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View Full Version : LIC and other neighborhoods close to midtown - racially mixed



VPech
November 11th, 2006, 03:33 PM
I've been looking for a place to move with my fiance that would be a quick train ride to Grand Central Station (I'll be working in CT, but want to remain in NYC). I've looked into Astoria, but I don't think it would be a good choice for my fiance and I because from what I heard it's all white and my fiance is black. Is Long Island City safe for a mixed couple? What other neighborhoods can I consider that would make it easy for me to commute to CT, but make it safe for both of us?

Price range - We're looking for a 1 bedroom in the $1500 range (somewhat flexible upwards if that will help in finding a place that allows a dog).

It doesn't have to be Queens either - if there are other options that would allow me to stay in NYC while commuting to CT I'd love to hear them. Any neighborhoods in the Bronx close Metro-North and safe?

We've considered Manhattan but it seems too expensive and almost no chance to find a place that allows dogs so that's why we're mostly looking at Queens.

Any insight would be appreciated!

shocka
November 11th, 2006, 04:18 PM
Saying astoria is "White" is furthest from the truth. Astoria is one of the most racially diverse areas of Queens. It does have a strong Greek influence, but you will find pockets of most cultures. I lived there for 1 year, and as a minority which is not one of the major presenses in Astoria, I felt 100% safe.

If you are looking for a 1bdrm in LIC/The water Front portion for 1500 it will be dificult, but it is certainly a better commute to grand central 1 stop on the 7 train then astoria will ever be. I use to take the N/W from Broadway to Grand Central and it would take anywhere from 15-25 mins to get to Grand Central.

VPech
November 11th, 2006, 04:44 PM
Perhaps I was wrong to call Astoria all white, my feeling that it wouldn't be a good idea for us came from a couple of different stories I read online. I haven't actually visited Astoria recently, perhaps I should do that and get a feel for the neighborhood firsthand.

Just for the record, the stories I'm referring to are these:
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From Voices of New York: (http://www.nyu.edu/classes/blake.map2001/greece.html)

Upon arriving to Astoria, we had different perceptions. In our group of two, one of us was totally lost and felt like a foreigner, the other was completely at home. This exclusionary feeling stemmed from the fact, that one of us was black and Astoria has no black people. The other felt comfortable, because she lived in the area and could identify as a resident; she was Columbian. Walking through the streets, everyone knew that one of us did not belong.

From Something to Chew On (http://somethinktochewon.blogspot.com/2005/10/conspiricy-theoryracism-in-astoria.html) (a blog):

I live in the Astoria neighborhood of Queens, of course, which is a primarily Greek neighborhood, with some remnants of the Italians who lived here before the Greeks moved in 30 years ago or so. There are also fairly sizable populations of Columbians, Arabs, and latte-drinking yuppies.

Someone wrote into one of my favorite blogs, Curbed (http://www.curbed.com/), a snarky New York real estate blog, with the following interesting conspiricy theory (http://www.curbed.com/archives/2005/10/07/astoriaditmars_fast_food_conspiracy.php):
Wanted to tell you about whats going down up on the Ditmars area in Astoria. First of all, Burger King closed without any explanation, which was really odd because it was popular (busy). THEN..... McDonalds burned down in a "mysterious" 3-alarm Fire.
THIRD.... KFC "lost its lease".......how does a billion dollar international company lose its lease?
All of these places had been operating for years. And you can't blame gentrification; there are still lots of nasty-ass shops on the 31st street where these places are. One dude who tried to raise the rent on the medical office space he owned has had to eat about 14 months of vacancy.
The upshot of this is that there are now no fast food joints near the Ditmars station. Been hearing some wispers that it's some sort of Greek conspiracy to keep out a certain ethnic group that really loves fried foods.
Very interesting. It's true that said implied ethnic group is nowhere to be seen in the neighborhood, despite being about 25% of the population of New York City. And when we were apartment-hunting in the neighborhood a year ago, our real estate broker mentioned this racism. She said that many Greek property owners won't rent to said ethnic group, and that it's a real problem for real estate brokers. Apparently, if a broker is in any way complicit in real estate discrimination, and a complaint is filed, they can lose their real estate license.

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These are just anecdotal and subjective, of course. If anyone has other experiences/thoughts about Astoria please let me know.

Thanks for the input about the commute to Grand Central and the price range. I wouldn't mind a 15 min commute, that's not bad...though reaching the 25min mark on a regular basis would get annoying since I would still have a long train ride to go to get to CT. Perhaps a more realistic price range would be $1800-2000?

investordude
November 11th, 2006, 06:24 PM
If you're trying to be midway between Connecticut and New York in a place with a large African American population, wouldn't Harlem, including the upper 90's or a safe area of the Bronx (or even the Avalon New Rochelle if you want to go higher end and have a more equitable compromise with your fiance on commute times from your urban enclave) be a more logical place to be?

I think your perception of Astoria is unfair - there are plenty of different racial groups there. However, the flip side of that is that African American culture, as a specific racial subset, is not very dominant among the minority groups. So, if that makes your wife uncomfortable, I'd say you can do better in other locations that are actually between New York and CT.

investordude
November 11th, 2006, 08:48 PM
I think I said that wrong in my last post. I'm sure it doesn't make your wife uncomfortable. But rather, if she wants a higher prevalence of specialty retail and restaurants, then I could see how Astoria may come up short, in which case some of these other places may be able to accomodate her need.

ramvid01
November 11th, 2006, 09:09 PM
...she was Columbian...Columbians...

Taking advise from a post from someone who clearly does not realize that the country is spelled Colombia and not Columbia is never a wise choice (maybe he was refering to people from Columbus? but what does that have to do with race). :p

VPech
November 11th, 2006, 11:08 PM
If you're trying to be midway between Connecticut and New York in a place with a large African American population, wouldn't Harlem, including the upper 90's or a safe area of the Bronx (or even the Avalon New Rochelle if you want to go higher end and have a more equitable compromise with your fiance on commute times from your urban enclave) be a more logical place to be?

...So, if that makes your wife uncomfortable....

I did mention in the first post that it didn't have to be Queens and that we've considered Manhattan and the Bronx as options. Still didn't do enough research on the Bronx to rule it out as a possibility so if you have suggestions on neighborhoods to look into that are close to a metro-north station I would definitely check them out.
About Manhattan - it seems like there's a large price hike compared to other boroughs and we've been unable to find any (reasonable) place that would even hint at allowing dogs. Also it would only help my commute if we lived near one of the Metro-North stations (Grand Central or Harlem).

"Avalon New Rochelle" - are you referring to the Avalon on the Sound community up there? I haven't heard of it before you mentioned it so just googled and that's what I came up with. It looks pretty promising, thanks. I'll add that to our list. I ran across Avalon in Milford, CT by chance and didn't realize it was a whole chain of communities.

(Also, to clear things up: fiancÚ = male = husband to be (not wife). Myself = female).

VPech
November 11th, 2006, 11:18 PM
Taking advise from a post from someone who clearly does not realize that the country is spelled Colombia and not Columbia is never a wise choice (maybe he was refering to people from Columbus? but what does that have to do with race). :p

Bad spelling doesn't imply a person is blind/unintelligent, eh? ;)

shocka
November 12th, 2006, 02:51 PM
Thanks for the input about the commute to Grand Central and the price range. I wouldn't mind a 15 min commute, that's not bad...though reaching the 25min mark on a regular basis would get annoying since I would still have a long train ride to go to get to CT. Perhaps a more realistic price range would be $1800-2000?


I think the commute to Grand Central from Astoria is not bad at all.. but if you are going to catch a train to CT it could become cumbersome. Have you thought about living in Astoria and driving?

If you look at LIC; 2300 would get you a luxury 1 bdrm in one of the 2 major rentals in the area. Take a look at
http://www.avalonriverview.com
http://www.eastcoastlic.com

As of now there is one other Co-Op up which allows rentals. There was a 1bdrm for 1825, not sure if it is still available but here is the link: http://www.queenswest.com/classifieds/00001560

I would def suggest this area because of the proximity to Grand Central, if you choose to live in queens.

Good Luck

Front_Porch
November 12th, 2006, 03:20 PM
(Myself = female).

I, too, got the hail-fellow-well-met on these boards when I first showed up: take the "welcome" part to heart

and the assumption that everyone is male as incidentally humorous.

p.s.

ali r.
{downtown broker}

Jeffreyny
November 12th, 2006, 07:49 PM
I think Astoria/LIC is an excellent choice given the proximity to the city.
Race, black and white, white and black is NOT an issue. This is New York City not Texas. I doubt anyone would even notice.
Astoria is one of the safest communities in Queens. You might not find lot's of great shopping on Steinway unless you're looking to buy a mop or perhaps some hideous wedding dress but the housing enclaves are for the most part affordable, tidy and SAFE.
It's an affordable well kept part of Queens, a stones throw from the city and unless you're going to move to Manhattan you won't get much closer to Grand Central for your daily commute to CT.

investordude
November 13th, 2006, 01:00 AM
I'm just curious, based on your comment, if you have ever been to Texas? There are rural places that may just generally have a low population, but I lived there a long time and think race relations are generally equal or better there than what they are here. I'm not saying there's no racial tension at all, but I don't think its worse than it is here.