Long Island City, the name does sound a little far away, like it requires a lengthy drive to get to. Think, again. Long Island City, also known as LIC, is nestled in the western corner of Queens along the East River. Midtown Manhattan is closer to Long Island City than it is to downtown Manhattan.
LIC is bordered by Sunnyside to the east, the East River to the west, Astoria to the north, and Newton Creek which separates Queens from Greenpoint Brooklyn to the south.
A once-shabby manufacturing epicenter, the neighborhood is a mix of industrial, commercial and residential. In recent years it’s seen a rise in some seriously cool factors. Populated by young professionals, multi-ethnic immigrants, and hipsters, LIC has a happening nightlife scene, fantastic restaurants (some of them Michelin starred), art museums and galleries. Much of the waterfront access has been redeveloped into sustainable public green spaces with modern design.
Although much of the industrial / manufacturing companies have since left LIC, many still reside there. They tend to co-exist with new residential building development the same way they do in other neighborhoods like Williamsburg and Greenpoint.
Office building developers and business tenants play a vital role in LIC too. It’s considered New York City’s fourth central business district next to Midtown, downtown Manhattan and downtown Brooklyn.
As you traverse the streets of LIC, you’ll notice the change from block to block. Industrial warehouses on one block, a bustling Main Street, followed by a park block with sleek luxury high-rise buildings. It’s all part of the LIC vibe.
For a small neighborhood, the transportation links are excellent. For starters, you just can’t beat living one subway stop from Manhattan (7 train). Other train lines include E, M, R, N, Q, and the G lines. There are also less conventional methods of transportation like the NYC Ferry, which offers three ferry landings. There is no shortage of CitiBike’s in LIC either. Many folks commute to work by way of cycling over the Queensboro Bridge.
Places like Gantry Park and Hunters Point South Park are perfect spots to sit and chill for a moment. With breathtaking views of Manhattan and the East River, these recently renovated parks are pristine and landscaped. The best part is that they never draw the same crowds that the parks across the river do. It’s easy to find a little solitude here.
The Chocolate Factory – Unfortunately it’s not a chocolate spot as the name implies. This Obie-winning theatre is an experimental arts company that offers dance and theatre performances throughout the year.
MoMA PS1 – Or just PS1 if you’re cool. This former public-school building now houses incredible exhibitions of contemporary art. It features emerging and established artists as well as education and music performances.
Noguchi Museum – There is something magic about smaller museum venues that are off the beaten path. This one is not far from MoMA PS1 and worth the walk. The two-story, 24,400 square foot venue features the incredible work of artist Isamu Noguchi. It also offers a peaceful sculpture garden and a café.
What You Might See
If you’re down by Gantry State Park or any of the other waterfront parks you’ll see one of the best unobstructed views of the Manhattan skyline. The Empire State Building, The Chrysler Building, and the United Nations Building are just a few.
What You Didn’t Know
At 68 floors, Skyline Tower, a residential skyscraper in LIC, is the tallest building in Queens. It won’t have the title long because other structures are due to surpass the building’s height very soon.
The Queensboro Bridge is the only non-tolled car route that connects Queens and Manhattan.