They will deck the halls! Many, many halls. On December 8th, the Queens Historical Society will host the 26th Annual Holiday Historic House Tour through Flushing and Corona. A trolley will bring participants to seven landmarked sites, which will offer special seasonal programming, a glimpse at life during holidays past and refreshments. Consider the following:
Lewis H. Latimer House Museum (1889) was home of African-American inventor Lewis H. Latimer, who lived there from 1903 until his death in 1928. The son of fugitive slaves, he played a vital role in the development of the telephone and the incandescent light bulb.
Friends Meeting House (1694) is the first house of worship in the village of Flushing and NYC’s oldest structure in continuous use for religious purposes. The venue also has an historic cemetery.
Flushing Town Hall (1862) was the cultural and political focal point of the village of Flushing. The building features a rich history that includes visits by dignitaries such as PT Barnum and Tom Thumb, operas, murder trials and even a jail cell. Frederick Douglass once spoke from the portico.
Bowne House (1661) is known for its connection to the principle of freedom of conscience in the United States. Nine generations of the Bowne family lived in the house (below).
Louis Armstrong House Museum (1910) was purchased by jazz legend Louis Armstrong and his wife, Lucille, in 1943. For the season, the house (above) will feature rare audio clips from Satchmo’s personal recordings.
Details: Holiday Historic House Tour, Organized from Kingsland Homestead, 143-35 37th Avenue, Flushing, December 8th, 1 pm to 5 pm, $10 in advance, $12 at the door, children under 12 are free. (more…)
It’s so nice, they have to do it twice. Last weekend, the New York Hall of Science organized Dead or Alive, a pre-Halloween festival that included pumpkin chucking, live wolves and Frankenstein-like wall projections. Now, the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park venue is getting ready to host a post-Halloween celebration with Dia de los Muertos-related activities. On November 2nd, the fun will begin with Science Story Time at 11 am. Daring souls will gather in the Science Technology Library as a librarian reads from Littlebat’s Halloween Story by Diane Mayr. At 1 pm and 3 pm, the Organization for Bat Conservation will present — what else? — big brown bats from North America, fruit ones from Africa and Asia and the largest of its species in the world, a gigantic flying fox bat from Malaysia. Meanwhile at 2 pm, the Hall of Science’s catapult, named “Chuck” of course, will toss pumpkins in the air. Then from 3 pm to 6 pm, the Dead or Alive Party will include Frankenstein-like wall projections by Mappathon, forensic science activities, Dia de los Muertos-inspired treats and Halloween make projects. (Prizes will be awarded to those in costumes.) The next day, November 3rd, will feature more live bat encounters at 1 pm and 3 pm and more pumpkin tossing with Chuck at 2 pm.
Details: Dead or Alive, New York Hall of Science, 47-01 111th Street, Corona, November 2nd and November 3rd, 1 pm to 6 pm, $8 child/$11 adult. Most activities are free with admission. Some have extra charges. (more…)
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.
Now this is a party that Satchmo would have loved! On October 15th, the Louis Armstrong House Museum will host its 10th anniversary bash, and the joint will be jumping like never before with live jazz, delicious food and a special unveiling. The Hot Sardines, which went from playing a Queens coffee shop to headlining Lincoln Center, will provide the jazz. These cats take a blustery brass lineup, mix it with a rhythm section led by a stride-piano virtuoso, and tickle the notes with a frontwoman with a sultry voice. In tune with the night’s theme, cuisine will be provided by Tamara Reynolds, a trained musician who shifted gears after she fell in love with the kitchen. A regular on The Cooking Channel’s Unique Eats, Reynolds has run the the Sunday Night Dinner in Astoria, an underground dining club, for the last 10 years. She’s also the chef/owner of the traveling feast Van Alst Kitchen. The night will also feature the unveiling of a little-known Louis Armstrong life mask, a plaster disguise with a painted, bronze-patina finish probably created in the 1960s. Life masks are a distinct genre of sculpture that has existed for centuries. Specific to the famous, there are also life masks of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Ludwig Von Beethoven and Tutankhamen.
Details: Louis Armstrong House Museum’s 10-Year Anniversary Bash, 34-56 107th Street, Corona, October 15th, 6 pm to 10 pm, $30, $45 and $100, including beer and wine. Advance purchase only: $45 tickets include a limited-edition commemorative print of Armstrong, while $100 tickets include the print and a one-year museum membership.
This isn’t your mother’s drive-in movie theater. For 16 days, the New York Hall of Science will host Empire Drive-In, a large-scale, multi-media collaboration with artists Todd Chandler and Jeff Stark that reflects on car culture, technological obsolescence, creative reuse and sensory-based nostalgia. Cinephiles will be able to sit inside — or atop — 60 cars salvaged from a Brooklyn junkyard and watch films on a 40-foot, outdoor screen made from discarded wood. The installation features a sound program about cars and manufacturing curated by Ann Heppermann and broadcast on low-power FM. Plus, all nightly programs begin with a slideshow of late industrial images by photographer Stephen Mallon.
Details: Empire Drive-In, New York Hall of Science, 47-01 111th Street, Corona, October 4th to 20th, open from 10 am to 5 pm, but only from 10 am to 2 pm on movie days, $15. Seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
It’s so much fun it stops traffic! On Tuesday, the Louis Armstrong House Museum will close off 107th Street for automobiles and host its annual Jazzmobile summer block party. The event will kick off at 4 pm with a crafts workshop hosted by the Queens Museum of Art, followed by story time with English teacher/author Mick Carlon, who will read excerpts from his book, Travels with Louis, and a hula hoop extravaganza with The Hoop Movement. All the while, gourmet food truck Gorilla Cheese NYC will sell its line of specialty and grilled cheese sandwiches. The live music will start at 7 pm with New York style Latin jazz by Willie Martinez & La Familia Sextet, a legendary group that mixes African-Caribbean rhythms with the harmony and improvisation of American jazz.
Details: Jazzmobile Block Party, Louis Armstrong House Museum, 34-56 107th Street, Corona, August 20th, 4 pm – 9 pm, free.
When slavery was legal in Colombia, silleteros (or enslaved porters) would carry heavy cargo — and even people — on their backs up the steep hills of this Andean nation. After emancipation in 1851, freed silleteros would make a living by carrying large amounts of flowers around the South American country. Over time, an art form developed as silleteros would make intricate floral designs (or silletas) to sell and show off. Pretty soon an annual event, La Feria de las Flores sprung up in the city of Medellin. This Sunday, the time-honored tradition takes center stage in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park as silleteros from Medellin will participate in the Multicultural Flower Festival, which will include folkloric dances, live world music and an arts fair. It will actually be extremely multi-cultural, with participants from Brazil, China, Ecuador, India, Bolivia, Mexico, Ireland, Bangladesh, Italy and Greece celebrating liberty and the beauty of life. Plus, the public is invited to see the silleteros in action and their silletas on display (above) at the Queens Botanical Garden on Aug. 16 and 17 and Aug. 20 – 24 in the crabapple orchard between 10 am and 5 pm.
Details: Multicultural Flower Festival, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, the children’s playground at 111th Street and 54th Avenue, Aug. 18, 10 am.
Bonus details: Great Flower Parade 2013, Central Park West and 106th Street, Manhattan, Aug. 25, 10 am, free.
Two very special birthdays are celebrated on July 4th. This year, the Louis Armstrong House Museum will observe Satchmo’s entry into the world with live music and tasty treats. The Hot Jazz/Cool Garden Summer Concert Series kicks off this Thursday with Bria Skonberg and her “Hot Five”. A native of British Columbia, this trumpeter/vocalist/composer was recently nominated “Up and Coming Jazz Artist of the Year” by the Jazz Journalists Association, due in large part to her tremendous success since moving to New York City about two years ago. When not grooving to the music, attendees can enjoy Louis Armstrong’s favorite red beans and rice recipe, sweet tea and, yes, cake. Satchmo couldn’t ask for a better birthday party, and since this is an afternoon event, attendees will have plenty of time to travel to nighttime fireworks displays related to the day’s other major birthday celebration. Details: Hot Jazz/Cool Garden Summer Concert, Louis Armstrong House Museum, 34-56 107th St., Corona, July 4, 2 pm – 4 pm, $20 with special advance tickets promotions.
New York City is going to rock around the clock…literally. And Queens is going to pop, blues, jazz, reggae, indie, folk, Latin, experimental, country, gospel and even cabaret. This Saturday, Make Music New York celebrates the first day of summer with a unique festival of free concerts in public spaces throughout the five boroughs, including in cemeteries, gardens, parks, plazas, sidewalks and stoops. Cruise to Corona and check out a children’s bucket orchestra, jaunt off to Jamaica for R&B sensation La’Rayne, or rave into the night at the MMNY After Dark party in Sunnyside. Now in its seventh year, this action will take place simultaneously with similar day-long festivities in more than 500 cities around the world. Details: Make Music New York, June 21,10 am – 10 pm, free; click on the following Queens neighborhoods for their schedules: Astoria, Corona/Ridgewood, Elmhurst, Flushing, Jackson Heights, Jamaica, LIC, Rockaway and Sunnyside. (more…)