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Long Island City, Queens, New York: The best of the neighborhood

This arty patch of Queens, New York, has excellent cultural institutions and a growing collection of bars, restaurants and shops—but which stand out from the rest?

Photograph: Filip Wolak
Warm Up 2013 at MoMA PS1

This evolving Queens, New York, neighborhood seems to change from block to block—a short walk takes you from desolate, early-20th-century industrial streetscapes to the gentrified “main street” vibe of Vernon Avenue and the urban riviera created by gleaming high-rises fronting waterside Gantry Plaza State Park. While sweeping Manhattan views, an easy commute to midtown, abundant warehouse space and low rents have been attracting artists and executives for more than a decade, the lures for nonlocals have been steadily growing, including destination culture hub MoMA PS1 where the Warm Up party takes place every summer, Obie-winning theater the Chocolate Factory, and new writers’ and artists’ salon the Oracle Club. Inevitably, however, regeneration brings the risk that some of the iconoclastic fringe element will be quashed—5Pointz Aerosol Art Center, once the city’s most spectacular showcase of street-art talent, will soon be replaced with a mixed-use development.

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