Photo: Flickr – kramchang
Astronomical Manhattan rent prices have been pushing New York City residents into the outer boroughs for decades. But in Long Island City (LIC), Queens, gentrification can’t keep up with the lifestyle new residents have been hoping for.According to The New York Times, recent transplants to Hunters Point in Long Island City have found much to love: cheaper rent, a thriving restaurant scene, and bicycle friendly streets.
What they’re missing are the essentials: clothing stores, hardware stores and other basic retail.
LIC is a prime example of NYC gentrification: since 2001, there has been a 64 per cent increase in the neighbourhood’s population, aided by sprawling housing developments, an influx of restaurants, and a flourishing art scene.
But whether because of a national low demand for retail space, skyrocketing rents or the neighbourhood’s insistence on a certain kind of retail (a recently opened Dunkin’ doughnuts was shunned by residents as not “independent” enough), stores selling basic necessities like home supplies are rare.
A local brokerage estimates that 80 per cent of new businesses in LIC are restaurants. It may take a few years — as the local housing demand continues to rise and the area becomes more well-known — for retail diversity to appear.
Interestingly, the Times notes that a local jewelry store that offered a Groupon discount recently received new customers, but only one was from the neighbourhood.
The area is still part industrial wasteland, and it must bother those who moved there expecting an urban oasis to run up against the reality of L.IC.: it’s not quite up to gentrified standards yet.
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