07/10/14 2:00pm

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Manhattan has the inspiring Empire State Building. Paris has the romantic Eiffel Tower. Queens has authentic, affordable and amazing restaurants. Lots of them. A culinary tour company that debuts this weekend, Local Finds: Queens Food Tours, hopes to bring taste-conscious tourists to as many borough establishments as possible. This two-person agency will organize weekly food sampling and cultural walking tours of Long Island City for now with hopes to expand to Flushing, Jamaica, Richmond Hill and the Rockaways as soon as possible. One of the company’s two founders, Queens native Sergey Kadinsky, will lead three-hour journeys every Sunday morning, starting at 11 am. Kadinsky, who also works for City Council Member Karen Koslowitz, will bring patrons to six local establishments, including a micro-brewery, a hip coffee shop and Manducatis Rustica (photo), where signature dishes will be awaiting. Plus, participants will receive a brochure with a neighborhood map, list of attractions, and recommendations for about 30 other great eateries in the area. 

“When it comes to good eats, Queens is the king of the boroughs,” stated Richard Mumith, the other founder and a former Council Member Koslowitz employee. “We are all about discovering, eating, and supporting…local.”

A list of other Queens food tour guides is on the jump page.

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06/30/14 11:00am

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I’ve been missing 5Pointz something fierce lately, so after meeting some friends from the City for lunch nearby Astoria Park recently, we paid a visit to the Welling Court Mural Project. There is a LOT of street art going on here, and there has been since 2009, when the Ad Hoc Art group began the project.

Welling Court can be found here, btw.

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There’s a lot of terrific stuff here. The comic guy in me loved Fumeroism’s Yellow Hulk.

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As mentioned, this is a curated project which is in its fifth year of installation.

From Ad Hoc Art’s Facebook page:

The Welling Court Mural Project began in 2009 when Ad Hoc Art was invited by the community of Welling Court to slay some aesthetic blights in their neighborhood. The first project debuted in May 2010 with over 44 murals, fitting for the diverse and lively inhabitants. Each year since, spectacular crews of legendary and groundbreaking artists have come together to transform the neighborhood into a creative celebration and public art experience.

Many, many more images and lots of commentary after the jump. (more…)

06/26/14 11:00am

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As discussed in prior postings, Kevin Walsh and I decided to take Q’stoner with us to the very edge of New York City when we visited the Rockaways. Here’s Part One and here’s Part Two. This is the third installment, and Kevin will finish up the quartet tomorrow. Now, back to the beach.

This shot is looking back at Riis Park, at the border of what must have surely been an enormous and quite recent industrial endeavor.

From Wikipedia:

The park was largely built on the site of the former Rockaway Naval Air Station, one of the first US naval air stations. Riis Park was designed by the politically powerful New York City Park Commissioner Robert Moses, who had also created Jones Beach as a state park further east on Long Island in 1929. Moses saw Riis Park as a Jones Beach for poor immigrants, and ensured that the location was accessible by public transportation and closer to Manhattan.

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A vast wall of sand was found, dissimilar in color to the beach sand which the bathers and sun worshippers at Riis were gamboling about upon. This beach is now the built environment, it seems.

From ny1.com:

In the Rockaways, long stretches of sand are less weekend paradise and more construction zone. Forget your sun visor. This is hard-hat territory.

“It looks like hell,” said Kevin Boyle, a Rockaway community activist. “It’s not exactly ready for the top 10 list anywhere, but it’s coming along. I’m pretty sure by 2020, the boardwalk will be there and the beach will look good.”

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It should be mentioned, by the way, that everybody seemed to be having a much better time than Kevin and myself. We were the two weird looking old guys walking around on the beach with cameras… the ones who looked uncomfortable and relatively pale. The suntans people sport out here are actually outrageous for this early in the summer.

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06/23/14 12:00pm

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Kevin Walsh and I were chatting recently, and it was decided that we should go out to the Rockaways and do a bit of exploring. We agreed to not reference a certain song as well. Leaving from Astoria, an R Line train carried me to 59 Lex, and that’s where I transferred to the 5 Line. The 5 took me the end of the run, nearby Brooklyn College at the so called Flatbush Junction. That’s where Mr. Walsh and I had arranged to meet, which was accomplished, and we boarded the Q35 bus toward Rockaway. All told, the trip from Steinway Street in Astoria to the southern border of Brooklyn and Queens took a little more than an hour and 20 minutes.

That really isn’t bad, I have to say, bravo MTA.

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We debarked the bus just shy of our goal, on the Brooklyn side of the Gil Hodges Marine Parkway Bridge. The span’s birthday is coming up on July 3rd — read more about the structure in this Q’stoner post from January of this year.

This is a pretty scary place to be a pedestrian crossing the road, I have to say. Luckily, the plucky spirit of my companion buoyed me up. Our intention, upon crossing the very end of Flatbush Avenue, was to stroll across the bridge and photograph both it and the surrounding scenery… but…

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Unfortunately 911 era signage adorns the thing, carrying one of those meaningless and unconstitutional missives which attempted to equate photography of the public space with terrorist activity. This is an MTA bridge, by the way, but you see this sort of signage on TBTA and Port Authority properties as well. I won’t get into the whole “War on Photography” rant, but you can’t expect to restrict access to reflected light.

Shame on you MTA.

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Luckily, on the Queens side of the bridge, the structure reveals itself from the public thoroughfare. Kevin and I marveled as the lift bridge was activated just as we started encountering beach sand on the sidewalks.

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There was quite a bit of shoreline reconstruction going on just at the foot of the bridge. The presence and effects of Hurricane Sandy are everywhere you look in the Rockaways, although some areas we encountered are clearly FAR worse off than others.

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01/27/14 11:00am

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This past Saturday, the 25th of January, Ridgewood Democratic Club held its Annual Membership Brunch meeting at their HQ. Found at 6070 Putnam Avenue, a block off Fresh Pond Road, the RDC building has been home to the club since 1917. My colleague Kevin Walsh presented a short history of the building in this Brownstoner Queens post from September of 2013.

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NYS Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan is one of the two Democratic District Leaders in this part of Queens, along with Tom Bornemann, and she has an encyclopedic knowledge of the history of this building and club. She’s a lifelong Queensican, and lives with her son and husband in Ridgewood.

From assembly.state.ny.us:

Catherine Nolan represents the 37th Assembly District in Queens County, which includes the historic New York City neighborhoods of Sunnyside, Ridgewood, Long Island City, Queensbridge, Ravenswood, Astoria, Woodside, Maspeth, Dutch Kills and Blissville. She was first elected to the Assembly in 1984.

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06/10/13 1:00pm

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So, you were wondering where you might be able to check out a fighter jet in Queens? Look no further than Aviation High School at 45-30 36th Street, where this plane, a Douglas TA-4 Skyhawk -- donated by the Marine Corps itself in 1995 — is dedicated in the name of Capt. Manuel Rivera, Jr., the first American of Puerto Rican descent to die during 1992′s Operation Desert Shield. Students at the school use the jet to learn inspection and maintenance procedures. Capt. Rivera was an alumni of Aviation High School. GMAP

04/26/13 9:00am

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Image Source: LastFM

It all adds up. Jazz is the USA’s greatest contribution to music. Louis Armstrong is the greatest contributor to the genre. And Queens is the best place in the world for a jazz celebration. On April 30, the Louis Armstrong House Museum and the Jazz Journalists Association will hold a free, fun, food-filled festivity feting International Jazz Day at the Langston Hughes Community Library & Cultural Center in Corona. The program — presented by official Armstrong archivist Ricky Riccardi and Dan Morgenstern, director of the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University — will include the public premier of a newly discovered recording by Armstrong at Freedomland, a fabled Bronx amusement park in 1961. Then, the Jazz Journalists Association will toast Satchmo at a soul food reception. Some might attend for the music. Others might attend for the food. But all will enjoy themselves.

International Jazz Day Celebration
Langston Hughes Library
100-01 Northern Boulevard, Corona
Tuesday, April 30th, 2013
2pm – 5pm | Free

04/24/13 11:00am

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There’s a lot of buzz about Studio Square’s upcoming Smoke festival in LIC. Our interest was piqued until we took a look at the price tag. It’s $114 just to attend! That seems a little high, especially since that same day you could hop on the G and attend GoogaMooga in Prospect Park for half the price. But then we found out what you get for it and, well, it’s a relative bargain.

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04/19/13 2:00pm

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Images Source: Queens County Farm Museum

Ah, the apple orchard…the sheep…the planting fields…the proximity to the Grand Central Parkway. On April 20 and 21, New York City’s only working historical farm, the Queens County Farm Museum, will host a blow-out spring festival. This 47-acre parcel in Glen Oaks — which dates back to 1697 — will fill with carnival rides, midway games, hayrides and live children’s entertainment. As always, there will be opportunities to check out the herb garden, pet the livestock, explore the greenhouse complex, and generally enjoy the city’s largest remaining tract of undisturbed farmland.

Children’s Carnival
Queens County Farm Museum
73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Glen Oaks
Saturday, April 20, and Sunday, April 21
11am – 6pm | $11

Maze