HUNTERS POINT — A newly formed restaurant association in Long Island City says it's looking to stick a fork in the neighborhood's false reputation as a hipster hot spot.
Owners from about a dozen local eateries started the Long Island City Restaurant Association to unite around common interests and promote the community as its own dining destination — not as the next Brooklyn.
"We all have an issue with the way that the neighborhood is portrayed in the media," said Jeff Blath, owner of Alobar at 46-42 Vernon Blvd., who said there's a misconception that Long Island City is "filled with hipsters and all these young 20-somethings with trust funds, and it’s the next Williamsburg."
"That's not what I see," he said, adding that the neighborhood is largely home to young working professionals, families with children, and every other kind of New Yorker.
"I have no problem with hipsters, but it's just not accurate," he said. "I haven’t seen a handlebar mustache around here for years."
Rebecca Trent, owner of the Creek and the Cave at 10-93 Jackson Ave., said there's often a tendency for neighborhoods from the boroughs to get lumped together or compared to one another, which she finds "disheartening."
"Long Island City deserves its own identity," she said. "There are a lot of things that we have in this neighborhood that are unique to this neighborhood."
Blath said he also wants to challenge another neighborhood stereotype: that residents choose to live in Long Island City for its proximity to Manhattan, which causes some new residents to overlook their own community as a place to eat, shop and spend time.
"I find a lot of the new people that are living here already have that image in their heads," he said.
The new Long Island City Restaurant Association — which was first reported by the website LIC Post — has only met once so far.
But Blath and Trent say they hope to get together regularly to tackle common issues, like Health Department inspections or where to find a good electrician.
They also plan to organize promotional events and offer specials to highlight the great things Long Island City has to offer.
"We want to be a destination spot," Trent said. "We want Long Island City to be a scene."