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, you’re growing up in open outdoors with places to go and play. It’s 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, I’ve taught girls who are now bringing back their children,” she said.
President of the Welcome to Whitestone Civic Association and lifelong resident Devon O’Connor 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 don’t 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 it’s family-oriented,” she said. “It’s 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 Christy’s 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 Marty’s Shoes, at 154th Street off of the Cross Island Parkway service road, there isn’t 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 woman’s 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 aren’t wanted.
“We don’t like it; it doesn’t 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 it’s one of those places, “where you always run into someone that you know.”
“This is a neighborhood where you’ll get to know your neighbors, you’ll go into the deli and they’ll know what coffee you like,” O’Connor said. “The sense of community is the best thing.”
And residents don’t want it to lose its charm.
“It’s 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 that’s the draw for so many people.”
Whitestone is bound to the north by the East River and to the south by Willets Point Boulevard. Its eastern boundary is the jagged line of Utopia Parkway over to the Cross Island Parkway Service Road and down to 200th Street, 201st Street and 202nd Street. Its western boundary is the Whitestone Expressway. More »
Buses: Q14, Q15, Q15A, Q16, Q20A, Q20B, Q34, Q44, Q44LTD, Q50, Q76, QM2, QM20 More »
USPS, 14-44 150th St. More »
Queens Library, Whitestone branch, 151-10 14th Rd. More »
Whitestone is covered by the 109th Precinct at 37-05 Union St. in Flushing. According to its CompStat report, in the week of Aug. 11-17 the precinct reported eight grand larcenies, or major thefts, and 49 petit larcenies, or minor thefts. There was one robbery, eight burglaries, and three cars reported stolen in that week. In the year to date as of Aug. 17th, there was one murder reported. There were nine rapes reported in the year to date in 2014, down from 18 in 2013. There have been 18 transit crimes reported this year. More »
This quaint Greek Mediterranean restaurant is a beloved spot with residents and visitors alike. Appetizers like the crispy haloumi and entrees like the eXo flatbread pizza and the 5-hour moussaka takes diners to the Mediterranean by way of the palette. Sunday brunch is also offered.
Il Nocello Ristorante
Patrons can enjoy an intimate setting while dining on a fine, authentic Italian dishes like penne florentina or gnocchi bolognese at this cozy and friendly restaurant.
At Takara sushi and sashimi dishes and hand rolls are a norm. Also on deck are spicy grilled meals like wok grilled garlic shrimp and sesame-crusted salmon, and Thai fusion dishes including pad Thai and tempura udon.
Despite its mischievous name, this pub offers a friendly vibe and serves as a popular haunt where neighborhood locals hang out and relax while sipping on beer or playing pool.
The End Zone
This small watering hole offers a chance to catch a game and down a few beers in another neighborhood joint where the patrons and workers know each other.
The Blvd Restaurant & Lounge
Catch a game, grab a drink or a quick bite at this popular, chic spot. The restaurant dishes out American and Italian cuisine. Nightly drink specials are served at the large bar in addition to a late night menu.
Tees To Tiaras
Clothing ranging from newborn to size 16 is popular at this charming kids’ boutique. Books, toys and accessories like bows, bracelets and shoes can also be found.
This local market provides produce, groceries, fruit and other necessities.
Palazzo Mason Supplies
Find stone, brick, mortar and masonry tools along with other materials for home improvement and building.
Francis Lewis Park
The 16-acre park, which was named after the Whitestone resident who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, boasts a stunning view of the Whitestone Bridge and the East River.
This 6,000-square-foot facility offers classes for children in a safe and encouraging environment and leads them into competitive programs or recreational ones.
Body & Mind Spa
This day spa offers a chance to escape the hustle and bustle through facials, massages, body scrubs, body wraps, couples treatments and waxing.
Maria Kiropoulos jumped at the chance to open her charming kids’ boutique Tees To Tiaras, at 14-01 150th St., after she moved to Whitestone from Astoria and noticed the storefront was vacant and that the area was missing a store for kids. More »
Limited parking is a problem, particularly in the Whitestone Village area. More »