The up and coming neighborhood of Long Island City is an ideal mix of both Manhattan and Brooklyn; with an interesting mix of culture and art as well as top luxury high rise apartment buildings and unique skyline sights from the waterfront.
For decades Long Island City was known only as an industrial outlier, identified by the 50-story Citigroup Building constructed in the 1980s and the landmarked neon Pepsi sign from 1940. But these distinctive markers no longer stand out alone, because they are joined by dozens of glittering new mixed-use high-rises. Long Island City is one of the fastest growing business and residential neighborhoods of the new millennium. Tenants find it just as exciting and trendy as Williamsburg and Dumbo – just a quick ride away – but a bit more affordable.
Long Island City, nicknamed LIC, is in the Borough of Queens. It is bordered by the East River on west and Hunter’s Point on north, Jackson Avenue on east, and Newtown Creek – the Brooklyn border – on south. In the new millennium, Long Island City has been one of the fastest growing business and residential areas in all of the five boroughs.
Long Island City has a rich history dating all the way back to the 1640s when it was settled by Dutch farmers. Some geographic areas, like Hallett’s Point in the East River, still retain the names of early settlers 400 years later. In the 1800s, wealthy Manhattanites constructed mansions and settlements in Brooklyn and Queens to escape the heat and congestion of the city. A prime example is Astoria in LIC, built by John Jacob Astor. Later, infrastructural development like the Queensboro Bridge, Long Island Railroad main terminal and a major power plant, as well as proximity to the river, made LIC a natural for industrial development, and the area served as a manufacturing hub until nearly the end of the last century.
In the 1970s, artists began to discover Long Island City’s expansive light-filled lofts which could be converted from industrial uses to live/work studios. Museum of Modern Art was quick to establish, some fifty years ago, the nation’s oldest and 2nd largest non-profit contemporary arts center. Called PS1, it is located in a repurposed school and forms the cultural centerpiece of the community. LIC also boasts Socrates Sculpture Garden, SculptureCenter (NYC’s only non-profit space for contemporary sculpture), Isamu Noguchi Museum, and Fisher Landau Art Center. Anyone who lives in LIC will be quick to mention its incomparable artistic and cultural resources which rival more well-known neighborhoods like Soho, Tribeca, and Williamsburg.
Long Island City has many other features that contribute to excellent quality of life. Residents enjoy a high educational level, lower crime rate than most of the city, quick transportation to Manhattan and both historic and new housing stock.
Tenants and homebuyers who are thinking of Williamsburg or Dumbo may be wise to consider LIC as well, because it is somewhat more affordable, and many homes feature some of the best views available in the city. In fact, views from the boroughs facing Manhattan are superior than the views from Manhattan itself.
Notable buildings in LIC include the Eagle Lofts and the Hayden. The Forge is an absolutely amazing building packed with luxury amenities. Jackson Park is a beautiful new residential tower known as a “360o Living Experience.” Queens Plaza South is a 45-story tower with 16,000 square feet or amenities just opened to the public in 2017. On the East River boardwalk is 4545 Center Blvd. with extraordinary, yet calming views of the skyline. Long Island City is a place where residents can feel excellent quality of life in a rich cultural setting but free from any crowding and tension. People who enjoy art and sophistication along with good value would definitely want to consider this part of our city.