Whitestone sits at the northernmost corner of Queens, geographically not far from tony suburban enclaves like Kings Point on Long Island. Culturally, it occupies a space between the city and the burbs, too: Michelle Sedlitz, a broker for Citi Habitats who was born and raised in Whitestone and still lives there today, says, “people here are still living city life to a degree.” At the same time, though, “we look out for each other here. On any given night, you’ll be invited to someone’s barbecue. You won’t find those kind of relationships in other parts of the city.” Sedlitz characterizes the neighborhood as home to mostly middle- and upper-middle-class families, and says that its proximity to both the water and the Whitestone Bridge makes for a pretty, relaxing environment. (Francis Lewis Park offers picturesque views of the bridge, as well as places to play, kayak, and watch outdoor movies in the summer.)
Stand-alone, single-family homes—some of them quite sprawling—are plentiful, contributing to the suburb-in-the-city feel, though there are also co-op buildings like the waterfront Le Havre complex. “The houses really range in price depending on how close you are to the water,” Sedlitz says. “The average three-bedroom, two-bathroom home can go for $900,000 to $1.2 million.”
Part of what you’re paying for, Sedlitz says, is the sense of safety and neighborliness, a huge draw for families. “When neighbors go to the grocery store, they’ll stop and ask if you need anything,” she says. “People care about each other, and they’re not afraid of each other.”
Sedlitz works in the city and she says she tends to eat out more often in Manhattan; one potential downside is that there are fewer dining options in Whitestone. However, you’ll find many eateries along 149th and 150th Streets, including Greek and Italian restaurants, bakeries, and a German beer garden.
Though Whitestone has no subways, the area is car-friendly—Sedlitz says it’s a half-hour drive to Manhattan—and served by a number of buses. The Q15, for instance, will deliver you to Main Street in Flushing, and the plentiful retail and eating options there. And Queens Mamas notes the presence of several kid-friendly spots like a gymnastics center and Boosters Beach, a small beach for residents only.
Plus, area public schools are strong: P.S. 79, for instance, rates well above the city average for scores on the state math, ELA, and science exams. And nearby Bayside High School is considered one of the top-performing schools in the city, boasting a 92 percent graduation rate and several options for AP classes. All that means that people tend to stick around. “People don’t really want to leave, because they know it’s a good place to raise a family,” Sedlitz says.