Ten years ago, Long Island City was nothing more than industrial neighborhood occupied by empty warehouses. The Long Island City of 2012 has undergone an extreme transformation, making the neighborhood unrecognizable as compared to a decade ago. From the metamorphosis of the Queens waterfront to the recent culinary boom, Long Island City is undergoing a renaissance that is unparalleled by any Manhattan neighborhood.
Mayor Bloomberg’s “Vision 2020” & the Long Island City Rejuvenation
In March of 2011, Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled the “Vision 2020” Waterfront Project. Bloomberg’s vision, albeit grand, called for the waterways surrounding the five boroughs to be considered New York City’s sixth borough. This new perception of the importance of New York City’s waterfronts has been integral to the thriving LIC community.
Part of Long Island City’s waterfront rejuvenation can be accredited to the recent residential development boom surrounding Gantry Plaza State Park. Residential property developers are leading the way in creating a residential community in Long Island City.
TF Cornerstone, being one of the neighborhood’s more prominent developers, chose Long Island City for their latest developments””aptly named East Coast””due to the endless opportunities the waterfront had to offer. Following their belief that neighborhoods aren’t picked””they’re made, the TF Cornerstone team is just one of multitude of real estate developers creating residential living in Long Island City.
Long Island City Arts: Museums, Sculptures & So Much More
The burgeoning arts scene in Long Island City is certainly worth keeping an eye on. Long before the Long Island City waterfront underwent its modern facelift, 5 Pointz became New York City’s Mecca for graffiti artists. Known as “The Institute of Higher Burning,” 5 Pointz has been aweing audiences with its ever-changing urban art since 1993. 5 Pointz encapsulates a wide history of NYC’s culture, including art, hip-hop and 9/11 memorials
The Museum of Modern Art’s PS1 is another Long Island City highlight, drawing art enthusiasts from the surrounding boroughs and beyond. MoMA PS1 has housed exhibitions by the likes of Clifford Owens and performances by Kraftwerk. MoMA PS1 is a great weekend destination due to its Sunday Sessions: a set of performances, viewings and book launches.
Socrates Sculpture Park is Long Island City’s premiere outdoor destination and the epitome of the neighborhood’s rejuvenation. Once an abandoned landfill, the park is now home to sculptures, community space and a variety of entertainment. Whether you’re interested in an outdoor film after dark or art workshops for the kids, Socrates Sculpture Park has plenty of activities for the entire family.
Gastronomy of Long Island City: A Foodie Heaven
One can’t visit or live in Long Island City without experiencing all of the gastronomical pleasures of the local cuisine. Any local knows to start their day with a piping hot cup of coffee from Sweetleaf in Long Island City. More impressive than Sweetleaf’s brew selection is their java art. Don’t believe us? Be sure to check out their new Long Island City location””opening soon!
When mentioning restaurants in Long Island City, it would be criminal not to mention M. Wells diner. M. Wells most certainly put the LIC dining scene on the map with its summer 2010 opening. The popular Long Island City dining destination received rave reviews from The New York Times and was infamous for such signature dishes as their bone marrow escargot. Unfortunately, M. Wells closed its doors in August of 2011; however, the restaurateurs plan to open a new location in Long Island City soon.
Another recent addition to LIC’s blossoming culinary scene is Alobar on Vernon Boulevard. Alobar’s recent opening was met with enthusiasm from the Long Island City community. Alobar’s owner, Jeff Blath, proclaims having the best beer list in the neighborhood according to Grub Street. Blend in Long Island City””a Latin fusion restaurant””will also find a new home on the neighborhood’s waterfront in early 2013.
Whether you are interested in a diverse culinary culture or access to both traditional and progressive art, Long Island City is your destination. The best of the waterfront’s revitalization has yet to begin and we look forward to embracing this flourishing New York City neighborhood.
Follow Untapped Cities on Twitter and Facebook.