Things To Do - Astoria Attractions
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.
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.
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.
Things To Do - Astoria Attractions Archive
Astoria Quick Maps
Click on the map icon below to view maps of Astoria
Astoria Queens Business Directory
Click on the icon below to view business listings of Astoria Queens.
Use the category or search links to conduct your own search.
Site Search Tips. 1) For best results, when typing in more than one word, use quotation marks - eg "Astoria Park". 2) Also try either singular or plural words when searching for a specific item such as "gym" or "gyms".
Click this link for promotions by advertisers in Queens.
Click this link to search for something in our Queens Business Directory containing over 1,000 listings.
Click the log in link below to create an ID and post an opinion. Or send this story to a friend by filling in the appropriate box below.