06/29/15 1:00pm

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A young Bob Dylan, an aging Argentine socialite, a 1950s French pop icon, and exploited Bangladeshi workers are coming to Long Island City this summer.

On July 1, Socrates Sculpture Park will roll the tape for Outdoor Cinema 2015. To be celebrated on consecutive Wednesday nights, this 17th-annual festival features international films on a 40-foot-wide screen right after lovely sunsets. Plus, the origin of each movie sets the tone for the accompanying music, dance, and food. (For example, on a night that a Czech movie is showing, there will be Czech music, dance, and food.)

Here is the schedule.

  • July 1, Dont Look Back, England. This documentary depicts a 1965 tour through the United Kingdom by a 23-year-old Bob Dylan.
  • July 8, Live-in Maid, Argentina. This comedy tells the story of an aging divorcée in Buenos Aires whose wealth is gone and whose beauty is fading..
  • July 15, Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life, France. Though not a documentary, this movie is a biography of 1950s French pop star Serge Gainsbourg, a heartthrob who bedded Brigitte Bardot and other glamorous.
  • July 22, Iron Crows, Bangladesh. This painful documentary informs on workers who make $2 a day ripping apart out-of-operation ships in horrible conditions.
  • July 29, Kings of the Wind & Electric QueensIndia. This documentary revolves around a Hindu festival held along the Ganges River on a full moon day.
  • August 5, Cold Conflicts, Sweden. This collection of short films delves into intense relationships.
  • August 12, Wadjda, Saudi Arabia. This is the first film ever directed by a Saudi woman. It’s about a 10-year-old girl who challenges a man-dominant world by trying to get a bicycle so she can race a local boy.
  • August 19, AliceCzech Republic. This an off-the-wall version of Alice in Wonderland with animated animals and objects.

Details: Outdoor Cinema 2015, Socrates Sculpture Park, 32-01 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City, July 1 through August 19 on Wednesdays at dusk, free.

Photo by Socrates Sculpture Center

06/17/15 1:02pm

JO3

She got a standing ovation at the United Nations in April 2012 after speaking about technology and challenging the audience to build her a robot. Later that year, she was named Young Person of the Year in her native Ireland.

Joanne O’Riordan is one of seven people on this planet currently living with Tetra-amelia syndrome, a congenital disorder characterized by the absence of all four limbs. Most sufferers die in utero or shortly after birth, but O’Riordan is now 19.

This Friday, the New York Irish Center will screen No Limbs, No Limits, a documentary made by O’Riordan’s brother, Steven, on her life. (more…)

06/11/15 1:00pm

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On Monday, we posted about the Historic Jackson Heights Weekend, which features two days of walking tours around the neighborhood. This was accurate as far as it goes, but it deserves an amplification, as there are guided treks all around the borough this weekend.

On Saturday, official Queens historian Jack Eichenbaum gives his signature expedition, The World of the 7 Train. It’s actually a series of six walks along with subway rides. He discusses the history and impact of the 7 line, while stopping in Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside, Jackson Heights, Corona, and Flushing, where the event ends with lunch, probably at a Chinese restaurant. (more…)

06/03/15 1:00pm

Bike

It’s going to be wheelie fun. The annual LIC Bike Parade will roll through Western Queens on June 6, starting at 3 pm. But the multi-faceted fun will begin inside Socrates Sculpture Park at around 11 am, when racers can repair their rides for free with RECYCLE-A-BIKE and get free helmets from the NYC Department of Transportation.

At the same time, artist-led workshops will help participants decorate their rides and there will be a bicycle swap. Meanwhile, from noon to 2 pm at nearby Rainey ParkBike NY will offer a riding class for beginners. The parade will take off from the main entrance to Socrates and go along Vernon Boulevard to Queensbridge Park for a waterfront celebration that lasts until 5 pm. (more…)

05/15/15 1:00pm

Pyramid

The Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City was founded specifically to show large artworks in an outdoor setting, but even so, its next project is remarkably huge. On Sunday, Agnes Denes will unveil The Living Pyramid, a site-specific earthwork consisting of several tons of soil and planted grass that will span 30 feet at its four-sided base and rise 30 feet in the air by the East River.

The Budapest-born Denes has used pyramids to examine environmental priorities and social hierarchies for five decades. (more…)

05/11/15 1:00pm

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When people describe Queens as “diverse,” they usually cite the residents and restaurants. But the borough has varied music as well, as it is a veritable treasure trove of composers, ensembles, and singers.

You can enjoy everything from classical to cutting edge during the fourth annual Queens New Music Festival this week. (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.

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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…)

05/07/15 1:00pm

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‘Tis the season to enjoy the great outdoors, and Long Island City is the place to do it this Saturday. Many cross sections of the Western Queens community will come together to celebrate the second annual LIC Springs! 

There will be live music, dance, and theater. There will be fitness classes, sports contests, and pop-up activities.

There will be sculpture- and wood-making, a site-specific art gallery, and printmaking. There will be children’s activities, such as a scavenger hunt and glitter tattoos.

And finally, there will be freshly shucked oysters, BBQ, and a gelato-eating contest. (more…)

05/06/15 9:45am

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Today is the birthday of Long Island City. Here’s her origin story.

In the mid 19th century, Newtown was a municipal entity that encompassed many, many towns, cities, and villages, whose borders stretched from the East River all the way into modern day Nassau County and from Newtown Creek to Bowery Bay. The center of gravity, politics-wise, was in Flushing and Jamaica, where baronial agricultural operations ruled the roost.

In the 1850s, the only railroad connections offered to the local populace went from Jamaica to Brooklyn. The city of Brooklyn was eager to reduce the amount of rail traffic flowing through it and passed a series of laws hindering or outright forbidding the passage of trains. By the 1860s the railroad people were looking for new routes in and out of Manhattan, and decided on one that traveled through Newtown.

Political resistance from the eastern side of Newtown slowed them down — those baronial farmers were worried about competition for the lucrative Manhattan market emerging from Eastern Long Island — so the owners of the NY & Jamaica railroad were forced to get creative. (more…)

05/04/15 9:45am

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Many times have I shown you Cool Cars, Queensicans.

There was the Zombie Response Jeep in Astoria/Woodside, the Cool Cars of Astoria and Industrial Maspeth, that 1949 Plymouth on the Woodside/Maspeth border over by Mt. Zion cemetery, and that nearly perfect 1957 Pontiac Star Chief encountered on 38th avenue in Astoria. Cool Cars, but all production model automobiles.

What I saw the other day on Jackson Avenue at the corner of Queens Street was some sort of bizarre chimera, however. (more…)