Douglas Manor, Queens: A Bucolic Suburb in the City

For some consumers, the X issue that seals the deal is a smile from a neighbor, some nice wine at a restaurant or the well timed arrival of blossoms.

But in Douglas Manor, a waterside slice of northeastern Queens, what will get many to “yes” is the second when the early-evening sky turns a hue of cotton sweet and peach.

Little Neck

Bay

Douglas Manor

NEW YORK

SHORE RD.

NASSAU

COUNTY

Douglaston Club

WEST DR.

Douglas

Manor

126 West Dr.

Little Neck

NORTHERN BLVD.

QUEENS

Douglaston

Douglaston station

235TH ST.

Bayside

L.I.R.R.

half of mile

By The New York Times

“The sunsets here are fantastic,” stated Alexandra McMenamy, 46, who ought to know. Before shopping for in Douglas Manor final yr, she would recurrently drive over from her semidetached residence close by, together with her husband, Brian McMenamy, 49, to catch the gentle present over Little Neck Bay.

The couple are residents now, however the attraction of these sundown views hasn’t pale, Ms. McMenamy stated: “I will be in my pajamas and Brian will say, ‘You’ve got to come to the corner and see this!’”

Getting a more in-depth view wasn’t straightforward. The couple had been scoping out Douglas Manor properties since earlier than they married in 2014. But the slender level of land has solely about 600 homes and little turnover, with many properties remaining in the identical household for generations.

Demand in the prosperous space by no means appears to wane, stated Ms. McMenamy, an govt in the prescription drugs business. The couple misplaced out to greater bidders a number of instances earlier than efficiently providing $950,000 for a 1931 Tudor-style home with three bedrooms, two loos, a front room with a vaulted ceiling and loads of area for his or her two pet boxers to run round.

A good sundown additionally lingered in the thoughts of Siavash Ghazi, 38, after he and a good friend drove to Douglas Manor one evening in 2017. Parked alongside the estate-lined Shore Road, in entrance of bobbing sailboats, “we were feeling a little insecure, like we had stumbled into ‘The Great Gatsby,’” stated Dr. Ghazi, who was a medical pupil at the time and renting a one-bedroom residence in Forest Hills, Queens. “But I just fell in love with the neighborhood.”

Some Douglas Manor residents examine the vibe on Little Neck Bay, with its sailboats, to that of Cape Cod.Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times

A few years later, when he was a extra financially safe psychiatrist with a household, Dr. Ghazi returned to the neighborhood, this time to remain. Last December, he and his spouse, Melina Shahidi, 38, a chiropractor, paid $1.15 million for a 1923 colonial-style home with 5 bedrooms, two and a half loos and a hedge-lined yard.

Initially fearful that the neighborhood would have too many “old and dark” homes from the early 20th century, the Ghazis have been happy to find earlier proprietor of their new home had eliminated inside partitions to create an open ground plan and put in floor-to-ceiling home windows.

Alterations like these grew to become tougher after 1997, when the 60-block space was designated a metropolis historic district and renovations of the neighborhood’s colonial-, Mediterranean- and Queen Anne-style single-family properties started to be strictly regulated.

Another occasional turnoff, brokers say, is that Douglas Manor is the uncommon New York enclave not linked to sewers. Homes as an alternative depend on cesspools, which require pumping.

But residents discover these quirks to be a small value to pay. As Dr. Ghazi put it, “To be in New York City but to feel like you are in Cape Cod is a very unique experience.”

318 KENMORE ROAD | A six-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bathroom Tudor-style home, constructed in 1920 on a few quarter of an acre, listed for $2.98 million. 516-241-9848

What You’ll Find

Navigating by nature could also be the easiest option to discover the Manor, as locals name it. Pressed towards the fringe of Nassau County and reachable by only some roads, this bay-front Brigadoon has a reputation that’s typically confused with similar-sounding spots.

Although the identify of the historic district that covers the neighborhood is the Douglaston Historic District, Douglaston is, in reality, an inland space to the south, although traditionally the identify referred to the broader space. The Manor additionally has little in frequent with Doug-Bay Manor, a 1960s improvement nuzzling wetlands to the west.

And the road names can fluctuate, relying on the place you look. In 1906, when the improvement firm Rickert-Finlay constructed the neighborhood as an early deed-restricted suburb, the avenues and drives had British-sounding names. Decades later, officers slapped numbers on them in a bid to present Queens a Cartesian uniformity. Today, road indicators as soon as once more bear names, although the names don’t seem in some metropolis databases.

Households should fork over a $650 annual price to a house owner affiliation that gives safety, maintains inexperienced areas and presents entry to an extended dock and seashore space stocked with kayaks. But the Manor isn’t gated, and nonresidents can be a part of the affiliation, too.

Houses in the “300 block” — three blocks east of the prized waterfront properties — are usually smaller and extra reasonably priced, although listings underneath $1 million are uncommon.

303 GROSVENOR STREET | A three-bedroom, three-bathroom home, constructed in 1921 on zero.22 acres, listed for $1.495 million. 917-854-6060Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times

While new development has been restricted since 1997, there are nonetheless some teardowns of properties thought-about much less historic, together with the 120 or so Cape Cod- and ranch-style properties constructed after World War II.

Trees, some relationship to lengthy earlier than the improvement’s earliest days, are additionally some extent of delight. Although a white oak on Arleigh Road estimated to be greater than 600 years outdated was lower down in 2009 after a limb broken a home, 100-plus-year-old maples, oaks and beeches survive, stated Kevin Wolfe, an architect and a founding father of the Douglaston and Little Neck Historical Society, who lives in the home the place he grew up. The possible oldest specimen? A towering ginkgo in entrance of a 1910 colonial at 112 Manor Road, Mr. Wolfe stated.

What You’ll Pay

On Aug. 19, eight single-family properties have been on the market in Douglas Manor, at a mean checklist value of $1.9 million, based on Zillow. The priciest was a stucco-sided 1909 home with six bedrooms, 4 and a half loos and a kitchen with marble counters, listed for $three.35 million. At the low finish was a three-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bath residence for $995,000.

While many communities exterior the metropolis have seen a bounce in property values this yr, Douglas Manor has skilled a decline. Through mid-August, 13 homes had bought at a mean of $1.25 million, stated Compass agent Michael Misiti, who’s lively in the space. During the identical interval in 2020, 10 homes bought at a mean of $1.36 million, Mr. Misiti stated.

26 HILLCREST AVENUE | A three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bathroom home, constructed in 1925 on zero.14 acres, listed for $1.099 million. 347-539-9893Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times

The space’s uncommon id — a suburb in the metropolis — could also be placing it at an obstacle to extra conventional bed room communities, brokers stated.

The Vibe

The Manor is completely residential. Even the small retail space alongside 235th Street, simply exterior the neighborhood, presents solely modest outlets, together with a nail salon and dry-cleaners, though there may be high-quality eating (with an outside shed) at Il Toscano Ristorante.

The Douglaston Club, in the former Van Zandt household manor home, is a social hub that gives a three-lane bowling alley, two swimming swimming pools and 5 tennis courts (as soon as utilized by John McEnroe, who lived on Beverly Road). Club membership requires an preliminary price of $6,500 and month-to-month dues of $250; members additionally should spend $350 every quarter on meals and drinks.

But the Manor’s grassy and open fringes — collectively owned, quite than managed by personal homeowners, as in different shore-front areas — are free.

Unlike some waterfront areas, Douglas Manor doesn’t have homes crowding its shores. Among the neighborhood’s open waterfront areas is Memorial Field. (Great Neck, Long Island, kinds a backdrop.)Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times

The Schools

Near the neighborhood’s border is Public School 98, the well-regarded Douglaston School, which serves college students in prekindergarten by way of fifth grade. Of the college’s roughly 280 college students, about 46 p.c are white, 31 p.c are Asian, 14 p.c are Latino and four p.c are Black, based on state information. On 2019 state exams (the most up-to-date obtainable), 79 p.c of scholars met requirements in English, versus 48 p.c citywide; 81 p.c met requirements in math, versus 50 p.c citywide.

A close by public center college is Louis Pasteur Middle School 67, on Marathon Parkway, for sixth by way of eighth grades; a close-by highschool is Benjamin N. Cardozo High School, in Bayside. In 2019, the common SAT scores at the highschool, which has a 92 p.c commencement charge, have been 548 in studying and writing, and 573 in math, versus 491 and 496 citywide.

“The school system is getting more diverse,” stated Moira Casey, a lawyer who moved to the Manor as an toddler in the early 1960s, raised youngsters there and now lives in a four-bedroom, gambrel-roofed home that she purchased in 1989 for $350,000.

The Commute

The close by Douglaston station on the Port Washington line of the Long Island Rail Road runs 4 trains to Pennsylvania Station from 6 to 9 a.m., a visit that takes 28 to 34 minutes. Monthly passes are $234, and road parking is accessible.

But many residents drive into Manhattan, as the Manor is near the Cross Island Parkway and the Long Island Expressway.

The Allen-Beville House, a Greek Revival construction on Center Drive relationship to round 1850, is a metropolis landmark, with a cupola-topped roof, Doric columns and entrance and rear porches.Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times

The History

The Manor’s oldest home, 126 West Drive, has sections that date to 1735. Built by Cornelius Van Wyck, the son of a Dutch settler, it’s now owned by Peter Ermish, 65, who stumbled upon the home as the history-obsessed son of a butcher, rising up on close by 245th Street.

In 2017, Mr. Ermish, a retired electronics govt, purchased his childhood “Rosebud” for practically $three million, investing the same quantity in a renovation to shore up the construction and elegance its rooms in the décor of various early-American eras. He additionally plans to showcase portraits of the nation’s Founders, in addition to muskets and delftware.

“I’m trying to be a good steward of the property,” he stated, “because I love Douglas Manor, and I love New York.”

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