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…)

08/14/14 1:00pm

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It’s kind of a battle of the bands, but if traffic is light and one group starts late, music lovers can catch them all. On August 16th, three fantastic concerts will take place in Queens. At 2 pm, Gordon Au & The Grand Street Stompers (above) will perform at the Louis Armstrong House Museum as part of the historic site’s Hot Jazz/Cool Garden Summer Concert Series. Though based in New York City, this jazz band revives the New Orleans-style music of the 1920s and onward. At 3 pm, Choban Elektrik will give a free concert at the Ridgewood Branch Library. This electric dance band draws from the folk music of Albania, Macedonia, Greece, Bulgaria, and the Romany people. Beyond singing in various languages and a powerful rhythm sections, attendees can expect traditional line dancing. Then at 6:15 pm, the party continues with The Ebony Hillbillies at the Queens Botanical Garden. New York City’s only African American string band plays all-American jazz, blues, bluegrass, rockabilly, rock and roll and country.

More information is on jump page.

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08/08/14 4:00pm

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Queens got talent. United States Tennis Association employees set up mini courts in Corona Plaza and gave free instruction to youngsters this morning. Activities included lessons on basic skills, balance, and coordination, as well as ball-and-racket exchanges and tips on long-term athletic development. The participants used loaned mini-rackets and foam balls, and USTA employees imparted gifts and provided information on low-cost programs at the nearby Billie Jean King National Tennis Center (where the two-week US Open will take place starting on August 25th).

Then as a special treat, officials showed the permanent US Open singles trophies to the awed crowd. It was so much fun that the USTA will do it again in the same plaza next Friday, August 15th, at 10:30 am in conjunction with other activities such as healthy eating demonstrations, a merchant showcase, health screenings, and back-to-school discounts. Corona Plaza project manager William McCarthy hopes to offer these events weekly as part of his “Fridays Under the Seven” healthy living series. In the top photo, Assemblyman Francisco Moya holds the US Open men’s singles trophy, the same one that Rafael Nadal hoisted last year, in the second row, while City Council Member Julissa Ferreras shows the women’s singles trophy, which Serena Williams won last year. Queens Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jack Friedman is in back right in a suit, while Community Board 4 District Manager Christian Cassagnol is in suspenders next to him.  Check out more photos after the jump… (more…)

07/14/14 1:00pm

Bria

Bria Skonberg is on fire! The trumpeter/vocalist/composer was recently nominated as “Up and Coming Jazz Artist of the Year” by the Jazz Journalists’ Association and she won a New York Bistro Award for “Outstanding Jazz Artist.” A Canadian transplant who can hula-hoop while playing, Skonberg (above) has performed as a bandleader and guest artist at more than 50 jazz festivals in North America, Europe, China, and Japan and headlined at Symphony Space, Birdland, and Dizzy’s. (Hmmm, if she keeps this up she’ll be compared to Satchmo soon.) On July 19th, Skonberg’s quartet will perform at Satchmo’s former residence, the Louis Armstrong House Museum, as part of the venue’s Hot Jazz/Cool Garden summer concert series. In addition to great music and Skonberg’s pure, playful and sultry voice, attendees will be served Armstrong’s favorite dish, red beans ‘n’ rice, and sweet tea.

Details: Bria Skonberg Quartet, Louis Armstrong House Museum, 34-56 107th Street, Corona, July 19th, 2 pm, $18 in advance, includes a pass to tour the house which is valid for six months ($20 at the door without house pass.).

More information on the Hot Jazz/Cool Garden series is on the jump page. 

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06/13/14 1:00pm

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There will be dancing in the streets. Many, many streets…bars, cemeteries, gardens, historic houses, malls, parks, nonprofits, restaurants, stoops and triangles, too. On June 21st (aka the longest day of the year), Make Music New York will host a Summer Solstice festival consisting of more than 1,000 free concerts throughout the five boroughs. From 10 am to 10 pm, musicians of all persuasions — hip hop to opera, jazz to punk, high school bands to pop stars — will do their things. Queens, of course, will be in the center of the action. For example, South African artist Toya DeLazy will perform her unique blend of hip hop, jazz and electronica at LIC Landing (52-10 Center Boulevard, Long Island City) at 1 pm. Meanwhile from noon to 4 pm, the Queens Council on the Arts (37-11 35th Avenue, Astoria) will present Reggae artist Desmond followed by Instrumental Jazz Fusion by Mind Open. Six hours of music and dance are scheduled at the Spaceworks LIC Block Party (33-02 Skillman Avenue, LIC). All told, Astoria, Corona, Elmhurst, Glendale, Jackson Heights, Jamaica, LIC, Ridgewood and Sunnyside will host events.

Click here for a complete list of all performers, venues, and times in Queens.

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05/21/14 1:00pm

MAS

Jack Eichenbaum grew up in Bayside in the 1950s. He left for academic and vocational reasons in 1963, and when he returned from completing his doctorate in urban geography in 1976, he found a completely different borough. The mostly white, working class neighborhoods of his youth had transformed into multi-ethnic enclaves, creating the world’s most diverse county. Fascinated, he started giving walking tours of his beloved hometown in the 1980s, and in 2010, Eichenbaum was designated the official historian of Queens, as per the borough president’s office. The former city assessor has five upcoming tours, which are famous for the amount of local trivia he shares and the great restaurants he hits afterwards with participants. For more information, please see below.

  • Willets Point, Sunday, May 25th, 4 pm: East of Citi Field is a sewerless, hardscrabble area of auto junkyards and related businesses that has twice beaten back recent attempts at redevelopment. But since it’s located between the world famous baseball stadium and booming Flushing, public and private interests are again trying to transform Willets Point. Eichenbaum will walk from central Flushing to the area, while discussing political, economic and ecological issues and explaining why “Willets Point” is a misnomer. $20.
  • The World of the 7 Train, Saturday, May 31st, 10 am: Eichenbaum calls this full-day program his “signature tour,” although it’s actually a series of six walks (Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside, Jackson Heights, Corona and Flushing) and connecting rides. He focuses on the 7 train’s influence on surrounding neighborhoods. Lunch is in Flushing. Pre-register via jaconet@aol.com.
  • On and Off Jamaica Avenue, Sunday, June 8th, 10 am: After decades of dedication, redesign, and redevelopment, Downtown Jamaica is undergoing a renaissance as the borough’s major transportation center. Eichenbaum promises historic buildings, commercial activity, culture, and a surprise ending. $20.
  • Crossing Newtown Creek: Contrasting Industrial Brooklyn & Queens, Sunday, July 27th, 10 am: See remnants of the intense and largely unregulated industrial development that thrived along Newtown Creek during the late 19th century. See elegant Greenpoint highlights and East River shoreline redevelopment ending with shoreline views from Gantry Park and Hunter’s Point.
  • More Space and New Arrangements in Western Queens, Sunday, August 3rd, 10 am: During the first third of the 20th century, Western Queens nurtured developments where traditional open space/building area relationships were altered to create new urban architecture. Sunnyside Gardens and the Jackson Heights Historic District anchor this tour, which includes Phipps Garden Apartments, various Matthews Flats, the Metropolitan Life houses, and early truck-oriented industrial buildings.

Photo: Alex Engel

05/07/14 1:00pm

Dolly

By early 1964, Louis Armstrong had pretty much done it all. Thanks to his songs, movies, tours and TV appearances, he was beloved around the world. But on May 9, 1964, Pops outdid himself, replacing the Beatles at number one on the Billboard charts. “Hello Dolly,” his title song to a Broadway musical, ended the Fab Four’s 14-week run at the top with “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “She Loves You” and “Can’t Buy Me Love.” It was a miracle of sorts and to this day, Armstrong, who was 63 at the time, is still the oldest artist to attain a number one pop hit. Of course, the lads from Liverpool reclaimed the throne shortly thereafter, but “Hello, Dolly!” became the biggest hit of Satchmo’s lifetime. Plus, the tune had another successful round with the eponymous play’s film adaptation directed by Gene Kelly and starring Barbra Streisand and Walter Matthau. This Saturday, the Louis Armstrong House Museum and the Museum of the Moving Image will mark the 50th anniversary of the song’s triumph by co-presenting a Hello Dolly Party. Attendees will enjoy a special screening of the movie, a dessert reception and a presentation by Armstrong House archivist Ricky Riccardi, who will present rare footage of the great trumpeter’s performances. They will also receive complimentary passes to the Armstrong House at 34-56 107th Street in Corona.

Details: Hello Dolly Party, Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Avenue, Astoria, May 10th, 1 pm, $12, but free for members of either museum.

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05/02/14 1:00pm

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This is the real Mother of all Demos! This Sunday, the New York Hall of Science will host an annual event that is part marketplace, part county fair, part parenting exhibit and 100 percent unique. The Mamas Expo brings together local resources, businesses, educators, caretakers, performers, and of course, youngsters for a day of information, networking, and fun. This is the place to gain insight into schools, new products, services, and ways to improve the overall parenting experience. Imagine being able to learn about family financial planning, baby massage techniques and sleeping philosophies on the same day and under the same roof.

Details: Mamas Expo, New York Hall of Science, 47-01 111th Street, Corona, May 4th, 10 am to 4 pm, $13-$45/free for children under 2.

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Photos: Mamas Expo