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Discovering the Lost Coast of Queens

The waterfront of Astoria, Queens, has been quiet for decades, but activity is finally picking up.

A wave, of the development kind, finally seems to be forming along the edge of Queens where Astoria meets the East River.

Hoping to turn a long-isolated shoreline with panoramic views of Manhattan into a gold coast, developers are at work on a batch of high-end rental complexes that will add pools and saunas, schools and supermarkets along a stretch that currently has barbed wire, warehouses and power plants.

Locally focused firms, like AKI Development, which opened its 28-unit Graffiti House in the area in December, are planting flags alongside major builders from elsewhere, like the Durst Organization, which is building a 20-story high-rise with a supermarket that will loom over the Astoria Houses, the sprawling public housing complex that anchors the neighborhood.

At the same time, the city is investing in quality-of-life upgrades, including ferry service for the subway-starved neighborhood, which runs from about 36th Avenue to 20th Avenue, west of 21st Street.

A rendering of 34-46 Vernon Boulevard, a 404-unit rental complex on the river by the Alma Realty Corp. The brick doorman complex will have 80 studios, 264 one-bedrooms and 60 two-bedrooms, all of which will have washers and dryers.