Long a gritty industrial wilderness, Long Island City, located one stop from Manhattan via six different trains, began the inevitable march to gentrification in 1997 with the construction of the Citylights co-op. Since then, an array of new developments (mostly rentals and condominiums) have followed and many more are under construction. LIC has been known for years as an affordable destination for artists, although—let's face it—the artists are all going to be priced out sooner rather than later. One great indicator of how the neighborhood is changing: graffiti mecca 5 Pointz, which houses a number of artists' studios, is being torn down next year to make way for—what else—high-rise rental buildings.
Rental units: Other than the numerous new developments on the waterfront (which are spreading further inland as we speak) Long Island City contains a hodgepodge of wood frame and brick two-family homes which mostly date back to the early 20th century.
Rent range: Anywhere from $6,000/month for a waterfront 3BR (although 3BRs are in short supply) to $1,600/month for a 1BR. According to the Times, a 1BR in a newly constructed building usually goes for around $2,500/month, which is also what a 2BR in a decently maintained old building would cost.
Neighborhood highlights: Long Island City is home to many art museums and galleries, including PS1, which also hosts weekly parties during the summer, the Fisher Landau Center for Art, the Museum of the Moving Image (sort of in Astoria, whatever), and more. The once-gross waterfront has been transformed into Gantry Plaza State Park, which has brought with it some trendy new restaurants and shops. A popular selling point in real estate listings is the across-the-river view of Manhattan.
Pricey corners: Predictably, the closer to the water, the more expensive the apartments. Hunters Point, Queens Plaza, and Court Square all contain new and pricey housing.
Less pricey corners: Dutch Kills is where much of the less costly housing resides. For now.
· 37-14 32nd Street: An inland 2BR, 1BA, newly constructed, for $2,600/month.
· 4705 Center Boulevard: A 2BR, 2BA in this new and glassy luxury high-rise is going for $4,275/month.
· 11-25 45th Avenue: A 740-square-foot 1BR in Long Island City's newest luxury condominium building, One Murray Park, located right next to PS1, goes for $2,600/month.
· 11-02 49th Avenue: In the L Haus, a rare luxury 3BR, 3BA, weighing in at 1,771 square feet, carries a price tag of $6,000/month.