Anyone who has passed through Queensboro Plaza lately won't be surprised to hear that a development boom is afoot in this part of Queens. The area surrounding the elevated train station in Long Island City is a sea of cranes and residential high-rises, which have been sprouting up ever since a 2001 rezoning of the neighborhood.
And lately, developers have been pushing farther along the 7 train corridor into Queens, adding towers to the skylines of areas like Jackson Heights and Flushing. Last year, a report from Ariel Property Advisors predicted that growth would continue, eventually even mirroring Brooklyn's L train corridor in the changes to come, based on the area's (relative) affordability, transit and increasingly hip reputation. Even Anthony Bourdain, bad boy celebrity chef meets CNN anchor, recently featured Queens in an episode of his travel show, Parts Unknown.
The word is definitely already out in northwest Queens, home to Long Island City, Astoria, Sunnyside and Woodside. According to the most recent Douglas Elliman market reports, median rents have actually exceeded those of Brooklyn and the number of new leases grew by over 50 percent from last year.
But some Queens locals say that they're concerned about population growth along the 7 line, which isn't really free from the issues ailing the rest of NYC's subway network. (In fact, Brick previously covered how weekend subway shutdowns of the 7 hurt Queens neighborhoods.) A development boom could end up exacerbating overcrowding and delays that are already plaguing the train, these residents say, making a bad situation worse.