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.
“From the World’s Fair to the World’s Park.” Expect to hear this new slogan a lot over the next six months as part of a dual effort to rebrand Flushing Meadows Corona Park and celebrate the 50th and 75th anniversaries of the World’s Fairs that took place there. Yesterday, Maspeth-based Assemblywoman Margaret M. Markey, who chairs the NY State Assembly’s Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sports Committee, announced a $100,000 grant to the Queens Tourism Council to help it promote local World’s Fair commemorative events over the next six months. Cultural institutions such as the Queens Botanical Garden, Queens Museum, Queens Theatre and New York Hall of Science are planning special activities related to these anniversaries, and NYC Parks is ready to host a World’s Fair Festival on May 18. (Click here to see all the events.)Borough President Melinda Katz is also involved, co-chairing the World’s Fair Anniversary Committee with Assemblymember Markey and spearheading an effort to promote the Flushing green space as the “World’s Park.” These two elected officials will join other Queens leaders near the NY State Pavilion on April 22 to mark the exact 50th anniversary of the opening ceremonies for the 1964 World’s Fair. The rumor is that they will sing the National Anthem.
Editor’s Note: There was a pleasant surprise at yesterday’s Queens Tourism Council meeting at Queens Theatre. Mookie Wilson, a former Mets centerfielder who starred in the 1986 Worlds Series, passed by while taking a walk through Flushing Meadows Corona Park. He joined the photo and is seen standing, second from extreme left. Assemblywoman Markey is standing in the exact middle.
Forget the thermometer, the Queens calendar of events has declared that “Spring has Sprung!” The borough will host countless outdoor activities over the next month, starting with a few running, walking and peeping opportunities this weekend. The fun starts on Friday with the 5 Miles Marking 5 Decades Fun Run, a two-loop road race that starts and ends at the north end of Flushing Meadows Corona Park’s Meadow Lake, at 4:30 pm. Organized by Queens Distance Runners, this event commemorates the 50th anniversary of the 1964 World’s Fair.
On Saturday, early risers can enjoy a bird walk through Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge led by American Littoral Society naturalist Don Riepe. Meanwhile at 1 pm, attendees can combine a stroll with a nature lesson at Bayside’s Fort Totten, where Urban Park Rangers will discuss scientific concepts and weather phenomena, such as lightning, thunder, clouds, the water cycle, hurricanes and extreme storms.
On Sunday, the official Queens historian, Jack Eichenbaum, will guide a historic stroll through Flushing. He will take his troops to the 1964 Quaker Meeting House, the 1661 Bowne House and the (1774-1785) Kingsland Manor, where the Queens Historical Society is exhibiting Practicing Equality, Quakers in Queens. If that’s not enough, hardcore types can walk the winter-ravaged Jacob Riis Park in the Rockaways and learn beach dynamics with American Littoral Society naturalist Mickey Maxwell Cohen. There will be plenty of flotsam and jetsam and the chance to learn about the area’s surprising wartime history.
Details (one): 5 Miles Marking 5 Decades Fun Run, Flushing Meadows Corona Park’s Meadow Lake, March 28th, 4:30 pm, $25/$15 for members of Queens Distance Runners and the Queens Tourism Council/$8 for junior high and high school students.
Details (two): Early Spring Bird Walk, Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, March 29th, 10 am. Free, but RSVP to NEChapter@littoralsociety.org or 718-474-0896.
Details (three): Exploring Clouds, Fort Totten, Bayside, March 29th, 1 pm, free.
Details (four); Quaker Flushing, meet at northwest corner of Main Street and 37th Avenue, March 30th, noon, $15/$20 with part of the proceeds going to the Queens Historical Society. RSVP required to Jack Eichenbaum at email@example.com.
Details (five): Spring Tide Walks, meet at parking lot near Jacob Riis Park’s Entry Pavilion, March 30th, 10: 30 am, free but RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or 718-474-0896.
It’s time to hear the pitter patter of big feet. This Sunday, the up-and-coming nonprofit Queens Distance Runners (above) will host the Toy Drive 5 Miler at Forest Park. About 60 harriers are expected to participate in this fun run, which will go up and down a few hills and past some beautiful fields on the wide, tree-lined roads within the park. The event has a charitable aspect as well, as racers are asked to bring Christmas toy donations, which the Queens Centers for Progress will distribute to needy children. Plus, a portion of the event’s proceeds will go to the Queens Tourism Council.
Details: Forest Park 5 Miler, starting area at Forest Park Drive and Metropolitan Avenue, Forest Park, Forest Hills/Woodhaven, December 22nd, 10 am, $22/$17 students, register here.
How to get there: E/F train to Kew Gardens/Union Turnpike stop, walk down Union Turnpike to Forest Park Drive at Metropolitan Avenue . The starting area is roughly half a mile from the subway station. Or take LIRR to Kew Gardens station and walk down Audley Street to Metropolitan Avenue and Forest Park Drive.
No local stone will be left unturned next Friday, when Queens College hosts Quintessential Queens: Celebrating America’s Fourth Largest City, an all-day, eight-hour conference. As part of ongoing 75th anniversary celebrations, the Flushing university will bring together a hodgepodge of outstanding speakers, including academics, economists, preservationists and artists. City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer will give a lecture about culture, while QC biology professor John Waldman will talk about the borough’s natural landscape. Wellington Chen from the Chinatown Partnership will discuss demographics in Flushing, while Jonathan Bowles from the Center for an Urban Future will imagine the borough in the year 2030. Paolo Javier, the borough’s poet laureate, will offer verse, the official Queens historian Jack Eichenbaum will discuss the county’s place in U.S. history and QC professor Nicole Cooley will look at how Queens fares in the literary world. Plus, local nonprofits, such as the Alley Pond Environmental Center, the Museum of the Moving Image, Flushing Town Hall and the Louis Armstrong House Museum, will staff informational booths.
Details: Quintessential Queens: Celebrating American’s Fourth Largest City, Queens College, LeFrak Concert Hall, 65-30 Kissena Boulevard, Flushing, October 4th, 9:30 am to 5:30 pm, $20 for all day plus lunch.
Whether they are from Spain or Long Island, tennis fans will know what’s going on in Queens from August 26th to September 9th. The USTA has donated a kiosk to serve as an information center for the borough during the 2013 US Open Tennis Championships. Organized by the Queens Chamber of Commerce and the Queens Tourism Council, volunteer staffers will be on hand for the entire two-week tournament to provide information on the borough’s best restaurants, hotels, cultural organizations and parks. Seen in front of the kiosk are the following: Rob MacKay, director of the Queens Tourism Council; Jack Friedman, executive director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce; Assemblymember Ron Kim; Assemblymember Marge Markey, who chairs the Committee on Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development; City Council Member Julissa Ferreras; Nancy Conde, chief of staff for State Senator José Peralta’s Office; Seth Bornstein, executive director of the Queens Economic Development Corporation; Daniel Zausner, COO of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center; and Seth Taylor, executive director of the 82nd Street Partnership.
Details: QTC/QCC Kiosk, USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, August 26th to September 9th, free with admission.
The Queens Tourism Council‘s slogan is “It’s in Queens!” But lately it seems like “Everything is in Queens!” Consider Cirque du Soleil, the world-renown, extremely respected traveling troupe known for breath-taking circus acts, eye-popping costumes, creative storylines and top-notch live music. Until May 12, TOTEM by Cirque du Soleil will run almost every night in a big tent by Citi Field. Inspired by creation myths, TOTEM traces the journey of the human species from its original amphibian state to its ultimate desire to fly. Through visual and acrobatic language, more than 50 performers from roughly 20 countries evolve on a stage evoking a giant turtle, the symbol of origin for many ancient civilizations. Somewhere between science and legend, this extravaganza explores the ties that bind humans to other species. Queens has Major League Baseball, Grand Slam Tennis, the most diverse population in the world…and now it has Cirque du Soleil.
Totem by Cirque du Soleil
126-01 Roosevelt Avenue, Flushing
Through Sunday, May 12
Times and Days Vary | $45 and up
QNYC, the Queens Tourism Council and Applebee’s are partnering to raise money for the Rockaways. Tomorrow, December 22, four borough Applebee’s will host Breakfast with Santa, and patrons will get a Polaroid photo with the Man in Red and a buffet including scrambled eggs, potatoes, sausage, pancakes, bacon, toast, orange juice and coffee or tea. All the proceeds will go to the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance, a nonprofit which responded to Hurricane Sandy by giving homebound residents hot meals and providing emergency food and clothing from a firehouse. Volunteers then delivered emergency supplies door-to-door. Currently, RWA has been clearing streets by removing sand and debris. For years, Applebee’s has hosted Breakfast with Santa events on Staten Island. This is its first venture into Queens. Let’s show our community spirit and love of a good breakfast with a good man.
Breakfast with Santa
Bayside, 213-29 26th Ave.; Rego Park, 95-25 Queens Blvd.; Astoria, 38-01 35th Ave; and Fresh Meadows, 61-48 188th St.
Saturday, December 22
8:30am – 10 am | $10
Image source: Discover Queens - (from left) Queens Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jack Friedman, Commissioner Kenneth Adams, Assemblywoman Margaret Markey, Queens Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Seth Bornstein, Queens Chamber President Carol Conslato and Irene and Marie DeBenedittis from Mama’s.
This shot was taken at the end of the day of a tour around Queens last Tuesday (10/9), taken by Kenneth Adams, commissioner of the NYS Department of Economic Development and the president/CEO of the Empire State Development Corporation. (more…)