10/22/15 9:30am


The name Ditmars, or Ditmas, appears more than once in the NYC street directory. The Bronx has a Ditmars Street in City Island, while Brooklyn has a Ditmas Avenue through Kensington and namesake Ditmas Park, which turns into Avenue D and then continues as Ditmas through East Flatbush and Brownsville. (more…)

10/13/15 1:00pm

NYC Cupcake Run in Astoria Park

It’s time to put your best foot forward for a great cause and great dessert.

This Saturday (October 17), the third annual NYC Cupcake Run will take place in Astoria Park. The rules are rather simple. Participants will follow a five-kilometer (3.1-mile) course featuring three checkpoints, where they will do some carb-loading with treats from the local Sweets First Bakeshoppe & Cafe.

The harrier who finishes first will be crowned “NYC Cupcake Run Champion,” but the event is mostly non-competitive. Plus, a portion of the $50 registration fee will go to New York Cares, a nonprofit that matches volunteers with altruistic programs. Another photo, more details, and registration information are on the jump page.


07/08/15 12:00pm


George Clinton and Funkadelic highlight a series of free outdoor concerts this week. In addition to the live music, fun-seekers can choose a Colombia flower extravaganza (above), a noncompetitive bike race, a book festival, plenty of movies, and a night market. Here’s the rundown.

July 9, The Cab Calloway Orchestra, 7:30 pm. The Central Astoria LDC’s 2015 Waterfront Concert Series begins with a night of music from the Harlem Renaissance (1930s-1940s). Free. Astoria Park’s Great Lawn, Shore Boulevard between the Hell Gate Bridge and the pool.

July 9, Preview Screening of Boulevard with director Dito Montiel in person, 7 pm. The movie Boulevard premiered to warm praise at the Tribeca Film Festival, but its release was delayed after main actor Robin Williams’s death last summer. Now it premieres on July 10, but it screens at the Museum of the Moving Image the night before with Astoria-born director Montiel in attendance. $15. MMI, 36-01 35th Avenue, Kaufman Arts District.

July 9, Flushing Historical Diversity Tour, 6:30 pm. Official Queens historian Jack Eichenbaum walks and talks about the area’s past and present. $12/$6 for children. Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard. (more…)

07/03/15 1:00pm


On your mark. Get set. Go…but not too fast. On July 12, the eighth annual Tour de Queens will take participants on a roughly 20-mile loop that starts and ends in Astoria Park. Basically a rolling parade, the tour rides en masse at a family-friendly pace –about 10 mph — with NYPD escorts, volunteer safety marshals, and occasional stops at intersections to gather riders. This year’s route goes through Long Island City, Sunnyside, Rego Park, Forest Hills, and Corona with an optional rest stop with light snacks and water at Juniper Valley Park in Middle Village.

Proceeds go to Transportation Alternatives, a nonprofit that promotes bicycling, walking, and the use of public transit in New York City.

Details: Tour de Queens, meet in the Astoria Park parking lot off 19th Street and Hoyt Avenue North, Astoria, July 12, 8 am check in, $22.50.

Photo by Tour de Queens

06/23/15 1:00pm


Get ready for four days of deep-fried Oreos.

The Astoria Park Festival 2015 will begin on Thursday and run through Sunday. Just like in past years, this family-friendly event will bring to the neighborhood an estimated 20 rides and live entertainment, not to mention some of the city’s most spectacular sunsets.

Attendees should expect the Dream Catcher, which spins around riders and moves them from left to right; Orient Express, a small roller coaster; a Ferris Wheel; and a fun house. (more…)

05/28/15 1:00pm


There are many dress codes for this event. On Saturday, the Celebrate Astoria International Cultural Fest will fill Astoria Park with colorful costumes, beautiful music, and dazzling dances. The five-hour happening will perfectly demonstrate that Queens is a kaleidoscope, with performers from 11 different countries.

Scheduled entertainers — almost all of whom are local — include American Bolero Company, Ayazamana Ecuadorian Dance (above), Banatal Romanian Folklore, Bangladeshi Institute for Performing ArtsCalpulli Mexican Dance Company, Dahdoo Music of North Africa/Middle East, Filippo and the Songs of Italy, Issa Cabrera and her Brazilian folklore, Minbuza Japanese Folk Dance (below), Niall O’Leary School of Irish Dance, and Pontion Society Komninoi Dancers.


03/09/15 4:00pm


The long-in-the-works plan to build out an amphitheater in Astoria Park is finally moving forward. Queens Tribune reports that the Parks Department will finalize designs by the end of the month — the plan is to convert the park’s unused diving pool into an outdoor performance space. They will also install new signage, fencing and paving. The department hopes to begin construction in 2016.

The city started the design process for this back in 2012, with the hopes of finalizing the design by the fall of 2013. That didn’t happen, with the Tribune reporting that everything was “pushed back due to a delay in obtaining materials needed for grading and drainage.” (It took them two years to do that?) Previous reports of the amphitheater plans stated that the project will cost $4.7 million and that the theater will likely have a 500 person capacity.

Parks: Expect Astoria Park Amphitheater Next Year [Queens Tribune]
All Astoria Park coverage [Q’Stoner]

01/06/15 1:00pm


It’s time to tree-cycle and e-cycle. To promote eco-friendly practices — and help New Yorkers avoid a new state law imposing $100 fines on residents who leave electronics on the curb for pickup — the Queens Botanical Garden will  host the 12th annual E-Waste Recycling Event on Sunday. Done in partnership with the Lower East Side Ecology Center and sponsored by TekServe, this six-hour event allows participants to drop off unwanted or non-functional computers, printers, cell phones, video games, tablets, and other gadgets in the parking entrance. (Click here for a full list of acceptable items.) Garden employees will make sure that they are disposed of in the proper ecological way. On the same day and in the same spirit, the garden will host arts-and-crafts activities using recycled and repurposed items.

Meanwhile in response to recent holidays, the NYC Parks Department will host MulchFest 2015 all weekend at various spots throughout the five boroughs, including 13 Queens green spaces. Residents can bring trees to these spots to be recycled into mulch that will nourish plantings across the city. In some places, NYC Parks employees will chip the wood and give bags of mulch back to the tree donors. Details for all three events are on the jump page.


08/25/14 11:00am


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.

More after the jump… (more…)

08/11/14 11:00am


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.

Check out lots of photos after the jump… (more…)