Elmhurst’s Chinatown. Image: Wiki Commons.
Recent economic snapshots issued by the state comptroller show that New York City has continued to experience record economic expansion in the past three years. This growth has been led by notable gains in the economies of Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx (Staten Island’s report is expected later this year), which since the 1990s have seen an economic boost from a large increase in their immigrant populations, Crain’s reports. The revitalization of these immigrant-rich areas has led to an uptick in the number of businesses as well as sales and job growth. Unemployment is at its lowest rate since 1990. Queens, the borough that is home the city’s most diverse population and becoming more so, is clearly one to watch.
More jobs, great food
Image: Matthew D. Britt via Flickr
“Secret” details hidden in plain sight are pretty much the rule in New York City, and the “Scrabble” street sign in Jackson Heights is a fine example. The letters that make up the sign marking 35th Avenue where it meets 81st Street in the neighborhood’s historic district are–if you look more closely than you’d ever really look at a street sign–accorded numbered points below each letter, Scrabble tile-style. The sign honors the fact that the beloved geeky pastime–according to Hasbro, three out of every five American homes harbor a Scrabble board–was invented right here in Queens by the Poughkeepsie-born Alfred Mosher Butts in 1931. Butts was an architect, and as history tells us, an architect generally needed to find an alternate way to keep busy during the Great Depression.
A big hit at the church social
Jackson Heights, Queens, is an affordable neighborhood with lots going for it. There’s a central transit hub, great restaurants, and loads of beautiful pre-war buildings. This co-op, at 35-27 80th Street, is well known in the neighborhood as the Greystones, an early 1900s building that’s part of the Jackson Heights Historic District. This one-bedroom apartment for sale, asking $388,500, is a classic pre-war pad with some modern details like open shelving and a renovated eat-in kitchen. The apartment last sold in 2010 for $260,000.
Take the tour
The prewar cooperatives of Jackson Heights are well-known for their interior courtyards, not to mention lovely apartments with generous floor plans. This two bedroom comes from the Fillmore at 83-10 35th Avenue, which was built in 1935 by the architect Thomas K. Reinhart in the Art Deco style and includes a glorious planted courtyard that’s shared by residents. This particular apartment, asking $625,000, is sitting pretty on the top floor of the building.
See the interior and the courtyard
Jackson Heights has a large stock of lovely co-op apartments, and this is one of them. It’s a two-bedroom unit from 83-10 35th Street, one of the historic district buildings with a central, shared courtyard for residents. (When Jackson Heights was developed, it was called a “garden city” for those very courtyards.) It boasts a spacious floorplan and a foyer so large that, according to the listing, the seller put up a sliding door to create an extra guest bedroom.
See the rest of the apartment
Jackson Heights used to be one of the few New York neighborhoods left to buy a great co-op apartment for a good deal. The prewar cooperatives there are known for their private, interior courtyards, and this building — The Towers, at 33-27 80th Street — has one of the best, spanning almost an entire city block. But it looks like this neighborhood is a bargain no longer. A for sale by owner listing has hit the market for a seven-bedroom, four-bedroom apartment at The Towers asking $1.1 million. (It last sold in 2011 for $675,000.) It’s a huge apartment, with 1,500 square feet, and loads of beautiful prewar details. And windows from the bedrooms and kitchen offer a view down to the courtyard below.
Take the tour
Photo: Joe Buglewicz
As the transformation of Queens reaches a bit deeper into the borough, it’s really no surprise that Jackson Heights is quickly becoming a focal point for savvy buyers and renters. The area, roughly bounded by Northern Boulevard, Junction Boulevard, Roosevelt Avenue and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, is fully loaded with stunning pre-war co-ops practically everywhere and shiny new redevelopments for under $800,000. Combine this with its diverse cultural offerings and a myriad of subways that can always get you smack dab in the middle of Manhattan in less than 30 minutes (that’s better than a lot of the up-and-coming areas of Brooklyn, mind you), it has all the makings for the next hipster-setting housing boom.
Why Jackson Heights is one to consider