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Local News February 21, 2013  RSS feed

Take ‘Long Island’ Out Of ‘City’

Say Rebranding Of ‘LIC’ Is Good For Business
Robert Pozarycki

Calling Long Island City solely by its acronym is an idea which some business leaders in the neighborhood hope will boost tourism in the area.

Rob MacKay of the Queens Tourism Council told the Times Newsweekly in an email that the organization and businesses located in the neighborhood have begun referring to Long Island City as “LIC” in an effort to clear up confusion among out-of-towners about the community’s location.

Though Long Island City is located just across the East River from Manhattan, MacKay noted, those visiting New York who are not familiar with the area believe that Long Island City is located in Nassau or Suffolk counties. This misidentification, he claimed, has proven costly to hotels, museums, restaurants and other busi- nesses in Long Island City hoping to attract visitors to take a short subway ride across the river.

“Think about it, the neighborhood is one stop from Grand Central on the train, but at least an hour from Long Island by car,” MacKay said in a statement. “The term ‘City Central’ is a more accurate description than ‘Long Island City.’”

The idea was raised in an article which appeared in the New York Post on Sunday, Feb. 17. Jeffrey Reichby Hale of the Wyndham Garden LIC hotel was quoted as estimating that his establishment and other hotels in the area lose about five percent of overseas booking business as a result of the confusion among tourists over Long Island City’s location.

“It’s not an exact number, but it’s a pretty close amount if you really look at it,” Reich-Hale told the Times Newsweekly in a phone interview on Tuesday. He noted that his hotel often gets immediate feedback from prospective guests that “they don’t want to stay all the way out” on Long Island when they learn the hotel is located in Long Island City.

“They see Long Island, even though the neighborhood says ‘Long Island City,’” he added. He believes rebranding the neighborhood as LIC will assure many out-of-towners that the area is part of the city, not of the suburbs.

MacKay and business owners in Long Island City hope that LIC becomes as familiar a neighborhood acronym for tourists of New York City as DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) in Brooklyn and NoLiTa (North of Little Italy), SoHo (South of Houston Street) and TriBeCa (Triangle Below Canal Street) in Manhattan.

Reich-Hale added that the new LIC also reflects the changing neighborhood itself. Once a center of industrial and commercial business, Long Island City has evolved in recent years as a residential area with a long-term goal of becoming another cultural haven within the city.

“Long Island City is not well renowned” he said, noting that the rebranding of the community as LIC also seeks recognition. “How is that name change going to hurt? In my opinion, it can only help.”

At one point in time, Long Island City—located at the western end of geographic Long Island—was a city unto itself.

According to information from the Greater Astoria Historical Society, the neighborhood was formed in 1870 through a merger of several villages including Astoria, Blissville, Hunters Point, Sunnyside and Woodside.

Long Island City’s government dissolved in 1898 as the community and the rest of Queens united with Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island to form the City of New York.