I have been going to Long Island City (LIC), Queens, NY, on a regular basis since May 2006, since the Con Edison training facility is located there. For many years, I have seen unchanged demographics in this area; all you see in the street are people from the school authority, Con Edison, Taxi limousine commission, Citibank, etc., basically people running from and to the subway, with no intention of staying an extra minute in this industrial entertainment-free zone, even though the view of Manhattan is amazing from LIC.
Then two things happened that revolutionized this area:
Vernon Blvd started growing restaurants, cafes and the waterfront became an attraction for adults, kids and pets; even tourists started coming on a regular basis to take pictures by the “Pepsi” logo and watch the skyline.
The Cliffs rock climbing gym opened (http://thecliffsclimbing.com/lic/). In my opinion that is the best thing that happened recently to Queens, if not NY. It is like a legal addiction, all it takes is one trial and you are hooked; a workout that you enjoy; a very friendly environment where everyone is happy and enjoying every minute; a great place for kids and adults. I can’t describe it, it just sets you free. In few days, my daughter will turn four and I will take her to learn climbing.
This climbing gym redefined LIC; currently, I work in NJ and there are co-workers that travel from NJ to LIC on a regular basis just to climb. At any time of day, you can see hundreds of climbers staying there for hours every day. While climbing I often hear many discussing their plans to move to LIC to be close to the gym. I have been a member for six weeks and I noticed the demographics change, increase in new businesses and new residential/commercial buildings.
I am sure that in few years, the electric loads in this area will continue to “climb” higher (if we compare the electric forecast before and after the gym opened, there will definitely be a major difference). It is interesting how utilities are investing in energy efficiency and demand response, tracking new businesses and how planners invest time and effort calculating an accurate load forecast, yet I am sure they didn’t see this one coming. I used to pass by this gym during construction and I never expected this massive reform. Basically just another thing to complicate the life of planners; me personally, I will analyze new businesses in a whole new way; I will not just look at their total load but how certain businesses may impact their surrounding areas and even attract others to move in closer.