Long Island City Travel Guide
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JetBlue CEO Dave Barger holds the giant scissors to cut the ribbon
While the country is still fixated on the pilot freakout drama of Flight 191, JetBlue turned the frown upside-down today to celebrate the opening of their new international headquarters. Granted, they only moved down the length of Queens Boulevard in New York City's borough of Queens, but the change of space preludes changes for both the city and for the airline.
You may not even know that JetBlue, now just over ten years old, considered ditching NY for a sunnier spot a couple years ago. Thanks to the efforts of local politicians like good ol' Mayor Mike Bloomberg, and some other wheeling and dealing, JetBlue cemented its claim to the title of "New York's Hometown Airline" by keeping their biz in the Big Apple.
The lucky location? It's the Brewster Building, in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens. The place already comes complete with an aviation history, as it was once the factory that produced the F2A "Brewster Buffalo" naval aircraft during World War II (plus a time as a Rolls Royce car factorybow chicka bow wow). As a passenger, this doesn't really matter to you since it's only JetBlue support staff who'll be heading through the revolving doors. And yet, it's cool to know about these things.
A bit of hot airline business news to round out your Monday: Jetblue announced this morning that they're keeping their headquarters in New York City. This comes after the low cost airline looked into the financial benefits or moving to another place, namely Orlando. In the battle for best city for the airline though, of course New York wins.
Although they're staying in NYC, they are moving to another building in the same borough. Currently, Jetblue is based in the Forest Hills area of Queens, but this move will bring them to the Brewster Building in the Long Island City neighborhood, just over the Queensboro bridge from Manhattan. It's further away from JFK and their Terminal 5, but then it is a heck of a lot closer to us. In fact, Jetblue is going to be our neighbor! How crazy is that? So long as they don't eat up all the steak tacos from Taco King, we'll welcome them to the area.
The building itself is a treasure; built in 1911, it was a Rolls Royce factory for the majority if its life, but now houses mainly MetLife insurance company cubicles. Jetblue might think the area is "industrial hip" now, but they'll be happy they didn't head down south once they realize they can walk over the Queensboro Bridge to Central Park.
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To you and me, the crowd-sourced review site Yelp is just one of many stops on the information superhighway before we decide on a restaurant for dinner, but for others it's a lifestyle. No matter how earnestly you use the site, you're welcome to Yelp's big beach bash at Water Taxi Beach in Long Island City, NY, with the Manhattan skyline and East River as a backdrop.
True to the yelping tradition, this won't just be a barbeque and beer shindig; guests who RSVP will enjoy "Hula Hoop girls, popsicle purveyors, sunscreen, masseuses, a shaded relaxation lounge, games, prizes, a Yelp photobooth and much, much more." Not to mention that everyone will be able to share their choicest review vocabulary during a sampling and judging of ten drinks in The Ultimate Summer Cocktail Competition.
A beach you'd actually want to put your toes into in Long Island City? We know what you're thinking, too good to be true. Not so, my friends. Enter Water Taxi Beach, a public/private partnership (ie. tented bar) run by New York Water Taxi that offers the perfect sandy floor (a covered parking lot) right on the water. If you close your eyes for a minute, it's like being at an actual beach.
Grab your friends and pull up a picnic table (provided). Sip on beer, sangria, or wine and snack on a Coney Joe (beef chili on a bun) or the famous Friday Night chicken bbq. It's open most nights (without rain) and is free before 8pm. Show up later and you'll only cough up $3-$5. The 7/G/E/F train will get you there in no time too.