07/21/14 1:00pm

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Brooklyn has hipsters. Queens has Hip-to-Hip. This theater company, which specializes in family-friendly productions, performs Shakespeare classics for free in various public spaces throughout the borough each summer. This year, Hip-to-Hip will put on the Bard of Avon’s Two Gentlemen of Verona, an early slapstick comedy about love, friendship, betrayal, forgiveness…and a dog, and Cymbeline, a late romance/fairy tale about a king, his only daughter, an evil stepmother, and a forbidden love. The professional actors will perform in repertory, and 30 minutes before each performance, they will host “Kids & The Classics,” an interactive workshop for children of all ages.

Details after the jump. (more…)

wf

Triple anniversary, double digit authors, one huge celebration. The Queens Theatre was established in 1989 in the former Theaterama site, which is one of only three buildings remaining from the 1964 World’s Fair. The performance space is marking these 25- and 50-year milestones by presenting The World’s Fair Play Festival over nine days. Ten playwrights have created 10 original, 10-minute pieces inspired by the 1939 (a 75-year milestone) and/or 1964 World’s Fairs, both of which took place in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. In these dramas, six main actors work with three directors and a small ensemble to encourage audiences to look into the future with the same optimism and hope that the two Queens World’s Fairs inspired in their visitors. The participants are celebrated writers and actors, including Todd Almond (Lear deBessonet’s The Tempest at the Public Theater, Girlfriend); Deen (Public Theatre Emerging Writers Group; Draw The Circle, Queens Theatre and elsewhere); and Kristoffer Diaz (Pulitzer Prize finalist for The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Diety, Welcome to Arroyo’s, Queens Theatre and Lark Play Development Center).

Details: The World’s Fair Play Festival, Queens Theatre, 14 United Nations Ave. S., Flushing Meadows Corona Park, July 18th through July 27th, $18 with the following schedule: Friday, July 18th through 20th; Friday, July 25th through 27th; Fridays, 8 pm; Saturdays, 2 pm and 8 pm; Sundays, 3 pm.

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Photos: Queens Theatre

07/03/14 1:00pm

Wiz

Next week, people in a large, public lawn in Queens will follow the yellow brick road as Dorothy Gale searches for a wizard who can allegedly return her to Kansas. Then, in late August, the same public green space will become supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, as per a nanny with an umbrella and magical powers.

It’s the 75th and 50th anniversaries of the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs, which took place in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, and it’s the 75th jubilee of The Wizard of Oz’s debut as well as the 50th anniversary of the Mary Poppins launch. The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation is celebrating these many milestones by hosting an outdoor screening of The Wizard of Oz (above) on July 9th and a showing of Mary Poppins (below) on August 20th in what Borough President Melinda Katz likes to call “The World’s Park.”

Details after the jump. (more…)

06/30/14 1:00pm

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It’s time to hit the pavement. On July 6th, the 2014 Tour de Queens by Jamis will take bicyclists on a fun-filled, family-friendly trek through the borough. An estimated 20 miles, the route will begin in Flushing Meadows Corona Park and take participants through Flushing, East Flushing, Murray Hill, Auburndale, Bayside, Bayside Terrace, Beechurst and Whitestone with a rest stop in Little Bay Park. It’s not a competitive race–riders will pedal en masse at about 10 mph as a rolling parade with an NYPD escort. There are no street closures, but volunteer marshals will block (or “cork”) traffic intersections for safe passage. Details after the jump.

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Russell

Almost exactly 50 years ago, the event organizing committee decided that June 30, 1964 would be “Louis Armstrong Day” at the 1964 World’s Fair. So on that afternoon, the legendary jazz trumpeter left his Corona home in a motorcade (below) and rode through the fairgrounds in Flushing Meadows Corona Park while greeting fans. Satchmo and his band then gave a concert at the Singer Bowl, which is now called “Louis Armstrong Stadium” and sits on the grounds of the USTA–Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. This Sunday, June 29th, a concert and exhibition opening will celebrate the musician and his participation in the World’s Fair, thanks to a partnership between the Louis Armstrong House Museum and the Queens Museum. At 4 pm, Catherine Russell (above) — a Grammy winner who has recorded with such superstars as David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper, Paul Simon, Steely Dan, and Jackson Browne — will perform at the museum. The event will also launch Ambassador Satchmo at the World’s Fair, a series of never-before-published images of Pops during the day he was honored. His personal photographer, Jack Bradley, documented the event. 

Details: A Jazz Soirée with Catherine Russell, Queens Museum, New York City Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, June 29th, 4 pm, free with suggested donation.

Bonus details: Ambassador Satchmo at the World’s Fair, Queens Museum, New York City Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, June 29th through September 14th, free with suggested donation.

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Top photo: Catherine Russell; bottom photo: Louis Armstrong House Musuem

06/20/14 1:00pm

Wurst

It’s time to learn about the World’s Fair and sample the world’s fare. This Sunday at the Queens Historical Society’s Kingsland Homestead (below), Pierre Montiel will present a lecture and slideshow on the 1939 World’s Fair, which took place in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. The event will informally launch Remembering Yesterday: Queens and Its NY World’s Fairs, an on-site exhibition on the two Queens World Fairs (1939 and 1964) featuring artifacts and photographs drawn from attendees’ collections. Over the next two months, the Flushing landmark will host four afternoon tasting-and-cultural events with live music, food and literature from Germany (above), Italy, Poland and Ireland, all of which participated in at least one Queens World’s Fair.

Immediate details: History and Highlights of a World’s Fair with Pierre Montiel, Queens Historical Society, Kingsland Homestead, 143-35 37th Avenue, Flushing, June 22nd, 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm, $8.

Upcoming details: A Taste of Germany, July 13th; A Taste of Italy, July 27th; A Taste of Poland, August 10th; and A Taste of Ireland, August 24th. Events roughly run from 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm, $15.

Ongoing details: Remembering Yesterday: Queens and Its NY World’s Fairs, open Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm, runs through May 31, 2015, free with admission ($5 adults, $3 students/seniors).

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Photos: Queens Historical Society

06/11/14 1:00pm

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Welcome to the new terms of engagement. Science museums have always offered hands-on exhibits and participatory programs, but now the New York Hall of Science is putting visitors in the driver’s seat and giving them the keys. With the newly launched Design Lab, attendees think, build, test, and refine their ideas, putting creative design and engineering to work. Located on the lower level of the Central Pavilion, the Design Lab is a permanent exhibition consisting of five visually and thematically distinct activity areas. Visitors use common, everyday materials to learn that expertise comes from experimentation, critical thinking, and collaboration. Here are the five activity areas:

  • Backstage, where visitors devise solutions to performance-based activities. During this first summer, visitors will make jointed shadow puppets out of index cards, fasteners, sticks and tape.
  • Sandbox (above), where museum-goers build large structures out of such materials as wooden dowels and rubber bands.
  • Studio (below), where visitors build small, tabletop structures and add their own creations to a collaborative project. This summer’s activity challenges participants to build structures from cardboard, circuits and pipe cleaners that would make their city a happier place.
  • Treehouse, a split-level area for experiments and activities requiring a vertical drop. The first activity in this space gets museum-goers to use pulleys, zip lines and other items to create a method to move objects between the two levels.
  • Maker Space, which actually opened in 2012, lets visitors use tools that convert design ideas into prototypes.

Details: Design Lab, New York Hall of Science, 47-01 111th Street, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Summer hours are Monday – Friday, 10:30 am – 4:30 pm; Saturday, 11 am – 5:30 pm; and Sunday, 10:30 am – 5:30 pm. Free with admission. Camp and school groups can reserve sessions for a fee at 718-699-0301.

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Photos: NYSCI

06/09/14 1:00pm

At Central Park

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 Tennis provides 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 Golf provides free lessons and equipment to boys and girls, ages six to 16. CityParks Track & Field gives 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.

CityParks Tennis presented by Chase

  • Astoria Park, Astoria South and 18th Street, Tuesday and Thursday, 9 am to noon;
  • Alley Pond Tennis Center, Union Turnpike, Grand Central Parkway and Winchester Boulevard, Tuesday and Thursday, 9 am to noon;
  • Baisley Park, 155th Street and 118th Avenue, Tuesday and Thursday, 1 pm to 4 pm;
  • Brookville Park, Brookville Boulevard and Southern Parkway, Monday and Wednesday, 1 pm to 4 pm;
  • Cunningham Park, Union Turnpike and 193rd Street, Monday and Wednesday, 9 am to noon, and Tuesday and Thursday, 9 am to noon (Intermediate);
  • Forest Park, Myrtle Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard, Monday and Wednesday, 1 pm to 4 pm;
  • Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Monday and Wednesday, 9 am to noon;
  • Flushing Memorial Field, 149th Street and 25th Avenue, Tuesday and Thursday, 1 pm to 4 pm;
  • Juniper Valley Park, 62nd Avenue and 80th Street, Monday and Wednesday, 9 am to noon, and Tuesday and Thursday, 9 am to noon (Intermediate); and
  • Kissena Park, Rose and Oak avenues, Tuesday and Thursday, 1 pm to 4 pm.

CityParks Golf presented by René Lacoste Foundation

  • Mario Fajardo Park Field 10, Kissena Boulevard and Booth Memorial Avenue, Monday and Wednesday, 9:30 am to 10:30 am (6-8 years), and 10:30 am to noon (9-16 years);
  • Alley Pond Park Field 1, Winchester Boulevard and Union Turnpike, Monday and Wednesday, 9:30 am to 10:30 am (6-8 years), and 10:30 am to noon (9-16 years);
  • Baisley Pond Park, Foch Boulevard and 155th Street, Tuesday and Thursday, 9:30 am to 10:30 am (6-8 years), and 10:30 am -to noon (9-16 years); and
  • Flushing Meadows Corona Park Field 11, 56th and Corona avenues, Tuesday and Thursday, 9:30 am to 10:30 am (6-8 years), and 10:30 am to noon.

CityParks Track & Field presented by EmblemHealth

  • Astoria Park, Astoria South and 18th Street, Monday and Wednesday, 9:30 am to 10:30 am (5-7 years), and 10:30 am to noon (8-16 years);
  • Juniper Valley Park, Juniper Boulevard and 71st Street, Tuesday and Thursday, 9:30 am to 10:30 am (5-7 years), and 10:30 am to noon (8-16 years);
  • Forest Park, Myrtle Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard, Monday and Wednesday, 9:30 am – 10:30 am (5-7 years), and 10:30 am to noon (8-16 years); and
  • Detective Keith L. Williams Park, 173rd Street and 105th Avenue, Tuesday and Thursday, 9:30 am – 10:30 am (5-7 years) and 10:30 am to noon (8-16 years).

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Albita

It was a very good day for Satchmo. On June 30, 1964, the World’s Fair organizers declared the date “Louis Armstrong Day,” and the legendary Corona resident and his All Stars performed at the Singer Bowl in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. In honor of this history — and to have another very good day — the inaugural Louis Armstrong International Music Festival will happen on June 29th in almost the same exact place, featuring live music, dancing, and a food truck rally. Multi Grammy Award-winning Cuban-American salsa singer Albita (above) headlines the show. Other scheduled performers are the Jon Faddis Quartet, led by trumpeter Jon Faddis (below); Junoon with Salman Ahmad; and David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Eternity Band.

Details: The Louis Armstrong International Music Festival, produced by Kupferberg Center for the Arts/Queens College, Parade Ground near the Unisphere at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, June 29th, 1 pm to 7 pm, rain or shine, free.
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Top photo: Albita; bottom photo: wiki

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Grown up time is so overrated! This Sunday, Queens Theatre will host two productions of special version of Peter Pan. Created by John Caird and Trevor Nunn, this re-enactment takes place in turn-of-the-century London. A group of youngsters use their natural creativity and a few household objects and puppets to fly to Neverland, where they are forced to escape Captain Hook and Mr. Smee. With a strong emphasis on the importance of imagination, the play encourages the audience to create their own adventures.

Details: Peter Pan, Queens Theatre, 14 United Nations Avenue South, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, June 1, 1 pm and 3 pm, $14 or purchase a Family Series Flex Pass for $100 (10 tickets to use however you want).

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