Yes, it’s true, I live in Queens. Like you, I naturally believe Queens is the absolute worst. It’s the gateway to Long Island, the subways are unnaturally above ground, there’s a neighborhood there actually named Flushing (like the toilet) and it seems like every TV shows about the borough tells us that one can only move up from Queens. That said, it’s a little bit silly that you don’t live here. Now hush, readers, hush. Just hear me out: recently, my Cool Friend From Brooklyn drunkenly confessed that he could no longer afford his less-than-swanky $3,300 Williamsburg one-bedroom. Having given him the death-in-the-family reaction I knew he thought appropriate, I asked what he planned to do next. His ideas ranged from a completely illogical Airbnb scheme to a SXSW-aligned Texas relocation.
After assuring my Cool Friend these options were really cool, I introduced the idea of Queens as a place in New York City where people live and where he could potentially also live. Texas sounds great, but instead of changing jobs, friends, lifestyle and life expectancy; maybe first consider Queens as a Brooklyn alternative. People do, in fact, live here. We live here for less, we spend less on the crap we buy there and we get way more painting done. Here’s why.
Your dollar is stronger in Queens
Here’s what’s up. The dollar is way stronger here. Everything is cheaper here, readers! Yoga (if you’re into that) is a fraction of the cost at Agora (33-02 Broadway), so you’re free to empty your mind instead of your wallet. Bodegas in Woodside rarely offer schmancy, over-priced organic products, effectively driving prices way down. There is no Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day section in Queens bodegas – Mrs. Meyer doesn’t live in Queens. Coffee probably costs the same but there’s zero added nitrogen so you’re free to enjoy it sans that nagging suspicion that nitrogen just can’t possibly be healthy. Dog walkers charge less and dog grooming can be found for about half the average Brooklyn groomer’s rate, especially for small dogs.
Lofty and unbelievable as it seems, Queens will probably make all your dreams come true. We may not have The Grand Prospect Hall, but the Renaissance Event Hall (27-34 21st Street) is probably cheaper and has less of a scary mobster history.
The real estate doesn’t suck
The difference in monthly rental rates for 1-bedrooms in Brooklyn versus Queens is an average of about $500/month. If you take Long Island City out of the equation, the difference is closer to $650. And these are not neighborhoods on the outskirts of civilization, readers. Jackson Heights is a 25-minute commute to Midtown (the same as Cobble Hill), and was listed as the lowest one-bedroom rental at an average of $1,850 in Zumper’s national report last year. This year’s January report listed Rego Park as the lowest, at $1,880. Instead of paying $2,900/month to live alone in Cobble Hill, consider the affordable crash pad you could one day call your own in Queens, New York.
You can actually work on your art
My Cool Friend and I are not painters, but in Queens, we could be. This borough offers ready access to beaches, cliffs and lots and lots of trees (and if you only ever learned three things from Bob Ross, it was those three things — beaches, cliffs and happy little trees). There are at least two Michaels Craft stores here. Spaceworks has incredibly cheap rehearsal space in LIC for band practice, theatre, dance and performance of any kind. And above all else, there are far fewer distractions from your passion project because everywhere you look, there’s nature. And space. And Michaels. Maybe you, like me, are not a painter. Maybe. But whatever your medium, just go to Queens. Do you art.
Brooklyn’s Queens-shaming game is strong. Of course I ache to live in sardonic, tasteful Brooklyn. But my paycheck weekly plagues me and reads #nosoupforyou in the memo line. So let’s stop telling each other (and ourselves) that Queens is the worst. Instead, try this daily self-affirmation in the mirror:”I live, work and hang out in Queens, and I don’t care who knows it!”
I implore you, Cool Friends From Brooklyn: move to Queens, not Texas. Put Queens on your list of options. Join me! Be smarter than you are cool. Trust me, you’ll go on being welcomed as a comrade among all your Cool Friends because honestly, they can’t afford to live in Brooklyn either.
Do you have secrets about boroughs that aren’t Brooklyn? Tell us about it at firstname.lastname@example.org!