Come and visit. You’ll like it. Lonely Planet named Queens the best tourism destination for 2015 this morning. The travel media company commended the borough “for topicality and buzz-worthiness,” while praising the food, diversity, hotels, events, and unique neighborhoods.
“Nowhere is the image of New York as the global melting pot truer than Queens,” reads Lonely Planet’s editorial in its Best in the US list for 2015. “Browse New York’s biggest Chinatown in Flushing, shop for brilliantly colored saris in Jackson Heights, and inhale the heady aromas of coffee and hookahs in Astoria.”
The editorial continues: “The incomparable array of world cuisines makes Queens a destination for food lovers from all parts of New York City. For your art fix, ogle the new upgrades to the Queens Museum and the Museum of the Moving Image, look for the new Emerging Artists Festival in Long Island City, and stroll Astoria’s new 24-block Kaufman Arts District. If you prefer sand and surf to paint and canvas, head to Rockaway.”
Western South Dakota came in second on the list. The other members of the top 10 were, in order, New Orleans (LA), the Colorado River, North Conway (NH), Indianapolis (IN), Greenville (SC), Oakland (CA), Duluth (MN), and the Mount Shasta Region (CA).
Go ahead, deck the halls. But for real holiday inspiration, head over to any one of four fantastic concerts scheduled for this upcoming, jam-packed weekend. The fun begins on Friday with a special show at Queens Museum featuring the Corona Youth Orchestra, the Corona Children’s Orchestra, and the No Frontiers Children’s Orchestra playing Beethoven and other classics. There’s a double dose on Saturday, as the Forest Hills Choir performs a collection of choral pieces, such as “Magnificat” and “O Magnum Mysterium,” which honor the Virgin Mary. At night, the Queens College Choral Society, whose membership includes high school students and adults who have been with the group for more than 40 years, does Handel’s Messiah and other favorites with a full orchestra. Finish the fix — and get another dose of Handel’s Messiah – on Sunday when Our Lady of Martyrs Church’s Sacred Music Society joins forces with the Oratorio Society of Queens to offer an annual concert that always involves tremendous audience participation.
Four sets of details after the jump. (more…)
This one really does keep on giving. Street artist Leon Reid IV‘s installation The Gift (above and below) is a geometric play on the traditional gift box. With its varying perspectives, it encourages viewers to think about the act of giving this holiday season. The piece will be illuminated in Flushing next Wednesday during a special ceremony featuring performances by Miss New York Teen and Miss Chinese Cosmos. Organized by the Queens Crossing shopping center and the Crossing Art gallery, the event kicks off the season in Flushing, while the outdoor, public-art project will remain through December 30th, encouraging the gifts of time, compassion, and love.
Details: All Wrapped Up: Holiday Delights, Queens Crossing Outdoor Plaza, vicinity of 136-17 39th Avenue, Flushing, lighting ceremony on December 10th at 5:30 pm.
Photos: Queens Crossing
For some, it’s the official start of winter. For others, it’s the shortest day of the year in terms of daylight hours. Yet for still others, it’s the inspiration for spirit-filled rituals, dances, literature, mythology, and chanting. But for the Queens Botanical Garden, it’s the occasion for a concert by the talented, dynamic, all-male a cappella ensemble The Rough Dozen. The annual Winter Solstice Celebration on Sunday will also include a holiday marketplace, botanical craft workshops, a tree-lighting ceremony, seasonal refreshments, tours, and some face time with Santa Claus. Plus, the QBG Store will offer $5 discounts on any purchase of $25 or more for the entire day.
Details: Winter Solstice Celebration & Tree Lighting, Queens Botanical Garden, 43-50 Main Street, Flushing, December 7th, 1 pm to 5 pm, free (admission is free from November 1st through March 31st).
Basically, they’ve been the best in the business for last 516 years. In 1498, Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I moved his court to Vienna in what is now Austria. He decreed that six singing boys join his official musicians and ordered the court to find the best young talent from around his realm, which included present day Germany, Holland, and Italy. Since then, what is now called the “Vienna Boys’ Choir” has been astounding the world with an angelical sound, enthralling harmonies, and expansive repertoire. This weekend, choir members will perform in Queens, thanks to the Kupferberg Center for the Arts.
Human Rights Week 2014 is coming up, and as it has been for the past 350 years, Queens is the center of it all. On December 5th, the Flushing Interfaith Council will host a special concert featuring six diverse performing groups — Flamenco expert Barbara Martinez, chanters from the Hindu Temple Society of North America, NEMO (Katy Mantyk and Nemanja Rebic), TOMO Japan Choral Harmony, Willow Interfaith Women’s Choir (below), and Zikrayat (above) — in Flushing Town Hall. Expect folk songs, Hindu chants, Flamenco stomping, and Arab rhythms, but there might be some Gospel, Latin motets, and Hebrew rounds as well. The interfaith council’s goal is to celebrate religious freedom and raise awareness about religious persecution, so proceeds will benefit its Peace and Justice Committee and Burma Task Force USA.
Details: Deeper Harmonies, Flushing Town Hall, 135-35 Northern Boulevard, December 5th, 7 pm, $10-$15.
Her music reflects the country’s history. She mixes Appalachian folk, Piedmont blues, soul, R&B, and traditional Native American rhythms. It also reflects her Cherokee, Choctaw, African and European DNA. Her 2012 multifaceted work, The Garden of Love, fuses William Blake’s 18th century poetry to music that draws from rural influences of Appalachia. But Martha Redbone is also known for her support of causes reflecting her heritage. She annually holds a traditional music workshop within the United Houma Nation’s Cultural Enrichment Summer Camp program, and regularly gives talks on subjects ranging from indigenous rights to the role of arts in politics. This weekend, Redbone will offer a concert on Friday and then lead a workshop the next day at Flushing Town Hall. Her husband Aaron Whitby will join her on stage, playing keys and melodica, while Alan Burroughs will handle the guitar and vocals, Fred Cash will play bass, and Tony Mason will rock the drums. On Saturday, the interactive, family-friendly music workshop will introduce participants to Native American rhythms and sounds.
Concert details: Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, November 21st, 7:30 pm, $15/$10 for students. This event has a special “tweetseat” offer. People who are active on social media can attend for free if they tweet at least five times before, during and after the concert.
Workshop details: Flushing Town Hall, November 22nd, 1 pm, $6/$4 for children.
Photo: Martha Redbone FB
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…)
More than 5,000 years of Chinese history and culture are coming to Queens College. The exhibit, Highlights of The Daghlian Collection of Chinese Art, will be on view at the Godwin-Ternbach Museum from November 19th, 2014, through January 17th, 2015. Selected from a larger donation by William Daghlian, a former adjunct professor at Queens College’s Aaron Copland School of Music, the show will feature 60 items, including ceramics, jade, pottery, and wood objects dating from the Stone Age (ca. 6,000–2,500 BCE) to the Ming Dynasty (ca. 1,368–1,644 AD). More details and photos are on the jump page.