A long-time art community, Long Island City is notable for its rich cultural diversity, views of the Manhattan skyline, increasing number of art spaces and rapid gentrification. This up-and-coming neighborhood is packed with unique museums, waterfront parks and exclusive recreational activities. Here are 10 cultural reasons to mosey over to Long Island City.
An 8,000 square-foot gym facility equipped with a trampoline, silks, a cloud swing, trapeze and more, the Circus Warehouse is a place for elite circus performers and local participants to practice unique forms of exercise such as juggling, acrobatic balancing and wire walking. The Circus Warehouse also produces its own shows featuring students, instructors and professionals. Their show titled ‘Aerial Text Experiments’ is produced in conjunction with an annual worldwide art and poetry movement, 100,000 Poets for Change. The gym is open Monday through Friday 9am to 9pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am to 6pm.
The Brickhouse Ceramic Art Center offers year-round pottery classes for adults at any skill level. Offering wheel throwing, hand building and glaze classes, this studio possesses two slab rollers, 20 potter’s wheels, two extruders, five cone art kilns in various sizes, a Laguna Pro-X Spray Booth, a break area and a garden. For those who wish to purchase ceramics rather than create their own, the Brickhouse Ceramic Art Center has a gift shop that sells an assortment of carefully crafted goods to include mugs, plates, vases, jewelry, and more.
With skyline views of Midtown Manhattan, gaze upon the Empire State Building and the United Nations while you wander the 12 picturesque acres of Gantry State Park. The park includes four piers, a mist mountain, basketball courts, playgrounds, handball courts and a fishing pier with its own cleaning table. Note that the park prohibits cooking of any kind, and dogs are not allowed in certain areas. Hours of operation run from 8am to 10pm.
Take advantage of the local estuary with the Long Island City Community Boathouse, an all-volunteer educational and recreational paddling program. The organization hosts three primary programs, including weekday paddles, Hallet’s Cove paddles and free, walk-up kayak rides. Weekday paddles offer beautiful views of Roosevelt Island, Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn, while weekend paddles offer rides through Hallet’s Cove at the northern end of Socrates Sculpture Park and kayaks take you to Anable Basin. Children are welcome when accompanied by a parent.
MoMA PS1 is one of the oldest and largest nonprofit contemporary art institutions in the United States, devoted entirely to experimental art. In the year 2000, MoMa PS1 solidified its affiliation with The Museum of Modern Art, combining and extending its collection. Exhibitions include retrospectives, site-specific installations, music and performance programs as well as historical studies. The space is made up of galleries featuring long-term installations and hosts programs such as Sunday Sessions, MoMA / MoMA PS1 Records, Young Architects Program, Warm Up, and Summer School. The museum is open 10 am to 6 pm Thursday through Monday.
The Museum of the Moving Image is dedicated to the art, history, technique, and technology of film, television and digital media. Showcasing over 400 films ranging from classical to contemporary styles, the museum offers exhibitions as well as educational and interpretive programs to include First Look and See it Big! The museum is open from 10:30am to 5pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10:30am to 8pm on Fridays, and 11:30am to 7pm Saturdays and Sundays.
The Noguchi Museum was founded by the Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi, who is best remembered for his sculptures, stage and furniture designs, drawings and architectural models. The museum’s mission is to preserve and display his work through exhibitions and free gallery talks Wednesdays through to Sundays, with special talks in Japanese on the first and second Sunday of every month. The Noguchi Museum also hosts a wide variety of public programs. The museum is open Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 10am to 5pm and Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 6pm.
A water adventure awaits you on the East River Ferry, which runs every 20 to 30 minutes for only a $4 charge. Set stops include East Midtown at 34th Street, Wall Street/Pier 11, Long Island City, Greenpoint, North Williamsburg, South Williamsburg and DUMBO. The entire ride takes 30 minutes in total, with an additional Governors Island stop offered on weekends.
Before 1986, the grounds of Socrates Sculpture Park were an uninhabited riverside landfill and illegal dumpsite. Thanks to a coalition of artists and community leaders, the park has been transformed into an outdoor exhibition space for young artists. In addition, the surrounding space is used for special events such as a Summer Solstice Celebration, a Bike Parade, an outdoor cinema and activities such as yoga, tai chi, boating, kayaking, canoeing and a green market.
The largest climbing gym in New York City, The Cliffs at LIC offers a 16-foot bouldering wall, 127 toprope stations and a 45-foot lead cave for climbers of all skill sets. The gym is also fully equipped with kettleballs, free weighs, pull-up bars, campus boards, two Beastmaker fingerboards, bikes, elliptical machines and a training wall for practice. All climbs are rated using the Yosemite decimal system for roped climbs and the V-Scale for boulders. The gym is open Monday through Friday 10am to 11pm, and Saturday and Sunday 9am to 9pm. By Laura Farrell