CUCKOO CORCORAN. Barbara to homeowners: pave those lawns!

by Kevin Walsh

On Fridays, Barbara Corcoran, queen of New York realtors, had a column in the Daily News and takes questions from prospective buyers, sellers, and renovators.


One of the questions on Friday, November 9th, 2007, was of particular interest to your webmaster, a resident of Queens, a land that the queen of New York realtors rarely visits…I’ll quote…




Q. My wife and I have lived in Queens for the past 10 years and we plan on staying in the area for about another five. We are noticing lately that all of our neighbors are paving their yards and then use the space to park their cars on.

My wife has spent many hours cultivating her plants and would like to keep the garden, but I think having a driveway will help us increase the price of the house when it comes time to sell. What do you think?

A. Hey, a flower garden might look pretty and keep your wife happy, but the space in front of your house is worth a hell of a lot more as a driveway. You should know that the city council of Queens has just proposed a zoning change that would prohibit residents from paving their yards in some areas. So get your wife on your side and get a cement truck over there fast.

Barbara’s dream, apparently, is a Queens that looks like this monstrosity, or this excrescence. Not a blade of grass in sight.

Overlooking the bit about Queens having a City Council, I emailed this to Ms. Corcoran:

Barbara, your advice to Queens homeowners to pave over their driveways is ill-advised, short-sighted and frankly, asinine.

Queens loses a little bit more of its vegetation and plant life every day. Green space for wildlife, and places where children can go and actually see something NOT made of concrete are disappearing by the hour.

This summer alone, as the gardens
 in front of homes are disappearing by the hundreds and anonymous, utilitarian Fedders homes sans front yards replace beautiful 19th and 20th Century homes, all the trees surrounding Richard Upjohn’s St. Saviour’s Church were felled, and the mayor and parks commissioner are considering a plan to level the wildwoods surrounding Ridgewood Reservoir.

I realize you’re all about real estate and increasing its value, no matter what, but know this: all the money in the world won’t buy you oxygen to breathe, and you won’t have much if you bulldoze every tree and garden.

Kevin Walsh
author of Forgotten New York, the Ultimate Urban Explorers’ Guide to All Five Boroughs, HarperCollins 2006

Perhaps Barbara would like Queens to resemble these two items recently vomited onto 213th Street in Bayside by one of Queens’ enterprising developers. Contrast the dwellings nearby, from an age when esthetics were an architectural consideration.

Naturally Queens Crap is all over this story.

‘m sure Barbara would love to hear from you if, like me, you decry the sea of concrete that Queens is becoming.