Long Island City was once famous largely for the Pepsi-Cola sign that dominates its waterfront. But the area has changed radically in the last six years. Rental construction here has been the most energetic in the country, and those new homes have lured a hefty number of young professionals and families to a locale they might once have shunned. Here, (more than) a few reasons to consider joining them.
Three new towers at Jackson Park (28-30 Jackson Ave., jacksonparklic.com), which recently began accepting tenants for move-in by end of year, have added more than 1,800 new luxury rentals to the area. With stunning views across three boroughs, the upscale complex is anchored by a 1.6-acre private park, as well as a clubhouse crammed with amenities, including analfrescopool.
M. Wells Steakhouse is a former auto-body shop converted into a funky chophouse.
Pioneering Canadian restaurateurs Hugue Dufour and his wife, Sarah Obraitis, have managed to make the stuy chophouse cool with M. Wells Steakhouse (43-15 Crescent St., 718.786.9060, magasinwells.com), situated inside a converted auto-body shop. The high-end meat-centric menu changes weekly.
Two years ago, Casa Enrique (5-48 49th Ave., 347.448.6040, henrinyc.com), focusing on the food of chef Cosme Aguilar’s native Chiapas, Mexico, became the rst Queens restaurant to snag a Michelin star. Try the cochinito Chiapaneco roasted pork ribs with guajillo chilies. The chef-owner of Mu Ramen (1209 Jackson Ave., 917.868.8903, ramennyc.wixsite.com/popup), Joshua Smookler, has an eclectic backstory: the Per Se alum was born in Korea but raised as an Orthodox Jew in New York. The best place to enjoy his rich, Japanese-style ramen—like the Mu ramen, with an oxtail and bone marrow stock—is at the communal table here.
The brainchild of the late cocktail maestro Sasha Petraske, the almost decadeold speakeasy Dutch Kills (27-24 Jackson Ave., 718.383.2724, dutchkillsbar.com) is named after an old hamlet that once stood here. Duck into the cozy, old-school interior and order a Manhattan in Queens.
Queens entrepreneur Mark Garcia opened the witty streetwear boutique Long Island City Kleaners (45-03 Broadway, 718.606.0540, licknyc.com), with its old-school laundromat façade and decorative T-shirts hanging in plastic dry-cleaner bags. Alongside deadstock streetwear and sneakers, the store hosts art shows and offers graphic-design services.
Paper Factory’s guest rooms feature unique art and steampunk décor.
Two new hotels are vying for primacy in the ’hood. The convertedPaper Factory Hotel (37-06 36th St.,718.392.7200, paperfactoryhotel.com) channels its industrial history with wrought iron-heavy, steampunk-inspired décor and touches like British phone booths in the lobby. The newly built rival Boro Hotel (38-28 27th St., 718.433.1375, borohotel.com) boasts killer views from its balconies and rooftop bar/patio.
ARTS & OUTDOORS
The Kaufman Arts District in Astoria.
There are so many creative hubs here that one corner of Long Island City has been ocially designated theKaufman Arts District (kaufmanartsdistrict.com). Nearby, there’s the new Museum of the Moving Image (36-01 35th Ave., 718.777.6888, movingimage.us), with its nostalgia-soaked stock of Star Warsartifacts, and, of course, the always-impressive MoMA PS1 (22-25 Jackson Ave., 718.784.2084, momaps1.org).