EXPLORE LONG ISLAND CITY

DESCRIPTION

As far as first impressions go, the landmarked 4-story Pepsi-Cola sign on the Queens waterfront does the trick for Long Island City. As emphasized by the sign's previous post atop Pepsi's large bottling plant alongside the East River, the neighborhood remains deeply connected to its industrial roots. Lately, however, Long Island City has become home to a burgeoning residential community, with its something-for-everyone vibe and steadily developing cultural scene.

One of the neighborhood's crowning jewels is MoMA PS1, one of the oldest and largest nonprofit contemporary art institutions in the country. Departing from the traditional collecting museum, the space is exhibition-focused with a constant rotation of cultural display ranging from experimental artwork to outdoor musical performances. Another renowned cultural haven is SculptureCenter, a space dedicated to hosting programs for experimental, innovative and contemporary sculpture. More notable LIC strongholds include Silvercup Studios, a film and television production facility that generally films around the neighborhood, and the Queens Library at Court Square.

For seasonal outdoor fun, the LIC Flea & Food Market offers over 70 vendors of handcrafted, locally-made items and international cuisine. The neighborhood also includes not one, but three popular breweries. Each a neighborhood favorite, Big Alice Brewing, Rockaway Brewing Co and LIC Beer Project offer creative craft beers and fresh artisanal flavors. In the restaurant department, Long Island City is home to many neighborhood favorites, including Tournesol, a French bistro; Maducatis, an Italian family-run eatery; and Casa Enrique, a Mexican restaurant and the borough’s only Michelin star holder. Another go-to is The Creek and the Cave, a multi-level comedy club, restaurant and bar that encompasses the artsy LIC-vibe.

HISTORY

The area began to take shape in the early 17th century, when Europeans began to populate Hunters Point. Largely used for farming, the neighborhood began transitioning after the Long Island Rail Road opened a terminus in 1861 and brought more traction to the area.

LANDSCAPE

Situated close enough to Manhattan to make for a convenient commute, yet far enough removed to yield a quiet and residential feel, the neighborhood is best-known for its diverse arts scene, sleek high-rises and modern green spaces. Long Island City is bordered by Astoria to the north, the East River to the west, Sunnyside to the east and Newtown Creek to the south.

Once home primarily to industrial buildings, Long Island City is now brimming with outdoor parks and modern green spaces. Gantry Plaza State Park stands as a 12-acre riverside oasis, offering picnic tables, a playground, a waterfront promenade and more. Hunter's Point South Park, previously an abandoned industrial area, now serves as a 10-acre park with a basketball court, a dog run and a pavilion. Coupled with the neighborhood's sleek high-rises, the plethora of outdoor public spaces and scenic East River views contribute to its status as an equally modern, less crowded alternative Downtown Manhattan.

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