It’s time for a change. Since last December, various community advisors have been meeting periodically to discuss improvements to Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Part of The World’s Park: Reconnecting a Regional Park with Its Neighbors project done in partnership with the NYC Parks Department, the Queens Museum, and Design Trust for Public Space, the focus is on the planning, design, and stewardship of the 1,225-acre public space. This Sunday, the public gets to provide input at the World’s Park Community Forum at Queens Museum. All are invited, plus there will be simultaneous Spanish and Mandarin translation and activities for non-speakers. More information on jump page.


02/25/15 1:00pm


At first glance, calligraphy is a visual art. But upon further investigation, its characters and images also express philosophy, culture, and inspiration. Chao-Lin Ting (above) has been engaging in this practice for roughly nine decades. The Chiangsu Province native is world renowned for his seal and semi-cursive scripts. This Sunday, the 102-year-old will co-present an afternoon dedicated to calligraphy at Flushing Town Hall. At 1 pm, Ting and James Shau will teach the basics of the Chinese genre, while Seoul native Yoo Sung Lee, a professional with over 30 years of practice who wrote a chapter in the World Encyclopedia of Calligraphy will inform on the Korean styles at 3 pm. Plus, the town hall’s walls are currently covered with Ting and Lee’s work as part of the Dynamic Writing: A Century of Calligraphy exhibit, which runs until March 22nd. (Gallery hours are Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 5 pm.)

More details, another photo, and bonus details on jump page.



One day last spring, I was walking down Jackson Avenue towards Astoria when I found myself in the midst of a flock of pigeons who were pecking away at the sidewalk and doing – y’know – pigeon stuff. Nothing unusual about that, and the sort of thing that New Yorkers barely even notice. What grabbed my attention, however, was that one of these critters was sporting plumage of the scarlet and golden variety, which is decidedly uncommon. A fancy that this might be some sort of Buddhist Monk Pigeon or X-Man was entertained briefly, but then again I’m sort of an idiot.

More after the jump… (more…)

02/23/15 11:00am


Most don’t survive their third year, but the 5th Annual Queens World Film Festival is about to begin its six-day run on March 17, and it keeps growing and growing. A total of 116 flicks — of all imaginable lengths, themes, and languages — will screen at various venues in Astoria, Jackson Heights, the Kaufman Arts District, and Long Island City this year. But beforehand the organizers are going to hold a special night to introduce some of the filmmakers, festival directors, and special guests as well as show 10 trailers of selected movies. More information and another photo on jump page.


02/19/15 11:00am


Above is an aerial shot of my beloved Newtown Creek, as seen from the Empire State Building. You’ll notice the Pulaski Bridge crossing the water in the lower third of the shot and the Kosciuszko Bridge in the upper third. That’s LIC on the left, and Greenpoint on the right. On the Queens side, you can see the LIRR yard at Hunters Point and the LIE snaking eastwards away from the Midtown Tunnel. What you don’t see is something that nobody who is alive today has ever seen, and that’s Jack’s Creek – a filled in tributary of Newtown Creek that traveled inland for quite a way.

What? You don’t know Jack? More after the jump… (more…)

02/17/15 1:00pm


“Magdalene” laundries dotted the Irish landscape since 1765. These commercial washing businesses were operated by nuns, who made ”fallen women” — prostitutes, flirts, orphans, single mothers, and even the disabled — spend their days (and nights) scrubbing linens in order to “wash away their sins.” In 1993, a mass grave containing 155 corpses was unearthed on the grounds of a Madgalene laundry, leading to a media frenzy and an official state apology in 2013. The discovery also led Erin Layton to write a one-woman play set inside the Good Shepherd Magdalene Laundry in Dublin. Magdalen, which stars Layton, will be presented twice this week at the New York Irish Center as part of a jam-packed week of entertainment. An additional photos and more information follows.


02/12/15 11:00am


I had a meeting to go to last night at LaGuardia Community College, this time it was for the Newtown Creek Community Advisory Group. I made sure to give myself a little extra time to wander and wave the camera about. I’m happy to report that Newtown Creek’s Dutch Kills tributary is still where it’s supposed to be, although it is quite frozen. Since it was right around sunset, I got busy with the camera. The shot above is looking north from the Hunters Point Avenue Bridge at the former Loose Wiles Thousand Windows Bakery in the Degnon Terminal.

More after the jump… (more…)

02/09/15 1:00pm


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.


02/09/15 11:00am


Last Friday, I am told, the temperature was twelve degrees fahrenheit. It would hard for me to comment on it, as my entire body was so thoroughly numb that it would be a lie to suggest that I felt anything at all. Warm, cold, happy, sad… toes… nothing.

There was a twenty mile an hour wind blowing, and when the TV Weather Lady said that it would feel like negative eight degrees on unprotected skin, she was right. Last Friday (and this seems to happen to me each and every February) I found myself standing at the shoreline of the East River on the second coldest day of the year (so far, at least). You will notice, it is trusted, the vast amount of ice in the river? Brrr.

An interesting event was underway, organized by an LIC area group which calls itself HarborLAB, is why I found myself at Hunters Point South Park, at the East River shoreline on the second coldest day of the year (well, so far, at least). Have I mentioned the cold? This was Viking Apocalypse cold. You either had to be crazy dedicated to be out here, or just plain crazy.

More after the jump… (more…)


Ah, that old Queens lament: So little time, so many unique, inspiring concerts to attend. On Friday, Bernadette Morris will perform at the New York Irish Center. A rising star on the Emerald Isle, this Belfast-based talent has spent 25 of her 32 years on stage and/or immersed in music. She offers a fresh take on traditional Irish folk songs, singing in English and Gaelic and playing a mean fiddle.

After the concert, attendees should go right to sleep so they are rested for two Sunday concerts by Face the Music, the country’s only youth ensemble that is dedicated to the creation and performance of classical music by living composers. Over the past decade, this group has grown from an after-school club of eight kids to a band with 135-plus people from all over the Tri-State Area who convene every week to write, rehearse, and perform together. On this date at the Queens Museum, they will tackle Michael Gordon’s Trance, which is rarely performed because of its size (22 players needed), length (52 minutes), and difficulty (it’s been described as “classic music on the way to a heavy metal  meltdown”). More details and another photo are on the jump page.