More and more people say that the quality of life here is nothing short of fantastic. Long Island City has gotten some well-deserved attention over the past few years as one of New York’s fastest-growing, most convenient neighborhoods in New York City.
Long Island City’s place on the banks of the East River is no secret, but did you know the neighborhood as an active and vibrant community boathouse? It does. The LIC Community Boathouse is committed to raising awareness of the beauty and health of the river and the New York Harbor it runs to. Volunteers at the Boathouse offer weekly paddles that provide beautiful views of Roosevelt Island, Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn. Paddlers will also be able to experience one of the most sensational sunsets in New York! The Boathouse hosts free “walk-up” kayak rides that take place in the protected Hallets Cove, at the northern end of Socrates Sculpture Park.
Long Island City has several great coffee shops – Coffeed at the Ferry Landing, Canelle on 5th Street, Communitea on 46th Road, and the 51st Avenue Bakery – but the hidden gem among these can’t-miss java joints is the Rocket Fuel served at one of two Sweetleaf locations. It is said that they serve a highly addictive iced coffee and chicory concoction.
51st Avenue Bakery – it’s a great spot for coffee, but where 51st Bakery consistently exceeds your expectations is its kitchen. The breakfast sandwiches are flat out delicious on fresh-baked baguettes, and the lunch specials are out of this world. You won’t want to miss the meatloaf and tomato sandwich, but if you’re not early enough, you will. It sells out in no time. The butternut squash sandwich is the perfect choice for vegetarians. And, being a bakery and all, you’ll want to indulge in the variety of cookies, cakes, and treats.
There is no shortage of fine pubs in the neighborhood, but for a unique experience, here are a few spots you may not be aware of: Bierocracy is a beer hall on Jackson Avenue serving a large, rotating selection of deliciously fermented hops-based elixirs in a very open, bright, and social environment. If you’re in the mood for something a little more intimate and quiet, check out the Beer Closet on 51st Avenue. What started as a small shop offering hard-to-find craft beers and ales has matured into a state-sanctioned beer lounge – not quite a bar, but a place where you can buy beer to take home (in bottles or growlers) or to hang out in the comfortably decorated lounge. And then there is the 5th Street tap room of Rockaway Brewing Company, where they brew in the back and offer tastes and growlers daily.
The Creek and the Cave offers much more than tasty California-style Mexican. It has a theater next to the dining room that has nightly Improv and stand-up comedy performances for FREE. Downstairs sits a full bar, and in that bar are eight, count’em EIGHT, pinball machines to challenge your inner Pinball Wizard. The Creek also has a wonderful back patio for drinking, dining, and taking in the fresh air!
Live Music at the LIC Bar, nightly. Just when you thought you’d reach the end of all that is Vernon Blvd. you’ll notice the uncanny neon-light LIC Bar sign. Step inside the unpretentious space, grab a drink and settle in for some live music, very often by local artists performing original works. The venue’s courtyard and rear carriage house extend the space and on pleasant evenings offers a great place to unwind.
L’Inizio Pizzeria offers a variety of pizzas by the pie or slice – there’s a big sign, it’s not a secret. But, in the back is a garden, and in that garden grow fresh vegetables and herbs, and it has tables and chairs to sit in and enjoy. And the homemade sangria, it’s pretty amazing.
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Also published on Medium.