“My family has a long history not only in the neighborhood, but with Zara Realty,” Grande said.
Her mother has been living in the building since 1974, prior to Zara’s ownership. She remains there to this day. In the past, Grande lived with her mother and her two younger siblings until she got married and moved to Brooklyn.
When she eventually returned to Queens, she lived at another Zara building on 153th Street before moving back to the same building as her mother with her son.
As a Jamaica resident, there are benefits when it comes to transportation and activities. Her building is located near the E, J, F and Z subway lines, as well as the Long Island Railroad and the AirTrain to Kennedy Airport.
Rufus King Park is a small park that always seems to be offering community events and a decent soccer match to watch. The YMCA, the Jamaica Center of the Arts and a multitude of restaurants and shopping along Jamaica Avenue are also close by, giving residents more recreation options.
Both Queens Hospital and Jamaica Hospital are just a few miles away.
Grande is also glad that the police from the 103rd Precinct patrol the area. With it being such a busy community, Grande said having the police presence is a welcome site.
“At times I’ve seen the police patrol the buildings in cold weather, which helps keep non-tenants out,” Grande said. “People using the building as a hangout, leaving litter and other items behind is never acceptable, as this can become hazardous and dangerous to tenants.”
Grande and her neighbors feel safe and comfortable, especially with improvements that Zara Realty vice president Tony Subraj oversaw in terms of building safety, repairs and cleanliness.
Older residents, like her mother, are the ones who make up the heart of the area, she added. They look after their neighbors and report issues if there are any, which helps the community spirit and, subsequently, the building.
She also noted that the neighborhood has undergone many changes in terms of population, which is a positive as communities thrive on diversity and various cultures. Many residents come from places such as Puerto Rico, South America, Asia and Africa.
“I have family in all five boroughs and I’ve learned that it doesn’t really matter much the neighborhood one lives in as it does the people who live in the neighborhood,” Grande said. “They’re the ones who make it what it is.
“Through the years many people have come and gone in this building, but the ones that stay have made living in the building their home,” Grande said.