First it was the Empire State Building and then it was Brooklyn. Guidebooks have been sending visitors around the city for the perfect views of Manhattan. Yet somehow Long Island City got skipped over. It’s the perfect place for skyline views and the tourists have yet to discover it. For the best views, head to Gantry Plaza State Park.
I mean, come on! These views are pretty incredible. Long Island City sits at Midtown for Manhattan, with the UN Building directly across. If you are at the right spot, you can even look straight down 42nd Street to the Hudson River (yep, basically New Jersey). You’ll see both the Chrysler Building and Empire State, as well as WTC down south. Plus, at night you can see the flashing lights of Times Square.
One of my favorite parts of Long Island City is the Pepsi-Cola sign – by day it sits prominently in the park and provides shade to picnickers and by night it’s glowing neon red. The sign was originally on the top of the Pepsi-Cola plant on the East River and was relocated here after the plant closed in 1999. And in 2016, the sign was designated a landmark.
Way less crowded than DUMBO
Ever since the guidebooks started telling people to head to DUMBO, and oh also, there’s Grimaldi’s pizza and now a Shake Shack, tourists have been crowding up the area. Luckily in Long Island City, it’s very un-touristy and is mainly locals who live in the neighboring high rises (like me) or a few in-the-know New Yorkers (who probably know someone in the neighboring high rises). The parks are clean and perfect for a stroll, a sunbathe, or a picnic. It can get a bit busy on the weekends but you’ll never have to fight for a sun chair or a spot of grass.
Only 3 stops from Times Square and on the East River Ferry line
When people hear Queens, they often think far. But what if you knew it was only 15 minutes from Times Square? Yep, that’s right. It’s only 3 stops on the 7 train line (get off at Vernon-Jackson Boulevard). Or you can catch the East River Ferry one stop from Manhattan for the same fare as a metro card. Trying to get to Brooklyn? Plan an hour. Convinced yet?
It might not have any famous restaurants, but it’s got plenty of great spots. Check out BLVD Wine Bar or Maiella for dinner with a view. If you’re looking for something more casual, the LIC Landing is a perfect place for an afternoon beer and snack.
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