Looking to buy a property with some historic character in New York, but don’t have enough cash to make a down payment in Brooklyn? Then set your sights toward Queens. It’s true, Queens may not be the borough with picturesque brownstone and tree-lined streets, but it offers some of the finest co-op apartments in New York at some of the most affordable prices.
These pre-war co-op complexes were some of the first “garden city communities” built in the United States. A garden city is when residential units are built around a private garden space open exclusively to residents. The central courtyard doesn’t just provide an exceptional public space — it also opens up apartments to greater air and light. These days, the courtyards are well-kept and a great source of pride to co-op residents. Here are our top five garden city co-op complexes standing in Queens.
The Belvedere East and West
Jackson Heights is the one Queens neighborhood famed for its co-op courtyards, and many of the prewar buildings are protected by a historic district. The Belvedere East and West are two well-preserved, six-story buildings connected by a private courtyard. The courtyard is lushly landscaped and includes live fish ponds; the co-op units tend to be sprawling, lined with windows, with historic detailing throughout. A one-bedroom unit just closed here for $260,000. See more for sale in Jackson Heights.
Hampton Court, a collection of four different buildings and 316 apartments, offers more open space than it knows what to do with. Not only are the buildings surrounded by an airy and spacious private courtyard, the complex was built into, and is surrounded by, Forest Park. Each building has its own doorman and beautiful lobby entrances. The large co-op apartments feature hardwood floors and archways — a 1,000-square-foot two bedroom is asking $260,000. See more for sale in Kew Gardens.
This is another popular Jackson Heights co-op complex, and one of the most elegant. The Towers is made up of eight different buildings, constructed back in 1924 to lure wealthy Manhattanites to Queens. The building exteriors were made from terra cotta and stone, with tile roofs. There is, of course, a large and meticulously landscaped central courtyard. Most units have the original wood floors, high ceilings and crown moldings. Unit 61, a sprawling four bedroom, sold last fall for $685,000. See more for sale in Queens.
One Station Square
The Tudor architecture that flanks the “station square” in Forest Hills looks like something out of England, not Queens. That’s because the area, known as Forest Hills Gardens, was designed with English garden communities in mind. The Station Square complex is now home to a Long Island Rail Road stop, a few commercial spaces and co-ops. The co-op units are located in the former “Forest Hills Inn” tower — the building still boasts a gorgeous lobby. A one bedroom there is asking $220,000. See more for sale in Forest Hills.
This Sunnyside co-op is a massive complex spanning nine acres, 25 buildings, 756 units and more than 2,000 people. The complex was constructed as a stadium, training ground and athletic club in the late 1800s by a group of Irish immigrants, and then converted into a garden style residence in 1930. Units have less historic detailing than these other four co-op buildings, but prices also come in cheaper. Right now there are several apartments for sale, including a one bedroom for $185,000. See more for sale in Sunnyside.