05/22/15 1:00pm

abuso

It’s one of those plays that makes audience members want to jump out of their seats and enter the scene to yell at the actors. Abuse (or La Visita in Spanish) presents conversations between Padre Lucio, the director of a Catholic college, and Esther, an insurance agent. Based on a true story from a Dutch archdiocese, the drama, written by Madrid-based Antonio Muñoz de Mesa, begins with a discussion about changing an insurance policy to cover sexual abuse of children as a workplace accident. A debate ensues, during which the priest shows apathy to abuse victims and the agent flits between her economic needs and her moral code.

Tonight, Thalia Spanish Theatre launches the United States bilingual premiere of Abuse, starring Soledad Lopez and Francisco Fuertes. The play will run in English on Fridays and Saturday afternoons and in Spanish on Saturday nights and Sunday, until June 28. (more…)

05/08/15 9:45am

nb.astoria.village

12th Street near 27th Avenue, Astoria Village

Queens has been a county since 1683. Just as the USA originally had 13 states, the state of New York has 12 original counties: Albany, Cornwall, Dukes, Dutchess, Kings, New York (Manhattan), Orange, Queens, Richmond, Suffolk, Ulster and Westchester.

Nassau County, you say? It’s a Johnny come lately. In 1898, when four counties voted to become part of New York City, becoming Greater New York, half the county of Queens — the eastern towns of North Hempstead, Hempstead and Oyster Bay — chose to become independent, and in 1899 they created a county of their own, Nassau.

Had these towns not separated from Queens, our present task — examining the origins of the names of the borough’s neighborhoods — would call for entries on Lynbrook, Long Beach, Port Washington, Oyster Bay, Massapequa… and I’d be writing till Christmas. As is, Queens is large enough. (more…)

04/20/15 1:00pm

Flamenco1

Cha, cha, cha. Cha, cha, cha. Ah, flamenco! The music. The dancing. The hand clapping, finger snapping, and guitar jamming. There’s a reason why this Spanish/Gyspy art form has become popular all over the world: It’s awesome.

In fact, it’s so awesome that UNESCO declared it to be a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2010. And it’s so popular that there are now more flamenco academies in Japan than Spain.

From this Friday through May 10, Thalia Spanish Theatre will present an exciting show of traditional and contemporary flamenco that celebrates the various cultures that the genre brings together. (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…)

04/06/15 9:30am

bsQ_040515_makegrade_002

The Borough of Queens, long suffering, is always trying to tell us her hidden history. You just have to learn how to listen to her.

Case in point: 50-67 43rd Street at the border of Sunnyside and Blissville. This house is in a strange spot, just a few building lots away from the elevated Long Island Expressway and Brooklyn Queens Expressway interchange clover leaf, and at the end of the block is a local streets approach way to the Kosciuszko Bridge.

All of these modern roadways date back to the Robert Moses era in the late 1930s. The street itself, 43rd Street, is an ancient passage, and was known in the Colonial era. It was one of several paths through a swampy upland that were paved with crushed oyster shells, and it connected directly with modern day Laurel Hill Boulevard on its way toward Newtown Creek.

Calvary Cemetery and industrial West Maspeth (formerly Berlin) are on the other side of the highways and Bridge. At the start of the 20th century, you would have told people that you were going to visit either Laurel Hill or Celtic Park if this was your destination.

The building is two stories tall, and as you’ll notice in the shot above, sits considerably lower in its lot than a similar building next door. That’s the important part, and if you listen, you can hear Queens talking.

More after the jump. (more…)

03/27/15 4:00pm

sunnyside-plaza

Both the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District and ReCreate Queens just launched a crowdfunding campaign to bring cultural programming to Sunnyside’s Bliss Plaza this summer. The plaza, which opened up last year, is located right under the 7 at Queens Boulevard and 46th Street. The goal of the campaign is to raise just over $5,000 by mid-April to kick off the performance series “Third Thursdays in Bliss Plaza.” The performance, planned to run between June and October, will provide residents with free concerts from different musicians and performers.

The performance series got its initial funding from Queens Council on the Arts, but additional funding is needed to carry the program through the summer. According to the Sunnyside BID, the first $1,000 of donations will be matched by the Neighborhood Plaza Partnership. As Rachel Thieme, executive director of Sunnyside Shines, says, “Bringing arts programming to Bliss Plaza helps create a more dynamic place and generates foot traffic and activity in the neighborhood, which benefits businesses, residents and visitors alike.”

If you’d like to donate, do so here.

Photo by Michael Rapp

03/26/15 10:00am

47-16-greenpoint-avenue

Hey Sunnyside, here’s what’s coming for the corner of Greenpoint Avenue and 48th Street. YIMBY first published the rendering of the new development proposed by developer AB Capstone. It’ll replace a number of two-story walkups with both commercial and residential space.

The first floor of the new development will hold 6,400 square feet of retail space on the ground floor, and 6,200 square feet of community facility space on the second floor. Above will be 10 rental apartments averaging 780 square feet. According to YIMBY, construction will start in late summer and last 18 months.

Revealed: 47-16 Greenpoint Avenue, Sunnyside [New York YIMBY] GMAP

03/24/15 4:00pm

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 2.03.13 PM

Today, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer released the participatory budget ballot for District 26, which covers Woodside, Sunnyside, Long Island City, Dutch Kills, Astoria, Queensbridge, Ravenswood and the Woodside Houses. The ballot includes 27 different projects decided on by the community. After the vote, $1 million will be allocated to the most popular projects. Project proposals include technology upgrades at local schools, playground updates, an LIC bikeway, library improvements and street safety measures. Check out the full ballot here [PDF].

Council Member Van Bramer is hosting a Project Expo on Monday, April 6th from 7 to 9 pm at the Sunnyside Community Services (43-31 39th Street) so residents can speak with project delegates, see project presentations and learn more about the proposals. Voting will take place from April 11th to the 19th at a variety of locations throughout the district. Check out the locations here [PDF].

All Participatory Budgeting coverage [Q'Stoner]

03/23/15 1:00pm

4

Why did the chicken cross the road? Well, it was probably to attend a Queens comedy spectacular hosted at a community art space in honor of an urban farm. This Friday, Sunnyside Comedy will present Funny By Nature, a jokefest with an all-star lineup, at Flux Factory, an artist collective/performance venue in Long Island City. The event’s goal is to raise money and awareness for the Smiling Hogshead Ranch (above), a budding, volunteer-led farm near LaGuardia Community College. More details on the jump page.

(more…)

03/19/15 9:00am

sunnyside.gardens

Yesterday the Times highlighted Sunnyside in its “Living In” column. In our opinion Sunnyside is an easy neighborhood to love, and we think the Times agrees. The article discusses the close-knit community alongside rising real estate prices. A recent co-op buyer told the Times, “It looked like a viable, real neighborhood with a very mixed population, and it’s convenient to Manhattan.” There has been diverse growth that’s shifted the demographics away from the traditionally Irish-American population, with Ecuadorean, Colombian, Chinese, Korean, Bangladeshi and Mexican immigrants. (We recently took a tour of all the diversity within the neighborhood.) The article also talks about the recent controversy of the Sunnyside Yards development.

As for real estate: “Inventory is extremely tight.” Competition for larger properties, especially homes, is fierce. And that competition has pushed up prices, with a one-bedroom co-op asking $250,000 a few years ago now priced around $325,000. Near Sunnyside Gardens, single-family townhouses sell in the low $800,000s and two-family townhomes in the mid-$900,000s. Rental prices have also risen, with one bedrooms averaging around $1,750 to $2,100 a month.

Sunnyside, Queens, ‘Mayberry’ Near Midtown [NY Times]

Photo by Kevin Walsh