Monday, October 1, 2007

Forest Hills: Visitation Rights

So after all the hub-bub, and the planning for our first real venture into apartment hunting, we set our sights on Forest Hills, or “Fohi” as the kids are calling it these days.

A little background to the story: Saturday night we went to a friend’s 30th birthday party where I (Matt) ‘enjoyed’ the salmon with lobster mashed potatoes. Actually, only eating a few bites because it tasted funny, (after the wait staff mysteriously forgot to give me meal under the confusion that since I went to the bathroom, they thought I left the restaurant, instead of the fact that if a chair is empty it means a person will eventually return), I found myself up at 2 am, sick to my stomach and violating our bathroom.

So it was with exhaustion (and possible dehydration) that we hopped on the F train (since the E wasn’t running that weekend, not a huge deal, since it is only an extra 10 blocks from our apartment, but still something to take note of). Twenty minutes later we found ourselves in Forest Hills.

What was our first impression?

At first glance, there was something wonderful about Forest Hills. We loved the trees, and were happy to see that just like Manhattan, they were not immune to the street fairs.

The place was nice, but in full disclosure, we did not feel "drawn" to it, as some other people did. Still, we agreed to check everything out and give it a shot.

I'm a huge of entourage and the career of Vinny Chase, (the Mrs. has yet to see it, but we won't hold that against her) the first thing I wanted to do was check out Queens BLVD. Interestingly enough the major artery of Forest hills is remarkably similar looking to Central Avenue in Westchester.

The fascinating thing we found about Forest Hills is how quickly the look and feel of it can change. We walked down past the train station and found ourselves in Forest Hills Gardens, which was by far our favorite part. We loved the trees, the cobblestone streets, even the interestingly named corners and avenues. (See below). We viewed an apartment in a beautiful building but were disappointed to find the master bathroom to be the size of the men's room at the port authority. That being said, if an apartment came along in the right price (it's hard to find a 2 bedroom in our range and they don't stay on the market long), we could be interested.

There is definitely more to tell, including our visit to what can without a doubt be named the most disgusting apartment in the history of New York City. We will leave it alone other than offering that Amanda broke out in a violent allergy attack and we had to call an emotional counselor to cope with the smell, decor and wood paneling.

Now the pros and cons:

1. easy commute
2. Trees and nature!
3. Beautiful gardens area, can picture raising a family there
4. Affordable 2 BDRMs for us
5. Mixture of ethnic backgrounds
6. Slower pace
7. Apartments are large and spacious
8. Big kitchens, some with terraces
9. Great "cottage living" in the gardens
10. Rumor mill has Trader Joes moving to the area.
1. Older prewar apartments have "interesting" configurations
2. Many need renovations (in our budget?)
3. FoHi Gardens out of our budget, and not many 2bdrm apts
4. Not many condos, and many co-ops require 25-35% down, and maintenance of well over $1000 a month (up to $1800 we saw)
5. NO PETS in most buildings...this is MAJOR for us
6. "hip" factor not as present as we thought
7. Concern of feeling isolated from friends and family.

Overall feeling: While we really enjoyed fohi, we weren't magnetically drawn to it. We walked Everywhere, and visited a number of apartments and areas. We loved the gardens, and would move to a fabulous apartment there in no time, but they don't come up that often. We loved the easy commute and Austin Street, and got a real sense of community. That said, we didn't leave saying "We have to live here now!" The no pets issue is a big problem, as we have family dogs now and we will be getting a pet in the near future. There *were* lots of grannies around, too, but also definitely young families, which was a plus (we liked the mix of people). Interestingly enough, our favorite apartment was our friend's duplex rental on the corner of Austin & Yellowstone. it was just what we would be looking for!

SO, all in all, we had a great day, and will be back looking at more in the area. We're not done with you, Forest Hills. We'll also be looking in Astoria and LIC. This weekend we will be away, but next weekend we'll go to Park Slope with the family and look at some apartments then!


Abbey Sarynne said... sorry to hear of your misadventures in the allergy-producing condo! Try Douglaston, Bayside and...dare I say it... Joisey City...
Or you could move to Atlanta where you can purchase a spacious 2bd 2br starting in the 2's! YEAH!

Jonathan said...

Mr. and Mrs. Goldfarb,
I feel like I am apartment hunting along with you! U both have such a way with words and this blog is so entertaining, interesting, and thought provoking. Thank you for it (and for doing all of the legwork, i know it's a shlepp). Where are we going next weekend?