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.
Next week, people in a large, public lawn in Queens will follow the yellow brick roadas Dorothy Gale searches for a wizard who can allegedly return her to Kansas. Then, in late August, the same public green space will become supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, as per a nanny with an umbrella and magical powers.
It’s the 75th and 50th anniversaries of the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs, which took place in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, and it’s the 75th jubilee of The Wizard of Oz’s debut as well as the 50th anniversary of the Mary Poppins launch. The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation is celebrating these many milestones by hosting an outdoor screening of The Wizard of Oz (above) on July 9th and a showing of Mary Poppins (below) on August 20th in what Borough President Melinda Katz likes to call “The World’s Park.”
There will be dancing in the streets. Many, many streets…bars, cemeteries, gardens, historic houses, malls, parks, nonprofits, restaurants, stoops and triangles, too. On June 21st (aka the longest day of the year), Make Music New York will host a Summer Solstice festival consisting of more than 1,000 free concerts throughout the five boroughs. From 10 am to 10 pm, musicians of all persuasions — hip hop to opera, jazz to punk, high school bands to pop stars — will do their things. Queens, of course, will be in the center of the action. For example, South African artist Toya DeLazy will perform her unique blend of hip hop, jazz and electronica at LIC Landing (52-10 Center Boulevard, Long Island City) at 1 pm. Meanwhile from noon to 4 pm, the Queens Council on the Arts (37-11 35th Avenue, Astoria) will present Reggae artist Desmond followed by Instrumental Jazz Fusion by Mind Open. Six hours of music and dance are scheduled at the Spaceworks LIC Block Party (33-02 Skillman Avenue, LIC). All told, Astoria, Corona, Elmhurst, Glendale, Jackson Heights, Jamaica, LIC, Ridgewood and Sunnyside will host events.
Welcome to the new terms of engagement. Science museums have always offered hands-on exhibits and participatory programs, but now the New York Hall of Science is putting visitors in the driver’s seat and giving them the keys. With the newly launched Design Lab, attendees think, build, test, and refine their ideas, putting creative design and engineering to work. Located on the lower level of the Central Pavilion, the Design Lab is a permanent exhibition consisting of five visually and thematically distinct activity areas. Visitors use common, everyday materials to learn that expertise comes from experimentation, critical thinking, and collaboration. Here are the five activity areas:
Backstage, where visitors devise solutions to performance-based activities. During this first summer, visitors will make jointed shadow puppets out of index cards, fasteners, sticks and tape.
Sandbox (above), where museum-goers build large structures out of such materials as wooden dowels and rubber bands.
Studio (below), where visitors build small, tabletop structures and add their own creations to a collaborative project. This summer’s activity challenges participants to build structures from cardboard, circuits and pipe cleaners that would make their city a happier place.
Treehouse, a split-level area for experiments and activities requiring a vertical drop. The first activity in this space gets museum-goers to use pulleys, zip lines and other items to create a method to move objects between the two levels.
Maker Space, which actually opened in 2012, lets visitors use tools that convert design ideas into prototypes.
Details: Design Lab, New York Hall of Science, 47-01 111th Street, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Summer hours are Monday – Friday, 10:30 am – 4:30 pm; Saturday, 11 am – 5:30 pm; and Sunday, 10:30 am – 5:30 pm. Free with admission. Camp and school groups can reserve sessions for a fee at 718-699-0301.