Photo tour of Long Island City in Queens, New York City

Check out the arts institutions that have long called this New York neighborhood home—including 5Pointz, MoMA PS1 and Socrates Sculpture Park—in our photo tour of Long Island City.

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  • Photograph: Cinzia Reale-Castello

    It’s not hard to see why 5Pointz is known as the world’s “graffiti mecca.” The warehouse, which sits underneath the elevated 7 train tracks, was founded a decade ago to give graffiti artists a legal space to showcase their work. The moniker “5Pointz” signifies a unification of all five boroughs. 5Pointz, 45-46 Davis St at Jackson Ave, Long Island City, Queens (5ptz.com)

  • Photograph: Cinzia Reale-Castello

    Commuters and LIC visitors who travel on the 7 train are welcomed to the neighborhood by this view of 5Pointz’s rear. But this iconic vista won’t be around for much longer: The warehouse’s owners say the building will be demolished by September 2013 to make room for luxury rental buildings. 5Pointz, 45-46 Davis St at Jackson Ave, Long Island City, Queens (5ptz.com)

  • Photograph: Cinzia Reale-Castello

    The 200,000-square-foot gallery’s popularity over the past decade has drawn street artists, filmmakers, photographers and other visitors from all over the world. Artists can still get permits to paint, and 5Pointz’s curator, noted graffiti artist Meres One, will leave works up from anywhere between one day and two years, depending on traffic and popularity. 5Pointz, 45-46 Davis St at Jackson Ave, Long Island City, Queens (5ptz.com)

  • Photograph: Cinzia Reale-Castello

    5Pointz’s contributing street artists include Tracy 168, Cope2, Tats Cru and Topaz. Over the years, rappers and R&B stars have also lent their tags to the gallery, including Doug E. Fresh, Mobb Deep and Joss Stone. 5Pointz, 45-46 Davis St at Jackson Ave, Long Island City, Queens (5ptz.com)

  • Photograph: Cinzia Reale-Castello

    Despite Long Island City’s industrial and artistic roots, the area has seen an influx of ritzy condominiums and skyscrapers in recent years. (The Citigroup Building at 1 Court Square, which was erected in 1990, was among the first of these edifices in the neighborhood.) 5Pointz’s owners have announced that, following its demolition next year, the warehouse will be replaced with two high-rise residential buildings. 5Pointz, 45-46 Davis St at Jackson Ave; view from Crane St (5ptz.com).

  • Photograph: Cinzia Reale-Castello

    The Noguchi Museum was established by Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi in the mid-1980s. One of the neighborhood’s pioneering art institutions, it houses the world’s largest collection of its founding artist’s work. The museum’s highlight is its outdoor garden, which features sculptures such as the 1981 piece To Tallness. The Noguchi Museum, 9-01 33rd Rd at Vernon Blvd, Long Island City, Queens (718-721-2308, noguchi.org)

  • Photograph: Cinzia Reale-Castello

    At various points in time, the site that now houses the Noguchi Museum was the site of a photo-engraving plant and a gas station. Part of the plant’s original brick still remains, though the facade’s concrete block addition was designed by Noguchi himself. The Noguchi Museum, 9-01 33rd Rd at Vernon Blvd, Long Island City, Queens (718-721-2308, noguchi.org)

  • Photograph: Cinzia Reale-Castello

    Noguchi died only three years after the museum opened to the public in 1985. Now the institution stands as a monument to his elegant large-scale biomorphic sculptures, like the 1970 piece Illusion of the Fifth Stone. The Noguchi Museum, 9-01 33rd Rd at Vernon Blvd, Long Island City, Queens (718-721-2308, noguchi.org)

  • Photograph: Cinzia Reale-Castello

    In addition to housing works by the artist, the Noguchi Museum also holds his vast archival collection. Scholars and budding artists can request permission to view the sculptor’s photographs, manuscripts and sketches. The Noguchi Museum, 9-01 33rd Rd at Vernon Blvd, Long Island City, Queens (718-721-2308, noguchi.org)

  • Photograph: Cinzia Reale-Castello

    LIC’s street art isn’t limited to the masterpieces adorning 5Pointz. The neighborhood is littered with works in unexpected places, like this print by New York-born, Baltimore-based street artist Gaia (gaiastreetart.com), posted on the door of a converted warehouse. 46th Rd between 11th and 21st Sts, Long Island City, Queens

  • Photograph: Cinzia Reale-Castello

    LIC’s main shopping drag, Vernon Boulevard, is filled with unexpected artistic treasures, such as tiny empty lots filled with bovine statues and colorful wall murals. This Gaia print adorning a Vernon Boulevard building is one of several on the block. Vernon Boulevard between 46th Rd and 47th Ave, Long Island City, Queens

  • Photograph: Cinzia Reale-Castello

    MoMA PS1 established its annual Young Architects Program (YAP) in 2000, pitting budding architects against each other in a competition to design an outdoor installation at the museum that provides shade, seating and water. This year’s winning project, Wendy, was designed by New Yorkers Matthias Hollwich and Marc Kushner, and was made of nylon fabric dosed with titania nanoparticle spray that neutralized pollutants in the air. MoMA PS1, 22-25 Jackson Ave at 46th Ave, Long Island City, Queens (718-786-3139, moma.org)

  • Photograph: Cinzia Reale-Castello

    Even LIC’s green spaces frequently have a creative bent. Socrates Sculpture Park, at the northern end of the nabe, invites artists to create large-scale sculptures and installations, such as the ones displayed in this summer’s “Civic Action: A Vision for Long Island City.” The exhibition, which ended in early August, featured works by artists Natalie Jeremijenko and xClinic, Mary Miss, George Trakas and Rirkrit Tiravanija. It examined how the neighborhood could face challenges like increased residential development, changes in zoning and ecological threats. Socrates Sculpture Park, 32-01 Vernon Blvd at Broadway, Long Island City, Queens (718-956-1819, socratessculpturepark.org)

  • Photograph: Cinzia Reale-Castello

    Mary Miss’s contribution was a project titled Sunswick Creek: Reflecting Forward. It used poles to mark the path of a waterway that once ran through the area, showing how Long Island City’s natural ecology was buried by its subsequent industrial environment. Socrates Sculpture Park, 32-01 Vernon Blvd at Broadway, Long Island City, Queens (718-956-1819, socratessculpturepark.org)

  • Photograph: Cinzia Reale-Castello

    The poles’ red and white stripes mimic the chimney stripes that stick out of the neighborhood’s TransCanada Ravenswood generating station. The original power plant is located on the waterfront, just south of the Queensboro Bridge. Socrates Sculpture Park, 32-01 Vernon Blvd at Broadway, Long Island City, Queens (718-956-1819, socratessculpturepark.org)

  • Photograph: Cinzia Reale-Castello

    In addition to staging bigger exhibitions, Socrates Sculpture Park solicits emerging artists to create individual installations for the park. “Curtain,” by Jerome Haferd and K. Brandt Knapp, won the Folly Competition (sponsored by SSP and the Architectural League of New York), which called for architects and designers to design a small decorative building known as an “architectural folly.” Socrates Sculpture Park, 32-01 Vernon Blvd at Broadway, Long Island City, Queens (718-956-1819, socratessculpturepark.org). Through Sunday, October 21, 2012.

  • Photograph: Cinzia Reale-Castello

    “Curtain” is a 20-by-8-by-12-foot structure composed primarily of white plastic chains. Some hang loose, while others are attached to white pipes on the piece’s top and bottom, creating “rooms” separated by “curtains.” Socrates Sculpture Park, 32-01 Vernon Blvd at Broadway, Long Island City, Queens (718-956-1819, socratessculpturepark.org). Through Sunday, October 21, 2012.

  • Photograph: Cinzia Reale-Castello

    The LIC SculptureCenter doesn’t maintain a permanent collection, but instead commissions installations and exhibitions by both emerging and established sculptors from all over the world. This summer, they presented a retrospective show of the late experimental sculptor Bill Bollinger’s work. His 1968 piece Cyclone Fence features a twisted, manipulated chain-link fence laid out on the floor of the SculptureCenter’s ground-floor gallery. 44-19 Purves St at Jackson Ave, Long Island City, Queens (718-361-1750, sculpture-center.org)

  • Long Island City was shot with a Diana F+ ($89), available at Lomography Gallery Store (41 West 8th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves; 212-529-4353, lomography.com).

Photograph: Cinzia Reale-Castello

It’s not hard to see why 5Pointz is known as the world’s “graffiti mecca.” The warehouse, which sits underneath the elevated 7 train tracks, was founded a decade ago to give graffiti artists a legal space to showcase their work. The moniker “5Pointz” signifies a unification of all five boroughs. 5Pointz, 45-46 Davis St at Jackson Ave, Long Island City, Queens (5ptz.com)


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If you’re heading to Queens from Manhattan on the 7 train, be on the lookout for the city’s most famous graffiti collection, 5Pointz Aerosol Arts Center (45-46 Davis St at Jackson Ave, 5ptz.com). The space is only a few steps from LIC’s Court Square subway station, and by the time you stumble upon its back entrance beneath the tracks, it’s easy to see why it’s hailed as a spray-paint hot spot. The 200,000-square-foot structure was established in 1993 as a formal place for taggers to legally showcase their work. Nearly two decades later, the building’s exterior is covered with colorful pieces. Sadly, the building’s owners plan to tear it down by the end of next year and replace it with luxury rental buildings.

Just a few blocks away, you’ll find another major creative hub, MoMA PS1 (22-25 Jackson Ave at 46th Ave; 718-784-2084, momaps1.org). Located in a former schoolhouse, the museum displays contemporary art exhibitions of the fun, slightly weird or interactive sort. The museum will soon become a hub for local foodies as well: M. Wells Dinette, set to open sometime this year, will draw fans of the erstwhile LIC eatery and traveling gastronomes alike.

You’ll also find a number of lesser-known galleries and museums in LIC, including the Noguchi Museum (9-01 33rd Rd at Vernon Blvd; 718-721-2308, noguchi.org), which features the work of Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi. But the art in this Queens ’hood isn’t limited to established museums: Street artists like Gaia tag buildings all over major thoroughfares, and random pieces pop up in driveways and grassy squares. Meanwhile, working creators priced out of Manhattan and Williamsburg continue to hole up in studio spaces such as the Long Island City Art Center (44-02 23rd St between 44th Ave and 44th Rd). As gleaming glass towers pop up throughout the neighborhood, these cultural centers ensure that its artistic legacy remains intact—for now.


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1 comments
christopher sahar
christopher sahar

If you guys like 5POINTZ so much why not show your support by defending it . Queens Borough President supports its demolition when developers promised to increased affordable units to 75 -- out of 1,000. Check the Daily News articles.