Amazon is close to choosing Long Island City as one of the locations of its second headquarters, known as HQ2. As the community braces for an influx of 25,000 employees, neighboring areas must also prepare for rising housing prices and increased congestion on subways and streets. While many Amazon residents could choose to locate in Queens, others may seek an address in Brooklyn or Manhattan. New York is abuzz with the news that Amazon might locate its second headquarters in Long Island City— a Queens neighborhood that’s teeming with growth. In recent years, the area has seen an influx of young professionals and new development, including high-rise condos and rental towers. Soon, Long Island City could become home to 25,000 Amazon employees, who will bring more economic development — and a new set of challenges. Since the news of Amazon’s arrival was first reported by the New York Times, Long Island City residents have shared their concerns about overcrowded schools, congested subways, and failing infrastructure. These effects could spill over into adjacent neighborhoods, including those on the other side of the East River. While many Amazon employees will look for real estate in Long Island City, others could be drawn to cheaper neighborhoods like Elmhurst or Jackson Heights, Queens. Many more will cling to the cultural vibrancy of Brooklyn and Manhattan, which are just a subway trip away. Here are the neighborhoods that could start swelling with HQ2 employees.
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Once an immigrant nieghborhood, Astoria has become a catch-all community for those unable to afford Manhattan. Although it’s adjacent to Long Island City, the neighborhood has the advantage of slightly lower real estate prices. The median rent in Astoria is around $2,200, compared to around $2,450 in Long Island City, and $3,400 in Manhattan. These prices could be attractive to young Amazon employees looking to save money and commute within their borough.
Employees with families could soon gravitate toward Sunnyside, a quaint, middle-class neighborhood with easy access to Long Island City. In May, New York City announced its plan to start developing on the Sunnyside land, bringing roughly 11,000 and 15,000 new homes to the area, along with 3,300 to 4,500 affordable units. The reported $10 billion investment— which includes building new schools and retail stores — could arrive just in time for Amazon employees.
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Williamsburg may be oversaturated, but it’s also just a few stops away from Long Island City (20 minutes by subway and 25-35 minutes by bus). With its trendy restaurants, hip art galleries, and eclectic music scene, the neighborhood is bound to attract young Amazon employees. Small families will also appreciate the quiet — though prices aren’t much better than in Manhattan.
As the home of the new Cornell Tech Campus, Roosevelt Island is slowly filling up with tech workers and high-rise buildings, which have replaced the old prisons and hospitals that once scattered the neighborhood. While it may feel isolated from the New York boroughs, the island offers a quaint alternative to Manhattan and rents slightly below the citywide average. It’s also directly linked to Long Island City via the F train and a brand new ferry service. Employees could be attracted to the island’s co-ops and community gardens, but real estate is limited and prices are beginning to rise.