The northern Queens community of Whitestone, most of which once was the estate of Declaration of Independence signer Francis Lewis, offers suburban-like waterfront solitude without the sky-high property taxes.
The multicultural area is primarily residential with tree-lined streets, and there are stores on virtually every major corner, so you don’t really need to have a car, but if you have one, you won’t have much trouble finding a place to park it.
I’m working from home, so I don’t need to be as close to Manhattan, but I don’t want to leave New York. I’ve heard Whitestone might be a good choice. What can you tell me about it?
“The most commonly asked question from clients is whether Whitestone is more suburban or metropolitan,” Di Ciero says. “It is more suburban, but it’s not detached from the city. And if you drive to Manhattan from Whitestone, the route takes you around a lot of the traffic.”
Where is it?
Whitestone, tucked between the Whitestone and Throgs Neck bridges, is bounded by the East River on the north, College Point and the Whitestone Expressway on the west, Flushing and 25th Avenue on the south and Bayside and Francis Lewis Boulevard on the east.
Why would NYers want to move to Whitestone?
“It’s a friendly, quiet community with quick access to the Clearview Expressway and Cross Island Parkway,” Carollo says. “It’s as suburban as Long Island, which is only a 10-minute drive away, but the property taxes are much lower.”
Whitestone is attracting people from Flushing, Fresh Meadows and communities in western Queens such as Astoria and Long Island City because “you can get more space for your money,” Di Ciero says, adding that the majority of residents commute to Manhattan. “They like the suburban feeling—the streets are wider, there’s more greenery—and the fact that you are exposed to different languages and cultures.”
Where in Whitestone should you live?
Malba, which is defined by luxury custom houses, is “the most elite neighborhood in Queens and has the most expensive homes in the borough,” Carollo says, adding that “I’ve seen private buses do tours through the neighborhood.”
Di Ciero adds that it’s “like Beverly Hills in some parts.”
Robinwood and Beechurst, two other neighborhoods, are fairly similar, Carollo says, noting that they are characterized by suburban-style houses of all different styles and sizes. Beechurst includes the private beach of the same name. “The only real difference between the two is that Robinwood has a homeowner’s association with security patrols,” he says.
Whitestone Woods, which is named for its leafy trees, is at the far end of the community and has the private beach Boosters.
What are housing and pricing like?
Most of the housing options are single-family residences and co-ops, although there are some condo developments. Prices range from $800,000 to $5 million, Carollo says.
There are 72 houses, co-ops and condos on the market in Whitestone, according to StreetEasy.
“It’s definitely a seller’s market,” Carollo says. “There haven’t been any bidding wars, but we are getting full-price offers and multiple offers. But this is changing because of rising interest rates.”
Single-family detached houses, on standard 40-by-100-foot lots, typically sell for $1 million; two-family houses, which are scarce, and three-family houses, which are so rare only a handful exist, generally are priced at $1.5 million. Mixed-use properties, with stores on the ground floor and rental units above, usually sell in the range of $1.5 million to $2 million.
Co-ops typically trade for $200,000 and up, Carollo says, adding that “these are very good prices—they are bargains. When the rental market is hot, which it is now, people tend to buy co-ops. I don’t know how long this will last because interest rates are going up.”
Condos, which are not prevalent, sell for $400,000 and higher.
Rents, which Carollo characterizes as “very high,” average $1,900 per month for a one bedroom, $2,400 to $2,500 for a two bedroom, and $3,000 and higher for a three bedroom.
Is there a lot of new development?
The only new development in recent years, The Bridges at Whitestone, has 43 single-family custom houses with prices ranging from $1.628 million to $1.998 million. All residences are in contract or have been sold, according to its website.
“The only other type of residential development is single-family homes being rebuilt,” Di Ciero says.
What’s the transportation situation?
Although there is no direct subway service in Whitestone, most of the buses—the Q15, Q15A, Q16, Q20A, Q20B, Q34, Q44 SBS, Q50, and Q76 run locally, and the QM2, QM20, and QM32 are express—connect to the No. 7 line at the Flushing-Main Street stop.
“We’re the last exit in Queens on the Whitestone and Throgs Neck bridges,” Carollo says. “You can get to the Bronx faster from here than from most parts of Queens.”
What is there to do?
There are several parks in Whitestone. The main green spaces include Memorial Field of Flushing, which has ball fields; Little Bay Park, which has baseball fields, a roller hockey rink, and a dog run; Fort Totten Park, which used to be a U.S. Army installation; and Harvey Park, which has a playground as well as baseball fields, a splash pad, and basketball courts.
What’s the restaurant/nightlife situation?
There are a variety of culturally diverse culinary options in Whitestone. They include Erin’s Isle, a family-owned restaurant and bar that opened in 1985 and that, despite its Irish name, serves Italian fare; The Clinton, which has been serving steak, seafood and Italian dishes for three generations; as well as the German restaurant Jaeger Haus; To Steki (Greek food); Casa Asia (Thai, Chinese and Japanese classics); Concettina (a southern Italian menu); Mr. Pollo 2 (Colombian cuisine); Ginger & Lemongrass (contemporary Vietnamese cuisine); and Taco Azul (Mexican fare).
How about grocery stores?
Residents have a large selection of supermarkets, including North Shore Farms, Key Food and Met Fresh Market. Two blocks away, in College Point, there is a BJ’s Wholesale Club and a ShopRite.
Check out these listings in Whitestone.
Listed for $999,000, this single-family Colonial farmhouse has three bedrooms, two full baths, and one half bath. The 1,650-square-foot, two-story house, which dates to 1901, has hardwood floors, a fireplace, porch, patio, finished basement with a separate entrance, and a private two-car driveway. Each floor has a separate entrance, creating a mother-daughter layout.
Listed for $2.18 million, this contemporary brick house with water and park views, has four bedrooms, three full baths and one half bath. Other features of the two-story, 3,000-square-foot house, which was built in 2003 and is on a 5,000-square-foot lot, include custom cabinets and stainless steel appliances in the kitchen and a basement with a separate entrance that has a family room, half bathroom, and laundry area.
This 3,600-square-foot, Tuscan-style house with a terra-cotta roof and a tower, is listed for $3,288,888. Built in 2008, the house has a cathedral ceiling with a motorized chandelier, porcelain and wood floors, a central staircase with a wrought-iron banister, a custom stone and granite gas fireplace, custom cherrywood cabinets and a Thermador professional chef’s range in the kitchen, a Jacuzzi in the primary suite, a finished attic, wine room, gym, and swimming pool with an outdoor kitchen and fire pit. Other features include an alarm system, sprinkler system, and security cameras.
This 4,200-square-foot house, on a 50-by-150-foot lot, has four bedrooms, three full baths, and one half bath. Originally listed in March for $1.87 million, the price has been raised to $1,988,888. Features include hardwood floors, a chef’s kitchen, central air, an entertainment room with a bar, a fireplace, private terrace off the primary suite, large backyard, finished basement, and a heated, finished garage.
Asking $2,750,000, this 3,212-square-foot house, with five bedrooms and five baths, was built in 2019 and has four floors including a finished basement with heated floors, a wet bar and concrete, Medieval-style wine cellar. The kitchen has Caesarstone counters, stainless steel Thermador appliances, and a marble island with a wine fridge. Other features include split air conditioners, a heated sidewalk and driveway and double pane Pella windows with embedded shades.
Nancy A. Ruhling is a freelance writer based in New York City.