Are you a brand spankin’-new parent searching for the right place to raise your family? If it’s a healthy mix of homey and hip you desire—and if Manhattan is giving you sticker shock—Long Island City might be just what you’re looking for. The Westernmost section of Queens, LIC is the latest “up-and-coming” destination for younger professionals who want a safe, kid-friendly environment without compromising what New York is all about. Technically neither Long Island nor “The City” (with apologies to Linda Richman), the neighborhood is fast-becoming just that, a vibrant and close-knit community that maintains an ample dose of that Manhattan bustle and buzz, while steering clear of the din that generally comes along with it. Long Island City’s growing cachet has fueled community planning with an increased focus on family dynamics. The result? A new Long Island City, with more schools and childcare facilities, reasonable rents for two-bedroom units, and lots of events and attractions for parents to share with their little ones.
The very fabric of Long Island City was knit by artists and other creative types who gave the nabe a shot when they became disenfranchised by Manhattan’s bloated cost of living and frenetic pace, the same sort of issues besetting many growing families. The artsy presence led to a more colorful, inviting aesthetic in LIC, dovetailing with the advent of awesome attractions like the MoMa offshoot art center PS1 and the Five Pointz “legal graffiti” museum. This sort of anti-gentrification led, naturally, to a locale more immediately appealing to kids and the parents who love ‘em. Predictably, Long Island City began to evolve parallel to the prevailing needs of the community, and resulting in a mosaic of enriching programs and events for the newest and youngest of prospective residents.
Things To Do in Long Island City for Kids
Working parents can drop children off at LIC Kids, where a small fee covers a full day of play, supervised but unstructured. Parents and babies can get centered together with programs at the Yoga Room. The LIC branch of the Queens Library hosts a schedule of fun activities for the ’tween set, including board games, scavenger hunts and the like, starting just after school lets out on Fridays. Malu, a charming mom-and-pop ice cream/sweet shop on Jackson, has an ongoing “Story Time Thursdays” series for tots 18 months and up, and on March 10th are holding their first annual “Pirates and Princesses” day, a costume party/ice cream tasting event. If your child is fascinated with cute exotica from afar, the Resobox Japanese Art Gallery has classes that will teach them about more than just Hello Kitty and Pokémon. And the ‘Y’ on Queens Boulevard offers Universal Pre-K as well as affordable instruction for kids in music, dance, and various athletics.
All of this and much more is located in a comfy, manageable municipality where new schools and childcare centers are cropping up alongside existing facilities expanding to accommodate the influx of new families. Long Island City is stepping up to take on the challenge of being New York City’s new hot spot for all the cool kids (and their families).