Long Island City — one of New York City's hottest up-and-coming neighborhoods — is about to get a whole lot hotter, thanks to Amazon. The Seattle-based digital behemoth announced Tuesday that it had selected the Queens, New York, enclave as a location for its second headquarters and planned to make a $2.5 billion economic investment there, as well as create 25,000 jobs.
But this is just the latest news for LIC.
In 2017, Long Island City was America's fastest growing neighborhood, and it's the fastest growing one in New York City, with an increasingly young population (51 percent under the age of 34) who have been gentrifying the area. It's now home to over 150 restaurants, bars and cafes (some of them Michelin-starred); more than 39 arts and cultural institutions, including MoMA PS1, a leading modern art space; five waterfront parks; and 32 hotels, with 43 more in the works.
One person who has witnessed the neighborhood's transformation is Jonathan Forgash, 51, a local entrepreneur who runs culinary service Servana. He lives on the northern fringe of Long Island City and has been in the neighborhood since 1995, well before hipsters started crossing rivers and bridges to get there.
"For the longest time, Long Island City was a nothing neighborhood with a semi-industrial mix of businesses and some residents — it was a quiet place with the greatest views in the world," Forgash tells CNBC Make It.
"Then developers discovered that it's just one subway stop away from Manhattan."
Shiny glass condo towers started to rise around 2006, according to Eric Benaim, 40, founder of local real estate company Modern Spaces. The waterfront began to transform, thanks to green spaces like Gantry Plaza State Park, home to the landmark neon Pepsi-Cola sign. And critically acclaimed restaurants like M. Wells, in MoMA PS1's cafeteria, started popping up too.