Long Island City Attractions and Sightseeing
With dozens of blocks located along the East River, Long Island City naturally has some well-developed waterfront parks. The Gantry Plaza State Park overlooks the United Nations Headquarters and other famous landmarks of Manhattan’s skyline. This riverfront public space has lots of walkways and a pier with benches and other seating for relaxation.
One of the top highlights of the Gantry Plaza State Park is the iconic sign of the Pepsi-Cola brand. This huge illuminated sign marks the former site of a bottling factory for the world-famous company. The waterfront promenades of Long Island City also lead to the Hunter’s Point South Park. Both parks are surrounded by recently built skyscrapers that define the rapid gentrification and expansion of this district in Queens.
If you’re into arts and culture, then head to MoMA PS1 along the busy Jackson Avenue. Affiliated with the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan, the attraction presents contemporary art from all over the world. Since opening in the early 1970s, MoMA PS1 has been one of the premier museums of modern art in the New York City metropolitan area. The venue particularly promotes young and emerging artists who’d otherwise struggle to crack the global art scene.
As you walk the streets of Long Island City, you’ll notice the remains of massive industrial and commercial infrastructure. For example, the southern part of the district has large rail yards and warehouses near Newtown Creek. Many of the buildings highlight the neighborhood’s important role in NYC’s manufacturing, transportation, and logistical operations in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
History and Background
Long Island City was originally established as an independent community in the 1870s. At the time, Queens was not yet considered a borough of New York City. After being incorporated into NYC, the neighborhood has experienced rapid commercial growth.
Rail tracks for freight trains and the New York City Subway significantly transformed the landscape of Long Island City in the early 20th century. Since then, the area has been settled by diverse groups of immigrants from Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean. Today, Long Island City has a redeveloped waterfront that’s home to luxurious condominiums and other upscale mixed-use properties.
Long Island City is served by several lines of the New York City Subway. Running between Queens and Manhattan, the 7 Line stops at several stations in the neighborhood. Some of the district’s busiest subway stations include Court Square and Queens Plaza. Most of the subway stops are actually located above ground rather than undergrounds, such as in Lower and Midtown Manhattan.
The Long Island City station is served by several commuter routes of the Long Island Railroad network. These trains connect Nassau and Suffolk counties with Manhattan and Queens.
Having a riverfront location, Long Island City is naturally served by ferries. The Hunters Point South terminal accommodates ferries that follow the East River route, which stops at various points in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Situated in the neighborhood’s north-western corner, the Long Island City dock is served by the Astoria route, which stops at the neighboring Roosevelt Island. Crossing over the East River, the Queensboro Bridge accommodates vehicle traffic between Midtown Manhattan and Long Island City. The Queens Midtown Tunnel also links the two areas.