New York City has many iconic structures that define it to the world. Some, like the Brooklyn Bridge, the Chrysler and the Empire State Buildings, are state of the art examples of architectural and engineering genius. They are all great in their own right, and are all symbolic in their own ways, so it’s not surprising that the Unisphere joins this pantheon as a symbol of New York City and American ingenuity, as that was its intended purpose, after all.
World’s Fairs have been with us since the mid-19th century. They were organized basically, to show off each nation’s products, and to highlight the great inventions and emerging technological advances being developed. One of the best of them, the 1893 Columbian World’s Exhibition, in Chicago, introduced the world to the great technological advances of electricity and other modern marvels, and heralded in new innovations in architecture and popular culture. As the 20th century progressed, the focus moved away from just showcasing technology and products to the idea that these fairs could bring the nations of the world together and create a better society.
The 1939 World’s Fair, which was held here in Flushing Meadows- Corona Park, had the optimistic theme of “Building the World of Tomorrow,” an ambitious goal for a world still in the grip of a lingering economic depression, and on the verge of a massive world war. Twenty-five years later, in the same location, an ambitious World’s Fair would organize under the theme of “Peace Through Understanding,” striving to build an international consensus of good will in a far different world. The Unisphere was a powerful symbol of that good will. (more…)
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.
Welcome to a new Q’Stoner food feature, Signature Dish! A few time a month we’ll check in with Queens restaurants and ask the owners about the all-time favorite dishes they serve. To kick things off, we spoke with the folks behind the LIC beer bar Woodbine’s.
The spot: Woodbine’s, 47-10 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City.
The deal: Woodbine’s is a craft beer bar that recently opened on Vernon Boulevard, the heart of the growing Hunter’s Point community. The pub wants to be part of the community by having enough outlets to let people work and stay connected. The bar owners not only want to provide a variety of craft beers but develop exclusive brews with local breweries. Astoria’s Single Cut brewery has debuted a new partner beer, Burke’s Pale Ale, at Woodbine’s and its sister restaurants The Courtyard Ale, The Kent Ale House and Brickyard Gastropub in Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn respectively.
The dish: The Signature Dish at Woodbine’s is the Scotch egg, the perfect complement to the craft beer selection. A Scotch egg is a hard-boiled egg encased in sausage and breadcrumbs and then served sliced on a plate with brown mustard. The $5 snack has quickly become the most popular dish because it is light enough to accompany any drink—beer, wine, cocktail or soda.
The snack menu is available at the bars and booths all day.
They will deck the halls! Many, many halls. On December 8th, the Queens Historical Society will host the 26th Annual Holiday Historic House Tour through Flushing and Corona. A trolley will bring participants to seven landmarked sites, which will offer special seasonal programming, a glimpse at life during holidays past and refreshments. Consider the following:
Lewis H. Latimer House Museum (1889) was home of African-American inventor Lewis H. Latimer, who lived there from 1903 until his death in 1928. The son of fugitive slaves, he played a vital role in the development of the telephone and the incandescent light bulb.
Friends Meeting House (1694) is the first house of worship in the village of Flushing and NYC’s oldest structure in continuous use for religious purposes. The venue also has an historic cemetery.
Flushing Town Hall (1862) was the cultural and political focal point of the village of Flushing. The building features a rich history that includes visits by dignitaries such as PT Barnum and Tom Thumb, operas, murder trials and even a jail cell. Frederick Douglass once spoke from the portico.
Bowne House (1661) is known for its connection to the principle of freedom of conscience in the United States. Nine generations of the Bowne family lived in the house (below).
Louis Armstrong House Museum (1910) was purchased by jazz legend Louis Armstrong and his wife, Lucille, in 1943. For the season, the house (above) will feature rare audio clips from Satchmo’s personal recordings.
Details: Holiday Historic House Tour, Organized from Kingsland Homestead, 143-35 37th Avenue, Flushing, December 8th, 1 pm to 5 pm, $10 in advance, $12 at the door, children under 12 are free. (more…)
This Saturday, Iron Triangle tenants faced the city’s deadline to agree to move, or lose city money to help with relocation. The New York Times also noted that demolition would begin for the planned mega-mall over this weekend. A trip to Willets Point yesterday showed no sign of demolition, and many auto body shops still open for business. There are, however, rows of shuttered businesses, especially on the blocks closest to Citi Field. According to CBS, city marshals showed up this Friday to padlock the businesses that agreed to move out. Now, the city is only offering six months rent to the existing auto body shops — after January, the offer dwindles down to nothing. (Tenants continue to rally for a six-month extension for relocation.) At this point, it looks likely that the city will use eminent domain to clear more of the 62 aces of land.
Last Wednesday, the Queens delegation of the City Council voted in favor of selling the land to the developers for $1. Construction on the first phase of the project — retail and office space, a 200-room hotel and a temporary parking lot — isn’t expected to begin until next year.
Click through to see photos taken yesterday of the empty businesses… (more…)
The growing neighborhood of Elmhurst needed a new high school by the beginning of the 20th century, as improved transportation and an expanding population was growing the town by leaps and bounds. Dr. James Darius Dillingham, the principal of the Newtown School, had been a tireless advocate for his school, back when the old town of Newtown had changed its name to Elmhurst, and was still an independent entity, not yet a part of Greater New York City. He had pressured the city fathers of Elmhurst to build a larger school, and after a great deal of lobbying on his part, in 1897, the town had finally approved funds to expand the town’s wooden school house, and add a new bricks and mortar school. The early history of the area and the school can be found in Part One of this story.
By the time this new addition was finished, in 1900, Elmhurst and its school were part of Greater New York City, and under the direction of the New York City Board of Education. The school was soon woefully inadequate to handle the number of children in Elmhurst, and the Board of Ed moved the elementary school out, and made the Newtown School a high school. But, as Dr. Dillingham told the city, it was still too small. He wanted to expand it even more, as he could see that the 20th century need for education was going to overwhelm the school.
The local town board did not have his vision. In fact, they wanted to close the high school because they thought Newtown didn’t need one, but the good doctor persisted in asking for funds. He was soon proved correct, as by the end of the decade, the school was bursting with students, forcing teachers to conduct classes in cloak rooms and hallways. They even had to borrow space from the local elementary school. The City allocated $400,000 in funds, and turned the task over to C.B.J. Snyder, the Superintendent of School Buildings for the Board of Education. Dr. Dillingham and Newtown High School were in luck, as he was one of the greats. (more…)
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.
Yesterday, Assembly Member Aravella Simotas met with the Department of Transportation and Queens Borough Commissioner Dalila Hall to discuss possible fixes for a dangerous intersection in Astoria. The location in question is at 32nd Street and Astoria Boulevard North, adjacent to the exit ramp of the Grand Central Parkway. The 114th Precinct calls this the most accident-prone intersection in the area — according to a press release, “Currently, drivers exiting the Grand Central Parkway must cross three crowded lanes of traffic, often composed of truck traffic driving west on Astoria Boulevard North, in order to reach local streets. Likewise, trucks exiting the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway following Astoria Boulevard must cross this local traffic to reach the RFK Bridge and points west.” This creates gridlock as well as numerous pedestrian and automobile accidents.
In coming months, Assembly Member Simotas will work with the DOT and Commissioner Hall to determine the best means of re-configuring the intersection. As Simotas says, “Our goal is to ensure the free flow of traffic, pedestrians, and goods through Astoria as safely as possible.”
Photo via the Office of Assembly Member Aravella Simotas
Transmitter Brewing is officially the seventh brewery for Queens, reports the New York Daily News. The owners plan to open at 52-03 11th Street, right off the Pulaski Bridge, by March of next year. According to the News, the owners “are using about 30 strains of yeast to create a line of farmhouse ales.” They will sell bottles and growlers at the brewery, and the Transmitter Brewing website states that the brewery will also have a community supported beer share. The two owners met as members of a road bike racing team; since then they have made beer together for two years. You can follow their progress on the new space through the Transmitter Facebook account.
To say that Court Square in Central LIC is booming is an understatement. Located within a few of blocks of six different subway lines, the sub-neighborhood has seen an explosion of new residential buildings in recent years within a stone’s throw of the Citibank tower that’s long defined the area. There are several new buildings currently going up on Jackson Avenue and Purves Street but they are dwarfed by Queens’ latest luxury tower, Linc LIC. The Rockrose-developed project has 709 units over 42 floors. We got a look inside the amenity-rich development last week and have the photos below to prove it: Basketball court, large sunny gym, screening room, squash court, roofdeck with views and bar and grill, and children’s playroom. The building, which is already about 33 percent leased, features studios ranging from $2,155 to $2,450, one-bedrooms from $2,595 to $3,600, two bedrooms from $3,505 to $4,000 and three-bedrooms from $4,755 to $5,500. And residents won’t go hungry either, as the developers were smart enough to lease a one-story taxpayer across the street to the M. Wells Steakhouse. Rockrose is also developing a 974-unit building right now at 43-25 Hunter Street and has plans to convert the nearby Eagle Lofts into apartments in the near future.