A trailer to the documentary film “Modern Ruin” popped up on our radar, it’s a homage to the now-crumbling World Fair Pavilion that is so iconic to the Queens’ landscape. According to the official website, filmmaker Matthew Silva plans to “tell the story of the Pavilion from the glory days of the fair, through the years of neglect, up to present day advocacy.” He hopes the film will push people to advocate for, and re-imagine Flushing Meadows Corona Park and the repurposing of the structure. Considering the impending creation of a nonprofit conservancy or an alliance for the park, the iconic Philip Johnson design may just see a second life in (we hope!) the near future.
The Triumph of Civic Virtue statue, previously located in Kew Gardens outside Borough Hall (pictured above), moved to Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn last year, with plans to turn the former statue’s home into a plaza. But, reports the New York Daily News, “Rival plans to renovate the broken fountain base of the Triumph of Civic Virtue into a plaza to commemorate women or turn it into a “planted ruin” have stalled.” Outgoing Queens Borough President Helen Marshall wanted a plaza dedicated to women in the space, and she rejected the city’s offer to plant greenery in the now-empty basin. It’s still unclear what will actually happen to the eyesore.
The statue caused quite a bit of controversy when the city decided to move it from Queens to Brooklyn. Some civic leaders and residents fought to keep the statue here and believed it was wrongly taken by the city. Others found the statue offensive and misogynistic, because it’s perceived as a man crushing two female mythical creatures under his foot.
152 gingerbread houses, 65 trees, four gingerbread cable cars, five gingerbread train cars and an underground candy subway station. That’s what you’ll find at the GingerBread Lane exhibit at the New York Hall of Science, and the Queens Courier reports that the 2014 Guinness World Records just named this the largest in the world. The village took 2,350 pounds of icing, 400 pounds of candy and 500 pounds of gingerbread dough to make. According to the Courier, the man behind the village will host a gingerbread house workshop on Saturday, December 28th and plans to give away all the gingerbread homes on Sunday, January 12th. The village is on view until January 12th from Tuesday through Friday from 9:30 am to 5 pm, and on weekends from 10 am to 6 pm.
The 5Pointz story has been all over the web for the last few weeks, including here at Brownstoner Queens, and it is just sad that the structure has already been stripped of the graffiti artwork which once made it remarkable.
I guess it’s the way of things, here in New York City, and the 1892 vintage factory will be excised in the near future. Observationally, it was the single largest “draw” in LIC for foreign tourists (and even jaded New Yorkers) and it will be missed. A composition of saturated color that brightened the urban landscape, which incurred reflection in viewers, is always appreciated.
Once upon a time though, specifically before the Second World War, there was no color and the entire world was black and white. Rising out of this monotone landscape was the Neptune Meter Company of Long Island City.
Thanks to Untapped Cities for pointing us in the direction of the Queen Jazz Trail map, made by Ephemera Press and commissioned by the Flushing Town Hall. The map lists the Queens homes of jazz legends, as well as other places of interest for jazz fans. Artists include Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, John Coltrane, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Billie Holiday and Scott Joplin. You can take a close look at the map right here. It’s also available for purchase for $14.95.
A reader passed along a sweet story of kids transforming a basement laundry room in Jackson Heights. It’s called the Community Art Gallery and it’s located in Hampton Court. Arlene Wipfler and Sarah Muir put out a call to young artists in the coop (which is made up of 11 buildings of 15 apartments each) and the opening was held last week. Over 20 young artists, ranging in age from 8 months to 10 years, participated and saw their work professionally hung in the laundry room of one of the buildings. Work ranged from textile work that used fabric remnants and weaving, to 3D art, to an 8-month-old’s finger paints.
The New York Times published a nice piece on Rufino Garcia, a delivery truck driver based at the 5Pointz warehouse. Garcia hated graffiti, constantly painting over any that popped up on his truck, until 5Pointz curator Jonathan Cohen (aka Meres One) painted his signature lightbulbs on the truck. Says the Times, “The truck has not been touched since, Mr. Garcia said; graffiti taggers tell him they are kept at bay by the reverence they feel for Meres One.” After the infamous whitewashing, the vehicle is now held up as a 5Pointz remnant — people stop to take pictures and ask to paint the blank roll-down gate in the back of the truck. Garcia took, as the Times states, “the unexpected role of an accidental apostle of the art form he once reviled.”
Just this afternoon local pols joined Kaufman Astoria Studios to celebrate the grand opening of New York City’s first outdoor stage. Kaufman Astoria designed the block-long, 34,800-square-foot studio space for productions to shoot realistic outdoor scenes and stunts. Construction began over the summer. The backlot also features a gate designed by David Rockwell which now serves as the new entrance to the studio. The backlot completes another phase in the overall vision for the studio campus to create an arts and cultural district — Kaufman hopes to continue to expand in Astoria to establish an even larger presence in the neighborhood.
Materials for the Arts, a Long Island City-based reuse center that assists nonprofits, schools, and community groups with arts programming, is holding a special fundraiser until December 31st. Until that day, donors Ellen Liman and the Liman Foundation will match every dollar raised up to $25,000. According to the website, the money raised will help support educational and outreach programs for Materials for the Arts. If you are interested in donating, go right here.
This weekend, a number of murals from 11 different artists debut at the Aqueduct Racetrack in South Ozone Park. According to Forbes, the artist have worked from 8am to 4pm throughout the week, using stencils and spray paint for work that incorporates racing themes, horses, and jockeys. Check out the works in progress here. The exhibit kicks off on Saturday afternoon and it’s free and open to the public. That night, there will be an evening reception with the artists, which is also open to the public. You can see all the event details for this weekend right here.