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Welcome to the third installment of LIC for Brooklynites. So far we’ve brought you neighborhood recommendations for places to eat – great restaurants and bars serving everything from comfort food, to Vietnamese pho, to classic cocktails; things to do – visit museums, take classes, and even go kayaking for free; and now we’re turning on sights on where to live in this beautiful area.While LIC is a ‘neighborhood,’ it’s actually comprised of a bunch of smaller neighborhoods, including Hunters Point, Queens Plaza, Court Square, and Dutch Kills.
Gantry Plaza State Park on the LIC waterfront
When people think of Long Island City, they are usually thinking of Hunters Point (GMAP). Originally Hunters Point referred to the piece of land the juts out into the East River near Newtown Creek, but these days it refers to a larger area, bordered by the East River to the west, Queens Plaza to the north, Newtown Creek to the south, and Skillman Avenue to the east.
Hunters Point for a long time was primarily an industrial neighborhood full of factories and bakeries, but these days it has embraced a rapid rate of development and turned out some impressive buildings, both new and renovated.
Image source: Adaptive Reuse – the original steam building that was The Powerhouse condos
The Powerhouse today – note that the architects kept the long rounded window shapes that were in the original structure
The waterfront is home to a number of high-rise residences, including The Powerhouse (originally a real power station for the LIRR and Pennsylvania RR) and The View (home to LIC’s most expensive condo); rental buildings, including 47-20 Center Blvd (part of the East Coast development), Avalon Riverview, and Avalon Riverview North; and the oldest of the high rise buildings, Citylights co-op (co-ops are rare in this part of LIC).
Image source: Facebook – Citylights, established in 1997
Image source: Avalon Communities – the Avalon Riverview
Image source: East Coast – an artist’s rendering of the completed East Coast development – note the iconic Pepsi sign that currently lives at the waterfront
The waterfront continues to see new developments rise up; in particular two new residential rental towers to be built as part of the extensive TF Cornerstone East Coast development along Center Blvd near 46th Ave. It will be 21-acre development that sits on the location of a former Pepsi-Cola bottling plant. Rentals, condos, and retail are planned for this area. 3,000 residences will be built in total; the project is over halfway through, with four towers completed and three to go.
Artist’s rendering of Hunters Point South
The large Hunters Point South project will be built on the tip of Hunters Point, just south of Gantry Plaza State Park. It will be a mixed-use middle-income housing development on 30 acres of waterfront property with up to 5,000 units available. The first phase should be ready by 2014 – two mixed-used buildings with 900 housing units (100% for low to middle-income families), 20,000 square feet of retail space, 5 acres of new waterfront parkland, new school, and a new library.
It goes without saying – except that we are saying it – that the waterfront buildings have amazing views of Manhattan and environs.
Waterfront views from The View
And if you haven’t been to LIC, you should go and check out Gantry Plaza State Park – the views from there are some of the best in the city, which gives you an idea why NYC’s skyline is so revered.
Image source: Kai Brinker on Flickr – the view from Gantry Plaza State Park
Further inland (by a few blocks, really) are a number of recent condo developments, especially around Jackson Avenue, including Ten 63, Murano, and L Haus. 5th Street also has a handful of developments along it, including the 5th Street Lofts, Prestige Condos and the Foundry; these tend to be more low-rise than high-rise.
The Murano on Borden Ave, just off of Jackson Avenue
Image source: L Haus – the building has a distinct look to it with its horizontal stripes
The buildings on 5th Street are just a block from the waterfront, they still have convenient access to it, as well as views. The view from Jackson Ave is also pretty stellar – check out the sights from the rooftop at the L Haus:
Image source: L Haus – amazing views
Image source: LIQcity – view from Prestige Condos on 5th Street, oh so close to the waterfront
Many of these developments – waterfront or not – come with amenities like contemporary kitchens with stainless steel appliances, roof decks and patios, in-house fitness centers, and doorman.
Image source: L Haus – the roof deck with amazing views
A kitchen and living room at The View
Often these buildings are accepting of pets, too. On Vernon Blvd, there’s a great dog park for your furry friend.
The LIC Dog Park
Italianate architecture in the brownstone row houses on 45th Avenue in Hunters Point Historic District
The Hunters Point area is also home to LIC’s only landmarked historic district, aptly called the Hunters Point Historic District. It is home to historic 19th century buildings located on 45th Avenue between 21st and 23rd Streets. Italianate row houses dominate the architectural scene.
The Hunters Point Historic District marker
Townhouses in this part of LIC rarely come up for sale, but there recently was one listing (see below). So keep on the look out!
Hunters Point has the benefit of being on the 7 subway line with only one stop to Grand Central from the Vernon-Jackson station. It’s also home to the East River Ferry, and the Hunters Point dock is only one stop (about 5 minutes) from Manhattan near 34th Street as well as Greenpoint to the south (as well as Williamsburg and DUMBO just beyond that).
The area also has a thriving arts scene with galleries and museums like PS1 and the Dorsky Gallery; excellent restaurants along Vernon Blvd, Jackson Avenue, and Center Blvd such as Tournesol, Sweetleaf Cafe, and Shi; and nightlife at clubs and performance spaces like the Chocolate Factory Theater and the Laughing Devil Comedy Club.
Image source: Chocolate Factory – live performances and theater shows at the Chocolate Factory Theater
Alewife, home to comfort food and great drinks – their craft beer selection is ridiculously awesome
A beautiful cappuccino from Sweetleaf
In general, the feel of Hunters Point is that it’s new and exciting, with lots to do and places to hang out. The waterfront is a huge draw and Gantry Plaza State Park is no longer a hidden gem.
Here are some examples of what’s available right now: