I posed a question on Quora asking users if Queens would begin seeing development similar to Manhattan and Brooklyn. The response I got was yes, Queens is already experiencing that development, with most citing Astoria and Long Island City as examples. Undoubtedly so, but there is another in borough winning the affection of renters and developers alike.
Of course Brooklyn has risen to become one of the city’s most coveted boroughs. Year after year, prices rise along with new developments, and people from all over the city and the world have begun to make a home in New York’s most populous section. As with anything else, though, there is a limit. And that limit, for younger, artist types with less discretionary income than, say, the Cobble Hill or south Harlem crew, is the cost of rent. According to this article, Brooklyn is the second most expensive city in the country. As I mentioned last week, that has caused long-time residents and aspiring Brooklynites to begin exploring other parts of the borough, and his driven growing interest in places like Crown Heights and the neighboring Lefferts Gardens. Still, there is only so much space to inhabit before that neighborhood becomes just hip and pricy as the next. Thus, for many, the next move appears to be Jamaica.
No, not the caribbean island popular for reggae music and great food. This Jamaica is a neighborhood located on the far east side of Queens, older than New York City and the United States itself. Most non-New Yorkers know the area as the location of the JFK international airport: the busiest in the country. New Yorkers know of it as well; yet, because of its distance, just like that of Coney Island and other uttermost parts of the city, not many have ever been to nor experienced the area. However, that has not stopped this new found interest in the former Dutch settlement of more than 200,000 residents.
According Streeteasy, a website specializing in NYC real estate, Jamaica is the number fastest growing neighborhood in 2016. The website had also predicted growth in the year prior, and developers like BRP Companies lent credence to that assumption, investing $300 million in a mixed-use project labeled Crossing at Jamaica Station. This year seems just as promising. Why? Prices there are still relatively cheap compared to most of the city (at least until word gets out), and because of the shifts in movement trends in past years, folks are no longer as concerned with proximity to Manhattan, or access to resources previously only located in the city. In fact, developers and business owners have shown (in West Harlem, Bed-Stuy and other areas) that they will build where there is demand. In the future, Jamaica could be cranking out gourmet chocolate, or be a prime attraction for the city’s best cuisine.
Add to that the area’s comprehensive transit system (the largest hub for the city’s commuter train, Long Island Rail Road, as well as stops for the E,J and Z trains on the Subway), plus, you guessed it, the airport, which is a hassle to get to (and from) in any other part of the city. And for those looking for more than apartments, like families and young professionals, Jamaica and neighboring suburbs have a number of single family homes.
Of course, New York City will be constantly changing, and next week, this could be something different. Next year, even, folks may be moving back to Manhattan or further into Long Island. But for now, Jamaica is having its moment, and we’ll all have to wait and see how it unfolds over the next few years.