Recently revitalized after years of decline, Long Island City is in the midst of a dramatic transformation. Once home to industrial and shipping warehouses and manufacturing plants, the Long Island City of today instead boasts a growing skyline, vibrant arts scene and a robust local economy. For companies seeking affordable leases and loft-like office spaces, this neighborhood is a great option. Its hindered, however, by several other factors.
Long Island City is located in western Queens, just across the East River from Midtown Manhattan. Divided into several subsections like Hunters Point and Dutch Kills, the neighborhood sports a fast-growing skyline thanks to a 2001 rezoning undertaken by the Giuliani Administration.
Once known as a hub for industry, the neighborhood’s modern economy is based on tech and media, being home to a number of startup firms as well as established companies like JetBlue, Citicorp and Silvercup Studios, the largest film and TV production center in the city. The community is served by the N, Q, 7, <7>, F, E, M, R and G trains of the New York City subway as well as the Long Island Rail Road and East River Ferry.
Long Island City’s biggest draw is its affordable office space, available at rates much cheaper than Manhattan. Its abundance of warehouses and loft-like industrial buildings also make it a very attractive location for startups, media companies and tech firms in search of offices with open floor plans and high ceilings at economical prices.
The neighborhood also offers solid transportation options, including several subway lines and the Long Island Rail Road, offering easy access to the rest of the city and suburban Long Island. It’s also fairly convenient to JFK and LaGuardia airports. The neighborhood also plays host to a growing dining and arts scene, making it a good choice for startups and Millennial-centric firms.
Not being located in Manhattan, the neighborhood lacks the viability and prestige factors that many companies in New York City desire. Its lack of Class-A office space compared to other neighborhoods in Manhattan is also a huge hindrance to major corporate tenants as well.
Although the neighborhood offers access to the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North via the 7 train to Grand Central, its relatively far distance from Penn Station and lack of easy access to New Jersey Transit trains and buses make it difficult to reach from the Garden State. It can also be a haul from other local commercial hubs like Lower Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn.
Despite its relative lack of Class-A office space and somewhat limited transit options, Long Island City is still a great place to do business. Al though major corporations seeking a high-profile location will likely want to take a pass on the neighborhood, it’s still a good choice for media, creative and tech firms seeking affordable rents in buildings with flexible, open floor plans.