Long Island City

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Get to know Long Island City

There’s something antiquated in Long Island City’s name, for this expansive locale 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. 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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Long Island City 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 varied 21st century ventures 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.

Long Island City Schools

Long Island City Dining & Shopping

LIC can certainly be described as a more spread out neighborhood, and its stores and eateries are distributed accordingly. There isn't one singular main drag or dining district, though you'll certainly find the highest concentrations of options in clusters along Vernon and Jackson Avenues, and along 21st Street by Court Square and Queensboro Plaza. In some regards, the restaurant scene spills over from neighboring Greenpoint, Brooklyn, with countless dynamic offerings from Michelin-starred stalwarts to casual sidewalk cafes that are sure to please even the most finicky foodies. Head into warehouse territory and you'll find a trail of craft breweries to hit after sweating it up at one of the nearby rock bouldering gyms (yes—plural). In terms of shopping, commerce, specially the fashion industry, has been lured by Long Island City’s quick commute from Manhattan and lower rents. Newer haute boutiques and quirky neighborhood holdouts stitch together a vibrant fabric one can spend an entire day exploring.