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East Village, LIC Haunted by Ghosts of Gentrification Past & Future

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Every newspaper in town is pumping out those spotlight-a-neighborhood real estate stories, and here are two fresh examples: The WSJ's look at the present state of Long Island City, and the NYT's take on a very specific corner of the East Village: the blocks surrounding Tompkins Square Park. What unites these seemingly disparate 'hoods? The East Village has already been overrun by bars, restaurants, overpriced coffee and yoga instructors paying $1.2 million for one-bedroom apartments, and Long Island City, for now at least, can only aspire to such great heights! Here's the Journal's thumbnail portrait of on-the-rise LIC:

The area, located adjacent to the East River and south of Astoria, has long been touted as the next "hot" neighborhood. It has a thriving art scene anchored by the Museum of Modern Art's P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center. It's as close as one subway stop from Manhattan on the No. 7 train. And home prices have held up relatively well compared with the rest of the city. But there is room for improvement. The neighborhood lacks the bar and restaurant scene of Brooklyn's Williamsburg and Long Island City is short on retail outlets found elsewhere.Guess we can count the Chain Store Avenger out! The East Village, of course, lacks none of those qualities, but some residents would advise LICers to enjoy the gritty days while they still can. "These avenues, to the chagrin of many residents, can get loud," the Times notes of the rowdy EV, and Community Board 3 district manager Susan Stetzer puts a different spin on the changes of the past few decades:Speaking as a resident rather than as a district manager, she described something bittersweet about having witnessed the slow gentrification of the park. The playgrounds — there are actually three — are shinier and more colorful than when she used to take her son there in the late ’70s and early ’80s. But, she said, they loved the park then, too, and that era had its advantages. “It was a much stronger, much closer community then,” Ms. Stetzer said. “Everyone knew everyone, and they weren’t necessarily people like you.”

But Long Island City already has shiny and colorful playgrounds. Oh no, we're too late!
· Grit, Glam and Green, in One Vibrant Package [NYT]
· Long Island City Catches Up [WSJ]