News Briefs about Astoria sometimes done by / or with the help of the audience.
Rewired State @ MOMI
Kids Converge In Astoria To Build Apps
July 1, 2013 / Astoria / Film in Queens / Queens Buzz. On Sunday afternoon I headed down to the Museum of the Moving Image [MOMI] to view the results of a weekend long program at MOMI, entitled Rewired State. The program invited area kids in grade school and high school to spend a good part of the weekend at the museum, building software applications that leveraged datasets made available by various bodies of government.
The kids ranged from very young to ready to go to college. Many of the apps leveraged public datasets into maps, but there were several that went beyond. In the photo to your right are a brother / sister team that built an app showing where many of the graffiti spots are in NYC. Given they only had two days to complete their work, they weren't able to finish it.
We'll have more on this program later. It was a great learning experience for kids - not just in terms of learning how to build software applications - but also how to work on a team.
Fireworks In Astoria Park
June 24, 2013 / Astoria Park Fireworks / Queens Buzz. Yes, tonight is the night of the Astoria Park Fireworks display, celebrating America's Independence as a nation. The event begins at 7.30 pm on the Great Lawn of Astoria Park, overlooking the East River and the northern Manhattan skyline. As usual there will be big band and orchestra music performed by local musicians, along with a water boat show put on by the NY Fire Department.
It's worth mentioning that the idyllic grassy lawn of Astoria Park, has to date, provided ample room for those who come ... although it seems each year more folks flock to the event. Click the link or photo above to get a few more details, as it will take you to our report on the event a couple years ago, outlining in a bit of detail the progression of events, complete with photos.
In the photo above right are a couple of happy campers who brought their own lawn chairs to sit in to relax and enjoy the big band music being played along the East River prior to the Independence Day Fireworks Celebration in Astoria Park last year. Click on this photo for details of the Astoria Park Fireworks program last year, which generally follows the same time schedule from year to year.
In the photo to your right is a 'light and happiness' salesman. He's selling colored lights which might bring a bit of happiness to your child. And he's earning a few bucks which will put bread on his family's table, and should make them happy too.
The coup de grace generally begins around 9.30 pm, after it becomes a bit dark and lasts about a half an hour. You'll be hard pressed to find an Independence Day Celebration and fireworks display performance like this almost anywhere.
In the photo to your left is one of many photos we posted last year of the Fireworks in Astoria Park - a quintessential celebration of America's independence.
The fireworks display in Astoria Park is performed by the Grucci Brothers who do the main display on the 4th of July in NYC. And the event is organized by the Central Astoria Local Development Corporation which is comprised of many of the businesses operating in Central Astoria along Steinway Street, Broadway and along 30th to 36th Avenues in central Astoria.
Here's wishing you a Happy Astoria Park Independence Day Celebration.
Tour De Queens Changes Starting Location
April 22, 2013 / Biking in Queens / Queens Buzz. The Tour De Queens will be starting and ending in western Queens this year. This year the Tour De Queens will start and end in Astoria Park in northwestern Queens. The Tour De Queens is scheduled for Sunday, July 7th and registration begins on June 4th. The Tour De Queens bike ride is sponsored by Transportation Alternatives and the police escorted bike ride will travel through the following Queens neighborhoods: Astoria, Long Island City, Ridgewood, Maspeth, Rego park, Middle Village, Forest Hills, Corona, East Elmhurst and the rest stop will be held in Juniper Park. The cost of registration is $15 / $20 and you can click here to read the registation details on the Tour De Queens website.
The Tour De Queens [see related stories below] is a roughly 20 mile, family-friendly bike ride [casual & slow] through several neighborhoods around the borough of Queens. The neighborhoods change each year, giving the cycliing participants an opportunity to really 'tour Queens'. This is the 6th annual Tour De Queens, and you can view reports and photos of prior Tours De Queens by scrolling down.
Astoria Park Performance Space
Draft Plans Shown – Public Comment Sought
February 21, 2013 / Astoria News / Astoria Neighborhood / Queens Buzz. I attended the Community Board 1 meeting on Wednesday night where the Parks Department unveiled their draft plans for the new performance space in Astoria Park. The presentation included a brief history of the Astoria Pool Diving area where the new performance space will be installed, as well as draft details of what is planned.
City Councilmember Peter Vallone was credited with securing $4.5 million in NYC funds for the project, which he described as a beginning. There were a number of Astoria and Queens arts groups present at the meeting and they made comments following the presentation. We’ll post more about the Astoria Park Performance space later.
IndieCade Comes To MOMI In Astoria
Video Games & Gamers Descend Upon MOMI
February 19, 2013 / Astoria Neighborhood / Film & Video Games in Queens / Queens Buzz. I attended the first annual IndieCade show at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria last Saturday evening. The show was an interesting blend of techno geek and techno cool, and most of the attendees were in their 20's and 30's. What struck me is that while the audience skewed a bit toward males, was far more balanced than I had expected. It seems the video gaming world isn't the predominantly male domain it once was.
I participated in a couple of the events, and spoke to some of the exhibitors and gamers about the show. Later this week we'll post a report, complete with photos, about the IndieCade show at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria.
Click any of these links to scroll down to view the Astoria News briefs from prior years.
Queens Fares Better Than Most Of Northeast
February 9, 2013 / Astoria Neighborhood / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Buzz. Queens didn't fare very badly in the wake of what forecasters said would be one of the ten worst storms on record. It appears that might have been true elsewhere, but not in Queens or NYC. Temperatures ranged from the mid 20's to the mid 30's, and the snow didn't really start falling until about ten o'clock and quit snowing between 2 and 3 am.
We went out into the borough to shoot photos of the winter wonderland. Click here to view our slide show with photos of the snow storm in Astoria - Feb 2013; where we traveled up to the upper Ditmars area and Astoria Park.
Eating Right in Queens in the New Year
December 14, 2012 / Astoria & LIC / Food in Queens / Queens Buzz. I attended a lecture on nutrition sponsored by Mount Sinai Hospital of Astoria at the LIC YMCA. The presentation was given by Effie Nerantzis, Registered Dietician, who is shown in the photo to your left.
She provided a lot of information that one can use to begin to make smart, healthy choices in their diet, while continuing to lead an on-the-go modern lifestyle. Some of the lecture including how to read nutrition labels on the backs of packages, how to interpret the claims on the front of food packages, she touched on how organic foods factor into the mix, and how to shop and prepare foods in short order.
Click here for other Astoria News briefs.
Old Astoria Comes To Life
Missy Wolfe Introduces New Book About Old Astoria & The Hallets
November 3, 2013 / Astoria / History of Queens NY / Queens Buzz. I attended a lecture and slide show presentation given by author Missy Wolfe at the Greater Astoria Historical Society just after Hurricane Sandy in November. The lecture took us back to colonial times when the eastern shores of the north American continent were beautiful wilderness, sparsely populated by native Indian tribes.
At the time, circa the 1700’s, the Dutch and English were the two primary European countries sending settlers across the Atlantic in search of a better way of life – the first immigrants, if you will. Missy takes us on a journey through time and space via one family which played a prominent role in the colonial life of the time: the Hallets [we know them today by Hallets Cove along the East River by Socrates Sculpture Park].
Click here to read other Astoria News briefs.
Newtown Plaza Nixed: 25 - 7
September 11, 2012 / Astoria / Astoria Real Estate / Queens Buzz. Late Tuesday night 25 of 32 members of Community Board One in attendance; voted for installing curbside extensions in lieu of installing a Pedestrian Plaza along Newtown Avenue in Astoria. These two proposals were offered as a solution by the Queens DOT to help mitigate the safety issues associated with traffic accidents at the intersection of 30th and Newtown Avenues in Astoria. Click here to view earlier report on proposed Newtown Avenue Plaza in Astoria.
Emerging Artist Exhibits At Socrates Sculpture Park
October 1, 2012 / Astoria News / Queens Buzz. I visited Socrates Sculpture Park recently, and met some of the artists as they were finishing their installations for the Fall exhibits. This year the exhibits don't conform to any theme, but were chosen because they are "visually compelling expressions of some passion of the artist" [I am paraphrasing].
In looking at them prior to meeting the artists, I found them engaging, as I asked myself: "why burnt wood? what do these letters mean? this looks a little bit like Burger King crown, and I know where that is". And the explanations provided by the artists were as engaging as their work.
In the photo above you can see people relaxing on a Sunday morning at Socrates Sculpture Park in Astoria. Click here for other Astoria News Briefs.
Step Aside Agamemnon
On The Square Productions Takes Us On A Journey Through Mythology, Religion & History
July 24, 2012 / Astoria / Theater in Queens / Queens Buzz. Friday evening I ventured over to Athens Square Park in Astoria to watch the public performance of The Minervae. It's a very original piece of work written, produced and acted by local talent.
The storyline is a tangled journey through Greek mythology, Christian beliefs and Roman history with a conscious sprinkle of modern day wit. The performance began at 7.30 pm in the center of the park, which served as the perfect back back drop for such a play. The play opens with the Greek goddess Athena [renamed Minerva by the Romans] asking a Greek official to lead the Greek people away from Christianity, back to the Hellenic pantheon of gods.
These Little Town Blues ... Washed Away
August 27, 2012 / Astoria News Brief / Queens Buzz. I was strolling through the western edge of Astoria Saturday afternoon and came upon a good old fashioned neighborhood block party. Kids were playing in the barricaded street, neighbors were cooking out in their front yards and a couple of residents sang New York New York, putting on a passionate performance that beckoned us to stay for it.
After the show a Hollywood Producer tried signing the pair for a movie and a recruiter from a major recording studio also tried to cut a deal. The outcome of these recruiting efforts is still unknown.
Astoria Park Shore Fest
August 13, 2012 / Astoria / Food in Queens / Queens Buzz. This weekend was the second of three Sundays where Shore Blvd is closed on Sundays from 1 pm to 7 pm. This has the effect of connecting the park to the East River waterfront. And the Astoria Park Alliance & Green Shores NYC, in tandem with the NYC Parks department, have put together a full schedule of family friendly fun & entertainment.
The first weekend the program had a theme of things to do with the kids, this past weekend had a theme of tasting food of the neighborhood and next weekend it's going to be all about the music.
Astoria Park Fireworks Tonight
June 25, 2012 / Astoria / Queens Buzz. The Astoria Park Fireworks remain on track for tonight in spite of the rain we've had today. Based on the doppler weather images, the main rain front has passed us. There's a much smaller rain front headed this way, but it should pass us by around 7 pm tonight.
The fun begins with Joe Battaglia's big band at 7.30 pm in Astoria Park. The event is held along the East River just north of the swimming pool and south of the old railroad bridge. Last year the fire department's water boat put on a water show between 8 and 9 pm. And the fireworks begin at dusk, which given the clouds could happen a bit earlier this year [usually about 9.30 pm].
You might want to bring plastic to put underneath your blanket as the lawn will likely be a bit wet. It might also make sense to bring a sweater as the temperatures will drop to about 60. And given the occasional unpredictability of the weather, an umbrella might also make sense.
The Astoria Park Fireworks rival Macy's / NYC's and are done by the same company. The advantage to the Astoria Park Fireworks display is the location, where you can stretch out along the East River in a fun, roomy neighborhood atmosphere. Click here to view our report on the Astoria Park Fireworks last year. And click here to view a map of Astoria Park.
Titanic Exhibit Docks In Astoria
Queens Residents' Titanic Photos & Models At GAHS
April 9, 2012 / Astoria News Brief / Queens Buzz. The Greater Astoria Historical Society [GAHS] has a visiting exhibition on display about the RMS Titanic. I attended their Saturday afternoon movie this weekend, where they ran the movie, A Night To Remember. A Night To Remember is a black and white movie produced in 1958 which is believed to have given a fairly accurate account of the fateful night of April 14th, 1912.
The 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic is this Saturday, April 14th. 'Titanic' Joe Colletti, long time Titanic collector and Queens resident has loaned his extensive collection of magazines, newspapers, photos, images and letter to the GAHS, where it is on display. And Gary Vollo loaned several boat models to the museum to include in the exhibit.
Richard Melnick, VP of the GAHS, is shown in the photo above talking about the Titanic exhibit and movie at the Greater Astoria Historical Society.
John Henry - Country & Stand Up
January 24, 2011 / Astoria / Queens Buzz. I attended John Henry's performance at Waltz-Astoria Friday night. During his hour long set, he performed about ten to fifteen tunes, with instrumental accompaniment on several of them.
He strummed the guitar, and sang his sad songs, at times his voice trembling. His songs, like many country & western songwriters, have a personal quality to them. But his songs are also sprinkled with punch lines and written in a sort of caricature about his family, his friends and himself. The audience seemed to enjoy his playful mocking humor, as there was a stand up comedian quality to his performance. There will be more on John Henry's gig at Waltz-Astoria at a later date.
Columbus Day Parade 2010 In Astoria
October 11, 2010 / Astoria New Brief / Queens Buzz. It was a beautiful warm Saturday when hundreds of people lined the streets and joined in the 31st annual Columbus Day Parade in Astoria. Walter Karling, a local photographer was kind enough to shoot a bevy of photos for us which we used to create a photo album / slide show of the event.
As you can see by the photos, the parade was attended by a number of campaigning government officials including two members from Congress Joe Crowley and Carolyn Maloney as well as Michael Giannaris who is campaigning to replace George Oronato as State Senator and Aravella Simotas who is campaigning to replace Giannaris in the State Assembly.
Water Walk In Astoria Park
Three Days Of Vehicle Free Shoreline August 1, 8, & 15
August 2010 / Astoria News Brief / Queens Buzz. For three weekends, Sundays in Astoria Park between 1 pm and 7 pm, will be vehicle free along Shore Blvd which cuts through the west side of the park along the East River from south to north. During this time there will be live entertainment provided by a multitude of local groups, including music, dance and theatrical performances. There are also a number of activities scheduled for the kids and there's a beautiful olympic-sized public swimming pool that's literally only feet away from Shore Blvd.
Water Walk Is A Community Park Event
The event was organized by the Astoria Park Alliance in collaboration with NYC Department of Transportation and Green Shores NYC. Volunteers are helping with set up and take downs, running events and cleaning up. Each Sunday was given a theme - 8/1 Kids & Family Fun, 8/8 Taste The Neighborhood and 8/15 Live Music.
A number of local organizations participated including: the Greater Astoria Historical Society, LIC Community Boathouse, Transportation Alternatives Queens Committee, Red Storm Drum and Dance Troop, Curious Frog Theatre Company, Aztec Dance Company [see photo], FDNY, Creative Vibrations Yoga & Dance Studio and Queens Harvest Food Co-op. This is the second year of the water walk program and based on its participation and attendance its future looks promising.
The Astoria Park Alliance has been instrumental in helping the City Park system keep up Astoria park and in bringing programs to the park to deepen its use by the community. The photos shown here were provided to us compliments of Kim Waber and much of the information contained herein was given to us by Jules Corkery and Robert McMinn.
Summer Solstice Celebrations
At Athens Square and Socrates Sculpture Park
June 21, 2010 / Astoria & LIC / Queens Buzz. Socrates Sculpture Park is hosting a free four hour summer solstice celebration that runs from 5 pm to 9 pm tonite. Reggie Watts, comedian / musician, headlines the program and he is expected to perform around 6.30 pm. Dance Entropy, a modern dance company based in LIC, will perform splash which has been choreographed for fourteen dancers with water as the theme. There will also be face painting, the performance of a solstice ritual and a crafts making workshop. Families are invited to bring food for sunset picnics. 2 PM - JUST IN - Free kyaking, compliments of the LIC Boathouse, will also be available and they say conditions are nearly perfect.
Meanwhile in Athens Square Park Astoria Music Now has a musical program that runs from 2 pm until about 8 pm. Every hour, around the turn of the hour, there will be at least one or two different musical performances by local musicians / groups.
Fathers' Day & Another Great Day
June 20, 2010 / Long Island City, LIC / Queens Buzz. The weather this Fathers' Day is expected to continue to be sunny and warm and not too humid, just like Saturday. We went over to Socrates Sculpture Park where they held a workshop for cyclists and then a decorating event, which was followed by a bike parade which ended up at Queens Bridge Park.
The parade was followed by a barbeque where several organizations set up tables to promote activities such as kyaking on the East River, composting in an urban environment, Green Shores which is an East River Waterfront environmental group and Astoria Music Now which is a non-profit organization that organizes musical events in parks and other venues.
Both Socrates Sculpture Park and Athens Park are hosting Summer Solstice music events on Monday, June 21st which is officially the first day of summer and the longest day of the year. Click here to view a photo album [with slide show button] of the Socrates Sculpture Park Bicycle event.
St Demetrios Hosts A Great Greek Fair
May 24, 2010 / Astoria News Brief / Queens Buzz. This past weekend was near perfect weatherwise and everywhere we went, from Flushing to Astoria, people were out and about enjoying themselves.
On Saturday we attended a conference hosted by the Chinese American Real Estate Association in Flushing where we went looking for information about the state of real estate financing in Queens. We stopped by the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden in Astoria where an Astoria Music & Arts music fest was going on.
On both Saturday and Sunday we visited the Greek Festival in Astoria, where St Demetrios put on a good old fashioned fair, complete with an assortment of rides, prize games complemented by Greek food and music.
Pasta History In Astoria & LIC
March 1, 2010 / Astoria News Brief / Queens Buzz. Monday night, March 1, beginning at 7 pm the great-grandson of Emanuele Ronzoni, Alfred Ronzoni Jr., will give a presentation of the history of the Ronzoni Macaroni Company which his great-grandfather founded and which was once based here in Queens. This evening was put together by Bob Singleton and is part of the interesting social, culinary and historical tapestry of Queens.
Click on the photo to view other Astoria News briefs. Or click this link to view a map showing the location of the Greater Astoria Historical Society.
Happy Columbus Day - Fall Is Here
October 12, 2009 / Astoria News Brief / Queens Buzz. The Columbus Day Parade along Steinway last Saturday was a success. The Greek Festival saw pretty fair attendance, given the cool, windy weather. And the pool tournament provided a few insights into the world of billiards which appears to have changed significantly from my childhood days.
Click here to see a report on the billiards tournament at a pool hall in Jackson Heights. Click here to view a few photos from the Greek Festival in Flushing Queens. Click here to view photos from last year's Columbus Day Parade in Astoria [we hope to upload new photos later this week].
Century Bikers Greeted In Astoria
September 16, 2009 / Astoria News Brief / Queens Buzz. Sunday was certainly a beautiful day for a bike ride through the Queens borough. Century Bike Riders came rolling through Astoria Park last Sunday on their way through the 15 to 100 mile course they had signed up to ride. They were greeted warmly by the hospitable rest stop workers of Astoria Park as shown in the photo to your left.
Rest stop staffers were volunteers of the Queens Botanical Gardens, the Astoria Park Alliance, Green Shores NYC and Transportation Alternatives [the sponsor of the event]. Click here to enter page two of the Astoria Park photo album showing some of the riders as well as the volunteers.
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