The Newcomer: Joe Schliffer
Profession: IT consultant and part-time M.B.A. student at NYU.
Resides: A one-bedroom apartment in the Gantry, a new condo development on 5th Street, with his wife and dog.
Years in the neighborhood: One.
“We moved from a small two-bedroom in Astoria, which didn’t allow pets. Now my wife’s commute to midtown takes fifteen minutes door-to-door, and we were able to get a puppy. We already know more people in our neighborhood than in any place we’ve ever lived.”
1. Second Street Dog Run
2nd St. at 50th Ave.
“Every night from 6 to 7:30, a large group of us meet here with our dogs. The dog run has become our little community.”
2. Black and White Train Mural
49th Ave. nr. 5th St.
“I work from home, and I can see the mural from my window. It’s by a local artist, done on plywood in front of a vacant lot.”
47-02 Vernon Blvd., at 47th Ave. 718-729-7708
“I’m a tea drinker, and they have a great assortment. My favorite is rooibos from South Africa. Gossip Girl shoots here a lot. I guess it’s an important part of the show because they keep coming back.”
4. Farmers Market
48th Ave. at Vernon Blvd.
“It’s winding down for the season pretty soon. They have a good selection of fruits and vegetables, and I feel like if I keep buying stuff here, maybe it will get bigger. I’m also a member of the Long Island City CSA [Community Supported Agriculture], which just started.”
5. Gantry Plaza State Park
49th Ave. at Center Blvd.
“The grassy area behind the Pepsi sign has a couple of benches that look toward the river and a wall of high marsh grass. It’s a strange feeling to be watching Manhattan but not be part of it.”
6. LIC Bar
45-58 Vernon Blvd., nr. 45th Rd. 718-786-5400
“They have BBQ and music on Sunday nights and a big back patio area where you can bring dogs. A lot of dog-park people come here.”
50-12 Vernon Blvd., nr. 50th Ave. 718-472-4355
“It’s the best food I’ve had in the neighborhood. Really good steak-frites. We go for brunch a lot.”
8. Manducatis Rustica
46-31 Vernon Blvd., at 46th Rd. 718-937-1312
“New café. My wife and I got the blood-orange and vanilla and hazelnut and chocolate gelato. I think it will be a good addition to the neighborhood.”
9. Bricktown Bagel & Cafe
51-06 Vernon Blvd., nr. 51st Ave. 718-361-2428
“The neighborhood’s first bagel place. They make their own with a lot of malt. My father grew up in the Bronx, and every time I go to visit him in New Jersey I bring him bagels from here.”
10. The Chocolate Factory
5-49 49th Ave., nr. Vernon Blvd. 718-482-7069 “I don’t know much about it other than they have plays and host events like Taste of LIC. But I like the idea of having a little bit of culture in the neighborhood.”
11. Bella Via
47-46 Vernon Blvd., nr. 47th Rd. 718-361-7510
“The best pizza in the neighborhood. The crust is crispy with a little bit of char. The Biancaneve—white pizza with ham, Parmesan, and mozzarella—is the best.”
12. Briggs & Costa
47-12 Vernon Blvd., nr. 47th Ave. 718-392-1102
“This looks like something you’d see in Soho: a furniture store and interior-design studio. They did the furniture in the common room in my building.”
The Old-timer: Lorraine Romano
Profession: Waitress at Manducatis for the past 26 years.
Resides: A two-family stone house on 5th Street with her husband, brother, sister-in-law, and, years ago, their children—now “married and out.”
Years in the neighborhood: 59. “When I was a kid, I lived in the house next door.” “It used to be everybody was related to everybody around here. Everybody was friends with everybody. It was that kind of neighborhood. But the waterfront was not pretty like it is now. It was wooden planks—dead-endlike. It’s nicer now, but you’ve still got to get used to it.”
13. Duane Reade
47-02 Fifth St., at 47th Ave. 718-472-3600
“A few weeks ago, a Duane Reade opened here. The first time I walked in, I was like, ‘Oh my God! I’m in the Twilight Zone.’ We’ve never had places like that.”
14. Brasil Coffee House
48-19 Vernon Blvd., at 49th Ave. 718-729-5969
“It’s very soothing to sit here. They have nice big chairs. When I used to watch my grandkids, I’d have my cappuccino, and they’d be looking all around.”
15. Waterfront Crabhouse
2-03 Borden Ave., at 2nd St. 718-729-4862
“We’ve had a lot of parties here with family—a party for my father when he retired as a policeman. I get the prime rib and a baked potato. And wine. My husband drinks Budweiser—that’s it!”
16. Dorian Café
10-01 Vernon Blvd., at 50th Ave. 718-937-1120
“I’ve been going here since I’m a kid. We used to get either a malted or ice cream in a cup. Now I go for a coffee and a cheeseburger.”
17. Manducatis Rustica
“The owner, Gianna, is the daughter of Vincent Cerbone, who owns Manducatis. She just opened this café with every flavor of gelato: pistachio, mixed berries, pineapple-coconut. I like mango.”
18. Andrews Grove Park
49th Ave. nr. Vernon Blvd.
“I call it 5th Street Park. That’s where we played when we were kids and where I brought our children and now grandchildren.”
19. St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church
10-08 49th Ave., at Vernon Blvd. 718-786-0705
“I got married here in 1970. My parents got married here and remarried here on their 50th anniversary. My children went to grammar school here, too. But the school doesn’t exist anymore. My last son had to transfer out in seventh grade to a school in Greenpoint.”
20. Gantry Plaza State Park
“I take my grandkids to see the helicopters take off and land from the 34th Street heliport. My grandson brings his dump truck and plays with the rocks.”
21. P.J. Leahy’s
50-02 Vernon Blvd., at 50th Ave. 718-472-5131
“If we’re going to go for a nightcap, this is where we go. The place has had four different names over the years, but it’s basically the same.”
22. Jackson Avenue Steakhouse
12-23 Jackson Ave., at 47th Rd. 718-784-1412
“My son was a busboy and became a waiter here. It’s sort of like a Peter Luger. It’s good.”
23. Food Cellar & Co.
4-85 47th Rd., nr. 5th St. 718-606-9786
“For years, there was no grocery store here. I used to go to the Stop & Shop in Sunnyside or Key Food over the bridge. This place just opened. I’ve bought chicken cutlets, sausages. The paninis are good, but it’s kinda pricey.”
24. Vernon Blvd. Pharmacy
48-15 Vernon Blvd., nr. 48th Ave.; 718-361-7390
“You get your medicine pretty fast, and everybody knows everybody.”