May 17, 2023 By Bill Parry
Long Island City Partnership’s signature festival, LIC Springs!, returns on Saturday, May 20, featuring more than 120 local businesses and organizations, including many of the neighborhood’s marquee arts and dining establishments.
Vernon Boulevard will be closed to traffic between 46th and 50th avenues from noon to 5 p.m. for the event that has historically welcomed more than 10,000 visitors featuring live music, dance and performances,, plus interactive lessons, art, fitness classes, outdoor dining, pop-up activities and games.
“Long Island City Partnership is energized more than ever to produce LIC Springs!, which highlights the small businesses that keep LIC thriving,” Long Island City Partnership President Laura Rothrock said. “As our numbers showed last year, LIC Springs! continues to be a neighborhood favorite and I look forward to seeing how this event continues to transform in tandem with our transforming neighborhood.”
Now in its 10th year, the all-day festival is free and open to the public.
“Ten years in, I couldn’t be more proud to see how LIC Springs! has developed,” said David Brause, who has served as board chair of the Long Island City Business Improvement District since 2005. “The event continues to grow in different ways every year and take on a new meaning to businesses and organizations who participate, along with those who attend. We now have local kids who’ve grown up on this event. My hope remains that LIC Springs! inspires attendees to support our many retail businesses year-round, especially those within the LIC BID. I’m looking forward to seeing how much our wonderful neighborhood continues to improve over the next 10 years.”
A few notable participants include Bareburger, Casa Lola, Culture Lab LIC, Hunters Point Parks Conservancy, Long Island City School of Ballet, Queens World Film Festival, Manducatis Rustica, MoMA PS1, Socceroof LIC, Sweet Chick, R40, The Cliffs at LIC, The Noguchi Museum and Woodbines Craft & Kitchen. The full participant list can be viewed here.
“We’ve participated in LIC Springs! since 2014 and what a ride it’s been,” said Donna Fermin, general manager of Woodbines Craft & Kitchen, which opened its Vernon Boulevard outpost in 2013. “The first year of the event had a much smaller crowd, mostly locals. Now we’re greeting thousands of people from all over the city. But we’re still a neighborhood here, with a rich tapestry of businesses committed to keeping it that way. I am excited to see how this event continues to develop in the years ahead.”
LIC has become one of the city’s most popular neighborhoods for dogs and has seen an outgrowth of businesses in response. As no surprise, LIC Springs! also features a bevy of dog-friendly experiences, with something for pups on every block.
“A family-friendly event in LIC isn’t complete without a fur-baby,” said Brooke Goldstein, marketing manager at Bond Vet, whose booth features pet portraits. “We are thrilled to engage with the community on such a large level, and hope that our activation brings joy to the many dog owners and lovers visiting LIC Springs!”
The event is popular with many of the cultural institutions in western Queens.
“It’s such a joy to see this resilient neighborhood come together to celebrate year after year,” said Queena Ko, director of Education at The Noguchi Museum, which has participated in LIC Springs! since 2015. “The arts have long been a part of what has attracted people to Long Island City and we love programs like LIC Springs! that brings arts and culture directly into the community.”
Those who stop by the museum’s booth can enjoy sculpture-making activities and receive free passes to visit the museum.
LIC is also home to the fastest-growing Asian-American communities across the five boroughs.
“This is my second year participating in LIC Springs! and it’s such a great way to showcase my business, especially during AAPI Heritage Month,” said Amber Zhao, co-owner of Multisweet, which sells a range of Chinese desserts and baked goods. “It’s personally rewarding to be a small business that reflects the changing demographics of this neighborhood.”
For more information, visit longislandcityqueens.com/experience-lic/events/lic-springs-2023.