Long Island City, Queens: Wikis


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Detail of 1896 map of Long Island City, from the Greater Astoria Historical Society

Long Island City (often referred to as L.I.C.) is the westernmost neighborhood of the borough of Queens in New York City. L.I.C. is notable for its rapid and ongoing gentrification, its waterfront parks, and its thriving arts community.[1] L.I.C. has among the highest concentration of art galleries, art institutions, and studio space of any neighborhood in New York City.[2] The neighborhood is bounded on the north by the Queens neighborhood of Astoria; on the west by the East River; on the east by Hazen Street, 31st Street, and New Calvary Cemetery; and on the south by Newtown Creek, which separates Queens from Greenpoint, Brooklyn. It originally was the seat of government of Newtown Township, and remains the largest neighborhood in Queens. The area is part of Queens Community Board 1 north of the Queensboro (59th Street) Bridge and Queens Community Board 2 south of the Bridge.[3] The zip codes of Long Island City are 11101, 11102, 11103, 11104, 11105, 11106 and 11109.



LIC General Post Office, 11101
Gantry cranes in Gantry Plaza State Park on the Long Island City waterfront

Long Island City, as its name suggests, was formerly a city, created in 1870, from the merger of the Village of Astoria, and the hamlets of Ravenswood, Hunters Point, Blissville, Sunnyside, Dutch Kills, Steinway, Bowery Bay and Middleton in Newtown Township. It was a separate city until 1898.[4]

The last mayor of Long Island City was a notorious Irishman named Patrick Jerome "Battle-Axe" Gleason. The city surrendered its independence in 1898 to become part of the City of Greater New York. However, Long Island City survives as ZIP code 11101 and ZIP code prefix 111 (with its own main post office) and was formerly a Sectional center facility (SCF). Since 1985, the Greater Astoria Historical Society, a non-profit cultural and historical organization, has been preserving the past and promoting the future of the neighborhoods that are part of historic Long Island City.

Coat of arms

The Common Council of Long Island City in 1873 adopted the coat of arms as "emblematical of the varied interest represented by Long Island City." It was designed by George H. Williams, of Ravenswood. The overall composition was inspired by New York City's Coat of Arms. The shield is rich in historic allusion, including Native-American, Dutch, and English symbols.[5]


Long Island City is the eastern terminus of the Queensboro Bridge, also known as the 59th Street Bridge, which is the only non-toll automotive route connecting Queens and Manhattan.

Northwest of the bridge terminus are the Queensbridge development of the New York City Housing Authority. Major thoroughfares include Vernon Boulevard, 21st Street, which is mostly industrial and commercial; Queens Boulevard, which leads westward to the bridge and eastward follows New York State Route 25 through Long Island; and the western-most portion of Northern Boulevard, which becomes Jackson Avenue (the former name of Northern Boulevard) west of Queens Plaza.

Notable buildings

The Verve, an independent boutique hotel in LIC

The most prominent feature other than Queensboro Bridge is the community's green skyscraper, the 658-foot Citicorp Building built in 1989 on Courthouse Square, which is the tallest building on Long Island and in New York City outside Manhattan.[6]

Long Island City was once home to many factories and bakeries, some of which are finding new uses. The former Silvercup bakery is now home to Silvercup Studios, which produces notable works such as HBO's The Sopranos. The Silvercup sign is visible from the 7 Train going into and out of Queensboro Plaza. The former Sunshine Bakery is now one of the buildings housing LaGuardia Community College. Other buildings in the LaGuardia College complex originally served as the location of the Ford Instrument Company, at one time a major producer of precision machines and devices. Artist Isamu Noguchi converted a photo-engraving plant into a workshop; the site is now a museum dedicated to his work. High-rise housing is being built on a former Pepsi-Cola site, and from June 2002 to September 2004 the former Swingline Staplers plant was the temporary headquarters of the Museum of Modern Art. Other factories included Fisher Electronics and Chiclets Gum.

Long Island City has a turn of the century district of residential towers called Queens West, located at the East River just north of the main LIRR Long Island City Station. Queens West is intended for residents who commute to Manhattan to work by ferry or subway. The first tower, the 42-floor Citylights, opened in 1998 with an elementary school at the base. Others have been completed since then and more are being planned or under construction.

Culture and recreation

Long Island City is home to a large and dynamic artistic community.

The Fisher Landau Center for Art is a private foundation that offers regular exhibitions of contemporary art.

Long Island City is the home of 5 Pointz, a building housing artists' studios, which has been legally painted on by a number of graffiti artists and is visible near the Court House Square station on the 7 train.[7]

P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, an affiliate of the Museum of Modern Art, is the oldest and second-largest non-profit arts center in the United States solely devoted to contemporary art. It is named after the former public school in which it is housed.

Facade of SculptureCenter, 2003.

SculptureCenter is New York City's only non-profit exhibition space dedicated to contemporary and innovative sculpture. SculptureCenter re-located from Manhattan's Upper East Side to a former trolley repair shop in Long Island City, Queens renovated by artist/designer Maya Lin in 2002. Founded by artists in 1928, SculptureCenter has undergone much evolution and growth, and continues to expand and challenge the definition of sculpture. SculptureCenter commissions new work and presents exhibits by emerging and established, national and international artists. The museum also hosts a diverse range of public programs including lectures, dialogues, and performances.

Water Taxi Beach, NYC's first non-swimming urban beach, is located on the East River in LIC. New York City plans to build 5,000 moderate income apartments in this area, a 30-acre development called Hunter's Point South.[8]

City Ice Pavilion, with 33,000 square feet of skating surface, opened in Long Island City in late 2008. The skating rink is on the roof of a two-story storage facility. [9]

Notable businesses

Eagle Electric, now known as Cooper Wiring Devices, was one of the last major factories in the area. They have moved production to the People's Republic of China, and Plant #1, which was the largest of their factories and housed their corporate offices, is being converted to residential luxury lofts.

Long Island City is currently home to the largest fortune cookie factory in the United States, owned by Wonton Foods and producing four million fortune cookies a day. Lucky numbers included on fortunes in the company's cookies led to 110 people across the United States winning $100,000 each in a May 2005 drawing for Powerball.[10][11][12]

Online grocery company FreshDirect, serves the Greater New York area via deliveries from a warehouse and administrative offices on Borden Avenue in LIC. A customer can also order online and come to the warehouse for pickup.

The city has been the home since 1999 to the Brooks Brothers tie manufacturing factory, which employs 122 people and produces more 1.5 million ties per year.[13]

LIC as seen from Empire State Building at night

Long Island City is the new home of independent film studio, Troma.


Long Island City is served by the F, 7, E, V, G, N, W and R trains of the New York City Subway. The Long Island City and Hunterspoint Avenue Long Island Rail Road stations are here, and a commuter ferry service operated by NY Water Taxi at the East River Wharf. Cars enter by way of the Queensboro Bridge, the Queens Midtown Tunnel and the Pulaski Bridge. The Roosevelt Island Bridge also connects Long Island City to Roosevelt Island. Queens Boulevard, Northern Boulevard (New York 25A) and the Long Island Expressway all pass through the area.


Long Island City is served by the New York City Department of Education.

Long Island City is zoned to:

Long Island City is zoned to:

A 7-12 school called Baccalaureate School for Global Education is in LIC.

Long Island City is home to several special high schools: Academy of American Studies (a history high school), Aviation High School, Information Technology High School, International High School, Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, Middle College High School, Newcomers High School, and Robert F. Wagner HS. Not to be confused with SHSAT-based high schools, these schools offer programs that are included at those schools.

Long Island City is also the location of the Queens Paideia School, an independent progressive school that offers personalized learning and group activities for its mixed-age student body, K-8.

9-12 high schools include:

Notable past and present residents

In film and videogames

  • Gantry Park in Hunter's Point was used as background for the final scenes of Steven Spielberg's film Munich and The Interpreter (starring Sean Penn and Nicole Kidman). An opening scene in Spiderman 2 (2006) was also filmed in Gantry Park.
  • The videogame Grand Theft Auto IV, which takes place in a fictionalized version of New York City called "Liberty City", features a neighborhood called "East Island City" which resembles Long Island City in its architecture and feel. Many signs and awnings from local Long Island City businesses are used as graphical elements for stores in the East Island City area. The Silvercup sign (changed to "Silverback"), Citicorp Building, the P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center and the gantry cranes in Gantry Plaza State Park, among other Long Island City landmarks, also appear in some form in the East Island City environment. Gantry Park was referred to as "The Black Towers" or simply Hobart, which used to have a factory at the end of 49th avenue.
  • The Long Island City Firehouse for FDNY Engine 258/Ladder 115 located at 10-40 47th Avenue, Long Island City, New York City, NY was used for exterior shots for the television show Third Watch.


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ Queens Community Boards, New York City. Accessed September 3, 2007.
  4. ^ Greater Astoria Historical Society (2004). Long Island City. USA: Arcadia Publishing. http://www.astorialic.org/store_books.php. 
  5. ^ History Topics: LIC Coat of Arms from the Greater Astoria Historical Society
  6. ^ Citicorp Building, accessed January 6, 2007
  7. ^ Bayliss, Sarah (2004-08-08). "Museum With (Only) Walls". The New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F04EFD9173CF93BA3575BC0A9629C8B63. Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  8. ^ Bagli, Charles V. (2008-11-10). "Disputed Queens Housing Faces a Vote This Week". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/11/nyregion/11hunters.html. Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  9. ^ Kaminer, Ariel (2009-12-27). "Ice, Served Two Ways: Plain or Glamorous". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/27/nyregion/27critic.html. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  10. ^ Lee, Jennifer (2005-05-11). "Who Needs Giacomo? Bet on the Fortune Cookie". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/11/nyregion/11fortune.html. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  11. ^ Snow, Mary (2005-05-12). "Cookies Contain Fortunes for Powerball Winners". CNN. http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/05/12/fortune.cookies/. Retrieved 2010-03-10. 
  12. ^ Olshan, Jeremy (2005-06-06). "Cookie Master". The New Yorker. http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2005/06/06/050606ta_talk_olshan. Retrieved 2010-03-10. 
  13. ^ Tschorn, Adam (2009-09-10). "Behind The Knot: A Quck Tour of Brooks Bros. NYC Tie Factory". Los Angeles Times. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/alltherage/2009/09/behind-the-knot-a-quick-tour-of-brooks-bros-nyc-tie-factory.html. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  14. ^ Lee, Felicia R. (1997-12-03). "In the Old Neighborhood With: Julie Dash; Home Is Where the Imagination Took Root". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1997/12/03/movies/in-the-old-neighborhood-with-julie-dash-home-is-where-the-imagination-took-root.html. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 

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