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LIC Springs! street festival makes strong return after pandemic hiatus

LIC Springs! returns to Long Island City 2022
The LIC Springs! street festival returned to Vernon Boulevard last month for the first time since 2019. (Photo courtesy of LICP)

Nearly 10,000 people attended the Long Island City Partnership LIC Springs! street festival in Long Island City on Saturday, June 18, which showcased local businesses, organizations and cultural institutions of western Queens.

It was the first time since 2019 that the event was held on Vernon Boulevard as a single-day street festival after a re-imagining over the past two years in response to the pandemic. The event featured live music, dance and performances, plus interactive lessons, art, fitness classes, outdoor dining, pop-up activities, games and more.

“LIC Springs! has been one of the most fun events for our city and our district for so many years and it’s such an honor to have it back,” Councilwoman Julie Won said. “All of the children, all of the community organizations, the art institutions, the schools — [it’s] everything that makes our community so incredibly wonderful.”

LIC Springs! returns to Long Island City 2022
Councilwoman Julie Won and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards (Photo courtesy of LICP)

The unique activities included a bubble party, Irish dance lessons, a puppy meet-and-greet, Lego robotic coding, strength and board-breaking contests, massages and costume making.

“It’s great to be back here after a hiatus,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said. “Queens is the future and there’s a lot happening in our borough.” He noted that his office will invest at least $10 million in capital funding for Long Island City.

Former LICP President Elizabeth Lusskin took to the stage during opening remarks in her new role as executive vice president of small business and technology at Empire State Development.

LIC Springs! returns to Long Island City 2022
Photo courtesy of LICP

“[Small businesses] anchor us and will be the key to the recovery as we keep going forward,” Lusskin said. “There are over 100 different organizations, cultural institutions — [LICP] does this to showcase them.”

The focus of the street festival was the support of the Long Island City locals who were pleased the hiatus was over.

“It’s cool to see the whole community out and lively again,” LIC resident Fahad Khan said. “It’s been so nice to see everyone enjoying themselves and taking part in it.”

LIC Springs! returns to Long Island City 2022
Photo courtesy of LICP

Patricia McGuigan, the director of McManus Irish Dance, has had her troupe perform at every in-person LIC Springs! since its inception in 2014.

“We’re super excited to be back — we’ve been here since the first one,” McGuigan said. “We’re glad to be back in the neighborhood doing what we love.”

LIC Springs! returns to Long Island City 2022
Photo courtesy of LICP

The event also brought out a range of participating businesses and organizations from community stalwarts to those new to the neighborhood, such as Simone Houghton, a cycling specialist at SPECIALIZED, a high-end bike manufacturer and retailer that recently opened its first store in Long Island City.

“We’re just trying to get people to know our shop,” Houghton said. “[LIC] is up and coming for our business. There are a lot of bike lanes being built around here; people will feel safe to do test rides.”

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