10 Hidden Gems of Long Island City
This once-industrial area of Queens has shot to real-estate fame thanks to its epic skyline views and insanely easy commute to just about anywhere. But longtime residents have been touting the neighborhood’s charm since long before those shiny new high-rises. Here are a few time-honored establishments that are definitely worth a visit (that is, if you can find them).
Don’t let the dingy metal door at 27-24 Jackson Avenue fool you—just behind it lies one of the loveliest speakeasies New York City has to offer. There’s a thoughtfully curated drink menu, but you don’t even have to order from it: Simply tell one of the suspender-clad, bowtie-wrapped bartenders your favorite spirit and flavor preferences and they’ll whip up a bespoke cocktail that will haunt your dreams.
27-24 Jackson Ave.; 718-383-2724 or dutchkillsbar.com
Tailor Made for You Skincare
If you’re an LIC regular, you may have walked past a blue house lined with garden gnomes and a bench that reads, “You are marvelous. The gods wait to delight you.” But unbeknownst to most is the beauty mecca that lies just underneath through the blue basement doors. That’s where the fairy godmother of skin care, Angelena Lucheux, treats her clientele of locals to high-end, luxury European facials using products and techniques from France and Germany. The one-woman show has won dozens of awards and accolades and is undeniably skilled, but her charm and sweet sincerity is no doubt what keeps clients coming back for more.
10-50 47th Rd.; 646-339-9726 or tailormadeforyouinc.com
Rockaway Brewing Company
Prohibition might have occured a whole century ago, but this is the very first brewery to open in Queens since. Seriously. It gets its name from where it all started, in the Far Rockaway backyards of owners Ethan Long and Marcus Burnett, but has since relocated to Long Island City to spread its wings in a 3,600-square-foot taproom that was once an industrial garage space. They brew the beer here and serve a palatable selection to customers including their classic Rockaway ESB, as well as special brews such as 1875 Pale Ale, Tropical Pines, Muscle Beach (with a Sweater) and Don't Hassle Me, I'm Local. Be sure to say hi to Brownie the brewery cat.
46-01 Fifth St.; 718-482-6528 or rockawaybrewco.com
Anable Basin Sailing Bar & Grill
This waterfront location offers up some of the best views of the New York City skyline you’ll ever lay your eyes on. It’s situated right on the East River, at the end of a rundown road that doesn’t look promising. Don’t be alarmed by the lack of excitement, since your arrival at Anable Basin will be anything but—picture picnic benches lined up overlooking sailboats and midtown Manhattan, a full bar offering local beers, wines and cocktails and an eclectic selection of grilled food including specialties from Balkan, Brazil, Poland and Germany.
4-40 44th Dr.; 718-433-9269 or anablebasin.com
Most people associate Murray’s with its two Manhattan locations, but did you know the fromage mavens have a cheese cave facility in LIC? It’s home to four sizable caves and a drying room—you can book a tour to gain an exclusive look into the world of affinage (aka the art of aging cheese). Guests are greeted with a mimosa, then led through the different humidity-controlled caves by a Murray’s Cavemaster. Afterward, you’ll get to sample some of the goods.
25-19 Borden Ave.; 212-243-3289 or murrayscheese.com
This beloved Italian restaurant just got an awning, after 41 years of business—prior to that, you’d have to squint through the windows to even know there was a fine dining establishment hiding within. The place is still run by the same owners, Italian immigrants Vincenzo and Ida Cerbone (and now their son; their daughter runs nearby trattoria Manducatis Rustica). Once inside, guests are treated to authentic Southern Italian cooking and an authentic atmosphere that’s hard to come by. Don’t leave without trying the homemade gelato.
13-27 Jackson Ave.; 718-729-4602 or manducatis.com
OK, this one’s not exactly a secret—most New Yorkers are familiar with the institution’s summer music series, Warm Up (and its accompanying ever-changing outdoor installation). But it’s well worth a visit in the colder months, too: It’s one of the oldest and largest art institutions in the country dedicated solely to contemporary art, spotlighting emerging artists and experimental work.
22-25 Jackson Ave.; 718-784-2084 or momaps1.org
You won’t find a server in this entire restaurant who doesn’t boast a French accent—that’s part of the charm of this brother-sister-owned bistro, along with its cozy, one-room space, affordable wine list and classic bistro fare like croques monsieurs, steak frites, escargot and mussels marinieres. FYI: The French onion soup is to die for.
50-12 Vernon Blvd.; 718-472-4355 or tournesolnyc.com
LIC Community Boathouse
Come summer, LIC-ers don’t have to go far to get out on the water: They just hop right into a kayak or canoe and paddle away on the East River—for free—thanks to the Long Island City Community Boathouse. You can make a reservation in advance or simply stop by after having a bite at the LIC Flea, which is located right next to it.
46-01 5th St.; 631-542-2628 or licboathouse.org
Pranavah Yoga Studio
Hopping off the 7 from Manhattan feels like a form of stress relief in itself, but the neighbors know the value of a proper wind-down session. This peaceful, purple-hued studio is just one room in its entirety and offers a myriad of small, sometimes one-on-one, classes in everything from vinyasa and restorative yoga to barre and Pilates.
47-46 Vernon Blvd.; 718-392-0979 or pranavahyoga.com