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Affordable And Accessible Rego Park Could Be Queens’ Best Kept Secret

With sane real estate prices and a close-knit-yet-diverse neighborhood, this unassuming neighborhood checks all the boxes.

By Jeff Vasishta December 5, 2016
Photo courtesy of Kennedy House / Rego-Forest Preservation Council

While the 7 train scuttles by neighboring areas like Forest Hills, Elmhurst and Corona, electrifying rents and sales prices, Rego Park may be the best-kept secret in Queens. Served by the M & R trains, which reach Manhattan in thirty minutes, it has three main factors going for it—affordability, accessibility and diversity.

“It’s one of the very few places in Queens left where you can say, ‘I have a family, I want to live here and I can afford it,’” Danny Marte, 30, who moved there with his wife and 3-year-old daughter from Corona in 2011, told AM New York.

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Much of the area is comprised of tree-lined streets, mock Tudor-style homes, apartment buildings and small businesses, giving it a distinctly suburban feel. But it doesn’t have the real estate bling of other rapidly developing Queens areas like Long Island City, which essentially seem like completely new developments. Much of Rego Park echoes back aesthetically to Archie Bunker-era Queens—but there’s nothing Bunker-esque about the population. According to the recent U.S. census data, 48.8 percent of Rego Park residents speak a language other than English at home.

“I have neighbors who are Muslim. I have neighbors who are Hispanic. I have neighbors who are Asian. They’re from all over the world on my block,” Citi Habitats broker, Ira Schulte, a Rego Park resident for 37 years, told AM New York.

That said, it is in New York. With accessibility to the city by subways and major thoroughfares such as the LIE, Queens Boulevard and Woodhaven Boulevard, construction of luxury buildings is an inevitability. It started with a rental tower constructed on 99th Street between 62nd and 63rd drives. The Alexander Tower opened in the summer of 2015 at 61-55 Junction Blvd and is currently fully rented. It’s continuing with a 7-story condo building in construction at 97-45 63rd Drive.

Glassy and classy is how real estate professionals would like to view the Alexander, which stands out from the many older brick face buildings and smaller coop rentals. There’s no doubt the the tower, which, in line with similar buildings in New York has amenities such as a game room, gym, rooftop terrace and rooftop playground, has pushed rents in the area up.

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Though most apartment buildings are under 10 stories high, construction and traffic heading to Rego Center Mall, which opened at Junction Blvd and 62nd drive, has become an issue. Despite the development, prices have remained refreshingly affordable. The median sales price in Rego Park according to StreetEasy was $290,498 in 2015, up from $283,997 in 2013. The median rent rose from $1,600 in 2013 to $1,900 last year.

“It’s the roots,” stated Peter Karas, co-owner of Shalimar diner. “You have people who have been here their entire lives, decades, and they’ve created this tight community. There’s a lot of practicality and convenience. There are a lot of ways to go into the city, whether it be subway or by car. It’s modest, price-wise, but it’s getting harder to afford a place in New York in general.”

Jeff Vasishta

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jeff Vasishta

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jeff Vasishta

Jeff is a writer, husband and father but not necessarily in that order. As a music journalist he counts Prince, Beyonce and Quincy Jones amongst those he’s interviewed. He's also owned and flipped homes in Brooklyn, NJ, CT and PA.

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