Community-Building on the Long Island City Waterfront, Fact, Fiction or Work in Progress

LIC-waterfront-073013

Crain’s New York Business recently took a look at the rather unusual situation that the developers of the towers on the Long Island City waterfront find themselves in: apartments, apartments everywhere, but not that much to do. The story focuses on TF Cornerstone’s 3,000 apartment East Coast tower complex south of the Queensboro Bridge that has been a decade in the making. Just yesterday the company announced that its final tower, 46-10 Center Boulevard topped out and is nearing completion according to DNAinfo. Much like in Battery Park City (where TF Cornerstone has done quite a bit of work as well), the towers here are somewhat removed from the nearby neighborhood. These buildings don’t have a barrier like West Street to contend with. However, due to their sheer size and the fact they they are the only buildings west of 5th Street, the area almost can’t help but feel like its own universe, oriented away from the neighborhood and towards the East River and each other. The article is optimistic about the efforts to bring more commercial activity to the towers, and it a bit over-enthusiastic about the development of a community in Battery Park City which it refers to as “wildly successful.” Yet it does point out the challenges of building a community in such a high rise development. Many storefronts in the complex remain vacant. Vernon Avenue businesses complain that they have not seen the bump in business from new residents that they expected. One told Crain’s, “They’re too transient. Most of them come from Manhattan, and they still spend their time there, before they eventually move to the suburbs.” What do you think? Can these waterfront towers develop their own sense of community while becoming a part of the surrounding neighborhood? Have they achieved much towards that goal so far?

Towers Rise in Long Island City, Queens [Crain's]