The photo above with its rustic windmill and weathered farmhouse could be in Kansas or upstate New York. But if you look closely, in the background behind the windmill, high rise apartment buildings dot the landscape, not forests or other farms. We’re not in Kansas. We’re in New York City. The farm in the photograph is in Floral Park, Queens. This is a photograph of the Queens County Farm Museum. This is the largest tract of undisturbed farmland in the entire city, and has been a working farm continuously since 1697. Hard to believe, and even more astounding that not all that many people know about it.
1697- that’s 317 years. For America, that’s the equivalent of medieval times. While this may be a tourist attraction and an anomaly now, this is what vast portions of Queens looked like, right on up to the turn of the 20th century. For some parts of Queens, this farm is typical of life up until after World War II. Queens was the breadbasket of New York City, the borough of farms. (more…)
Traffic can get soooooo bad on the Grand Central Parkway! Good thing there’s a rural solution this weekend. Motorists who get off on Exit 24 and head southbound on Little Neck Parkway for a few blocks will discover the Queens County Farm Museum and its 32nd annual fair on Saturday and Sunday. This is truly a traditional county fair with blue-ribbon competitions in crafts, livestock, and produce. Other contests will include corn-husking, pie-eating, and pig-racing. Meanwhile, a Bavarian garden will host live music, and attendees won’t have to mosey for a long time to take a hay ride, explore the Amazing Maize Maze, pet some farm animals, or check out an adopt-a-worm booth.
Details: 32nd Annual Queens County Fair, Queens County Farm Museum, 73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Floral Park, September 20th and September 21st, 11 am to 6 pm, $9/$5 for children under 13.
On your marks… Get set… Eat! The tenth annual Queens Restaurant Week 2013 will run from September 30th to October 3rd and October 7th to October 10th with more than 60 eateries participating. A three-course, prix fixe dinner for $28 and lunch for $14 are the general parameters for the promotion, although some establishments will also offer wine or some other items, and many restaurants will continue their specials beyond October 10th. As to be expected in the world’s most diverse county, the cuisine options are boundless. Participating restaurants include Ben’s Best (Kosher, Rego Park), Christos (Astoria, steakhouse with Greek influence), Dazies (Sunnyside, Italian), Haveli (Forest Hills, Indian), Roka (Richmond Hill, Turkish), Tequila Sunrise (Bayside, Mexican) and Uncle Peter’s (Jackson Heights, pan-European).
If you’re driving eastbound on the Grand Central Parkway this weekend, simply take Exit 24 onto Little Neck Parkway and go about three blocks. You will find yourself in the middle of a traditional country fair with typical, time-honored activities, such as pie-eating and corn-husking contests; blue ribbon competitions; hayrides; and lumberjack shows. Your host, the Queens County Farm Museum, will add some of its own, homemade fun, including the Con Edison Ecology Booth and its adopt-a-worm program, the Amazing Maize Maze, carnival rides and plenty of livestock petting. Plus, there will be a Bavarian garden and live Irish music on Saturday and German band on Sunday. Unfortunately, traffic might be heavy on the ride home, a reminder that you left the city spiritually, not physically.
Details: 31st Annual Queens County Fair, Queens County Farm Museum, 73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Floral Park, September 21-22, 11 am-6 pm both days. $8/$5 children 12 and under. (Admission does not include maze, carnival rides, games and a few other activities.)(more…)
It’s New York City’s oldest dance competition, and it takes place in the longest continuously farmed site in New York State. For three days the Queens County Farm Museum will host the 35th Annual Thunderbird American Indian Mid-Summer Pow Wow. Groups from more than 40 Native American nations will engage in a time-honored, intertribal contest in the apple orchard. In addition, there will be a large selection of Native American art, crafts, jewelry and food, as well as the opportunity to tour the 47-acre farm, which dates back to 1697. The farm includes historic buildings, a greenhouse complex, livestock, planting fields, an herb garden and a vineyard.
Details: Thunderbird Mid-Summer Pow Wow, Queens Farm, 73-50 Little Neck Pkwy., Floral Park, $10 for adults (weekend pass $15)/$5 for children under 13 (weekend pass $7)/free for members. Performance times: July 26 (Friday), 7 pm to 10 pm; July 27 (Saturday), noon to 5 pm and 7 pm to 10 pm; and July 28 (Sunday), noon to 5 pm.
Queens has a lot going on in terms of sustainable construction, alternative energy, wildlife conservation, and other environmental initiatives. In fact, many of the finest tourist attractions – and special spots for locals – in the borough have a green streak. Here are our picks for the most environmentally sustainable attractions in Queens.
1. In the upper reaches of Astoria, the Steinway & Sons piano factory (which gives awesome tours) has been using solar energy since 2009. In fact, the factory is home to the world’s largest parabolic solar installation – a setup that involves solar troughs that focus the sun’s energy to heat fluid, which in turn helps provide the cool, dehumidified air that is necessary for the manufacture of pianos. Other sustainable features of the factory include replanting trees to replenish its wood supply; and efficient closed-loop systems to collect dust and scraps for use in other parts of the manufacturing process. And above all, what makes Steinway instruments so sustainable is that they are built to last at least 80 to 100 years.
This weekend in Queens is filled to the brim with activities for adults and kids. You can learn stop motion filmmaking and claymation, go to an art opening reception, frolick in a pumpkin patch, and visit the grandeur of aeronautical history. Check out our events calendar for even more things to do around the borough.
Stop Motion at QMA for Families Affected by Autism - In this four week workshop at the Queens Museum of Art, which starts today at 4pm, participants will be taught the techniques for stop motion animation and claymation. They will collaborate with their peers in making an animated film using claymation characters and created backdrops. This educational program is open to families, and all children are invited to participate. (more…)
openhousenewyork Weekend is almost upon us – this year, it is on Saturday, October 6 and Sunday, October 7. This weekend’s event allows everyone, “free access hundreds of sites talks, tours, performances and family activities in neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs.” People love to visit these spots they may not usually have access to. (more…)