Since its beginning in 2008, OurLIC has been like a SCOUT...looking under the surface and behind the doors to explore and reveal the hidden virtues of "our" Long Island City community. We've identified the new things and tied them together with the old to help make sense of change that has been part of the vision of the community for its own future. The camera has been an incredible tool to chronicle the changes. "Everything Important. Everyone Important. Every Day"....has brought the photos and videos from economic development to block parties and kitten adoptions.
Now, we are opening a new chapter of this service with the announcement of "NEIGBORHOOD LIFE". With OurLIC NEIGHBORHOOD LIFE we will reach deeper into the changes on each major Avenue, Street, Road, and Boulevard of NYC where we can spot the trends that are changing our lifestyle, quality of life, neighbors, restaurants, shops, and quality of business in Astoria, Long Island City and perhaps catch the shifts in the NYC experience.
OurLIC's continued SCOUTING brings us to 30th Avenue, Ditmars Blvd, Broadway, Steinway, and other major neighborhoods in Astoria along with Vernon Blvd, Center Blvd, and the Court Square area of Long Island City, and Skillman, Queens Blvd, and Greenpoint in Sunnyside. The promise of a major Cornell-Technion University for Applied Sciences on Roosevelt Island will continue to drive change in these Western Queens neighborhoods that are adjacent to the only roadway connecting Roosevelt Island to land...at 31st Street in Astoria / Long Island City.
In one quick comment, Paul Halvatzis, a prominent leader in the Astoria / Long Island City community, reflects and captures the sudden new reality. "It's all happened before my very eyes." he says and continues to reflect in an OurLIC VIDEO CONVERSATION appearing with this article, that this was inevitable because of the physical location of Astoria and the central location of streets like 30th Avenue; as well as the N and Q Suway line that brings people in and out of Manhattan in 15 minutes. Others agree.
Frank Arcabascio, a retail veteran on 30th Avenue operating Redken Saloon Salon, who has taken a leadership role as President of the 30th Avenue Merchants Association, announces that his organization is going to have the first 30th Avenue Restaurant Week in October. OurLIC walked 30th Avenue in Astoria with Frank in another VIDEO CONVERSATION with this article. In an impassionsioned and enthusiastic burst, Frank tells us that suddenly 30th Avenue has become one of the "Culinary Capitals of the World". Behind this idea is Frank's recognition that his neighborhood has changed and he tells us exactly how and why. That seems like a big thought, but when you recognize that there are over 100 restaurants and cafes on 30th Avenue , the thought that 30th Avenue has become one of the Culinary Capitals of the World takes on a new level of importance and seriousness.
But wait, in another prescient comment by Paul Halvatzis he points out that it would not be unusual for a restuarant entrepreneur that has opened over the past three years to invest $500,000 to $1,000,000 to bring their restaurant up to Manhattan standards. He says "they are not just putting up shelves, they are making fabulous interiors". Michael Kondos, owner of International Tile and Design in Long Island City confirms Halvatzis observation. He explains to OurLIC that his company has been working with the designers and contractors to supply the tile and stone behind the new contemporary eateries and shops.
On Vernon Blvd popular restaurants like Madera Cuban Grill and Steak House, Alobar, Blend, and the new Corner Bistro are enjoying a new spurt in growth from the thousands of new residents that have moved into TF Cornerstone and other towers that have attracted new residents. The Foodcellar Market and Eatery near Center Blvd has adapted to the new residents with innovation after innovation.
The explosion of quality hotels being built and opened in the Greater Long Island City area, and the promotabilty of tourism by highlighting the attractions and establishing this area as a "destination" is lifting the awareness. Coverage in the media worldwide in increasing.
OurLIC NEIGHBORHOOD LIFE begins to take a closer look, block-by-block, shop-by-shop, cafe-by-cafe, restaurant-by-restaurant at the reason why Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, and Woodside are the new, HOT, places to live, work and play. Each neighborhood is different. Each has transformed during the past few years. OurLIC will take you inside and tell the story.