What makes a city or town appealing? Is it the people who live in the area, the residents who imbue their surroundings with different cultural influences? Is it the geography of the place, the nearness to or separation from a major metropolitan area? Could it be the arts scene? The economy? What about cost of living? When people look at a city and its neighborhoods, whether they're considering a location to start a new business or the perfect place to raise a family, it's important to ask all of these questions.
But whether you're interested in a bustling center of industry, an arts hub, a geographically appealing place on the planet or a good, old-fashioned hometown, you might have heard some of the buzz about Long Island City - it's getting its fair share these days. New York magazine has raved about all the fabulous restaurants proliferating across the neighborhood, the New York City Marathon passed right through Long Island City this year, and development is flourishing on the shoreline facing Midtown Manhattan across the East River. With the arts scene bursting at the seams as well and a surprisingly low cost of living, a lot of people are taking a closer look at this waterfront city in Queens.
In the mid 1800s, the North Fork Line of the LIRR became linked with Hunter's Point, the southern tip of Long Island City. By 1870, Long Island City encompassed the communities of Astoria, Hunters Point, Blissville, Ravenswood, Dutch Kills and Bowery Bay.
Of course, back in the 1800s, railroads meant big business and made the difference in the future of any populated place. If you were linked to the railroad, you were a city-on-the-verge - if not, welcome to Snoozeville. Not only did the LIRR make Long Island City a stop on its route, ferry service began, too, carting people and goods to and from Long Island City to 34th and Wall Streets in Manhattan. In 1908, the Queensboro Bridge was erected, followed by Penn Station in 1910. By 1940, the Triboro Bridge was finished and on top of that, the Queens Midtown Tunnel was up and running too.
What did all this construction and development mean? For Queens and Long Island City, it meant a lot. Business flooded into the area, which was less expensive (and more expansive) than Manhattan or even Brooklyn at the time. Since Long Island City was next door to Sunnyside Rail Yards, a lot of industrial buildings were built and manufacturing in Long Island City became a hub.