Friday, February 27, 2009

Gentrification Crashing on the East River?

Vanishing New York brought my attention to this piece in the Times. It is interesting to consider what will happen to neighborhoods on 'the verge' with the current economic downturn. Locally, I'm particularly interested in how this plays out with the LIC condo boom. We've already seen a number of those new buildings accepting rental tenants when they can't sell units. This has sent some would-be owners scrambling to get out of their agreements before closing.

Long Island City is a fascinating test case of this sort of thing. There is so little residential neighborhood there compared to the number of new developments. It seems every bit the test-bed in engineering a neighborhood. I have no idea what it will all look like if/when these developments fail, but I'm curious to see. Not sure if this bodes terribly well for new establishments like Dutch Kills.

Astoria on the other hand seems relatively culturally intact. While the number of shops that have recently closed on Steinway Street isn't a good sign, this is every bit the pre-existing neighborhood. Already a mish-mash of cultures, Astoria will likely benefit in the long run from the slowing tide of gentrification. Most of the property here is rental property anyway, and the hiccups in redeveloping LIC will slow the hand of those who would like to tear down and redevelop the neighborhood. 

Successful newer establishments like Blackbird's have found a niche and steady local clientele. They've catered very well to the Astoria that actually exists, as opposed to a hypothetical neighborhood that could be.

1 comment:

  1. Speaking of the East River what is up with the pier at the foot of 44th Drive. I used to fish there and sunbath. I am told the city dismantled the pier and condemed it as unsafe, but that was 4 years ago. Why are they not rebuilding it. Doesn't Councilman Gioia care for his neighborhood? He should do something about it so we can enjoy our river and all the comfort it brings to the residents.
    I think liQcity should get behind a movement to get the construction finished so we can again enjoy the amenities of the neighborhood.