Long Island City, though technically a part of Queens, is often seen today as an extension of Midtown Manhattan or North Brooklyn. A boom in new construction has resulted in the once industrial neighborhood to transform into a residential community with luxury condos, as well as a world-class art and cultural center of New York City.
Long Island City was, as the name implies, founded as a city. In the early 1800’s, affluent New Yorkers built mansions around Astoria to escape from the crowds of Manhattan. With the increase in the area’s population, ferry service began running between the area and Manhattan, and the Long Island Railroad also opened up a terminal in Hunters Point. These transportation options increased the appeal of the area, spurring industrial and commercial development. Before long, the East River waterfront was lined with factories.
Years later in 1870, the various neighborhoods along the East River (Hunters Point, Ravenswood, Astoria and Steinway) voted to consolidate and become Long Island City. In 1898, Long Island City became an official part of New York City, with the City’s expansion to Queens.
In the early twentieth century, the Queensboro Bridge, Hell Gate Bridge and subways opened, providing even more accessibility between Manhattan and Long Island City. As transportation options increased, so did Long Island City’s industrial growth, defining the neighborhood for a century.
As manufacturing in the United States began to decline in the 1970’s, so did the industry in Long Island City, though not entirely. However, around the same time, artists began to flock to the neighborhood seeking more affordable housing than what was available in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and since then, Long Island City has become a thriving arts community.
Slowly, but surely, businesses and more residents followed the crowd to Long Island City. Today, the neighborhoods that composed Long Island City, such as Astoria and Ravenswood, have reestablished as their own unique neighborhoods, with modern-day Long Island City primarily referring to the area known as Hunters Point in the southwest corner of Queens.
The once industrial waterfront along the East River is now one of the most popular and rapidly developing residential neighborhoods, as it provides an array of transportation options into Manhattan, eclectic bars and restaurants, as well as several luxury condos, such as The Vista, The View, Arris Lofts, One Hunters Point, L Haus and many more which are under construction. Long Island City is the place to be, and is showing no signs of slowing down.