Long Island City (L.I.C.) is the westernmost residential and commercial neighborhood of the New York City borough of Queens. L.I.C. is notable for its rapid and ongoing gentrification, its waterfront parks, and its thriving arts community. L.I.C. has among the highest concentration of art galleries, art institutions, and studio space of any neighborhood in New York City. 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.
This evolving Queens, New York, neighborhood seems to change from block to block—a short walk takes you from desolate, early-20th-century industrial streetscapes to the gentrified “main street” vibe of Vernon Avenue and the urban riviera created by gleaming high-rises fronting waterside Gantry Plaza State Park. While sweeping Manhattan views, an easy commute to midtown, abundant warehouse space and low rents have been attracting artists and executives for more than a decade, the lures for nonlocals have been steadily growing, including destination culture hub MoMA PS1, Obie-winning theater the Chocolate Factory, and new writers’ and artists’ salon the Oracle Club. Inevitably, however, regeneration brings the risk that some of the iconoclastic fringe element will be quashed—5Pointz Aerosol Art Center, once the city’s most spectacular showcase of street-art talent, will soon be replaced with a mixed-use development.