...in the last 10 years, with real estate prices rising, investors and developers sought out one-family houses, the predominant housing stock, and converted them into two-family houses or built row houses where detached houses had once stood.
Suddenly, parking became more scarce. Quiet streets became busier. More renters moved in, some longtime residents say, without any commitment to the neighborhood.
A result, said Robert Gibbs, a 32-year veteran of local real estate, was "a real decline in the area" — though not steep enough to put him off. He lives here, in a four-bedroom colonial that he bought for $36,500 in 1978. He estimated the house would now sell for about $400,000.
Greg Mays, a local community organizer, said: “Overdevelopment in southeast Queens was the biggest threat that we faced before the credit meltdown. The silver lining of the meltdown is that all of the development came to a roaring halt.”
Even before the downturn, though, community organizers had been fighting to preserve the area’s history and protect its suburban feel. Last fall, with the support of Mr. Gibbs and Mr. Mays, among others, the City Council rezoned much of the neighborhood to make it much more difficult to build multifamily homes or convert single-families.
Bluesy Home Market With a Jazzy Past