Things To Do - Astoria Attractions
Sophocles Arrives In Athens Square Park
A History Of Athens Square Park In Astoria
March 30, 2015 / Astoria Neighborhood / Ethnic & Religious Culture In Queens / Queens Buzz. A new statue of Sophocles arrived in Athens Square Park on Saturday. The statue was erected as part of the Greek Independence celebration festivities in Astoria last weekend.
But for some it was a day to bear witness to the completion of a thirty-one year community effort to complete the vision of the park as first set forth by former Athens Square Park Dennis Syntilas over three decades ago.
And it was a bittersweet day, as Dennis Syntilas passed away only three prior to this event, in January of 2015.
Standing in the photo at right [from left to right] is Captain Dennis Mullany of the 114 Precinct, George Alexiou former President of the Greek Homeowners Association, George Delis current President of Athens Square Park, Sophocles [statue], George Stamatiades a longtime supporter and Community Board Member, and the woman standing at street level with the wavy auburn hair is Rita Syntilas who is the widow of Dennis Syntilias the former President of Athens Square Park.
Click here to read our full report regarding the history of Athens Square Park in Astoria, and the erection of the Sophocles statue during the Greek Independence celebrations in NYC in March of 2015.
Relaxing Rooftop Repast On The Grange
Edible Queens Hosts Farm Fresh Dining Days @ Brooklyn Grange
FYI - STILL A WORK IN PROCESS
May 25, 2014 / Astoria LIC & Sunnyside / Food, Beer & Wine In Queens / Queens Buzz. I just returned from a very relaxing Memorial Day Weekend afternoon, spent out in the country, on a farm, enjoying a farm fresh dinner with a very laid back Queens crowd from many different walks of life.
I didn’t leave the city. I didn’t even leave Queens. And in fact, I barely left Sunnyside. But I felt like I had gone many, many miles away; into the rolling green farmlands and golden sunshine of … well … rooftop Queens.
I took the elevator up to the Brooklyn Grange, high atop the Standard Motor Lofts Building along Northern Blvd in LIC. It was like entering a tele-porter, that took me up and away from the city into Queens farm country.
Edible Queens, a quarterly magazine about dining & culture, organized the dinner which is one of a series they’ve entitled Butcher Paper Dinners. They have planned and scheduled five more of these afternoon / evening dinners between now and October so you’d best rsvp if you’re interested because once word gets out about these dinners, tickets are likely to go fast.
The afternoon consisted of sipping unique blends of local beers made in LIC and crisp golden Reisling wines grown and made in upstate New York; while sampling freshly cooked tasso beignets and boiled crawfish by one of NYC’s celebrated chefs.
Click here to read more about the Edible Queens dinners at the Brooklyn Grange rooftop farm in Queens.
My Father My Don - Hollywood East
A Son's Journey From Organized Crime To Sobriety
On The Scene At Halvatzis Astoria Studio
January 14, 2014 / Astoria Neighborhood / Film in Queens / Queens Buzz. I had an opportunity to watch the filming of a new indie in the making. The film is based on the book, My Father My Don, by Tony ['Tony Nap'] Napoli.
The story is an autobiographical account of Tony Napoli's life which began in 1935. But the book reaches back into the 1880's in recounting how Tony's father 'Jimmy Nap' began his life of crime. Jimmy Nap ran one of the biggest illegal gambling operations in America in the 1970's and 1980's. Jimmy Nap's gambling operations, which he ran for the Genovese Crime Family, is believed to have grossed many, many hundreds of millions of dollars.
Tony was the son of this infamous Brooklyn mobster, who among other things, did bootleg runs for Al Capone in his early years. Tony's story is one of redemption, as he used to be a mob enforcer, making sure people paid up on their numbers and other gambling debts. He worked for his father, his don [don means boss]; and eventually took to the bottle to numb the pain.
In the photo above we see the film crew in action at the offices of Halvatzis Realty on Ditmars Blvd in Astoria [aka Halvatzis Astoria Studio]. In this scene Tony's father, Jimmy, is called into Al Capone's office after finishing a bootleg run.
Producer Hussain Ahmed wrote and is directing the 20 minute short film in Queens. Click here to read the rest of our report, including a photo slide show of the production of the independent film, My Father, My Don in Queens NYC, and a brief interview with Tony Napoli, the author and resident of Forest Hills in Queens.
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.
Shops In Astoria
Astoria Shopping Center
Astoria Neighborhood / Queens Buzz. This is the Astoria Shopping Center on Queens Buzz. This page contains home page links, contact info, maps for stores and shops located in Astoria, Queens.
This section includes information about shops and shopping in Astoria Queens.
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