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…)

04/29/15 1:00pm

NoguchiStudio

It’s TGIF and FFF. On May 1, Noguchi Museum will launch Free First Friday, a true-to-its-name program that will repeat on every first Friday of the month during spring and summer. The Long Island City sculpture garden/art gallery will not charge an admission fee during these times, and its doors will open to the public at 10 am with extended hours until 8 pm.

Guided tours will be offered in Japanese and English at 2 pm, and a cash bar with wine and beer will open at 5 pm. Plus, the venue will bring back its popular Center of Attention program, on some occasions a staff-led conversation on one of the collection’s pieces,  and at other times film screenings co-hosted with the Architecture and Design Film Festival. (more…)

04/17/15 2:00pm

Andrew Berman Architect

The New York Landmarks Conservancy has bestowed one of its highest honors to a Queens arts gallery. On April 30, the SculptureCenter will receive the Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award, which recognizes individuals or groups that have made extraordinary contributions to preserving buildings in New York City. (more…)

04/16/15 11:00am

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I was over in Greenpoint last weekend for a Newtown Creek Alliance event, and since it was such a beautiful and clear day, I decided to wave the camera about and see what could be seen. Over on the LIC side of my beloved creek, I noticed something surprising. The Wheelspur Yard of the LIRR, which hasn’t been active since the late 1950s, had a series of freight cars sitting in it. (more…)

04/08/15 9:30am

Kris Seto

Some enrichment options head outdoors with such events as a carnival, a gardening extravaganza, and a guided walk. But with “April Showers” in mind, the borough also hosts indoor fun, such as comedy, live music, film, theater, photography, and some 3-D magic. Here’s the rundown. (more…)