Today, the Rockaways got a brand new playground. The Queens Parks Commissioner, local pols and members of the community cut the ribbon at the new Beach Channel Playground, located on Beach 79th Street between Beach Channel Drive and Rockaway Beach Boulevard. The city spent $1,250,000 to convert an asphalt lot into an amusement-themed playground, inspired by the Rockaway Playland amusement park that once stood several blocks away. It includes skee ball, milk bottle games, a “fun house area” and a carousel-inspired spray shower. The ferris wheel-themed climber is pictured above.
There are separate play areas for kids ages 2 to 5 and 5 to 12. The project also includes new benches, fencing, trees, plantings and upgraded utilities. According to the Parks Department, 36 percent of the site was built from permeable materials that can capture stormwater and reduce runoff.
On one hand, the Catholic Church receives criticism for its handling of the Holocaust. Various priests, nuns and laity were members of the Nazi Party and many historians charge that Pope Pius XII was complicit in Adolf Hitler’s regime. But on the other hand, many Catholics fought the Nazis and helped Jews escape persecution… and many Catholics were persecuted themselves. Millions of Catholic soldiers died fighting the Third Reich, while others were sent to forced labor camps, and countless cathedrals, churches, convents, monasteries, monuments, and schools were destroyed during World War II.
On Monday, Linna McDonald, a retired teacher of religion, language arts and social studies at Maspeth’s St. Stanislaus Kosta School, will present The Catholic Church and the Jews, as part of an ongoing lecture series at the Central Queens Y. McDonald, who currently mentors and trains Brooklyn-Queens Diocese teachers in Holocaust education, will address everything from the Pope Pius controversy to the priests and nuns who risked their lives helping Jews. She will also address the revolution in Catholic teaching since the 1960s and anti-Semitism in today’s church.
I was stalking up 33rd Street in Astoria, on my way from a nutritious Whopper at Burger King to my biweekly penitence at the Greater Astoria Historical Society when I spotted this marvelously bricked building at 28-25. They didn’t settle for the usual Flemish bond here. Probably everything you see here has an architectural term attached to it, but I’ll just say I liked the ached brick over the doorway, the seemingly random bricking at the entrance, and the occasional brick that juts out of the side walls. I’ve been partial to brick facing for some time.
It’s time to modernize a Queens spot where youngsters play a sport whose history dates back to before the 14th century. The Shannon Gaels Gaelic Athletic Association’s home field, Frank Golden Park in College Point, recently received $580,000 in public funds for an upgrade. The money — an $80,000 allocation from City Council Member Paul Vallone and a $500,000 allocation from Borough President Melinda Katz — will go to resurfacing the playing and scrimmage fields as well as installing an eight-foot fence around the park and a 30-foot retractable fence behind each goal post. With several hundred members who trace their heritage to all 32 counties on the Emerald Isle, the Shannon Gaels fields boys, girls and co-ed teams in various age groups that compete throughout the world. The association, which also organizes competitions involving other Irish sports such as hurling, was founded in 2002 with no home. Members practiced on sections of Forest, Juniper Valley, and Sunnyside Gardens parks until 2009, when they signed a 15-year lease with the NYC Parks Department for rights to seven acres of Golden Park, just south of 14th Avenue.
Information on the sport and more photos on jump page.
Community opposition rages on in regards to homeless shelters opening around Queens, despite the fact that Queens does not have that many homeless shelters. First off, Queens Courier reports that 200 residents showed up to a public hearing regarding the homeless shelter at the former Westway Motel on Astoria Boulevard. During the two hour meeting, according to the Courier, residents “raised concerns over community safety, overcrowding of schools, increase in property taxes, environmental studies of the area and crime.” They also expressed outrage that the Department of Homeless Services did not inform them about opening the shelter ahead of time. A member of the United Committee Civic Association stated, “It was a deliberate, furtive and covert operation reeking of disrespect of our local elected officials, community leaders and the community at large.” Reps at the DHS countered that they entered crisis mode in June due to a lack of capacity and a growing need for shelter, forcing them to find last-minute housing.
Another homeless shelter proposed for the Rockaways has residents up in arms. The Wave posted on its Facebook account a letter from the DHS outlining a “7-Day Community Notification Protocol for Emergency Shelter Siting.” The letter essentially outlines the plan for moving homeless families into the building. One elected official told The Wave, “This administration is going to do what it wants to do, whenever it wants to do it, and the people be damned.”
Q’Stoner writer and Newtown Creek expert Mitch Waxman is leading two walking tours this weekend. The first, hosted by Atlas Obscura, is an exploration of the bridges, tributaries, and forgotten remnants of Newtown Creek. The tour begins at Grand Street and Morgan Avenue in Brooklyn, then it ends at Clinton Diner in Maspeth. This is the diner where scenes from Martin Scorcese’s “Goodfellas” were shot and lunch there will be included with the tour. Tickets for the event, which is this Saturday from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm, cost $30. Buy them here.
Mitch is also leading a tour on Sunday of Queens’ western neighbor, Greenpoint. It’s a two-and-a-half hour, intense trek through the neighborhood that includes industrial history and more Newtown Creek exploration. Tickets cost $25 and you can buy them here.
So far, the DOB has not issued any permits for new development here, but we suspect that’ll happen once demolition finishes up. The site totals 6,739 square feet. Each lot boasts a FAR of 5 and is zoned M1-5/R7-3/LIC, meaning a large residential build is possible on this corner.
Tonight from 7 to 10 pm, the Queens Museum is hosting This Ain’t Havana: Paladar in Queens. It’s a food/art/architecture collaboration by the artist Craig Shillitto and the Museum’s Cuban architects-in-residence Yoandy Rizo Fiallo and Osmany García Fuentes. Here’s what to look forward to: attendees will get to try a variety of Caribbean, Central and South American barbecue for free. Here are event details from the website:
Bringing together Queens pit and grill masters from an array of Latin American barbecue traditions, ‘This Ain’t Havana’ uses their small dishes as a symbolic journey throughout the Caribbean, Central and South America. Guests will gather at a ‘migrating’ table that during the course of the installation will be simultaneously added to and deconstructed, its materials being used to fuel the BBQ that is providing the evening’s fare. With food, drink, and fire, this participatory art project has something for everyone.
Sounds like our kind of thing. While the event is free, you must RSVP. You can do that here.