Things To Do - Long Island City LIC
Theater: Unpacking American Identity
Want to Know What it Feel like to be a Minority Living in the USA?
I attended A Black Lives Matter Play performed at the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center in Long Island City. The play is part of a theatrical theme developed by LaGuardia College Performing Arts Center to explore the intricate mosaic of humanity that comprises American society. A wide number of the cultural composite represented in American society may be found in the culturally diverse student body at LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City.
Last year the program focused on exploring Muslim identity in New York City. The intent was to provide a more holistic view of Islamic peoples than portrayed by the American media, whose primary depiction of Islam, a culture representing over a fifth of the world’s population, is centered around those working in the field of terrorism. And by American media, it’s important to include the Hollywood entertainment industry, which accounts for a huge portion of time people spend absorbing programs factually or fictionally portraying the world around us.
The obsession with the more gruesome events and villainous people of a culture is not uncommon for the American media. One doesn’t have to look far to find lopsided depictions of the culture of Italian Americans, through the obsession of those working as mafiosos, of Latin Americans as drug lords, and of African Americans, by depicting them as hoodlums.
Enter LaGuardia Community College Performing Arts Center and ‘Unpacking American Identity’, which strives to use theater to educate, elucidate and eradicate the inherent biases and popular misconceptions disseminated via the unrelenting sounds, images and lopsided portrayals of the cultures of the members of their student body.
TA Queens Tackles 21st Street
Working to Bring Attention & Solutions to Pedestrian-Challenged Crossings On Long Island City & Astoria Streets
I was invited to attend / witness a Halloween themed street performance by volunteers of Transportation Alternatives Queens [aka TA Queens] to improve pedestrian safety along the 21s Street corridor, which connects Astoria and Long Island City. The street serves as the major conduit inside the Astoria and Long Island City neighborhoods between the RFK / Triborough Bridge and the EK Queensboro Bridge.
As I arrived at 21st Street and 31st Road, I took note that there are public housing projects along the eastern side of the street and a shopping center along the west side of the street, where the group had convened. Since I had come from the east I had to cross 21st Street to meet with the TA Queens petitioners, and making that crossing on a Saturday afternoon supported their cause as this street is challenging to cross at best, and treacherous for youngsters to cross on a simple shopping errand.
The TA Queens volunteers quickly described the problem in a couple of minutes and they made some recommendations for potential solutions - all of which is contained on the full report rendered in both print and on video on the following page. This is a snippet from their release.
"According to data from the New York State Department of Transportation, New York State Department of Motor Vehicles and the New York Police Department, traffic on this mere 1.8 mile stretch of 21st Street between the two bridges [EK Queensboro & RFK Triborough] caused seven deaths and left 102 people with serious injuries from 2002 to 2011. From 2012 to 2015 alone, 105 pedestrians and 34 cyclists have been injured along the corridor."
Click here to learn more about how TA Queens is trying to help the Mayor reach his Vision Zero Queens goal, by identifying safety challenged hotspots along 21st Street in the Long Island City neighborhood & Astoria. We also included several photos of the Haunted Halloween TA Queens volunteers.
Real-Time. Off Line. Interactive. Online. Theater.
LaGuardia College Performing Arts Center Takes Center Stage With Rough Draft Festival
A bit more than a week ago I headed down to the LaGuardia College Performing Arts Center to watch / participate in one of the performances of the week-long Rough Draft Festival.
The Rough Draft Festival is the creation of Managing Director Steven Hitt and Assistant Director Handan Ozbilgin of LaGuardia College Performing Arts Center. The festival was the evolution of experimental dance and theatrical work the two had been collaborating on with Queens and New York City performing artists over a number of years. In 2013 they launched the first Rough Draft Festival to attract, audition, present and refine original choreographed and theatrical works probing themes relevant to the Queens community.
The work I would view today was entitled The Art of Hijab. Kohl Black and the Right Way to Pray. This production dovetailed with another project undertaken by the LaGuardia College Performing Arts Center dubbed Beyond Sacred, which is a grant-sponsored exploration of Islamic cultural identity.
Click here to read our report about the Rough Draft Festival at the LaGuardia College Performing Arts Center. Report.
Three Graces & The Struggle For Rights
August 7, 2014 / Long Island City LIC / Theater In Queens / Queens Buzz. By Michael Wood. On June 28th I attended the final performance of Three Graces at the LaGuardia College Performing Arts Center.
The title, Three Graces, has a historical reference to Greek mythology. The three graces include beauty, delight and creativity. These characteristics were oftentimes depicted by three young, frequently nude, women who were meant to fill the world with pleasant moments and goodwill. In art these three women are frequently shown dancing around in a circle to the divine music of Apollo. Since the play was written by an American woman with Greek roots, Ruth Margraff, I assumed the historical references had relevance.
The play opens in modern day Istanbul. Istanbul has long been both the cultural and economic capital of Turkey, while Ankara is the political capital of the nation. This is similar in kind to the national role of New York City in the U.S. vis a vis the governing role of Washington, D.C.
The play references recent modern day events - the Spring 2013 riots of Taksim Square / Gezi Park in Istanbul, where reportedly 11 people were killed and thousands significantly injured when the Turkish government / police cleared the park of a sit-in to protest a new government-lead real estate development in Taksim Square and Gezi Park. As is frequently the case, embedded in the protest were a number of issues and themes that went well beyond the real estate development itself.
Click here for the rest of our review of the Three Graces play w/ photos at the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center in LIC.
LIC Real Estate Breakfast
LIC Partnership Breakfast Projects Confident & Competitive Tone
April 23, 2014 / LIC Neighborhood / LIC Real Estate / Queens Buzz. I attended the LIC Partnership Real Estate Breakfast on Wednesday morning at the Con Edison Learning Center in LIC. The past couple of years the event had been held at Court Square Place on 44th Road in LIC, to a standing-room-only crowd. The event attendance continues to grow, and the move to the Con Ed Learning Center made seating possible for everyone in attendance.
The 8 am breakfast is followed by a moderated discussion panel of speakers representing a cross section of LIC real estate investors, real estate managers, retail or restaurant operators and a reporter who covers and is familiar with the LIC real estate market. The discussion provides a mix of perspectives and opinions about what’s happening in LIC.
A conglomeration of LIC real estate commercial, industrial and housing stock is shown in the photo to your right. Quite a number of aspects about it were discussed at the breakfast as recorded in this report.
This year the panel included … click here to read the rest of our report about LIC real estate, including photos of the LIC Partnership Real Estate Breakfast.
Virtual Arts TV Shows Their TITS
Wired Arts Fest Celebrated in Queens
March 8, 2013 / Theater in Queens / Long Island City Neighborhood / Queens Buzz. I attended a Virtual Arts TV performance, entitled TITS, on February 19th at the Secret Theatre in Long Island City. The performance was part of a twelve-day event entitled Wired Arts Fest. Wired Arts Fest is one of the first of its kind, and by the looks of things, appears to not only have legs, but great TITS as well.
TITS, the show, is the brainchild of Ege Maltepe who is a Turkish actress from Turkey who now resides in NYC. The comedy lecture takes on one of huMANity’s favored subjects: TITS. It seems Ege stumbled upon the American [and perhaps global] fascination with this part of the female anatomy while joking around. She found that both women, as the owners, and most men; have something between a fascination and obsession with TITS.
And so she created Professor G, the main character in this one-woman comedy lecture. Click this link to view the Virtual Arts TV Queens performance of TITS, including photos of the performance [NOT FOR CHILDREN].
M55 Art Gallery In LIC
August 19, 2012 / Long Island City / Art Galleries in Queens / Queens Buzz. It had poured all day Wednesday, but began to let up as I decided to brave the rain to attend the M55 Art Gallery opening of Relationships Undressed in Long Island City. I arrived early to meet with artist Emily Stedman who I had been communicating with for the past couple of weeks. This was her first solo exhibit in LIC, and it appeared to be an intriguing exhibit which she’d entitled Relationships Undressed.
The lead art piece she used to advertise the exhibit was a water color painting she’d done showing beautifully sculpted naked bodies swirling around in a variety of poses on the canvass. The art exhibit opening was by rsvp [& posted in our events calendar] and I was informed that the wine servers would be scantily clad.
Click here for our review and a slide show of the art exhibit at M55 in LIC entitled Relationships Undressed.
Rosh Hashanah – Jewish New Year 5773
Chabad LIC & The Jewish New Year
September 18, 2012 / Long Island City / Ethnic & Religious Culture in Queens / Queens Buzz. This report is about the significance of Rosh Hashanah in the Jewish faith, and includes information about the Chabad LIC community center. The report is based upon a visit I had with Rabbis Zev Wineberg and Yitzchok Moully at the Chabad LIC Center opening on September 22nd, 2011, and includes photos taken at that time.
I arrived at the Chabad LIC community center about mid evening. Rabbi Zev welcomed me into the center where there was a small gathering of friends and neighbors who had gathered to celebrate the opening of the center. Forty families have come together since Rabbi Zev and his wife Rivka arrived in Long Island City in December of 2006. Their friend, Rabbi Yitzchok, was also in attendance. Rabbi Yitzchok is also an artist and he depicts scenes and objects from Orthodox Jewish life in the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Crown Heights in pop art silk screens. The photo to your right shows one of his works.
We began discussing the Chabad LIC Center as well as the history and significance of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Chabad LIC is one of 3,000 Chabad centers around the world.
Click here to learn more about the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah in LIC & Queens, and the Jewish Center in LIC, called Chabad LIC.
Beautiful Day For A Bike Ride
May 7, 2012 / Long Island City & Astoria / Queens Buzz. This Sunday some 32,000 bicyclists rode through Astoria and LIC on their way to completing a 40 mile bike ride through all five boroughs of NYC. I caught up with them at the Con Edison rest station along Vernon Blvd in LIC. Some of the cyclists had come from other countries and they saw this as a nice way to see all of New York City, not just Manhattan. Others had come from other states and were cycling enthusiasts who echoed the same sentiment.
The Con Ed rest station offered beautiful vistas of Manhattan, while offering raisins, bagels, bananas, Larrabars and rest rooms. Many caught their breath, made adjustments to their gear and selves, consumed a bit of nourishment, before resuming the relaxing trip and heading on to Brooklyn and Staten Island.
I followed them out of the rest stop down Vernon Blvd - click here to see our slide show of the 5 Boro Bike Ride in LIC, Astoria & Queens 2012.
Art Exhibit: How Much Do I Owe You?
Clocktower Building 'No Longer Empty' in LIC
January 7, 2013 / Long Island City LIC Neighborhood / Art Exhibits in LIC / Queens Buzz. I went to a workshop in December sponsored by Materials For The Arts at the Clocktower Building in LIC. The workshop was an adjunct program done in tandem with an arts organization called No Longer Empty.
No Longer Empty is hosting an art exhibit entitled How Much Do I Owe You in the abandoned Clocktower Building in LIC through March 13th. The exhibit includes a number of workshops and programs throughout the exhibit period, which may be of interest to those who have a curiosity or fascination with modern art and our ongoing social / economic crisis.
As I approached the Clocktower Building I noticed figures moving across the face of the Clock … click here to read our report on the arts organization No Longer Empty, which is hosting the exhibit How Much Do I Owe You, at the Clocktower Building in LIC; and about the Collaborative Drawing Workshop sponsored by Materials For The Arts in LIC.
Queens High School Closings
How Are Queens High Schools Performing, Are They Being Evaluated Fairly & How Do Public Schools Perform Vs Charter Schools
April 21, 2012 / Education in Queens / Queens Buzz. Is the Mayor trying to improve NYC school system performance or is he trying to privatize the NYC public school system? When I began a journey to better understand the issues surrounding public school system performance beginning about a year ago, I had no idea I would end this segment of the journey pondering the question articulated above.
Over the course of the past year I’ve attended a number of meetings and rallies held at public high schools in Queens concerning the performance of public high schools in the Queens school districts. My last visit was on Tuesday, April 17, 2012, when I attended the public hearing at LIC High School regarding the Department of Education recommendation to close it.
As I entered the building I was surprised to see such a large turn out for the meeting. An auditorium that seats nearly a thousand people, was nearly full.
Click here to read our report about the public high school closings in Queens. Story & photos by Michael Wood.
Remediation Of Newtown Creek Begins In Queens & Brooklyn
After 150 Years Of Environmental Destruction, Remediation Of Newtown Creek Begins
January 21, 2012 / Long Island City, Sunnyside, Maspeth & Brooklyn / Green in Queens / Queens Buzz. Every good process begins with information gathering, so that the decision makers have all of the relevant information they need to make sound decisions. After the information gathering / research is done, and the decisions are made, then the actual execution of the [clean up] process begins.
And so it was that on October 27, 2011, I visited the Newtown Creek Superfund Public Meeting – Queens at LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City. There were more than ten representatives, largely from various departments within the EPA, on hand to answer questions and provide information to the public about how the federal government process to clean up Newtown Creek.
Click here to learn more about the history and EPA clean up of Newtown Creek which shapes the border between Queens and Brooklyn.
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Shops & Shopping In LIC
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