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The state of Long Island City real estate, one year after Amazon

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Plus, the MTA’s $249M spend on police officers—and more intel in today’s New York Minute news roundup

The waterfront in Long Island City. There is a pier with a sign that reads: Long Island. Behind the sign are many tall apartment buildings. Max Touhey

Good morning, and welcome to New York Minute, a new roundup of the New York City news you need to know about today. Send stories you think should be included to tips@curbed.com.

Did Amazon change Long Island City real estate?

Short answer: not really.

When Amazon announced its plans to bring part of its second North American headquarters to Long Island City, there was much hand-wringing about what the tech giant would do to the neighborhood—particularly in terms of real estate prices. But prices had already been dramatically rising in the area, even prior to Amazon’s announcement last year.

“One thing that has remained the same is the enormous volume of recent and planned residential construction in the neighborhood which was in the works far before Amazon’s plans took shape,” Nancy Wu, economist at StreetEasy, said in a statement. “At this time last year, home prices in the neighborhood were already rising at a pace faster than the rest of the city, and we’ve seen that trend continue into 2019.”

According to StreetEasy, in the third quarter of the year, the median asking price in the neighborhood was $1,053,420, a year-over-year increase of 7.5 percent; while median asking rent was $3,300/month, a year-over-year increase of 5.7 percent.

“With the combination of growing interest and continued construction in the area, we expect housing prices to continue to climb,” Wu said.

Amazon may not have been the sole factor in Long Island City’s spike in home prices, but the area is close to becoming the first million-dollar neighborhood in Queens (last quarter, the median recorded sales price was $889,609).

And in other news…

  • Via is now offering flat-rate rides to and from LaGuardia Airport, at relatively rock-bottom prices: $15 to Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, and $20 to Staten Island and the Bronx. (We’d be remiss if we didn’t remind you that taking the Q70 or M60 SBS to a subway costs just one MetroCard swipe.)
  • The MTA’s widely criticized plan to hire 500 police officers to patrol the subway system (where crime has not risen recently, per the NYPD’s own data) is estimated to cost $249 million.
  • St. Patrick’s Cathedral plans to install a new six-foot fence on the eastern perimeter of its campus, but some homeless advocates are worried it will impact unsheltered folks who hunker down near the church.
  • In other house of worship news, the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine replaced a small replica of the Twin Towers on its facade that church officials believe was destroyed in an act of vandalism.
  • Seven new buildings with “affordable” apartments will rise on vacant Bed-Stuy lots.
  • The owner of a Chinese fast-casual chain has a plan to help owners of Chinese restaurants who want to retire.
  • And finally, red pandas!!!!!!! Have a great weekend, everyone.