Thursday, September 14, 2023

Long Island City - the living embodiment of a growing city


Manhattan viewed from Long Island City

 New York City has many neighborhoods that started out as mostly or primarily industrial. One of those is Long Island City, which sits at the western edge of the borough of Queens. It is tucked in between Astoria, Brooklyn, and the East River.

Big Allis - The Con Ed Ravenswood generating plant

Long Island City was incorporated as an independent city in 1870, a time when Queens County was made up of dozens of individual towns. Access to the East River allowed for the development of factories in LIC, and it served as home to many small industry factories for the next one-hundred years.

Cement Factory

In 1898, LIC surrendered its independence and joined New York City. The Queensboro (59th Street) Bridge was constructed, and three subway lines linked it to center of NYC. Much of the area remained an industrial hub through the 1990’s, although the scale of production decreased after the 1970’s.

Jet Blue Headquarters

In the early 1990’s developers realized that LIC was a very short subway ride from Manhattan, and began to buy up land and construct new, large, modern apartment buildings. Today, the center of LIC is one of the most densely built parts of the city with over 40 new apartment buildings constructed by 2017, and more going up every day.

The narrow streets and tall modern buildings offer some interesting views from street level. The glass walls reflect each other, along with the elevated subways and ramps to the bridge snaking in between them. 

The modern towers are mostly to the east of the ramps to the bridge. But walk underneath that tangle of engineering, and past the Silver Cup Studio sign, and you enter a very different part of LIC. Here, the older industrial buildings still line the street. These structures are only 1-3 stories tall, so the sky is open and bright. While most of the old industries have disappeared, new ones, have moved in, bringing with them jobs, art studios and non-profits.

Walking up and down the streets of LIC, there is a lot to see. The old buildings have been repurposed. New buildings are going up. Together, Long Island City represents the changing face of New York in both form and function.


No comments:

Post a Comment