6 Things You need to Know Before Moving to Long Island City

Photo from Long Island City rooftop near Court Square Subway Station.  The image features the Citi Group Skyscraper in the foreground and the East River and Manhattan Skyline in the background

Welcome to Long Island City

So you’re thinking about moving to Long Island City or maybe you just arrived. Either way…Welcome! This oft misunderstood neighborhood is one of the fastest growing neighborhoods in the country. The area is changing rapidly and this guide is for people who want to successfully navigate the constant barrage of real estate development, new restaurants, lux apartment buildings, rooftop brunch bars and art exhibitions in Long Island City! 

Long Island city is full of Art Spaces, Movie & Television Shoots, a thriving community of local craft brewers, and a growing population of energetic people moving here to experience it. And maybe best of all… the neighborhood is one of the most accessible in the city with 8 different subway lines within walking distance of most areas.

The Neighborhood At a Glance

LIC has one of the highest concentrations of art spaces, galleries and institutions of any neighborhood in New York City including the famous MoMA PS1 which is a former public school turned art space who hosts the annual NY Art Book Fair every fall. 

People Siting Outside on beanbag chairs decorated with peoples faces at Long Island City's MoMA PS1 Museum

You may find yourself getting accustomed to seeing movies and television shows being shot on the street as the area is frequently used for movie and television shoots with budgets large and small. For example, the the Netflix Original show Violet, which is a spin off of the Series of Unfortunate Events series starring Neil Patrick Harris recently spent a week filming in the area. Additionally, LIC is home to Silvercup Studios which is NYC’s largest full service film and television production facility and has been the primary shooting facility for some legendary television shows which include, 30 Rock, The Devil Wears Prada, Sex and the City and The Sopranos.

Over the last 10 years, Micro-brew operations have continued to grow in popularity across the United States and NYC is actively contributing with dozens of Micro-brewers throughout the 5 boroughs, and with the generally lower cost of living and more space to operate, it’s not surprising that Queens is home to the highest number of Micro-brew operations of any of the NY boroughs.  LIC also has a stretch of waterfront across the river from Midtown Manhattan which provides ample opportunities for beautiful city and river views without all of the tourists, crowds or Manhattan prices. Whether you are interested soaking up the views with a rooftop drink at Estate Garden Grill, or chilling out riverside with a burger at Anable Basin Sailing Bar and Grill, Long Island City probably has a spot that you can be proud to call yourself a regular.

If all this seems a bit overwhelming, fear not! LicLocal has the low-down on the neighborhood and this is the crash course on the basics. Use it as a reference guide for yourself or forward it to your Manhattan dwelling friends when ask why you moved here.   

If you are a veteran of the neighborhood and think we missed something critical in the list or if you love Long Island City as much as we do and want to be a guest contributor, then please get in touch with us via email at [email protected]

The 6 Things You Need To Know Before Moving to Long Island City:

1. You need to know the Long Island City borders and where you fit in between Manhattan, Brooklyn and Astoria.

Long Island City is a NYC neighborhood and NYC neighborhoods do not have official boundaries. Instead, the city recognizes the 59 community districts that were created in 1975 within the five boroughs. Before that, the boroughs were divided into wards and long before that, Long Island City (as the name suggests) was its own city.

Today’s Long Island City lies within the borders of Queens Community Districts 1 & 2 which span across NW Queens and includes Astoria, Hunters Point and Rikers Island.

The Locals tend to divide the neighborhood into three separate zones; Hunters Point/ Waterfront, Court Square Plaza and then the Queensboro Bridge Area west of Astoria (41st Ave to 36th Ave).

LIC is bordered by Astoria to the north; the East River to the west; Hazen Street, 49th Street, and New Calvary Cemetery in Sunnyside to the east; and Newtown Creek – which separates Queens from Greenpoint, Brooklyn – to the south.

LIC is served by zip code, 11101.

2. You need to know the subway stations, where they are, what they’re called and where they go.

There are lots of reasons why you will fall in love with the LIC neighborhood but one of first things you’ll love is that you are always a walk away from multiple subway stations that will quickly get you to Manhattan, Brooklyn or Queens. LIC is just a single subway stop from Midtown Manhattan and Brooklyn!  

Here are the Transportation Options Depending on where you are:

  • Hunters Point/ Waterfront Area:

    Hunters Point Avenue Station

    7 Train Transit Icon

    Hunters Point South Ferry

  • Court Square/ North Jackson Ave:

    Court Square Station

    E Train Transit Icon m Train Transit Icon G Train Transit Icon

    21st Street Station
    F Train Icon

  • LIC North: 

    Queensboro Plaza

    7 Train Transit Icon N Train Transit Icon W Train Transit Icon

    Queens Plaza Subway Station

    E Train Transit Icon M Train Transit Icon R Train Transit Icon

In addition to train lines the neighborhood also has access to 13 bus lines, the LIRR and 13 Citibike shared bicycle stations.

3. You need to know what there is to do in LIC.

There are always things going on in Long Island City! Check out our events calendar to see what’s going on in your neighborhood or you can subscribe to our mailing list to get periodic emails about special things happening in the neighborhood!

As of October 2017, there were over 39 arts & cultural institutions and venues, +150 restaurants, bars & cafes, 10+ summer event series and 5+ waterfront parks.

The Long Island City Partnership publishes semi-regular Demographic, Real Estate and Retail Data for the LIC neighborhood.  Most recently, the organization published a neighborhood fact sheet which we summarized in an earlier post.

The report also keeps track of retail growth which has continued to increase over the past year. Retail spaces in the neighborhood are also expected to continue growing with the LIC Partnership team estimating that square footage of retail space in the neighborhood will more than double over the course of the next 3 years, going from the existing 352,000 square feet to over 860,000 square feet.  This growth is certain to bring in new interesting things to do!

4. You need to know about the flourishing craft beer scene in LIC

Queens has the most Microbreweries out of all five NYC boroughs. Living in LIC will put you in walking distance to a handful of breweries where you can go to grab a pint straight from the source.  It will also get you access to fun events like the Long Island City Brewery Crawl and the Queens Beer Festival!

5. You need to know that Long Island City is a safe place to live

Is Long Island City safe? Is it true that the rappers NAS, Mobb Deep and MC Shan all grew up in LIC? Well yes and yes. However the chilling lyrics of Nas’ childhood growing up in a war zone under the Queensboro bridge are no longer as relevant as they used to be.

As you can see from the image below, the reported crime in LIC is far below the crime in surrounding areas.

6. Apartment Buildings in LIC come with Amenities!

From rooftop pools to indoor basketball courts, most of the new apartment buildings are competing so fiercely with each other for your monthly rent check that most of the buildings in the neighborhood offer amenities for their tenants which will have your head spinning if you are used to Manhattan.