NYC Neighborhood Guide
Long Island City
Glass towers and construction cranes give Long Island City a futuristic feel. That future is now. “Grand Opening” and “Coming Soon” signs are common in this former blue collar neighborhood. Demographics shifted with residential and office investment in the early 2000s. The building boom has only intensified as condo towers compete skyward for views of the river.
Just minutes from midtown by subway, car, or bike, LIC has transformed into a desirable home base with better views and amenities at more affordable prices than condos in Manhattan. Along the waterfront, residents enjoy manicured landscaping at Hunter’s Point South Park and Gantry Plaza State Park that have cinematic views of the skyline.
Long Island City incorporated into NYC in 1898. Its factories relied on the river for transport, but industry began drying up in the ’70s. Some facilities were converted to new uses. Silvercup Bakery became Silvercup Studios, where Sex and the City and The Sopranos were produced. Others, like the Pepsi Cola bottling plant, left only their sign behind.
🏗 Robust condo and rental selection
🌃 Fabulous water and skyline views
🐩 Modern, amenity-rich living
🌳 Multiple waterfront parks
🚇 Easy access to midtown
💵 Better value than Manhattan condos
🦋 Rapidly evolving neighborhood
Long Island City Real Estate and Trends
Long Island City condos come loaded with in-demand amenities, such as terraces, pools, gyms, yoga studios, game rooms, bike parking, pet washing stations, and dog runs. Panoramic views are aplenty. Buyers can nab better vistas and building features at lower prices here than comparable condos in Manhattan.
LIC real estate continues to soar with Queens’ two tallest buildings. Skyline Tower, at 68 stories, has 802 condos from studios to four bedrooms—about 20% of which have outdoor terraces. Sven (aka Queens Park Plaza) checks in at 67 stories and 958 rental units.
A construction boom added 2,500 condos in LIC between 2006 and 2018. However, almost 60% of those built since 2018 are unsold as of Q2 2020. The glut creates opportunities for buyers, although average prices climbed 45% between 2015 and 2020. Still, many condos are under $1M. The median closing price for a LIC condo in 2020 retreated 7.1% to $922,500 compared to 2019, but per square foot prices declined only 1.9%.
The pandemic did not dampen demand. Total number of LIC sales in 2020 was just one fewer than in 2019. Steady sales is a good sign for resilience in a neighborhood that also weathered flooding from Hurricane Sandy and the withdrawal of Amazon HQ. Don’t bet against commercial development here either. The JACX is the largest new creative complex in the city, boasting 1.2M square feet of office and retail.
Studio – $609,000
1 BD – $750,000
2 BD – $1,319,000
3 BD – $1,865,000
Estimated sale price based on past transactions. Last updated: 4/12/21
Most streets in LIC and Hunter’s Point are at high or moderate risk for flooding. While your pad may be high and dry, building mechanical infrastructure sits in the basement. Check your address for flood risk and ask about your building’s defenses.
Not looking for a glass box in the sky? Older residential buildings are found in Hunter’s Point and north of Queens Plaza. The largest public housing complex in the country, Queensbridge Houses, is just north of the bridge.
—Ashley, Localize real estate advisor
Transportation in Long Island City
A stone’s throw from Manhattan, LIC boasts quick and easy transit no matter if you drive, bike, or ride the train into the city.
Subway – Commutes to Midtown East are a breeze. Next stop on the 7 train west from Vernon Blvd-Jackson Av is Grand Central. Court Sq-23 St (E/M) is also one stop from Manhattan—trains next pull into Lexington Av-53 St. Queensboro Plaza (N/W/7) and 21 St-Queensbridge (F) are one- and two-stop solutions from Manhattan respectively. Use the G train to visit friends in Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Bed-Stuy, and Park Slope.
Bike – Citi Bike stations are abundant in LIC, Astoria, Greenpoint, and Williamsburg, making it easy to neighborhood hop. Use the protected lane over the Pulaski Bridge to Brooklyn. Manhattan access is also easy and about to get more spacious. Exciting plans are underway to carve a two-way bike lane and two-way pedestrian lane out of Queensboro Bridge roadways.
Ferry – Two ferry lines dock in LIC. Catch boats at Gantry Plaza State Park or Hunter’s Point South on their way down to Wall Street Pier 11 via East 34 St and Brooklyn.
Bus – The subway is more practical to get to Manhattan. Multiple bus lines pass through Queens Plaza up to Astoria while the B32 and B62 motor down to Williamsburg.
Rail – Long Island City station is a western terminus for the Long Island Railroad. This station is only active during weekday rush hour in the peak direction of travel. Sorry, no easy access to Penn Station from here.
Car – Drivers can easily take the Queens Midtown Tunnel or Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan, the RFK Bridge toward The Bronx, or the Long Island Expressway to points east.
Best Schools in Long Island City
South of Queens Plaza, students are zoned for PS 78 (PK-8), which gets a 9 out of 10 from GreatSchools. North of the bridge, PS 111 Jacob Blackwell (PK-8) and PS 112 Dutch Kills (PK-5) get below average and average ratings. A slice of northeast LIC is zoned for PS 166 Henry Gradstein (PK-5), which gets an 8 out of 10. Read more on how NYC school choice is changing.
As for middle schools, IS 204 Oliver W. Holmes (6-8) and Hunter’s Point Community Middle School (6-8) sit at opposite ends of the neighborhood. Both get average marks from GreatSchools.
Among several public high schools in the area, the Academy for Careers in Television and Film (9-12) and Academy of American Studies (9-12) both score an above average 7 out of 10.
Your Perfect Day: Things to Do in Long Island City
📚 Check out the calendar of programs and activities from early childhood to older adults at the architecturally distinct Queens Public Library at Hunters Point
🏙 Soak up the sun and Manhattan skyline at Gantry Plaza State Park, named after two gantry cranes that hoisted railroad cargo to/from river barges
🍻 Now soak up the LIC beer scene; steps from the park’s iconic Pepsi Cola sign is Rockaway Brewing; after a Hawaiian Pizza IPA there, make stops at Fifth Hammer Brewing, ICONYC Brewing, and Big aLICe Brewing—all within 15 minutes’ walk
👛 Shop for funky fashion and handmade jewelry at LIC Flea & Food, the largest outdoor market in Queens complete with diverse food stalls
🍖 Get fingers dirty at Kansas City-style BBQ joint John Brown and (maybe) root for the Chiefs
🧗🏽♀️ Work off those ribs at The Cliffs, a rope climbing and bouldering venue that offers fitness classes
🖼 See rotating art exhibits at MoMA PS1—inside a former public school—and stay for the good vibes at Warm Up, a DJ series in the courtyard on summer Saturdays
🍴 Enjoy waterfront fine dining at restaurants like Blend on the Water (Latin), Maiella (Italian), and SHI (pan-Asian)
🍸 End the evening with cocktails overlooking the Manhattan skyline at The Penthouse atop Ravel Hotel, which feels so close to the twin cantilever Queensboro Bridge that you can touch it
🍳 Or keep going and grab late-night bites at Court Square Diner, open 24/7 and serving generous portions since 1946
Want to live in Long Island City?