04/22/15 9:45am

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It appears that this week’s activities are sponsored by the letter “F.” Fun-seekers can frolic with Flamenco, funny girls, foreign films, flea markets, festivals, a farm, a fling, a fair housing workshop, and a Flushing Bay cleanup. Here are the facts. (more…)

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04/20/15 1:00pm

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Cha, cha, cha. Cha, cha, cha. Ah, flamenco! The music. The dancing. The hand clapping, finger snapping, and guitar jamming. There’s a reason why this Spanish/Gyspy art form has become popular all over the world: It’s awesome.

In fact, it’s so awesome that UNESCO declared it to be a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2010. And it’s so popular that there are now more flamenco academies in Japan than Spain.

From this Friday through May 10, Thalia Spanish Theatre will present an exciting show of traditional and contemporary flamenco that celebrates the various cultures that the genre brings together. (more…)

04/08/15 9:30am

Kris Seto

Some enrichment options head outdoors with such events as a carnival, a gardening extravaganza, and a guided walk. But with “April Showers” in mind, the borough also hosts indoor fun, such as comedy, live music, film, theater, photography, and some 3-D magic. Here’s the rundown. (more…)

04/06/15 9:30am

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The Borough of Queens, long suffering, is always trying to tell us her hidden history. You just have to learn how to listen to her.

Case in point: 50-67 43rd Street at the border of Sunnyside and Blissville. This house is in a strange spot, just a few building lots away from the elevated Long Island Expressway and Brooklyn Queens Expressway interchange clover leaf, and at the end of the block is a local streets approach way to the Kosciuszko Bridge.

All of these modern roadways date back to the Robert Moses era in the late 1930s. The street itself, 43rd Street, is an ancient passage, and was known in the Colonial era. It was one of several paths through a swampy upland that were paved with crushed oyster shells, and it connected directly with modern day Laurel Hill Boulevard on its way toward Newtown Creek.

Calvary Cemetery and industrial West Maspeth (formerly Berlin) are on the other side of the highways and Bridge. At the start of the 20th century, you would have told people that you were going to visit either Laurel Hill or Celtic Park if this was your destination.

The building is two stories tall, and as you’ll notice in the shot above, sits considerably lower in its lot than a similar building next door. That’s the important part, and if you listen, you can hear Queens talking.

More after the jump. (more…)

03/12/15 9:00am

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Yesterday, I discovered that there’s another eight o’clock, as it tuns out there’s actually one in the morning.

That’s what time I had to get to the corner of 40th street and Queens Boulevard, as Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer had called together the Sunnyside community for a rally. The purpose of the rally was to protest the rough treatment which the MTA has offered 7 line riders of late. The 7 train, which is the central arterial of Sunnyside, is in the midst of a weekend maintenance cycle which has, and will, shut down the line for at least 12 weekends in 2015 alone.

This is in addition to a recent spate of week day service outages and break downs – which have spawned a series of local horror stories about 30 minute daily commutes stretching into two to three hour long endurance tests.

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More after the jump… (more…)

02/24/15 1:00pm

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There was a time when some Irish people thought that New York City streets were paved with gold. Well, on Sunday, a Sunnyside/Woodside thoroughfare will be filled with innumerable Emerald Isle natives and many other marchers during the St. Pat’s For All Parade. This 15th annual event was founded in response to the never-ending conflict over openly gay participation in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Manhattan. Thus, organizers of the Queens march emphasize the diversity of the Big Apple’s Irish and Irish American residents, especially the LGBT community. Beyond the ethnic groups, expect such entities as the Sunnyside United Dog Society, the Ethical Humanist Society of Queens, and veterans agencies.

Details: St. Pat’s For All Parade, Skillman Avenue from 43rd Street in Sunnyside to 56th Street in Woodside, March 1st, 1 pm (assembly and remarks), 2 pm (step off), free.

Bonus details: Lunar New Year, Queens Center Food Court, 90-15 Queens Boulevard, Elmhurst, February 28th, noon to 6 pm, free. Events include a martial arts demonstration with Kung Fu Master Long Fei Yang, Korean and Japanese drummers, tea tastings, and the Dragon Dance. The first 200 people who bring an event social media post (like this one) will receive a red envelope with a prize.

Photo: St. Pat’s For All

02/09/15 1:00pm

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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.

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01/21/15 1:00pm

Yaisuri&John

Ah, the marked rhythms, strong postures, and abrupt pauses. The tangible passion and sensuality mixed with a rich history as an underground dance in Buenos Aires in the late 19th century. For the next eight weeks, Thalía Spanish Theatre will offer Tango 5 Senses, featuring live performances, chances to meet the protagonists, and dance lessons. With music composed, arranged, and directed by Latin Grammy winner Raul Jaurena, the shows will have a feel that is dynamic and playful, yet romantic. The cast boasts eight dancers, two singers, piano, clarinet, violin, and double bass. Shows will be on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays with a special Valentine’s Day Tango Lovers event with wine, tapas, and the stars. Workshops will take place on Saturday afternoons.

Details and one more photo after the jump. (more…)

12/12/14 1:00pm

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What’s in a name? O Sole Trio consists of three musicians who amaze audiences with plenty of Italian music, especially opera arias and Neopolitan songs. But this Sunnyside-based ensemble also dazzles with virtuoso piano and violin playing, jazz and American pop standards, and a stage presence heavy on punny humor and crowd interaction. Erin Shields (center) provides the lush soprano. Giuseppe Spoletini (right) takes care of the baritone. And David Shenton, who is actually Erin’s husband, has the melodies. He can actually play violin and piano at the same time. They perform all over the world, but they like to do an annual show at Sunnyside Reformed Church because it’s close to home and they love the pastor and the congregation. So get ready for a cozy night during which “Figaro” might be followed by a Madonna tune in doo wop style, and then the crowd favorite, a diddy about a lonely oyster.

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Details: O Sole Trio, Sunnyside Reformed Church, 48th Street and Skillman Avenue, Sunnyside, Saturday, December 13th, 7 pm, no charge, but donations accepted.

Photos: O Sole Trio

12/08/14 11:00am

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Urban planners call it “wayfinding.” Wayfinding is a bit of an art, by which pedestrians or vehicles can be intuitively guided through city streets or transportation hubs. A good example of bad wayfinding would be Manhattan’s Penn Station or Port Authority Bus Terminal, both of which assume that visitors will be familiar with their idiosyncratic floor plans. Pictured in today’s post are the street instructions governing bicycle and motor vehicle lanes at the corner of 39th Street and Skillman Avenue in Sunnyside, found on the southern extent of the truss bridge that overflies the Sunnyside Yards.

As my grandmother might have said – “Oy Gevalt.”

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