Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Queens: A Diamond in the Rough

After re-reading my last post about house hunting and then seeing Jason's comment on Forest Hills, I realized that I failed to mention that I was born and grew up in the Rego Park/Forest Hills area and have basically lived my whole life in the borough of Queens, except for four years in Newark, Delaware for college, and now Washington D.C. for the last three years.

I've actually been wanting to do this post for a while now, but you know, things come up and life happens, and I just never got around to it. But the time has come for me to let you all in on a little secret...Queens is the perfect borough to live in in New York City.

Here are my top ten reasons to love Queens:

1. Beautiful Neighborhoods - Places like Forest Hills, Bayside, Fresh Meadows, and Kew Gardens make Queens really pretty. Forest Hills Gardens boasts lovely homes that are gigantic and have been kept in the old tudor style, which I happen to think is beautiful. Old world charm if you will. There are also cobblestone streets in Forest Hills near the Long Island Railroad station which have been kept in tact and makes you feel like you're not in the middle of NYC even though you are.

2. Affordable - Renting is definitely cheaper in Queens compared to Manhattan and even compared to Brooklyn these days. You can also buy a house if that's what you want, unlike in Manhattan where there aren't actually houses to buy (only multi-million dollar brownstones), or Brooklyn where you'ld either have to live in the ghetto to afford to buy a house, or be Heathcliff Huxtable and afford to live in Brooklyn Heights. Either way, it's tough. Queens has some really great houses both attached and detached that are not insanely priced. You will also get a backyard and some trees!

3. Diverse - Queens is the most diverse place on earth, period. You name it, they live there. Diversity is something that's important to me. I liked growing up in a real melting pot with friends who weren't like me and who's mother's made different foods for dinner than what I was used to. I also LOVED going to like 37 bar and bat mitzvahs when I was 13...wearing slouch socks on the dance floor, watching my friends squirm while reciting their hav torah, dancing the electric slide with a plastic lei around my neck...ahh the good ole days.

4. Strategically Located - Queens is the easternmost borough of NYC and is sometimes called a part of Long Island, which annoys me, but is basically true. It is close to Manhattan by both subway and car, Brooklyn by car (not subway b/c you have to take the train through Manhattan - DOH!), and close to Long Island for shopping, the Hamptons, and other nice neighborhoods. Who the hell cares about The Bronx and Staten Island?

5. Good Food - If I want Greek I'll go to Astoria. For Chinese (or for any Asian food), you'll find me in Flushing. Latin cuisine is best in Jackson Heights along with amazing Indian restuarants. There are so many great Italian restaurants all over Queens I won't even try to specify a neighborhood. You will also find tons of amazing pizzerias, fun Irish pubs, delicious bagel places, jewish delis that have the best matzah ball soups, diners, steakhouses...everything!!! I'm hungry just thinking about it.

6. Airports - Both LaGuardia and Kennedy are both located in Queens, which means that you don't have to leave your home 5 hours before your flight just to make it to the airport. Also, your cab ride home after a trip won't take you two hours or cost you $100. That's a perk if you ask me!

7. Beaches - The Rockaways are in Queens, which aren't my favorite but are close...but you can jump onto the Southern State and get to Long Beach or the LIE and get to Jones Beach in a jiffy! You're also not far from other State parks with pools and fun outdoor activities. Hello tan!

8. Sports - Citi Field (formerly known as Shea Stadium) where the NY Mets play, as well as Flushing Meadows Park, where the US Open is played are both in the Q-B!

9. History - Simon and Garfunkel both went to my High School, as did Jerry Springer (I'm not as proud about him), the Ramones are from Queens, as are Tribe Called Quest, Run DMC, Nas, and hottie LL Cool J! The 1964 World's Fair was held in Queens as well...too cool.
**I realize this section is a bit cheesy, but whatever.

10. Community - The one thing I miss the most about home are the people who live in the neighborhoods and communities that make up Queens. They are real New Yorkers whose families emigrated to the US decades ago and they provide the flavor and the dynamic that I know and love. Wherever you live in Queens you will find good people, good families, family owned businesses that treat their customers like family, and a real sense of community. It's really cool.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture. Go QUEENS!

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