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NYC's up-and-coming retail strips, from Manhattan to Queens

From food trends to dating apps and hangout hotspots, New Yorkers are always looking for the next big deal.

This also applies to retail strips around the city that are attracting the trendy places to eat and shop — think Bleecker Street in Manhattan, Steinway Street in Astoria and Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg.

New developments and the sudden desirability of neighborhoods are changing streets that were lined with pizza shops and delis or were littered with vacancies and half-finished construction sites.

We scoured the city for spots that are poised to become major destinations for shopping, nightlife and the brunch crowd.

From avenues in Manhattan that are already full of businesses but lack a specific identity to streets in Brooklyn and Queens that haven’t yet reached their full potential, here’s what our experts predict.

10th Avenue from West 35th to 50th Streets, Manhattan

New developments on the far West Side --
Photo Credit: Jeff Bachner

New developments on the far West Side -- such as the Hudson Yards complex and luxury buildings like the VIA 57 West rental, which opened this year at 625 W. 57th St., and the One West End condo that is slated to open next year at 1 West End Ave. -- are bringing a wealthier demographic to the area.

And while New Yorkers will always love their delis, pizza shops and no-frills grocery stores, like those that currently populate 10th Avenue in midtown, the new crowd will also want fancy restaurants and upscale gyms, according to Julia Maksimova, senior commercial specialist at the real estate agency Keller Williams NYC.

"They're going to want a coffee shop, a nice lunch place that is healthy and quick, a nice restaurant for dinner," she explained, adding that the amenities the developments offer -- such as the Neiman Marcus coming to Hudson Yards -- are setting the bar higher for services nearby.

"It reminds me a bit of Fifth Avenue when it started to rebuild itself under the Flatiron [District]," observed Delores Rubin, chair of Community Board 4. But she isn't sure the neighborhood's infrastructure and long-time residents will benefit from the changes.

"For the city, it's bringing in revenue and an attraction for the tourists," she said, "but for your longstanding residents ... it's brought in millions of people into the neighborhood that doesn't normally bring in people."

The trend is also driving up commercial rents.

About five years ago, Keller Williams was moving retail space on the far West Side at less $100 per square foot, and now it's going for about $125, Maksimova said.

Bob Gereke, 66, who owns Mud, Sweat and Tears, a pottery studio on 10th Avenue and 46th Street, added that the "culture" of Hell's Kitchen changed drastically in the last 10 years.

"A lot of people's rent has gone up. The dollar store across the street had to close because the rent got too high," he said. "A lot of the old Hell's Kitchen people had to move onto different areas."

Jackson Avenue between 42nd Road and 44th Drive, Queens

Jackson Avenue, which is just a few blocks
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

Jackson Avenue, which is just a few blocks from the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge in Long Island City, is becoming a hotspot in the Queens restaurant scene, according to local experts.

What once was known for artists' lofts, garages and warehouses will in the next few months be home to eateries like Chipotle, the artisanal cafe Toby's Estate Coffee and an outpost of Luzzo's pizzeria, according to the Long Island City Partnership.

Though other parts of the street already have some attractions, like Dutch Kills Bar and MoMA PS1, the recent development of luxury condos is bringing demand for more places to eat and shop, according to Elizabeth Lusskin, the partnership's president.

"The retail potential -- and need -- is enormous, as well as the opportunity to join really distinctive local retailers and businesses already in the neighborhood, many of them destinations in and of themselves," she said.

Jorge Loaiza 38, who owns The Inkan restaurant at 45-02 23rd St., two blocks off Jackson, said he's also noticed a drop in crime.

"The area is becoming 'Little Manhattan,'" he said.

The partnership and other local officials, including Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, expect a spiral effect that will eventually bring other kinds of retail.

"We have a lot of restaurants, pubs and bars, and folks want to have the hardware store and the garment store," Van Bramer said. "We're seeing that movement."

New mixed-use buildings being developed in the neighborhood will offer plenty more retail space on the ground floor, the councilman added.

"The retail will flow naturally out of the increase of people coming in," he said.

Third Avenue between 15th Street and Wyckoff Street/St. Marks Place, Brooklyn

Fourth Avenue in Gowanus and Park Slope has
Photo Credit: Ivan Pereira

Fourth Avenue in Gowanus and Park Slope has been the epicenter of a decade of new residential development, and now some of that change is moving west, experts say.

While Third Avenue in Gowanus was formerly filled exclusively with industrial warehouses, gas stations and auto body shops, slowly it's becoming the home of businesses like the Griffin Edition printing shop, that opened at Sixth Street in 2013, and restaurants like Table 87, a pizza place that opened at 10th Street in 2014.

A 56,000-square-foot Whole Foods also opened, in 2013 at Third Street.

"Right now you'll see a pretty sharp contrast between old and new," said Craig Hammerman, district manager for Brooklyn Community Board 6, which covers the area.

"There are plenty of established businesses out there, industrial and commercial, and a few bodegas and old-style restaurants that have been out there for decades," he said. "But by sharp contrast you'll also see this new wave of development on Third Avenue -- new restaurants, new bars, new cultural establishments."

Joe Nocella, who in 2011 opened 718 Cyclery, a bike shop at 254 Third Ave., said this part of Third Avenue was once a "ghost town" for anything other than manufacturing, but improvements to the streetscape are also making it more welcoming lately.

"They've been widening the streets and fixing the sidewalks," he said.

But, as usual, commercial rents are rising as a result, noted Councilman Brad Lander.

Bridging Gowanus, a community activism group Lander is involved with, is working to keep Third Avenue's unique mix of manufacturing space and retail, he said.

"There's a lot of exciting things emerging on Third Avenue. Over the last couple of years it's just been tremendous," he said. "I think there's good reason to be optimistic that will continue."

Broadway from West 34th to 42nd streets, Manhattan

Broadway in the Garment District, like 10th Avenue
Photo Credit: Vincent Barone

Broadway in the Garment District, like 10th Avenue in midtown, is already a heavily commercial strip -- but its character is also changing.

While it's historically been mostly populated with lobbies for office buildings and delis where workers grab quick bites for lunch, recently it's been attracting national retailers and property owners are being more creative with their ground floor spaces, experts said.

In the last 10 years, big chains like Urban Outfitters, Shake Shack and Papyrus have opened on Broadway between Herald and Times Squares, making the strip more attractive for Saturday afternoon shopping.

"That area had no identity and now these trendy [chains] are wanting to be there," said Maksimova.

Meanwhile, buildings like 1441 Broadway, which is now being called 10 Times Square, and 1407 Broadway changed their ground floor spaces to allow for multiple retailers, she said.

Over at 1411 Broadway, a public plaza is being built, where people will be able to sit and chat and have lunch.

However, all hope is not lost for mom-and-pops in the area, according to Barbara Blair, president of the Garment District Alliance. Affordable space is still available on the side streets, she said.

"There are boutique retail and restaurants, and they are fantastic," Blair said of the streets perpendicular to Broadway.

For example, businesses like the FIKA coffee shop at 114 W. 41st St. and Arno Ristorante, an Italian fine-dining spot at 141 W. 38th St., get plenty of foot traffic coming off of Broadway, she said.

"The uses on the side streets, in my eye, are well-balanced with what's happening on the avenues," Blair said.

With Bazona Bado and Nicholas Morales


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