Since Long Island City (LIC) was rezoned in 2001, the desolate manufacturing hub has become the fastest-growing residential and cultural district in New York City. In the last decade alone, nearly 10,000 apartments have been built, and more than 20,000 are planned or under construction. LIC is also a thriving arts community, with large institutions such as MoMA PS1 and dozens of smaller galleries and artist spaces.
Just a stone’s throw from Midtown Manhattan, LIC is served by six subway lines, 15 bus lines, the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), and ferries. The Queensboro Bridge and Queens-Midtown Tunnel also give LIC direct access to Manhattan by car.
LIC residents love the neighborhood’s convenient location, excellent transit, attractive waterfront, and lively cultural amenities. But many residents are also concerned about rising housing costs, overcrowded schools, and lack of affordable housing.
And more change is coming. The opening of Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island, a major engine of New York City’s tech ecosystem, gives LIC the opportunity to add more commercial development to its solid residential base.
The MTA’s East Side Access project, to be completed by 2023, will bring a new intermodal LIRR station to LIC, and the proposed Brooklyn-Queens Connector, a light rail line running along the East River waterfront, would provide easy access up to Astoria, Queens, down to Sunset Park, Brooklyn. The Fourth Regional Plan calls for extending the proposed Gateway project from its current planned terminus at Penn Station through Manhattan to connect to LIRR in LIC.
With these transportation improvements, the development of Sunnyside Yards—a site of almost 200 acres—could finally materialize. Redevelopment of the yards could bring new homes, businesses, convention and exhibition spaces, and parks, and help tie together Astoria, Sunnyside, Hunters Point, and LIC.
New investments in Long Island City could increase pressures on rents. The fourth plan recommends strategies to protect existing residents from displacement, while their neighborhoods transition to denser, more mixed-use areas. Residents, businesses, and cultural institutions should be involved in planning for the future of their communities, supported by city and state policies to better target housing subsidies, protect existing residents and businesses from displacement, create more homeownership opportunities, and preserve land for industrial uses.
Long Island City’s future is bright, and with the right investments and policies, will become home to thousands more residents and workers that contribute to the vibrancy of New York City.