Not Quite the King of Queens
June 11, 2009 2:06 PM   Subscribe

NYC Filter - I'm moving to Queens in August, and on the hunt for both neighborhood/broker recommendations. Astoria appears to be out of the mix.

My boyfriend's in law school out on Long Island, (waaay out) in Central Islip. I work in midtown Manhattan. We've decided to move in together at the end of July, and I've agreed to meet him halfway from where I'm at on the UES -- which puts us out in the Forest Hills/Kew Gardens area.

We discussed Astoria, but he will most likely be driving to school most days for 9 a.m. classes and is concerned about traffic. We discussed Bayside/Flushing but I don't have a car and am not big on giving up life with easy access to neighborhood stores as well as the Subway and all parts of Manhattan.

We're planning to drive out around Forest Hills and Kew Gardens this weekend and begin getting a sense for the neighborhood, but would be interested in hearing other suggestions for both where we might considering living, tips about apartment hunting in the neighborhoods, or any brokers you might recommend.

The dream is for a 2 bedroom around $1,500, but it's looking like a nice 1 bedroom (without a bus ride to the Subway) is more realistic.
posted by acorn1515 to Home & Garden (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Alternate side parking is in effect in that part of Queens - may want to budget for a parking spot, or sublet in a building with a garage.
posted by Calloused_Foot at 2:15 PM on June 11, 2009

Anywhere near the Atlantic Avenue train station (in Brooklyn) might work. Most subway lines go there, and there is the LIRR, which might stop near enough to his school that he won't need the car, or he can leave the car there. But I don't really know LI, I only know BK, and it's a pretty convenient nabe for wherever you want to go.
posted by Ollie at 2:15 PM on June 11, 2009

Forest Hills is very nice, but very expensive, depending on which part of the area you're in. There are a lot of families there, not as much a scene of young people. I'd suggest the Atlantic Avenue area of Brooklyn, too.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:17 PM on June 11, 2009

I live around the corner from that law school. While there is transport from the LIRR station nearby (Central Islip), the train schedules are horrible going that direction in order to get there by 09.00. Driving is usually much better, but you will occasionally have things go badly on the LIE. Not answering the where to live question, but thought this may help the LIRR suggestions.
posted by kellyblah at 2:21 PM on June 11, 2009

Her boyfriend is probably going to Furtzberg in Central islip - not near the train, and not the nicest neighborhood - he's going to want his car.
posted by Calloused_Foot at 2:22 PM on June 11, 2009

I had friends that lived in Bayside and while they had a car (and no problems parking, at least on the street they lived on), they were within walking distance of grocery store, restaurants, and the stores and bars on Bell Blvd., as well as the LIRR station there. I believe the LIRR trip to Penn Station is about 25 minutes, and though I personally would rather live somewhere with subway access, you wouldn't need to each have a car. My friends left Bayside about a year ago, but they were living in a good sized 2 bedroom (in a private house), and I believe their rent had just gone up to $1400 or so (though they'd been there for a few years). Can't recommend brokers in the neighborhood, as they got the apartment from other friends of ours, who worked with the homeowner.

I also have two friends who share an apartment in Woodside (also in a private house), near the 7 and the R and V trains, as well as the LIRR. One of them has a car, and he doesn't have parking problems (I've asked). The other doesn't have a car, and she doesn't seem to miss having a car. They are paying only about $1200 for a two bedroom (again, a floor in a private house), but I think they have a particularly good deal (and again, have lived there for several years). I believe they found the apartment on Craigslist. Sunnyside is, in my experience, similar to Woodside.
posted by Caz721 at 2:32 PM on June 11, 2009

If he's driving, the Belt Parkway turns into the Southern State Parkway, which has an exit right where the school is. The Southern State is usually better than the LIE, and he won't have to deal with all the lights on the way down,. In my experience the traffic on the southern state is not as reliably awful as the LIE. If he's worried about traffic he will want easy access to the Belt.

I second not relying on the LIRR. In addition to being 2 miles away and bad at scheduling, it's also expensive.
posted by amethysts at 2:33 PM on June 11, 2009

Most of Flushing, all of Fresh Meadows, Springfield Gardens and Bayside are what used to be called two fare zones. A bus is required to get you to a subway. A bus ride can take anywhere from 5 minutes (Flushing) up to an hour (Bayside, Springfield Gardens) to get to a subway.

I live in Bay Terrace, near Bayside. The trip on LIRR is 24 minutes from Auburndale station, and about 21-26 minutes from Bayside station, depending on whether you're on an express train. It's also $210 for a monthly ticket, (Zone 1 to Zone 3) and then you may have additional metrocard expenses. The cost can be prohibitive.

You may also be able to take an express bus, (that's one line, there are others,) which take about an hour to go from midtown to Bayside. $5, one way, but unlike the LIRR, you get a free transfer to the subway. However, they only run during the week.

In Bayside / Bay Terrace, Flushing and Fresh Meadows, stores and restaurants may be in walking distance, depending on where you are. From most locations, they are a quick bus ride away. Fresh Direct delivers groceries, if you're without a car.

If you have any questions, feel free to MeMail me.
posted by zarq at 2:56 PM on June 11, 2009

Yep, I pay less than your budget for a 2BR in Sunnyside, a few blocks from the 7. Alternate sides parking, but a lot of houses in the area have parking out back. Closer to the Forest Hills area than Astoria for sure, but still pretty far on the Manhattan side of your halfway point.
posted by lampoil at 2:57 PM on June 11, 2009

I lived in outer Forest Hills, almost Corona, a couple of blocks south of the LIE. It was about a mile to the Forest Hills/71st Ave stop. Some days I walked it, some I rode the bus, and there are tons of cars that will take you to the station for a couple bucks. I don't remember what our rent was, but it was definitely less than $1500/month for a 2 bedroom. And there was a parking space. And Fresh Direct delivered.

It took me about an hour to get to work at 64th/3rd.
posted by elsietheeel at 3:06 PM on June 11, 2009

You should consider Jackson Heights near the 74th St/Broadway stop. I lived there for a few years while working out on Long Island. Easy access to the BQE/LIE (and a reverse commute) if you want to drive, while the E in one direction takes you to the Jamaica stop of the LIRR (where almost every train passes through) and in the other direction takes you to midtown in 15 minutes.
posted by turaho at 3:31 PM on June 11, 2009

Queens native here. Welcome to the shine on the skin of the big apple!

Kew Gardens is great, I lived there most of my 20s, Forest hills is a bit more congested but still convenient. 2 bedroom for $1500.00/mo seems tough, but with the recession, maybe not. You might want to move towards Rego Park, but that starts to get really freakin' ugly! You might want to look at the part of Kew Gardens that gradates into Richmond Hill, near the old LIRR tracks, (Near the Richmond Hill Branch of the Queensborough library - which is really on the edge of Richmond Hill,) long-ish walk to the Kew Gardens train station, but Forest Park, good mix of apt bldgs, with Victorian/faux Spanish houses. Very un-Queens (*)

Second looking at Flushing which is great. Main Street is congested, but around Kissena Park, less so and while a long-ish walk to the 7, not onerous. Plus great food.

Sunnyside is close to the city, and not as priced out as Long Island City yet, but it might be tough for him as a commute as it is congested before you get on the LIE or GCP.

Might i also suggest Brooklyn, like Brighton Beach, subway ride away, rather longish but you'll have that in Queens, plus he can pick up the belt. Plus you'll be by the ocean - and the Russian mafia!

(*) I'm from Queens and I am forever extolling its charms to any and all, but even I admit, most of it has that East German Karl-Marx stadt look.
posted by xetere at 3:53 PM on June 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

I moved to Forest Hills for almost exactly the same reason! I work in Manhattan, my fiance works waaay out on Long Island (Stonybrook). We found a two bedroom in Forest Hills for just a bit above your price point (we're about a fifteen minute walk from 71st/Continental). We have a car, but at this point, have not found it necessary to rent a parking spot. But, it helps that my fiance's schedule is flexible enough that he can move the car due to parking regulations with little problem. Forest Hills is definitely not the most exciting neighborhood, but parts are really pretty (Forest Hills Gardens--too pricey to live in, but beautiful to run through) and you are close to Forest Park and very close to super yum food in Woodside/Jackson Heights. Forest Hills is far from the city, but the E and F trains run express and you can get most places in Manhattan (save the Upper West Side) without transferring.
My fiance also likes his commute because he gets on the highway immediately and, when driving back towards Queens at the end of the day, exits before the traffic gets really terrible.
Ultimately, we both feel as though we were pretty successful in finding a middle ground (my commute is about 50 minutes to the Upper East Side, if he drives, his is one hour).
Definitely feel free to memail me.
posted by avocado_of_merriment at 7:01 PM on June 11, 2009

I've lived in Forest Hills and Rego Park. For that price you are probably looking at about a 1 mile walk to the subway. Forest Hills is very nice, and so is the area of Rego Park which borders FH. Austin Street and Metropolitan Avenue could be consindered the "centers" of Forest Hills commerce-wise. Both places are heavy on shops and restaurants with a few low-key bars in between. 63rd Drive is a focal point of Rego Park but is not a place to go out at night - it's mostly grocery stores, take-out food, drug stores, banks and such.

Most of the time when I meet up with friends we go into Manhattan. The subway walk isn't bad and the ride takes about 40 minutes. When I am in a rush I take the FH LIRR which arrives at Penn Station in minutes.
posted by tomorama at 11:04 AM on June 29, 2009

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