Amazon’s upcoming move to the waterfront neighborhood of Long Island City (LIC) has Queens residents abuzz with anticipation, and they’re not the only ones. Local businesses are prepared to welcome the new arrivals with a growing slate of housing, eating, and retail options.
There’s no doubt that we’ll see plenty of ambitious new projects shaping up alongside HQ2, but LIC already has plenty to offer. Long Island City is an artistic community teeming with countless cultural gems, impressive green spaces, and a solid portfolio of quirky bars, specialty restaurants, and down-to-business coffee shops. It’s currently home to over 150 restaurants, bars, and cafes; more than 39 arts and cultural institutions; five waterfront parks; and 32 hotels, with 43 others in the works. From its spectacular views of Manhattan to its lovely parks, trendy restaurants, and easy access to public transportation, LIC will prove an exceptional home for Amazon’s planned new hires.
MoMA PS1: A satellite location of Manhattan’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the lesser-known MoMA PS1 is located within a weathered school building, boasting an impressive array of contemporary art within a laid back atmosphere. During warmer months, the museum runs its popular Warm Up series, outdoor events presenting the best in live and electronic music. Last year Warm Up hosted more than 75 artists across 10 energy-packed sessions.
Museum of the Moving Image: This museum explores the history of film with interactive exhibitions, and also doubles as a cinema. Events include everything from screenings of contemporary films (including Q&As with special guests) to showings of cult classics.
The Noguchi Museum: This museum specializes in works by artist Isamu Noguchi, an artist and landscape architect who is especially well-known for his sculpture and public works. The museum houses the world’s largest collection of his art, consisting of two floors, as well as an outdoor sculpture garden.
Dutch Kills Green: This 1.5 acre oasis in Queens Plaza, formerly a parking lot, was transformed in 2012 into a green space that houses a native-plant wetlands, a collection of artist-created benches, an amphitheatre, and a bike trail that starts at Pulaski Bridge and takes adventurous riders all the way to Manhattan’s Lower East Side
Gantry Plaza State Park: A 12-acre riverfront park, Gantry Plaza features gardens, fishing piers, sports fields, a playground, a mist fountain, and frequent live music. Most notably, though, the park is known for its incredible views of the midtown Manhattan skyline, the 59th Street Bridge, and the Williamsburg Bridge. Visitors are sure to enjoy strolling around its four piers and manicured gardens.
The Cliffs at LIC: This indoor rock gym is a paragon of flexibility, and not just in the athletes scaling its walls. Climbers can purchase day passes or memberships, and solo climbers can take advantage of auto belays. The gym also offers a number of classes, from rock climbing classes to yoga, pilates, and even AcroYoga. Any level of skill is welcome to take on these “cliffs” near the Queens waterfront.
Places to Eat & Drink:
Court Square Diner: Don’t just visit Court Square Diner because it’s one of the city’s last remaining true diners, go there because it serves up a great meal, too. This diner has everything we’ve come to love and expect from such beloved eateries. A sprawling menu, affordable prices, retro decor, and a kitchen that never closes. Absolute perfection.
Dutch Kills: This craft cocktail bar shakes up a huge menu of specialty drinks, and each one is a work of art. It’s big on house-made ingredients (they even make their own grenadine), fresh squeezed juices, and a variety of bitters. While the main attraction is cocktails, the bar also serves a modest selection of wine and beer, as well as a few comfort snacks to soak it all up. Kentucky beer cheese, anyone?
Queens Comfort: Widely considered to be one of New York City’s best brunch spots, Queens Comfort in nearby Astoria is not to be missed. Specializing in comfort food, this place has it all: a menu chock-full of atypical Benedicts, karaoke, live DJs, freestyling MCs, retro movies, and vintage decor. Oh, and it’s BYOB.
The best part is….this is just the tiniest of samples. LIC had already been deemed one of the hottest spots for young people pre-Amazon, and while it’s hard to imagine the neighborhood getting any hotter, Amazon’s announcement is sure to add more exciting destinations to the list.
Museums are known to house sacred pieces that shape history and society as we know it. Silently walking the halls while using your eyes alone to take in the exhibit is becoming a routine of the past. New types of exhibitions are springing to life in cities all over the world. Enter the pop-up museum, created specifically for hands-on interaction and the boosting of everyone’s social media presence. Here are the top pop-up museums in New York City right now.
The Color Factory
A bright take on art makes this museum one unlike any other. It is centered around – you guessed it – colors. It features prestigious artists, illustrators, makers and designers, non-profits, and local food vendors. Located in a 20,000-square-foot Hudson Square space in Soho, this pop-up highlights all the happiness and fun that come from vibrant colors. No outfit is too flashy here.
The Museum of Pizza
The website describes this pop-up as “A space to bask in multi-sensory, psychedelic pizza joy.“ The $35 ticket will buy you a tour of pizza-themed rooms such as the “cheese cave,” a “pizza beach,” and others. Otherwise, they’re a little cheeky as to what it all actually means. Whether you’re intrigued or creeped out, this experience is guaranteed to be “marvelously-’grammable.” Bring your cameras and all cheesy pizza hashtags. It will likely make you hungry.
Here, everything is made of candy thanks to the talents of Hollywood “candy queen” Jackie Sorkin and fabricator Zac Hartog. The website sums up the museum as “where colossal candyfloss constructions meld with a tantalizing taffy twistedness!” If that doesn’t sum it up, you’ll have to see it for yourself. A tour through Charlie’s Chocolate Factory may not live up to this modern-day pop-up. Bring a sweet tooth and your Instagram game.
The Velvet Underground Experience
If you think you should’ve lived your best years in the 1960s, this museum may be your cup of tea. Connect with Lou Reed in his prime and go into a technicolor world befitting Andy Warhol’s iconic banana album cover. This pop-up features six films, 350+ photos, 1,000+ objects, and special events such as concerts, lectures, installations, exhibitions, screenings, and masterclasses.
Museum of Illusions
Want to see your head on a platter without actually losing it? This is the place to do so. When you’re in this museum, everything is an optical illusion. It will make you question your senses and learn about them at the same time. Nothing is what it seems until you leave the building. Great for kids and adults alike. Perfect for selfies.
The weather is getting chilly, so go inside to warm up and check out these delightful budding forms of pop culture in the greatest city in the world. The caveat to these Millennial-centric pop-up museums is that they are only around temporarily. Get your selfies in before they close!
As the summer heats up, many New York City residents head for the hills (or the Jersey Shore) for a weekend getaway and fun in the sun. But for those of us staying in the city, there are still plenty of summertime vibes to be found. Strolling the boardwalk at Coney Island, sipping frosé at a sidewalk cafe, rowboats on central park lake and our favorite past-time: Grilling meats in the open air!
An outdoor bbq with friends and family is the quintessential American summer activity. Luckily for New Yorkers, there are 1,700 parks stretched across the five boroughs! Large, small, wooded, or oceanfront, here are just a few of the parks that allow public grilling:
Inwood Hill Park (enter at Dyckman Street & Hudson River)
Inwood Hill Park is a 196.4-acre slice of New York History with sweeping vistas, dramatic caves, valleys, and ridges. The park offers athletic fields, playgrounds, dog runs, and a barbecue area, in harmony with its natural assets and striking views of the Hudson.
Morningside Park (enter at Morningside Avenue & West 121st Street)
Close to Columbia University, the Apollo Theater and the northern tip of Central Park, Morningside Park stretches thirteen blocks through the neighborhoods of Harlem and Morningside Heights. This nicely landscaped community park has playgrounds, jogging and bike paths, ballfields, picnicking, cliff-like hillsides with unique views, and even a waterfall. And the bonus feature: there’s a farmers market on Saturdays.
Randall’s Island Park (enter at the waterfront near the south end of the park).
Randall’s Island Park is a recreation hub in the middle of the East River that has all things that make summertime a beloved New York season! With incredible flora, athletics, urban farming, and fantastic waterfronts, this is a great place to plan a large all-day get-together.
Queensbridge Park (enter at Vernon Blvd and 41st Avenue)
Conveniently located on the East River waterfront, Queensbridge Park is a community park with great views from the Queens side of life, and a couple of great spots to grill! This park has a seawall, playgrounds, handball courts, dog-friendly areas, and convenient bathrooms making it easier for the older and younger members of the family.
Manhattan Beach Park (enter northeast of the promenade, median adjacent to the parking lot)
This is a popular stretch of beach great for picnicking, swimming (yes, people do actually swim in the water. It’s warm!) and volleyball. Manhattan Beach is a good alternative spot for grilling because it isn’t allowed on the beach at Coney Island. And as a reminder, for better or worse, there is no amplified sound permitted.
Now for the bad news, here is a short list of the parks that do not allow outdoor grilling:
Central Park (with the exception of Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day)
Coney Island (but between the surf, the rides, and the iconic boardwalk, you’ll have plenty else to do)
Washington Square Park
East River Park also disallows grilling without a permit, so be sure to grab one if you’re looking to cook out in the shadow of the stunning Manhattan Bridge!
Don’t forget that there’s plenty more to do in NYC world-class parks system! For even more activity ideas, check out our Summer 2018 events that aren’t to be missed!
NYC is already a foodie paradise-with more restaurants than you could visit in a lifetime-but who’s to say you can have too much of a good thing? More and more developers across the five boroughs are opening food halls, dedicated spaces featuring a variety of food options under one roof. These are 3 of our favorites!
Dekalb Market Hall – Downtown Brooklyn
Sited in the basement of the remodeled Albee Square Mall, CityPoint features a new Target, Century 21, and Alamo Drafthouse movie theater, but the biggest attraction sits in the basement. This bustling hall holds 40 vendors representing the spectrum of Brooklyn eats, from tacos to pierogis and everything in between. Perhaps the most enticing option are the mile-high pastrami sandwiches from Katz’ Deli-available outside of the Houston St. original for the first time ever.
Hudson Eats – Battery Park City
Underneath the picturesque Winter Garden Atrium in Battery Park City’s Financial Center, Hudson Eats boasts perhaps the city’s most massive food hall, with big names suitable for the enormous space. Mighty Quinn’s BBW, Dos Toros Taqueria, and Blue Ribbon Sushi are just a selection of the top-quality fare to be found in the shadow of the Freedom Tower, located just across West Street.
Shops at Queens Crossing – Flushing
Arising from a former mall food court, the Shops at Queens Crossing feature a major upgrade from the fast food of yesterday. Appropriately enough for the majority Asian neighborhood, Flushing’s brand new food hall features foodie-grade bubble tea, Hawaiian poke, Japanese sushi, Chinese dim sum, Thai ice cream, and even some French and British options. For New York’s most diverse borough, it’s only right that an international flavor is in the offering.
Want more NYC food talk? Check out our Food Enclaves series: with visits to Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Jackson Heights, Queens, and Arthur Avenue in The Bronx.
A day at the park doesn’t have to mean leisure time. Many New Yorkers, eager to make the most of their workouts, hit the city’s many parks to get and stay fit all throughout the year. These are four spots across the city where fitness freaks can get an intense workout while enjoying the city’s best green spaces.
Running Track – Van Cortlandt Park
The Bronx’s showcase (and third largest park in NYC), Van Cortlandt Park is home to a golf course, cricket pitch, bocce court, and even a Gaelic football field, but those looking to work up a solo sweat will find it in the park’s southwest corner, just south of the tennis courts. The Van Cortlandt Stadium on Broadway between 240 and 242nd street is the perfect staging area for cardio at any level, from marathoners to weekend warriors. Test out your speed on the 400 meter track, or run up the concrete stadium steps for a vertical element to your workout.
Swimming – Flushing Meadows Corona Park
If you’re looking to burn some calories and build muscle without getting drenched in sweat, the pool is where you belong. Queens’ biggest park is home to a state-of-the-art aquatics center with an Olympic-sized pool, with all levels of swimmers welcome. A nominal membership fee (much lower than typical gym fees) will get you in for swimming year-round and seasonal ice skating at the attached rink-the best of both worlds in recreation and fitness.
Hanging Bars – Tompkins Square Park
Alphabet City’s green oasis is also home to one of New York City Parks’ most well-known and tough public fitness areas. What at a glance might look like a garden variety jungle gym is, in fact, an adult-ready set of steel frames to test even the most accomplished pull-up champ. Bring your A-game to this array of multi-colored hanging bars in the northeast corner of the park, or risk getting squeezed out by the park’s ultra-toned regulars.
Watersports – Marine Park
If your interests tend a little towards the unexpected (for NYC, at least) a ride down to Marine Park for some kayaking and paddleboarding is well worth the trip. This far-flung Brooklyn neighborhood’s namesake park (reachable by car or bus, but not subway) features not only 530 acres of grassland, but the Gerritsen inlet, a purpose-built launching spot for small boats and watercraft. Bring your own or rent one from a nearby kiosk and get your blood pumping while enjoying a day on the water!
From the Statue of Liberty to the Washington Square Arch, public art is an inextricable part of the NYC landscape. Outside of these established landmarks, there’s never a shortage of intriguing and thought-provoking pieces popping up across the five boroughs. These are a few public artworks currently on display around the five boroughs that help keep New York a vibrant center of culture, showing you don’t always need to visit a museum to get in touch with the world of art.
Good Fences Make Good Neighbors
The sometimes controversial Chinese dissident’s latest piece uses the entire city as its canvas. At sites across Manhattan and Brooklyn, Ai Weiwei’s Good Fences Makes Good Neighbors serves as compelling commentary on the borders and separations that define our lives. Consisting of steel fences and pictorial banners strategically placed across the city, this piece is just the latest example of global artists using the city’s streets to make a vital statement.
On the more lighthearted side, this bright yellow construction consists of just two letters that carry a multitude of meanings for countless people. The 8-foot tall aluminum piece, depending on where on the Williamsburg’s North Fifth Street Pier and Park you’re standing, reads “YO” as in “I” in Spanish, or the slang “hey” salutation familiar to just about all New Yorkers. From the other side, the two letters read “OY,” perhaps a nod to the city’s many Jewish residents. Either way you choose to look at it, this piece by Deborah Kass is worth experiencing in person.
Flying High for Equality
A highlight of the City Parks Department’s Art in the Parks initiative, Flying High for Equality sits perched on the southern slope of Joyce Kilmer Park along East 161st Street in the Concourse Village neighborhood in the Bronx. A flock of multicolored sparrows representing the varied communities found in the city overlook the colorful neighborhood adjacent to Yankee Stadium.
Another piece sponsored by the Parks Department brings vivid color to the green parks of New York. Queens’ Rufus King Park in Jamaica already stands out thanks to a colonial manor central to the park, and Common Ground brings a more down-home feeling to the compact park space. Brightly colored benches featuring mosaic designs comprise this utilitarian piece of art, providing a place that encourages park visitors to come together and enjoy friendship and camaraderie any time of year.
The work of Polish-born artist Fitzhugh Karol, this highly interactive piece forms steel silhouettes into something new. Part public art, part playground, these works invite visitors to play and enjoy them while offering a highly unique aesthetic to Stapleton’s Tappen Park. Drawing inspiration from the freighters in nearby New York harbor, Eyes combines steel material with bright color.