07/14/15 9:30am

Hell_Gate_and_Triborough_Bridges_New_York_City_Queens

Astoria. Ditmars Boulevard. The subway signs on the R train advertised these outlandish, far-off locales as I boarded it in Bay Ridge, back when I lived there for the better part of three decades. But I never really thought to trouble this northwest section of Queens until I actually moved to the borough a couple of decades ago. (more…)

06/22/15 9:45am

col.poppenhusen

The Poppenhusen Institute, built in 1868

There is no college in College Point, and hasn’t been since about 1850, when St. Paul’s College, whose site we will visit later in the tour, was converted into an elementary school and then a summer resort. The college was founded in 1835 as a seminary by the Rev. Augustus Muhlenberg. Communities known as Strattonport and Flammersberg united to form College Point in 1867.

Though the Lawrence family, a name familiar to Queens historians, were the first to settle in what is now the College Point area in the colonial era, it was an entrepreneur named Conrad Poppenhusen who built downtown College Point, to house his factory workers, and it is his legacy that shapes College Point to this day.

College Point today is about as fully realized as small town life gets within the five boroughs. It’s effectively separated from the rest of the city by the East River, Whitestone Expressway and the former Flushing Airport, and the Long Island Rail Road stopped running there in 1932. However, a number of city buses are routed there and College Point is well worth a day trip from “out-of-villagers.” (more…)

04/17/15 2:00pm

Andrew Berman Architect

The New York Landmarks Conservancy has bestowed one of its highest honors to a Queens arts gallery. On April 30, the SculptureCenter will receive the Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award, which recognizes individuals or groups that have made extraordinary contributions to preserving buildings in New York City. (more…)

04/16/15 9:45am

NYCEDC

The city unveiled a multi-faceted economic development “action plan” to prevent foreclosures, improve streetscapes, create affordable housing, and increase job-training opportunities in Jamaica on Wednesday.

The actions include creating a Jamaica-specific marketing and branding program, expanding free WiFi access via the LinkNYC program, and capital improvements to Rufus King Park and Brinkerhoff Mall Park in St. Albans.  (more…)

03/30/15 2:00pm

Sophocles, front, #2162, Athens Square Park, 3.26.15, photo by S. Drago

This Saturday, the Parks Department, Borough President Katz, local elected officials and elected officials from Greece unveiled the newly finished Sophocles sculpture in Athens Square. According to Parks, the sculpture of the Greek dramatist is the last of four sculptures to be installed at the park, which wraps up a longterm plan for Athens Square established in the late 1980s. (Socrates, Athena, and Aristotle are already on display here.)

Sophocles was fully funded as a gift to the city by the Athens Square Committee in Astoria. The artist, Astoria-based sculptor Chris Vilardi, designed a seven-and-a-half-foot-tall bronze full-standing figure which was cast at the Modern Art Foundry. It’s pedestal is made of Mountain Green granite quarried in Jay, New York.

Here are more details on the design from the Parks Department: “The artist has taken a “modern stylistic approach” that pays homage to the past, and represents Sophocles in ancient attire typical for a man of his stature. In his left hand he holds the mask of tragedy, a prop of Greek theater. Inscribed in classic Greek font on the base are details of his life, as well as signature quotations from his plays.”

NYC Parks Queens Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski stated that “This beautiful park feels complete with the installation of its fourth and final sculpture, Sophocles. The sculpture represents years of dedication and hard work and we give our sincere thanks to the Athens Square Committee for their partnership and support. This project would not have been possible without them and its installation is such a wonderful way to honor Greek Independence Day this year.”

Check out a photo of the dedication after the jump.

Photo by S. Drago (more…)

03/27/15 4:00pm

sunnyside-plaza

Both the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District and ReCreate Queens just launched a crowdfunding campaign to bring cultural programming to Sunnyside’s Bliss Plaza this summer. The plaza, which opened up last year, is located right under the 7 at Queens Boulevard and 46th Street. The goal of the campaign is to raise just over $5,000 by mid-April to kick off the performance series “Third Thursdays in Bliss Plaza.” The performance, planned to run between June and October, will provide residents with free concerts from different musicians and performers.

The performance series got its initial funding from Queens Council on the Arts, but additional funding is needed to carry the program through the summer. According to the Sunnyside BID, the first $1,000 of donations will be matched by the Neighborhood Plaza Partnership. As Rachel Thieme, executive director of Sunnyside Shines, says, “Bringing arts programming to Bliss Plaza helps create a more dynamic place and generates foot traffic and activity in the neighborhood, which benefits businesses, residents and visitors alike.”

If you’d like to donate, do so here.

Photo by Michael Rapp

03/25/15 4:00pm

weird-loner-queens

“Weird Loners,” a TV show about “four single 30-something underdogs” living in Ridgewood, premieres on Fox on March 3st. To celebrate, Ridgewood’s Queens Tavern, at 6869 Fresh Pond Road, is holding a viewing party. The event description is pretty darn funny:

Grab a beer and uncomfortably watch the first episode at Queens Tavern on their full screen! Be in awe of how large their indoor apartment is! Then ask yourself… “if that is considered weird by mainstream standards… what am I?” Make bets with your fellow friends on how long until this show gets cancelled!

P.S. The word “Quooklyn” is banned from the party.

Sarah from Ridgewood Social will be the host of the evening. Here are details on the event, which begins at 9 pm on Tuesday. See you there?

Closing Bell: “Weird Loners,” Set in Ridgewood, Will Premiere This Month [Q’Stoner]

the-living-pyramid-socrates-sculpture-park

Check out this new, monumental sculpture coming to Socrates Sculpture Park! It’s by the New York City-based artist Agnes Denes and will be called The Living Pyramid. This large-scale, site-specific piece — commissioned by Socrates Sculpture Park — will span 30 feet at its base and rise 30 feet high. It will be created from several tons of soil and planted grasses.

The Living Pyramid will actually grow throughout its installation. It will be installed in April of this year, and the public is invited for a participatory volunteer planting at the site on May 17th from 3 to 6pm. According to Socrates, “As tens of thousands of seeds sprout into grasses and wildflowers, The Living Pyramid will continue to grow and evolve, with full assembly and completion this June.” It will be on display at the park until August 30th.

03/12/15 4:00pm

weird-loner-queens

The TV show “Weird Loners” is set to run on Fox March 31st, according to Queens Courier. The show, work of the co-creator behind The King of Queens, is all about “four single 30-something underdogs who are unexpectedly thrust into one another’s lives and form an unlikely bond in a Queens townhouse.” While the story is set in Ridgewood, it’s shot in Los Angeles, and the current script doesn’t include direct references to the neighborhood. Creator and executive producer Michael J. Weithorn, however, hopes that through the show, “We will get the chance to tell the world about Queens.” Doesn’t the world already know?

New Fox Comedy Set in Queens Premiering March 31 [Queens Courier]
New TV Show, “Weird Loners,” Will Take Place in Ridgewood [Q’Stoner]

02/11/15 3:00pm

flushing-town-hall-fundraiser

Back in September, an anonymous donor challenged Flushing Town Hall to raise $35,000 in new donations by February of this year. If the historic arts center reached its goal, the donor promised to contribute another $35,000. Well, here’s some good news straight from Flushing Town Hall: since September more than 300 people donated, for a total of more than $41,000. Says the Artistic Director Ellen Kodadek, “We are extremely heartened by this outpouring of support. People from all walks of life – new and returning visitors, supporters of the arts, neighbors and visitors from afar – all pitched in to help meet this challenge. We even received a number of contributions from people whose names we didn’t even recognize. This is just an amazing response!” The funds will be used to keep things running at Flushing Town Hall, which has undergone significant budget cuts in recent years.

You can donate to the fundraiser until February 28th. The “35” in “$35,000″ actually represents this year’s 35th anniversary of the Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts.

All Flushing Town Hall coverage [Q’Stoner]