In a densely populated area of central Queens, a coalition of local residents and the Trust for Public Land are working to create new open space from a partially elevated rail line built in the 1800s. The line originally connected the Rockaways neighborhood in the south to the main train tracks in the central part of Queens. Service was eventually stopped in 1962. Now the line sits abandoned, the property overrun.
The Trust for Public Land is urging the landlord, The City of New York, to transform this 3.5-mile stretch of abandoned rail line into an elevated pedestrian and bicycle pathway connecting the communities of Rego Park, Forest Hills, Richmond Hill, Glendale, Woodhaven, and Ozone Park. The QueensWay, as it is being hailed, is designated to be the Queens equivalent of Manhattan’s highly successful Highline, which turned an elevated rail line into a park, creating open space and driving economic development in an underserved part of the city.
The project will have 3.5 miles of walking and biking paths and offer a recreational experience for all ages. Central to the park’s design are access points to the neighborhoods; they’ve even drawn a map highlighting foods of each neighborhood to mirror the diversity of Queens. Early design ideas for the Rego Park portion of the QueensWay include a habitat wetland area, a children’s adventure playground and multipurpose seating areas near the Forest Hills Little League baseball fields.
The naysayers would like to see train service restored along the line, citing its’ importance to commuters from the Rockaways to other parts of Queens and/or to New York City. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which would run the trains, has cited they have no plans to bring service back to the line. Residents who live next to the track have voiced their concerns about privacy issues. The Trust for Public Land have calmed those fears with promised vegetation and public art to provide natural barriers, and not infringe on their quality of life.
The Trust for Public Land has raised about $3 million for design studies. It believes it can raise the rest from a mix of city, state, federal and private sources, and hopes to start construction within the next three years. All that is needed now is a commitment from City Hall.
“We look forward to continuing conversations with stakeholders about the future of this asset,” said a spokesman for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Comments from random spectators have drawn only favorable reactions from Queens residents. If given the green light, QueensWay will alter the landscape of our borough forever.
What’s your opinion – park or track . . . trail or rail?
Queens’s youngsters interested in coding will be able to learn from the best when Google begins teaching free coding classes this fall at twenty-six Queens Library locations. This is the first time Google has partnered with a library to offer these free classes.
“Computer science skills are critical to for the success of our youth and our country,” said William Floyd, Google’s head of public affairs for New York. “ By 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts there will be 1 million more computer science jobs than graduating students who qualify to fill them. Google is proud to work with the Queens Library to educate and empower this next generation through CS education.”
The CS First clubs were created for students ages 9 to 14 and offer about 10 hours’ worth of coding lessons and activities. Students will be exposed to a curriculum following seven different themes including art, music and sound and game design to apply coding in a real-world context, according to a press release.
Children participating in the CS First club will be instructed in a vast variety of topics;
High Seas – High Seas is an introductory activity designed for use in a classroom setting or at a conference, hackathon, or other event. It is a one-time, standalone activity and not part of a regular CS First theme or club, so it does not use/provide printed materials, usernames, or passwords.
Storytelling – Students use computer science to tell fun and interactive stories. Storytelling emphasizes creativity by encouraging club members to tell a unique story each day.
Friends – Students are encouraged to sign up with a friend or make a new friend in the club. Friends emphasizes teamwork by allowing club members to tell the story of how their friendship started and imagine a company together.
Fashion & Design- Students learn how computer science and technology are used in the fashion industry while building fashion-themed programs, like a fashion walk, a stylist tool, and a pattern maker.
Art -Students create animations, interactive artwork, photograph filters, and other exciting, artistic projects.
Social Media – Students create fun social media style applications and games while learning about the computer science concepts that enable these programs to work.
Sports – Students use computer science to simulate extreme sports, make their own fitness gadget commercial, and create commentary for a big sporting event.
Music & Sound – Students use the computer to play musical notes, create a music video, and build an interactive music display while learning how programming is used to create music.
Game Design – Students learn basic video game coding concepts by making different types of games, including racing, platform, launching, and more!
Animation – BETA Advanced is an advanced curriculum, which means it teaches new concepts that are recommended for students who have already participated in at least two other CS First themes. – Students create fun and complex animated projects.
Twenty high school students will be recruited to become apprentices and will receive high school credit through an ExpandEd program.
“Offering children computer science activities in a relaxed, informal setting will stimulate their natural curiosity and help develop skills that will be useful to them throughout their academic and professional lives,” said Dennis M. Walcott, president and CEO of Queens Library. “The public library is the perfect place for exploring. Queens Library appreciates Google’s partnership in bringing digital literacy to library users, young and old.”
Queens Library hopes to sign up more than 300 kids. Children must pre-register and will be chosen randomly. Check the Rego Park Library for more information, including start-up date.
Whether you’re 8 years old, or 80 years young, we’ve all asked the question, “How do airplanes fly?” Or maybe, “What keeps a boat afloat so it doesn’t sink?” Different modes of transportation, and its’ technology, are the theme of the on going ‘Going Places’ exhibit at the New York Hall of Science.
Through hands-on exploration travelers will experience the thrill of piloting a plane without leaving the ground in an airplane-shaped flight simulator. They will float across the floor riding a mini hover disk while learning how the cushion of air allows hovercrafts to travel across roads, sand, water and more. They will challenge themselves to guide a blimp through sky hoops. So, it really doesn’t matter if you’re 8 or 80, everyone will have fun while learning how Earth’s size and natural processes like gravity, wind, currents, waves, friction and changing landscapes are overcome by the ingenious designs of travel technology.
Other Going Places exhibits include;
Land Yacht – Sail a tabletop land yacht against perilous winds.
Transport Footprint – Take the carbon challenge to find out what impact your travel is having on the planet and how you can reduce your carbon footprint.
Big Engine – See how air and fuel are used to create thrust, and why the modern engine is one of the cheapest and most efficient energy providers on the planet.
Aeroplane Mobile – Try and get the giant aeroplane mobile to spin.
Virtual Traffic Controller – Work cooperatively with other visitors to keep the traffic flow in this virtual city moving smoothly.
Design Your Ride – Design the next big transportation innovation at this brainstorming idea table.
Load the Car – Attempt to fit all the bags and gear into a typical car trunk.
Shifting Steel – See if you can shift a heavy weight on nothing but air.
Virtual Earth – Rotate the virtual Earth, while considering the amazing technology that enables us to explore the globe.
Luggage Loader – Test your sorting and packing skills in this high-tech game.
Sit Down – See, feel and sit in a range of different seats from sporty to luxurious, and learn how science has helped us design seats to make our journeys more comfortable.
Vehicle Jigsaw – In this digital game, choose from aerodynamic profiles, engine and wheel types, and then find out how far your car can go on a tank of fuel.
Recumbent Racer – Race a friend to find out which type of bicycle travels fastest – a recumbent or racer.
Admission to this fascinating exhibit is free with NYSCI membership; non-member tickets available for sale at box-office or http://nysci.org/event/going-places-the-technology-of-transport/
New York Hall of Science
47-01 111th Street
Corona, New York
Through September 18, 2016
Lounge with your neighbors on the beautifully landscaped terrace at The Alexander this Fourth of July. There’s plenty of gorgeous green space for a blanket, or choose a comfy chair to witness the sky fill with an array of vibrant colors and intrinsic designs as we celebrate our great country’s birthday. There’s no better place in Queens for a ringside seat to enjoy the magnificent firework show that will originate from CitiField tomorrow, following the Mets/Rangers game. You might even see the memorable Macy’s display which, this year, has been relocated to the New York side of the East River, promising a better view to the residents of western Queens. Ooohs and Aaahs guaranteed!
If it’s summer time in Queens, then the borough’s magnificent parks are once again filled with free Shakespeare, courtesy of Hip-to-Hip Theatre Co.
Now in its eighth season, the Woodside-based theater group — founded by husband-and-wife acting team Jason and Joy Marr — kicks things off July 23 at Flushing Meadows Corona Park with “Cymbeline.” One of the bard’s later works, “Cymbeline” may not have the name recognition of a “King Lear” or “Macbeth,” but it fits nicely into Hip to Hip’s mission of balancing a silly comedy with something more dramatic.
This year’s silliness comes by way of “Two Gentlemen of Verona,” which tells the story of the foolish way people in love usually act. Hip to Hip plans on staging the comedy in the classic Commedia dell’arte style, including the use of stock characters in masques.
The ever popular pre-curtain children’s program returns. Offered 30 minutes prior to each performance, the workshops include games and word play to help the younger audience members get a better grasp of the language and storyline. Lots of parents attend as well, using the workshops as an opportunity to brush up on their Shakespeare.
Coming to a park near you . . .
July 23 – 7 :00p.m. Flushing Meadows Corona Park
July 26 – 7:00 p.m. St. Albans Park
July 30 – 7:00 p.m. Voelker Orth Museum
August 1- 7:00 p.m. Sunnyside Gardens Park
August 3 – 4:30 p.m. Socrates Sculpture Park
August 7 – 7 :00p.m. Crocheron Park
August 9 – 7:00 p.m. Gantry Plaza State Park
August 14 – 7:30 p.m Cunningham Park
“Two Gentlemen of Verona”
July 24 – 7 :00 p.m. Crocheron Park
July 25 – 7:00 p.m. Lost Battalion Rec Center
July 31- 7:30 p.m. Cunningham Park
August 2 – 7:00 p.m. Gantry Plaza State Park
August 6 – 7 :00 p.m. Flushing Meadows Corona Park
August 8 – 7 :00 p.m. Sunnyside Gardens Park
August 10 – 4:30 p.m. Socrates Sculpture Park
August 13 -7:00 p.m. Voelker Orth Museum
Many of these parks are approximately a 15-20 minute distance from The Alexander at Rego Center. The Lost Battalion Recreation Center, scene of Two Gentlemen of Verona on July 25th, is located in Rego Park at 93-29 Queens Boulevard.
The 2nd Annual Battle of the Bands is heating up. This year the competition is fiercer than ever, and bands of every musical genre will rock out at the 2,100-seat Colden Auditorium at the Kupferberg Center for the Arts to win the Best Band in Queens title.
THE 2ND ANNUAL BATTLE OF THE BANDS CONTESTANTS
- Chiv Culture
- Global Warming
- Noise on 93rd
- Noni Rene and The Village
- Psychonaut Underground
- Roslyn School of Rock House Band
- Summer Haze
Ralph McDaniels from Video Music Box will be the official MC for this free event.
Queens Library programs are a free to the public; however tickets are limited to 4 per individual. Free parking is available at the parking lot adjacent to Colden Auditorium. Parking is first come, first served.
Thursday, July 14, 2016
6:00 pm – 8:00pm
Colden Auditorium at Kupferberg Center for the Arts
65-30 Kissena Boulevard
Flushing, NY 11367
Ten years ago the inaugural Korean Theatre Festival arrived in New York with founder Du-Yee Chang performing an original one-man show based on one of Franz Kafka’s novels. Chang, along with 16 other performers from various Seoul theater companies, descend on The Secret Theatre in Long Island City from June 29th through July 3rd to stage three plays as part of the fourth edition of the festival dedicated to Korean theater.
Chang sees the event as a sort of cultural exchange to introduce American audiences to traditional Korean theater. “When we do a Shakespeare play, we are not doing it in an Elizabethan style,” Chang said. “We transform it so Korean audiences can feel familiar with it. It is sort of like how in America, ‘Romeo & Juliet’ became ‘West Side Story.’”
No large-scale musicals are on tap for this year’s festival, but Chang said the three plays scheduled show the variety of what is happening in Korean theater.
“Counselor,” written and directed by Hyun Suk Cha, revolves around the owner of a coffee shop, who offers advice to emotionally and mentally wounded patrons, but who has no memory of his own past. “This is a very modern Korean play,” Chang said. “It is really an interesting psychological drama — like a Harold Pinter play.”
In “The Genius Magician, Young-Sil Chang,” a young magician is the reincarnation of a genius inventor from the 15th-century Chosun Dynasty. Living in a beautiful fictional world, the young magician uses his powers to fight those set on destroying nature.
Both plays will be performed with subtitles displaying English translations of the dialogue.
Although “Same Story, Different Day,” a piece written to mark the 65th Anniversary of the Korean War, will be performed without titles, Chang believes the story will be understood by English-speaking audience members with its use of movement and pantomime.
Although Korean ex-patriots are most likely to attend the festival, Chang hopes to reach plenty of American theatergoers as well.
“We are aiming for both,” he said. “For New Yorkers, these are good plays for theater performances. Korean theater can introduce a different dimension or style.”
June 29 through July 3
Korean Theatre Festival in New York
44-02 23rd St., Long Island City
Cost: $10/general, $7/seniors and students
If you want to get lost in the magic of street art, spend a day exploring Welling Court, and the nooks and crannies of its neighboring streets.
Graffiti, once considered acts of vandalism, has become a popular art form. Public acceptance brought respectability to the artists and their creations, and ultimately led to legitimizing this art form as street art.
Street artists are wildly talented and creative, with most using street art as a means to make a statement. One such artist was Keith Haring whose works consisted of themes related to anti-Apartheid, AIDS awareness, and the crack cocaine epidemic. Later, he branched out to commercialism and created pop art pieces for major companies, then on to images of famous personalities.
Banksy is known throughout the world for his satirical renderings relating to political and social commentary. His forte of blending dark humor with graffiti has become the easily recognizable street art belonging to this talented stencil artist.
Check out the 7th Annual Welling Court Mural Project and see the creativity of some of our local street artists before they become as famous as Haring and Banksy. It’s a treasure trove of talent waiting to be discovered.
With the participating artists spanning over 5 decades of public work, the Welling Court Mural Project is by far one of the best collections of contemporary street culture on the planet, all within this hidden gem of NYC! Always free and open to the public 24/7/365. Don’t forget to wear your comfy kicks.
Welling Court Mural Project
11-98 Welling Court (30th Avenue)
Astoria, New York 11102
Cross streets include Astoria Boulevard, 21st Street, and Vernon Boulevard.
On this Memorial Day we, at The Alexander at Rego Center, honor our heroes who sacrificed their lives to defend our liberties, and salute those who continue to fight for our freedom.
Have a safe and wonderful holiday week-end.
We have been announcing add-ons to the summer schedule of live entertainment at the Forest Hills Stadium as soon as that information is made available to us. Tickets for concerts held here sell out almost immediately and we don’t want you to miss out. Today we received word that The New York Pops, the iconic and influential organization that embodies the spirit of New York, is returning with a performance starring Tony and Emmy nominee Matthew Morrison.
Last summer The New York Pops played to a sold-out audience at this open-air venue, and the rumor around town is that this year’s concert will be no different. The New York Pop’s educational effort, Kids in the Balcony program, allowing for free admission for 1,000 children to have an opportunity to attend and learn about live music, also returns. If you were fortunate to have been in the audience at the 2015 concert you will certainly remember the positive energy from those well-behaved youngsters in attendance.
Music Director Steven Reineke is as excited to be in Forest Hills, as Rego Park and Forest Hills residents are to have The New York Pops in their back yard “I am beyond thrilled to return to the stadium – we had such a blast last summer, and I know that the orchestra and Matthew are going to knock it out of the park in July! Matthew’s performances with us in December 2014 were absolutely electric. We played two sold-out nights at Carnegie Hall. I am glad he will bring his larger-than-life talent to join our full orchestra in this incredible venue. And in case you’re not excited enough, keep your eyes peeled for the announcement of our other special guest!”
A mystery guest, hmm. Anyone care to venture a guess? Our hope would be Idina Menzel, the voice of Elsa in Disney’s Frozen or Linda Eder of Jekyll & Hyde fame. Either would be a fabulous pairing with Broadway’s Matthew Morrison, although we’re certain whoever the guest is won’t disappoint.
Forest Hills Stadium events have been made possible through a partnership with the local community, with an emphasis on making concerts a rewarding experience for all. As members of this community, residents of the luxury rental building, The Alexander at Rego Center agree these live, top-performer concerts are representative of an unmatched neighborhood quality.
The latest rumor is Van Morrison will be performing sometime in October, and we’ll keep you posted on that.
Tickets are on sale at www.foresthillsstadium.com; prices range from $15.00 to $95.00. Remember, children are admitted free.
Another reminder, The New York Pops annual subscription series at Carnegie Hall opens October 14, 2016 with “The Musical World of Lerner and Loewe.”
The New York Pops at Forest Hills Stadium starring Matthew Morrison.
July 7, 2016
Forest Hills Stadium
One Tennis Place
Forest Hills, New York 11375