Long Island City Kids: LIC is Not Just for Young Professionals

Published on Mar 20, 2012

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Long Island City kids... perhaps not the first thing you think of when the topic of LIC comes up. And while it's true that Long Island City continues to be an exciting place to live for artists and other creative types, as well as for young professionals, increasingly families, young kids in tow are settling down in this former industrial area.

No one who has gone to look at a Long Island City rental apartment--or been over there for any number of any other excellent cultural (PS1) or culinary reasons (Tournesol)--needs to be sold on the location, both for its spectacular Manhattan skyline views from those East River-front luxury complexes that keep sprouting up, and for its two-stop commute into Midtown via the 7 train.

But even as evidence anecdotal and otherwise suggest that LIC rental apartments are becoming more and more coveted by families--notably, according to the New York Times, two-bedroom LIC apartments saw the largest rent increases in the neighborhood over the last two years--is the community prepared to handle an influx of kids to Long Island City?

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Well, yes and no. Parents of Long Island City kids are quick to point out the daily quality-of-life benefits that they've found, including the already-prevalent waterfront parks (with many more to come), the cheaper rents than they found for similarly-sized spaces across the river in Manhattan, and for the communal, slowed-down, almost suburban feel of the neighborhood.

But there are some things found wanting. For one: like too many places in city, the area could really use a great supermarket, because as appealing as the offerings at the neighborhood's main grocery, Food Cellar, are, it's "more a high-end than a day-to-day kind of store."

Or, as Catalina Villamizar, mother of a three-year boy, puts it: “We need more services. More day care, places to get a kid’s haircut, doctors, all that kind of stuff.” Prediction: if developers continue to build two- and -three-bedroom apartments, the supply of services for Long Island City kids and their families will follow.

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In fact, Long Island City has become so happening that a couple of LIC-based businesses are expanding to nearby Williamsburg! Yes, residents of Williamsburg rental apartments will soon be able to enjoy first-rate espressos, pour-overs and frosted maple scones at the always-abustle Sweetleaf coffee bar, just like their upriver, Queens-based, Long Island city counterparts.

And, as always with Williamsburg stories, the rapid-growth, new-food-spot news doesn't stop there. A half-mile or so to the south of where Sweetleaf is planning on setting down, the Williamsburg boom continues apace. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal spelled out some changes in South Williamsburg--Whirlybird coffee shop, Kabob Shack, and Mercado on Kent, a contemporary Basque-inspired restaurant are just three of the newcomers to arrive--and the inevitable tensions and anxiety such development has engendered in the neighborhood's "old guard."

But the biggest potential nabe-changer is yet to come: the planned residential-ization of the enormous Domino Sugar refinery site, which include some 2,200 new Williamsburg rental apartment units.

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