The gentrification of Vernon Boulevard continues as more upscale businesses move in to serve the needs of luxury apartment owners.
Joe Conley, chairman of Community Board 2, said it’s rare to see a block in Long Island City without some kind of construction. “It really has just exploded in the last two years,” he said. “The good news is it’s changing. The bad news is it’s too fast.”
Vibrant Vernon Boulevard: Long Island City On The Rise
"Vibrant", eh? Heh. Let's read on.
Kenny Greenberg, a Long Island City resident and co-director of Art-O-Mat at 46-46 Vernon Blvd., believes the current development of his neighborhood is unnatural and poorly thought out. He said the process isn’t public, and that city and local leaders are missing a key issue in not helping already established businesses. Greenberg added that the community can’t work together because it doesn’t have the information.
Art-O-Mat has been at its location since 2005. A volunteer organization, the store sells art, music, and other items produced by local artists and crafts people. Part of Greenberg’s mission is to preserve the neighborhood and its artists. He said artists, who are the manufacturers and small businesses of Long Island City, are being squeezed out of their neighborhood, replaced by speciality restaurants and bars.
“The latest zoning ordinance essentially gave a green light for the destruction of the neighborhood,” said Greenberg, who believes Long Island City could be a model for the rest of the country — if only everyone could work together.