Jackson Heights boasts ‘Garden’ Living


| csantucci@queenscourier.com |

Planned as a “garden” community in the 1920s, Jackson Heights remains very much true to character today – with apartment complexes built around small gardens and private homes.
The apartment buildings, modeled after the British garden cities and built mainly by the Queensboro Corporation, were designed as communities within themselves – where residents can gather and socialize in a lush, green environment.
In addition, the neighborhood has several buildings from 1917 on 80th Street between 35th and 37th Avenue.
Because of the neighborhood’s preserved history, a 36-square-block area – stretching as far north to Northern Boulevard, south to 41st Avenue, west to 72nd Street, and east to 88th Street – was named an historic district by the City’s Landmarks Preservation Committee in 1993.
Now many of the apartments in pre-war and garden buildings have become condos and co-ops – with price tags ranging from about $130,000 to $180,000 for a one-bedroom to about $250,000 for a two-bedroom unit – according to Diane Macari, co-owner of the Jackson Heights branch of Exit Realty.
Rental units are also available. One-bedroom apartments now go for about $900 or $1,000, and the agency has several two-bedroom units for $1,400, Macari said. The cost of homes varies by size, age, location, and amenities – like fireplaces – but new homes generally cost more than $1 million, and older homes go for between $600,000 and $900,000.
The more affordable living space could help explain why Manhattan residents have been flocking to Jackson Heights for decades to get the best of both worlds – neighborhood feel and city living.
“Jackson Heights is a very busy community,” Macari said. “It’s always active and always changing.”
“Astoria, Sunnyside, Long Island City, Jackson Heights … the surrounding areas are all becoming like the new Manhattan,” she said.
The southern portion of Jackson Heights – from 37th to Roosevelt Avenues – is more of a commercial area, with small shops and restaurants lining the avenues. Sari shops, Bollywood movie stores, and native inhabitants can be found in the heart of “Little India,” on 74th Street. Residents and sight-seekers can also hop on the subway or bus at several spots on Roosevelt Avenue.
“I don’t drive, so it’s great to be able to walk everywhere,” said Joe Ricevuto, who has lived in Jackson Heights since 1958 and is affectionately called the “Mayor of Jackson Heights” for his community work with the Jackson Heights Beautification Group. “Everything is so convenient.”
An avid theatergoer and restaurant buff, Ricevuto said that he loves being able to get to Manhattan easily and quickly every Sunday. Moreover, as the neighborhood has changed over the years – now many residents are immigrants from South Asia and South and Central America – the community atmosphere has remained the same.
“If you say hello to everybody, they say hello to you back,” Ricevuto said.