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It’s time for some warm thoughts. This Sunday, the New York Hall of Science will host the Mamas Summer Countdown, a two-generation, information-and-fun extravaganza with opportunities for parents to start planning for June, July and August with local day and sleepaway camps, summer classes, vacation possibilities and more. Exhibitors include GoGo SqueezNew York CosmosQueens ZooOasis CampsSamuel Field YThe American Camp AssociationThe Kiddie Academy of Whitestone/Flushing, and Usdan Center. On the other hand, children will be able to make puppets, get their faces painted, do crafts and enjoy other activities. More than 1,500 people attended last year’s event, and organizers are expecting even more this Sunday.

Details: The Mamas Summer Countdown, New York Hall of Science, 47-01 111th Street, Corona, February 22nd, 10 am to 2 pm, free with museum admission — $15/$12 for children (2-17), students, and seniors (62+)/free for children under age 2.

Bonus details: Mozart and Beethoven, The Con Brio Ensemble presents Magic Flute, Archduke Trio, and other master works, The Church-in-the-Gardens, 50 Ascan Avenue, Forest Hills Gardens, February 22nd, 4:30 pm, $12.

Photo by the New York Hall of Science

02/09/15 1:00pm

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It’s the most diverse county in the world and the best tourism destination in the United States, so it’s no surprise that Queens is overflowing with wonderful Valentine’s Day activities and bargains. In fact, local chances for romance and fun related to this international holiday are so numerous that they run for more than two weeks and include everything from live music to a “love run,” hotel getaways, and even a blood drive for the do-gooders. Another photo and many more details are on the jump page.

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12/23/14 1:00pm

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It’s part Cascanueces, part Shchelkunchik, and mostly unique. This Saturday, four local performing arts schools will offer two presentations of a decidedly Queens version of The Nutcracker. Expect some ballet, of course, but be prepared for plenty of salsa, Arabian belly dance, Chinese jazz, hula hoops, and hip hop. The companies  – Mestizo Art CenterCali SalsaEC Squared Studio; and Uruzua Queens Center of Performing Arts – are all located in the heavy Hispanic neighborhoods of Jackson Heights, Corona, and Elmhurst, so there will be a Latin flair with a mix of solo and group acts.

Details: The Nutcracker (Queens Version), Queens Theatre, 14 United Nations Avenue South, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, December 27th, 4:30 pm and 7 pm, $20 suggested donation.

Photo: Uruzua Queens Center of Performing Arts

11/18/14 1:00pm

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Remember: Whatever happens under the mistletoe, stays under the mistletoe. As part of the 27th Annual Holiday Historic House Tour, seven local landmarks will offer seasonal refreshments, organize time-honored activities, and provide glimpses of Christmas celebrations from as far back as the 17th century on Sunday, December 7th. Visitors will be able to check out any (or all) of the venues — Kingsland Homestead; Voelker Orth Museum; Lewis H. Latimer House Museum; Friends Meeting House; Flushing Town Hall; Bowne House; and Louis Armstrong House Museum — and a van will continuously run between sites from 1 pm to 5 pm.

After the jump, more information on each participating venue and its tour plans… (more…)

10/27/14 1:00pm

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Over the last dozen years of Louis Armstrong’s life, the jazz legend liked to joke that Jack Bradley was his “white son.” The famous composer/singer/trumpeter didn’t have any biological children, and he was black. But he and Bradley, a professional photographer and avid sailor, became extremely close after meeting through a mutual friend in 1959. As such, Bradley had almost unlimited access to Satchmo, and he took countless photos of the star while collecting more than 2,500 sound recordings, fan mail, set lists, diet charts, handwritten notes, laundry receipts, rare books, and figurines. Bradley is still alive today, but the Louis Armstrong House Museum acquired his collection in 2005. It took years to relocate all the treasures and then arrange, preserve, and catalog them, but the Corona museum unveiled the collection last week. Visitors can check out rare recordings from the 1920s; a Giardinelli trumpet mouthpiece; unique photos of Pops on the road; and photos of Armstrong at home shortly before his death on July 6th, 1971.

Details: The Jack Bradley Collection, Louis Armstrong House Museum, 34-56 107th Street, Corona, open Tuesday through Friday, 10 am to 5 pm, and Saturday/Sunday, noon to 5 pm, $10/$7 for seniors, students, and children.

Photo: Louis Armstrong House Museum

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This is truly an out-of-this-world experience. On Sunday, the Queens Museum will facilitate Solar System Walk, Vol. 2, a guided, 1.5-hour, family-friendly stroll through Chris Burden’s Scale Model of the Solar System, which is located in the museum and throughout the surrounding area.

Some explanation. Burden has created a scale model in size and distance of the solar system. The sun is represented by a sphere 13 inches in diameter and 40 inches in circumference that shines above the Panorama of the City of New York (above photo). The other planets are placed at the correct relative distances from the sun.

The tour – led by PJ Gubatina Policarpio, a curator and museum educator who is interested in the intersection of art, history, creativity, and identity — will start at the sun and end at pluto, which is at Leo’s Latticini, the famous Italian food store at 46-02 104th Street in Corona. (Forget about whether Pluto was downgraded as a planet or not.)

Details: Solar System Walk, Queens Museum, New York City Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, September 21st, 3:30 pm to 5 pm, free, but spots are limited. For more information and to RSVP, send an email to exhibitions@queensmuseum.org.

Photo: Chris Burden

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Excuse the pun, but this really is the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth. This weekend the New York Hall of Science will host its fifth annual Maker Faire, which has been described as “the ultimate geek fest,” but is actually a family-friendly celebration of invention, creativity, and resourcefulness. More than 750 makers — including tech enthusiasts, crafters, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science clubbers, and artists  – will be at the Flushing Meadows Corona Park venue, showing off their DIY creations and hands-on activities. Expect everything from personal drones to humanoid robots that can take blood pressure and dispense medications. Cupcake cars, Swap-O-Rama-Rama, and smart lamps are possible.

More photos and a partial list of inventions that will be on display after the jump.

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08/27/14 1:00pm

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The Mets have hosted some unforgettable non-baseball moments in 2014, such as concerts by 50 Cent and Boyz II Men; the Citi Field Sleepover; The Wright Thing; and Dinosaur Education Day. Now as the Flushing team’s season winds down, there’s still some great sports drama to take place at Citi Field, as well as unique promotions and another live concert.

This Saturday, Yen-Hsun Lu (below), Taiwan’s top-ranked professional tennis player, will headline the tenth annual Taiwan Heritage Night by throwing out the first pitch before the Philadelphia Phillies game. Beforehand at Mets Plaza, fans will be able to check out Taiwanese aboriginal dance with Techno San Tai Zi and singing performances. The island near mainland China’s tourism mascot, Oh Bear, will interact with Mr. Met in the stadium and be available for photo opportunities with fans. Plus, the first 750 purchasers through a special online offer will receive a limited edition of Taiwanese cheering sticks.

On September 27th, Austin Mahone will perform after the Houston Astros game. This 18-year-old singer/songwriter is poised for stardom with several hit singles on iTunes, including “What About Love?” which peaked at No. 7, “Say You’re a Friend,” and “Banga! Banga!,” which climbed as high as No. 14.

Oktoberfest will take place on September 26th, when ticket purchasers will get access to a pre-game party in Bullpen Plaza and a limited edition Mets Oktoberfest Beer Glass.

There are also three remaining chances to take advantage of Free Shirt Fridays. Every attendee will get a uniquely designed Mets themed tee shirt at the August 29th game against the Phillies; the September 12th game against the Washington Nationals; and the September 26th game against the Astros.

There are also three remaining chances (August 31st, September 14th, September 28th) to enjoy Family Sundays, when there are family-friendly activities such as kids inflatables, face painters, balloon artists and entertainment at Mets Plaza starting at 11 am. After the final pitch, children can go onto the field and run the bases during the Mr. Met Dash.

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Top photo: New York Mets; bottom photo: Yen-Hsun Lu

08/26/14 1:00pm

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It’s unique, but multifaceted. It’s local, but international. It’s filthy rich in culture, but free. On August 30th, the Queens Museum will host Oye Corona, an afternoon celebration of art, music, dance, print-making, and exercise at Corona Plaza. Visitors will be able to partake in creative activities with roots in Bangladesh, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and even the United States.

Photos and information on the inspiring activities follow the jump.

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08/19/14 1:00pm
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There will be dancing in the streets. This Thursday, the Louis Armstrong House Museum will hold its annual Jazzmobile Block Party, an end-of-summer blowout with live music, great food and countless activities. With the street free of vehicular traffic, the fun will begin at 4 pm with a children’s art workshop presented by the Queens Museum. At the same time, a hula-hoop specialist will share her twirling skills, spirit and stash. At 7 pm, the Ray Mantilla Septet will perform. Born in the Bronx, Mantilla has a unique jazz style, replete with Afro-Cuban and Neo-Nuyorican influences. A short list of this legendary percussionist and bandleader’s credits includes gigs with Tito Puente, Charles Mingus, and Eddie Palmieri.

Details and another photo after the jump. (more…)