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]

02/11/15 9:00am

46-55-metropolitan-avenue

A tipster recently passed along news that the four-story warehouse at 46-55 Metropolitan Avenue — right next door to the popular Ridgewood restaurant Bun-Ker — is slated to become artist studios. The tip was confirmed by a contact listed on this Department of Buildings application, which specifies an “interior renovation with partition works on 2nd, 3rd and 4th floor.” (Requests to the actual building owner went unanswered.) We couldn’t get any more specifics, except that the warehouse will be converted into commercial spaces for artistic use. (We’re wondering if it could be something like the now-defunct 3rd Ward art workspace in nearby Bushwick.) No word on the construction timeline, although the DOB issued permits to begin the interior renovation this month.

The warehouse is a total of 32,400 square feet with 8,100 square feet per floor and 13-foot ceilings. According to public records, it sold in December for $5,300,000. GMAP

Photo via Google Maps

court-square-park-long-island-city

Today the Parks Department announced that it is holding its annual Clare Weiss Emerging Artist Award in Long Island City’s Court Square Park. The Clare Weiss Award (named after the former Public Art Curator for the Parks Department) is given to an emerging, NYC-based artist with a compelling proposal for an outdoor sculpture. That recipient will be granted $10,000 for the costs of fabrication, insurance, maintenance, installation and removal of the artwork, as well as the restoration of the site. The artist will then install their work in Court Square Park sometime in the fall of 2015, and it’ll be on view for one year.

If you’re an artist interested in applying for the award, go here. The deadline for submissions is March 22nd, 2015.

Photo by the NYC Parks Department

01/20/15 3:00pm

steinway-and-sons-pianos

Image source: gordontarpley on Flickr

Nestled in the northern reaches of Astoria lies the Steinway & Sons piano factory – yes, that’s right, the Steinway & Sons, makers of some of the most glorious pianos in the world. And did you know that you can take a tour of the factory itself? Indeed you can – Forbes has rated this factory tour one of the top 3 factory tours in the country, and we agree that is is pretty awesome.

So here’s how to tour the factory. These guidelines are the most up-to-date ones, as of October 2012.

Factory tours are offered from September through the end of June; factory tours are not available in July and August. (more…)

01/16/15 11:00am

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On Park Lane, at the east end of the vast Forest Park, which includes the neighborhoods of Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Richmond Hill and Glendale, a lone lamenting figure stands on a rise between the basketball courts and the tony homes spread out before it. His garments are ripped and his eyes look heavenward in a  supplicating manner. Passersby would be puzzled about what this figure symbolizes, were there not a NYC Parks sign positioned perhaps a bit too close to it.

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First of all, the definition. Amigurumi is a traditional Japanese art form that involves knitting or crocheting small stuffed animals or other cuddly creatures. Second, the relevance. Resobox is currently displaying more than 4,000 amigurumi that were made by more than 140 artists from 32 different countries. In fact, the Long Island City gallery has turned its space into an “amigurumi room,” filled with a wide array of these handmade objects. Third, the pitch. These crafts are on sale… and Valentine’s Day is coming up.

Details: World Amigurumi Exhibition, Resobox, 41-26 27th Street, Long Island City, show runs until February 28th, admission is free, but pieces mostly cost between $20 and $50. Gallery is open on all weekdays, except Tuesday, 11 am to 5 pm, and weekends, noon to 5 pm.

Photo: Resobox

01/14/15 4:00pm

arts-connect-new-york

Art Connects New York, a group that curates free, permanent art exhibits for social service organizations in NYC, has partnered with the Markus Gardens development in Jamaica for its next project. (Check out some of the artwork Art Connects New York brought to the Queens Community House here.) The Queens-based artist and curator Karen Fitzgerald is organizing this next exhibit, which will be permanently installed in the Markus Gardens supportive housing development at 90-26 171st Street. To be called “In a Sheltering Place,” it will feature 15 artists exploring the ideas of shelter and home through various media. All of the artists donated their artwork in the exhibition to the Markus Gardens community.

The grand opening is scheduled for February, so stay tuned for images and details on the exhibit to come.

Image by Mary Pinto, “House by the Sea”

01/14/15 10:00am

sunnyside-public-artwork

Yesterday the Sunnyside Shines BID announced a new public art piece installed on a billboard in the neighborhood. The artist Margeaux Walter designed the piece, entitled “Keep Calm,” and you can see it at the intersection of Greenpoint Avenue and 46th Street. The work is part of 14×48, an organization that repurposes vacant billboards as public art space.

The “Keep Calm” piece is meant to, according to the website, “create a dialogue that addresses the overlap between individuality and commerce as well as the various guises of advertising and propaganda.” (There are messages like “Keep Calm and Kiss On,” “Keep Calm and Play Basketball.”) Viewers are also invited to tweet their own “keep calm” messages with the hashtag #keepcalm14x48. The artist plans to turn the tweets into postcards and hand them out along Greenpoint Avenue and at Ave Coffee House, 45-01 Greenpoint Avenue. The billboard will be up in the neighborhood for at least four weeks.

Photo via Sunnyside Shines’ Twitter

01/12/15 11:00am

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Saturday last, I headed over to the newly renovated Queens Museum at the former World’s Fair Grounds in Flushing Meadow Corona Park. The trip was a true bit of joy, given that I don’t own a car and the 7 train was undergoing one of its periodic spasms of maintenance work, so I had to get there from Astoria via a train ride to Forest Hills whereupon I was meant to catch a bus. The bus was leaving when I got out of the station, so I hailed a cab. Neither the cab driver nor his GPS seemed to have ever heard of the Queens Museum or Flushing Meadow Corona Park, but somehow I got there in time for a NYC H2O event celebrating the massive Watershed Relief Map which has been given a place of pride and honor at the institution.

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The map was prepared in the 1930s by the Work Projects Administration for the institutional ancestors of our modern Department of Environmental Protection – the Department of Water Supply, Gas, and Electricity and the Board of Water Supply. All city agencies were tasked with producing displays that depicted their functions for the World’s Fair of 1939, and the water people decided to go big.

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