Astoria, Long Island City, Real Estate
Feb 18, 2017

ICYMI: NY Times Summarizes Development in the “Lost” Coast of Queens

Is the western Queens waterfront “lost” and does it really need to be “discovered”? The NY Times thinks so.

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Certainly the view is nice from the Astoria waterfront.

Many long time residents feel a tinge (or quite a bit more than that) of aggravation when the NY Times Real Estate section writers turn their sights on Queens to—more often than not—cause unnecessary consternation among residents (some wonder if the writers have actually stepped foot in Queens or do they just hear rumors and read press releases).

Earlier this month, the Times published an article with a somewhat amusing title, Discovering the Lost Coast of Queens. There are at least a couple things wrong with this headline—the Queens coast doesn’t need to be “discovered” and its certainly not “lost.” Thousands of people have lived along the edges of Astoria and LIC for quite a long time, including those in the Astoria Houses and Queensbridge, considered the largest public housing development in North America; I’d bet you they do not consider themselves “lost” or needing to be “discovered.”

If anything, it’s a decent overview of the newer developments that have cropped up near the water, including the ones mired in developer drama, like Hallets Point and Astoria Cove. There are utterances of hopes and dreams of developers to turn the Astoria waterfront into a “gold coast,” deep desires by real estate professionals to see it become the “next Williamsburg.” I’d recommend they be careful about that, as Queens pride is a real thing.

One of the highlighted developments, Graffiti House, is situated on Welling Court, home to the Welling Court Mural Project, which was started as a way to stave off blight in the area. The building, its name a nod to the street art in the area, is seven stories, definitely out of place on a street populated with buildings 2-3 stories. And the pricing is mind-blowing for the neighborhood—lower level 1 bedrooms for $2,500/month and upper level 1 bedrooms for $5,000/month. Public transportation is buses at this point and residents have months before the ferry is ready to go. And there are certainly plenty of amenities inside but one wonders if, like a lot of amenity-laden buildings, it gets in the way of encouraging folks to go outside and get to know their neighborhood.

That said, people are choosing to live there and pay these rents. According to the article, “Graffiti House had leased 24 of its 28 units by Jan. 20, after about two months of marketing.”

It will be interesting to see how Astoria Cove and Hallets Point morph as far as plans go, depending on how Governor Cuomo’s revamped 421-A plans go. Without it, most big developments will shrink or be dead in the water. Tax breaks move these things forward.

In any case, have a read—we’d also love to hear what you think about the article, so leave us a comment. Praise or criticism of the state of waterfront development, tell us your thoughts!

Discovering the Lost Coast of Queens [NY Times]

About Meg Cotner

Meg Cotner was trained as a harpsichordist and now works as a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Queens," and is a skilled and avid home cook, baker, and preserver.

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