A view of the New York skyline from Hunter's Point South in Long Island City, New York

 


 

Closer to the Skyline - Hunter's Point South

Posted on 12/15/2014 by New Yorker

A few years ago I decided that it was time for me to enjoy the bright lights of New York City and migrate to the tiny island of an incredible skyline aka Manhattan where everyone who is anyone seemed to want to live. Being an island boy myself having born and bred in the Caribbean, I felt like it was time to return to my “island roots”, albeit an island of glitzy skyscrapers in the city that never sleeps, a far cry from the sleepy shores of the sleepy West indies.

Since I knew well in advance that I would not be able to afford to buy a property on this coveted space, I started browsing the internet in the hope of finding a place to rent.  The dream was to live in the coveted concrete of New York City that incredible space that packed dwellers into every inch like they were taking up residence in the Promised Land.  

I pulled myself up by the bootstraps and boarded the train of optimism to Grand Central in search of a new residence. I had heard that the price of planting a living seed in the Big Apple was a pretty penny, so I appropriately eliminated any thought of landing anything bigger than studio, and hoped that the rental gods would be kind enough to lead me to a bargain somewhere on the island.  After viewing what felt like every low cost studio in the city, I stumbled on what seemed like the deal of a lifetime - a studio on the Westside in midtown for a rock bottom $800 per month. Nothing I had come across was even a distant close to this price so I was hopeful, but a little voice in my head kept reiterating that it was probably too good to be true. Notwithstanding this, the thought of blind leasing this apartment played over and over in my mind as I tried to convince myself that no matter how terrible the apartment was, at  $800 it was going to be a steal. After all, I thought, this was Manhattan. 

As I entered the building housing the studio, I thought to myself “pre-war”, old, even a little dingy but not bad at all. Then progressively another thought struck me  “Maybe it would be a small studio on the 6th floor of this narrow walk up.  “But even so” I sighed, “it would still be a steal”. As we walked towards the staircase the expectations within me grew even stronger, until much to my surprise, the real estate agent that was with me proudly declared in a somewhat contradictory regal tone “this is it”.  I asked “where?” And she responded “this is it”. I repeated “where?”  And she said "here". 

Stupefied, I almost collapsed. We were virtually still in the corridor of the ground floor of this building so I was in utter shock.   I had heard ridiculous stories about New York City apartment hunting but this one was aghast.  There was no bed in sight, just a chair, a countertop and what looked like a broken ladder at the end of the hallway. Baffled by the audacity of this seemingly premature proclamation of an apartment, I chokingly inquired, “Where is the bed?”  Then the audacity turned into antipathy as the agent in her fitted mini business suit took a step up the wobbly ladder and pointed to a cobwebbed two foot high space just under the ceiling.  It looked more like a good space to pack a retired suitcase or even hide a fugitive for a few minutes than somewhere to sleep.  Charitably speaking, it was about four feet wide and six feet long.  “Whew” I reasoned sarcastically, “if I took this rental I would only actually be able to get into bed if there was someone passing in the hallway who was kind enough to take a moment of his busy New York time to slot me into the pathetic storage area. As for how on earth I would get out of bed in the morning, I really had no idea.

My search for a Manhattan pad ended that very moment disappointingly. I headed back to the suburbs, tail between my legs, comforted only by the remnants of my dream which I now realised needed to be recalibrated. I looked inwardly to determine what the real draw of the city was for me and quickly realised that while for many it was the notion of living in Manhattan, for me it was being able to see the spectacular skyscrapers that stood majestically on the island and lit up the canvas of skies. There and then I started flirting with the idea of living  in a place where I could truly enjoy the view, not necessarily in the midst of the skyscrapers but definitely closer to the skyline.

Some six years later I am not a resident of Gotham’s main island of Manhattan, the little one that everyone covets.  I am however moving closer since my retreat, and I now live in the queen’s borough on the long island next to it.  I continue to advance in the hopes that I will one day be able to get as close as possible just a step across the East River.  Interestingly, my perseverance is finally beginning to pay off and a new opportunity has just emerged that I am pursuing aggressively.  Where?

Just across the East River, on the banks of the long island there is a new burgeoning long island “city” wooing new residents.  It faces the tiny island directly, square on if you prefer.  It is young, dynamic, full of swagger and extremely beautiful. 

Recently a flurry of new high rises has sprouted from its soil providing incredible views of the tiny island, turning forgotten brownfields into prospective green zones.  It is pricey but not near as pricey as Gotham itself.  The city stepped in recently and started building a new development on the water directly facing the skyline. It is fuelling a desire in me, a place in my heart that is yearning to fulfil the dream of living in a place that gets me closer to the skyline.   The new place is literally a stone’s throw away from the city. It is the place where Gotham meets the Queen, where the tiny island meets the long one, separated only by a narrow river.  It is perfect! From the western end of the long Island you see the tiny one in all its glory, a continuous viewing of the incredible skyline right before your very eyes. From the long island you can almost reach out with your bare hands to touch the mural of city's skyscrapers while feeling the thrust of its wind tunnels ooze through the passageways of your fingers.

I no longer desire to rest my head on the tiny island, and experience the noise of slumber in the city.  I now aspire to sleep comfortably on the opposite side of its magnificence, which for me it so much better.  Hopefully, I will get there very soon as it may just be what I have been looking for - a window to the tiny island that will forever etch in my mind, a view of the Manhattan island, stimulating my senses to enjoy the sights from the luxury and comfort of my long island city window..

HuntersPointSouth.com

HuntersPointSouth.com is a free resource designed to provide visitors with information about the new and exciting Hunter's Point neighborhood in Long Island City New York, including the Hunter's Point South Development, Hunter's Point Parks, including both Gantry Plaza State Park and Hunters Point South Waterfront Park, the surrounding areas, events, and the incredible views of the Manhattan skyline. The website serves as a complete guide to the Hunter's Point community for New Yorkers and tourists alike.

Please note that HuntersPointSouth.com is not officially linked to the City of New York Parks and Recreation.