BY CRYSTAL LAU
Just a hop, skip, and a short train ride away from Manhattan, Jackson Heights is a heterogeneous and profoundly historic area where the real estate market has soared in recent years.
As many Manhattanites and Brooklynites are being outpriced of their neighborhoods, more and more attention is garnered by the Jackson Heights neighborhood as a more affordable alternative.
Jackson Heights has a long history of being a bedroom community. It was one of the first planned communities built in New York City. The Queensboro Development Corporation began construction in 1914, turning the Queens County farmland into a beautiful residential neighborhood.
When walking through the neighborhood, you might take notice that of the brown street signs, rather than the bright green they are throughout the rest of the city. At the community’s core is a National Register Historic District, bound roughly by Northern Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue, between 76th and 88th streets. Because the area was designated as a historic district, the majority of the neighborhood’s original characteristics were preserved, even its street signs.
Since it was a planned development, buildings are uniformly placed and there is a sense of coherence due to the strategic placement of each structure. The regality of the architecture provides an impression of entering an entirely different world. The Jackson Heights Historic District has been often compared to London’s posh Kensington neighborhood or the iconic 16th arrondissement in Paris.
Most of the residencies in the area are co-ops, generally four to six stories tall, and built around private parks that can only be accessed by occupants. Thus the term “garden apartment” was coined by the Queensboro Corp. These private gardens statistically cover 67 percent of the original land, meaning only a mere third of property bought for these co-ops were actually built upon.
Some of these co-ops feature personal Odis elevators, the first elevators for residential use, which lead tenants directly to their own foyers. Some even feature dumbwaiters that are still operational, carrying loads up and down the building without any traveling necessary.
Helen Van Rhyn, a real estate agent from Brown Harris Stevens explained that “these co-ops are very well cared for; in some cases the super rings individual apartments every day to inquire about laundry or trash needs.”
She also explained that there are many characteristics specific to the Jackson Heights co-op that only add to the charm of the real estate there. Some of these details include transom windows, windows above the door, that allow for better ventilation throughout each apartment, and windows on the East and West that allow for sunlit rooms throughout the day.
With the recent real estate interest going up, the price points of these listings have also increased. “Typically, 12,000 square foot properties average between $650,000 and $750,000,” said Van Rhyn, “even one bedrooms can be as big as 900 square feet and currently average between $300,000 and $350,000.”
Daniel Karatzas, a real estate agent from Beaudoin Realty, said that the area offers many options to fit everyone’s needs. Listings range from three room apartments around 700 square feet each to seven room apartments up to 1800 square feet each.
Jackson Heights real estate is becoming more and more desirable, and this is owed to the quality of housing stock found here, the convenience of nearby transportation, and the preservation of the community’s physical integrity.
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