Long Island City residents will have a new, more convenient place to pick up prescriptions, toiletries, household items and snacks this coming Sunday.
According to a spokesperson for CVS, the pharmacy will open a new location at 1-50 50th Ave. on Aug. 20. The neighborhood lacks retail despite the uptick in development. Currently, the pharmacies, which include Duane Reade, Vernon Blvd. Pharmacy and Nature’s Prescriptions Pharmacy, are concentrated in the Hunters Point section.
In a Department of City Planning meeting discussing the possible rezoning of the neighborhood earlier this year, residents expressed frustration with the lack of options.
Rebecca Olinger, who has lived in Long Island City for 21 years, said the neighborhood has a dearth of useful retail like drug stores and that much of the retail is concentrated along the waterfront or in luxury high-rise buildings.
“My concern is the retail for the rest of us who do not live in these high-rises,” she said in the February meeting. “The businesses we get are expensive grocery stores, all the amenities that are needed in a neighborhood we are not getting. There is a tremendous amount of us now that do not live on the waterfront. When I moved to this neighborhood we had hardware stores, we had a butcher.”
The new CVS location will also be located along the waterfront, illustrating Olinger’s concern.
At a breakfast forum focusing on real estate in March, Long Island City business owners and real estate agents also discussed the neighborhood’s retail problem. Aaron Fishbein, director of retail real estate at Winick Realty Group, said he is hopeful about retail in the neighborhood.
So far, many of the clients expressing interest have been fitness, medical and education tenants. He calls this the “first wave” of retail tenants and predicts that as more residential buildings attract people to the neighborhood, restaurants will move in, followed by big box stores.