11/07/14 11:00am

The neighborhood in southern Queens named St. Albans was mostly farmland (note the name of one of its prominent streets, Farmers Boulevard) until the 1890s, when a small community began to take shape around Farmers and Linden Boulevards. The town was named by its first 100 residents for Britain’s first Christian martyr. The area was home to the St. Albans Golf Course from 1915 to the Depression; sports luminaries such as Babe Ruth honed their strokes there. The old golf course is now St. Albans Veterans Administration Extended Care Center and Roy Wilkins Park.

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Roy Wilkins Park sits on property that formerly was occupied by the St. Albans Naval Hospital. After the hospital closed in 1974 the U.S. Government allocated the 100-acre site to the Veterans Administration, which built a veterans’ extended care center on the east end of the property and ceded the western half to the city of New York in 1977 for use as a park. It remained mostly undeveloped until 1982, when $3.3 million was allocated for its redevelopment. One of the hospital buildings was renovated and reopened as the Roy Wilkins Family Center in 1986, which includes an Olympic-size pool equipped to accommodate the disabled, comfort stations, a tot play area, picnic tables, tennis, basketball, and handball courts, baseball fields, and a jogging path. The facility also hosts a summer day camp for 300 children, after-school programs, a counseling center, and a variety of community events.

Roy Wilkins (1901-1981) was a Missouri-born, Minnesota raised journalist and civil rights advocate. After a stint with the Kansas City Call, he joined the NAACP in 1831 and served as the organization’s president from 1955 to 1977, promoting voter registration, fair housing laws and wage equity.

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11/04/14 11:00am

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Visitors unfamiliar with southeast Queens will find a sweeping, green oasis in Baisley Pond Park, which sits on an irregular plot between Foch, Sutphin, Rockaway and Baisley Boulevards. The park’s 110 acres offer baseball, softball and cricket fields in its southern extension between Rockaway Boulevard and the Belt Parkway, children’s playgrounds, catch and release fishing in its large peaceful pond, and plenty of benches to laze on. This time of year the fall colors are beginning to blaze and the new promenade at the pond rim, with a dozen carven frogs, looks out over the mirrory pond and its collection of shorebirds.

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07/21/14 1:00pm

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Brooklyn has hipsters. Queens has Hip-to-Hip. This theater company, which specializes in family-friendly productions, performs Shakespeare classics for free in various public spaces throughout the borough each summer. This year, Hip-to-Hip will put on the Bard of Avon’s Two Gentlemen of Verona, an early slapstick comedy about love, friendship, betrayal, forgiveness…and a dog, and Cymbeline, a late romance/fairy tale about a king, his only daughter, an evil stepmother, and a forbidden love. The professional actors will perform in repertory, and 30 minutes before each performance, they will host “Kids & The Classics,” an interactive workshop for children of all ages.

Details after the jump. (more…)

04/29/14 1:00pm

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On August 11th, 1973, Kool DJ Herc and his sister Cindy organized a back-to-school party in the recreation room of a residential building at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx. The shindig is credited with launching the Hip Hop movement, although Queens played a huge role in the genre’s rise, thanks to Queensbridge native DJ Marley Marl, a veritable captain of the industry, and such mainstream talent as Run-DMC, LL Cool J and Salt-N-Pepa. On May 1st, Herc (above) and Marley Marl (after the jump) will spin records, talk shop, and bust rhymes at Queens Library’s central branch to kick off 31 Days of Non-Stop Hip Hop. During the entire month, the library will host free Hip Hop events at various branches throughout the borough. Here’s the schedule:

  • History of Hip Hop with Kool DJ Herc and DJ Marley Marl, Central Branch, 89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica. Teens only. Free ticket is required. May 1st, 4 pm.
  • Who’s the Best MC: the Voice of Harlem and DJ Ted Smooth, Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 2nd, 4 pm.
  • Family Day Jam: Zulu Nation, Langston Hughes Branch, 100-01 Northern Boulevard, Corona. May 3rd, 2 pm.
  • This week in Hip Hop (a web-only event), #HipHopElements. May 4th.
  • Who’s the Best MC: Actor and Personality Marc John Jeffries & DJ G-Money, Langston Hughes Branch, 100-01 Northern Boulevard, Corona. May 5th, 4 pm.
  • Queens Memory Hip Hop in Your ‘Hood. Share memories, memorabilia and photos. St. Albans Branch, 191-05 Linden Boulevard. May 6th, 5 pm.
  • Teen Fashion Entrepreneurs: Keith Perrin (founder of FUBU), Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 6th, 4 pm.
  • Teen Fashion Entrepreneurs: Keith Perrin (founder of FUBU), Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 7th, 4 pm.
  • Create your own music experience, Central Branch, 89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica. May 8th, 4 pm.
  • Battle of the DJs: Media celeb Steph Lova & DJ G-Money, Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 9th, 4 pm.
  • Hip Hop Book/Movie List – A Facebook event, #HipHopElements. May 10th.
  • Hip Hop College of Music & Arts: Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 12th, 4 pm.
  • Hip Hop College of Music & Arts: Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 13th, 4 pm.
  • Queens Memory Hip Hop in Your ‘Hood. Share memories, memorabilia and photos. St. Albans Branch, 191-05 Linden Boulevard. May 13th, 5 pm.
  • Hip Hop Book Review, Central Branch, 89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica. May 14th, 4 pm.
  • Poetry Live: Central Branch, 89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica. May 15th, 4 pm.
  • Break Dance Workshop: Langston Hughes Branch, 100-01 Northern Boulevard, Corona. May 16th, 4 pm.
  • Dance Competition: DUOLIVE (MC Fre and DJ Sid V), Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 16th, 4 pm.
  • Family Day Jam: Zulu Nation, Arverne Branch, 312 Beach 54th Street. May 17th, 2 pm.
  • This week in Hip Hop (a web-only event), #HipHopElements. May 18th.
  • Break Dance Expo: Langston Hughes Branch, 100-01 Northern Boulevard, Corona. May 19th, 4 pm.
  • Create your own record label, Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 20th, 4 pm.
  • Queens Memory Hip Hop in Your ‘Hood. Share memories, memorabilia and photos. St. Albans Branch, 191-05 Linden Boulevard. May 20th, 5 pm.
  • Create your own record label, Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue,  Far Rockaway. May 21st, 4 pm.
  • Create your own record label, Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue,  Far Rockaway. May 22nd, 4 pm.
  • Create your own record label, Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 23rd, 4 pm.
  • Hip Hop Book/Movie List on Facebook, #HipHopElements. May 24th.
  • This week in Hip Hop (a web-only event), #HipHopElements. May 25th.
  • Hip Hop Elements Picture of The Day, #HipHopElements. May 26th.
  • Intro to Graffiti Art, Langston Hughes Branch, 100-01 Northern Boulevard, Corona. May 27th, 4 pm.
  • Graffiti Art Workshop: Langston Hughes Branch, 100-01 Northern Boulevard, Corona. May 28 4 pm.
  • Rock the Mic: DUOLIVE, Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 28th, 4 pm.
  • Poetry & Art Showcase, Central Branch, 89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica. May 29th, 4 pm.
  • Intro to the Entertainment Industry: “Uncle” Ralph McDaniels, Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 30th, 4 pm.
  • A Visual History of Hip Hop: “Uncle” Ralph McDaniels, Langston Hughes Branch, 100-01 Northern Boulevard, Corona. May 31st, 2 pm.

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04/11/14 12:00pm

lixLong Island City
26-26 Jackson Avenue, PH1001
Broker: Douglas Elliman
Price: $1,795,000
Sunday, 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
GMAP

douglastonDouglaston
50-27 245th Street
Broker: ERA/Top Service Realty
Price: $799,777
Sunday, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
GMAP

flushingFlushing
524 115th Street
Broker: Keller Williams
Price: $459,000
Saturday, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
GMAP

st-albansSt. Albans
179-11 Anderson Road
Broker: Warren Lewis Sotheby’s
Price: $349,000
Saturday, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
GMAP

01/31/14 12:00pm

astoriaAstoria
22-42 41st Street
Broker: WonWoo John Chang
Price: $1,379,998
Saturday 12:00 – 3:00
GMAP

fillmoreJackson Heights
83-10 35th Avenue, #1N
Broker: Douglas Elliman
Price: $510,000
Sunday 3:00 – 5:00
GMAP

maspethMaspeth
55-68 61st Street
Broker: Century 21
Price: $459,000
Saturday 1:00 – 4:00
GMAP

st-albansSt. Albans
194-41 114th Road
Broker: ERA/Top Service Realty
Price: $395,000
Sunday 2:00 – 4:00
GMAP

12/20/13 12:00pm

jhJackson Heights
34-57 91st Street
Broker: Century 21
Price: $835,000
Saturday 1:00 – 3:00
GMAP

saSt. Albans
190-04 104th Avenue
Broker: Exit Realty
Price: $609,000
Saturday 1:00 – 3:00
GMAP

ssForest Hills
1 Station Square
Broker: Halstead
Price: $220,000
Sunday 12:00 – 2:00
GMAP

kewKew Gardens
123-25 82nd Avenue
Broker: Keller Williams
Price: $174,500
Saturday 1:00 – 3:00
GMAP

12/13/13 12:00pm

jamaocaForest Hills
72-14 Loubet Street
Broker: Better Homes and Gardens
Price: $969,000
Sunday 1:00 – 4:00
GMAP

purvesLong Island City
44-27 Purves Street, #12B
Broker: Douglas Elliman
Price: $885,000
Sunday 1:00 – 2:30
GMAP

172nd-stJamaica
88-30 172nd Street
Broker: Century 21
Price: $859,000
Sunday 1:00 – 3:00
GMAP

192ndstSt. Albans
104-23 192nd Street
Broker: Douglas Elliman
Price: $499,999
Sunday 1:00 – 3:00
GMAP

11/08/13 12:00pm

flushingFlushing
47-05 188th Street
Broker: Premium Properties
Price: $599,000
Sunday 1:00 – 3:00
GMAP

ElmCourtJackson Heights
34-42 80th Street
Broker: Brown Harris Stevens
Price: $575,000
Sunday 11:30 – 1:00
GMAP

192ndSt. Albans
104-23 192nd Street
Broker: Douglas Elliman
Price: $499,999
Saturday 2:30 – 4:30
GMAP

leffertsKew Gardens
83-55 Lefferts Boulevard
Broker: Keller Williams
Price: $134,950
Sunday 12:00 – 3:00
GMAP

08/06/13 11:00am

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A walk on Linden Boulevard in St. Albans, under the Long Island Rail Road overpass at 180th Street near the St. Albans station, reveals a colorful mural on the north side depicting jazz and R&B greats Billie Holiday, Illinois Jacquet, Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne, Brook Benton, Milt Hinton, Fats Waller and James Brown, as well as baseball’s Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella. It appeared in 2004 and was organized by Winnie Morgan and designed by Joe Stephenson with the aid of volunteer artists; it replaced an earlier mural that had chipped away and had otherwise been compromised over the years.

 

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The personalities on the mural weren’t selected arbitrarily — everyone here was a resident of St. Albans, and more specifically, most lived in Addisleigh Park, a quiet neighborhood located between Guy Brewer Boulevard, the LIRR, Linden Boulevard and 111th (Brinkerhoff) Avenue.

Southern Queens’ ascendance as a mecca for jazz musicians began in 1923 when Clarence Williams, a successful musician and entrepreneur from Plaquemine, Louisiana, purchased a home and eight lots at 171-37 108th Avenue. Anticipating the increasing popularity of jazz in the north, Williams moved first to Chicago in 1920 and then to New York with his wife, singer Eva Taylor, in 1923. Desiring open spaces reminiscent of his upbringing in the Louisiana delta, Williams made his home in Queens. He would be the first in a lengthy line of jazz musicians to come to southern Queens.

Elsewhere in Queens, Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie called Corona home (both are interred in Flushing Cemetery); swing kings Benny Goodman and Woody Herman resided in Jackson Heights; Bix Beiderbecke in Sunnyside; and Cannonball Adderley in East Elmhurst, among many others.

The Queens Jazz Trail, a map and walking guide by Tony Millionaire and Marc H. Miller and published by the Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts, is an excellent guide to the residences of jazz musicians borough-wide.

Kevin Walsh writes at Forgotten New York. His book of the same name is also available.