Culturally, artistically and socially, Long Island City is the East Coast at its best — a constantly growing and changing matrix of diversity, opportunity and creativity. Starting in the 1980’s, artists rediscovered and reinvigorated it, sparking a cultural and culinary renaissance that today, along with a new wave of ethnic immigrants, continues to energize the borough of Queens.
A quick stroll through our neighborhood will reveal its countless restaurants, bars, nightclubs and boutiques. Our neighborhood boasts some of the best attractions the city has to offer, within walking distance, including MOMA PS1, Museum of the Moving Image, Queensbridge Park, Water Taxi Beach Noguchi Museum, Gantry Plaza State Park, and a cornucopia of trendy hot spots that are waiting to be discovered by you.
Queens’ landmarks run the gamut from the classic to the ultra-kitschy. In one day, it’s possible to walk in the footsteps of Dutch settlers, discover traces of the underground railway and visit the world-renowned World’s Fair sight. If, however, your taste runs to the incomparably picturesque, be certain to catch the view of Manhattan skyline at sunset from Gantry Plaza State Park — fleeting as the moment may be, it’s the same exquisite vista travelers have relished from this spot since the early 1900’s.
BROOKLYN GRANGE FARM
Located atop a six-story 1919 warehouse, the 40,000 square foot organic Brooklyn Grange rooftop farm is believed to be the largest of its kind in the world! The almost 1-acre farm is an oasis surrounded by little greenery and lots of concrete just a few blocks from the hotel (a second farm recently opened in Brooklyn). The farmers at Brooklyn Grange focus their production of organic produce that includes 40 varietals of juicy tomatoes, peppers, fennel, salad greens, kale, swiss chard, beans of all sorts and a variety of delicious root vegetables like beets, carrots, and radishes, as well as plenty of herbs.
Museum of the Moving Image (MoMI)
If you are a film buff, and even an art buff, this is the place for you. MOMI has a lot to offer – preview screenings, temporary exhibits, a permanent exhibit, lots of interactive features, a sweet little cafe, and bookstore.
KAUFMAN ARTS DISTRICT
A brand new arts district and the first of its kind in Queens, features the 94-year old Kaufman Astoria Studios, the Museum of the Moving Image, Queens Council on the Arts, the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts and the United Artists Kaufman Astoria movie theater. Events will be held throughout the year.
THE SECRET THEATER
Established in 2005 by Richard Mazda as an off-Broadway theater, located in The Long Island City Art Center, is home to The Queens Players, a local non-union company that presents both new works and classic theater works. The Secret Theater has also been the location for a variety of performing arts, including dance, music, and plays, as well as classes, art openings, parties, films (including the most recent Astoria/LIC International Film Festival), and more.
Continuing with the theme of museums existing in former industrial spaces, this exhibition space is housed in a former trolley repair shop, and has been there since 2001. The SculptureCenter was originally founded in 1928, and is “a not-for-profit arts institution dedicated to experimental and innovative developments in contemporary sculpture. [They] commission new work and present exhibits by emerging and established, national and international artists.”
This 19th century schoolhouse holds some of the most current art available in NYC; it is one of the oldest (and largest) nonprofit contemporary art institutions in the US, founded in 1971. Various kinds of new and experimental art in all media are displayed throughout the space, and MOMA PS1 considers itself more of an exhibition space, rather than a “collecting institution.” As indicated by its name, PS1 is affiliated with the Museum of Modern Art. Additionally, throughout the summer season, MOMA PS1 presents its Warm Up outdoor music series which continues its tradition of introducing audiences to the best in experimental live music, sound, and DJs—both local and international—across a range of genres.
GANTRY PLAZA STATE PARK
This amazing state park has one of the best views in New York City. It also holds the largest green space in Long Island City. At the park there are walking paths, places to lounge on prefabricated furniture, grassy areas including manicured gardens, picnic tables, a fishing pier, handball and basketball courts, and a playground. In the summer time, the concert series “Live at the Gantries” takes place, offering free concerts right on the water.
LAGUARDIA PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
Known as LPAC, this performance space at LaGuardia Community College aims to present high-quality programming that reflects the diversity in the local community and the world. Here, you’ll see internationally acclaimed music, theater, and dance pieces. LPAC has become a performing arts destination in LIC.
The grand home was built in 1858, dated back to before the Civil War. Located on an entire block in Astoria, this 27-room granite home is filled with books, antiques, artwork and five Italian marble fireplaces. In 1967, the house was declared a landmark.
A great stadium to see a ballgame where views from all over the stadium can be more mesmerizing than the actual game. The food is excellent – Shake Shack and Blue Smoke are a fan of the locals.
Although widely known for its beautiful pool, the oldest and largest in the city, 2nd largest in the country, Astoria Park offers more than aquatic pleasures. Outdoor tennis courts, a track, a skate park, multiple trails, basketball courts, and playgrounds lure visitors from New York City and beyond. Sitting on the edge of the East River and resting between New York’s two famed bridges, the park offers shoreline sights and sounds that make the benches along its perimeter popular spots year-round.
THE NOGUCHI MUSEUM
This museum is devoted entirely to the works of the acclaimed sculptor and artist, Isamu Noguchi. The space has a solid, industrial feel to it, as it originally was a former printmaking plant and gas station. Noguchi’s work with stone is what many expect to see here, but there are also drawings, designs, and works with metal.
SOCRATES SCULPTURE PARK
Taken over by Mark DiSuvero in 1986, this is one of the few locations in the city specifically designated for artists to create outdoor works. The splendid Queens space looks out over the Manhattan skyline and is open 365 days a year.
LOUIS ARMSTRONG HOUSE MUSEUM
Louis Armstrong himself lived here until the end of his life in 1971. There are guided tours through the house, which include musical examples. The Louis Armstrong House Museum is a National Historic Landmark and a New York City landmark.
The Queens Zoo is an 18-acre zoo located in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. North American animals are exhibited on naturalistic grounds, allowing an unusual intimacy between visitors and animals. The Children’s Farm offers exhibitions of domestic animals.
THE OTHER CHINATOWN
Downtown Flushing is the largest urban center in Queens, and home to the second largest Chinatown in New York City. Get off the 7 subway or the LIRR at Flushing Main Street and step into the crowds. The downtown sidewalks pulse with people – of all nationalities but predominantly East Asians, specifically Chinese and Koreans. Experience Asia unlike anything else with foods from different nations at your fingertips.
QUEENS MUSEUM OF ART
Located in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, QMA is very well known for The Panorama of the City of New York, a top-scale model of the five boroughs, complete with little planes flying to and from LaGuardia and JFK airports. It’s a huge display, and has a walkway around it so that you can see everything well.