New York Magazine

The Prettiest Block in New York

Freshly renovated, it tells a story of how our city became what it is.
Station Square in Forest Hills, Queens.

NEW YORK’S COMELIEST DISTRICTS are mostly the product of accident or repetition. Some are haphazard accumulations of ornate façades that acquired atmosphere over generations of construction, demolition, and rebuilding. Others are uniform chains of brownstones. When a colleague challenged me to pick the prettiest block in New York, my thoughts made a quick tour of all those candidates. I excluded single buildings and hidden courts (they’re not blocks) and evocative remnants of urban grunge (the word pretty doesn’t apply to a brawny old warehouse). I also resisted one of the essentially interchangeable stretches of townhouses that always look as though they’re preening for a film shoot. I was hunting for a spot that deployed beauty with a purpose, that told a specific story, and that

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1 New York’s “Future Issue” examined the events of 2019 that provide a window into what life might look like ten years from now (“Today in 2029,” November 11–24). CNET’s Scott Stein wrote, “I really enjoyed browsing through @NYMag’s Future Weirdness