It’s probably the best production house you’ve never heard of…with prices you’ve never seen. The Free Synagogue of Flushing Community Theatre Group has staged large musicals every May and November for the past 35 years with the goal of providing high-quality, low-cost entertainment, especially for children, nursing home residents, and the disabled. For five days this November, these mensches will produce Thoroughly Modern Millie with Music Theatre International, which works directly with composers, lyricists, and writers and grants groups the rights to perform Broadway musicals. Thoroughly Modern tells the story of Millie Dillmount, who moves to NYC from Kansas in 1922 with the singular goal of getting a job as the secretary for a rich man and then marrying him. Of course her plan goes awry, but Millie gets really into the Jazz Age with her flapper attire and bobbed hair. Then she realizes that the owner of dingy hotel where she lives is a white slave trafficker who sells young ladies to Asian lords. Hilarity and tap dancing ensue.
Details: Thoroughly Modern Millie, Free Synagogue of Flushing, enter at 41-60 Kissena Boulevard, Flushing, November 8th and 15th at 8 pm, November 2nd, 9th, and 16th at 3 pm, $18/$15 seniors over 64 and children under 13.
Sometimes Queens is so diverse it’s scary. Upcoming Halloween events include everything from senior events to youth events; cemetery fun to casino fun; and food-making to mask-making. And let’s not even begin to discuss all the great neighborhoods for trick-or-treating. To aid decision-making, the Queens Tourism Council suggests the following activities because they combine enjoyment with safety, enrichment, and even some sweet treats. They appear on the jump page.
The Kissena Corridor Park Conservancy is trying to raise money to transform a weeds-choked section of Kissena Corridor Park, in Flushing, into a meditation garden. Queens Courier reports that the conservancy raised $160,000 with allocated funds from local pols. Although the Parks Department approved the plans, they will not contribute to any funding. The Conservancy believes the garden, which would include cedar of Lebanon trees, lighting, a water feature, flowers and bushes, will need at least $1,000,000 for construction. The plans for the meditation space are finalized so once the money is together, work can begin.
There aren’t any details on how the Conservancy plans to raise the rest of the money, but they’ll likely take it up with local council members. If it works out, the location will be right across from the New York Hospital Queens.
Take me out to the Fall Fest. Take me out to Paint Nite. Don’t expect peanuts and crackerjack, but Citi Field is ready to rock during two upcoming events. On October 26th, the Mets home stadium’s field level concourse will host four hours of trick-or-treating, photo opportunities with Mr. and Mrs. Met, costume contests, pumpkin-carving, apple-dipping, and a mini Oktoberfest. Plus, the Mets and City Harvest will organize a food drive, and those who donate at least 10 items of nonperishable food will get a voucher for a pair of tickets to a game in April 2015. (Donors get 15 percent discounts on select, on-site merchandise too.)
On November 6th, the Flushing Nine and Metropolitan Hospitality will host the first ever Paint Nite at the ballpark. Each participant will take an art class and paint Citi Field on a 16” x 20” canvas to take home. More information on jump page.
He can pretty much do it all: show tunes, country, blues, jazz, R&B, traditional pop, soul, disco, even Christmas music. And he pretty much has done it all. Since his first song, “Wonderful, Wonderful” in 1957,” Johnny Mathis has had at least one hit single in each following decade, while selling more than 350 million albums and receiving four Grammy nominations. This Sunday, he takes his act to the Colden Auditorium in Flushing for a night of romance, easy listening, and pop standards.
It’s always a bumper crop in these parts. This Sunday, the Queens Botanical Garden hosts its fourth annual Harvest Fest & Pumpkin Patch, a day-long, family-friendly bash with great food, live entertainment, craft vendors, children’s activities, a bird-and-nature walk, the famous beer tent, and gourds galore.
As recently as the 1950s and 1960s, Flushing was a town of old-timey Victorian homes protected by shade trees, with a lively downtown centered on Main Street between Northern Boulevard and the Long Island Rail Road Port Washington line. After Flushing began to stagnate, a slow trickle of immigrants from eastern Asia began to arrive and revitalized the region, but at the cost of its sleepy-town atmosphere as the old Victorians were torn down and apartment buildings and attached homes replaced them.
Today, Flushing’s colonial relics, some of which are almost 400 years old, are uneasily juxtaposed with garish advertising and overcrowded streets. Commerce and history are rarely easy partners. The result of Flushing’s revival of the past decades is that it has preserved a few of its oldest buildings from the 17th century, but most from the 18th century and even many from the early 20th have been wiped out.
Sprinkled throughout Flushing, though, are several elderly dwellings that have held firm as wave over wave of change has overswept Flushing. One of those is one of Queens’ newest museums, the Voelker-Orth Museum and Victorian Garden, which opened to the public in 2003.
In the late 19th and early 20th century, a trolley line connected Flushing and Jamaica, running originally through the farms and fields of Fresh Meadows. The above image was captured at 164th Street and 77th Avenue in 1936, just a few months before service ended in 1937. In short order, the tracks were pulled up, the weeds paved over, a center median added, and 164th Street became the fast and furious stretch we know it as today between Flushing Cemetery and the Grand Central Parkway. More images of this ilk can be found in the book I wrote in association with the Greater Astoria Historical Society, Forgotten Queens.