Unfortunately realtors are not allowed to tell you that much about an area so that it shouldn't seem like they are steering you.
Anything to the right of the bridge at 96th is up and coming, anything to the left is a long shot.
High School is/was crappy (Beach Channel) due to < 96th students but they are restructuring it, and there are private school options. Much new development in Rockaway Park which is attracting a large range of working middle class people.
I think that Rockaway Park is a good 5-10 year investment. The subway line is there, the beach is there, and eventually people will want to stay in New York but also be near the beach. So I think that schools will matter less to people who want to retire in NYC with the ability to get around by subway, but be near a beach.
Lower than 96th has simply too many projects that are going nowhere. That Arverne by the Sea has units going begging on Craiglist for like 1700 to rent a two bedroom, 2000 for a three bedroom because people overpaid to be pioneers, and now need to cover their costs by gouging renters. But in Rockaway Park, you can probably pick up a decent size (2200 sq ft) newer two family for 508, which is what zillow says mine is worth, and the numbers work much nicer.
So basically I recommend Rockaway Park, if you do not need a great public HIgh School school right now.
Please call or e-mail me with any other questions.