Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The luxury living of Queens Plaza

Ali and I went to an open house of the new “luxury” building of condos that is about to open at Queensplaza. It bills itself as in Long Island City, which it is. But not the Long Island City that they claim to be a part of. You know, the part that is “a truly unique area of artists, museums, and constantly evolving streets filled with a mixture of cafes and stores.” That’s Hunter’s Point. To get there, they’d have to walk a mile. And that’s after crossing the 250-foot-wide mass of 16 lanes and four railroad tracks that is Queensplaza. And Queensplaza South? That’s where the Riker’s Island bus drops all the released inmates off at around 2AM. Now that’s unique!

Queensplaza has no retail to speak of. A decent taco stand is there. An Army Recruiting station. A titty bar. Fried chicken. But really nothing else. Not even a bar. Certainly not a grocery store.

It’s also interesting that they don’t bill themselves as Astoria. Which clearly they’re not. But then by most definitions we don’t live in Astoria. We’ve simply extended Astoria to where we are. And if we can extend Astoria from Broadway to 36th Avenue, then what’s to stop a real estate person from it all the way to 41st Ave?

Perhaps it will become the next hip neighborhood. But I doubt it. Especially since they're skipping the hip artist stage entirely. The prices? A one-bedroom apartment about our size (small) for $425,000. Two bedrooms $675,000 (monthly common charge: $690). A penthouse (2 bedroom) goes for $1,250,000. Outdoor parking costs $30,000 extra.

In the building’s defense. It is right by tons of subways. And if I lived there, I’d be home by now. Or at least 5 minutes faster as I pass the building on my bike ride home. And the Manhattan view is very nice.

While there, Ali was really in full swing. He was asking serious questions about how loud the elevator was if you lived next to it. I was just trying to keep a straight face. They probably thought we were coming in from Jackson Heights. We both stole pens.

And you get this great faux calendar. It includes little helpful reminders like “get bread,” “change babysitter to 7pm,” and “send mortgage check.”

But some of these are more revealing:
“go to furniture store for new bookshelf” (cleverly after “get new book”—and there actually was a cheap furniture store near there… but it closed about a year ago)
“pick up water filters” (yuppies wouldn’t drink some of the best tap water in the US unfiltered)
“get posters framed” (no doubt nice little MOMA prints)
“renew gym membership” (duh)
“cancel magazine subscription” (hmm, that’s a curveball. Maybe it was Better Living?)
“schedule Kobi’s Vet appointment” (Poor Kobi. I wonder what their kids are named?)
“136+58=194” (I checked, it’s correct)
“back up files” (Wow. With ownership comes great responsibility)
“buy tickets to Mets game” (Queens pride is good)
“pick up Ashley’s Graduation Card” (Ashley... I’m sure she didn't go to a public school)
“run in Gantry Park” (a nice park, but there’s nowhere to run in it and it is a mile away… but now I’m starting see that that’s not really the point).
“Download pics” (um hmmmm? I do that all the time. And let me tell you, to download pics, luxury is not required.)

But here’s what really takes the cake. On Thursday the 18th it says “walk to Queens Bridge Park” because “concert begins at 8pm.” (go on, click and zoom in on this picture, it’s worth it.)
Well I don’t have to go out on a limb to say that not one resident of Queens Plaza will walk to Queensbridge Park. Because between the two is Queensbridge Public Housing. It’s the largest public housing complex in the US (at least since they tore down the Robert Taylor Homes in Chicago).

Now “The Bridge” isn’t all bad. I bike past it all the time and don’t feel scared (I wouldn’t have biked past the Robert Taylor Homes). And lots of famous hip-hop artists have come from there (Marley Larl, MC Shan, Roxanne Shante, Nas, Mobb Deep). And there was a big drug arrest there a year or two ago that supposedly made the place better.

But ain’t one single resident of Queen Plaza going to Queensbridge Park much less walking through Queensbridge to get there (you’ve got zoom in on this google-earth picture to see it).
And for a real estate company to advertise the proximity to that park with a straight face? If you’ve got half a million for one of these apartments? I’ve got the Queensbridge to sell you.

1 comment:

Aaron S. said...

That's the most hillarious NYC real estate story I've read in a long time! How could you not buy a place there? So close to such a lovely park!