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Long Island City (LIC): Neighborhoods and History

Where Art Meets Industry, and Condos Meet History

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Long Island City

Apartment Building in Hunters Point, Long Island City

Photo (c) John Roleke
Long Island City in western Queens, just across the East River from Midtown Manhattan and the Upper East Side, is one of the most vibrant areas in Queens and all of New York City. Visitors come for its museums, artists for its cheap studio rents, and residents for its neighborhoods and quality of life so close to Manhattan. A large geographic area of many neighborhoods, Long Island City has a distinct history from the rest of Queens, and is in the midst of a major transformation. In the last twenty years overwhelmingly industrial Long Island City has become a major cultural center with world-class art and working artists. The latest trend is for more residential growth. Though areas like Astoria have always been residential, zoning changes and the Queens West development of the East River waterfront have spearheaded the renovation of warehouses into condos.

Long Island City's transformation, however, is told in the stories of its many neighborhoods, some touched by development, other bypassed. Once an independent city, Long Island City officially comprises a swath of western Queens including over 250,000 inhabitants and the neighborhoods of Hunters Point, Sunnyside, Astoria, and lesser-known ones like Ravenswood and Steinway. For more on the neighborhoods, continue to the following page:

Long Island City Boundaries and Definition

Long Island City runs from the Queens East River waterfront all the way east to 51st/Hobart Street, and from the Brooklyn border at Newtown Creek all the way north again to the East River.

Many New Yorkers know the area by two names: Long Island City or Astoria. Often you'll hear "Long Island City" when only Hunters Point and the Queens West development is meant.

Lately, Astoria has become the best known area, and consequently real estate agents have grown its boundaries at least in their advertisements. If you are interested in moving to LIC, it's best to learn the neighborhood names and their characters.

Long Island City Real Estate

Long Island City real estate means local neighborhoods. Real estate prices and residential availability vary widely across and within the different neighborhoods. Astoria and Hunters Point have seen rapid appreciation. Others like Sunnyside remain a great value with excellent transportation options. Still other neighborhoods including Ravenswood and Dutch Kills are still off the real estate radar. See the next page for details on the neighborhoods of Long Island City.

Like any area in flux, housing is a mixed bag and can range widely in price within a few blocks. One of the best ways to get a sense of housing values is to check a free service like Property Shark for recent sales.

Transportation

Long Island City is all about getting places and has been for more than a century. Thousands and thousands of commuters pass through it every day, and many residents prize their 15-minute commutes to Manhattan.

Queens Plaza is a major subway hub with the G, N, R, V, and W. The 7 and F trains are blocks away.

The LIRR stops in Hunters Point only a couple times a day, but below the surface, a tunnel delivers thousands of commuters a day to Manhattan.

The beautiful Hell Gate Bridge connects Queens to Randall's Island for freight trains running to the Sunnyside Rail Yards.

The Queensboro or 59th Street Bridge is a free connect for cars and trucks going to Manhattan, but there's no highway running to its ramps, just Queens Boulevard. The Long Island Expressway goes underground at the Midtown Tunnel in Hunters Point.

More About Long Island City

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