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The Growth of Long Island City


You may have read our article on the Birth of Long Island City. Granted, we posted that piece 8 years ago. So as a life-time Astoria/Long Island City resident myself I felt this article was long due for an update. In the past 8 years, Long Island City has not only grown but flourished as one of the top neighborhoods to live within New York’s five boroughs. Take a look at the NY Magazine article on this exact topic! The combination of an easy commute to midtown Manhattan along with a plethora of restaurants, parks, and cultural diversity has made it one of NYC’s most desirable neighborhoods to visit and live.

For more on the history of LIC going from a fairly industrial neighborhood to high-rise luxury buildings, refer to the “Birth of Long Island City”. For more current information on what Long Island City is today from rent prices refer to the NY Mag article! At Unpakt, we’ll show you some of the best destinations in LIC for food, culture and enjoying the upcoming warm weather!

How do I get to LIC?

The N, W, R, 7 or G trains depending on where you’re coming from. Regardless, it’s not a long commute from the city of Brooklyn. With its close proximity to the city, it’s no wonder why LIC is attracting not only new residents but high-rise developers and real estate professionals to take advantage of this boom.

Warm Weather on the Horizon – Things to do outside:

  • Socrates Sculpture Park. An Astoria/LIC staple, the sculpture park has rotating outdoor exhibits from a variety of artists. It’s always a good place to take someone special for a picnic surrounded by some stunning, large-scale art pieces.
Long Island City
  • Gantry Plaza State Park/Hunters Point South Park. There’s no better place to go on a warm day to enjoy a cold drink and some great food with a breathtaking view of the Manhattan Skyline. The crowd here, especially during warmer months, is welcoming and friendly. Families playing with kids and dogs are commonplace. You’ll also see groups of people enjoying a couple rounds of cold beers by the water, taking in the view. You can also take a walk from the Gantry Plaza State Park to the Hunters Point South Park, right along the water.

Restaurants and Nightlife:

  • Astoria Seafood/Elias Corner. The border between Astoria and LIC seems to be a cause of confusion. Both of these staples of the neighborhood are fresh fish markets with a twist: they cook and serve your food right in the establishment. It’s worth going for the experience alone. Choosing a fish and watching while it is cooked fresh while you wait is an experience in and of itself. Pro-tip from a resident: Astoria Seafood is the more well-known of the two establishments. So if you’d like to avoid crowds on a Friday or Saturday night, I’d advise Elias Corner. In terms of quality, they are both incredible!
  • LIC Flea and Food. The premier and maybe most well-known destination for curated vintage products, along with artisan food and beer selections. This is a must-visit for anyone visiting or thinking about living in LIC.
  • Kaufman Astoria Studios. This studio is not only an extremely successful movie studio with major motion pictures filmed here all the time. Kaufman Theaters is also around the corner and makes it extremely easy for LIC residents to catch a movie locally on a rainy day. You won’t even have to go into the city (though the commute is only 15 minutes or so!)
  • Singlecut Brewery/LIC Beer Project. Both breweries are conveniently located in NYC. Craft beer drinkers or brewery enthusiasts will find themselves right at home with a large selection of beers as well as live music.
  • We could make an entire post on restaurants and cafés in LIC as they are constantly popping up. This goes the same for boutique and thrift shopping destinations. Ultimately, it’s about exploring the neighborhood! You’ll be sure to find something that strikes your interest, even if it’s just one of LIC’s phenomenal and often-gourmet food-trucks.

Museums and Culture

With the most represented countries in the smallest number of square miles, Queens is known as the cultural melting pot of the city. Just walking down the street and hearing different languages is refreshing. What’s more, you’re so close to midtown Manhattan with the MET and Natural History Museum in easy distance. In terms of museums locally, depending on what you enjoy Astoria/LIC has you covered!

  • Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). With constantly rotating exhibits, the MOMA is a must-visit for any modern art enthusiast. If you’re there to see some classic Andy Warhol paintings this is also the right place!
  • Museum of the Moving Image. This is connected with Kaufman Astoria Studios and does not only have rotating exhibits, but also some permanent installations. Anyone who is interested in the history of television and movies might want to spend all day here. Between kid-friendly interactive exhibits (something MOMA may lack) to original movie props and costumes, they have something for everyone.
  • Noguchi Museum. With art both constant and rotating art installations the Noguchi Museum is extremely known throughout the city. There are also outdoor garden areas to enjoy lunch on a nice day. That means it’s a great, kid-friendly environment when you need some fresh air!

A good portion of the population in LIC/Astoria has moved from out of state. That is why we thought we should include this blog post here to make finding your new apartment that much easier! Thanks for reading!

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Unpakt Team