Carroll Gardens Blogger Gives up Her Neighborhood for…Queens

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When Sally Jones, a Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn home renovation blogger who writes Renov8or, started looking to upgrade from a one-bedroom (pictured above) to a two-bedroom apartment, she quickly realized that the neighborhood, and even the borough she had long called home, was no longer in her price range. Here’s her tale of finding her new home.

You know the neighborhood in Brooklyn that everyone loves right now — the one near Prime Meat and Buttermilk Channel and Black Gold and Trader Joe’s and Fairway? The one with all those brownstones with front gardens and bathtub madonnas? Yeah, Carroll Gardens. That one. I’m moving out of that neighborhood and I’m heading for Queens.

Crazy, right?

It’s not that I don’t love Carroll Gardens anymore. It’s not the much-discussed-among-the-natives “French” taking over the hood thanks to the immersion schools (though my friends with kids tell me that’s a real game-changer). It’s not even the much-maligned “hipsters” moving in. I welcomed the great restaurants and food shops and vinyl record stores, hey, even the hipsters. Live and let live.

It’s not any of that. To paraphrase a failed candidate for governor: The rents are just too damned high!

And as rents climb, purchase prices follow. A good thing for me The Seller. For me The Buyer, not so much.

I moved to CG in 1998, when anything south of 4th Place was verboten. Really. It’s hard to believe it now, but as a single woman buying her first apartment, I was warned against anything south of the “Place” streets. And my friends in Manhattan — they had to think twice about attending a party if it meant crossing a bridge. But, long-time renovation junkie that I am, raised at the heels of parents who  upgraded every home we lived in, I recognized the potential of CG south of the Place Streets (then still called Red Hook) and I honed in. Price per square foot? Check. Proximity to Manhattan? Check? Ethnic diversity? Check. First rung on the property ladder.

None of which, by the way, is true of the nieghborhood today. For someone looking to buy their first apartment right now, Carroll Gardens is not your right place — unless you have a trust fund or a guarantor.

My first purchase in Carroll Gardens was a walk-up one bedroom in a sponsor controlled co-op on Clinton Street and Luquer Street. (I later learned it had been the home of playwright laureate Tony Kushner, who lived there with his sister). There was a slight risk for my investment. The co-op had no board in place — we newcomers had to form a board and wrest control from the sponsor. But, just $13K down got me in. And I ran with it. With a few minor upgrades – I installed upper cabinets in the kitchen while my dad tiled over the old checkerboard linoleum, hung french doors, and put in a washer and dryer — I sold that apartment a few years later for 3x what I had paid for it. (Thanks, Dad!)

That funded my next home, a one bedroom + garden in desperate need of a kitchen and bath reno. This one was beyond Dad’s help (he lived 1,000 miles away). But I found a great contractor in the hood, and we elevated that apartment to a grand level.

Fast forward to today and my need for space has changed. I met a guy and we acquired a cat — and now I need someplace to house all his guitars… some place that isn’t the living room. But when I looked around Carroll Gardens to see where I might next put my nest egg, it was with the sad realization that we are priced out. A one bedroom + garden, no matter how stupendous I made it, won’t cover the cost of a two bedroom.

So I started casting around for the next “real estate frontier” — and found it in Jackson Heights, Queens.

I know Jackson Heights well. My best friend in college lived in The Towers, and I was invited for all those holidays that I couldn’t make it home to see my family.

Thanksgiving, Easter, New Years. I have very happy memories of the neighborhood and the elegant apartment of my friend’s family. If you aren’t familiar with The Towers, it’s prewar luxury at it’s finest: Four bedrooms, formal dining room, fireplace, maid’s room, butler’s panty, private gardens. Through the years, I learned all about Jackson Heights history. It was the first planned garden community in New York City, and with the rise of the Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan, just 15 minutes to midtown by train. Blocks and blocks of grand-scale prewar apartments that were built to house families, and with full-staff maintenance teams and co-op boards preserving and protecting these buildings throughout the ages.

What I still don’t understand is why these co-ops are so underpriced compared to Brooklyn — grand architecture, price per sq ft, lovingly maintained buildings, 7 stops from Manhattan. What more can you ask for?

Honestly, I have not paused to figure this all out. I simply saw what I wanted and snatched one up.

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Last week my offer on a two bedroom, 1000+ square foot co-op apartment (pictured above) was accepted. I am already lining up my contractor, engineer, and inspector — and I will share my details as soon as I have the deal sealed — and plan to document every step of my loving renovation. This apartment is going to be a show-stopper!

My message to anyone looking to buy: Jackson Heights is the next New York City real estate frontier.

If you want to see for yourself,  just follow my breadcrumbs

Moving-From Carroll Gardens to Jackson Heights [Renov8or]

Carroll Gardens photo: David Castillo/Blue Barn Pictures

50 Comment

  • Jamaica will also be the next real estate boom, especially the downtown area. It is just a matter of time. Development is already happening, CityRib restaurant just recently opened up and you can still get very good deals not only on spacious apartment but homes with garage/yards as well. Just wait, it will happen.

    • I believe it, Joe!

      The proximity to Manhattan, the desirability of outdoor space, and the fact that there is only so much developable land left in the NYC area. If I wanted a house with a yard, I would certainly check out Jamaica.

    • I just moved from Jamaica to Elmurst and I can see Jamaica being an “it” neighborhood in the next 10 years, because of it’s proximity to the LIRR, AirTrain to JFk and the E train (which runs express during the week and can get you to midtown in 25-30 mins) but not in the way Williamsburg, Fort Green etc. are, perhaps in the way Sunnyside and Astoria is for people that live in Queens. Queens will always be a “family” bourough, meaning since there are more houses compared to condos and apartments and more people drive cars in Queens than any other bouorgh beisdes S.I. it will not attract young 20s early 30s urbanites.
      I can definitely see the Bronx becoming the next Brooklyn within 10 years.

  • lovely garden apt in cg…..
    how could you give that up for an apartment-y place with no garden ? why not just not have guitars? you change your whole life and spend all that money and effort on – stuff? couldn’t you even make a wall to mount them on?

    is your cg place on the market?

    • Hi Sparsy, It was a tough decision at first – I will always love CG. But once I started looking at apartments in JH it got easier. All of the co-ops in the historic district of JH have communal gardens, so we will still be able to eat and entertain al fresco. The new apartment has a guest room, so we will be able to host out of town guests — without breaking out the air mattresses. The building also underground parking, storage and laundry. Maybe its a sign that I’m getting too old to go minimal anymore but these amenities mean a lot to me.

  • Nearly 20 years ago, in 1994, I moved from Carroll Gardens to Flushing, Queens. All of my friends in brooklyn and Manhattan lamented that we were moving “so far,” but when they came to visit, they were amazed by how much space we had in our 100-year-old Foursquare with a nice little yard and good schools. I love Brooklyn, but Queens has great neighborhoods, and as Brooklyn become pricier, Astoria, LIC, Sunnyside, Jackson Heights, and Ridgewood will become more desirable. Most of those neighborhoods have a better commute to Manhattan than Park Slope and just as many amenities and superb housing stock.

  • Jackson Heights is hardly a “real estate frontier.” It’s a solidly multi-ethnic middle class neighborhood and has been so for generations. Many of the businesses there are well-established and do great business catering to the various ethnic groups who come there for dining and shopping. The reason that Brooklynites are not moving there in droves is two-fold. One, it is not all that cheap. Yes, compared to the astronomical prices of Brownstone Brooklyn, you can say it is cheap. But prices for 2-bedrooms in many of the prime garden buildings can approach half a million dollars and some of them require up to a 35% down-payment. So unless you have a trust fund or are trading up from a place in Brooklyn or Manhattan that has appreciated considerably in the past several years, getting into Jackson Heights (at least the historic district) can be as much of a financial challenge as getting into one of the increasingly popular neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Two, it is not ‘cool’ and never will be. Unlike many Brooklyn neighborhoods (not so much Carroll Gardens, but certainly Ft. Greene, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights) which were transformed almost over night as young hipsters and upper-middle class families “discovered” the neighborhood and displaced poor black residents and the businesses that cater to them, Jackson Heights is far more economically stable, making it harder for inventive restaurants, art galleries, and niche businesses to take hold and for recent college grads pursuing artistic careers to find a place to live. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but people looking for the type of amenities available in Brooklyn in droves – coffee shops, small book shops, bars, thrift stores, music venues, cutting edge restaurants, etc. – will be sorely disappointed. 34th Ave is hardly Franklin Ave in Crown Heights or even 5th Avenue in the Slope. It’s more like 7th Ave in the North Slope.

    • Yes, maybe 34th Ave Jackson Heights is more like 7th Ave North Park Slope…but 2 blocks away…37th Ave is hopping with multi-ethnic places… and 3 avenues away…Roosevelt Ave is happening 24/7. Even Northern Boulevard 1 block in the other direction is chock-a-block full of venues…

      It is impossible to compare Jackson Heights with anywhere. It has it OWN vibe…and proximity to diverse bustling immigrant cultures is what a person finds…interspersed with the occasional Brooklyn style coffee shop (Espresso 77 is well known for example)… Many artists and writers do live in Jackson Heights…But yes…it is economically stable and established…and not a poor neighborhood where folks can come in… and start businesses with cheap rent…displacing the locals…here the businesses are making profits… JH is perfect for folks who want (and can afford) to buy a great value co-op…that’s charming, well-built and close to Midtown. Also JH is a real neighborhood here in NY. Where locals know one another.. I reiterate…it’s hard to compare JH to Brooklyn…or anywhere in the world…JH has its own idiosyncratic and unique and diverse atmosphere. Ultra fancy on some blocks, very ethnic in others…As for cool…there’s a kinda “authentic” cool here. The real deal. So perhaps, other places in the world should be compared to JH…?

  • We just bought a 2 bedroom renovation project in JH as well–we’re leaving a tiny Manhattan rental behind. I don’t know if Jackson Heights is a frontier in a “brooklyn” way, but it’s definitely a great deal. The apartments and gardens are beautiful, the train access is close to ideal, the food and community character are great, it’s pretty safe and there are decent school options–and for a 1/3 what you’d pay in Park Slope or Carroll Gardens. It may never be hip, but what Jackson Heights has going on is a good and valuable thing–lots of people like me and Sally will want that. :)

  • I think K gets where I’m coming from best. It’s the value of the investment. I wouldn’t even try to compare JH with Park Slope or Carroll Gardens — the public schools, shops, gyms, and other really amenities don’t compare YET. But I believe they will in the next 10 years. Even sooner, really.

    Maryeh, I looked at dozens of 2BRs — all in the historic district — and none were even approaching half a mil. I just sold my CG 1BR for $550k. So I can buy whatever I want. I didn’t limit myself in my search.

    My friend’s family just sold a 4BR in The Towers. I could have bought that before anyone even saw it. But 1. I don’t need a 4 BR and 2. I’m a renovator — so I want a place where I bring the value. I want an “undervalued” place.

    There are plenty of awesome undervalued 2BRs in JH right now. And that’s where it is reminding me of Carroll Gardens 10 years ago.

  • Christina, you hit the nail on the head. The commute. Brooklyn is really not a great commute. When I worked in SoHo, yes, I could ride my bike to work from CG over the bridge. But taking the train to midtown — 45 min -1 hr.

    From Queens to midtown is 30 min tops.

  • Welcome to the neighborhood! We moved here for similar reasons in 2007, though we were priced out of Astoria.

  • so – you making 3x on your initial investment was ok but not now ok for others to pay that amount?

    • Hi Andrew, not at all. I don’t begrudge any owner from seeking a profit on her investment.

      My point is, I can stay where I am in a too small apartment but a now very desirable neighborhood and congratulate myself on finding my seat in musical chairs early … Or I can look for the next happening hood and trade up.

      I am an explorer and a renovator. This is my choice. It might not be the right choice for someone else in similar circumstances. But for those like me I’m saying check out Queens.

      • you are not an explorer – you are part of the gentrification process

        • I don’t shy away from that term — it is an inevitability when you look at London and other metro capitals. But in this case I wouldn’t call it gentrification. JH is quite gentile already. It’s simply astonishingly undervalued. Why? That is a good question., worthy of debate. I would those who bought here already for their opinion???

          • It’s astonishingly undervalued because it is not palatable for upwardly-mobile white people from middle America who are uncomfortable with difference. I spent eleven years in CG before moving to JH. A big part of the reason is that I’m in a mixed-race marriage with a mixed-race child. We wanted diversity. Also, cost/space. Like you said, JH is pretty gentile, or at least established. The businesses are not hanging by a thread and leases/buildings can’t be bought up for a song. Or, not the songs you could get in CG West/Red Hook ten years ago. The commercial sphere caters to the population, which is largely NOT white and hip, but multi-ethnic and family-based. I can see why people attracted to Brownstone Brooklyn would give pause. JH can be “smelly,” “messy” and complicated in the ways that all multi-ethnic city spaces are—you have to be the kind of person who sees the diversity as a positive, not as something to be “cleaned up”, because this diversity is not going anywhere anytime soon. Given the stability of the commercial enterprises and the high rate of home ownership, I’d think it would take more like 20-30 years to really white-wash a place like JH. That being said, for those who appreciated the amenities of Brownstone Brooklyn, the smattering of small businesses bringing a hint of that feel to the area will probably be successful, but only if the people who want those services do in fact move here. There isn’t exactly a huge market in JH for $25 plates of fried chicken when you can get a meal for your whole family at Pio Pio for the same price (less sangria, natch ;-). My two cents as a recent emigre.

        • Anonymous, I live in Jackson Heights and you could not be more incorrect. JH is a vibrant middle class community with commercial rents that are much higher than in Carroll Gardens. The housing prices are great, but not so low that anyone’s going to be pushed out. There is nothing to gentrify because it’s not a poor neighborhood with no amenities.

  • have fun in Queens – you will not be missed

  • Andrew! Real Estate, like most other things in America, is a business…Sally is to be commended for having the vision… and then obviously the hard work…to triple her investment. Kudos to her!

    • you obviously missed the point – she helped create the rise in prices – ergo pushing the price up – now she can’t afford to stay so she wants to “rape” another neighborhood -you can call it hard work – i call it gentrification

      • I can’t take credit for creating the rise in prices of CG real eatate. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what created the “per dived value” but it is likely the parents who worked hard to improve the schools, followed by the merchants who worked hard to meet the expectations of the new influx.

        I didn’t do much except recognize and respond. That’s my niche.

  • Sally I look forward to seeing what you do with your new home. It’s the flip side of the apartment my parents moved into in 1960 and it looks like it’s on the same floor (2nd?). I still remember walking in for the first time and being mesmerized by how the afternoon sun toasted those hardwood floors happy-gold.

    Have a long soak in that extra long tub and relish your move!

    • Thanks so much! The cool thing is, homes are not JUST an investment. They are truly where our heart lies and where we lay our head at night.

      I have explored many neighborhoods in outlying Brooklyn but found myself getting further and further from the city — and also encountering housing stock that had not seen love and care through the years. I am a renovator and even I don’t want to deal with that.

      The miraculous thing about Jackson Heights is the proximity to Manhattan plus the ethnic diversity and the wonderful housing stock — architecturally planned and lovingly protected through the years.

      Anywhere I look here I see not only a spacious home that I can be happy in but also a sound investment.

    • Anna, thanks so much! It is amazing that you have honed in on the thing most important to me — a good , long soak at the end of he day. I think you must know this apartment?

      It gets such great light. It is really a beauty.

  • I don’t begrudge you for being the renovator and explorer that you are. I actually love that kind of stuff and think it’s really cool! Plus Jackson Heights is a very nice neighborhood. More power to you for making a big move!

    The only thing I would like to say is that I think it is wrong to list “ethnic diversity” as a checkpoint in looking for a place to live. It makes it sound like one looks at everyone that makes up that ethnic diversity as an environmental prop. We’re all people. And diversity just happens. I really don’t think it’s the kind of thing that should be sought out or even really be touted. I think that that kind of thing is a bit overboard and really is just a superficial gloss over look at a neighborhood or borough. I would like to think that people aren’t moving where they are moving just because of what “ethnic”people offer in terms of diverse aesthetics and foods and whatnot.

    I hope you find a lot more than diversity, a new apartment, and shorter commute times to Manhattan in Jackson Heights and really just get to know and become a part of the neighborhood. Because it really is a great one.

    • Ethnic diversity is important to me for personal reasons. But I get your point. Not everyone has that on their checklist.

      • I’m not sure you get my point. It’s not that not everyone has ethnic diversity as a checkpoint on their list. It’s just that for ethnic diversity to be on a checklist at all is superficial. There’s more to a neighborhood than just the color of the skin of the people that call it home. Unless of course ethnic diversity means more to you than getting to live in a crayola box – because that’s what I imagine people get excited about when they talk about the ethnic diversity of where they live or work or like to hang out.

        Can I ask what are your reasons for why ethnic diversity is important to you?
        I’m sure they are good ones. It’s just that when people talk about ethnic diversity as a “thing” it turns me off. Maybe this objective of obtaining a life in an ethnically diverse community is lost on me because I’ve been a part of one my whole life.

        • I do think we’re talking past each other here. You hear “diversity” and think a buzzword about varying skin tones and nothing more, but I suspect that when Sally says it (and certainly when I say it) it means a lot more than that. JH is culturally rich–immigrants from all over the world who have brought their cultures with them and made a home out of this neighborhood. No one ethnic group/culture owns the neighborhood–it’s a really rich and diverse blend–that’s part of what is so appealing about the character of Jackson Heights.

    • The key to your perspective is probably summed up in the last sentence of your comment. You are used to diversity and maybe resent the fact that it’s being commodified as a real estate amenity. I get that. But as half of a mixed-race marriage with a mixed-race child, ethnic diversity IS a huge thing on our check list. And a big part of the reason we left CG and moved to JH.

      • Yes! Thank you, Mox! That is exactly it! That diversity is being used as a way to sell real estate, as if it is something one could buy – that is why diversity being a checkpoint on a list really bothers me. I believe that diversity is something that just happens. It can’t be forced. I won’t knock you for seeking it out though because – now, after all of this back and forth – I realize that in looking for a new place to live I would be weary if I noticed that the community I’m looking in is a bit homogenous. But even then, I believe that what should take precedent are things like if the house/apt you’re looking at is an overall nice place with good potential, if the neighborhood is safe, if the people are nice and if there are convenient things like corner delis, laundromats, supermarkets, and such. Because after all, the people who made Jackson Heights the diverse place that it is certainly weren’t moving there to seek out diversity. They created it.
        I’m all for diversity, but the search for diversity can potentially limit the spread of diversity.
        Also, I understand why you, Mox, would feel comfortable moving with your family to a place like Jackson Heights. Thank you for sharing your perspective :)

  • Ack! I keep forgetting to type my name. I think several of the Anon are me — sorry!

  • We moved to JH from Manhattan in 2011 for similar reasons, and since then I have continued to follow the JH real estate scene, along with developments in the neighborhood in general. I have looked at so many listings I feel I can practically tell from a photo where an apartment is…but with the photo you posted, I am not sure. I am wondering: where did you find an apartment in an historic district complex with a central garden AND underground parking? I didn’t know such a place existed. And by the way, there definitely are historic district coops approaching half a million–we paid in that neighborhood, and two others in my building just sold in the mid-high 400s as well. But there are many, many less costly apartments–it really is mystifying considering the quality of the architecture and the great transportation into Manhattan. 5 trains! 2 of them express trains and on the same platform! There is always a train we can take! We still can’t get over it. We’ve been very pleased with the choice of JH for many reasons.

    • Hi LJR,

      I’ve definitely seen coops in JH above half a mil — and deservedly so. But I haven’t seen a straight up 2BR at that price. Those seems to top out at $350k. Unless there is an additional bathroom or “sun room” driving up the price. Which I don’t need but I see the value in for others!

      Here’s what I’m seeing: beautiful architecture, good floor plans, light from multiple exposures, space for families to live in, amenities like laundry facilities and full time supers.

      Where individuals might want to pay attention: several of the nicest buildings that I saw and those with the lowest maintenance are walk ups. Lack of elevator is a deal breaker for me , but others might say the low maintenance is worth it, plus there is a dumb waiter for groceries.

      The sunrooms in Willow are to die for! My god! I almost made an offer on the spot seeing those gorgeous windows. But I’m not walking up four flights every day. That’s just me! Others have their own wish list.

      • Yes, we have the second bathroom (my top priority) and a sunroom, although that IS our second bedroom. The units that have 2 full bedrooms plus a sunroom go for more than half a mil. We also have a working fireplace. And an elevator (though we are on the first floor anyway so we only use it to get to the laundry room in the basement, take out the trash, etc.) And, of course, the block-long central garden.

        There was a lot to choose from when we were looking, too, but we quickly settled on our priorities: second bathroom (we’d had one for 23 years and I was not going back–we are a family of 3 and I thank myself for insisting on this every single day), location close to the express subway trains (for us, that meant in the 70s), and a garden.

        That narrowed the choices because there are not many apartments that have the second bathroom–and some of those that did were in the 80s, not the 70s. There were some buildings that were in the 70s, had the 2nd bathroom…but did not have the garden. Or an elevator–also a must-have on our list.

        Now I wish we’d added a garage to our list–but we would not have been able to find a place with the entire list. You have to choose. The place I know of with a garage does not have a garden.

        Anyway, we fell in love with the layout and flow of the apartment, the period charm, the moldings, high ceilings, French doors, and then we found we couldn’t even consider the apartments that did not have all of that. Even though they were a good hundred grand cheaper. It would have been hard to come here and not choose one of the apartments we really loved. So we indulged ourselves. I just wish I had an extra hundred thousand dollars to renovate but we have accepted that we will be living in a genuine antique!

  • So nice to see so much Jackson Heights love on here. I’ve lived in the neighborhood for over 35 years. It has actually become even more diverse over the years, and of course now we not only have the excellent ethnic restaurants, but coffee shops like Espresso77 (as mentioned by J), weekly greenmarket in Travers Park, fabulous Table Wine on 37th off 79th (plus calming, welcoming Inner Peace a few doors down) as well as the wonderful things we’ve had for decades like our local library and beautiful post office (and the local public school I attended was truly great). Anyway just wanted to respond to LJR’s post that I had a pre-war 3BR in landmarked Linden Court, which is in the 80s, that also has a garage and a gorgeously maintained block-long garden (designed by The Towers architect). I realize it wouldn’t have met LJR’s criteria of elevator, 2 bathrooms, and in the 70s, but it was an incredible space with windows in all 4 directions, and sold for way under $500K (reiterating Sally’s point that the breathtaking housing here is perplexingly undervalued for NYC) Now we’re in an adorable row house in the area, but as in most real estate deals, we gained a lot, but also lost some things too (like the extra light and the dependable dumbwaiter!)

  • My husband and I moved to JH from Cobble Hill in 2008, similarly fed up with the ridiculous real estate prices in that part of Brooklyn but also disappointed in how homogeneous and yuppified the area was getting. We loved the prices and spaces here in JH, as well as the community feel and–as another poster noted–the “authenticity” of the neighborhood: It’s just a regular middle-class, down-to-earth, melting-pot kind of ‘hood. To me it feels like the real NYC, honestly. And I think no matter how many reformed Brooklynites move here, it’s going to more or less stay that way. Which is awesome (although I’d love to see just ONE bar with good beer! Apparently commercial space on 37th Ave. is impossibly sky-high).

    Also, the diversity IS a bonus for many people, I think, because the huge confluence of cultures here, in such a (relatively) small area (JH/Elmhurst), is so unique. We’re both big travelers, and this place just feels like home. While we particularly love the food and exploring new cuisines in our own backyard, we also love the thought of raising our son in such a multicultural environment–something that was lacking in my own upbringing.

    • P.S. Does anyone else find the title of this post slightly offensive? Like it’s SUCH an unbelievable idea to move away from CG for Queens? I mean, this is a Queens website, right??

      • Er…it’s simply a fact. Older folks from Brooklyn/Manhattan who have never… been to Jackson Heights…and rarely to Queens…have that attitude about it. They simply aren’t aware of the vibrancy and unique atmosphere…Queens offers. My guess is that their views come from another era? The 80′s and 90′s? (I wasn’t in NYC then…so don’t know what Queens was like)…Younger people…simply look at what’s here now…and can appreciate the here and now of Queens.

        • Just to add, I have known a few older people from Brooklyn that now call Queens home. I think movement between the two boroughs has always been present. But with the cost of living in Brooklyn getting higher, many lifelong natives of Brooklyn have made the move into Queens with their families. Also, quite a few people from the Bronx also made the move into Queens way back when. Queens has many transplants not just from all over the world but all over the city as well.

      • I don’t really find it a little offensive, but I am beginning to find the whole thing typical New York pretentiousness.

    • Just to respond to Laura about beer options, and Cate (below) on dining & grocery –
      Terraza on Gleane St (just off 83rd/Roosevelt) has a nice beer selection (well if you like Blue Moon & Guinness) along with a variety of wines, and a chill atmosphere before 9:30PM (when the live bands usually start). Also Legends/Alchemy (35th off Leverich) usually serves the seasonal Sam Adams as well as delicious BBQ.
      As for casual diners, there’s the Jax Inn (Northern Blvd/73rd) and the Jackson House (37th off 82nd), plus there’s also the expanded health food store (37th off 83rd) that offers many items you’d find at a place like Whole Foods, etc.

  • Jackson Heights has some of the most beautiful prewar apartments in the city. (I used to live at the Berkeley.) The schools are good, it’s relatively safe, groceries are reasonably priced, and the Met carries free-range chickens and real whole wheat bread. All the area lacks is a few more quality grocery and dining options, including a decent casual diner and a Brooklyn style restaurant with non-commercially-farmed meat and veg. (That’s not to say Dosa Delight or Kebab King aren’t good.)

  • Claimer, I bought a coop recently in Jackson Heights. The home price increase would be unsustainable if it’s more than the inflation, and is not necessary good for the owners. Using the blogger Sally as an example, because of the huge price increase in Carrol Garden, she couldn’t afford upgrading her apartment to a big size in her original neighborhood granted she made some money during her previous purchases.

    We have seen a lot of this. When home price increases, at first the renters (without the rent stabilization protected) get pushed to less expensive neighborhood (from Manhattan to Brooklyn, from Brooklyn to Queens, etc) and then the home owners wanting to upgrade due to marriage or new born babies have to buy somewhere else.

    Being an owner myself, I secretly wish that the home price in Jackson Heights do not have big swings, just increases as the inflation. Well, there are so many forces that may influence the home price, that’s why I bought the largest unit as possible (three bedroom is too expensive, I bought two bed two bath and with the plan to convert the big bedroom into two small bedrooms when the kids are in their teens) and hope I will never have to upgrade.

  • I live in Jackson Heights too – moved here for the cheap apts and great ethnic food. In the 11 years that I’ve been here, I’ve noticed a very, very slow creep towards gentrification – Espresso 77, Table Wine, the farmers market and CSA. I like this pace. I’m not looking forward to having us be anything like hipster Brooklyn.

  • We also moved to CG in 1998. We just moved over a month ago to a much larger apartment — with outdoor space — in Dyker Heights. Love it. Only really miss Trader Joe’s :)

    Back in 1998, I was told “don’t walk on Smith Street after dark”.

  • I’ve been in Cobble Hill for 14 years, and I’m experiencing exactly what you did. I’ve thought about Forest Hills, but thanks for the tip about Jackson Heights! I’m heading over to Google Maps to “walk” around …

  • Just a note that a house just went up for sale across the street from us in Jackson Heights. In case anyone is looking. It’s so cute, but needs TLC. It’s got a huge living room, formal dining room, wooden staircase up to two spacious bedrooms and roomy bathroom with tub and separate shower (also has basement, backyard, and front driveway and garage) I am NOT a realtor, but I wanted to share with this page, because it’s always nice to get neighbors who will take care of their home (and neighborhood). The seller

    • ‘s agent is Laffey. I would suggest coming by with your own buyer’s agent if interested! They have it listed for $579K but I’m sure you could snag it for less.