Not long ago Long Island City (LIC) was a place where New Yorkers traveled to earn their daily bread. LIC was one of the leading industrial areas of New York City for much of the 20th century. It wasn’t until the 1970s when that all began to change, as many factories shut down in search of greener pastures overseas where labor was more affordable. When the factories began closing the jobs evaporated. Things did not look good for this part of Queens.
Thus, New York City’s urban planners got busy reinventing the neighborhood at the foot of the 59th street Bridge. By the end of the 1980s the city had rezoned LIC. It was decided that LIC would work best as a residential zone due to its proximity to midtown Manhattan.
Since that time billions of redevelopment dollars have poured into the neighborhood to build housing. In some instances, former industrial buildings have undergone a makeover. They’re now repurposed as sleek residential condominiums. However, down where the East River meets the borough of Queens an entirely new world has emerged. The industrial past of Long Island City is in the process of being erased.
Scanning west from Court Square, the Citicorp Building is no longer alone in the skyline looking towards Manhattan from Queens. The first of many tall apartment buildings, Citylights, which was erected in 1998 has been followed by several others since then. There are many more in the process of being built, and others are in the planning stages. That is the vision of what will eventually make up this turn-of-the-century district called Queens West.
One of the most appealing aspects of living in Queens West is already in place. It is Hunter’s Point Park South, which brings us to today’s day trip suggestion. Situated on the east bank of the East River immediately across from the United Nations, Hunter’s Point Park South provides a spectacular view of Manhattan from Long Island City.
At sunset Hunter's Point Park South is probably one of the most beautiful places in the world. It is difficult to imagine that this was all part of an abandoned industrial waterfront a mere ten years before. The Park’s Department does a fantastic job maintaining Hunter's Point Park South. Across from the park there's an outdoor cafe called LIC Landing. It's a super convenient outdoor spot for coffee and a bite to eat.
I have no reservations about advising you to visit Hunter’s Point South Park. The only way to completely appreciate the Manhattan skyline is from this vantage point. As the sun begins to set, and the lights start turning on, Queens uniquely reveals the spectacle that is New York City at night. For that reason Hunter's Point is one of my favorite places in the city, and I’m sure you will appreciate it as much as I do.
Click any of the links in the text above for further relevant information.
Click on this moovit link for directions to Hunter’s Point Park South via public transportation.