04/15/15 9:45am

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Cesar Millan (aka the Dog Whisperer) comes to Queens this week. He’ll find a lot of fun things to do as the next few days feature Doo Wop and classical music concerts, Earth Day celebrations, comedy, and even a balsa wood workshop. Here’s the rundown: (more…)

03/31/15 1:00pm

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Eggs can be symbols of life, fertility, rebirth, and even the resurrection of Jesus. Rabbits laying these ovoids and hiding them in gardens doesn’t really comply with nature, but the Easter Bunny is believed to come from a legend that German immigrants brought to the United States. Regardless of the facts and origins, Queens is hopping with great, secular Easter activities, which are listed on the jump page along with another image.

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03/04/15 1:00pm

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Though last night’s snow might confuse the issue, it’s time for Queens gardeners to start preparing their summer vegetables. This is the key to earlier harvests, greater variety, healthier crops, stronger soil, easier transplanting, and especially more satisfaction and enjoyment.

This Sunday, Queens Botanical Garden Director of Education Emeritus Fred Gerber will host a workshop dedicated to growing indoor vegetables during the warm weather months. There should be something of interest for everybody from the novice to the experienced gardener with the greenest of thumbs. Details on the jump page.

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It was so nice they did it twice. Flushing Meadows Corona Park hosted the 1939-1940 World’s Fair and the one that ran in 1964 and 1965. Both events – which took place over two, consecutive, six-month periods – had major impact on Queens and the rest of the world. Plus, both are currently celebrating major anniversaries (50th and 75th). This Sunday, a group of Urban Park Rangers will lead a tour through the park that will highlight the remnants and their roles in these historic fairs. More details after jump.

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01/06/15 1:00pm

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It’s time to tree-cycle and e-cycle. To promote eco-friendly practices — and help New Yorkers avoid a new state law imposing $100 fines on residents who leave electronics on the curb for pickup — the Queens Botanical Garden will  host the 12th annual E-Waste Recycling Event on Sunday. Done in partnership with the Lower East Side Ecology Center and sponsored by TekServe, this six-hour event allows participants to drop off unwanted or non-functional computers, printers, cell phones, video games, tablets, and other gadgets in the parking entrance. (Click here for a full list of acceptable items.) Garden employees will make sure that they are disposed of in the proper ecological way. On the same day and in the same spirit, the garden will host arts-and-crafts activities using recycled and repurposed items.

Meanwhile in response to recent holidays, the NYC Parks Department will host MulchFest 2015 all weekend at various spots throughout the five boroughs, including 13 Queens green spaces. Residents can bring trees to these spots to be recycled into mulch that will nourish plantings across the city. In some places, NYC Parks employees will chip the wood and give bags of mulch back to the tree donors. Details for all three events are on the jump page.

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12/03/14 1:00pm

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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).

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Top photo: Queens Botanical Garden; bottom photo: The Rough Dozen

11/06/14 11:00am

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On this day, back in 1894, our forebears made what was arguably one of the greatest mistakes in history.

November the 6th is the day that Long Island City and the rest of what is now known as Queens voted to give up their sovereign rights as independent municipal entities to join with Manhattan and the Bronx, Staten Island, and the City of Brooklyn to form the City of Greater New York. An enormous section of Queens just stayed out of the whole thing, and became Nassau County. The whole consolidation effort was run out of Tammany Hall over in Manhattan. It was Dick Croker and JJ Byrne’s personal project, and it all became official in 1898 when our modern five boroughs were established.

From “Queens Borough, New York City, 1910-1920: The Borough of Homes and Industry“, courtesy Google Books:

At the election held November 6, 1894, the question of consolidating with the City of New York was voted upon by the residents of Queens County. The majority of votes in favor came from the Long Island City section whose inhabitants, because of their proximity to New York, had been in favor of the project for many years. The western part of the county therefore became part of the City of New York, and is known as Queens Borough; while the eastern part of the county was erected into a separate county, known as Nassau, taking its name from the early name for Long Island.

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10/17/14 1:00pm

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It’s always a bumper crop in these parts. This Sunday, the Queens Botanical Garden hosts its fourth annual Harvest Fest & Pumpkin Patch, a day-long, family-friendly bash with great food, live entertainment, craft vendors, children’s activities, a bird-and-nature walk, the famous beer tent, and gourds galore.

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09/05/14 1:00pm

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Queens is always teeming with fun, enriching, and inspiring activities, and this weekend is no exception. In fact, this Saturday’s lineup is so diverse and enthralling that it has inspired the Queens Tourism Council to offer prizes. It’s simple, anybody who takes a selfie at the four events described in this post and shares them on the QTC Facebook page receives an It’s In Queens tee-shirt (or another prize if supplies run out).

The first item is a public art project by Roshani Thakore and Fumi Nakamura entitled “Move with Us.” These artists (above) invite Queens immigrant residents to demonstrate physical stances in public spaces for an animated video illustrating collective cultural gestures. The goal is to collect 167 poses to represent 167 cultures, and each participant will receive a custom-designed luggage tag as a memento. Details: 12:30 pm to 3 pm, Queens Library Sunnyside Branch, 43-06 Greenpoint Avenue.

More details and images after the jump.

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08/15/14 3:00pm

queens-botanical-garden-repaving $4,000,000 in improvements are coming for the Queens Botanical Garden, and it couldn’t come any sooner. The Queens Courier reports that the money is going toward a new irrigation system and redone walkways throughout the 39-acre site. The Queens Botanical Garden has not had the walkways repaved in 50 years, and they are cracked and sinking in many areas.

The project will happen in three different phases. The first phase is almost done, and includes the replacement of sidewalks around the water fountain. The second phase covers the repaving of the College Point Boulevard entrance, pictured to the left. And the third phase includes new pathways around the meadow and in the middle of the garden. There will also be a brand new sprinkler system — for now, workers carry hoses across the garden to water the plants. Susan Lacerte, the execute director of the QBC, tells the Courier that if the garden can secure more funding, she’d like to replace the temporary office trailers that are now used as staff office space.

$4M Infrastructure Update to Bring New Life to Queens Botanical Garden [Queens Courier]