Tag Archives: Long Island City

Police officers honored for saving man’s life in LIC


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer's office

Two local police officers were honored Thursday for their heroic actions that saved a life in Long Island City last month.

Police Officers William Caldarera and Corey Sarro of the 108th Precinct were given a proclamation on behalf of the City Council for saving the life of a 66-year-old man who was found motionless in front of LaGuardia Community College in December.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who was joined by Mayor Bill de Blasio, presented the honor to Caldarera and Sarro.

On Dec. 16, the officers saw a crowd of people gathering around a man lying motionless on the sidewalk in front of the college. Caldarera approached the elderly man and discovered he did not have a heartbeat and was not breathing.

Sarro then began to conduct chest compressions, while an ambulance was requested. Using a defibrillator provided by a public safety officer, Caldarera and Sarro attached the machine to the man’s chest, according to police. After a second shock, the man’s heartbeat returned and he began breathing again.

The man was taken to Elmhurst Hospital in stable condition.

Although both Caldarera and Sarro had experience with CPR while off duty, this incident was their first time having to use a defibrillator.

Both officers said it felt great once they were able to revive the man and get him to breathe again.

“There is really no feeling to describe it,” Sarro said at the time. “It was a relief to be able to save him.”

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Multi-lot Court Square development site hits the market for $41.5M


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Modern Spaces

A seven-lot portfolio near the heart of the hot Court Square area in Long Island City is asking for $41.5 million, and will probably get that much or more soon.

A collection of six landlords are selling the two- and three-story townhouse buildings on the parcels, which are being marketing by Modern Spaces and The Corcoran Group.

The landlords combined the properties to maximize buildable rights. Together the site has about 11,145 square feet, and offers 167,000 buildable square feet, The Real Deal reported.

The portfolio of properties has only been on the market for three days and there have been offers around the asking price, said Evan Daniel, vice president at Modern Spaces. Three of the buildings are located on 45th Avenue at 23-10, 23-14, and 23-16. The remaining properties are at 45-03, 45-05, 45-07 and 45-09 23rd St.

The size and zoning of the site allows for many possible uses, and Daniel believes it could be great for a mixed-use structure.

“I think retail hasn’t really come yet to this area, but we all know it will come here. I think it would be good for this project,” Daniel said. “You can have a tremendous mixed-use project here with residential, office and retail.”

Because it is located across from One Court Square, also known as the Citibank Building, and near the mix of Court Square subway transit options, the location will be attractive to developers.

“One thing we know about this project is that location is second to none,” Daniel said.

23rd Street Properties

23rd Street properties

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Developing Queens: Hunter’s Point South is an example of what the city needs


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos courtesy of Related Companies

Frank J. Monterisi, Jr. is a senior vice president at Related Companies, where he is responsible for overseeing residential developments in New York and Chicago. Since joining Related in 2007, Monterisi has overseen the construction of 4 million square feet of residential housing valued at more than $2 billion. A native of Whitestone, Monterisi returned to his hometown to manage the Hunter’s Point South Living development in Long Island City, which will bring 925 permanently affordable apartments to the area. However, there were nearly 93,000 applicants for those units. 

La Guerre: So you’re a Queens native? Tell me about growing up here.

Monterisi: I grew up in Queens. I went to Holy Cross High School. There are two things that I wanted to be in my life. One was a marine and the other was a real estate developer. I went to the Naval Academy with the intentions of being a marine officer. I got nominated for the academy by Congressman Tom Manton and his office was in Long Island City. I remember going to my interview for the nomination on Queens Boulevard. Just think, 20 years later I would be building buildings in his district.

La Guerre: What’s changed in Long Island City that you like or don’t like?

Monterisi: Changes that I like are there are many new restaurants that popped up, new places, more people moved in and there is more density so things are getting built up and that is a good thing from a real estate developer’s perspective.

La Guerre: With the influx of this developing boom, the industrial sector of Long Island City is being threatened. Where do you stand on this issue?

Monterisi: New York needs more housing. At the same time there is a look and feel that as authentic, native New Yorkers, you want to see preserved. The two things can co-exist.

La Guerre: But what about the possibility of another residential–focused rezoning for the neighborhood?

Monterisi: That is a good thing, because we need to find neighborhoods for growth. We need to find places to build affordable housing like Hunter’s Point South, which will stay affordable so that New Yorkers can stay in New York and we don’t see the flight of people getting priced out

La Guerre: What does it say about this city when you get 93,000 applications for 925 units in the Hunter’s Point South buildings?

Monterisi: All those people, the average everyday New Yorker, what’s at the top of their list? To find a nice place to live without horrible rent stories.

La Guerre: What is the next step in the process for future tenants?

Monterisi: We just got the list from the city last week, and now there is an administrative process and after that happens we will start calling people and inviting them to meet our team and talk about the buildings. We are hopeful that by spring time we’ll have places for people to move into.

La Guerre: What will people be most amazed at when seeing this project when they step into it for the first time?

Monterisi: The views are off the charts — it’s some of the best views in New York City. When people get into the building they are going to say to themselves “I know people that live across the river and pay three times the rent that I am paying for the same apartment.”

Frank Monterisi

Frank Monterisi

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LIC boutique hostel to host first Queens Brewers Night


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Image courtesy of The Local NY

It is time to raise your glass to Queens.

In celebration of the booming borough being recently named the No. 1 travel destination in the United States by travel guidebook company Lonely Planet, Long Island City boutique hostel The Local NY will be hosting the first Queens Brewers Night.

In December, Queens made the top of the list of the company’s Best in the U.S. 2015, selected by Lonely Planet’s authors and ranked by its U.S. editors.

Each of the craft breweries recognized by Lonely Planet — Big Alice, Rockaway, Singlecut and Transmitter — will be serving their latest drinks on Feb. 7 alongside live music.

The Local NY, located at 13-02 44th Ave., was also featured by Lonely Planet.

Local bands Fairways, Hips & Brows and Fuxida will perform, and Queens food vendors will be selling food.

Queens Brewers Night goes from 7 to 10 p.m. and tickets are $20.15. To purchase tickets, click here.

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City considering rezoning Long Island City for even more housing


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

The residential construction boom in Long Island City may continue for much longer as the city mulls over a potential rezoning to allow more high-rise apartment buildings in the neighborhood.

City Hall is considering up-zoning an area covering about 100 blocks, which includes the Queens Plaza and Court Square sections, to promote more residential buildings, including many with mixed-income units, to combat the affordable housing crisis in the city, according to a published report.

The plan has support from some in the community, but also draws concern about upgrading public amenities for current residents, such as transportation and schools, before bringing in more people. Even without the up-zoning, thousands of new residents will be coming to Long Island City in the near future.

There are already about 20,000 units under construction in the neighborhood, business advocacy group Long Island City Partnership told the Wall Street Journal.

Other community leaders feel it could further diminish the shrinking manufacturing sector in the burgeoning neighborhood and put pressure on the balance the community is trying to maintain.

The LIC Partnership will conduct its own planning study, focusing on how to balance business, residential, tech and industrial growth in the area in years to come.

The New York City Regional Development Economic Council awarded a $100,000 grant for the study and subsequent plan that will be created from it.

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Ridgewood rents skyrocketing since end of recession


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Charts and photos courtesy of StreetEasy.com

“Quooklyn,” “Ridgewick,” “Ridgebetween,” whatever you want to call it, rents in Ridgewood have exploded in the city’s newest hot neighborhood since the end of the recession.

Rents in Ridgewood last year increased about 63 percent since 2009, according to data compiled by real estate website StreetEasy.com at the request of The Courier, as more luxury rental buildings moved down the L and M train lines from Bushwick and Williamsburg.

The data finds the median price of rents in Ridgewood last year increased to $2,182 from $1,340 in 2009, good for first place in rents charged in Queens. Even when comparing year-to-date numbers between last year and 2013, Ridgewood experienced median rent increases of more than $382, while Astoria saw only a $50 increase and Long Island City actually had a decline.

“While rents remained flat in Queens between 2013 and 2014, some neighborhoods experienced a surge in prices,” said Alan Lightfeldt, a StreetEasy data scientist. “Ridgewood — also known as ‘Ridgebetween’ because of its new found status as an ‘in-between’ neighborhood of Brooklyn and Queens — saw prices increase by just over 21 percent as demand for the neighborhood has surged in recent years.”

This “new-found status” has helped businesses and created a buzz about Ridgewood that excites some longtime locals, and makes former residents want to come back, but renters are paying for it.

 

09-14 Rents

Another interesting find from the data suggests rising prices will continue in the Rockaways, which had previously recorded a drop due to effects from Superstorm Sandy.

“As this neighborhood continues its recovery from the destruction of Superstorm Sandy, rents have increased rapidly but still remain lower than they were five years ago — a sign that the rental market in Rockaways still has room for further recovery in the months and years ahead,“ Lightfeldt said.

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Four-story LIC building near waterfront sells for $12 million


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Scott Bintner/PropertyShark

Elmhurst-based Eunhasu Corporation bought a four-story building in Long Island City near the waterfront for $12 million, according to city property records filed on Friday.

The industrial building at 47-33 5th St., is zoned for residential development, and the previous owner had approved plans with the Buildings Department to convert the building from a manufacturing use.

Under the previous owner’s plans, the building would become a six-story residential structure with 14 units, according to filings, and Brooklyn-based architecture firm Thread Collective was designing the property. Now that the building has been sold, it’s fair to say those plans could see some adjustment.

The seller, 47-33 5th Street Corp., turned a nearly $10 million profit off the building after purchasing it in 2003 for $2.25 million, according to city records.

Eunhasu Corp has been active on the selling side of the market as well. In October last year, the Elmhurst company sold a warehouse in LIC to GDC Properties for $37 million.

GDC Properties is demolishing that warehouse and hopes to construct townhouses on the property.

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Private sanitation truck hits and kills bicyclist in LIC


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

AmbulanceInMotionHC0507_L_300_C_Y-624x416

A private sanitation truck fatally struck a man as he was riding his bicycle in Long Island City Saturday night, police said.

The truck was traveling northbound on Vernon Boulevard about 7:15 p.m. when it made a right turn onto 41st Avenue and hit the bicyclist, police said.

EMS pronounced the bicyclist, 36-year-old Hoyt Jacobs, of Brooklyn, dead at the scene.

The driver remained at the site of the incident. The investigation is ongoing.

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Sunnyside map updated to attract more visitors to neighborhood


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District

Navigating the streets of Sunnyside just got better.

The Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District, in partnership with the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce and LaGuardia Community College, has released this year’s updated map for the neighborhood.

The map features full-color illustrations and an updated business directory of Sunnyside. A total of 15,000 maps were printed and will be distributed at hotels in Long Island City, Sunnyside and Woodside, local businesses and real estate offices, and community events.

The introduction of this map is an effort to bring in new people to the neighborhood while also familiarizing new residents with the area.

“The Sunnyside map is a great piece to promote the neighborhood,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District. “I was glad to see how well it was received last year, and we are grateful [to our] local businesses for supporting it again this year.”

The map, which will be updated every year with a new business directory and is printed locally at Paper Plus Printing, was started last year following a design competition among students at LaGuardia Community College. The artwork featured on the map for both this year and last year belongs to former student Carmen Zhu.

“Like Sunnyside itself, [the map] is both retro and fresh, and a useful, free, tangible gift to visitors and residents in this era of all online resources,” said Rigoberto Cardoso, president of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce.

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Five interesting facts about Queens home sales in 2014


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of The Continental Park /Chart courtesy of REBNY 

The Real Estate Board of New York released its 2014 fourth quarter home sales report for the five boroughs on Tuesday, which showed that homebuyers spent nearly $10 billion in New York City during the final three months of the year.

Since a ton of cash was spent, here are five interesting and maybe surprising facts pulled from the report showing how Queens fits into the big picture: 

Playing catch-up

Homebuyers spent 10 percent more money in Queens, the city’s most diverse borough, in the fourth quarter of 2014 than the previous quarter, accounting for $1.78 billion. Brooklyn, the city’s most populous borough, had total sales of $1.97 billion in the quarter, which results in a drop of 1.43 percent from the third quarter. Of course Manhattan leads the pack, but saw a major drop of 22.56 percent from the third quarter with just $5.3 billion in home sales.

Up, up and away

The prices of homes in the borough are definitely moving on up. The average sales price of a home in Queens was $463,000, up 7 percent from the fourth quarter in 2013. However, this pales in comparison to Manhattan and Brooklyn. The average price in Manhattan increased a whopping 19 percent from last year to $1.65 million, and people actually paid 15 percent more for a home in Brooklyn at an average price of $713,000. Fuhgeddaboudit!

REBNY chart

Condo “mini”-ums

Condos in “The World’s Borough” actually saw a decrease in prices, the report found. The average price of a condominium in Queens decreased 3 percent to $477,000. This is drastically different from “skyscraper world,” otherwise known as Manhattan, where prices for condos rose year over the year, increasing 37 percent to an average of $2.33 million.

Flushing in first

The report showed that the combined neighborhoods of Rego Park, Forest Hills and Kew Gardens had the most home sales with 443 in the fourth quarter. But to be fair, Flushing, which was counted alone, should take home the crown for most sales. The neighborhood recorded 401 home sales in the quarter.

And the winners are….

The area in Queens with the highest percent increase in the fourth quarter of 2014 over the year included the Howard Beach and Broad Channel neighborhoods, which saw a 25 percent jump in home prices to an average of $427,000. Long Island City had the most expensive prices with an average of $915,000.

Click here to read the full report.

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Popular Mechanics features Queens in ‘best startup cities in America’ list


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Queens has not only been named the number one destination to visit in the U.S. but, according to one magazine, it’s also among the top places in the country to start a business.

In its February issue, currently on newsstands, Popular Mechanics has selected Queens as one of the “14 best startup cities in America.”

“No disrespect to San Francisco or Brooklyn, but we wanted to identify the next wave of cities building an ecosystem to turn innovators into entrepreneurs,” the magazine’s editors wrote.

Coming in at number 12, Queens was selected for offering lower rents than its outer-borough neighbor to the south, which often overshadows it.

The publication highlights QNS Collective, a co-working space that opened in Astoria in 2013, and nonprofit Coalition for Queens for supporting local tech startups. It also mentions Long Island City’s renovated Falchi Building, home to Coalition for Queens, The Food Box, Lyft’s New York City operations and other businesses with room for more tenants.

The Falchi Building (Image courtesy of Jamestown)

One new business that kicked off in the last year took advantage of the co-working spaces in the area.

Long Island City resident Alex Jae Mitchell founded Audiokite.com nine months ago and a month later launched out of a co-working space in Astoria, Create NY Space. His website offers independent musicians feedback on their songs from the public.

Mitchell, speaking to The Courier last year about why he decided to launch his business in Queens, said cheaper rent was a motivating factor.

“The low rent costs help me put everything I have into my business,” he said.

Other locations on Popular Mechanics’ list include St. Louis, Mo.; Asheville, N.C.; Oakland, Calif.; Portland, Maine; Baltimore, Md.; Holyoke, Mass.; Boulder, Colo.; Reno, Nev.; Des Moines, Iowa; Cleveland, Ohio; Urbana, Ill.; Detroit, Mich.; and Austin, Texas.

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15-story residential tower planned for Long Island City


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Scott Bintner/PropertyShark

Great Neck firm New York Lions Group has been active on multiple western Queens residential developments and recently added another project.

The group filed plans with the Buildings Department to begin construction in Long Island City on a residential tower, which will be a 15-story, mixed-use commercial and residential building with 88 apartments, according to city records.

The site at 27-01 Jackson Ave., which is currently home to a gas station, will have about 7,000 square feet of commercial space and is being designed by Raymond Chan Architect.

Lions Group picked up the site for $11.6 million in 2013, according to city records.

Not long ago, the development firm refiled plans to construct an eight-story condo with 15 apartments at 42-83 Hunter St. in Long Island City.

The building will have 12,336 square feet of living space and is being designed by Flushing-based MY Architect PC.

And construction plans will begin soon on Lions Group’s 77-unit Astoria condo, blocks away from the waterfront, according to Ramin Shirian, vice president of the firm.

The new building, called The Baron, will be located at 14-07 Broadway and is expected to be completed in September of 2016.

The Baron will have 73,500 square feet of space and is replacing two auto mechanic shops. The modern, glassy building with terraces will also be designed by Raymond Chan Architect.

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Petition started to prevent developers from trademarking ’5Pointz’ name


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Supporters are coming together in an online petition to stop developer G&M Realty from trademarking the name “5Pointz” and using it on its upcoming luxury apartment towers.

Jerry Wolkoff, owner of the property on Jackson Avenue and Davis Street in Long Island City, and his company G&M Realty submitted an application early last year to have the name of the graffiti mecca, which has since been demolished, trademarked. He planned to use it as a name for the two apartment towers — one 47 stories and the other 41 stories tall.

Last week, The United States Patent and Trademark Office denied Wolkoff his application because a California-based real estate company had already trademarked the name. He can appeal the decision and reapply for the trademark.

5Pointz spokeswoman Marie Cecile-Flageul said Wolkoff’s decision to attempt to trademark what 5Pointz curator and CEO Jonathan “Meres One” Cohen and artists worked years to create just adds to the “constant disrespect” shown since the graffiti mecca was whitewashed in November of 2013.

Wolkoff ordered to have the building and all the aerosol work that covered it painted white overnight, only a few days after artists and supporters held rallies looking to save the site and requested the site be landmarked.

Cecile-Flageul said that they decided to start the petition on MoveOn.org to shed light on what is happening and also to remind people that the fight still continues.

“We thought it was a good way for people to voice how much they care about 5Pointz almost a year after the whitewash,” she said. “People have not forgotten and are still willing to fight for the name.”

Cecile-Flageul also said that although the building is no longer there, 5Pointz still exists — but is just homeless. 5Pointz Aerosol Art Center was incorporated in 2003.

She added that although Wolkoff says he was part of the creation of the name, he had nothing to do with it and wants to trademark the name “as a marketing tool.”

Last August, Wolkoff released a rendering of a reserved space for graffiti which will be on the new building’s exterior near a rear courtyard, and will be open to the public.

Rendering courtesy of HTO Architect

“He is also insisting that the artists are going to be back and it’s going to be better and bigger. For me it’s very concerning because it shows no understanding [of] what 5Pointz really was,” Cecile Flageul said. “You can never really recreate what 5Pointz was.”

The petition, which since Tuesday garnered 2,094 signatures, will be used in case Wolkoff decides to appeal the trademark decision and will also be sent to Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.

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Woodside man beautifies neighborhood one fire alarm box at a time


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

Call him the anti-graffiti artist.

Woodside resident John S. Colgan has turned outdoor walls, fire boxes, lampposts and hydrants into his canvas — not in an illegal effort at self-expression but to battle the defacing of his beloved neighborhood by graffiti.

Colgan got tired of waiting around for someone to clean up his community from the work of graffiti vandals, so instead he picked up a paintbrush and took matters into his own hands.

For the past three and a half years, Colgan, who goes by “Fire Alarm Guy” on Twitter, has been going around the western Queens neighborhood he calls home and fighting the problem of graffiti, along with bringing fire alarm boxes back to life.

“I wanted to do something nice for the neighborhood,” he said. “When I was a kid in the ’80s everything was pristine. People took care of things themselves back then. If you want to get rid of graffiti in the neighborhood, you have to do it yourself.”

After deciding to give back to community after attending church one morning, the 39-year-old security guard began to repaint lampposts, fire hydrants and fire alarm boxes in Woodside.

He has also taken the time to paint murals underneath bridges in the neighborhood, including a large American Flag, paid for by American Legion Post #1836, located on 32nd Avenue between 56th and 58th street. He plans to update the mural and add more detail to it during the summer. 

“That’s how it all started: I decided to give back, and now I’m addicted to it,” he said. 

Colgan said before he worked in the shadows, because he thought he would get into trouble for painting, but now he goes around talking to people about the issues, in hopes of getting more people involved. 

Taking things further, for the past two years, Colgan has teamed up with the Woodside Neighborhood Association and also begun going around covering up graffiti during a nightly patrol, which at first was just out of habit. Every night he drives around the neighborhood and finds fresh graffiti tags on walls and covers them up with paint he keeps at the ready in his car. He uses whatever color he has on hand. 

Members of the Woodside Neighborhood Association then come back to the site and paint over with a “battleship gray” color so that the new paint looks uniform with the rest. 

Photo courtesy of John S. Colgan

Photo courtesy of John S. Colgan

“The point is if you cover [the graffiti] within 24 hours, the taggers talk to each other and tell each other not to tag there,” he said. “The bottom line is people have to do it themselves. If they don’t fix it then they just get used to seeing it.”

Mostly all the paint used for the projects is purchased from a local shop called Gleason Paint, located at 65-01 Roosevelt Ave. Colgan said that at times the store donates paints and helps with any questions he might have. 

In the past couple of weeks, Colgan said he had noticed less graffiti in his neighborhood and has been able to move his cleanup project to Long Island City and parts of Jackson Heights. He also helps paint hydrants, lampposts and fire alarm boxes found in the perimeter of local police precincts such as the 114th and 108th precincts. 

As the weather gets warmer, Colgan plans to move further into the borough and help cover up graffiti in other areas such as Astoria and Corona. 

“The original goal was just to make it look nice and when I was painting people were stopping,” Colgan said. “The neighborhood is behind me now. They’re taking pride in the neighborhood.”

To see Colgan’s works and get updated information follow @firealarmguy75 on Twitter or @thewoodsideavenger on Instagram.

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Rego Park studio rents soaring: report


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

ContourLR1

Fueled by hot luxury listings, studio apartment rents in Rego Park are going through the roof after another huge monthly increase in December.

Rego Park renters were likely to pay $184, or about 12 percent, more on average for a studio apartment in December than November, according to MNS Real Estate’s monthly Queens Rental Market Report, which was released Thursday.

The change in rates was quite drastic over a relatively short period of time. Studio renters in Rego Park were likely to pay an average of just $1,325 per month in August, instead of the current $1,717, according to MNS.

The real estate firm highlighted the neighborhood in the report and called its monthly increase “surprising.” That’s probably how future renters will feel when they realize the popular neighborhood of Astoria currently has an average asking rent of about $127 less per studio.

But the top rates in Rego Park were caused by the change in inventory, according to the report.

“Rego Park saw a decrease in studio inventory with various lower price rentals coming off the market, leaving a small number of higher priced units, namely at The Contour on 97-45 Queens Boulevard,” the report said.

In Jackson Heights there was a similar trend in two-bedroom rates over the month, which rose $230 to an average price of $2,317 per month. Jackson Heights, which has an inventory problem, has the lowest availability of two-bedroom apartments in the borough with just six, the report said. The neighborhood also has the highest demand for two-bedroom apartments as units have an average of 19 days on the market.

Long Island City led the pack again with the highest rental prices for studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments in December, according to the report.

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