Next Stop For The Gentrification Express—Whitestone, Queens
Whitestone is being courted by buyers and developers. Get it while you can.
[otw_shortcode_dropcap label=”W” font=”Bowlby One SC” color_class=”otw-black-text” background_color_class=”otw-no-background” size=”large” border_color_class=”otw-no-border-color”][/otw_shortcode_dropcap]hen the New York Times describes your town as “as sleepy waterfront neighborhood of tree-lined streets, manicured lawns and salty sea breezes” you best believe that its sleepy days may soon be coming to an end.
This is the fate soon to befall Whitestone in Queens. A 45-minute ride on an express bus to Manhattan, 20 minutes from Astoria and even less to Jackson Heights, it’s impossible to think that Whitestone could be isolated from what’s happening nearby. As the gentrification wild fire sweeps through other parts of Queens, family neighborhoods are being set ablaze with rising rents like a Molotov cocktail just crashed through their living room window.
The Times article quoted a double digit median house increase of 14 percent from July 2015-2016 which shows that fever is already rising. The good news is that unless eminent domain is enforced, the character of the neighborhood is likely to remain even if the prices don’t. Rentals in multifamily homes compare favorably with the rest of Queens and Brooklyn. A one bedroom rents for $1400 a month, a two bedroom for $1700 and a $2000 for a three bedroom.
A quick look at what’s happening in nearby Flushing doesn’t portend rents staying low. According to Trulia, the largely Asian neighborhood increased a meteoric 32 percent in median home sales over the last year. Median rents for all properties escalated an incredible $600 during the month of September.
So what could stave off Whitestone joining the ranks of other overheated and overpriced Queens neighborhoods? Firstly, there is no available subway nearby which virtually hipster-proofs a neighborhood. Those who drive to work outstrip those who use public transportation by two to one. Secondly, it’s not like you can get to Whitestone through quaint, meandering country lanes on fixed gear bikes. There’s either the Whitestone Bridge or Expressway to navigate, which has all the intimacy of a picnic on a runway at JFK. Finally, if it’s box chain stores and the convenience of bulk buying you’re after then take your station wagon or SUV elsewhere. This is a neighborhood that still proudly has kayak launch strips and bocce courts.
Get it while you can, people. It’s New York. And even Whitestone isn’t likely to remain unspoiled for long.
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