It’s so much more than a hometown band. Now in its 63rd year, Queens Symphony Orchestra offers about 20 live performances annually, as well as educational programs, chorale concerts, and operas. This Sunday, the ensemble will perform a family-friendly version of Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Vegetable Garden, a 1936 musical fantasy about a boy who ventures out of a safe garden into a dangerous meadow where he has to use his cunning to survive. The score will include Mozart’s Magic Flute Overture and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4. Plus, the orchestra (seen above during The Frog Prince and Peter and the Wolf at LeFrak Concert Hall last February) will hold a “Meet the Instruments” event beforehand during which attendees can talk to the musicians, check out their tools of the trade, and learn about the concert’s theme.
There’s been a lot of talk concerning better bus service in Queens as of late. The discussion continues tonight at the Townsend Harris High School library (149-11 Melbourne Avenue) in Flushing. The Department of Transportation is holding an open house about the Flushing to Jamaica Select Bus Service and plans to present the first round of designs for future bus stop locations. Feel free to stop by anytime between 6:30 and 8 pm to check out the designs and leave feedback. Refreshments will be provided.
Physics and geometry have never been so much fun! Greg Kennedy will perform Spherus, a nonverbal show with two accompanying aerial acrobats that incorporates trapeze, silks, and spinning hoops this Saturday at Flushing Town Hall. Trained as an engineer and a two-time international juggling champion, Kennedy spent five years with Cirque du Soleil. Now, he’s putting it all together with a juggling performance inter-spliced with video that illustrates and explains the principles of motion, light, energy, and gravity. For extra credit, he’ll give a workshop on creating beauty in motion after the show.
Details: Juggling Extravaganza, Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, January 24th, 2:15 show, 3:30 pm workshop, $13/$8 for children.
River Park Place, a waterfront parcel across from Sky View Parc in Flushing, is now up for grabs. New York YIMBY reports that LEV Group is trying to sell the site after purchasing it for $26,000,000 in 2006. Nothing’s built yet, but there are approved plans for a mixed-use development with four towers, 457 apartments, office space and a day care. (There’s potential to build up to a FAR of 4.8 if the developer also decides to include a community facility here.) The current plan was designed by architect Ismael Leyva.
No word on what the parcel is actually asking, but LEV Group paid almost twice what the seller paid two years before. As a comparison, bids on the second phase of Sky View Parc are coming in over $100,000,000, according to YIMBY. GMAP
Experience Korea and Japan for free without the jet lag this weekend. On Friday, Flushing Town Hall hosts the Korean world music group NorianMaro, which has 12 members who specialize in an innovative style of traditional performing arts with dance, music, singing, percussion, theater and multi-media. Expect colorful costumes, haunting chants, pulsing movements, dynamic drums, enchanting vocals, and imaginary narratives as the troupe takes the audience to Leodo, a fantasy island treasured by the people in Jeju, a beautiful province in Korea. More details and another photo on jump page.
I have always been fascinated by streets that dramatically change character from one end to the other, as well as change their level of traffic. There are a number of streets in NYC that start with just a trickle of traffic and build and build to a heavy volume, such as Staten Island’s Hylan Boulevard, which begins quietly at the Alice Austen House (which belonged to the famed late 19th-early 20th century photographer) on the Narrows, becomes a screaming, honking mess as it roars down the island’s east shore, and ends quietly again at the historic Billopp Conference House, where Ben Franklin unsuccessfully tried to stave off the Revolutionary War.
Each borough except Manhattan has a street, or streets, named Union, and Manhattan has the bustling Union Square, named for the confluence of Broadway (earlier Bloomingdale Road) and the Bowery. Brooklyn’s Union Street is named for the Union Stores, an 1800s East River dockside repository for sugar, molasses and other comestibles. Both Brooklyn and the Bronx’ Union Avenue are likely named for the Union Army following the Civil War.
I worked my way from south to north along Union Street, from its tamest point to its busiest. The street begins at Negundo Avenue, in the section of Flushing whose streets are named for plants in alphabetical order from A to R. Flushing, beginning in the colonial era and for almost 200 years, was home to a number of plant nurseries where people would come from all over the NYC area to buy flowering plants and fruit trees. That era ended in the early 20th Century when Flushing became increasingly urbanized.
Union Street ends here at Negundo Avenue; negundo is a species of maple tree also known as the box elder and maple ash.
The Kupferberg Center for the Arts begins its 2015 season and honors the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. with an inspiring performance and a moving program this Sunday. The Dance Theatre of Harlem kicks things off with diverse pieces featuring movement to compositions ranging from classical works by Johann Sebastian Bach and Igor Stravinsky to modern soul ditties by James Brown and Aretha Franklin. With titles such as New Bach, In the Mirror of Her Mind, and Return, these numbers relay messages of self-reliance, artistic relevance, and individual responsibility. Another photo and details on the event’s other activities are on the jump page.
Saturday last, I headed over to the newly renovated Queens Museum at the former World’s Fair Grounds in Flushing Meadow Corona Park. The trip was a true bit of joy, given that I don’t own a car and the 7 train was undergoing one of its periodic spasms of maintenance work, so I had to get there from Astoria via a train ride to Forest Hills whereupon I was meant to catch a bus. The bus was leaving when I got out of the station, so I hailed a cab. Neither the cab driver nor his GPS seemed to have ever heard of the Queens Museum or Flushing Meadow Corona Park, but somehow I got there in time for a NYC H2O event celebrating the massive Watershed Relief Map which has been given a place of pride and honor at the institution.
The map was prepared in the 1930s by the Work Projects Administration for the institutional ancestors of our modern Department of Environmental Protection – the Department of Water Supply, Gas, and Electricity and the Board of Water Supply. All city agencies were tasked with producing displays that depicted their functions for the World’s Fair of 1939, and the water people decided to go big.
2015 is the year of Flushing development. Queens Tribune rounded up all the upcoming development projects, many of which promise to bring luxury housing to the neighborhood. According to the Tribune, home prices in the nabe have risen 51 percent over the past five years.
Biggies include Flushing Commons, which will bring 150,000 square feet of office space, 56,000 square feet of retail, 150,000 square feet of residential condos and a 982 space parking garage to the neighborhood. Construction is now underway on the first phase and should wrap in 2017. There’s the historic RKO Keith’s Theater, which will be transformed into 17-story, 209-unit mixed-use building. It’s also under construction and set to wrap in 2016. Also, there’s the The East West Tower, an 87-unit condo building, and phase two of the Sky View Parc residential towers, set to rise over the shopping center.
Hotel developments include the Miami Vice-esque building Xu Hotel & Residences, which will hold both residential and hotel units as well as retail space. Then there’s the McSam Hotel Group Project, a three-towered hotel and residential monstrosity that has not begun construction.
Recently we checked out the Flushing development site at 36-18 Main Street, off of Northern Boulevard. Rendered above is a 14-story residential tower, which will be part of a larger development that should also include lots hotel and office space. (Or at least, that’s what the developer sought a variance for earlier this year.) But looking at the most recent rendering posted on the construction fence, and the rendering previously released, it seems the plans may have changed up a bit. The DOB issued building permits for this residential tower over the summer.
Needless to say, not much has gone down construction wise — after the jump, check out a picture of the site. The anticipated completion date is the spring of 2018.