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Thread: Queens Neighborhoods

  1. #1
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    Jackson Heights, Queens


    FROM GLOOM TO BOOM


    By ALEX GINSBERG
    July 27, 2004

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Copyright 2004 NYP Holdings, Inc.
    Last edited by krulltime; April 13th, 2005 at 05:47 PM.

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    Astoria, Queens:


    Discover Queens: Key to Astoria



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



    Thursday, April 27, 2006


    Where:


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


    Housing:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Schools:


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

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

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

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

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


    History:


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

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

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

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


    Commute:


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

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

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


    Recreation:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Neighborhood:


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

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

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

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

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

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


    Business:


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

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

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

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

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

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


    Copyright © 2006 The Queens Courier

  3. #3
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    Whitestone, Queens:


    Whitestone Richest Neighborhood In Borough



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


    BY ZACHARY BRAZILLER
    Thursday, April 13, 2006

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Copyright © 2006 The Queens Courier

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    Post Blissville, Queens

    After Greenpoint, Brooklyn- Blissville is next

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

    Greenpoint Ave. is Blissville's main street





    Former P.S.80


    View from Calvary Cemetary

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    Post Blissville continued


    Old Calvary Cemetary Gatehouse

    St. Raphael's Roman Catholic Church

    Greenpoint Cork Lounge

    View down Starr St.

    City View Motel



    Industrial remnants

    Former stop on the L.I.R.R.

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


  6. #6

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    Why the Blissville kick? I doubt this part of LIC will develop until there's some infrastructure. Plus there's no access to Manhattan.

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

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    Blissville is an older outdated name to that neighborhood. No one uses it today. That part is either known as Maspeth, Sunnyside, or LIC.

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    EDIT: Grrr, site lag. Don't mind this double post

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    Quote Originally Posted by ramvid01 View Post
    Blissville is an older outdated name to that neighborhood. No one uses it today. That part is either known as Maspeth, Sunnyside, or LIC.
    True true. That's part of what made me wonder about clubBR's recent posts about that name and him mentioning it. I consider that area LIC for the most part.

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    As L.I.C. becomes gentrified and unaffordable, I predict Dutch Kills to become the next artists' haven.
    Last edited by clubBR; February 7th, 2007 at 12:16 AM.

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    More outdated neighborhood stereotypes, but with barbies:



    Mattel recently announced the release of limited-edition Barbie Dolls for the New York market
    " Staten Island Barbie" This princess Barbie is sold only at The Staten Island Mall. She comes with an assortment of Kate Spade Handbags, a Lexus SUV, a long-haired foreign dog named Honey and a cookie-cutter house. Available with or without tummy tuck and face lift. Workaholic Ken sold only in conjunction with the augmented version.

    "Bay Ridge Barbie" The modern day homemaker Barbie is available with Ford Wind star Minivan and matching gym outfit. She gets lost easily and has no full-time occupation. Traffic jamming cell phone sold separately.
    "Lower East Side Barbie"
    This recently paroled Barbie comes with a 9mm handgun, a Ray Lewis knife,a Chevy with dark tinted windows, and a Meth Lab Kit. This model is only available after dark and must be paid for in cash (preferably small, untraceable bills) ..unless you are a cop, then we don't know what you are talking about.
    "Upper West Side Barbie"
    This yuppie Barbie comes with your choice of BMW convertible or Hummer H2. Included are her own Starbucks cup, credit card and country club membership. Also available for this set are Shallow Ken and Private School Skipper. You won't be able to afford any of them.
    "Bensonhurst Barbie"

    This collagen injected, rhino plastic Barbie wears a leopard print outfit and drinks cosmopolitans while entertaining friends. Percocet prescription available as well as warehouse conversion condo.

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

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    Where's the hipster barbie?

  13. #13

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

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

  14. #14

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    I just noticed the Bensonhurst Barbie. Bensonhurst is an immigrant neighborhood and couldn't be more different than the description.

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

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

  15. #15
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    Even if not precisely accurate it's purdy danged hi-lay-rious

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