03/25/14 4:00pm


Today LTV Squad shared its adventure through 5Pointz, which, as you may have heard, is slated for demolition soon. LTV Squad took advantage of this prime window of time when one can get in or be given access by workers between abandonment of a building and demolition. They managed to shoot tons of interior photos. Here’s what they found inside the fabled graffiti mecca:

What we found inside was a maze of hallways and partitions, sections with solid concrete flooring and older sections with decaying wood and stairs of questionable stability. One must understand – 5ptz isn’t just one building – it’s a series of interconnected structures that together formed one large complex (like Voltron, or something). Some parts were in better condition than others.

The various parts of the building became known to us by the businesses that inhabited them. There was the sweat shop in the basement and first floor – full of boxes of fabric and a rack of cheap ladies clothing. Up towards Jackson avenue was the DVD shop – an large space filled with piles of DVDs and computer drives for replicating them. There was the Jackson Roof and the Big Roof high above the center of the complex. Then there’s the apartments. Immediately next to 5 ptz sits a series of 4 storefront buildings with apartments above them. These buildings, while not a part of 5ptz, are also abandoned and slated for demolition ( they are all empty except for the one above the former Shannon Pot bar, where an angry squatter is living and acting hostile towards anyone that enters – workers included).

The entire complex was big enough that 10 people could be exploring in teams of 2 and not run into each other for hours. If one were to listen in on our burn phone calls, you’d think we were speaking in code. Where are you? “Jackson Roof”. “The Record Room”. “3rd floor apartment over the space womb”. We spent hours here. Over a span of 2 days and nights we meticulously combed every inch of 5ptz. To the left are the photos from this adventure.

It’s worth checking out the full article for the entire story and all the awesome photos taken.

All 5Pointz coverage [Q'Stoner]

03/24/14 11:00am


The Saint Demetrios Cathedral on 31st Street here in Astoria holds an annual street fair in the late spring, and last year I had an opportunity to enter the church and wave my camera around a bit. Greek, or Eastern Orthodox as the faithful would prefer, churches are a particular favorite of mine to visit and photograph due to the literally byzantine artwork and wealth of lavish ornamentation.

From saintdemetriosastoria.com:

Saint Demetrios was born in Thesaloniki, Greece in 270 AD. He came from a wealthy family and because he was athletic in appearance and heroic in spirit, he became a high-ranking officer in the Roman Army at a very young age. (This is why he is depicted in Byzantine icons in military dress, either standing or riding a horse.) He considered himself a soldier of Christ first, and a military soldier second. He spent most of his time as a devout missionary, preaching the Gospel at secret meetings and converting pagans to the Christian faith.



03/18/14 4:00pm


Longtime Queens resident Amol Sarva (also the author of the blog LICNYC) started a Kickstarter to fund a hardcover children’s book about all things Queens. The premise is an illustrated celebration of Queens based on the alphabet: “A is for Arthur Ashe, B is for Bayside, C is for Cyndi Lauper… R is for Ramones or maybe Rockaway or maybe both!” The goal is to finish the book by this summer, but now the project needs a total of $8,000. More than $3,000 has been raised so far. Incentives include copies of the hardcover book, posters, and even a chance to be listed as co-author. Interested in funding this project? Go here!

03/14/14 11:00am

The neighborhood of Dutch Kills named for the narrow tributary of Newtown Creek that runs into its southern reaches. It was the site of a British garrison during the Revolutionary War. Dutch Kills, bordered by Hunters Point on its south, Blissville on its southeast and Queensbridge and Ravenswood on the north, is generally on the immediate north and south sides of Queens Plaza. Walk its streets, and several surprising remnants of an older Queens turn up — or used to, since we lose more of it with each passing week.


As with most NYC locales, history is preserved accidentally. An old “Cafeteria” sign peeked out on Bridge Plaza South after an awning was removed (easily photographed from the staircase going to the el train). The building has since been demolished.


At 27th Street (formerly Prospect Street) and 42nd Road (formerly Henry Street) an example of the old house numbering system can still be seen. All Queens house numbers have carried a hyphen since the 1920s.


03/11/14 4:00pm


The Queens Council on the Arts teamed up with the Knockdown Center, the event venue in Maspeth, to offer a new short term residency program that would offer free studio space to working artists. Queens Tribune writes that there is now a six-question survey/application available “to determine how the Center can accommodate local artists and give them space to work on their projects.” The Knockdown Center hopes to offer bigger studio space to artists who don’t have access to it. Once they’ve received enough applications, they’ll select artists they believe to be the best fit for the space. This is a new endeavor for the Knockdown Center, which has faced lots of trouble becoming a legitimate event and performance venue. The DOB denied its application for a permanent place of assembly and the Maspeth community strongly opposes the building receiving a liquor license.

QCA, Knockdown Center Team Up To Find Residency [Queens Tribune]
All Knockdown Center coverage [Q'Stoner]

Photo via Facebook

03/11/14 3:00pm


A colorful mural is now on display on the wall of the laundromat at Greenpoint Avenue and 43rd Street, in Sunnyside. Sunnyside Post reports that the artwork is by Freddie “Free5″ Rodriguez. Two other artists also refreshed the mural of a woman right beside it. It certainly livens up an otherwise boring brick wall, which takes up most of the block.

Street Artist Paints Mural on 43rd Street [Sunnyside Post]

Photo by George Burles via Sunnyside Post

02/26/14 4:00pm

Outside Time by Dimitar Lukanov at JFK Terminal 4 pic 2

Today the folks at JFK Airport unveiled a new sculpture on permanent exhibit inside Terminal 4. The Bulgarian-born artist Dimitar Lukanov created the art piece, which is titled “Outside Time.” The steel and aluminum sculpture is 30 feet wide by 15 feet high and is almost completely airborne. According to a press release, it “serves as a poignant sendoff for the millions of air travelers that pass through the building.”

“Outside Time” is the second of a three-part art installation to be installed by Lukanov at Terminal 4. In 2006 he created “Light to Sky” and was commissioned to create this piece for the Terminal in 2012. His third art piece will be installed by April, 2014. “Outside Time” is located on the 4th floor departures level after the TSA checkpoint. Check out a few more photos of the work after the jump.


02/25/14 1:00pm


There will be movies from around the world — and around the corner. On March 4th, the fourth annual Queens World Film Festival will kick off a six-day moving image rampage of everything from feature films to shorts. Attendees can check out a dazzling selection of foreign flicks from such exotic ports of call as Belgium, Iran, India, Spain, Kosovo, Switzerland and Vietnam and enjoy the work of 18 borough-based auteurs.  Like-minded films will be blocked together and will roll at Astoria’s Museum of the Moving Image, The Secret Theatre and Nesva Hotel in Long Island City and PS 69 in Jackson Heights. The fun starts with an opening night party featuring the world premiere of the director’s cut of the of 2014 Academy Award-nominated documentary The Act of Killing. Directed by English-born Joshua Oppenheimer, the movie portrays his country’s national guilt potentially exhumed by a love of movies.

Details: Queens World Film Festival, Museum of the Moving Image (36-01 35th Avenue), The Secret Theatre (44-02 23rd Street), Nesva Hotel (39-12 29th Street) and PS 69 (77-02 37th Avenue), March 4th through the 9th, click here for times and venues, click here for tickets.


02/21/14 11:00am


Center: Joseph Cornell House, Utopia Parkway

Auburndale produced an unlikely innovator in the art world in the mid-20th century: shadow box and collage artist Joseph Cornell (1903-1972), who over four decades lived in a small frame house on Utopia Parkway south of Crocheron Avenue. Cornell and his family moved to Bayside from Nyack, NY after the death of his father in 1917, and after a few years, moved again to Utopia Parkway.

Beginning in the mid-1930s, Cornell made wooden boxes about one to two feet high and filled them with found objects: photos of birds, buttons, corks, newspaper clippings, jars, photographs, toys, theatrical poster fragments and other relics he found in junk shops and flea markets. His art was played out, it seems, from a desire to break away from his Queens life. He would create hommages to places he’d never been, movie stars like Jennifer Jones and Lauren Bacall and 19th-Century ballerinas, which were a favorite subject. His pieces were named whimsically: one of his first works, Untitled (Soap Bubble Set) features a lunar map, a doll’s head, a glass holding an egg, and four small cylinders, two of which picture medieval artwork depicting the planet Saturn…but no pictures of soap bubbles. His box lids were often covered with old maps. His work spanned the art movements of surrealism and abstract expressionism, and his whimsical and melancholy pieces have also been considered a precedent to the pop art of the 1960s. His art films initially aroused the jealousy and ire of Salvador Dali, who nonetheless became a friend.

Though he lived a somewhat solitary life with his mother and brother Robert (who had cerebral palsy), and never married, Cornell was no recluse: he kept up a voluminous correspondence with artistic and literary lights such as Marcel Duchamp, Susan Sontag, Yoko Ono, Marianne Moore, and Tony Curtis. His fame built gradually; he was well-respected in the 1930s, well-known by the 1940s, and celebrated by the 1960s, though he always lived modestly. Several Cornell pieces are on permanent exhibit in the Museum of Modern Art.



This week Oakland Gardens’ PS 213 held its annual International Fair, in which students celebrated all the different cultures represented in the school. The Times Ledger attended and took some wonderful pictures of the six different dance performances, which included Korean circle dancing, Latin American bullfighting dancing and Israeli line dancing. The school has hosted the two-day event for seven years now — on the first day the focus is on learning about different societies around the world and the second day is dedicated to the dance performances. Students began preparing for the dances way back in October, and parents volunteered for hundreds of hours to organize, decorate, and provide all the costumes.

PS 213 Students Learn about Cultures Around the World [Times Ledger]

Photo by Christina Santucci for the Times Ledger