East River Idylls
BY LAUREN PRICE | Long Island City in southwestern Queens — running from the East River and Newtown Creek to Broadway and east to roughly 51 Street and Hobart Street — is home to some 70,000 residents, according to the Long Island City Partnership. Sometimes referred to as Hunters Point, the neighborhood is transforming itself big time — due in no small measure to take-your-breath-away views of Manhattan’s skyline, its quick commute to Midtown, and the amenity-driven developments that began popping up a decade or so ago.
The Partnership reports that since 2007, more than 7,600 residential units have been completed in the neighborhood, with another 12,800 either under construction or on the drawing board.
Chic restaurants and a vibrant nightlife are booming, while over at the 12-acre Gantry Plaza State Park die-hard fishermen try their luck at one of the four piers and others simply stroll the waterfront promenade. One of the two largest outdoor markets in Queens — the other is in Astoria — LIC Flea & Food (licflea.com) is open every Sunday on 46th Avenue near the waterfront. Not only can you sample a tasty bite or purchase products from local restaurants and artisanal food producers, you will find plenty of venders hawking vintage clothing, antiques, and gifts.
Well priced, conveniently located, Long Island City is tough to beat
Cultural favorites include the MoMA P.S. 1 Museum (momaps1.org) on Jackson Avenue off 46th Avenue, the Noguchi Museum (noguchi.org) on 33rd Road and Vernon Boulevard, and the nearby Socrates Sculpture Park (socrates-sculpturepark.org) on Vernon Boulevard at Broadway. As well, century-old industrial buildings and old commercial garages have been re-created as must-see art galleries and performance spaces such as the Chocolate Factory Theater (chocolatefactorytheater.org) on 49th Avenue, also near Vernon Boulevard. For those up for a very quick detour, the Museum of the Moving Image (movingimage.us) on 35th Avenue at 37th Street in Astoria is most definitely worth a visit.
Transportation to and from Manhattan is a snap, in one of several options. New York Waterway’s East River Ferry Service (eastriverferry.com) is a bike-friendly service that makes stops at Pier 11/ Wall Street, Brooklyn Bridge Park/ DUMBO, Schaefer Landing/ South Williamsburg, North Sixth Street/ North Williamsburg, India Street/ Greenpoint, Hunters Point/ LIC, and East 34th Street/ Midtown. On warm weather weekends, you can also travel to Governor’s Island this way.
The E, M, and R trains are available at Queens Plaza; the N, Q, and 7 nearby at Queensboro Plaza; the E, M, and 7 at Court Square/ 23rd Street; and the 7 also at Hunters Point Avenue and Vernon Boulevard/ Jackson Avenue.
You can also pick up the Long Island Railroad into Penn Station at Hunters Point Avenue.
The G train, that mysterious line that runs only between Queens and Brooklyn (with a Park Slope terminus) is available at Court Square and at 21st Street.
What’s On the Market
Trulia (trulia.com) reports that the median sales price for homes in Long Island City from March 14 to June 14 was $700,000. And according to Streeteasy (streeteasy.com), the current median rent for studios is $2,535, with one-bedroom units coming in at about $2,800. Both companies are highly rated online real estate databases for buyers, renters, sellers, and real estate professionals. Along with property listings, they both provide neighborhood information and community insights.
The housing stock includes fancy, tricked-out high-rise complexes, mostly along Vernon and Center Boulevards, that offer a host of pleasures and creature comforts — resident lounges, fitness centers with an emphasis on wellness, spa treatments, putting greens, tennis courts, cabana-filled sundecks, playrooms, swimming pools, and on-site parking. The neighborhood is also full of row houses, brownstones, and pre-wars.
To be sure, there are plenty of units for sale, but fancy — and not so fancy — rental developments rule. Of-the-moment rentals are not just attracting younger and newly arrived renters, but families and empty nesters, as well.
Developed by Rockrose Development Corp., the Linc LIC at 43-10 Crescent Street is currently renting studios to three bedrooms, including a huge 1,400-square-foot, three-bedroom home with 11-foot ceilings and a wraparound terrace. Among the other homes, many sport floor-to-ceiling windows and private outdoor spaces. Communal amenities include a private park, a bi-level lounge with a pool table, a roof deck with a lawn, misting sprays, squash and basketball courts, a bi-level fitness center, a playroom, a screening room, round-the-clock doormen, private storage, and on-site parking. Pet Services by SPOT include daycare, walking, grooming, training, transportation, and cage-free boarding. No-fee monthly rents start at $2,375. (linclic.com)
TF Cornerstone’s sixth and final residential building on the waterfront is a family-friendly development with spacious apartments and a sprawling amount of outdoor space. Known for its sleek, modern design that curves around LIC’s famous Pepsi-Cola sign, the building’s offerings range from studios to three-bedroom apartments with anywhere from 500 square feet to more than 1,300. All feature floor-to-ceiling windows, hardwood floors, custom-designed closets, and Manhattan skyline vistas. A select group of units have outdoor space.
Open kitchens have glossy white cabinetry and the latest in stainless steel appliances. Communal extras include a 50,000-square-foot amenity deck with a real sand beach volleyball court, two tennis courts, a reflecting pool, a sprawling lawn, a putting green, and a sun deck with BBQ grills. Additional amenities include play areas, a dog run, fitness centers, lounges, on-site parking, and 24-hour concierge/doorman services. No-fee monthly rentals begin at $2,295. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
“When TF Cornerstone purchased this property in Long Island City more than 10 years ago, our vision for the neighborhood went beyond just developing beautiful buildings behind the Pepsi sign,” said Jon McMillan, the company’s director of planning. “We sought to create an entirely new waterfront community for our residents.”
A north-facing one-bedroom condominium (approximately 661 square feet) with million-dollar views of Manhattan from a private balcony is now available for leasing at 5-49 Borden Avenue at Vernon Boulevard in the Hunters Point section through Town Residential. Available furnished or unfurnished, its features include walls of windows, 12-foot ceilings, hardwood floors, and a washer/ dryer. The open kitchen is outfitted with premium appliances. Residential amenities include a lounge, a fitness center, a Zen garden with BBQ grills, and an outdoor fireplace, along with 24-hour doorman/ concierge services and indoor parking. The monthly rent is $2,700. (townrealestate.com/listing.html?webID=235159).
Also within the Hunters Point section, Modern Spaces has launched sales for FIVE Fortyone, a boutique building with just three units: a 2,040-square-foot three-bedroom duplex with a 1,000-square-foot landscaped garden as well as two three-bedroom triplexes (1,596 and 1,616 square feet) with 472-square-foot landscaped roof terraces. Located at 5-41 47th Road, occupancy is set for early fall.
Developed by Ascent, features include hardwood floors and custom Shaker-style cabinetry and appliances, including a built-in wine cooler, by Viking, Bosch, and Avanti in the kitchen. Bathrooms boast Kohler finishes, rain shower stalls, and pull-down teak benches. The building is outfitted with Sonos sound system wifi and an intercom system pegged to a cell phone/ tablet app, and each unit has private storage space. Prices begin at $1.7 million.
“The neighborhood is seeing a tremendous amount of high-rises cropping up and we wanted to offer an alternative for those seeking the look and feel of a stand-alone home,” said Jennifer Dorfmann, the executive vice president of Modern Spaces. (modernspacesnyc.com/listings/new-developments/queens/long-island-city/5137)
A two-bedroom duplex condominium at the brand new Millstone (41-18 27th Street) is now selling for $845,000. About 1,160 square feet, it features private outdoor space. In-home amenities include a washer/ dryer, Brazilian teak wood floors, and high ceilings. The kitchen is outfitted with Fisher & Paykel and GE appliances, white lacquer and glass cabinetry, and gray and white marbled granite countertops. The master bath, with its deep soaking tub, is dressed in floor-to-ceiling ceramic tiles and Brazilian teak vanities topped with gray CaeserStone. Communal amenities include a video intercom system and a roof deck.
The building has other available units starting at $505,000. A 421a tax abatement is in place for 12 more years. (aptsandlofts.com/sales/41-18-27th-street-unit-1b-queens-ny-11101)