So city officials, backed by state banks, developed Parkway Village with an open-to-all mandate. U.N. workers made up most of its early population, and continued to have a major presence even into the 1980s.
“The U.N. was a grand experiment. But their folks couldn’t even get an apartment in Manhattan where the U.N. was,” said Myles Horn, the principal of Glacier Equities. If not for Parkway Village, Mr. Horn said, “it would have been hard to find a place to live.”
Brokers say that the pandemic has made outdoor space a priority for many current buyers. In the fourth quarter of last year, in the western Queens neighborhood of Long Island City, for instance, buyers signed 74 contracts for apartments with outdoor space, up from 12 for the same period in 2019, according to Serhant, a real estate firm. Those 74 deals represented 55 percent of all the contracts signed. Those private outdoor spaces were often terraces and balconies, and not the shared natural amenity offered by garden communities.
In Jackson Heights, among the coveted prewar buildings that back up to or surround verdant private courtyards, there were 177 closings in 2019 but only 106 last year, said Daniel Karatzas, an associate broker with Beaudoin Realty. The citywide three-month ban on in-person showings dragged down the market, Mr. Karatzas said.
“But I can tell you, as someone who lives in one of those complexes, the gardens were used more last year then in any of the 30 years that I have lived there,” he added. “I think they were a good place for families to go and bond.”
Similarly, at Glen Oaks Village, a 110-acre, 2,904-unit co-op with one- to three-bedrooms near the Nassau border, sales volume was down, brokers say. Robert Miller, the principal of Miller and Miller Real Estate, a Glen Oaks brokerage, said that the supply of available apartments was limited because so few people were moving out. “We got a little bit of a trickle because of Covid but not a lot,” Mr. Miller said.
But in a period when buying real estate came with so many new logistical hurdles, brokers point out, a steady sales pace is a sign of strength.