I’ve been wondering what I could afford on my salary and savings and now the WSJ has a column for people like me. I was thinking that the only thing even vaguely in my range might be a co-op studio in far out Queens–and just like that, 330 square feet of joy in Jamaica for only $64,000! I was imagining $85,000 to be the absolute bottom.
This is a serious time suck that I shouldn’t be embarking on this second (I’m leaving for a Labor Day weekend in San Francisco in nine hours) but I can waste an entire evening scrolling through Queens real estate listings. It’s like the opposite of Cute Overload. 95% of the listings contain photos that come off as an experimental art project, like these can’t be legitimate homeowners asking for more than half a million dollars because I’m seeing abstract images of corners, such mundane minutiae. Perhaps these are visual essays on the banality of modern life. Many feel profound. Though the truth of the matter is pure sloppiness mixed with a strong elderly and/or immigrant aesthetic. Maybe even a hint of Archie Bunker take it or leave it.
These are by no means the 20 best—whatever best means in this context—examples of Queens real estate. Nor are they unusual. Believe me, I didn’t have to skim through very many listings to come up with these. The possibilities are endless. You have to get under $650,000 and stick to western Queens to start seeing the good stuff, though. My current favorite is this semi-detached beauty in Jackson Heights.