City Living: Whitestone is pin-drop quiet with gorgeous homes
Whitestone residents say that the northeastern Queens neighborhood is suburban with its quiet, well-kept blocks and friendly neighbors, but that it is also so close to the city, offering the best of both worlds.
The best thing about growing up there was that you were right next to the city but felt like you were in a small town, said Jennifer Corredor, who was raised here. You have space, youre growing up in open outdoors with places to go and play. Its not as congested as in the city yet you have all the conveniences.
The area, hugged by the East River, is one where people settle down to raise families.
Annette Vallone, owner of the Landrum School of Dance on Clintonville Street -- which has churned out successful performers like actress Drea de Matteo, Mamma Mia Broadway actress Adrianne Chu, and Rockette Tara Dunleavy -- said families stay in the area for generations.
Vallone was born, raised and still lives in Whitestone.
In my years of owning and directing, Ive taught girls who are now bringing back their children, she said.
President of the Welcome to Whitestone Civic Association and lifelong resident Devon OConnor said he has neighbors who remember when the nabe had farms, Clintonville Street was a train track and Francis Lewis Boulevard was a railroad.
Even I dont plan on leaving anytime soon, said the 23-year-old.The area is accessible given its proximity to the Whitestone and Throgs Neck bridges and the Cross Island Parkway.
Broker Nelly Andrushenko, a 20-year resident who owns Power Realty off the Cross Island Parkway, said whether by car or express bus it takes roughly 25-45 minutes to get into Manhattan.
What attracts many people is the accessibility but also because its family-oriented, she said. Its like a village. And School District 25 is very good with very strong elementary schools.
She noted that Whitestone has a mix of architectural styles ranging from ranches and large contemporary colonials to Victorians and two-family homes.It has smaller residential pockets like Beechhurst, which features more expensive, more contemporary colonials and high-end co-op developments, and Robinwood, a waterfront enclave within Beechhurst which is also seeing a lot of new development.
Whitestone Village, where many of the local small businesses dot corridors like 150th Street, 14th Avenue and Clintonville Street, serves as its downtown area.
In the desirable Beechhurst a one-family home averages $800,000 and up. South of the Cross Island Expressway, where mostly two-family homes are found, they go for $1 million and up, Andrushenko said.
If the price is right homes go off the market in 30 days, she said.Whitestone was mostly an Italian, American and Jewish area, but the Asian and Greek populations are growing.
In addition to restaurants, some tucked away on quiet streets, many service establishments populate Whitestone, like hair salons, nail salons, a tattoo parlor, gift shops and places that offer activities like the Christys Gymnastics on 14th Road and Remix fitness & wellness gym off the Cross Island.
And besides the Whitestone Shopping Center, which houses stores like dressbarn, Rainbow and Martys Shoes, at 154th Street off of the Cross Island Parkway service road, there isnt a ton of retail in the area. Residents often venture to College Point, Bayside, Flushing or Long Island to shop.
Neighbors, customers and residents tell me they would love to have more retail, a shoe store or a womans boutique, said Maria Kiropoulos, owner of Tees To Tiaras on 150th Street.
But according to Community Board 7 District Manager Marilyn Bitterman, big box stores arent wanted.
We dont like it; it doesnt belong here, she said. It would bring more traffic.
But where Whitestone lacks in shopping options, it makes up for in its family-friendly, neighborly vibe.
Corredor said its one of those places, where you always run into someone that you know.
This is a neighborhood where youll get to know your neighbors, youll go into the deli and theyll know what coffee you like, OConnor said. The sense of community is the best thing.
And residents dont want it to lose its charm.
Its a wonderful place to live and grow up and to most certainly raise a family, Vallone said. If it gets any bigger it might lose its small-town charm thats the draw for so many people.
Limited parking is a problem, particularly in the Whitestone Village area. More »