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Long Island City’s leaders view Cornell Tech’s opening as a boon for the area

Sept. 14, 2017 by Nathaly Pesantez

The opening of Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island yesterday will not only pave the way for a new tech hub in New York City, but it will also bring change for one of the nearest neighborhoods to the site—Long Island City.

With the first wave of people arriving at the campus for academics and operations, including 300 graduate students and 30 faculty members, Long Island City is poised to see growth and tech-related development in the coming years.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer called the opening “a victory for Western Queens”, and pointed to the benefits of the campus to his district. “Long Island City will be a natural place for new tech businesses to call home, develop breakthroughs, and create jobs,” Van Bramer said in a statement.

In 2011, when Cornell Tech won the bid put out by Bloomberg to build an Applied Sciences campus on Roosevelt Island, the city predicted that the campus would generate up to 8,000 permanent jobs, spin-off companies in the hundreds, and stimulate more than $23 billion in economic activity in a 35-year-period.

Cornell Tech’s opening is “critical” to the future of Long Island City, according to Elizabeth Lusskin, the president of the Long Island City Partnership. “LIC’s diverse amenities will draw students and the live-work culture [to the neighborhood],” she said. “The commercial and industrial space here will create opportunities for entrepreneurs and startup companies coming out of Cornell Tech.”

The opening of the campus comes at a time when Long Island City is in the midst of rapid development, with one recent study noting that more new apartments have gone up in LIC since 2010 than in any other neighborhood across the nation. Although the area’s thousands of apartment units and the expected business growth is likely to mesh well, the neighborhood’s infrastructure is being stretched, civic leaders say.

Many argue that the subway is at capacity now and an influx of new people will make the situation worse. However, the recent addition of the Astoria ferry line–which goes to Roosevelt Island– will help alleviate some of that.

Brent O’Leary, founder of the Hunters Point Civic Association, said that while some residents are wary of the impact Cornell will have on the infrastructure, the response to the new campus has been positive overall.

The first phase of the Cornell Tech campus cost $700 million to complete, and more than 2,000 graduate students and hundreds of faculty and staff will be on the 12-acre campus when it is fully completed over the next several decades.

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With Amazon looking for HQ2, Long Island City would actually make a good fit, assuming some transportation upgrades. The apartments are already built. I think Citi’s lease is almost up. Bingo.

Zoe Morsette

I just wish they could’ve built a lower residential building that didn’t permanently ruin the view of the bridge. This never would’ve happened if it was near the Brooklyn Bridge.

Preschool Teacher

Zoe is right. It is an eyesore when you’re on the bridge, and when you’re looking at the bridge from afar. Progress is great, but they should have thought this out better.


Whenever a new structure is built, and many of them are uglier than the old classic NYC buildings, chances are that someone’s view will be blocked. That’s what happens in this city. In fact, many of the buildings where people in this thread are likely posting are blocking the stunning views many of us once had of the skyline. Can’t have your cake and eat it too, folks.


That building is super ugly and they should be embarrassed. The campus is great but there should have been more architectural oversight for that building. Permanently ruined that view. They built 3 buildings, 2 are very nice.


Actually, developers ARE ruining the views of the Brooklyn Bridge. Groups have been trying to fight it since last year.


What were they thinking? If there’s one place that tall buildings don’t belong, it’s New York City!


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