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Instead of a Balcony, How About a Garden Apartment?

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In Sunnyside Gardens, the low-rise landmark section of the Sunnyside neighborhood, where developers in the 1920s intentionally did not max out their allowed footprint, sales grew slightly between 2019 and 2020. There were 15 sales in the section rich with greenery — between Skillman Avenue and Long Island Rail Road tracks — at an average sale price of $1.09 million in 2019, according to public records. And in 2020, there were 18, at an average of $1.05 million.

The even-keel demand doesn’t surprise longtime residents. “When we were holed up during the pandemic, I don’t think we ever paid more attention to the beauty of the natural world,” said Herbert Reynolds, a retired film and theater historian, and president of the Sunnyside Gardens Preservation Alliance, who moved from Astoria in 1985. A fiery-orange azalea bush behind his brick single-family attached row house on 39th Avenue was, in particular, “our great excitement,” Mr. Reynolds said.

Queens, of course, is also home to Forest Hills Gardens, the private early-20th century collection of Tudor mansions with red-tile roofs on curving streets that was one of the earliest garden cities in America.

The affluent neighborhood, with street names like Greenway North and Greenway South had 31 house sales in 2019, at an average price of $2.07 million, according to Rachel Borut, an associate agent with Douglas Elliman who lives and works in the neighborhood. In 2020, 26 houses sold at an average of $1.91 million, according to Ms. Borut, who said “house sales hung in, as did values.”

Co-ops, though, did worse, falling from 31 sales in 2019 to 16 in 2020. Buyers seemed leery of buildings with shared spaces like elevators, said Ms. Borut, who has lived in a four-bedroom townhouse, with a backyard, since 2005: “It was the best thing we ever did,” Ms. Borut said.

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