Cheap Neighborhoods in Queens: 7 Best Options for Renters| StreetEasy

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Savvy New Yorkers already know rents in NYC are at historic lows. But the top question is, where can one find really affordable rentals? Honestly, you can find steep discounts in all five boroughs. However, if you’re looking to squeeze every penny from your rental dollars, they are several cheap neighborhoods in Queens perfect for budget-minded renters. We’re talking areas with a broad range of affordable units, typically for much less than similar Manhattan and Brooklyn apartments.

Not convinced? Here are the numbers: The median asking rent for Queens as of February 2021 was $2,000. That’s a striking contrast to Manhattan ($2,750) and Brooklyn ($2,395) for the same period. Let’s take a closer look. Here are seven affordable Queens neighborhoods to consider — one has a median asking rent of $1,725!

1. Briarwood: Extremely Affordable Queens Neighborhood With a Surburban Vibe

affordable apartment in queens interior of a Briarwood rental
A midcentury apartment buildings in Briarwood with affordable, modern units. (From a listing: 82-41 135th Street #3F)
  • Median Rent: $1,725 per month
  • Subway Info: Express E and F trains service the neighborhood at Briarwood/Van Wyck; local F to Sutphin Blvd. and Parsons Blvd. Expect a 45-minute commute into Manhattan.
  • Notable Attractions & Amenities: The area has a few parks, a local library, and many mom-and-pop shops.

Briarwood has a quiet, distinctly suburban feel, despite being bordered by both the Grand Central Parkway and Van Wyck Expressway. When it comes to cheap neighborhoods in Queens, this area is the most affordable. Here you will find large apartment complexes, many built in the 1950s, alongside stand-alone houses and duplexes on tree-lined streets. The area features a couple of public parks: Hoover-Manton Playgrounds, a central hangout for the community, and Briarwood Playground.

2. Flushing: Affordable Queens Neighborhood Brimming With Local Attractions

Affordable flushing queens apartment in a new building
You’ll find new construction in Flushing with chic rentals as shown. (From a listing: 144-74 Northern Boulevard East #7J)
  • Median Rent: $1,900 per month
  • Subway Info: 7 train; the express 7 can get you to midtown in 30 minutes. LIRR to Penn Station takes 20 minutes.
  • Notable Attractions & Amenities: Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens Botanical Garden, Flushing Town Hall, Queens Historical Society, and Citi Field.

Flushing is a dense and vibrant area with sleepy pockets of single-family homes as you move away from the center of Roosevelt Avenue and Main Street. Unlike other cheap neighborhoods in Queens, here you will find Flushing Meadows Corona Park, one of the largest in the city with not one but two lakes. Flushing also boasts the Queens Botanical Garden created for the 1939 World’s Fair; the Flushing Town Hall, which holds concerts, including the Louis Armstrong Jazz Jams; and the Queens Historical Society.

3. Kew Gardens: A Hidden Village in Central Queens

  • Median Rent: $1,900 per month
  • Subway Info: Express E and F; expect a 40-minute commute into Manhattan. LIRR to Penn Station takes less than 15 minutes.
  • Notable Attractions & Amenities: Forest Park, Ralph Bunche House, and it’s a short 15-minute drive to JFK.

Kew Gardens is a little-known gem with a small-town feel. You won’t find the following in any of the other cheap neighborhoods in Queens: The main street, Lefferts Boulevard, runs over the only “working bridge” in New York City, meaning the bridge itself is home to local mom-and-pop shops and eateries, some of which have been operating on the bridge for decades. Apartment buildings — many with spacious square footage and 10-foot ceilings — blend seamlessly with Tudor duplexes and two-story houses with deep lawns, including the landmarked Ralph Bunche House.

Out of all of the cheap neighborhoods in Queens, Kew Gardens was one of seven planned communities, which may be why the area has winding streets, towering oak trees, and plenty of lush greenery. It also shares a border with Forest Park, one of the largest in the borough, with hilly hiking paths. With plenty of housing stock, easy transportation to Manhattan, and a small-town vibe, Kew Gardens is the best combination of urban and suburban worlds.

4. Forest Hills: A Residential Neighborhood With Big City Amenities

Cheap apartments in queens forest hills building
Forest Hills is known for its broad range of housings types. (From a listing: 109-19 72 Road #6)
  • Median Rent: $2,000 per month
  • Subway Info: E, F, M, R; express trains are a 30-minute commute into Manhattan. LIRR to Penn Station takes 10 minutes.
  • Notable Attractions & Amenities: Forest Hills Stadium, Forest Hills Gardens, and two murals paying tribute to the Ramones.

Yes, Forest Hills is one of the cheap neighborhoods in Queens that made this list! Something about Forest Hills seems to foster talent because the list of celebrities who hail from here is a mile long: From legendary punk band the Ramones and folk music duo Simon & Garfunkel to actor and comedian Awkwafina and fashion designer Donna Karan — not to mention dozens more. The area is bisected by Queens Boulevard — with apartment complexes on the north side and multimillion-dollar homes of Forest Hills Gardens to the south. In between, running parallel to Queens Blvd., is the main thoroughfare, Austin Street, where you’ll find plenty of food, including Nick’s Pizza, a local favorite alongside chain stores like Sephora.

Additionally, the historic Forest Hills Stadium, formerly a tennis arena, became a prime music venue in the 1960s, with such greats as Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan performing there. It was restored in 2013 and once again plays host to headliners like Drake, Ed Sheeran, and Mumford & Sons. In a nutshell, Forest Hills is a self-contained town, offering everything you could possibly want in a big city.

5. Rego Park: A Cheap Neighborhood in Queens With Quiet Streets and Loads of Shopping Options

an affordable rental building in Rego Park Queens
Many apartment buildings in Rego Park have generous floor plans. (From a listing: 98-76 Queens Boulevard #3A)
  • Median Rent: $2,000 per month
  • Subway Info: Local M, R. Expect a 45-minute commute into Manhattan; switching to an express train may cut down commute time.
  • Notable Attractions & Amenities: The Crescents, an area known for its Tudor-style homes and large lawns.

Upon coming out of the subway, Rego Park’s main artery of Queens Boulevard looks to be dominated by large shopping centers. But while at first glance it may seem like the land of big box stores, Rego Park, like the other cheap neighborhoods in Queens on this list, has other attractions. For example, the neighborhood is quiet off the main commercial strip, and recent developments mean there are plenty of new apartment buildings, ranging from swanky to modest. There’s also a historic area, known as The Crescents, which was named for the shape of its streets.

Although green spaces seem scarce, large parks like Flushing Meadows and Forest Park are not too far away. Rego Park is also known for its diverse eateries and community centers. And here’s a fun fact: The neighborhood’s name is a shortened moniker of the original real estate developer, the Real Good Construction Company. And to many residents, that’s just what Rego Park is: a real good place to live.

6. Middle Village: A Residential Neighborhood With a Quaint Vibe

Cheap apartments in queens a private roof deck
Sizable apartments abound in Middle Village like this 2-bedroom unit with a private roof desk. (From a listing: 78-04 67 Drive #2)
  • Median Rent: $2,000 per month
  • Subway Info: Only the M to Metropolitan Ave. Expect a 45-minute commute into Manhattan.
  • Notable Attractions & Amenities: Juniper Valley Park, St. John Cemetery, All Faiths Cemetery, and Mt. Olivet Cemetery

Located just below Rego Park, Middle Village is a serene, peaceful residential neighborhood — possibly because it is surrounded on three sides by cemeteries. (One of these, the St. John Cemetery, is the final haunt for infamous mobster Lucky Luciano.) When it comes to home types in cheap neighborhoods in Queens, here the housing consists of predominantly squat, one-to-two-story homes and duplexes, which means you can see the sky for miles and miles — a rare perk in New York City. And there’s the lovely, sprawling Juniper Valley Park on the north side with tree-lined walkways, meadows, tennis courts, and playgrounds. 

7. Ridgewood: Queens’ Best Kept Secret for Affordable Rentals

  • Median Rent: $2,200 per month
  • Subway Info: L, M. Expect a 40-minute commute into Manhattan.
  • Notable Attractions & Amenities: Many historical landmarks, including Vander Ende-Onderdonk House

For an idea of what Park Slope was like before the median asking rent shot up to $3,200 in February 2020, head to Ridgewood. Sure, it’s not the most affordable on the list when it comes to cheap neighborhoods in Queens, but it’s still notable. Central Ridgewood’s historic district, designated in 2016, runs 40 blocks and comprises some 990 buildings, mostly tan, stone rowhouses with stoops. You can also expect to find mom-and-pop shops and a diverse range of local eateries featuring cuisines from across the globe.

While you will find rental buildings here, many available units are found in multi-family homes. The only real con is the lack of green spaces. But promising developments in the industrial section of Ridgewood may incorporate more greenery. Till then, you’ll have to hang out on your stoop. Good luck with your apartment search!

Whether you’re looking to rent or to buy, find your next NYC apartment on StreetEasy.

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