2015-07-01 / Front Page

Long Island City Summit Discusses Priorities And Plans

BY NICOLE ROBLES


(L. to r.); Chris Fogarty of Fogarty Finger Architecture PLLC, John Young of the city Department of City Planning, Frank J. Monterisi Jr. of Related Companies and Bishop Mitchell Tayor of Urban Upbound and CB 2 Moderator Patrick O’Brien. 
Photo Nicole Robles (L. to r.); Chris Fogarty of Fogarty Finger Architecture PLLC, John Young of the city Department of City Planning, Frank J. Monterisi Jr. of Related Companies and Bishop Mitchell Tayor of Urban Upbound and CB 2 Moderator Patrick O’Brien. Photo Nicole Robles Hundreds of business professionals, city and state officials, and Long Island City collaborators gathered at the Museum of the Moving Image in Long Island City, for the LIC Partnership’s second annual LIC Summit: Priorities and Plans.

Attendees at the June 23 event engaged in five panel discussions on an array of issues currently affecting the booming borough of Queens such as the logistics of Long Island City’s development as it experiences a period of explosive growth and transformation.

Distinguished professionals, board members, business owners and politicians served as panelists at the summit. Panel topics included LIC as a City within the City; a Home for Business; Transportation; the Residential Community; and Tourism and Culture.

The summit commenced with welcoming remarks from Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and a special presentation from President of the LIC Partnership Elizabeth Lusskin.

The keynote panel, City within the City, was the first discussion of the day and was moderated by Lusskin. The panel concentrated on the changing role Long Island City is playing in Queens’ economy.

“The key to Long Island City’s success is the tremendous mix of uses that are here and how they all synergistically work together to form a city within a city,” said Lusskin.

Panelists noted the success of the neighborhood while recognizing the challenges brought on by its expanding residential growth. CEO of Partnership for NYC Kathryn Wylde, believes that finding balance is the key to Long Island City’s success.

A multitude of the city’s most accomplished individuals participated as panelists for the following conversations.

LIC as a home for business addressed the community’s needs required for a vibrant business mix, the space needed to accommodate these diverse businesses, and the expansion necessary to meet these needs, all while keeping in mind the requirements of the workforce, and the infrastructural issues of LIC as a whole.

The transportation panel was moderated by Patricia Dunphy of Rockrose Development Corporation. This critical issue drew a standing room-only crowd as panelists determined how to make LIC not only more accessible and easier to explore on foot while also meeting the needs of trucks and cars to move through the area. Ideas for new transportation alternatives such as ferry service and bike sharing were also discussed.

Sam Schwartz, President and CEO of Sam Schwartz Engineering, mentioned the proposed toll on the Queensboro Bridge as a huge advantage to Long Island City.

“All the traffic leaves the LIE onto Van Dam Street snaking through our neighborhoods to get to the free bridge,” said Schwartz.

Plans to impose a toll on the bridge will likely benefit LIC tremendously.

The residential community panel addressed numerous issues that will emerge with the plans for development in the area. The panel took on questions about zoning, community services, public schools, and affordable housing. Panelists recognized affordability as one of the biggest challenges caused by the rapid growth in Long Island City.

While previous panels discussed mostly development ideas, plans, and statistics, other panelists for this discussion focused on the amazing things LIC currently has to offer. Lonely Planet, the world’s leading travel publisher, named Queens the number one tourist destination in the United States for 2015. Panelists in the fields of business, art, and hospitality discussed the many reasons why LIC has tourists buzzing.

“People want experiences,” said Jose Barreiro of Lonely Planet. “They want to go somewhere and have a ridiculous foodie experience, they want to see a view they won’t see anywhere else, they want to see an exhibition at an art institution that is unique and different, they want to see an ethnic community that is diverse, and Queens hits all of those points.”

As the summit wrapped up with the keynote discussion entitled, The Big Picture, the summit’s topics came together as panelists provided attendees with their vision of where Long Island City is heading. With all it has to offer, Long Island City is capturing the attention of New York City’s most contemporary and influential individuals. LIC stakeholders are carefully planning to ensure the neighborhood’s success.

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