Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Golden Girls: Forest Hills

Amanda here. Although Matt is the writer, I think it's time I give this blog a go and put in my two cents. I mean, come on, as the wife, isn't my say the most important (look away, matt!)

So, Matt and I are pretty clueless on how to start our search. As we mentioned, we have 3 short months to make a definite, huge decision on where to live for the next 5-7 years. And because it is my nature, finding an apartment is not only my mission, it is my life.

I have scoured the internet on realtor.com, streeteasy.com, and local real estate companies in order to learn everything I can. Right now, I'm focusing on Forest Hills, where we're going on Sunday. It's very affordable for us, and we like that, but one thing scares me. Based on the interiors of the apartments i've seen online, I'm convinced that everyone in Forest Hills is a grandma.

Why do I think this? Because every apartment is furnished in the most god awful, tired way. And Im not talking about Golden Girls grandma...they at least had some Florida style, while not my style, it worked for them. Plus, I love the Golden Girls (my friends said I was most like Dorothy) But what Im talking about here is just sad. Furniture from the 50s (and not that cool midcentury stuff, either). Heavy curtains. Books crammed on old, antique book shelves. Dark paneling. Im allergic jsut thinking of the dust bunnies hopping around. What's the deal, people? Granted, I come from a design world and am very sensitive to this, but EVERY apartment looks like the smell of mothballs and chicken soup. We can only wait and see.

If Matt and I end up in Forest Hills, you can bet the first thing I'm going to do is paint, paint, paint. And get rid of the doilies.


18 comments:

Glenn said...

Good luck in your quest. As someone who moved from Fort Greene to Forest Hills I can completely understand your dilemma. FoHi all too easily resembles Grannyville. And Fort Greene is full of young hipsters and such. That said, Forest Hills has its charms in its own way. Ever so slightly young families are moving out. But it will never be the center of hipsterdom. Too expensive, too far from Manhattan, etc. Good luck

Abbey Sarynne said...

Don't fret my pet. YES - Forest Hills has many poofed out bottle blondes (and purples) walking around BUT, like any area, that group is cycling out and the young couples who want to be near Manhattan are moving in. You go girl!!!
You may want to check out Douglaston too - really nice area of Queens!

Peter said...

Hey, it takes me just as long to get from Forest Hills to West 4th as it does my friends in Fort Greene. Our close-by express subways beat a long walk (through sketchy neighborhoods) to the G!

Sure, Forest Hills isn't as hip, but it's still a nice place. (Believe it or not, it's a lot younger than it was ten years ago.) There's even a nearby Home Depot to help with all your apartment-renovating needs...

Peter said...

PS - photos of Forest Hills, for your enjoyment:

http://www.flickr.com/groups/fhg/

http://www.flickr.com/groups/forest_hills_nyc/

larie said...

Hey Amanda,
Forest Hills has a certain charm with its tree-lines streets and cobble stone streets. The grannies won't be around forever and a new generation will move in. (I loved the Golden Girls. When you and Matt grow old together, he can perm your hair. That will be sweet.)
Happy hunting!

larie said...

Typed too fast and hit publish instead of preview! Anyway, I meant tree-lined cobble stone streets. The homes are lovely in Forest Hills.

good luck!

Jon Parker said...

As a foodies, I'll be the first to say that Brooklyn overall has better restaurants. But depending on where in FG you are, you're not likely going to be very near to them. (I blog about restaurants).
FH has express subways which make it very easy to get to Manhattan south of Central Park, the LIRR, Starbucks, Barnes and Noble, etc. As a guy, it's nice that there are stores I can shop at, like Banana Republic, without having to get on the subway. Plus it is getting younger. Especially since I moved here five years ago. It'll never be hipster-cool, but if you need to get to Westchester, getting to the Whitestone Bridge from the Van Wyck is really easy.

Tom said...

Don't think you are completely wrong about the granny comment, but things are rapidly changing. I moved to a bldg. on yellowstone near 67th about 3 years ago and was the youngest on my floor by at least 20 years (I was 31 at the time). I moved there with my partner and we were the talk of the floor...gay and interracial. Fast forward 3 years and I am not the youngest. In fact, there are 3 apartments in their 20s on my floor. Plus, I am on The Board and I can tell you that EVERYONE that moves in is 35 or under and very financially stable. Ethnically, the neighborhood is getting more diverse, but they all seem to be very financially stable. I think the 'hood will get increasingly younger and continue to be a great place to live.

fhdogs said...

I've been living in FoHi for nearly 2 years... Previously from midtown, and a few years out on the island. If I had to stay in NY I'd never leave this area. Everything you need, and plenty of areas that are actually quiet and relaxing.

Peter: Leave it to you to break out the flcker groups! (definitely worth browsing those)

Pamela said...

As someone who grew up in Manhattan and Brooklyn, I really like living here in Forest Hills. Before my husband (his name is Matt too) and I bought our apartment, it looked like a grandma apt too. But you got to look past that. Whatever you move into, you need to furnish it and I highly doubt the furniture will come with the place.

Is FH as hip, probably not but it's a safe clean neighborhood that has express trains going to midtown Manhattan within 25 minutes during rush hour.

Good luck.

Trilby said...

I moved to Forest Hills 5 years ago and I must say, it is my second choice to living in Manhattan. I often walk from my house, just south of Metro, to the subway, through what I believe to be one of the most beautiful residential neighborhoods in the US. Within blocks of me, there is all kinds of convenient shopping. If you want to zip into town on the weekend, the LIRR has a deal where a 3-dollar ticket takes you to Penn Station in 20 minutes. We also have express buses for your morning commute which are $5 but quite a convenience. You ride in luxury. Restaurants, movies, diversity (not just grannies)-- we got it.

Jaelyn said...

I moved to FoHi from Midtown Manhattan a few years ago kicking and screaming to move into my husbands apt. I WISH he had talked me into moving years earlier as I now live in a large 1BR with several walk-in closets for FAR less money than the studio apt. I had been living in which essentially was a walk-in closet.

My recommendations:
- Look for a place close to the Express stop at 71st/Continental. I would avoid living on Queens Blvd. (unless you are not bothered at all by street noise) but not too far from it.
- Look for a street (most likely North of QB) that is a few blocks or less from single family home streets. (Anything between Jewel and 72nd is prime.) Unless you need to always park right in front of your building, parking is not that difficult because you can just park a couple of blocks away on the SFH streets if nothing else is available.
- There are many apts. for sale now that HAVE been renovated and lost that lovely granny pink tile bathroom look. The best part is that the renovated ones are asking for about the same or only slightly more money than the "estate" apartments and there are deals to be had. If you are not seeing the more up-to-date apartments, then get a new RE Agent or better still, look on the FSBO sites or craigslist because you can get a better deal with sellers who don't have to deal with agent commissions.
- Consider both purchase price and maintenance. A friend made the mistake of buying a lower priced unit in a presidential building only to see her maintenance rise by 9% every year. You will pay a little more for units in the better run buildings but in the long run you will have better service and lower maintenance costs overall.
- If you can swing it, don't avoid the high down payment buildings. You don't want to end up in a building with owners who have shaky credit.
- If you want to get to Manhattan in a hurry, take the E from 71st/Continental but if you have 8-10 minutes extra, take the V. Guaranteed seat every time because its the first stop!!!!

The hipster dufuses can keep their Fort Greenes, Red Hooks and Long Island City's. FoHi has the beautiful appeal of Forest Hills Gardens, enough single family homes to keep the area from feeling too crowded, and a steady influx of younger people that will make it a good investment if you plan to stay for a little while.

Amanda said...

Thanks SO much for your comments, these are so helpful to us. I love learning, so please keep em coming! We cant wait to see FoHi as you call it!

Drake said...

Having lived in both Park Slope and Forest Hills, all I can say is that Forest Hills is currently experiencing the Thai restaurant phenomena that Park Slope experienced about 8 to 10 years ago. What is that? The opening of Thai restaurants (something like 3 or 4 have opened in Forest Hills in the past year alone, seems to signal a neighborhood is changing to a younger, hipper crowd. Great places to eat usually follow!

Drake said...

Having lived in both Park Slope and Forest Hills, all I can say is that Forest Hills is currently experiencing the Thai restaurant phenomena that Park Slope experienced about 8 to 10 years ago. What is that? The opening of Thai restaurants (something like 3 or 4 have opened in Forest Hills in the past year alone, seems to signal a neighborhood is changing to a younger, hipper crowd. Great places to eat usually follow!

jo said...

We made the trek from Cali-L.A. to be exact and the capital for hipsters to NY. We chose Forest Hills after looking at the Manhattan, Astoria, Brooklyn (Park Slope). We value space and Forest Hills was able to give us that for a reasonable price. We have a 2500 sq. ft rental with a patio 1 block outside of FH Gardens. Being a young 20's something family, our son goes to one of the best schools in all of NYC-PS 101. Granted, my son's classmates' parents look older (40-50), we generally love living with older demographic generation. Older ppl are not loud, are not obnoxious, generally are polite. We were extremely lucky to live here considering we have never been to NY.

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