.395 million.


    The Grand Central Parkway, which connects to the Northern State Parkway just over the city line in Nassau County, is the northwestern border.
    The Q-46 bus connects to the E and F subway lines on Union Turnpike in Kew Gardens. There are also express buses to the financial district and Midtown. The Long Island Rail Road is available to the south, in Bellerose and Floral Park. Residents say the commute, by any means, takes 45 minutes to an hour.


    Tenney Park, at the center of Glen Oaks Village’s eastern section, has basketball courts, Little League baseball fields and a playground — all open to the public. Also scattered throughout the complex are shuffleboard, bocce and volleyball courts, a soccer field and lighted tennis courts, many of which are for Glen Oaks village residents only.

    Most of the stores and restaurants in the area are on Union Turnpike. Small shops near 248th Street include a 99-cent store, a grocery, a hookah lounge and an Indian restaurant. Another commercial area, near Little Neck Parkway, has a 7-Eleven, a hair salon and a bank.

    The Queens County Farm Museum, south of Parkwood Estates on Little Neck Parkway, covers 47 acres and calls itself the longest continuously farmed site in New York State. It is open free year-round — seven days a week from April to November, with egg sales held Wednesday through Sunday.


    The area lies within the prized School District 26, with most students zoned for Public School 186, on 72nd Avenue in Parkwood Estates. The school received an A on its most recent city progress report, with 79 percent of tested students showing mastery in English, 87.9 percent in math. No. 115, on 261st Street, serves the southern half of Glen Oaks Village; its grade was a C, with 68.4 percent proficient in English, 75.8 in math.

    Zoned middle schools include Junior High School 67, on Marathon Parkway, where 81.9 percent were proficient in English, 94.4 percent in math. It got an A on its most recent report card.

    SAT averages at the high school component of Q811 — a kindergarten-through-Grade-12 facility on Marathon Parkway — were 408 in reading, 428 in math and 407 in writing, versus 436, 460 and 431 citywide.


    Vanderbilt owned the land that is now Glen Oaks Village and North Shore Towers until his death in 1920, after which it was sold to the Glen Oaks golf club. Many early residents of Glen Oaks Village were returning veterans.

  14. #59
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    Oct 2002

    Default Long Island City

    A Satellite With Great Views of Home Base


    Slide Show

    Julia Gillard for The New York Times
    Gantry Plaza State Park

    WHEN Kirsten Sharett met her husband-to-be, he was living in an industrial area in Long Island City, near a raw and rat-infested waterfront.

    “He worked at the United Nations, so it was really convenient,” Ms. Sharett recalled. “But I just thought it was desolate and miserable.”

    That was almost 17 years ago, and never in her wildest dreams did Ms. Sharett conjure up a future in which she would be living with her husband and 3-year-old daughter in a sleek rental building on that same waterfront.

    “I never even considered Long Island City,” she said. “It was like, why? It was never even in my frame of mind.”

    A significant reason why, of course, is that Long Island City, which has shed much of its grittiness and is now home to almost 30,000 people, has six subway lines just one stop from Midtown Manhattan. That convenience has drawn Manhattanites seeking cheaper rents.

    Ms. Sharett, who recently moved into a two-bedroom apartment at 47-20 Center Boulevard, said that now that she had made the mental shift, she realized she was in the perfect neighborhood.
    Particularly down by the waterfront, with new restaurants and shops moving in, Ms. Sharett said, she has everything she needs within walking distance.

    “They’ve built a compound here, where my daughter’s preschool, the drugstore, the grocery, the park are all one block away, and the soccer field is right in front of us,” she said. “We could not live like this in Manhattan.”

    It was in 1997, when the Citylights co-op was built, that Long Island City’s waterfront began the long hike from neglected industrial wasteland to serene residential area.

    Until 2003, when the Avalon Riverview opened, Citylights was the lone tower taking advantage of breathtaking Manhattan views. Since the early 2000s, a half a dozen more towers have been built, primarily by TF Cornerstone, adding both condominiums and rentals.

    Christine Ezeogu, a United Nations employee, has lived in a one-bedroom in Avalon Riverview North for almost five years. She said that she had thought the global financial recession would lead to a lowering of rental prices, but that except for a renegotiation in 2009, it hadn’t. Since then her rent has gone up by about 20 percent.

    “I haven’t seen the prices go down in the neighborhood,” she said. “In fact, they seem to be going up.”

    One of several factors in the strength of rental values could be the transformation of the waterfront — 12 acres of it so far — into Gantry Plaza State Park, which has four piers, garden, a mist fountain, and several playgrounds and ball courts.

    Part of the project has involved restoring Long Island City’s signature gantries, which once loaded barges and rail car floats. The park is still being expanded, in both directions.

    And more development is planned. Besides two towers it is currently renting out, TF Cornerstone is building an 820-unit rental tower at 45-45 Center Boulevard and plans a 586-unit rental tower at 46-10 Center. The area, called East Coast, is clustered around the giant Pepsi advertisement that has long been a signature element of Long Island City’s skyline. Just to the south, at Hunters Point South, the city is planning 5,000 housing units, 60 percent of them affordable to middle-income families. The first phase of construction there should finish in 2014.

    Residential development is also moving inland, brokers said. That includes the Queens Plaza area, as well as the Court Square section around the 50-story Citigroup tower. One of the area’s largest projects is under construction in the latter area: LINC LIC, being built by Rockrose Development, has a 709-unit rental tower that is almost complete.


    Boundaries are often subject to disagreement, but those generally accepted for Long Island City stretch from the waterfront north to 36th Avenue and east to Northern Boulevard, down to Queens Boulevard and Van Dam Street.

    There are two main residential sections: one sometimes called Dutch Kills, north of Queens Plaza and merging with Astoria; the other, Hunters Point, south of the plaza. Predominant housing has historically been two-family homes — wood frame or brick — which began appearing around 1910.

    In the more recent developments, the one kind of housing in short supply is the three-bedroom, according to brokers. Despite the groups from Astoria, including mothers and children, commuting into Long Island City, some of them daily, to take advantage of the waterfront park, said Eric Benaim, a resident who heads a brokerage called Modern Spaces, his developer clients still consider three-bedroom apartments a bit of a risk.

    Mr. Benaim says he is advising developers to lay out their apartment buildings so that two smaller units can be easily combined.

    “At the Industry, a building we’re representing that’s over 90 percent sold now in the Court Square area,” he said, “we just sold two five-bedroom apartments, where each buyer combined two smaller apartments. One recently closed for about $2.3 million.”

    But the area hasn’t yet reached such price heights that no artist can afford to live in it. For many years, artists priced out elsewhere have moved here, though the art scene has never quite coalesced into a bohemia of the likes of, say, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Still, there are galleries and museums. And the Museum of Modern Art has a branch called MoMA PS 1, which throws summertime Saturday parties for thousands.

    Residents also cite the theater scene. The Creek and the Cave, a bar, restaurant and performance space that has hosted the comedians Louis C. K. and Colin Quinn, has been joined by a comedy club, Laughing Devil. A third comedy club is to open in the Court Square area, said Adrian Lupu, a senior vice president of NestSeekers Real Estate. And there are spaces like the Chocolate Factory and the Secret Theater.


    New-construction studios, which are hard to find, rent for about $2,100 a month; one-bedrooms for about $2,500; and two-bedrooms for $3,100 or more, Mr. Lupu said.

    Condos typically range in price from about $400,000, for a studio; to about $550,000 for a one-bedroom; and about $870,000 for a two-bedroom, Mr. Benaim said. There are a few three-bedrooms, in particular at the View on the waterfront, that have been achieving and even surpassing $1 million. As Mr. Benaim put it, “A lot of million-plus buyers are coming out now, which we never really saw before.”

    The more reasonably priced apartments, naturally, tend to be in older two-family homes, agents said.

    A one-bedroom would rent anywhere from $1,800 to $2,100; a two-bedroom in relatively decent condition would rent for about $2,500, said Rick Rosa, an executive vice president of Prudential Douglas Elliman, who lives in the area.


    There are a dozen subway stations in Long Island City; about five of the stations are just a stop away from Midtown. They serve the 7, E, M, R, N and Q trains, among others. Arriving in Midtown can take as little as five minutes, and motorists to and from Manhattan have a choice of the Queensboro Bridge and the Queens-Midtown Tunnel.

    There are also a handful of bus lines, including the 103, 102, 69, 100 and 39. Many residents commute on the NY Waterway ferry from the Hunters Point South/Long Island City stop. From there it is five minutes to the East Side, 25 minutes to the financial district. The Long Island Rail Road also has two stops in Long Island City.


    Besides the expanding waterfront park, residents like to brag about the trendy new restaurants. A couple of Manhattan spots, Spice and Corner Bistro, recently opened satellites along a block of Vernon Boulevard, the area’s commercial strip. Nearby is a new Elliman branch, as well as another pioneer from Manhattan, the medical group Tribeca Pediatrics.

    “On that block, it’s just boom, boom, boom, you see four Manhattan businesses,” Mr. Rosa said. “It really gives people that confidence that things are changing here.”

    For the more sports-minded, the Long Island City Community Boat House offers free kayaking. In the Queens Plaza area, the city recently completed a $44 million face-lift, adding a bikeway, a pedestrian walk and a 1.5-acre space called Dutch Kills Green.


    Some schools are overcrowded, particularly near the waterfront, but new facilities are going up. A 662-seat school for kindergarten through Grade 8 is under construction at 46-15 Center.

    There is also a 1,200-seat intermediate and high school under way in Hunters Point South, where a 22,000-square-foot library is scheduled to open in 2013.

    Expecting further growth, public and private schools are expanding. Public School 78Q, which covers kindergarten through Grade 5, has plans for a new facility. Les Enfants Montessori School has expanded to accommodate 100 more students.

    The area has a handful of middle and high schools, including Long Island City High School at Broadway and 21st, where SAT averages in 2011 were 412 in reading, 433 in math and 410 in writing, versus 436, 460 and 431 citywide.


    Colonized by the Dutch in the early 17th century, the area remained rural until the mid-1800s, when it was linked to Manhattan by rail and ferry. By 1898, the villages of Hunters Point, Dutch Kills, Astoria and Ravenswood, which had recently joined to form Long Island City, became part of New York City.

  15. #60
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    Oct 2002


    Douglaston Works at Being So Near, So Far


    The Queens neighborhood of Douglaston—a onetime vacation community for wealthy residents of Manhattan and Brooklyn—has long been an official part of New York City, but it still feels likea land apart.

    Its quiet, tree-lined streets and stately, detached homes seem far more suburban than urban. It contains sections of a 650-acre park, with wetlands, hiking trails and an environmental center. The landmark area of Douglas Manor sits on a peninsula jutting into the picturesque Little Neck Bay, which is popular for swimming and sailing.

    View Interactive

    "When we go into Manhattan, we say we're going into the city," says Mike Gannon, a trustee and researcher with the Douglaston and Little Neck Historical Society. "It's always been kind of the country, not really the city, even though we are part of the city."

    Because Douglaston is within the city, property taxes are lower than in nearby Nassau County. The nearby Throgs Neck and Whitestone bridges offers some drivers a relatively easy commute.
    There is no subway service in the neighborhood and getting around without a car is difficult, but Douglaston has its own Long Island Rail Road stop on the Port Washington line. The line's trains, which don't pass through the railroad's hub of Jamaica—cutting down on transfers and delays—travel between Douglaston and Penn Station in less than 30 minutes.

    The median listing price in Douglaston is $259,000, according to, with prices ranging from less than $200,000 for one- or two-bedroom co-ops in prewar buildings to well over $1 million for historic homes in sought-after sections. Brokers say single-family houses tend to start around $800,000 and soar into the millions, including some of the costliest homes in Queens.

    Douglaston's name derives from the prominent Douglas family, which sold land to the Rickert-Finlay Realty Co. about 100 years ago to create the Douglas Manor Association, a planned garden community. The association today owns and operates the neighborhood's entire waterfront, with a dock, pier, beach and a waterfront park.

    In 1997, the Colonials, Tudors, Mediterranean Revival and Arts and Crafts-style houses, which, among others, comprise Douglas Manor, became part of the Douglaston Historic District.
    Many of the manor's 600 homes were designed by prominent architects such as Gustav Stickley and Josephine Wright Chapman. New homes can't be built or existing homes altered without approval from the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission.

    Within Douglas Manor is the Douglaston Club, a private yacht, tennis and pool club based in a 19th-century building once owned by the Douglas family.

    "We preserved it. We saved our trees, we saved our houses," says Rod O'Connell, the owner of Bryce Rea Associates, a real-estate firm. "People stay for generations. My family is there since 1945, and we're hardly the oldest family in the area, so there are a lot of roots here for all of us," he said.

    Many residents also have long memories: Earlier this year, local preservationists and elected officials succeeded in convincing the city to restore the original names of six streets in the now-landmark Douglaston Hill section which were switched to numbers decades earlier, in keeping with the Queens numbered system.

    "The local people never really gave up the street names," Mr. Gannon says. The restored names include Pine and Poplar streets and Orient Avenue.

    Parks: Parts of the 650-acre Alley Pond Park fall within Douglaston. Its features include wetlands, ball fields, playgrounds, tennis courts, hiking trails and the Alley Pond Adventure Course. The Douglas Manor Association's waterfront includes a park and dock that are restricted to members. Nearby is the public Douglaston Park Golf Course.

    Schools: Douglaston is part of District 26 and local public schools include P.S. 98 the Douglaston School, with about 270 students. It received a B rating from the city for the 2011-12 school year, as did J.H.S. 67, the Louis Pasteur School.

    According to state data, 65% of eighth-graders in District 26 met or exceeded proficiency standards in English Language Arts in 2010-11, compared with 70% the year before, and 86% did so in math, compared with 81% the previous year.

    Local private schools include the Divine Wisdom Catholic Academy, a three-year-old Roman Catholic school with students in prekindergarten through eighth grade.

    Dining: Restaurants in Douglaston include Il Toscano Ristorante, on 235th Street, an upscale Italian restaurant, and Strawberry's Sports Grill, a two-year-old barbecue and comfort-food pub created by the former Mets and Yankees star Darryl Strawberry.

    Shopping: Some shops are along 235th Street, and a Fairway opened last year on 61st Avenue.

    Entertainment: Movieworld, a theater on 61st Avenue, shows first-run movies, as well as Indian movies every two weeks.

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