Re-Thinking LIC

Detailed axonometric view of buildings near East River

by Aeshna Prasad (MAUD ’21) and Isaac Tejeira (MAUD ’22)

With its identity stuck between its former industrial heritage and the future aspirations of real-estate developers and politicians, Long Island City is a neighborhood that struggles to reinvent itself. Following the untimely exit of Amazon and its HQ2, a question that has plagued Long Island City, and all involved with it, is—“After Amazon: What’s next for LIC?”

Architectural model of a skyscraperThis project takes a bold approach towards rethinking the future for LIC by adopting a strategic tactic to incentivize and distribute development across the neighborhood. In the hope to convert it from a transient neighborhood, with little or no relationship to its various adjacencies—namely the NYCHA Public Housing, Cornell Tech or the LIC core—the strategy adopted here is that of re-negotiating thresholds to create an equitable and sustainable future.

While New York continues its trajectory towards becoming a city of diverse tech nodes, it is our belief that LIC can be designed to take on the role of NYC’s next Advanced Manufacturing and Tech hub. Thus the project aims to reimagine LIC by leveraging its unique location and proximity to Cornell tech, converting excessive infrastructure from a liability into an asset, prioritizing connections to open space and the waterfront, and building strong connections to the past and future through critical conservation.

The four specific zones identified—based on opportunity and potential—are characterized by different strategies and uses. They can be described as: Parasitic Manufacturing, High-Density Residential Loop, Mixed-Use Waterfront and Central Tech, and Business Spine.