Queens has caught the participatory budgeting bug. DNAinfo reports that the latest district to welcome the community budgeting forum is District 21 under City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras — Corona, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights and LeFrak City. This fall, residents of those neighborhoods will get the chance to propose how to spend $1,000,000 within the district. Residents commonly fund school improvements, street safety measures, park renovations and more.
There are three neighborhood assemblies scheduled to kick the process off. The first is happening on September 25th, 6:30 pm at Elmcor, 98-19 Astoria Boulevard in East Elmhurst. On October 1st, there’s another 6:30 pm meeting at Transfiguration of Christ Greek Orthodox Church, 38-05 98th Street in Corona. Finally, a 6:30 pm meeting on October 2nd at Sherwood Village Community Room, 55-25 98th Place, Corona. All of the meetings will have Spanish translators present.
The Mets have hosted some unforgettable non-baseball moments in 2014, such as concerts by 50 Cent and Boyz II Men; the Citi Field Sleepover; The Wright Thing; and Dinosaur Education Day. Now as the Flushing team’s season winds down, there’s still some great sports drama to take place at Citi Field, as well as unique promotions and another live concert.
This Saturday, Yen-Hsun Lu (below), Taiwan’s top-ranked professional tennis player, will headline the tenth annual Taiwan Heritage Night by throwing out the first pitch before the Philadelphia Phillies game. Beforehand at Mets Plaza, fans will be able to check out Taiwanese aboriginal dance with Techno San Tai Zi and singing performances. The island near mainland China’s tourism mascot, Oh Bear, will interact with Mr. Met in the stadium and be available for photo opportunities with fans. Plus, the first 750 purchasers through a special online offer will receive a limited edition of Taiwanese cheering sticks.
On September 27th, Austin Mahone will perform after the Houston Astros game. This 18-year-old singer/songwriter is poised for stardom with several hit singles on iTunes, including “What About Love?” which peaked at No. 7, “Say You’re a Friend,” and “Banga! Banga!,” which climbed as high as No. 14.
Oktoberfest will take place on September 26th, when ticket purchasers will get access to a pre-game party in Bullpen Plaza and a limited edition Mets Oktoberfest Beer Glass.
There are also three remaining chances to take advantage of Free Shirt Fridays. Every attendee will get a uniquely designed Mets themed tee shirt at the August 29th game against the Phillies; the September 12th game against the Washington Nationals; and the September 26th game against the Astros.
There are also three remaining chances (August 31st, September 14th, September 28th) to enjoy Family Sundays, when there are family-friendly activities such as kids inflatables, face painters, balloon artists and entertainment at Mets Plaza starting at 11 am. After the final pitch, children can go onto the field and run the bases during the Mr. Met Dash.
Top photo: New York Mets; bottom photo: Yen-Hsun Lu
It’s unique, but multifaceted. It’s local, but international. It’s filthy rich in culture, but free. On August 30th, the Queens Museum will host Oye Corona, an afternoon celebration of art, music, dance, print-making, and exercise at Corona Plaza. Visitors will be able to partake in creative activities with roots in Bangladesh, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and even the United States.
Photos and information on the inspiring activities follow the jump.
There will be dancing in the streets. This Thursday, the Louis Armstrong House Museum will hold its annual Jazzmobile Block Party, an end-of-summer blowout with live music, great food and countless activities. With the street free of vehicular traffic, the fun will begin at 4 pm with a children’s art workshop presented by the Queens Museum. At the same time, a hula-hoop specialist will share her twirling skills, spirit and stash. At 7 pm, the Ray Mantilla Septet will perform. Born in the Bronx, Mantilla has a unique jazz style, replete with Afro-Cuban and Neo-Nuyorican influences. A short list of this legendary percussionist and bandleader’s credits includes gigs with Tito Puente, Charles Mingus, and Eddie Palmieri.
It’s kind of a battle of the bands, but if traffic is light and one group starts late, music lovers can catch them all. On August 16th, three fantastic concerts will take place in Queens. At 2 pm, Gordon Au & The Grand Street Stompers (above) will perform at the Louis Armstrong House Museum as part of the historic site’s Hot Jazz/Cool Garden Summer Concert Series. Though based in New York City, this jazz band revives the New Orleans-style music of the 1920s and onward. At 3 pm, Choban Elektrik will give a free concert at the Ridgewood Branch Library. This electric dance band draws from the folk music of Albania, Macedonia, Greece, Bulgaria, and the Romany people. Beyond singing in various languages and a powerful rhythm sections, attendees can expect traditional line dancing. Then at 6:15 pm, the party continues with The Ebony Hillbillies at the Queens Botanical Garden. New York City’s only African American string band plays all-American jazz, blues, bluegrass, rockabilly, rock and roll and country.
Queens got talent. United States Tennis Association employees set up mini courts in Corona Plaza and gave free instruction to youngsters this morning. Activities included lessons on basic skills, balance, and coordination, as well as ball-and-racket exchanges and tips on long-term athletic development. The participants used loaned mini-rackets and foam balls, and USTA employees imparted gifts and provided information on low-cost programs at the nearby Billie Jean King National Tennis Center (where the two-week US Open will take place starting on August 25th).
Then as a special treat, officials showed the permanent US Open singles trophies to the awed crowd. It was so much fun that the USTA will do it again in the same plaza next Friday, August 15th, at 10:30 am in conjunction with other activities such as healthy eating demonstrations, a merchant showcase, health screenings, and back-to-school discounts. Corona Plaza project manager William McCarthy hopes to offer these events weekly as part of his “Fridays Under the Seven” healthy living series.In the top photo, Assemblyman Francisco Moya holds the US Open men’s singles trophy, the same one that Rafael Nadal hoisted last year, in the second row, while City Council Member Julissa Ferreras shows the women’s singles trophy, which Serena Williams won last year. Queens Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jack Friedman is in back right in a suit, while Community Board 4 District Manager Christian Cassagnol is in suspenders next to him. Check out more photos after the jump… (more…)
Last Thursday, the 82nd Street Partnership held two public hearings in regards to expanding the Jackson Heights – Corona BID, a proposal up for its final vote this summer. DNAinfo attended the evening meeting and reports that it was filled “overwhelmingly with the BID’s opponents.” Local organization Make The Road New York spoke against the plan for the first time in public, stating that the current BID proposal wouldn’t help or support business owners. A major concern of expansion is displacement of small, local business owners by rising commercial rents.
The expansion proposal includes the blocks from 82nd Street to 104th Street and Roosevelt Avenue, as well as Junction Boulevard to 35th Avenue. BID supporters argue that it will be used to fund events, assist small businesses and help with street maintenance, safety and cleanup. Business owners and landlords will pay a yearly fee, determined by a special assessment, to support it.
Two important meetings are coming up this Thursday in regards to the proposed Jackson Heights – Corona BID. The 82nd Street Partnership, who is behind the proposal, will present their final district plan for the Business Improvement District. The organization is nearing the end of the public review process — a final vote to establish the BID will happen this summer. This meeting offers community stakeholders the opportunity to express their opinions on the proposal, which has caused some controversy. Attendees must sign up at the meeting, and will be limited to speak for two to three minutes.
This first meeting is Thursday, July 24th, from 8:30 am to 10:30 am at Aliento de Vida, 103-12 Roosevelt Avenue. The second meeting is also on Thursday, July 24th, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm. That one is located at Sabor Latino Restaurant, 95-35 40th Road.
Jackson Heights and Corona residents, here’s your chance to participate in Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero street safety initiative! The goal of Vision Zero is to reduce traffic-related deaths and injuries in New York City to zero. Tonight there will be a community workshop for these two neighborhoods in particular. Bring your ideas and suggestions in regards to safer biking and walking throughout the neighborhood, education and enforcement regarding street safety, and improved access points to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.
The workshop begins at 7 pm tonight and lasts until 8:30. It’s at the Corona Public Library, 38-23 104th Street. Event details from Transportation Alternatives here.
Bria Skonberg is on fire! The trumpeter/vocalist/composer was recently nominated as “Up and Coming Jazz Artist of the Year” by the Jazz Journalists’ Association and she won a New York Bistro Award for “Outstanding Jazz Artist.” A Canadian transplant who can hula-hoop while playing, Skonberg (above) has performed as a bandleader and guest artist at more than 50 jazz festivals in North America, Europe, China, and Japan and headlined at Symphony Space, Birdland, and Dizzy’s. (Hmmm, if she keeps this up she’ll be compared to Satchmo soon.) On July 19th, Skonberg’s quartet will perform at Satchmo’s former residence, the Louis Armstrong House Museum, as part of the venue’s Hot Jazz/Cool Garden summer concert series. In addition to great music and Skonberg’s pure, playful and sultry voice, attendees will be served Armstrong’s favorite dish, red beans ‘n’ rice, and sweet tea.
Details: Bria Skonberg Quartet, Louis Armstrong House Museum, 34-56 107th Street, Corona, July 19th, 2 pm, $18 in advance, includes a pass to tour the house which is valid for six months ($20 at the door without house pass.).
More information on the Hot Jazz/Cool Garden series is on the jump page.