A hilly peninsula surrounded by Flushing Bay, the East River, and Powells Cove, College Point, Queens, has a snug small-town feel. Vintage Victorians with generous yards, modern two-story waterfront condos with Mercedes-Benzes parked in front, and affordable though blandly square two-family brick structures allow room for a range of income levels. On weekdays it's as pleasantly quiet here as a village on the Hudson River -- the loudest sound is the laughter of children playing on a backyard tire swing. College Point Boulevard has family-run diners, small vegetable stands, and a famous sausage shop called Empire Market. At well-lit Herman A. MacNeil Park there's a waterfront esplanade, boccie courts, and basketball hoops. Nearby is the College Point Yacht Club. La Guardia is only ten minutes away (and that's with traffic); an Old Navy, a Circuit City, the twelve-screen College Point Cinema, and the tremendous Times printing plant have recently sprouted up around the defunct Flushing Airport on Twentieth Avenue, and bustling downtown Flushing is minutes away -- but a walk along the water in College Point can feel like moments stolen at the end of a beach vacation.
Prime areas: Two-story condos with serene water views have been built on reclaimed waterfront marshland on the East River and Powells Cove. The best properties are north of Fourteenth Avenue, where the houses are more stately, the yards are larger, and the trees are thicker.
Wrong side of the tracks: Some blocks south of Twentieth Avenue, where many new houses have been built, are still blighted with the auto-repair shops and iron-roofed warehouses that once dominated the area.
Commute to midtown: Ten minutes on a local bus to Flushing, where the L.I.R.R. can be boarded at Flushing Main Street for a twenty-minute ride to Penn Station.
Public schools: District 25 has strong schools, with 58.5 percent of elementary-schoolers reading at or above grade level and 55.4 percent scoring above the statewide standard in math.
Hot-button issues: Because of La Guardia's proximity, many would-be buyers worry about airplane noise, but flights generally take off over the water. Some residents complain about the flow of trucks to industrial pockets and the large new stores.
Hotshot brokers: Patrick Mazza of First Choice Real Estate (718-445-1884), and Willard Rose of Century 21 Weber and Rose (718-631-2121).