08/28/14 1:00pm

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Kripalu Yoga integrates postures, breathing techniques, relaxation, and meditation in an interplay of mind, body, and energy. An outdoor, waterfront space filled with nature and art is the perfect place to practice this system of Hatha Yoga.

Tai Chi integrates slow body movement, fist-clenching, and internal concentration to improve balance, strength, and general psychological health. This Chinese martial art traces its origins to Taoist and Buddhist monasteries, and it, too, is best when practiced outdoors.

Free classes on both disciplines are being offered on weekends until October as part of Socrates Sculpture Park‘s healthy living initiative, which includes boating and a Saturday greenmarket.

Monique Schubert – a trained visual artist, certified Kripalu Yoga teacher, and eclectic educator — teaches the Kripalu Yoga with the uber-experienced Yojaida Estrella on Saturdays. Meanwhile, certified instructors from the Taoist Tai Chi Society of the USA lead the Tai Chi classes on Sundays.

More photos and information on jump page.

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08/25/14 1:00pm

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Catch the sound wave! Two years ago, the inaugural LIC Concert Series consisted of one gig featuring two bands and several dozen attendees. In 2013, four bands performed for a total of roughly 600 fans. This year, the third annual event boasts five weeks of fun with 14 local entertainers who will bring everything from live music to yoga to children’s activities to Long Island City. The kick-off was last week, but the show will go on for the next four consecutive Sundays. See the full lineup after the jump.

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08/14/14 11:00am

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29th Street in the Dutch Kills section, nearby Queens Plaza, used to be known as Academy Street “back in the day.” In this case, that day was way before the consolidation of the City of Greater New York in 1898. The “day” was just a few years after the village of Dutch Kills had broken away from the municipality of Newtown, joining with several other East River communities to form Long Island City in 1870.

The little church you’ll not notice – if you were to blink – at 40-11 29th Street – dates back to 1875.

Built as the First Reformed Church of Long Island City, it opened on the 12th of April, and its first pastor was named William Perry. Funds and property for the building came largely from the Payntar family (of ancient lineage), and a fellow named John Van Neste. There’s a reason that the place is called “Dutch Kills.”

More after the jump… (more…)

07/22/14 1:00pm

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The borough’s official tourism slogan is “It’s in Queens,” but over the summer, it could also be “It’s Outside in Queens,” as countless parks, cultural venues, and boulevards host countless plein air movies, concerts, plays, food festivals, and parades. Among the most popular is Live at the Gantries, a series of free performances in Gantry Plaza State Park featuring a diverse collection of musicians doing everything from Prog Rock to Reggae to Arab sounds with bellydancing. Tonight, Dahka Band, which infuses traditional music from Algeria, Nigeria, and Turkey and sings in Arabic, Berber, Yoruba, and English, will take the stage, which boasts the East River and the Midtown Manhattan skyline as its backdrop.

Information on the remaining performers and a photo of the venue are on the jump page.

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07/22/14 12:30pm

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Welcome to the Q’Stoner food feature, Signature Dish! Once a week we check in with Queens restaurants and ask the owners about the all-time favorite dishes they serve. If you know of a dish you’d like to see featured here, please email emily@brownstoner.com.

The Spot: Alobar, 46-42 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City.

The Deal: When your restaurant’s philosophy revolves around farm-fresh produce and seasonal dishes, it’s imperative that the menu reflects the changing seasons. So although patrons may miss a favorite hearty dish – such as late winter’s Signature Dish of the Loaded Baked Potato Gnocchi – summer is just an opportunity to find a new favorite.

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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…)

07/16/14 1:00pm

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Shoko Kazama has always been fascinated by Chinese characters and poetry. From childhood, the Yokohama native studied calligraphy and passionately orchestrated the brushes, Japanese paper, and Chinese ink. After studying independently and with various mentors for decades, she is now the distinguished official calligrapher of Kencho-ji, a Zen sect with its high temple in Kamakura, Japan. This Friday, Kazama opens her first ever exhibition in New York City, Bokusai, at Resobox, an LIC gallery/cafe that promotes art and cuisine from the Land of the Rising Sun. The show’s theme is Otogizoshi or stories from the Muromachi period (13th century) that have been passed down verbally among children for generations. Kazama mixes black ink with white paper because her art explores expressing the invisible through the visible.

A quote from Kazama, another image, and more exhibition information are on the jump page.

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07/10/14 2:00pm

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Manhattan has the inspiring Empire State Building. Paris has the romantic Eiffel Tower. Queens has authentic, affordable and amazing restaurants. Lots of them. A culinary tour company that debuts this weekend, Local Finds: Queens Food Tours, hopes to bring taste-conscious tourists to as many borough establishments as possible. This two-person agency will organize weekly food sampling and cultural walking tours of Long Island City for now with hopes to expand to Flushing, Jamaica, Richmond Hill and the Rockaways as soon as possible. One of the company’s two founders, Queens native Sergey Kadinsky, will lead three-hour journeys every Sunday morning, starting at 11 am. Kadinsky, who also works for City Council Member Karen Koslowitz, will bring patrons to six local establishments, including a micro-brewery, a hip coffee shop and Manducatis Rustica (photo), where signature dishes will be awaiting. Plus, participants will receive a brochure with a neighborhood map, list of attractions, and recommendations for about 30 other great eateries in the area. 

“When it comes to good eats, Queens is the king of the boroughs,” stated Richard Mumith, the other founder and a former Council Member Koslowitz employee. “We are all about discovering, eating, and supporting…local.”

A list of other Queens food tour guides is on the jump page.

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07/09/14 1:00pm

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There’s no place like hip-hop home. The rappers Havoc and Prodigy, who work together as the infamous Mobb Deep (above), will return to their native Queensbridge housing projects to give a free concert on July 17th as part of the NYC Parks SummerStage Presents series. The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, featuring 15 of the world’s finest soloists and ensemble players and led by Wynton Marsalis, is also scheduled to perform this month, as are Ismael Miranda, aka “El niño bonito de la Salsa,” and laid-back Washington, D.C.-based R&B vocalist J. Holiday. But the extravaganza offers more than music, as the Harambee Dance Company (below) will perform and  Puppetmobile and Teatro SEA will appear as part of SummerStage Kids.

Concert details: Ismael Miranda/Rebel Tumbao/Joe Claussell (Sacred Rhythm Music), July 15th, 7 pm; J. Holiday/Jon B with WBLS, July 16th, 7 pm; Mobb Deep with Lyricist Lounge, July 17th, 7 pm; Harambee Dance Company, July 18th, 7 pm; Queens Family Day: Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra/Rashida Bumbray/ Michael Mossman & Copland Jazz with Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College, July 20th, 4 pm; Ifetayo Youth Ensemble, July 31st, 10:30 am; Puppetmobile, August 7th, 10:30 am; and Teatro SEA, August 14th, 10:30 am.

Location and price details: Queensbridge Park, vicinity of Vernon Boulevard, 41st Avenue and the East River, Long Island City, all concerts are free. 

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07/08/14 1:00pm

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Is it possible to create twins via cloning? Because that’s the only way to enjoy all the top-notch live music in Queens this Thursday, when the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic and the country’s best Beatles tribute band come to town.

At 7 pm, the Met — in association with SummerStage and City Parks Foundation — will host a concert in Socrates Sculpture Park featuring Mary-Jane Lee (soprano), Ginger Costa-Jackson (mezzo-soprano), and Yunpeng Wang (baritone), accompanied by Dan Saunders (pianist). They will perform arias and duets from a variety of operas. At 7:30 pm, Strawberry Fields (above), a group that former President Bill Clinton praises in his book Giving, will take its audience on a Magical Mystery Tour through the Fab Four’s biggest hits as part of the Central Astoria Local Development Corporation’s 2014 Waterfront Concert Series. Then at 8 pm, the New York Philharmonic, which is the county’s oldest symphony orchestra, will venture away from Lincoln Center to give a free concert with Strauss, Smetana, Tchaikovsky, and Alan Gilbert as the conductor in Cunningham Park.

Opera details: Metropolitan Opera Recital, Socrates Sculpture Park (below), 32-01 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City, July 10th, 7 pm, free. 

Beatles details: Strawberry Fields, Astoria Park Great Lawn, Shore Boulevard between Hell Gate Bridge and Astoria Pool, Astoria, July 10th, 7:30 pm, free.

Orchestra details: New York Philharmonic in the Park, Cunningham Park, 193rd Street near Union
Turnpike, Fresh Meadows, July 10th, 8 pm, free.

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