11/06/15 1:04pm

Queens Genocide Discussions

Many historians call it “the moment that changed everything,” because they consider it the German Third Reich’s first mass action against Jewish people — and the harbinger of things to come.

On November 9, 1938, anti-Semitic violence swept through Germany, Austria, and part of the occupied Czechoslovakian territories in what is now known as “Kristallnacht” or “The Night of Broken Glass.” As police stood by, Nazis and other anti-Semitic groups destroyed Jewish-owned businesses, wrecked their homes, killed randomly, burned synagogues, and generally brutalized as many Jews as possible.

A few borough activities will mark this anniversary with solemn, but interesting and even uplifting events.

On November 9, Sarah Lawrence College German literature professor Roland Dollinger will discuss Kristallnacht at the Central Queens Y. Then, the Forest Hills venue will screen Hitler’s Children, a documentary on the descendants of high-ranking Nazi leaders and how they struggle with the guilt and their families’ legacies.

The following day, November 10, the Harriet and Kenneth Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center in Bayside will host a panel discussion with three genocide survivors.

Hanne Liebmann was born in Germany in 1924. She was deported to the Gurs concentration camp in southern France in 1940. While her mother died in Auschwitz, Liebmann was rescued by the Children’s Aid Society and hid in a children’s home before using false papers to cross the border into Switzerland (and safety) in 1943.

Before turning 10, Jacqueline Murekatete had lost her entire family during the 1994 genocide by the Hutus against the Tutsis in the African country Rwanda. Currently, she runs Jacqueline’s Human Rights Corner and speaks in forums around the world on her genocide-prevention activities.

As a little girl, Adisada Dudic witnessed a major massacre in Srebrenica, a town in modern day Bosnia and Herzegovina, in 1995. Though the area was a United Nations-designated safe haven, Serbian soldiers killed more than 8,000 Bosnians there, while about 20,000 civilians fled. Dudic is currently an attorney in Washington, DC, who specializes in global immigration issues. She also helps maintain an extensive global immigration library.

Another image and information on a third event are on the jump page.


10/06/15 9:30am

Talmadge Estate, Bayside, Queens

Brownstoner recently took a look at historical and culinary highlights centered on or near Bell Boulevard, the “main street” of Bayside, Queens. But the neighborhood is large and goes far beyond that stretch, with a deep history in film, theater and sports, as well as eclectic architecture.

Here are some of Bayside’s historical and architectural highlights. (more…)

09/29/15 9:30am

Bell Boulevard -- Architectural and Culinary Mecca

Bayside, in northeast Queens, was first settled by the British around Alley Creek, the East River inlet now leading to Alley Pond Park, in the early 1700s. It was first named Bay Side in 1798 and by the time the one-word spelling appeared in the 1850s, it was a small but potent community, giving rise to governmental leaders and statesmen.

The neighborhood has always retained a small-town atmosphere centered around Bell Boulevard. The street is named for Abraham Bell, an Irish Quaker who was a partner in a shipping firm and owned a vast farm in the area, and has nothing at all to do with Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor who obtained the first patent for the telephone. The city, however, has added to the confusion by naming P.S. 205, as well as its playground at 75th Avenue and 217th Street (a couple of blocks from the boulevard), Bell Park and later, Telephone Park, in honor of the inventor. (more…)

08/26/15 1:00pm


The country and the religion are extremely intertwined. Biblical books such as Isaiah, Nehemiah and Ezra contain references to Jews in Persia (modern day Iran), and the Middle Eastern state is home to prominent religious shrines like the tombs of Esther and Daniel. With roots dating back to the sixth century BCE, the tight-knit Iranian Jewish community has retained its ethnic, linguistic, and cultural identity, while gathering fame for making gold jewelry and dealing antiques, carpets, and textiles.

On August 30, Bayside’s Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center will unveil an exhibition on Jewish lives in Persia/Iran. Curated and researched by Rabbi Isidoro Aizenberg, who will talk at 1 pm on opening day, the show contains more than 40 historic, archival, and modern day images. The focus is on World War II, the period under the last Shah, the Islamic revolution, and recent struggles with anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. (Iran’s Jewish population is the second largest in the Middle East, after Israel, but it has dropped from an estimated 100,000 in 1948 to around 9,000 today.)

This exhibition will be on display until December 14, and the Kupferberg Center will offer other enrichment programs on Iranian Jews this fall. More information and a photo are on the jump page.


07/20/15 1:00pm


What is Antonio to do? He’s a well-respected community leader, but through a complex effort to help a friend in love he owes a pound of his own flesh to a man who despises him.

And what about that pathetic Sir John Falstaff? He devised a get-rich-quick scheme that backfired big time. Now he’s being humiliated bigger time.

These two scenarios come to eight Queens parks in July and August (the Bronx, Jersey City, and Southampton, too). The Hip to Hip Theatre Company is back for its ninth year, providing free, family-friendly performances of Shakespeare plays. This summer, Woodside-based co-founders Jason and Joy Marr have chosen The Merchant of Venice, a dark drama about a 16th century merchant, Antonio, who defaults on a loan from a moneylender, and The Merry Wives of Windsor, a comedy about a flat broke, alcoholic aristocrat, Sir John Falstaff, who tries to bed the wives of two rich men. However, the women are not amused and respond with a series of practical jokes.

The fun begins on Wednesday with Merchant at the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. On Thursday, Merry Wives plays at Crocheron Park in Bayside. Then, the professional actors do 17 more productions in such neighborhoods as Forest Park, Fresh Meadows, Long Island City, and Sunnyside.

Click here for the complete schedule.

Photo by Hip to Hip Theatre Company

05/14/15 1:00pm


The “Mass for Troubled Times” or “Lord Nelson Mass” was composed by Franz Joseph Haydn over a six-week period in 1798. The symphonic work’s unusual orchestration — strings, trumpets, timpani and organ (no woodwinds or low brass) — creates a stark sound, capturing the fear and turmoil of the time in Europe as Napoleon Bonaparte had just won four major battles and the French military chief was threatening to conquer the world. (more…)

05/01/15 1:00pm


The hit 1993 movie A Bronx Tale tells the story of a young man named Calogero who gets involved with organized crime despite his father’s attempts to steer him toward a law-abiding life. The film is based on author Chazz Palminteri’s childhood memories of his largely Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx.

Palminteri, whose given first name is Calogero, plays a mobster in the movie, but in 2007, he also did a one-man stage version of A Bronx Tale on Broadway, winning Outer Critics Circle Awards for acting and writing. On Sunday, Palminteri takes this same act to the Queensborough Performing Arts Center in Bayside as part of a national tour. (more…)

04/08/15 9:30am

Kris Seto

Some enrichment options head outdoors with such events as a carnival, a gardening extravaganza, and a guided walk. But with “April Showers” in mind, the borough also hosts indoor fun, such as comedy, live music, film, theater, photography, and some 3-D magic. Here’s the rundown. (more…)

03/27/15 11:00am

Named for an 18th century family who owned property in eastern Queens and not the credited inventor of the telephone, Bell Boulevard has developed over 150 years from a dirt trace to harboring some of eastern Queens’ more entertaining samples of eclectic architecture.

From the NYC Landmarks Designation Report:

“Until the last decades of the nineteenth century, Bayside was primarily farmland. The property on which the house stands was acquired by Abraham Bell in 1824. A shipping and commission merchant operating in lower Manhattan, his firm, Abraham Bell and Company was involved in the cotton trade and in transporting immigrants from Ireland during the potato famine of the 1840s.

“His son, Abraham Bell 2nd, became head of the firm around 1835 and the company changed its name to Abraham Bell and Son in 1844. The Bells had homes in several locations: Bayside, Yonkers (where Bell Brothers operated a money-lending business) and in Narragansett Pier, Rhode Island.

“The Bell property covered approximately 246 acres and  extended from near the site of the current Bayside station of the Long Island Railroad at 41st  Avenue to Crocheron Avenue (35th  Avenue) and from Little Neck Bay to 204th Street. An unpaved lane, known as Bell Avenue (now Bell Boulevard) bisected the farm.The east section, closer to Little Neck Bay, was called the lower farm, and the west section, the upper farm. Near the center of the property, along Bell Avenue, the Bells built a house in 1842. It is likely that it was occupied by Thomas C. Bell and Eliza (Jackson) Bell, who married in 1840. The house was demolished in 1971.”



03/18/15 1:00pm

JVP on stage 1_0

He ain’t afraid of no ghost. James Van Praagh is one of the world’s most celebrated spiritual teachers. Known as a “survival evidence medium,” the Bayside native writes books, gives speeches, and generally teaches about communication with the dead. He has appeared on TV shows such as Oprah, Larry King Live, and 20/20, but he got his big break with the CBS mini-series Living with the Dead, which featured Ten Danson playing Van Praagh. He also worked on The Dead Will Tell with Eva Longoria and Ghost Whisperer starring Jennifer Love Hewitt. Currently, Van Praagh has a streaming show, Spirit Talk, and a radio program, Talking to Spirit. On Saturday night, he returns to Bayside. More information on the jump page.