Community and Business Leaders Discuss LIC’s Future at Bisnow’s Recent Panel

Bisnow’s Future of Long Island City was held at Water’s Edge Restaurant, with stunning views of the Manhattan skyline and the 59th Street Bridge as a backdrop to the event. Mitch Korbey moderated the first panel of the day entitled, “Creating a Community,” and panelists included:

  • Sheila Lewandowski, Co-Founder, The Chocolate Factory Theater
  • David Maundrell, Founder, Aptsandlofts.com
  • Jenni Kim, COO, MoMA PS1
  • Joshua Schneps, President, LIC Flea & Food
  • Jodi Stein, VP, Lightstone Group

The discussion kicked off with Jenni Kim speaking about the impact MoMA PS1 has had on the LIC community and how MoMA PS1 has steadily been drawing a growing art audience into Queens. “People are starting to realize it’s more than just two stops on a train,” Jenni said. “An entire world of art that they have not experienced yet is just really, really close.” Sheila Lewandowski spoke about how big box stores seem to be stifling some of the charm of the neighborhood, and while she is an advocate of progress, the ability to grow and create a community should be more than brand name stores, pharmacies and banks. She said, “Long Island City’s charm comes from the mom and pop stores we have around here.”

Jodi Stein mentioned that she didn’t believe that Long Island City was “up and coming” but rather that it has already arrived and said: “I am really excited for what lies ahead here. There is so much opportunity in Long Island City and the opportunities will continue at the current growth rate.” David Maundrell echoed Jodi and Sheila’s sentiments in that, in order to create a community and promote growth, the charm of home-grown stores and development needs to be encouraged. He also said: “I do believe that while Long Island City has ‘arrived’ we still don’t have the infrastructure, as far as schools, to support the out-of-staters and families who are now skipping Manhattan, and swarming to live here.” Josh Schneps said that he has been seeing a wide demographic range frequenting the LIC Flea & Food market on weekends because there is a genuine curiosity for people to try something different. “The streets are really quiet around here on the weekend. So, the LIC Flea has been a nice oasis for people in and outside the community to go spend some time outdoors and try a great variety of foods and goods. We have many visitors from Brooklyn and Manhattan as people are starting to realize that we are a short train ride away and we have so much to offer here.”

Mitch Korbey kept a lively discussion going and concluded the panel by reminding the audience that development and investor opportunities are welcome in Long Island City, with hopeful fingers crossed that retaining the charm and personality of the neighborhood will be high on the priority list!

For Bisnow’s recap of the full event, click here.