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NYC Guide

Best things to do in Long Island City, NYC

I love to follow trending neighborhoods. I remember the first time I’ve been to Long Island City, Queens, back in 2014, looking for the iconic Pepsi Sign. So many things have changed since then, and not only tourists are discovering the area – mostly because of the better hotel rates – but also locals that look for a quiet but convenient place to live. There are so many new developments! And, because of that, we are also seeing new restaurants and improvements. So, let’s dig in and check some great things to do in Long Island City!

Gantry Plaza State Park + Hunter’s Point South Park

There is plenty of room to relax, jog or have a picnic, plus the playgrounds for the kids and for dogs. The area now taken by the park was formerly an industrial area, of sugar refineries. Did I mention the beautiful views?

Two years ago, Gantry Plaza State Park got a new extension, Hunter’s Point South Park, where visitors are invited to wander through a carefully designed series of meandering trails and well-chosen vistas, where the water is always tantalizingly close at hand. There are several walkways and paths with the Manhattan skyline, with its iconic buildings such as the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building as a backdrop. The most beautiful part, in my opinion, is a tall promenade that resembles the silhouette of a ship and has a modern design. The view from there is simply fantastic. For sure, it’s something that will not disappoint and is worth your visit! Check some photos!

Pepsi Cola Sign

The famous Pepsi-Cola sign is was built in 1936 and it is  60 feet high. Actually, this sign sat on top of a Pepsi bottling plant for a long time – and the it was moved to Gantry Plaza State Park in 2009. The manufacturer, Artkraft Strauss, also designated a lot of other illuminated signs for Broadway theaters and Times Square advertisements. Since 2016, the sign is an official New York City landmark.

Hunters Point Community Library

The Hunters Point Community Library cost more than $40 million. The design is so modern and it gets attention because of the enormous windows and the sculptured geometry, Besides the spectacular views, the library’s interior spiral some 60 feet upward and outward from a shallow canyon-like lobby, unfolding in elevation as a sequence of tiered desks, book stacks and social spaces. The library has computers, laptops, limited free printing, and free Wireless Access. (via NYT)

MoMA PS1

MoMA PS1 is one of the oldest and largest nonprofit arts centers in the United States devoted to contemporary art. Recognized as a defining force in the alternative space movement, MoMA PS1 stands out from other major arts institutions through its distinctive approach to exhibitions and direct involvement of artists within a scholarly framework. Functioning as a living, active meeting place for the general public, MoMA PS1 is a catalyst for ideas, discourses, and new trends in contemporary art. MoMA PS1 was founded in 1971 by Alanna Heiss and has been an affiliate of The Museum of Modern Art since 2000. The institution is devoted to the production, presentation, interpretation, and dissemination of the work of innovative artists in all mediums, fostering creativity and uninhibited artistic exploration and it is a vital cultural resource for New York City. Pay as you wish.

Noguchi Museum

The Noguchi Museum was founded and designed by internationally renowned American artist Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988) for the display of what he considered to be representative examples of his life’s work. In 1980, Noguchi renamed his Akari Foundation as the Isamu Noguchi Foundation in anticipation of the Museum’s creation. The Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum officially opened to the public on May 11, 1985. The mission of the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum is to advance the understanding and appreciation of Isamu Noguchi’s art and legacy. General admission is $10 – Free admission on the first Friday of every month.

LIC Community Boathouse

The LIC Community Boathouse provides residents and visitors with educational and recreational paddling programs. The activities are free of charge – donations are welcome! – and provide beautiful views of Roosevelt Island, Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn. Paddlers will also be able to experience one of the most sensational sunsets in New York! Check the website.

The Cliffs

The Cliffs offer an indoor climbing experience, with climbing walls, routes, and amenities. They offer a lot of different levels of climbing and classes. You can check more info on the website.

Eating

American Brass is a waterfront restaurant with a New American menu. the chic space features seating for up to 140 guests inside and 100 guests outdoors with a view of Manhattan and Gantry State Park. It is under the same management team as the Maiella restaurant. The atmosphere is fantastic and cool e the dishes are so fresh and delicious! Here, the burger is obviously a must-try – but you can’t go wrong with the gnocchi and the risotto.

Casa Enrique is a one-star Michelin restaurant since 2016. The chef, Cosme Aguilar, is from Chiapas, Mexico, where he learned to cook traditional Chiapas dishes along with his sister and aunts. He came to the US in 1998 and began working at a French restaurant as a porter before being given the opportunity to work in the kitchen. A few years later, Cosme’s brother Luis Aguilar pitched the idea of opening a Mexican restaurant where the two could serve their family’s traditional recipes. Cosme was hesitant at first, as his professional experience was with French cuisine, but ultimately agreed as it represented an opportunity to reconnect with the flavors and ingredients of his childhood.

For me, Chip City has one of the best cookies in New York City (the other one is from Levain Bakery). And besides the traditional flavors, I love the idea that they have exclusive flavors every day! And there is a location in LIC!

Bella Via is an affordable and delicious option for lunch or dinner! They have pasta, pizzas, sandwiches, and other options starting at $10, on average! Plus, the size of the portions is really good!

Murray’s Cheese is a NYC classic and now they have a restaurant’s flagship location with a first-ever full-service bar and an adjacent cheese shop offering more than 400 specialty items.  The borough is already home to Murray’s cheese aging caves, and architecture and design firm, Rockwell Group, took inspiration from the many colors and materials used for cheese aging and cheesemaking while creating the space. The menu at Murray’s Cheese Bar features a bento-box style cheese board along with dishes enjoyed for takeout, delivery, and at several outdoor tables. The menu from Chef de Cuisine Clare Malfitano highlights cheeses and fresh dairy alongside seasonal produce, carefully-sourced meats, and ingredients from the Murray’s shop.

If you are a beer lover, it is good to know that there are some breweries options in LIC:

  • Rockaway Brewing Company – this brewery started in Far Rockaway, but today they make all the beer by hand in Long Island City. The location has a tap room, so you can hang out.
  • LIC Beer Project – it is a locals favorite due to the relaxed atmosphere. It was the first brewery in New York to use the traditional cooling process to stimulate fermentation.
  • ICONYC Brewing Company – they have a taproom and beer garden open seven days a week serving beer, all brewed in-house, as well as cider and wine. Thursday-Sunday the place has a taco stand serving tacos, quesadillas, and more. Mon-Wed you may bring your own food from outside.
  • Fifth Hammer Brewing – brewery + public taproom with a rotating lineup of draft and canned beers in a wide variety of styles.
  • Big aLICe Brewing – as a licensed New York State farm brewery, they partner with state hop farmers and maltsters to source ingredients and collaborate with local Queens businesses for specialty ingredients such as cold brew coffee, donuts, honey, and beyond.

Did you like my suggestions? Please feel free to leave your recommendations too!

To get there:

  • By subway: 7 line to Vernon Blv/Jackson Ave. Or M/E lines to Court Sq – 23 St. 
  • By NYC Ferry: ER line to Hunters Point South. AS line to Long Island City (in front of Pepsi sign).

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