For a diverse neighborhood that’s close to the subway — without Manhattan or Brooklyn prices — take a ride on the 7 to Sunnyside.
Go quickly though, as this Queens gem is no longer a secret, and demand for real estate here is growing.
The friendly neighborhood draws in visitors thanks to its mom-and-pop shops and kitschy eateries.
The area is known for its “Sunnyside” arch, a 25-foot-tall sign along the 46th Street shopping district, and Sunnyside Gardens — rows of one-to-three family houses built in the 1920s and arranged around small green spaces.
“It’s quite picturesque [and] people are very friendly and proud to be from Sunnyside,” said Pauline Reddington, 36, a resident and bartender at Venturo on Queens Boulevard.
In the early 1900s, the neighborhood was a landing point for Irish immigrants looking for factory work in New York. But in recent decades there has been an influx of other cultures, including immigrants from Latin American countries, Asia and the Middle East, along with millennial transplants from other parts of the city.
Those millennials are particularly drawn to Queens Boulevard’s strip of bars, such as Molly Bloom's and The Courtyard, and restaurants like Salt & Fat, which offers complimentary popcorn cooked in bacon fat and small dinner plates like Korean BBQ wraps.
Husband and wife Megan, 31, and Joe Incantalupo, 33, can attest to the great food in the area.
“My wife and I are foodies, and we love how the community has grown to include great new restaurants,” Joe Incantalupo said.
They’re particularly fond of the recently opened Dumplings & Things on 46th Street and Jack's Fire Department on Skillman Avenue.
“We support our friends who own restaurants and bars in the neighborhood, we attend community events like the Taste of Sunnyside,” said Megan Incantalupo, referring to an annual festival thrown by the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District that features various neighborhood eateries.
But even more than the restaurant scene, the Incantalupos love their neighbors.
“I grew up in suburban Massachusetts and I really love the feeling of community [here],” Megan Incantalupo said.
The great food and comfortable community are fueling Sunnyside’s increasingly hot real estate market.
In 2015, the median asking price for a one-bedroom in Sunnyside was $269,000 in the sales market and $1,850 per month for a rental, up from $245,000 and $1,750 in 2014, according to the real estate listings site StreetEasy.
Overall, the median sales price of homes jumped 20.4%, from $248,250 in 2014 to $299,000 in 2015, and the median monthly rental price rose 8.3%, from $1,800 in 2014 to $1,950 in 2015, according to the site.
“It’s not cheap around here,” said Irene Cook, 65, while running errands on 46th Street.
Her husband, Jim Cook, 72, agreed: “It’s become a lot more popular and prices in Sunnyside keep going up.”
Sunnyside is bound by Skillman Avenue to the north, the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway to the south, Newtown Creek to the west and 52nd Street to the east, according to StreetEasy.
Q&A with Choi Fairbanks, director of Sunnyside String School