Technically, it’s when the sun reaches its most southern declination. Effectively, it’s the shortest day of the year in terms of daylight hours for those living north of the Equator. Artistically, it’s has been the inspiration for dance, literature, mythology, painting, religion and ritual for centuries. Locally, it’s the perfect time to head to the Queens Botanical Garden. On December 8th, the Flushing oasis will celebrate the winter solstice with live music by the acappella group Rough Dozen, botanical craft workshops, a special holiday market, garden tours and a tree lighting that morphs into a seasonal sing-along. There’s also a rumor that Santa Claus will show up.
Details: Winter Solstice Celebration, Queens Botanical Garden, 43-50 Main Street, Flushing, December 8th, 12:30 pm to 5 pm, Free. (QBG admission is free from November 1st through March 31st.)
A few improvements are in the works for the Queens Botanical Garden in Flushing, reports Queens Chronicle. According to the Chronicle, “A $3.15 million designation from capital funds will be used primarily to upgrade the Flushing garden’s pathways. An additional $114,764 will be allocated to pay for the design of a geothermal heating well.” Some pathways will be replaced with pavers, while other pathways will receive fancy-looking asphalt. Funding will also cover an improved entrance and a new entrance plaza at College Point Boulevard, as well as a better drainage system and an automatic irrigation system for the northeastern end of the garden. The new geothermal heating well will be used for the visitor center. No word on a timeline for all these improvements.
The Queens Botanical Garden is debuting a new art exhibit at its Gallery of the Visitor and Administration Building on Tuesday, November 5th. It’s H. David Stein’s “Deconstructed Flowers,” a mosaic of flora photography that is distinctively detailed. According to the QBG, “His intricate photographs pull out the dimensional presence of flowers using a special technique which layers multiple photographs into a single montage. The end result shows many views of the flower’s beauty in a single image.” Stein previously served as the chairman of surgery at Flushing Hospital and started studying at the International Center of Photography after retirement. He has since shown his work at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., the Salmagundi Club and The Mamaroneck Artist Guild. The Queens Botanical Garden exhibit will be on view to the public for free Tuesdays through Saturdays, 8 am to 4 pm. The exhibit will run until Saturday, January 25th.
Flushing gets the best of many art worlds this weekend with globally recognized musicians and dancers performing in two locations. On September 20th, Flushing Town Hall hosts Crossing Frets for Tapping, a cross-cultural live improvisation featuring virtuoso Chinese pipa player Min Xiao-Fen (above), Korean komungo player Jin Hi Kim (a Guggenheim Fellow in Music Composition) and Max Pollak, who merged authentic Afro-Cuban music and dance with American rhythm tap and body music to create RumbaTap. Meanwhile on September 22nd, the St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble (below) gives a free concert featuring music for brass quintet in the Cherry Circle. Garden attendees are encouraged to bring non-perishable food to donate to City Harvest.
Details One: Crossing Frets for Tapping, Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, September 20th, 8 pm, $15.
Details Two: St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, Queens Botanical Garden, 43-50 Main Street, Flushing, September 22nd, 4 pm, free. (more…)
Zikrayat, which means “memories” in Arabic, is a group whose performances honor the music and dance traditions of Egypt, Lebanon and the greater Arab World. Inspired by the “Golden Age” of Egyptian musical cinema (1940s to 1960s), the band plays such instruments as the oud (a fretless lute), the nay (a cane flute) and the qanun (a zither), while solo and group belly dancers gyrate to the rhythms and melodies. On Sept. 7, Zikrayat will fill the air at the Queens Botanical Garden during a special outdoor concert in the Oak Allée, where picnicking is encouraged.
Details: Zikrayat, Queens Botanical Garden’s Oak Allee, 43-50 Main Street, Flushing, September 7th, 6:15 pm, free with admission ($2-$4). (more…)
When slavery was legal in Colombia, silleteros (or enslaved porters) would carry heavy cargo — and even people — on their backs up the steep hills of this Andean nation. After emancipation in 1851, freed silleteros would make a living by carrying large amounts of flowers around the South American country. Over time, an art form developed as silleteros would make intricate floral designs (or silletas) to sell and show off. Pretty soon an annual event, La Feria de las Flores sprung up in the city of Medellin. This Sunday, the time-honored tradition takes center stage in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park as silleteros from Medellin will participate in the Multicultural Flower Festival, which will include folkloric dances, live world music and an arts fair. It will actually be extremely multi-cultural, with participants from Brazil, China, Ecuador, India, Bolivia, Mexico, Ireland, Bangladesh, Italy and Greece celebrating liberty and the beauty of life. Plus, the public is invited to see the silleteros in action and their silletas on display (above) at the Queens Botanical Garden on Aug. 16 and 17 and Aug. 20 – 24 in the crabapple orchard between 10 am and 5 pm.
Details: Multicultural Flower Festival, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, the children’s playground at 111th Street and 54th Avenue, Aug. 18, 10 am.
Bonus details: Great Flower Parade 2013, Central Park West and 106th Street, Manhattan, Aug. 25, 10 am, free.
Irish eyes won’t be the only ones smiling! On July 30, Christel Rice, Tony DeMarco and Siobhán Butler will perform at Live at the Gantries, a series of free, outdoor performances in Long Island City on consecutive Tuesdays through August 13. Rice has developed a unique style of traditional Irish flute playing. DeMarco, a long-time performer and teacher of Irish fiddle music, is now among the best performers of the New York/Sligo style, a fast and flamboyant approach to the music. Butler is an internationally recognized percussive Irish step dancer. For those who miss this event, DeMarco and Butler will perform with Eamon O’Leary, who plays an ancient string instrument common in Celtic music called the “bouzouki,” at Queens Botanical Garden on Aug. 10.
Electronic waste is responsible for roughly 70 percent of the toxins in landfills, while making up only about 1 percent of their volume, according to the EPA. Plus, e-waste often contains lead, cadmium, mercury, phosphors and flame-retardants. These materials will be banned from regular trash by law starting in 2015, but Queens can start e-cycling (recycling electronic waste) this Sunday at the Queens Botanical Garden. The Flushing facility will accept unwanted electronics free of charge and dispose of them in an environmentally responsible way that keeps them out of the waste stream. Computers, printers, scanners, keyboards, TVs, DVD players, phones and Fax machines are among the acceptable materials. For a complete list, click here. The event is sponsored by the Lower East Side Ecology Center, which offers free public compost collection and training, e-waste collection and environmental education. Details: Summertime Electronic Waste Recycling, QBG Parking Lot, 42-80 Crommelin St., Flushing, July 21, 8 am to 6 pm, rain or shine.
Please allow us one pun: The oval hunting prospects in Queens this weekend are absolutely eggs-traordinary. Let’s begin with the Queens Botanical Garden at 11 am this Saturday. The Flushing venue will celebrate spring with its first-ever Egg Hunt in the crabapple orchard and arboretum. The fun continues with seasonal crafts, old-fashioned games, seed plantings, face painting and a special visit from Flora, QBG’s mascot! At the same time (and again on Sunday at 11 am), the Queens Zoo will host its Egg Hunt with the chance to meet the Easter Bunny and some real life Flemish giant rabbits and partake in some spring-themed activities, including mask-making. Starting at noon on Saturday, the Queens County Farm Museum will hold continuous Egg Hunts throughout the day in the orchard. Whiskers the bunny will be hopping around the farm to greet children and pose for pictures, and participants will be able to dance the Bunny Hop, and play egg toss and rolling games on the farmhouse lawn. Then there’s the chance to visit farm animals and take a hayride.