Long Island City Partnership launches online wayfinding tool to navigate the neighborhood

LIC Gantry (1)
Courtesy of Hunters Point Parks Conservancy

It is easy to get lost or confused while navigating the streets of the nation’s fastest growing neighborhood, but now the Long Island City Partnership is launching LIC Local, a new free mobile site and smart signage campaign that uses QR-Code technology as a wayfinding tool.

One hundred “smart signs” designed by Entro and fabricated by Boyce Technologies, have been deployed at strategic locations throughout the neighborhood which connect to the wayfinding web app.

“Long Island City has the best of the city, from world class museums and parks to Michelin star restaurants and a diverse mix of local businesses, and yet these cherished spots are also some of our best kept secrets,” LIC Partnership President Elizabeth Lusskin said. “We are excited to help put our shops, institutions and events on one map with LIC Local to make everything our community has to offer easier to find. Whether someone is a longtime resident or it’s their first time here, there’s so much to do — gallery openings, live music, indoor rock climbing, tennis, and many delicious food and drink establishments — and LIC Local will make it easier and more fun to experience.”

LIC Local pinpoints the smart signage and all featured locations using exact geographic coordinates to help pedestrians both orient themselves, find local amenities and events, and reach their destination. The web app was developed by LICP in partnership with local tech startup Citiesense and design firm ThoughtMatter.

“Working with the Partnership to launch this smart sign pilot has been an exciting exploration of our platform’s capabilities,” Citiesense CEO Starling Childs said. “As we continue to test out different approaches to improving access to local information with the LIC business community, we will be able to expand on our platform’s features to strengthen the value we are already providing through this unique tool kit for accessing local community-based data.”

Using the camera on a smartphone, one can scan or code one of the LIC Local signs around the neighborhood and, based on the geo-targeted location, search for events to check out, find a specific business, or browse the map of everything available within walking distance and learn where special deals are available to LIC perks members.

“Today, as we live more and more of our daily lives online, communities can capture enormous value by creating and designing tools that encourage people to search local,” ThoughtMatter Managing Director Jessie McGuire said. “The LIC Local project was a collaborative effort from the very beginning. From a home page that provides you with different entry points to the map, to the color coding of the different categories you can filter through, ThoughtMatter knew it was important that the end result was not only a useful tool to help you explore the neighborhood, but really to connect you to everything that makes Long Island City Long Island City.”

Initial funding for the project came from the city’s Department of Small Business Services as part of the Neighborhood Innovation Grant competition in 2017.

“LIC Local is a great example of what happens when the city brings together technology and local partners to make our neighborhoods vibrant,” SBS Commissioner Gregg Bishop said. “With support from SBS’s Neighborhood Challenge award, the LIC Partnership has built a fantastic tool to boost small businesses in the area, and highlight all that Long Island City has to offer.”

Additional funding came from City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.

“Long Island City is home to a wide array of restaurants, remarkable stores, compelling events and charming attractions,” Katz said. “LIC Local will employ cutting-edge technology to make it easier for residents and visitors alike to find all the great things Long Island City has to offer. It was a privilege to help fund the development of LIC Local, which will make the richness of Long Island City more accessible to all.”