04/15/14 1:00pm


It’s the New York City marathon for word lovers. Queens Writes Weekend 2014 will facilitate more than 12 literary events at a minimum of six venues throughout the world’s most diverse borough over the last weekend in April. The fun will start on Friday, April 25th, with an open reading at The Astoria Bookshop featuring contributors to the third issue of Newtown Literary, a semi-annual journal. On Saturday and Sunday, the events will differ, but authors of all kinds — young, old, novice, expert — will simply sit down together and write for a few hours. Participants will then share the products of their efforts at an open mic event at Terraza 7 in Elmhurst on Sunday night.

Details: Queens Writes Weekend 2014, begins with Kick-Off Reading at The Astoria Bookshop, 31-29 31st Street, Astoria, April 25th, 7 pm, click here for times and venues on April 26th and April 27th, ends at Wrap-Up Open Mic at Terraza 7, 40-19 Gleane Street, Elmhurst, April 27th, 6 pm, suggested donations at all times to defray the costs of publishing Newtown Literary‘s fourth edition and other good works. So far, events are set for Astoria, Bayside, Corona, Forest Hills, Jackson Heights and Kew Gardens, but more sites are expected to be confirmed before the weekend begins. Schedule and venues will be posted and updated regularly on this page.

Photo: Audrey Dimola

03/21/14 12:00pm

jhJackson Heights
34-40 74th Street
Broker: Beaudoin Realty
Price: $899,000
Saturday and Sunday, 12:00 – 3:00 (by appointment only)

102-19 Christie Avenue
Broker: Winzone Realty
Price: $660,000
Saturday, 2:00 – 4:00

87-10 85th Street
Broker: Re/Max
Price: $645,000
Sunday, 1:00 – 3:00

74-07 64th Place
Broker: Halstead
Price: $595,000
Saturday, 11:00 – 1:00

03/17/14 1:00pm


It’s time to go crazy with love. Cirque du Soleil is going to perform this year’s smash Amaluna in a tent near Citi Field from March 20th to May 11th. Inspired by William Shakespeare’s The TempestAmaluna takes the audience to a mysterious island governed by goddesses and guided by the cycles of the moon. In the wake of a storm caused by Queen Prospera, a group of young men lands on the island, triggering an epic, emotional story of love between Prospera’s princess daughter and a brave young suitor. The couple must face numerous demanding trials and overcome daunting setbacks before they can achieve mutual trust, faith and harmony. With tremendous acrobatics, dance moves and costumes, the story unfolds on a set featuring hand-crafted branches resembling bamboo, towering trees near the center stage’s edge, dense flora and a huge waterbowl. The musical score comes from an all-female band that features guitars supported by bass, drums, cello, vocals, keyboards and percussion.

Details: Amaluna, Citi Field Parking Lot, 123-01 Roosevelt Avenue, Corona, March 20th to May 11th, times vary, price vary tremendously with family-pack options, click here for times and prices.


02/14/14 1:00pm


It’s time for the Muppets to meet the Makers. The New York City public school system will be on vacation next week, but parents don’t need to worry about finding fun, educational and enriching activities during the down time… if they stay in Queens. On February 17th, the New York Hall of Science will kick off Engineering Week with a day of activities and tables run by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Each following day will cover a different engineering concept—from nano to mechanical, accompanied by activities and challenges to put those ideas into practice. The Tuesday focus will be on chemical engineering with a Make Polymer Slime activity. Wednesday will be for nanoengineering, Thursday will go to mechanical engineering with a chance to build rockets, and Friday will feature biology with Zoob inventor Michael Joaquin Grey. Meanwhile over in Astoria, the Museum of the Moving Image will screen 1970s episodes of The Muppet Show. Carol Burnett, Steve Martin and Rita Moreno join Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie and the Swedish Chef during this series, which will show three episodes a day for the week.

Details: Engineering Week, New York Hall of Science, 47-01 111th Street, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, February 17 through February 21st, times vary, $11 for adults/$8 for children 17 and under.

Details: The Muppet Show, Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Avenue, Astoria, February 17th through February 21st, daily at 1 pm, free with admission ($12 adults / $9 seniors and students / $6 children 3–12 / free for Museum members).


01/29/14 1:00pm


He had good reasons to sing “It’s a wonderful world.” In the 1950s, Louis Armstrong was the unofficial “Goodwill Ambassador” of the United States as his jazz music had fervent fans all over the planet. In 1957, the trumpeter toured South America, performing 67 concerts over six weeks in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and Venezuela. Satchmo hung out musicians in Buenos Aires, spent time with President Juscelino Kubitschek and popular singer Cauby Peixoto in Brazil, graced the cover of periodicals in Chile and Uruguay, and performed a mock bullfight on stage in Caracas. The mementos he brought home — including records, tapes, magazines and photographs – are on display through April 30 as part of Señor Satchmo: Louis Armstrong in South America, an exhibit at his Corona house, which is now a museum (master bathroom below). During February, as part of Black History Month, each museum visitor will receive a complimentary, limited-edition photo of Armstrong in Buenos Aires in October 1957, wearing a catcher’s mask to protect his trumpet-playing lips and doing his best to avoid the mobs of adoring fans fighting for a chance to see and touch him.

Details: Señor Satchmo: Louis Armstrong in South America, Louis Armstrong House Museum, 34-56 107th Street, Corona, on display through April 30th, complimentary photo offer in February with admission ($10/$7 seniors, students and children/$6 group rate/free for children under four), museum hours are Tuesday to Friday, 10 am to 5 pm, and Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 pm.


Photos by the LAHM

01/23/14 12:00pm

35-38 Junction Boulevard- LOTD

This one-bedroom rental comes from the condo development 35-38 Junction Boulevard. Usually we expect a higher level of finishes from a rental in a condo building, but this particular unit isn’t impressing us. It does, however, come with a building gym, on-site parking and laundry facilities. We still think $1,600 a month is too much for the apartment, which is 597 square feet. Do you agree?

35-38 Junction Boulevard, #6B [Charles Rutenberg] GMAP

01/07/14 11:00am


Corona Yards is the largest trainyard in Queens devoted entirely to the care and maintenance of subway cars, servicing equipment used on the Flushing #7 line, which was built in stages beginning in 1915. The line used tunnels under the East River that were originally meant to carry trolley cars belonging to William Steinway’s New York and Queens Railroad Company, which ran extensively in Queens but was never expanded to Manhattan. Eventually, the trolley line shuttered in 1937 and was replaced by bus lines. The Flushing Line was extended to Corona by 1925 and to Main Street, Flushing in 1928. There has been periodic talk of extending the line to the city line via Northern Boulevard, but it’s been just talk.

In this photo we see three generations of subway cars that have been used on the line since 1964. At left is a new R-188 car, part of a new fleet that will be introduced on the Flushing Line gradually in 2014 and 2015. Uniquely among subway lines, Flushing Line trainsets use 11 cars instead of the 10  cars used on most other subway lines (though the G train in Brooklyn and Queens uses just four cars).

In the center is an R-33 car, introduced on the line during the World’s Fair held in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park for two years, 1964-1965; the now-demolished Shea Stadium also opened in 1964. In the Fair years the R-33s had a two-tone blue paint job, with World’s Fair signage. Some cars had states’ names on the sides of the cars; some states that had exhibits at the Fair chose to purchase space on the cars on which their names would be listed. R-33s were the workhorses of the Flushing Line until the early 2000s. In their later years, a dark red paint scheme lent them the nickname “Redbirds.”

On the right is the R-62A, introduced on IRT lines in 1984 and gradually becoming a part of the Flushing Line beginning in 2002. The R-188s will eventually force them into retirement.

Kevin Walsh’s website is Forgotten NY. His new book, Forgotten Queens, can be purchased via the Greater Astoria Historical Society.

01/03/14 10:30am


There are huge plans in the works for 112-21 Northern Boulevard, the former Ford dealership that sold in December for $17,000,000 to Fleet Financial Group. The Daily News reports that the developers plan to build a 106,000-square-foot convention center with a 25-story, 292-room hotel and a 236-unit apartment development above it. The complex will also include 97,000 square feet of retail space, a restaurant and parking. There may even be an Audi showroom on site. Fleet Financial expects to break ground on the $200,000,000 project this summer.

This site is right across Grand Central Parkway from Citi Field, where of course an even larger development is coming to the area — the mega-mall planned for Willets Point.

Convention Center and 25-Story Hotel Headed for Area Near Citi Field [NY Daily News]
Development Planned for Former Ford Dealership in Corona [Q'Stoner]

12/24/13 1:00pm


Ah, the week after Christmas. The youngsters have no school and no outdoor place to blow off steam. They can stay at home and fight or they can bend, twist, light, sculpt and animate at workshops, demos, art installations and other activities at the New York Hall of Science. From December 27th to December 30, the Corona museum will offer daily theme projects, ice sculpting with Bill Bywater and a screening of Bag It, a movie in which Jeb Berrier embarks on a tour to unravel the plastic world. What starts as a film about plastic bags evolves into a wholesale investigation into plastic’s effects on oceans, environment and living creatures. Here’s a breakdown of the fun:

December 27th: Wire It (circuitry-based projects)

  • Hack an electronic toy with DiYAbility;
  • Turn recycled paper and cards into lanterns with LEDs, noon to 4 pm;
  • Recycle wire into Calder-like mobiles with Skraptacular, noon to 4 pm;
  • Reinvent the lightbulb, noon to 4 pm;
  • Create snowflakes using recycled materials, noon to 4 pm;
  • Ice sculpting by Bill Bywater, noon to 2 pm;
  • Ice sculpting demonstration with Bill Bywater, 2 pm;
  • One-on-one ice sculpting with Bill Bywater, 10-minute sessions at 3, 3:10, 3:20, 3:30 and 3:40 pm;
  • Origami with staff from Invent-abling, noon, 12:45, 1:30, 2:15 and 3 pm;
  • Screening of Bag It, 3:15 pm.

December 28th: Build It (3D design, building, architecture and printing)

  • Recycle Newspaper Building Challenge, noon to 4 pm;
  • Build the next city or skyscraper with Skraptacular using recycled materials, noon to 4 pm;
  • Make gingerbread houses under the guidance of GingerBread Lane creator Jon Lovitch, 2 to 4 pm;
  • Learn a variety of free and inexpensive building techniques with staff, noon to 4 pm;
  • Create unique snowflakes with recycled material, noon to 4 pm;
  • Ice sculpting by Bill Bywater, noon to 2 pm;
  • Ice sculpting demonstration by Bill Bywater, 2 pm;
  • One-on-one ice sculpting with Bill Bywater, 10-minute sessions at 3, 3:10, 3:20, 3:30 and 3:40 pm;
  • Screening of Bag It, 3:15 pm.

December 29th: Animate It (moving image and animation)

  • Watch a 15-minute selection of old cartoons and learn how film strips and old projectors work, noon to 4 pm;
  • Experience a new portrait technique with an animated photobooth, noon to 4 pm;
  • Learn how to repurpose animations into 3D sculptures with folks from Mappathon, noon to 4 pm;
  • Upcycle used DVD cases into animation travel kits and learn about Thaumatropes and other forms of animation with Unplug Kids, noon to 4 pm;
  • Create unique snowflakes using recycled materials, noon to 4 pm;
  • Ice sculpting by Bill Bywater, noon to 2 pm;
  • Ice sculpting demonstration by Bill Bywater, 2 pm;
  • One-on-one ice sculpting with Bill Bywater, 10-minute sessions at 3, 3:10, 3:20, 3:30 and 3:40 pm;
  • Screening of Bag It, 3:15 pm.

December 30th: Wear It (sewing, garments and accessories)

  • Make garments and accessories from recycled materials, noon to 4 pm;
  • Make a button or pendant from recycled materials, noon to 4 pm;
  • Beginner sewing sessions, noon and 12:45 pm;
  • Sew and use zippers to create cases for phones, tablets or laptops, 30-minute sessions, 1:30, 2:15 and 3 pm;
  • Learn about e-textiles and how to use fabric to build a switch with Invent-abling, noon to 4 pm;
  • E-textiles;
  • Use textile paint and stencils to remake garments or accessories, noon to 4 pm;
  • Hair and makeup by professional stylists, 1 to 3 pm;
  • Trashion Show Runway, 3:45 pm;
  • Create snowflakes using recycled materials, noon to 4 pm;
  • Ice sculpting by Bill Bywater, noon to 2 pm;
  • Ice sculpting demonstration by Bill Bywater, 2 pm;
  • One-on-one ice sculpting with Bill Bywater, 10-minute sessions at 3, 3:10, 3:20, 3:30 and 3:40 pm;
  • Screening of Bag It, 3:15 pm.

Details: ReMake the Holidays, New York Hall of Science, 47-01 111th Street, Corona, December 27 and December 30, 9:30 am to 5 pm, December 28 and December 29, 10 am to 6 pm, free with admission ($8 to $11) except some activities cost extra. Plus, some activities are on a first-come, first serve basis.

Photo: Skraptacular
12/24/13 9:00am


The Flushing, Queens-based development firm Fleet Financial Group just purchased the former Ford dealership at 112-21 Northern Boulevard for $17,000,000 with plans to develop the site. The Real Deal reports that the parcel, near Citi Field, was asking $21,000,000. It looks like Fleet will build a retail and hotel development here; TRD spotted designs by architect Gerald Caliendo for a 13-story hotel and an eight-story community facility. According to the broker responsible for the deal, “The new owners are under discussion to bring a major project to Corona, which itself will create hundreds of local jobs and further enhance property values in the area.” The Ford dealership will move elsewhere in Corona, although the exact location is not yet known.

Flushing Developer Plans Overhaul of Ford Dealership Site [TRD] GMAP

Photo via Google Maps