Updated 09/03/2009 04:18 PM
Old Homes Offer New Charm In Queens
A Queens neighborhood is boasting new recognition from a national magazine over its old home offerings. NY1's Jill Urban filed the following report.
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It has big old homes and a whole lot of charm. That's why This Old House Magazine voted Richmond Hill the best place in the state to buy an old house.
"We picked Richmond Hill Queens because it's got lots of old homes that retain their beautiful original period details like wrap around porches and interesting siding details and things like that," said Deborah Snoonian of This Old House Magazine. "It's less than an hour from New York City, it's on public transit, it's near Frederick Olmsted Park, and you can buy a starter home here for less than $300,000 which is a real bargain in today's market."
The streets of Richmond Hill are lined with big old homes that offer a lot of character and individual detail. No two are exactly alike. That unique style is something the local historical society takes pride in and works hard to maintain.
Ivan Mrakovicic, the founder of the Richmond Hill Historical Society, says the neighborhood's architecture is quite special.
"Richmond Hill has a dynamic and rich architectural style -- predominately Victorian," said Mrakovicic. "Within the Victorian you have some free classic and have some very rigid symmetrical styled homes. You have Tutor arts and crafts style homes and pretty much they range from 1860s to 19-teens in terms of their architectural vintage."
Many of the homes have oversized porches, unique built-ins, inlaid floors and multicolored shingles -- details many residents work hard to preserve.
In the late 1800's, Richmond Hill served as home to many Manhattan business owners who were looking for space and some peace and quiet. Many of the original homes are still standing. And even though some may need a little TLC, buyers really can get a lot for their money.
"It's a great value living out here because for the price of a studio in Manhattan or in Park Slope or parts of Brooklyn, you can get an entire house here complete with a pool and porch," said Mrakovicic. "And maybe if you are lucky, a sleeping porch on the second floor, a 12-room house for the price of a studio in other parts of the city. It's hard to beat that."
For more than a decade, the historical society has been working to get part of the district landmarked. In the meantime, they were able to get zoning laws passed to limit overdevelopment and maintain the neighborhoods integrity.
After a short stroll around Richmond Hill, visitors can see why This Old House gives the old houses top billing.