We sat down with a Long Island City resident to chat about the perks of living in this up-and-coming Queens neighborhood.
Name: Miranda Geraci-Yee
Occupation: Copywriter in Advertising and Marketing
How long I’ve lived in the neighborhood: Going on four years
Why I moved to Long Island City: When I was looking for apartments with my girlfriends, we had a few key locations picked out. A lot had to do with proximity to our workplaces. I work in Union Square and my friend worked on the Upper East Side at the time, so we wanted a location that was easy to get to and from those areas. We looked in Williamsburg, Queens, and even in Lower Manhattan, until we found this amazing place here in in LIC — the price was right and the location was right.
Personally, growing up in Long Island, my family and I would drive into the city quite often. And to get from Long Island to Manhattan, you take the 495, and you get off at Van Dam Street and go through Long Island City to get to the Queensborough Bridge. So we would drive through the area and I just absolutely loved the industrial-ness of it, the abandoned factories, such a cool vibe. I knew this is where I wanted to live some day. Fast forward 20 years, and here I am!
What I love most about living here: I think most people who you meet who live in LIC now live near the water, where all these crazy high rises and new builds are going up. I live in a townhouse farther in, in an area where commerce is just starting to build up. I think that’s actually why I like it so much. It feels quiet amidst all of the chaos of New York. But the location is still so amazing — I live off of four train lines that can get me anywhere in Manhattan and Brooklyn and that’s so key.
What I’ve also come to realize is that so many neighborhoods are going through gentrification, but Long Island City is unique because it’s industrial turned residential, instead of low income residential to high income residential. I feel a little bit better knowing I’m not displacing human beings.
Favorite spots to eat in the neighborhood: John Brown Smokehouse is an amazing rub-on-meat-on-paper barbeque spot. It’s real barbeque, so good. And there’s also my favorite ramen place, Mu Ramen. There are about 20 seats in the restaurant, so you have to get there early. We also have a couple of Michelin star rated restaurants. One is Casa Enrique, which is traditional Mexican food. Despite being Michelin rated, they keep the prices amazing. A new Omakase place also just opened — I haven’t tried it yet, but it seems like a real experience. That’s what we all look for in dining, an experience. And another go-to is LIC Market — all of their ingredients are fresh, and they change their menu weekly. It has that light, farm-to-table feel.
Your go-to coffee shops and bars: The Mill is a coffee shop that is right around the corner from my place. It’s a little expensive but delicious. My everyday coffee shop is also around the corner, it’s called Amerigo. It’s run by these lovely Italian people — they make amazing Italian food, and they sell Italian goods like this crazy pasta that you don’t see anywhere else, and their coffee is also great. Another favorite coffee place that’s been around for a long time is Sweetleaf, which does an amazing job of fulfilling your coffee needs..
My favorite bar for creative cocktails is The Standing Room. They have specialty drinks, like one served in a lightbulb and another where they put a bell jar over the drink and fill it with smoke so the whiskey collects the flavor. Most nights they also have a comedy show in the back, so it’s an experience. And then my favorite “dive” bar is LIC Bar.
Talking transportation: I’m a bit of a unique New Yorker in that I have a car, because my family lives on Long Island. I used to live in Brooklyn and it would take me an hour and a half to get out to Long Island, but from here I can just jump right onto the 495, or I can take the LIRR. The closest subway lines are the E, M, and the G and 7. So on your morning commute, if one train is messed up you can just hop on another. So many people in the city only live off of one train line, so we’re lucky to have so many options. Getting to the airport is also easy because the E will take you straight to the JFK Airtrain.
What makes Long Island City unique: It has the most gorgeous waterfront, in my opinion, in New York. It has all of my favorite sights. When you get down to the waterfront, there’s the Pepsi-Cola sign which is an icon in itself. And then you look across and you see the Queensborough Bridge, and then you see Louis Kahn’s Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island, and then you see the Empire State building, and the Chrysler building, and the UN building, and the Freedom Tower. It’s like, you see all of New York in one view and it’s so beautiful. When I go running in the morning, it calms and centers me. I think when you’re in Manhattan you get caught up in the chaos and you’re always running somewhere, so it’s hard to get a macro view of the city and LIC gives you that. Of course there are other waterfronts like in Williamsburg, but LIC’s really gives you this vast, westward look at Manhattan.
Another unique spot is MoMA PS1, which is a satellite space to the MoMA in Manhattan. It’s in an old public school building that they revitalized and created a younger atmosphere. They throw day parties, nighttime events, all around the art and getting people to be social. I think it really has revitalized the art world, especially contemporary art which is sometimes not accessible.
Advice for others looking to move to the area: Do it — move to LIC! The biggest thing I was surprised about when I moved is that it takes me literally 20 minutes to get anywhere I want. 20 mins to West Village, Upper East Side, Central Park, Union Square. It takes 10 mins to Williamsburg, 10 mins to Astoria. It’s so central and just such a little secret. Well, now that all of the high rises are going up, it’s becoming less of a secret. But it’s a wonderful place to live.
Closing words: A lot of New Yorkers don’t have a reason to come here, so getting my friends to come over to Long Island City and see how much it has to offer has been nice. The area also has rock climbing gyms because in LIC we have the space for it. There’s The Cliffs, right near my apartment, and Brooklyn Boulders opened a new outpost here. Everything is growing!