Things To Do - Astoria Attractions
Queens Next Great Museum?
Friends of Steinway Mansion Begin Their Journey
October 8, 2013 / Astoria Neighborhood / Queens History / Queens Buzz. They reminded me a bit of George Washington's rag tag band, scurrying from pitched battle to pitched battle, never really winning ... until the end ... because of their unyielding will and their relentless pursuit of the greater good. This is a story about the Friends of the Steinway Mansion.
In 2010 Michael Halberian, the longest living inhabitant of the Steinway Mansion, put it on the market, likely knowing at the age of 83, that his time here on the planet was limited. After a flurry of publicity and verbal support for preserving the Steinway Mansion by Queens government officials, interest in it died down shortly after Michael's death in December of 2010.
But not everyone lost interst ... click here to read our report on an effort to preserve the Steinway Mansion by its Friends and transform it into a world class museum.
Rise of the Guardians
Animation Exhibit & Video at the Museum of the Moving Image
November 10, 2012 / Fashion Film & Music in Queens / Astoria / Queens Buzz. The Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria just opened a new film exhibit about the soon-to-be released Dreamworks film, Rise of the Guardians. I’ll tell you more about the exhibit, after I tell you about the film itself, which opens nationally, Wednesday, November 21st in movie theaters around Queens and the nation.
In my mind, the movie is already a classic. The pop artwork is superb, the 3 D effects are the best I’ve seen [possibly in part thanks to MOMI facilities] and most importantly, the story is a well told tale - complete with Jungian archetypes and without any real violence. To a weather worn NYC public, this movie will be a welcome escape into a kinder, gentler, animated 3D world.
Click here to read more about the Rise of the Guardians 3D animated film exhibit in Astoria Queens.
Occupy Astoria, LIC & Queens
August 20, 2012 / Astoria & LIC / Social Issues in Queens / Queens Buzz. I attended the Occupy the Citi rally on June 27th at Citibank to learn a bit more about the Occupy Astoria / LIC movement. As it was only a few days before a number of large Queens high schools were to be re-opened as new schools [on July 1st, 2012], I found several teachers participating who were anxious about being able to keep their jobs. There were also a number of musicians in attendance and one of them was playing a tune on his sax.
As this was a protest of sorts, I had kind of expected to see a more angry crowd, but instead I encountered more of a mellow mood. Disillusionment? To be sure, but also some good old fashioned American optimism and tenaciousness right alongside it.
Click here to become more familiar with the Occupy Astoria LIC movement in Queens, as we introduce you to some of its members and include a photo slide show.
Musical Saw Festival 2011 In Astoria
What’s The Buzz – Tell Me What’s A Happening
July 16, 2011 / Astoria Neighborhood / Live Music / Queens Buzz. I attended the 9th annual Musical Saw Festival this year. It was held at the Hellenic Cultural Center just off Crescent Street in Astoria. And while I had read about the festival for the past two years, and seen videos of it on the internet last year, I can now assure you that it’s not nearly as good as being there.
I arrived midway through the four-hour festival and many of the headlining talent had finished playing. But as a novice whose sole interest was to experience the festival, exactly who was playing didn't matter as much as it might to an aficionado. I had come to see, hear and talk to people who play music on their saws.
Click here to read more about and see photos of the Musical Saw Festival in Astoria Queens NYC.
St Markella Festival In Astoria
14th Century Saint From Greek Island Of Chios Honored
September 19, 2011 / Astoria Neighborhood / Queens Buzz. I visited the parish of St. Markella this Sunday as they were winding down their weekend long celebration in honor of St. Markella. They had closed the block on 26th Street between 23rd Avenue and Ditmars Blvd, creating a warm, relaxing, village-like feel to the public occasion.
The local parishoners had brought home made dishes of stuffed tomatoes, skewered lamb, mixed vegetables, moussaka, baclava and other desserts and delectables to celebrate the occasion. I talked with several people affiliated with the church including Father Michael. And in the report that will follow sometime in the future, we'll provide a bit of history and a slide show of St Markella in Astoria.
Queens Art Festival All Weekend
Queens Art Express Events This Weekend
June 15, 2011 / Astoria / Long Island City / Sunnyside & Woodside / Jackson Heights / Flushing / Art In Queens / Queens Buzz. I just returned from an evening at the Kick Off Party for this weekend’s art extravaganza entitled Queens Art Express [aka QAX]. The reception was held in the main lobby of Kaufman Astoria Studios and attracted a crowd that included people involved in theater, art, history, dance and business in Queens.
The photo to your left shows the lobby of Kaufman Astoria Studios during the Queens Art Express Kick Off Party. Click here to view our story and photos of the Queens Art Express Kick Off Party.
Who Was Benjamin Pike?
Steinway Mansion Builder Made A Mint
April 17, 2011 / Astoria / History Of Queens / Queens Buzz. I had a rare opportunity to meet someone who was well acquainted with the story of Benjamin Pike Jr. Benjamin Pike Jr. was the man who built the mansion that was lived in for over fifty years by the Steinways of Steinway & Sons Piano in Astoria. During my efforts to report this story, I had here-to-fore found it very difficult to find much published about Benjamin Pike. Hence you can imagine my delight when I met Deborah Jean Warner, who had once curated an exhibit dedicated to the Steinway Mansion founder, at the Smithsonian Institution.
Deborah has curated many exhibits about the history of physical sciences and is the author of several books. Deborah's work in 19th century scientific instruments lead her to curate the Pike exhibit. When it comes to selling scientific instruments in America in the 19th century, Benjamin Pike Jr. was an innovator who loomed large.
Click here next week to read our full report about Benjamin Pike Jr., the founder and owner of the Pike Mansion, which later came to be known as the Steinway Mansion in Astoria.
Five Boro Bike Ride 2011 - Photos
Queens Boro Bridge & Astoria Park In Queens
May 1, 2011 / Long Island City LIC & Astoria Park / Sporting Activities / Queens Buzz. This event begins at 9 am in lower Manhattan, so we expect the first riders by about 9.30 with the bulk of them coming through between 10 am and the leisurely ones leaving about 12 noon. The 42 mile course runs through Queens by coming off the Queens Borough Bridge and heads north along 21st Street to Astoria Park. There's a rest stop at the park, while cyclists turn around and head south, mostly along Vernon Blvd before leaving the borough over the Pulaski Bridge. Over 30,000 cyclists are expected to participate and over 1,500 people volunteer in the program.
Click here to view our report of the Five / 5 Boro Bike Ride 2011 Astoria Park Queens with photos.
Greek Orthodox Easter 2011
St. Demetrios Procession Photos - Astoria
April 22, 2011 / Astoria / Ethnic & Religious Culture / Queens Buzz. Tonight I attended one of the most interesting religious events of the year – the Holy Friday procession through the streets of Astoria by the Greek Orthodox Church of St. Demetrios. It’s an ancient tradition, dating back thousands of years, and having come to this country from nearly eight thousand kilometers away.
St Demetrios Church services had begun two hours earlier, commemorating the holiest week of the year, on one of the holiest days of the year. Holy Friday commemorates the death of Jesus Christ and the procession through the streets is a sort of symbolic funeral procession for Him.
Click here to read more about and view photos of the Greek Orthodox Easter 2011 in Astoria.
The Steinway Diaries
Smithsonian Brings 19th Century Queens Alive
Time Is Running Out - Steinway Mansion Contents Being Auctioned
February 19, 2011 / Astoria LIC / History of Astoria & Queens / Queens Buzz. On Monday, March 7th at 7 pm the Greater Astoria Historical Society will be hosting the Smithsonian Institution’s presentation of the William Steinway Diaries.
These diaries are a first person account written by one of the most influential people in the emerging American metropolis of New York City in the latter half of the 19th century. The diaries begin in 1861 around the time of William Steinway’s first wedding [and the beginning of the American Civil War] and continue throughout the rest of his life, terminating only weeks before he died in 1896.
I had the opportunity to talk with Bob Singleton, Executive Director of the Greater Astoria Historical Society in anticipation of the Smithsonian Institution’s presentation of the Steinway Diaries on March 7th. He took me through some of the interesting things to investigate using the online project that was the Smithsonian’s “largest and longest-running volunteer research efforts”. A copy of one of the transcribed pages from the Smithsonian's Steinway Diaries website is shown inset in a photo of the Steinway Mansion in Astoria.
The general public is welcome to the March 7th presentation, and it is highly recommended that you purchase / rsvp tickets in advance. Click here to read our look into the William Steinway Diaries.
Shops In Astoria
Astoria Shopping Center
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