From the NY Times:
Today, an empty retail space at the foot of a new residential building is a common sight, as are “coming soon” signs, like the one on the waterfront advertising a library that remains a vacant lot for lack of financing. Other basic services are missing, as well.
“The most mandatory thing we need here on the boulevard more than anything is a butcher, and a hardware store,” said Gianna Cerbone-Teoli, who grew up in the neighborhood and owns the restaurant Manducatis Rustica on Vernon. “And a good bread man, a bakery,” she added.
Brian Hennessey, who moved into the 5th Street Lofts in 2008 with his wife, Verena Arnabal, and their new daughter, Maya, made the jump to Long Island City from Murray Hill and hasn’t looked back. The couple shop at the Queens Costco when Foodcellar gets too pricey, and on weekends they hang out with a laptop at the teahouse, Communitea, on Vernon Boulevard.
“They just have the right recipe for success here,” he said. “It’s very easy to get to Manhattan. It’s at the right price point. It’s got all the luxury amenities that people want in the yuppie crowd, and it’s got a good community feel to it.”
Still, Mr. Hennessey is clear-eyed about what the neighborhood needs. Parking is a problem: when friends come to dinner, he has to help them find spots. The service interruptions on the No. 7 train are annoying. He wonders if facilities for dogs will ever come to be, as they aren’t allowed in most of Gantry Plaza State Park and there are few other places to take them.
Those issues may intensify in the coming years. The city’s Economic Development Corporation plans to develop up to 5,000 waterfront units at Hunters Point South, 60 percent of them as middle-income housing; construction should begin next year, said Gayle Baron, the president of the Long Island City Business Development Corporation. And Rockrose, which has already built several waterfront towers, has the rights and plans to build several more.
“I can only imagine that we’re going to wish these days would never end,” Mr. Hennessey said. “When the people come, I can imagine this becoming a very busy part of town.”
Standing over a cappuccino at her restaurant’s counter, Ms. Cerbone-Teoli is circumspect. Some of her regulars are old-timers, but some are new arrivals, and business is good.
As the neighborhood continues to find its way, she hopes that some kind of centralized planning will prevent overdevelopment and disorganized growth.
Keep hope alive!