First Person

I’m smarter than I am cool, so I left Brooklyn for Queens

Better than the Gowanus dome, any day. Patrick Lauke / Flickr
Better than the Gowanus dome, any day. Patrick Lauke / Flickr

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.


Dollar dollar bills, y'all. Chris Dlugosz / Flickr
Dollar dollar bills, y’all. Chris Dlugosz / Flickr

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.


Bob Ross probably would have gotten so much more work done in Queens. via Youtube
Bob Ross probably would have gotten so much more work done in Queens. via Youtube

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 [email protected]


  1. Stefanie

    Oh God, someone let the secret out. I mean. Stop, stop. This is absolutely not true. All you Brooklyn people should stay in Brooklyn and continue to feel good about your overpriced apartments by making fun of Queens. After all, why would you want to live on a clean, safe, quiet, tree lined street where you have your own driveway and backyard? I mean it’s not like you can take a $15 Uber to hang out in “hip” Brooklyn and then come home to your amazing $1500 one bed room that you don’t have to share with anyone else. And Meyer’s Clean Day? Huh? They don’t have it at Key Food. It’s too “hip” (rolls eyes).

  2. Please don’t come here from Brooklyn if you’re a hipster or living that sort of life. We are happy here and can’t tolerate seeing hipsters in our streets. We won’t Williamsburginize our neighborhoods!!!

  3. God, another post about Brooklyn from someone who clearly thinks Brooklyn is a collection of 4-5 neighborhoods called Billyburg, Bushwick, Greenpoint, Parks Slope and Cobble Hill.

    *News Flash* Were you aware that Brooklyn has millions of people – most of them with families? many very religious, many with no clue what a Smorgesburg is? How about you talk your friend to moving from Brooklyn TO Brooklyn? Just to another of the many neighborhoods that make up a sweet borough.

  4. the OG queens jerk

    Dude seriously, Brooklyn is garbage no one wants to live there. How funny that Brooklyn people can make fun of Queens people. Brooklyn is the place that is so old and shitty everyone wanted to leave as fast and possible to go to Queens which is much newer and parks and trees everywhere with clean air. We have better houses and better neighborhoods for people to raise families in and our schools are better also by a long shot. There are two things to realize about Queens though, which some people dont realize. First of all no one lives in west Queens unless they are forced to, its mostly factories and poor low class working neighborhoods that no one really wants to live in.

    Queens starts at Forest Hills and Flushing North and works its way to LI. Everything west of that is garbage and even people who grew up in Queens would not be caught dead there because its as old as Flushing, so please dont include West Queens in the formula because it isnt acknowledged as really “queens” by the locals…. unless you happen to be a poor minority family living there. Flushing and Jackson Heights are too close to the city and they are a dump where only poor immigrants live but wish they didnt. Now these dumps back in the 40s maybe they used to be nice,, but it seems to slowly be coming back, so maybe you can include that area as a decent place but still no people really want to live there as it is. So start with Forest Hills and Flushing north and go east from there and you cant go wrong.

    Also I am 100% sure there are way more things to do in Queens and everything is 24×7 and open late unlike Brooklyn where stores close early. Check your Yelp at 3AM and you will see gangloads of places open in Queens.

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