Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sunday Editorial: Good Schools, Good Grief

Everyone on Earth knows Manhattan gets better press than Queens. Most of it deserved. But in this NY Observer article, I think the 'I love Manhattan, I'm nothing without Manhattan, Manhattan is better than my hometown Upper Darby so it must be better than Queens even though I've never been there, Manhattan completes me" trend is getting out of hand.

This article in the New York Observer is on the 'Gold Rush' of uptown Manhattan, which apparently is being fueled by families. Now, I'm a family and sometimes think of returning to Manhattan, so I wanted to check it out. I couldn't get past the bolded claims:

"It is exactly this marriage of relatively inexpensive land prices and a Manhattan address that is bringing more real-estate savvy developers and buyers to neighborhoods above the park.
Mr. Stahelski, whose project at 245 West 115th Street is already sold-out (“We’re done!”).

And what kinds of buyers are hoping to take advantage of lots of space, easy access to public transportation, good Manhattan schools and safer streets? Yup, you guessed it—families.

“I think our buyers are almost exclusively coming from the Upper East and Upper West Sides,” They are comfortable up there, they have kids and they know there are good schools around,” said Gary Davis, executive vice president of development at the Athena Group. That firm’s 111 Central Park North (the marketers’ moniker for 110th Street) is already over 70 percent sold."

Back to reality (and nothing screams reality more than Queens), the two elementary schools which are assigned to the condo addresses above are PS 76 and PS 208. According to independent third party, PS 76 got a rating of a 2 out of a possible 10. PS 208 got a 1 out of 10.

Forest Hills' PS 101 and PS 196 both got 9 out of 10. At 101, 92% of third graders met or exceeded standards in English Language Arts. The state average is 69%. At PS 76 in the 'good school' district in Manhattan, it's 35%.

Why bring this up? I made my choice to buy in Forest Hills because of schools. Others, like my Queens Central friend, bought based on more important factors, like cupcakes. Just kidding Steve.

If schools are in your future, Forest Hills is worlds better than most parts of Manhattan. It's one of the very few things at which we kick their ass.

And if you buy in Manhattan and send your kid to a shitty school just so your friends have to dial 212 to reach you? There's no hope for you or your kin anyway.