What the neighborhood is like

Historically, Long Island City was home to warehouses, strip clubs, dive bars and other seedy venues. But today, much of that has been torn down and replaced by high-rise luxury apartment buildings.

My apartment building, which is located in the still-developing Court Square area of Long Island City, is surrounded by some of the heaviest construction. Bloomingdale’s is getting ready to move into a 550,000-square-foot office right up the street. JetBlue has a massive office nearby, too. And there are new residential buildings being constructed along every block.

When I moved into the Court Square area about two years ago, much of the surrounding area was full of empty lots. Now I see nothing but the frameworks of large hotels and luxury co-ops.

Apartments are a great value, too. Unlike most spots in Manhattan, you can find a newly constructed apartment building full of amenities like a gym, in-unit washer/dryer and rooftop swimming pool. A two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment typically goes for about $4,500 per month. That may sound expensive, but it’s a bargain compared with what you’d have to pay for something similar in Manhattan. Plus, since there’s so much open inventory on Long Island City these days, most buildings will give you one or two months’ free rent on a one-year lease, bringing the net effective rent for the year much lower.

Long Island City is a really convenient location, too. It’s only a stop (or two or three, depending on where you live) away from Manhattan on the subway. LaGuardia airport is about a 15-minute taxi ride away, and you can get to Citi Field or Arthur Ashe Stadium in less than 20 minutes by subway.

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