07/03/15 1:00pm

tour

On your mark. Get set. Go…but not too fast. On July 12, the eighth annual Tour de Queens will take participants on a roughly 20-mile loop that starts and ends in Astoria Park. Basically a rolling parade, the tour rides en masse at a family-friendly pace –about 10 mph — with NYPD escorts, volunteer safety marshals, and occasional stops at intersections to gather riders. This year’s route goes through Long Island City, Sunnyside, Rego Park, Forest Hills, and Corona with an optional rest stop with light snacks and water at Juniper Valley Park in Middle Village.

Proceeds go to Transportation Alternatives, a nonprofit that promotes bicycling, walking, and the use of public transit in New York City.

Details: Tour de Queens, meet in the Astoria Park parking lot off 19th Street and Hoyt Avenue North, Astoria, July 12, 8 am check in, $22.50.

Photo by Tour de Queens

06/25/15 12:00pm

21-29-71-street-astoria-queens-nyc-kitchen

Here’s a very nice three-bedroom, three-bath house in Astoria. The first floor is a duplex apartment with a basement. The basement has one of the bedrooms, the laundry room, a storage room, and a small bathroom. Both the first floor and the second floor have a bedroom, kitchen, and full bathroom. There is also access to a backyard and garage. The entire house looks recently renovated with new appliances, floors, and cabinets. Everything is very spacious as well.

The Q19 and Q69 are within walking distance, and the nearest trains (N,Q) are about a 20 minute walk. There is shopping and food options in the area and even more by the nearest trains. The ask is $1,075,000 with an estimated monthly mortgage of $4,044.04. There is an open house on Sunday, June 28. Click through for more photos.

21-29 71st Street [Keller Williams NYC] GMAP (more…)

06/23/15 1:00pm

Astoria

Get ready for four days of deep-fried Oreos.

The Astoria Park Festival 2015 will begin on Thursday and run through Sunday. Just like in past years, this family-friendly event will bring to the neighborhood an estimated 20 rides and live entertainment, not to mention some of the city’s most spectacular sunsets.

Attendees should expect the Dream Catcher, which spins around riders and moves them from left to right; Orient Express, a small roller coaster; a Ferris Wheel; and a fun house. (more…)

06/22/15 1:00pm

boo

These days, Astoria is known for its diverse restaurants, bustling commercial streets, and attached row houses. But the northwest Queens neighborhood also has a dark, lesser-known side.

That side includes “The White Lady,” a ghost who sometimes appears in the vicinity of 44th Street and 34th Avenue, according to locals. Some say she’s dressed like a high society woman. Others claim that her perfume fills the area when she’s out and about. (more…)

06/12/15 1:00pm

Wellington

The Welling Court Mural Project hit the scene in 2009 after residents of this Astoria microcosm invited Ad Hoc Art, a kind of think tank, to beautify their streets with urban images. The first unveiling took place in May 2010, with more than 44 murals of all colors, styles, and subject matter.

A tradition was born. Each year since, artists have come together to transform the area into a creative celebration and unique public art experience. (Organizers are quick to point out that it’s not graffiti because it’s commissioned.)
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05/28/15 1:00pm

Ayazama

There are many dress codes for this event. On Saturday, the Celebrate Astoria International Cultural Fest will fill Astoria Park with colorful costumes, beautiful music, and dazzling dances. The five-hour happening will perfectly demonstrate that Queens is a kaleidoscope, with performers from 11 different countries.

Scheduled entertainers — almost all of whom are local — include American Bolero Company, Ayazamana Ecuadorian Dance (above), Banatal Romanian Folklore, Bangladeshi Institute for Performing ArtsCalpulli Mexican Dance Company, Dahdoo Music of North Africa/Middle East, Filippo and the Songs of Italy, Issa Cabrera and her Brazilian folklore, Minbuza Japanese Folk Dance (below), Niall O’Leary School of Irish Dance, and Pontion Society Komninoi Dancers.

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05/27/15 1:00pm

saw

It’s a great place to talk shop. On Saturday, the 30th NYC Musical Saw Festival will take place in Astoria. Founded by local resident Natalia “Saw Lady” Paruz (above) in 2003, this periodic extravaganza brings together several dozen enthusiasts from all over the world — Germany, India, Japan, South Africa, etc — to promote, discuss, enjoy, and shape the future of a roughly 300-year-old art form: making music with a carpenter’s handsaw. (more…)

05/11/15 9:45am

Here’s my short list of three destinations in Queens worth visiting even if you live outside the borough. They all offer some great outdoor scenery, whether in the form of street art, architecture or beautiful green space. Two are parks.

bsQ_051015_3things_001

Welling Court Mural Project

Missing 5Pointz in Long Island City? That renowned graffiti spot may be no more, but you can get your fill of grassroots urban art at Welling Court, where the Ad Hoc Art Group has been curating public street art since 2010. There’s some fantastic stuff here, and it’s all free to enjoy. (more…)

05/08/15 9:45am

nb.astoria.village

12th Street near 27th Avenue, Astoria Village

Queens has been a county since 1683. Just as the USA originally had 13 states, the state of New York has 12 original counties: Albany, Cornwall, Dukes, Dutchess, Kings, New York (Manhattan), Orange, Queens, Richmond, Suffolk, Ulster and Westchester.

Nassau County, you say? It’s a Johnny come lately. In 1898, when four counties voted to become part of New York City, becoming Greater New York, half the county of Queens — the eastern towns of North Hempstead, Hempstead and Oyster Bay — chose to become independent, and in 1899 they created a county of their own, Nassau.

Had these towns not separated from Queens, our present task — examining the origins of the names of the borough’s neighborhoods — would call for entries on Lynbrook, Long Beach, Port Washington, Oyster Bay, Massapequa… and I’d be writing till Christmas. As is, Queens is large enough. (more…)

04/30/15 1:00pm

Raina

This Saturday is Independent Bookstore Day, and written word shops across New York City will participate in this first annual event. There will be scavenger hunts, marathon readings, story-telling times, and other literary events, but as always, the most fun will take place in Queens.

The Astoria Bookshop will welcome graphic novelists Raina Telgemeier (Sisters) and Dave Roman (Astronaut Academy), who will lead a team game of Pictionary for youngsters at 1 pm. Participants will be able to take home whatever Raina and Dave draw during the activity. (more…)