A rare weekend off found me at Astoria Park on Saturday morning. For the last couple of years, my wife has been getting up extra early on Saturdays to bring our little dog Zuzu over to the park for “off the leash” time, and has been after me to come along and witness the crowds of happy dogs, and their yawning owners, at play.
Since I had the day off from walking tours or any other nonsense and was up early anyway, I said “yes” and I’m glad I did.
Sunday, I decided to go check out the Astoria Shore Fest. The annual event closes Shore Road, allowing Astorians the chance to mill about on the normally busy thoroughfare which sits between Astoria Park and the Hells Gate section of the East River. The event is conducted by the Astoria Park Alliance, and this year it was blessed by fantastic weather.
Is it possible to create twins via cloning? Because that’s the only way to enjoy all the top-notch live music in Queens this Thursday, when the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic and the country’s best Beatles tribute band come to town.
At 7 pm, the Met — in association with SummerStage and City Parks Foundation — will host a concert in Socrates Sculpture Park featuring Mary-Jane Lee (soprano), Ginger Costa-Jackson (mezzo-soprano), and Yunpeng Wang (baritone), accompanied by Dan Saunders (pianist). They will perform arias and duets from a variety of operas. At 7:30 pm, Strawberry Fields (above), a group that former President Bill Clinton praises in his book Giving, will take its audience on a Magical Mystery Tour through the Fab Four’s biggest hits as part of the Central Astoria Local Development Corporation’s 2014 Waterfront Concert Series. Then at 8 pm, the New York Philharmonic, which is the county’s oldest symphony orchestra, will venture away from Lincoln Center to give a free concert with Strauss, Smetana, Tchaikovsky, and Alan Gilbert as the conductor in Cunningham Park.
Opera details: Metropolitan Opera Recital, Socrates Sculpture Park (below), 32-01 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City, July 10th, 7 pm, free.
Beatles details: Strawberry Fields, Astoria Park Great Lawn, Shore Boulevard between Hell Gate Bridge and Astoria Pool, Astoria, July 10th, 7:30 pm, free.
The Central Astoria Local Development Corporation is bringing its free concert series back to Astoria Park this summer. We Heart Astoria posted the schedule of events; concerts take place on the Great Lawn Thursday evenings at 7:30 pm in July and August. Here’s the schedule:
Summer is about to be in full swing… and it’s time for youngsters to work on their swings — and jumps, sprints and putts. On July 1st, the City Parks Foundation kicks off its free 2014 Summer Sports Program in 12 green spaces in Queens. CityParks Tennisprovides free tennis lessons to children, ages six to 16, and concludes with tournaments at the Central Park Tennis Center and Flushing Meadows Tennis Center in mid-August. CityParks Golfprovides free lessons and equipment to boys and girls, ages six to 16. CityParks Track & Fieldgives kids, ages five to 16, the chance to learn the basics of the sport, from hurdles and relay races, to long jump, shot put and javelin throw. Participants then have the opportunity to compete in an organized meet at Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island. The Queens schedule follows.
One of the best things about summer in New York is all the free movies to watch outdoors. We told you about the summer film schedule at Socrates Sculpture Park, and today We Heart Astoria listed the free outdoor movie schedule for Astoria Park. The schedule is as follows: The Goonies on July 28th, Despicable Me on August 4th, The Wizard of Oz on August 11th, Dirty Dancing on August 18th, and Finding Nemo on August 25th. Films start at 8:30 pm at the Great Lawn.
Yesterday a group of volunteers from Bike New York, the New York Restoration Project, and other organizations planted over 60 trees in Astoria Park in honor of Earth Day. They picked the location because it will be a rest area for the upcoming Five Boro Bike Tour, happening on Sunday, May 4th. The Greening Western Queens Fund sponsored this effort in “greening” the tour. The trees planted include a mix of tuliptree, red maples, eastern white pine and other species. You can see a few more photos of the planting event right after the jump.
Tonight is the first ever Astoria Park Holiday Tree Lighting! In the Astoria Park lawn at 6:30 pm, the Central Astoria Local Development Coalition will light a 13-foot-tall Douglas Fir. The evening also includes Christmas carols and a special reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” For all the event details, go here.
Astoria Park is your last stop in Queens, at which point you’ll be getting wet. The waters which lie off the shore are a section of the formerly industrial East River called Hell Gate. The park offers no water access, of course, but there is a nice walkway along Shore Road which allows one to stroll and observe.
It’s a lovely spot, and quite popular with those lucky enough to live nearby. One is always struck by the polychrome nature of the rocky shoreline, which is deposited to and subtracted from on a daily basis by the tides. On a sunny day, the amount of color one experiences here can literally dazzle.
It’s scary how many Halloween-related festivals will take place in Queens over the next 10 days. On tap are everything from costume contests (for humans and dogs, of course), haunted houses, enchanted walks and Dia de los Muertos celebrations. Here is a list of some of the free or low-cost fun.