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Get to know Long Island City

There’s something antiquated in Long Island City’s name, for this diverse, newly arty destination located in the New York City borough of Queens hasn’t been an independent city since 1898. And geographically, it’s on Long Island like the rest of Queens, without being of Long Island. The other major date in the life of Long Island City — a much more recent milestone — is 2001, when a centrally located 34-block industrial area was rezoned to allow mixed-use development, including residential high-rises. Amazon or no Amazon, everything about Long Island City spells a good investment. Gentrification in this well-educated area has taken hold in a way that is impossible to miss, if unevenly apparent. Across the East River from Manhattan, Long Island City isn’t just one Queens neighborhood: It takes in the villages of Astoria and Hunters Point (which are the most buzzy and desirable), as well as Ravenswood, Dutch Kills, Middletown, Sunnyside, Blissville, and Bowery Bay. As a result of Long Island City’s sprawl, real estate prices, accessibility, and amenities vary considerably.
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History & Culture

For 28 years, beginning in 1870, Long Island City was independent, formed from the villages and hamlets referenced above. It even had its own mayor. But after its absorption into New York City (which occurred just before the turn of the 20th century), major infrastructure landmarks — the Queens-Midtown Tunnel and the Queensboro Bridge — evidenced its integration with, and close proximity to, Manhattan. Gone or repurposed are the factories representing nationwide companies like Pepsi, Chiclets Gum, and Fisher Electronics, as high-rise residential buildings, film studios, and innovative, creative-class entrepreneurship have emerged to redefine the new LIC. (The Pepsi-Cola sign was designated a New York City landmark in 2016.) Representing the area’s cultural commitment is the Noguchi Museum, which was designed and created by the Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi. Though its origins date from the 1980s, the 24,000-square-foot facility, which debuted in its current form in 2004, illustrates the area’s robust 21st-century cultural profile. And some of Long Island City’s distinguished 19th-century architecture remains, such as the coveted townhouses of the Hunters Point Historic District.

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Dine & Shop

Astoria Seafood, a thriving wholesale and eat-in market, is a beloved institution owned by Spyro Christakos, who keeps his Greek family recipes alive. The venue offers an authentic community experience as you choose and bag your prawns, sardines, or octopus, and then opt for a classic or Christakos family preparation. LIC Market is a go-to for many for its happy hour, weekend brunch, and raved-about slow-roasted pork. And of course the big culinary news is that Casa Enrique just earned its sixth consecutive Michelin star. In terms of shopping, commerce (especially the fashion industry) has been lured by Long Island City’s quick commute from Manhattan and lower rents. Chic and spare, Mimi&Mo is favorite for adults and kids.