As discussed in prior postings, Kevin Walsh and I decided to take Q’stoner with us to the very edge of New York City when we visited the Rockaways. Here’s Part One and here’s Part Two. This is the third installment, and Kevin will finish up the quartet tomorrow. Now, back to the beach.
This shot is looking back at Riis Park, at the border of what must have surely been an enormous and quite recent industrial endeavor.
The park was largely built on the site of the former Rockaway Naval Air Station, one of the first US naval air stations. Riis Park was designed by the politically powerful New York City Park Commissioner Robert Moses, who had also created Jones Beach as a state park further east on Long Island in 1929. Moses saw Riis Park as a Jones Beach for poor immigrants, and ensured that the location was accessible by public transportation and closer to Manhattan.
A vast wall of sand was found, dissimilar in color to the beach sand which the bathers and sun worshippers at Riis were gamboling about upon. This beach is now the built environment, it seems.
In the Rockaways, long stretches of sand are less weekend paradise and more construction zone. Forget your sun visor. This is hard-hat territory.
“It looks like hell,” said Kevin Boyle, a Rockaway community activist. “It’s not exactly ready for the top 10 list anywhere, but it’s coming along. I’m pretty sure by 2020, the boardwalk will be there and the beach will look good.”
It should be mentioned, by the way, that everybody seemed to be having a much better time than Kevin and myself. We were the two weird looking old guys walking around on the beach with cameras… the ones who looked uncomfortable and relatively pale. The suntans people sport out here are actually outrageous for this early in the summer.
This past Saturday, Make Music New York took on Queens. Free concerts in public spaces popped up in Astoria, Corona, Ridgewood, Elmhurst, Flushing, Jackson Heights, Jamaica, LIC, Rockaway and Sunnyside. Musical acts included pop, blues, jazz, reggae, indie, folk, Latin, experimental, country, gospel and more. Sunnyside Shines posted this great photo set from the event, which is in its eighth year. Twenty-three free concerts took place throughout that single neighborhood! Looks like a great success.
Tomorrow evening, Socrates Sculpture Park is screening the classic New York film When Harry Met Sally. It’s part of Tribeca Film Festival’s “Film for All” event, in which the organization is screening the film in an outdoor venue in each of the five boroughs at the same time. Screenings are free and open to everyone. During the Tribeca Film Festival, the public was asked to tweet the film they thought all New Yorkers should see, and the result was this 1989 classic. Doors open at 7 pm, and the movie begins at 8:30 pm. For a list of screenings in every borough, check out the Film for All website.
This Saturday marked the first concert of the season for Forest Hills Stadium. The venue, previously used for the US Open, is now in its second season of music performances. (It sat mostly unused for decades before that.) The Zac Brown Band kicked things off over the weekend, acts like the Replacements, Modest Mouse and Drake are to come later this summer. You can see the lineup at the Forest Hills Stadium website.
DNAinfo profiled the recent renovation of the stadium, which has 1,200 new seats as well as metal benches on the upper levels. There’s a brand new stage for performers, widened aisles, and new handrails. There’s a new stadium entrance on Burns Street, further away from residential buildings than the main entrance on Tennis Place. And while there may be permanent toilets installed in the future, for now concert goers must use Porta-A-Potties. According to one of the event producers, “It’s going to function more like a festival site.”
The Central Astoria Local Development Corporation is bringing its free concert series back to Astoria Park this summer. We Heart Astoria posted the schedule of events; concerts take place on the Great Lawn Thursday evenings at 7:30 pm in July and August. Here’s the schedule:
Last Friday, Recycle-A-Bicycle celebrated a new mural now on display at 46-01 5th Street, on the corner of 46th Avenue. Recycle-A-Bicycle had a mural outside its workshop in need of a revamp, and Sunny Hossain, a student at PS 993x, worked to redesign it. He teamed up with fellow artists Pasqualina Azzarello and Alex Cook to do an entire makeover. The mural is located next to the Rockaway Brewing Company and around the corner from the LIC Flea.
Pictured above is the first “group photo” from the mural celebration. The crowd includes the artists, Sunny’s family, Sunny’s educators and principal, Recycle-A-Bicycle board members and community members. Check out more photos of the mural after the jump. (more…)
Earlier this month, a newly-formed task force announced its initiative to bring the Triumph of Civic Virtue Statue back to Queens from it’s present location in Green-Wood Cemetery. In a press release the group stated that it was working to secure the support of Borough President Melinda Katz. But in this followup article by the Queens Tribune, it doesn’t look like that’s happening:
When asked about the issue and the meeting, a spokesperson for Katz said the Borough President’s position on what to do with the vacant area remains unchanged from what she said earlier this year: she prefers that the site be converted to a plaza that honors women of Queens and outside the City for the work they have done. This was an idea first mentioned by her predecessor, Helen Marshall.
The task force stated that they had no knowledge of Katz’s position regarding the statue prior to their meeting with Katz’s staffers in April of this year, where they got the impression she would consider bringing the statue back. The task force wants the Triumph of Civic Virtue returned to its plaza in front of Borough Hall (pictured above), as well as the surrounding area restored. Since the statue left, the plaza has remained a vacant eyesore. But it seems like Green-Wood Cemetery isn’t willing to give the sculpture up, with the Tribune reporting that the cemetery spent more than $200,000 in the transportation and restoration of the work. (The task force has countered that much of the restoration money came from tax payers dollars.) And as a cemetery spokesperson said, “This magnificent work of art has been meticulously restored and now has a place of honor on our grounds, where it is seen every year by tens of thousands of visitors, including students on school trips, tour groups, art aficionados, nature lovers and others.”
Local Project, an arts nonprofit based in Long Island City that provides year-round exhibitions, arts mentoring, classes, coworking space, art residencies and bilingual programming, is in danger of losing its home. The organization has been in transition since moving out of the 5Pointz building; now it needs to raise at least $6,100 by July 1st to meet a 50 percent rent hike at its current location. (It is currently located at 11-27th 44th Road, between 21st and 11th Streets.)
The organization started a Kickstarter account to raise the $6,100. Donors of $25 or more can “buy a brick” — a personalized brick to be added to a supporter’s wall. As the Kickstarter states, “How do you put cash value on a 12-year successful model of community development? You don’t. So BUY A BRICK instead: LP survives.”
Google just launched the Google Street Art Project, which preserves images of more than 4,000 street art and graffiti works from around the world. The page dedicated to 5Pointz shares a detailed history of the building, profiles many of the artists who worked there, and talks about its demise. Most importantly, there are tons of amazing images of the graffiti work that once graced the building. Now, of course, it looks like this.
Nightlight is a co-production offered by the Flux Factory and the LIC Community Garden which is described as “an interactive light-based outdoor installation that investigates public and private land use after dark.”