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Astoria NY Astoria Neighborhood Nrws


Astoria International Cultural Festival

astoria culture festival astoria park videoMay 31, 2016 / Astoria Neighborhood / Ethnic Culture in Queens / Queens Buzz.

On Saturday May 21st from 1.30 until past 6 pm, there was a series of cultural performances held on the Great Lawn of Astoria Park. The event was hosted by the Central Astoria Local Development Coalition [CALDC] to showcase the multi-ethnicity of tne neighborhood.

Nearly a dozen local cultural groups performed, including Ballet Los Pampas representing Argentina, KUD Halaturko representing Bosnia, Croatian Franciscan Fathers Youth Club, Ayazamana Cultural Center representing Ecuador, Cretan Association representing Greece, NYC Bhangra representing India, McManus School of Irish Dance, The Braata Folk Singers representing the Caribbean / Jamaica, and the Korean Traditional Music and Dance Center.

There was a crowd that numbered in the hundreds over the course of the afternoon. Many brought lawn chairs and blankets to sit upon while they watched the show. The weather cooperated as the temperature was in the 60's and while at times cloudy, it was dry.

Several food vendors came out to augment the cultural celebration, now in its second year. As I came late in the afternoon, I had missed the prime time of that part of the event. In the photo at right you can see one of the performers walking up the Astoria Park Great Lawn after her performance.

Click here for a brief video of some of the 2016 International Culture Festival in Astoria Park.


Traffic Fatality at 21st Street - Hit & Run at 30th Road | traffic fatalities queens astoria hit and run at 21st st & 30th road lic ta queens traffic safety efforts
Traffic Fatality at 21st Street - Hit & Run at 30th Road

Person of Interest

'Irrelevant' Person Dead, 'Relevant' Person Still at Large

April 11, 2016 / Long Island City Neighborhood LIC / Astoria Neighborhood / Queens Community Issues / News Analysis & Opinion / Queens Buzz.

On Wednesday, April 6th shortly before 11 pm an unidentified motorist traveling south on 21st Street hit a pedestrian near 30th Road.

According to PIX11 News,

“The driver traveled a half a block with the victim on the hood of the car, slammed on the brakes, leaving the victim to fall on the roadway before fleeing the scene, according to a police source.”

PIX11 News also noted that the car may have been a Toyota [guess for yourself by watching the video], of a dark or red color, and that there was glass on the road, indicating that the car may have been damaged in the fatal hit & run. As of Monday noon, police had still not released the name of the dead man, pending family notification. The man was crossing 21st Street outside of the painted crosswalk lines.

This was a real homicide, but not pre-meditated murder, like the crimes that Harold Finch, John Reese and Detective Lionel Fusco attempt to solve before they happen in the CBS television series Person of Interest. But like the crimes pursued by the citizen heroes of the CBS television miniseries, there’s some reasonable probability that this hit and run homicide along 21st Street could have been prevented. In fact we documented the members of TA Queens trying to stop this fatality before it happened, wherein they assumed roles with moral parallels to the leading characters in the show Person of Interest.

Let’s examine the evidence. Click here to read the rest of our report about the hit and run fatality on 21st Street in Astoria / LIC at 30th Road including a graphic NYPD video of the collision.



Astoria in the 1980's:  Contemporary History of Astoria at the Greater Astoria Historical Society | astoria history contemporary history of astoria lic greater astoria historical society
Astoria in the 1980's: Contemporary History of Astoria at the Greater Astoria Historical Society

Two Guys From Astoria: Astoria in the 1980's

Greater Astoria Historical Society Hosts a Contemporary History

February 1, 2016 / Astoria Neighborhood / Astoria History / Queens Buzz.

I attended a program presented by Joseph Cicchelli and Steven Fella entitled Two Guys From Astoria, which was hosted by the Greater Astoria Historical Society. The program was in essence a contemporary history of Astoria presented by 'two guys from Astoria'.

The two guys, Joseph Cicchelli and Steven Fella, were neighbors in the Astoria section of Queens during the 1980's at a time when Astoria, Queens was in the midst of a much different kind of transition than ithe neighborhood is going through today. It was a time when an earlier wave of the Queens melting pot had become 'Americanized' while the next wave of immigration was in full bloom. Queens has a history of welcoming immigrants from around the globe, whose children grow up together culturally, as fellow Americans and fellow human beings.

But the story told by Cicchelli and Fella is a nostalgic look back at Americana as seen through the youthful eyes of two young Astorians who still are old neighborhood friends. The narrative takes place on the streets of Astoria numbered in the 40's around 30th Avenue. The Two Guys From Astoria presentation was delivered first-person, blog-style, bringing back to life many of the local and national icons of the time. Suped up cars, Pink Floyd, leather jackets and 'broken' fire hydrants, during the long hot summer days - were all a part of the narrative.

Click here to read the rest of a contemporary history of Astoria presented by Joseph Cicchelli and Steven Fella at the Greater Astoria Historical Society on January 11, 2016.



things to do in astoria astoria things to do

Click the drop down menu to submit events [ID required] into the Member Calendar. Free for arts groups / non-profits and community orgs, except fundraising events.

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Member Calendar
Fri Jul 29Dance Classes Registration
Free Shakespeare in the Park: As You Like It
QWFF Encore Screening: Inclusive Love Stories
Secret - The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Sat Jul 30Dance Classes Registration
Venus Envy Music Festival: Women Who Rock!
Secret - The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Free Shakespeare in the Park: Julius Caesar
Sun Jul 31Dance Classes Registration
Secret - The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Mon Aug 01Central Astoria LDC Moives on the Waterfront: Mary Poppins
Tue Aug 02(No Events Scheduled)
Wed Aug 03(No Events Scheduled)
Thu Aug 04QWFF Encore Screening: Slices of Life from Flushing to Mumbai
Central Astoria LDC Concerts on the Waterfront: Motor City Revue
Free Shakespeare in the Park: As You Like It
Fri Aug 05Jamaica Arts & Music Summer (JAMS) Festival: Under the Stars Concert
Free Shakespeare in the Park: Julius Caesar
QWFF Encore Screening: Fathers and Daughters and Sons
Sat Aug 06Jamaica Arts & Music Summer (JAMS) Festival
Free Shakespeare in the Park: As You Like It
Hyperbole: The Best Comedy Show Ever
Sun Aug 07Free Shakespeare in the Park: Julius Caesar
Mon Aug 08Central Astoria LDC Movies on the Waterfront: Minions
Tue Aug 09Free Dance Class at LIC Landing!
Free Dance Class at LIC Landing! Ages 7 & up
Wed Aug 10Free Shakespeare in the Park: Julius Caesar
Thu Aug 11Central Astoria LDC Concerts on the Waterfront: Women of Pop & Rock
QWFF Encore Screening: H.O.M.E
Fri Aug 12QWFF Encore Screening: New York Stories
Free Shakespeare in the Park: As You Like It
Sat Aug 13Chatpati Mela
Talk/Demo: "Klassical Music: Spotlight on Keyboards"
Free Shakespeare in the Park: Julius Caesar
Sun Aug 14Free Shakespeare in the Park: As You Like It
Mon Aug 15Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Tue Aug 16(No Events Scheduled)
Wed Aug 17(No Events Scheduled)
Thu Aug 18QWFF Encore Screening: Modern Ruin: A World's Fair Pavilion
Central Astoria LDC Concerts on the Waterfront: Bon Journey
Free Shakespeare in the Park: Julius Caesar
Fri Aug 19(No Events Scheduled)
Sat Aug 20SculptureCenter's LIC Block Party
Sun Aug 21(No Events Scheduled)
Mon Aug 22Central Astoria LDC Movies on the Waterfront: Jaws
Tue Aug 23Free Dance Class at LIC Landing!
Free Dance Class at LIC Landing! Ages 7 & up
Wed Aug 24(No Events Scheduled)
Thu Aug 25QWFF Encore Screening: Saving Jamaica Bay
Free Shakespeare in the Park: As You Like It
Fri Aug 26Free Shakespeare in the Park: Julius Caesar
Sat Aug 27Free Shakespeare in the Park: As You Like It


Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden - Astoria History Bohemian Hall NYC | astoria bohemian hall nyc bohemian hall & beer garden nyc astoria queens nyc
Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden - Astoria History Bohemian Hall NYC

Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden

Holiday Tree Lighting & Celebration in Astoria

Updated w/ Videos & Photos December 15, 2015 / Astoria Neighborhood / Astoria History / Queens Buzz.

On Friday night the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden in Astoria celebrated the advent of Christmas with its traditional Christmas Party. The holiday event was favored with unusually warm weather, somewhere in the high 50’s.

As I approached the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden I could easily see it from a distance, as it was festively adorned with hundreds of lights. There was a holiday market along the beer garden wall, which among other things, had Christmas trees of all sizes for sale.

Outside the gate there was a very large snowman and inside the beer garden a big jolly Santa riding high in his big wooden sleigh, behind a tall wooden reindeer. Santa was taking the kids for an imaginary ride into the wild blue yonder … "Ho, Ho, Ho ... Merry Christmas" bellowed the Big Man. The attending parents were provided with plenty of opportunities to take photos of Santa with their children and / or themselves.

A bit further into the beer garden there was a beautifully decorated Christmas tree, which had just been lit for the first time by Bohemian Hall and local government officials who had come to join the celebration. I arrived about a half hour beer gardens queens astoria nycafter the official starting time, so while there was still a good sized crowd present, many of the local officials had departed. I spotted NYC City Councilmember Costa Constantinides relaxing with his family, and I later heard that NYS Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas had also been there.

The Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden had done nothing less than a marvelous job of providing the perfect holiday playground for young and old alike. Of course, this isn’t usually possible in Astoria in early December, because the temperatures are generally about 20 to 30 degrees cooler. But it was warm this year, so the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden took advantage of the weather, and the visiting crowd was quick to adapt to enjoying the warmer clime of the great outdoors.

Click here to read the rest of our report, including a video, of the holiday celebration and tree lighting at the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden - one of the leading beer gardens in Queens.



DanceWorks New York City NYC at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts | dance works new york city DanceWorks NYC frank sinatra school of the arts astoria frank sinatra high school
DanceWorks New York City NYC at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts

DanceWorks New York City

Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Astoria Hosts DanceWorks

November 23, 2015 / Astoria Neighborhood / Modern Dance in Queens / Queens Buzz.

I just returned from one of the most exciting dance performances I’ve seen in a long, long while. The dances were performed at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Astoria on Saturday night. Unfortunately, DanceWorks performances may only be seen twice a year and the next one isn't until May 21st 2016 at this same location.

The show opened with a short introduction by DanceWorks Founder Lisa Mara, and DanceWorks New York City Director Jackie Arcy. Their introduction was followed by a dance video. And then the show began.

The show presented about two dozen original works and literally included a cast of about 140 dancers and choreographers. All of the dancers and choreographers had auditioned to participate in the show and then practiced and rehearsed for 16 straight weeks. The show lasted two hours, but the time flew by.

The photo above shows one of the dance performances at DanceWorks New York City at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts.

Click here to read the rest of our report about the semi-annual performance entitled DanceWorks New York City NYC at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Astoria.



Hell Gate Horror - Halloween Houses in Queens | halloween houses astoria queens hell gate horror halloween astoria queens nyc
Hell Gate Horror - Halloween Houses in Queens

Hell Gate Horror was ... well ... horrifying ..

Neighborhood Halloween House Includes Plenty of Theater & Imagination

October 24, 2015 / Astoria Neighborhood / Ethnic & Religious Culture & Holidays in Queens / Queens Buzz.

It was a hauntingly calm evening as I dared to return to the haunted Hell Gate Horror of Astoria. It was a century ago that the Hell Gate Bridge was nearing completion over the East River and the thought of what happened last year had raised the hair on my back as I approached.

This year I decided to take along a video camera so that what I might miss with my own eyes might be captured in the video. But alas, it was so dark, that even the camera couldn't keep pace with the spirits and ghosts hovering under the Hell Gate Bridge on this haunted horrifying evening.

They say a picture says a thousand words, so with that I'll let you take the journey into the Hell Gate Horror of Astoria yourself. If you click into the story we did last year and compare it to the video this year, you'll see they freshen it up with new themes, back drops and costumes. Boo.

Click here to see the video of the Hell Gate Horror Halloween House of Astoria.




FIAO - Federation of Italian Americans - Columbus Day Parade Astoria | FIAO federation of italian americans fiat astoria columbus day parade astoria queenscolumbus weekend parade queens
FIAO - Federation of Italian Americans - Columbus Day Parade Astoria

Astoria Columbus Day Parade

38th Annual Parade Celebrates Italian's Discovery of the New World

October 12, 2015 / Astoria Neighborhood / Ethnic Culture Queens / Queens Buzz.

It was a near perfect day as I made my over to Steinway and 30th Streets to watch the Columbus Day Parade. The parade formed in the lot at Kaufman Studios, then marched north along Steinway Street, west along 30th Avenue before making its way north again along 33rd Street before terminating at Columbus Triangle at Astoria Blvd.

Federation of Italian Americans in Astoria [FIAO]

The Federation of Italian Americans organizes the parade each year, to commemorate Columbus's discovery of America. FIAO [The Federation of Italian Americans] has organized the Astoria Columbus Day Parade since 1978.

Columbus set sail in early August of 1492 and is said to have spotted land on October 12th of that same year, which is why we celebrate Columbus Day on the second Monday of October every year. The land Columbus had discovered was actually an island in the Caribbean and Columbus believed it to be a part of Asia. Columbus's voyage had been funded by the King and Queen of Spain, as they were beginning to compete with other European nations for overseas trade.

That's Mrs. Columbus standing just right of members of her security detail.

Click here to learn a bit more about Columbus's historic voyages, the naming of America, as well as a photo slide show of the Federation of Italian Americans FIAO Columbus Day Parade and the Columbus Triangle in Astoria.



Astoria Music Now - Photos & Video | astoria music now music festival rock concert astoria park
Astoria Music Now - Photos & Video

Astoria Music Now

Astoria Arts & Music Hosts 7th Annual Astoria Musical Festival

September 16, 2015 / Astoria Neighborhood / Live Music Queens / Queens Buzz.

On Saturday, August 29th I headed over to Astoria Park to attend the 7th Annual Astoria Music Now music festival. It was a near perfect day with the temperatures in the 80's, plenty of sun and not too much humidity.

There were three stages on the Great Lawn - one at the top of the hill, a second one near the foot of one of the towers of Hell Gate Bridge and the third along the East River along the western perimter of the Great Lawn. In this manner one could choose from three performances, and once chosen, listen out of earshot of the other two stages.

Before I settled in to listen to the music I decided to take a walk along the waterfront there were a number of art galleries / exhibits in tents lining the waterfront.

Click here to read the rest of the story, view photos and a video of Astoria Music Now.



Century Bike Ride Runs & Rests In Queens

queens things to do queensSeptember 14, 2015 / Astoria Neighborhood / Biking Queens / Queens Buzz. The Sunday forecast included a high probability of scattered thunderstorms, but fortunately for the Century bike riders the weather appeared to favor them.

The Century Bike Ride is organized by Transportation Alternatives, an environmentally-friendly group that promotes non-carbon and low carbon 'transportation alternatives' to NYC residents. This is the bike ride they sponsor and the receipts go toward their efforts to ensure the various levels of government do what they can to help promote a safe and regenerative urban transportation environment.

The Century Bike Ride offers four biking alternatives that individuals and / or groups can pursue on their own during the most-of-the-day event. The first start time was at 5.30 am in Central Park [Manhattan] and at 6 am for a Prospect Park [Brooklyn] start and the last rest stops at the two parks closed at 6 pm.

The four bike routes included a 35 mile, 55 mile, 75 mile and 100 mile [hence the name century] loop.The 35 mile loop is called the East River Ride, which runs along the East River primarily in Brooklyn and Queens. The ride started at 7.30 am and was expected to last between 3.5 and 7.5 hours. The 55 mile loop is called the Waterfront Ride which includes the East River loop, but also the Verrazzanno Bridge, Coney Island and part of the Brooklyn Greenway. This ride started at 7 am / 7.30 am and was expected to take about 3.5 to 8.5 hours. The 75 mile loop is called the Rockaways Ride and it excludes the north / south run along the East River in Brooklyn / Queens in exchange for a haul out to the Fort Tilden Beach in the Rockaways then north through a number of Queens Greenways [parks] before turning westward back toward Manhattan. The Century Bike Ride, the 100 miler, starts at 6 am / 6.30 am and is expected to take between six and twelve hours.

The Century Bike Ride started in 1989 and is celebrating its 26th year.


City of Water Day in Queens

July 17, 2015 / Astoria Neighborhood / LIC Neighborhood / Queens Neighborhoods / Water & Sports Activities Queens / Queens Buzz.

The following are City of Water Day events in Queens. This information was taken from www.cityofwaterday.org website. They are organizers of the event.

  • queens things to do queensLong Island Community Boathouse - Location: Hallets Cove, 31st Ave. at Vernon Blvd - Time: 11am-2pm - Public walkup kayaking at Hallets Cove
  • Urban Park Rangers - Location: Hallets Cove, 31st Ave. at Vernon Blvd - Time: 10am-2pm - Catch & release fishing
  • NYC DEP - Location: Hallets Cove, 31st Ave. at Vernon Blvd - Time: 10am-2pm
  • Long Island Community Boathouse - Location: Gantry State Park, 48th Ave. and Center Blvd - Time: 2:30pm-4pm - Free public walkup kayaking
  • Long Island Community Gardens Inc. - Location: Gantry State Park, 48th Ave. and Center Blvd - Time: 12pm-4pm - Family festival at Gantry State Park
  • Hunters Point Parks Conservancy - Location: Gantry State Park, 48th Ave. and Center Blvd - Time: 12pm-4pm - Morning: Gardening in the park, Afternoon: Narrated tour around Gantry State Park; Commemoration for Bill Bilyeski
  • Friends of Queens Library at Hunters Point - Location: Gantry State Park, 48th Ave. and Center Blvd - Time: 12pm-4pm - Mobile library & story telling
  • Green Shores NYC - Location: Gantry State Park, 48th Ave. and Center Blvd - Time: 12pm-4pm - Yoga, catch & release fishing off of pier, family friendly events
  • Long Island Community Boathouse - Location: Anable Basin, 46th Ave. and North Basin Rd - Time: 2pm-6pm - Free public walkup kayaking

Tour de Queens

Transportation Alternatives Hosts 8th Annual Tour de Queens

colombian flower parade photos queensJuly 15, 2015 / Astoria Neighborhood / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Biking / Queens Buzz.

The first Tour de Queens took place in 2008. The event was organized by Transportation Alternatives to encourage people to get on their bikes to see their neighborhoods. The idea is once people reaquaint themselves with the ease and joy of bicycle travel, they'll be more apt to get on their bicycle again.

The Tour de Queens route changes every year, and sometimes that includes the starting and end point. This year the event began in Astoria Park again and traveled south through Long Island City, east to Middle Village and north to Jackson Heights before returning to Astoria Park.

Sign up began at 8 am and the tour began promptly at 9.30 am. About 11,000 cyclists signed up for the Tour de Queens which cost $22.50 and $17.50 to register. The Tour de Queens is an escorted ride where the police temporarily set up barricades clearing the route as the bicyclists pass. This differs from both the 5 Boro Bike Ride and the Century Bike Ride where the route is cordoned off for a great deal of the day.


4th of July Fireworks Queens

Astoria Park Fireworks Celebration

4th july fireworks queens 2015June 30, 2015 / Astoria Neighborhood / Queens Culture / Queens Buzz.

Tonight there's an independence fireworks celebration in Astoria Park beginning at 7.30 pm. It's a near perfect night for them as the highs today will be around 80 and the lows in the mid 60's, with scant chance of any rain.

The festivities will begin with a concert on the Great Lawn. The West Point Band of the U.S. Military Academy will be performing a number of classical American tunes along with 19th century classical music.

Around dusk which has generally been around 9.30 pm, but is sometimes sooner because of cloud cover, the fireworks by the Grucci Brothers begins.

The fireworks are some of the best 4th of July fireworks in the city and generally last about a half hour. And then ... it's over. The community event is organized by the Central Astoria Local Development Corporation [aka CALDC].

On July 4th Queens will have a second opportunity to watch the fireworks, sponsored by Macy's, which are on the East River. Enjoy.



Mad Men - MoMI Astoria | mad men exhibit mimi astoria mad men exhibit museum of the moving image astoria queens mad men exhibit
Mad Men - MoMI Astoria

Art imitates life ... and ...

television brings back 1960's style & culture

Mad Men Exhibit At The Museum Of The Moving Image In Astoria

April 6, 2015 / Astoria NY / Film in Queens / Queens Buzz. Several weeks ago I attended the press preview of the Mad Men exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria.

Mad Men is the creation of writer Matthew Weiner who previously worked as a contributor on the HBO series, The Sopranos. Weiner enlisted Lionsgate Television to collaborate with him in producing the show, which was aired on cable channel AMC TV beginning in 2007.

The first pilot episode was filmed at SilverCup Studios in Queens, with subsequent episodes being produced in Los Angeles. The last show of the series aired on April 5, 2015.

Hence the Mad Men exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria was perfectly timed, and it will be on display until June of this year. In the photo at right is Don Draper, the proverbial star of the show, in his New York City advertising office on AMC TV's Mad Men.

So, relax, pour yourself a Scotch, pull a Cohiba cigar out of the humidor and click here to read on ... the Mad Men exhibit at MoMI Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria.



Athens Square Park History - Astoria | athens square park astoria history of athens square park statues athena sophocles socrates columns of delphi aristotle astoria parks athens square park
Athens Square Park History - Astoria

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.





Museum of the Moving Image Hosts Indie Cade

indie cade east nycIndie Cade East Celebrates Third Year At MoMI

February 17, 2015 / Astoria Neighborhood / Film In Queens / Queens Buzz.

Indie Cade East came to the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria last weekend. I believe it was the third or fourth year that the event was held at the Museum of the Moving Image in NYC. Indie Cade is an interactive expo about all things pertaining to video and gaming, and it attracts a decidedly youthful crowd.

In the photo at right a young man tries on a pair of video goggles to 'get in the game'.

We'll have more about Indie Cade at a later date.


QNS Collective: We Will Still Be Here

Local Artist Photographs Dutch Kills Real Estate Development For Posterity

qns collective real estate development dutch kills photosJanuary 19, 2015 / Astoria & Dutch Kills LIC / Art Exhibits in Queens / Queens Buzz. It’s not often one gets to see a bit of history in the making. But last Saturday evening I made my way to the QNS Collective in Astoria / LIC to see a bit of it.

The event was the opening reception of We Will Be Here, a photographic exhibit by Salvador Espinoza about the changes taking place in the Dutch Kills neighborhood of Long Island City. The exhibit included 13 framed photos hanging on the walls of the second floor of the QNS Collective, a modern new office space in Astoria / LIC. Another twelve will be rotated into the exhibit during the course of its showing which runs through February 6th.

Dutch Kills Neighborhood Changing Fast

The photos are a recent look at the changes taking place in the Dutch Kills neighborhood. The photos were shot in black and white over the past year, and provide a personal glimpse of the development of the Dutch Kills dutch kills neighborhood real estate developmentneighborhood by someone who grew up in it and has spent the better part of his life living there. The photo above shows Salvador standing in front of one of his photos where his brother held up a photo of a vista one would previously encounter while standing at the Queensboro Plaza subway station, which is now hidden behind a number of shiny new highrises.

Salvador told me that he moved out of the neighborhood for a few years [to Sunnyside] and he frequently returned to visit family and friends. He started noticing significant changes to the neighborhood occurring between each visit. He thought that someone should start recording the changes, because the neighborhood he grew up in, would soon vanish into the past. After giving the idea some thought, he concluded that perhaps he was the one to do it. So he reached out to the Queens Council on the Arts and they provided him with a small grant to pursue the project.

Salvador Espinoza Photographer, Director & Collaborator

Many years ago Salvador had been an amateur photographer, and when he took up this project, he began anew. Over the course of the past year he started taking photos of the neighborhood including some of the everyday houses that likely will soon be demolished and replaced by apartment buildings, as the value of Dutch Kills real estate hjesenia marin beautiful day video lic queensas skyrocketed in recent years.

Some of his photos include his neighborhood friends. I met Chris of EQ Lyrics, who is included in one of the photos of the exhibit. Chris had just completed a music video and tonight - as part of the exhibit opening - we were to witness the first public showing of Chris’s music video. Salvador directed it and Chris plays the leading male role.

The lights dimmed, the crowd gathered around in a sort of amphitheater configuration, and the video began. The video is called A Beautiful Day and it’s shot entirely in the LIC / Dutch Kills / Astoria neighborhood. The video takes us into Chris's life of getting drunk and banging chicks in the city [video still to your right]. We've embedded the video at the end of this story.

Click here to read the rest of our story about the photo exhibit We Will Still Be Here, about the changing face of Dutch Kills real estate, at the QNS Collective through February 6.


Astoria Cove Real Estate Development

East River Waterfront Transformation Moves North

astoria cove developmentUpdated December 3, 2014. The Astoria Cove development passed the NY City Council.

August 18, 2014 / Queens & Astoria Real Estate / Astoria Neighborhood / Queens Buzz. Unbeknownst to at least a few of the folks who live in the far northwest corner of Astoria and Queens, big plans for changes have been taking shape over the past couple of years.

The Hallets Point development passed Community Board One in May of 2013 and the Astoria Cove development is making its way through the governmental gauntlet of real estate development approvals.

The plan calls for a large new complex along the East River which will occupy the location where the building in the photo now stands, along with several other blocks of territory which will become its footprint. The building shown above is about a block east of Build It Green.

Community Board One and the Queens Borough President had issues with the development, primarily calling for a buildout of public infrastructure to support the development as well as for the inclusion of a higher number of affordable housing units. The development will be built completely on privately purchased land, which is in contrast to the Hallets Point development which was done using NYCHA [NYC Housing Authority] property.

We'll have more about this at a later date.



The Legend Of Hell Gate Horror - Halloween Astoria | halloween astoria hell gate horror spooky walk astoria halloween legend of hell gate horror halloween legend astoria
The Legend Of Hell Gate Horror - Halloween Astoria

The Legend Of Hell Gate Horror

Hell Gate Horror Myth May Have Real Origins

October 19, 2014 / Astoria Neighborhood / Queens Culture / Queens Buzz. It’s not often one stumbles upon a legend and then finds himself riddled in its mysteries. But so it was last Saturday evening, while biking through Astoria Park that I encountered an older gentleman who called to me asking for help. It was near dusk as the sun began setting behind the skyline and the shadows grew longer.

He was sitting on a park bench overlooking the Hell Gate Bridge and dressed in clothing of years gone by. He had not shaved in several days and his hair was a bit disheveled. I sized him up as I approached and determined that he was probably ok.

“Hi. What’s up?” I asked.

“I need help.” He replied. I looked at him inquisitively as he didn’t appear to be in any immediate predicament, near as I could tell.

“What can I do for you?” I asked.

“I see by your bag that you work for a [web] magazine. Are you a reporter?” I nodded affirmatively. He pulled some photos from his coat and handed them to me.

halloween astoriaI started thumbing through them, seeing what seemed to be photos of ghosts flying through the Astoria neighborhood. The photos weren’t that clear and mostly in black and white. I didn’t really know what to make of them.

The man looked at me intently, as if to measure my interest. “I’m trying to get back in.” He said. I looked at him stupefied. “What?” He repeated, “I’m trying to get back in.”

“I heard you the first time, but I don’t understand what you mean.” I replied.

He went onto explain. “The Hell Gate Bridge began construction over one hundred years ago. The construction went on between 1912 and 1918. I was one of the construction workers and every year right around Halloween we’d throw a party in this neighborhood, near a cemetery.”

“Nobody believed it at the time, but there were rumors that the cemetery was haunted and that those who walked through it around Halloween time, risked losing their body to one of the ghostly spirits. It seemed like pure nonsense, even at the time, one hundred years ago, as new scientific breakthroughs were being made all the time. Trains, autos, light bulbs and bridges like Hell Gate were examples of the huge changes we were seeing. Nobody really believed it, and certainly not me … but I was wrong.”

Click here to read the rest of the story about the Legend Of Hell Gate Horror.



Century Bike Tour In Astoria Park & Queens

century bike tour queensSeptember 8, 2014 / Astoria Neighborhood / Biking Queens / Queens Buzz. The Century Bike Tour came rolling through Queens all day Sunday. It's a 100 mile bike ride, but designed to also accommodate those with less ambitious plans of 25 and 50 mile bike rides too.

The course includes four of the five boroughs [not Staten Island] and it is neither police escorted, nor are the roads blocked off to accommodate the ride. NYC has become far more bike-friendly over the past decade. So while riding along with the other bikers, you'll find drivers become aware that this is a big bike day. One biker also told me that the police are stationed at key artery intersections - like the Brooklyn Bridge - to handle the traffic management complexities.

It costs $65 and registration remains open up to the event day as the tour is designed to accommodate large numbers of bikers. About 6,000 bikers registered this year which is near an all time high. The event is sponsored by Transportation Alternatives which uses the funds to advocate for safer streets. We'll have more on this including a photo slide show at a later date.



Where For Art Thou?

Hip To Hip Theatre In The Park Keeps Wisdom Of Old Bard Alive In Queens

shakespeare in the park in queensAugust 4, 2014 / Sunnyside Neighborhood & LIC Neighborhood / Queens Buzz. I attended one of the four Shakespeare in the Park performances this past weekend in Queens. Two Gentlemen of Verona was performed in Cunningham Park on Thursday and in Gantry State Park on Saturday and Cymbeline was performed in Sunnyside Gardens Park Friday evening and in Socrates Sculpture Park in LIC on Sunday evening.

Hip to Hip Theatre Company of Woodside was the theater company performing the 400 year old works which contain themes of love, friendship, greed, envy and (dis)trust that remain relevant to this day.

The actors wear microphones connected wirelessly to speakers, so that the audience is now able to hear every word they utter. In the early years of outdoor theater this wasn't possible. Thus technology has made watching outdoor theater far more enjoyable, not to mention easier on the actors' and actresses' vocal chords so that this weekend four performances were possible without so much as hearing one hoarse voice.

The free Shakespeare in Queens parks continues through the coming two weeks.


Summer Stage In Queens This Week

things to do queensQueensBridge Park In LIC Hosts Concerts Now Thru Weekend*

July 14, 2014 / Long Island City Neighborhood / Music In Queens / Things To Do Queens / Queens Buzz. There are so many things to do in Queens this summer that it's challenging to keep up with them. But this week, almost all week, Summer Stage comes to Queens at QueensBridge Park in Long Island City.

Last weekend there was a free Summer Stage concerts in Manhattan given by Cibo Matto. They performed to a near capacity crowd in Central Park likely because of the location, their popularity and fairly good weather [see photo at right].

This week, beginning Tuesday, July 15 Ismael Miranda, Rebel Tumbao & Joe Clausell will be on stage at QueensBridge Park beginning at 7 pm. On Wednesday, J Holiday & Jon B perform beginning at 7 pm.

On Thursday, Mobb Deep & Lyricist Lounge will begin performance at 7 pm. Friday Harambee Dance Company will be there beginning at 7 pm. And on Sunday beginning at 4 pm it's Queens Family Day with Jazz at Lincoln Center and the Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College. All are free and the public is welcome to attend.

*Except Saturday.



July 4th Fireworks Queens & Weekend

4th of July Fireworks Return To East River

4th of july fireworis in queensJuly 4th, 2014 / Things To Do Queens / Queens Buzz.

Weather. Not ideal for fireworks. Friday it will be in the high 70's with about 65% humidity all day. Rain will hit between 3 & 4 pm and thereafter - until about 10 pm - there's a 50% chance of it. So for the fireworks display it's a 50 / 50% chance you may get wet.

For the rest of the weekend, the highs will climb to the mid 80's and it will be sunny and dry Saturday, with humidity climbing back to 50 - 65% Sunday.

Macy's 4th of July fireworks in Manhattan NYC. The Macy's 4th of July fireworks will likely begin around 9.30 pm which is when it gets dark enough to support a good show. But that said, you should probably get to where you're going to watch them no later than 9 pm, because the cloudy skies may allow them to get off to an early start.

Best Locations to view Macy's 4th of July fireworks in Queens NYC. There will be three barges in the East River from where the fireworks will be launched - two just south of the Brooklyn Bridge and one just north of it. The best viewing locations would be in and around the bridge including the South Street Seaport. But spots along the East River should allow for a pretty fair view, including Gantry State Park and Hunters Point South.

We'll post weekend events later today and Saturday.


Summer Solstice & Great Weekend

summer in nyc photosJune 23, 2014 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Buzz. It was one of the near perfect weekends. The sun was shining, but not too hot and the air was warm and dry during the day and cool at night.

It was also the summer solstice - the longest day of the year - that point in the calendar from which the amount of daylight will begin to shrink. This was not lost on the general population as folks were out and about enjoying the weather.

There were sunbathers along the East River at Astoria Park and Gantry Park. And lots of sun worshippers in between. Make Music NY organized about 1,000 performances throughout the city, including quite a number of them in Queens. I hope you had a nice weekend and wish you the best in the coming week.


Brooklyn Grange & Edible Queens Host Butcher Paper Dinners | brooklyn grange edible queens butcher paper dinners queens lic
Brooklyn Grange & Edible Queens Host Butcher Paper Dinners

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.




Randall's Island Bike Ride

Weekend Day Ride Feels Miles Away

queens bike pathsMay 12, 2014 / Astoria / Queens Bike Paths / Queens Buzz. I decided to attend the Frieze Art Fair on Randall's Island this past weekend. There are three ways to travel to Randall's Island: the ferry service from LIC, driving a car along the Grand Central Parkway part way over the RFK / Triborough Bridge or walking / biking on the pedestrian / bike path over the RFK / Triborough Bridge. I decided to take the latter and bike to Randall's Island.

Randall's Island is located in the middle of the East River, just across from Astoria Park. It is home to Icahn Stadium, an important NY Fire Department complex, a police station and a psychiatric hospital. There are also a number athletic fields which on this particular weekend seemed to be put to good use by a number of soccer leagues.

I started my journey at 27th Street on the north end of Hoyt Avenue which runs alongside the Grand Central Parkway leading to the RFK / Triborough Bridge. The entrance is inconspicuous and you have to carry your bike up a healthy set of stairs. For a while you'll be biking in a partitioned bike lane alongside the incessant flow of speeding traffic of the Grand Central Parkway, before you're taken above the din, up into the lofty heights of the Triborough Bridge. If you have a great fear of heights, this is not the journey for you.

We'll post more about the bike path to Randall's Island, including a photo slide show, at a later date.


Steinway Mansion SOLD

steinway mansion soldSteinway Mansion LLC Purchases Mansion For $2.65 Million

May 5, 2014 / Astoria Real Estate / Steinway Mansion / Queens Buzz. On Friday May 3rd, 2014, the Steinway Mansion was sold for $2.65 million. The mansion went on the market in August of 2010 and was handled by a number of brokers - including Southebys International Realty, Halvatzis Realty Astoria and Prudential Douglas Elliman - before being turned over to Amorelli Realty of Astoria, which closed the deal.

At present, we understand that the land parcel remains intact, which last we heard was between one and two acres. This acreage is down from the 700 acres that Benjamin Pike, the original owner, purchased in the mid 1800's [circa 1858]; and the 70 acres owned in tandem with the mansion by the Steinways [circa 1870]. The most recent owners, the Halberians, held about a two acre lot in tandem with the mansion, which includes the grounds with which those who have visited the mansion in modern times are familiar.

The Steinway Mansion is currently zoned as residential and we were told that - as of this date - that nothing was underway to change that. Rumors have been circulating for months that the mansion would be turned into a restaurant, but we could not find anyone close to the owners who could confirm that.

Bob Singleton of the Greater Astoria Historical Society and Friends of the Steinway Mansion said that those two organizations continue to have an interest in helping preserve the Steinway Mansion an historic jewel for Astoria, Queens and NYC.

As we understand it, the Steinway Mansion is landmarked at federal, state and city levels, which means the outside of the structure may not be alterred nor may it be torn down. We were informed that Steinway Mansion LLC is a locally owned company, but the names of the owners have not yet been made public.

The realtors who closed the deal include Lauren Cornea, Christina Halvatzis and Paul Halvatzis - all of Amorelli Realty.


Greek Orthodox Easter Tradition In Astoria

St. Demetrios Cathedral Holy Friday Procession With Epitaphios In Astoria

greek easter celebration in astoria queensApril 21, 2014 / Astoria Neighborhood / Ethnic Culture In Queens / Queens Buzz. Friday night I made my way into Astoria to watch the St Demetrios Cathedral Holy Friday procession with the epitaphios. I arrived a bit after 9 pm, and they had just left the cathedral. The service began at 7 pm and it's followed by the public procession into the Astorian streets to commemorate the death of Jesus Christ, some 2014 years ago.

A contingent leads the parade, including a man carrying a crucifix, symbolizing the cross that Jesus was nailed to, when he was executed as a threat to the Roman Empire. Following behind the first contingent is another group of men who carry the epitaphios. The epitaphios is a floral covered structure that looks a bit like a carriage and coffin. And following the epitaphios are the parishoners, which in the case of the St. Demetrios Cathedral procession likely numbered in the low single digit thousand(s).

In the photo to your right you can see the epitaphios at left and the St. Demetrios parishoners on Holy Friday night in Astoria. We'll post a photo slide show later this day or week.



World's Fairs 1939 & 1964 Redux

Those Crazy Middletons Return To Queens

worlds fair 1939 nycMarch 25, 2014 / Astoria Neighborhood / Queens History / Queens Buzz. I attended the first film of a Greater Astoria Historical Society month long program featuring films, lectures and a walking tour of the fairgrounds of the 1939 and 1964 World's Fairs in NYC. Both fairs were hosted in Flushing Meadows Corona Park just south of CitiField Stadium.

There was a great deal of promotion surrounding the 1939 World's Fair as NYC rolled out the red carpet for travelers from around the nation and around the world. Robert Moses, the NYC Parks Commissioner, had chosen the site as he planned to use development funds to continue his efforts to convert the old ashpile into the beautiful park it is today [although it could use a bigger maintenance budget].

The Middletons returned to Queens via celluloid, as shown in the film still above right. In this photo the Middletons are at the 1939 World's Fair in the Westinghouse area, which they never left since Westinghouse had produced the film.

The theme was the World of Tomorrow, and the 1939 World's Fair showcased science and consumerism in a utopian vision of the future. But WWII was around the corner, and helped contribute to the fair financial woes.

The Greater Astoria Historical Society continues its journey into the past with a second film to be shown Saturday at 1.30 pm at their Astoria location. The film on Saturday will be about the 1964 World's Fair. Lectures and walking tour to follow later in March and April.

Click here to read a report we filed last year about the 1939 World's Fair in NYC.


Steinway Mansion Under Contract | steinway mansion under contract steinway mansion under contract
Steinway Mansion Under Contract

Steinway Mansion Under Contract To Private Buyer

Historic Mansion Was Built By Early NYC Technologist & Later Bought By Renaissance Man

Last Chance For Queens Officials To Act On Their Speeches About Historic Preservation, Nurturing Culture & Tourism

March 12, 2014 / Astoria Neighborhood / Real Estate In Queens / News & Opinion. Queens Buzz. Well, the saga is almost over. NYC and Queens government officials are about to let slip into private hands, the greatest historical relic of the 1800's in Queens. And what could have been - and could still be - one of the greatest historic sites / historic tourist attractions of Queens. The Steinway Mansion is under contract to be purchased by a private buyer.

It's not that Queens and NYC government officials haven't had a chance to save it. The historic mansion, which was landmarked for its historic signficance decades ago [landmarking prevents changes to outside of the structure], came on the market in August of 2010. The asking prices has been between $2 and $4 million, which given that far smaller homes with no significance are already selling for over $1 million in the Astoria neighborhood, it seemed like a reasonable asking price.

Click here to read the rest of our report about the Steinway Mansion Under Contract. The story includes photos and links to other stories we've done over the years about the Steinway Mansion and it's inhabitants and their endeavors. The story also includes the business case for taking the Steinway Mansion public and transforming it into a museum / cultural destination for all of Queens, NYC & the world.



Independent Film Production Queens NYC | independent film production in queens nyc indie film production locales nyc queens
Independent Film Production Queens NYC

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.



Obamacare Comes To Queens | obamacare comes to queens obamacare in queens ny astoria lic sunnyside woodside flushing jackson heights flushing corona jamaica ny
Obamacare Comes To Queens

Affordable Care / Obamacare Comes To Queens

Queens Prepares For The Affordable Healthcare Act

November 13, 2013. Update - Over 197,000 New Yorkers Have Completed Applications of which over 48,000 have already selected and enrolled in a plan. Over 142,000 people were helped by the New York State of Health which runs the health plan marketplace for New York State. Note that open enrollment for the tax year 2014 ends on March 31, 2014.

November 7, 2013 / Astoria Neighborhood / Healthcare in Queens / Queens Buzz. I just returned from the United Civic Community Association [UCCA] sponsored forum on Obamacare at the Museum of the Moving Image. The forum did a nice job of providing what appeared to be a good summary look into what the federal government’s Affordable Healthcare Act [also known as Obamacare] is really all about.

The forum was moderated by Rose Marie Poveromo, President of the United Community Civic Association of Astoria and included a panel of experts. The panel included U.S. Congressman Joseph Crowley, Rebecca Jackson, a NY State of Health Project Coordinator, Caryn Schwab Executive Director of Mount Sinai Queens, Judy Trilivas Chief Operating Officer of Mount Sinai Queens and Minna Elias Congresswoman Maloney’s Chief of Staff. They are shown seated from left to right in the photo above, at the UCCA hosted Obamacare Forum at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria.

Click here to read more about Affordable Care / Obamacare comes to Queens.





Friends of the Steinway Mansion | friends of the steinway mansion astoria friends of the steinway mansion
Friends of the Steinway Mansion

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.





Offer Made For Steinway & Sons Piano | steinway musical instruments company for sale buyout of steinway musical instruments company in queens astoria steinway musical instruments steinway piano company sale
Offer Made For Steinway & Sons Piano

Offer Made For Steinway & Sons Piano

Kohlberg & Co Bids For Steinway Musical Instruments

July 23, 2013 / Astoria Neighborhood / Queens Business / News & Opinion / Queens Buzz. Kohlberg & Company offerred $438 million for the Steinway Musical Instruments Company, owner of Steinway & Sons Piano in Astoria. The 160 year old company, Steinway & Sons Piano, was founded in Manhattan in 1853.

Kohlberg & Co Offer

The Steinway & Piano Company has changed hands a couple of times over the past 160 years, once being acquired by CBS Television, and later being acquired by Selmer Musical Instruments.

Click here to read more about the Kohlberg & Company Offer to buy Steinway Musical Instruments in Queens.



Astoria Neighborhood Directory & Things To Do

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5 Boro Bike Ride In Queens:  Astoria Park Rest Stop Photos | 5 boro bike tour in queens 5 boro bike ride in queens lic astoria park
5 Boro Bike Ride In Queens: Astoria Park Rest Stop Photos

32,000 Bikers Pass Thru Queens: 5 Boro Bike Tour

May 5, 2013 / Long Island City & Astoria / Biking Queens / 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. Photographer Abdel Berrera caught up with them at the Astoria Park rest station where many took a moment to catch their breath.

Many of the cyclists come from other countries and other states. The bikers see this as a nice way to see all of New York City, not just Manhattan.

There are two 5 Boro Bike Tour rest stops: the first in Astoria Park and the second at the Con Ed rest station along the East River. Many took some time out to make adjustments to their bikes, gear and selves; and consumed a bit of food before resuming the relaxing trip and heading on to Brooklyn and Staten Island.

Click here to read a brief report and to see a photo slide show of the 5 Boro Bike Ride in Queens shot by Astoria photographer Abdel Berraha.



Proposed Changes For PS 122 | ps 122 astoria dept of ed planned changes for ps 122 astoria charter schools in astoria queens intermediate schools gifted and talented programs at queens schools
Proposed Changes For PS 122

Astoria Moms Defend Children’s Rights

Madmen: Bloomberg Dept of Education Does A Don Draper

March 19, 2013 / Astoria Neighborhood / Queens Schools / Queens Buzz.  Editorial / Report.  We attended a Community Board One Meeting Tuesday evening, following up on the concerns of Astoria parents, regarding the proposed changes to PS 122, which were recently announced by the Department of Education [DOE]. 

Having spent a week in pursuit of information from the DOE about the proposed changes – statements regarding the difficulty in obtaining information from them - rang true. 

In the photo above, Anastasia Cunningham and her son talk about how the Dept of Ed hasn't put anything in writing, hasn't conducted any impact study, ps 122 queensand she talked about how the changes could possibly destroy the learning environment that contributes to the success of PS 122 in Astoria.

Click here to read the rest of our Editorial / Report on the Community Board One Meeting regarding Department of Education proposed changes to PS 122 Astoria.  Story & photos by Michael Wood.



Dept of Ed Plans Big Changes For PS 122 | ps 122 astoria dept of ed planned changes for ps 122 astoria charter schools in astoria queens intermediate schools gifted and talented programs at queens schools
Dept of Ed Plans Big Changes For PS 122

Battle For Control Of PS 122 Astoria

Dept of Ed Announces Big Changes & Few Details

Public Education Could Be Defining Issue Of NYC Mayoral Race

March 17, 2013 / Astoria Neighborhood / Queens Schools / Queens Buzz.  The Department of Education announced its intention to make sweeping changes to PS 122 on February 28, 2013 to the PTA of the school. We were told of the general gist of these changes by PS 122 PTA members and parents.  We then followed up with the Department of Education, to be sure we understood the Department of Education’s announcement correctly.

Before we discuss the general gist of the Department of Education plans for PS 122, it helps to have a bit of background to better understand what appears to be happening. 

ps 122 astoriaThere are several important elements that seem to be at the core of the issue: 1) the Department of Education’s plans to reconfigure one of the most successful public elementary / intermediate schools in Queens and the NYC school system, 2) the Department of Education’s sudden interest in providing the school children of PS 122 grades K through 5 with the opportunity to continue matriculation within the same school [building] throughout all eight grades [6 – 8], and 3) Success Academy Charter Schools announcement that they plan to open a new charter school in Queens school district 30 in August of 2014. 

Click here to read the beginning of our DRAFT report about the Department of Education Plans to reconfigure PS 122 in Astoria.  Be advised that there is a Community Board One Meeting March 19, Tuesday evening beginning at 6.30 pm at the Astoria World Manor and a PEP Meeting on March 20th in Brooklyn. The large top photo above was published with permission by Nigel McKenna and the second photo was taken by Queens Buzz of NYC Comptroller and possible Mayoral candidate John Liu listening to concerned PS 122 parents at a United Community Civic Association meeting in Astoria.



NY Power Authority Deconstructs Poletti Power Plant | poletti power plant ny power authority New York Power Authority NYPA deconstructs poletti power plant in astoria queens
NY Power Authority Deconstructs Poletti Power Plant

Poletti Power Plant Deconstruction

NY Power Authority Works To Safely Remove Materials

March 11, 2013 / Astoria / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Buzz. I attended a meeting on Thursday evening about the de-construction of the Poletti Power Plant, which is situated on the NY Power Authority site in the northwest section of Astoria. The meeting was sponsored by the United Community Civic Association [aka UCCA] and the event was held at the Augustana Lutheran Church on Ditmars Blvd in Astoria Heights.

The bottom line is that current plans call for the de-construction of the old Poletti Power plan to be completed by December 31, 2014. Current planning is underway to figure out how to approach the removal of the old plant materials. Some of the issues include routing of them via trucks through Astoria or via barge on the East River.
We were told that the plant is not being demolished, but rather de-constructed in a manner similar to reverse construction. The New York Power Authority, a government agency, is managing the project.

Click here for the rest of our report, including photos of the NY Power Authority & Poletti Power Plant de-construction.  By Michael Wood.



Chef Rocco Sacramone of Trattoria L'incontro & Mount Sinai / UCCA Event | Astoria restaurants restaurants in Astoria NY Queens Italian Greek Albanian Egyptian seafood restaurants in Astoria Queens NY
Chef Rocco Sacramone of Trattoria L'incontro & Mount Sinai / UCCA Event

Queens Food Fusion

Nutrition & Sumptuous Cuisine in Queens

March 6, 2013 / Food in Queens / Astoria / Queens Buzz. I attended a nutritious cooking class on February 27th featuring Rocco Sacramone, head Chef and Founder, of Trattoria L’incontro of Astoria; working in tandem with Effie Nerantzis, a Registered Dietician, from Mount Sinai Queens. The event was hosted by the United Community Civic Association at the Central Sushi Bar and Lounge in Astoria. And the program was sponsored by Mount Sinai Queens as part of their community health education outreach efforts, some of which we've covered in the past [see Queens healthcare section]. This particular program was intended to demonstrate how to prepare great tasting foods that are healthy and admission was free.

I knew going into this event that it had been fully booked. So I wasn’t surprised as I entered a banquet room, which was fully seated. Rocco and Effie were conversing off stage; while Shelly Felder, Sr Director of Marketing & Communications at Mount Sinai Queens, conversed with Rose Marie Poveromo, President of the United Community Civic Association. The show was about to begin.

Click here for our report, including recipes and slide show with photos of Chef Rocco Sacramone of Trattoria L’incontro preparing heart healthy foods.



astoria news news about astoria news


Astoria News - News About Astoria NY | astoria news briefs astoria news local astoria websites local astoria blogs astoria ny news
Astoria News - News About Astoria NY

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.

Click here to go to the Astoria Neighborhood section of this site, or on the photo above for other Astoria News briefs.

We'll have more on this seminar later in the quarter.  In the meantime click here for other Astoria News briefs.






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Astoria Park - International Culture Festival | astoria park 2016 international culture festival 2nd annual by central astoria local development corporation
Astoria Park - International Culture Festival

Astoria International Cultural Festival

May 31, 2016 / Astoria Neighborhood / Ethnic Culture in Queens / Queens Buzz.

On Saturday May 21st from 1.30 until past 6 pm, there was a series of cultural performances held on the Great Lawn of Astoria Park. The event was hosted by the Central Astoria Local Development Coalition [CALDC] to showcase the multi-ethnicity of tne neighborhood.

Nearly a dozen local cultural groups performed, including Ballet Los Pampas representing Argentina, KUD Halaturko representing Bosnia, Croatian Franciscan Fathers Youth Club, Ayazamana Cultural Center representing Ecuador, Cretan Association representing Greece, NYC Bhangra representing India, McManus School of Irish Dance, The Braata Folk Singers representing the Caribbean / Jamaica, and the Korean Traditional Music and Dance Center.

There was a crowd that numbered in the hundreds over the course of the afternoon. Many brought lawn chairs and blankets to sit upon while they watched the show. The weather cooperated as the temperature was in the 60's and while at times cloudy, it was dry.

Several food vendors came out to augment the cultural celebration, now in its second year. As I came late in the afternoon, I had missed the prime time of that part of the event. In the photo at right you can see one of the performers walking up the Astoria Park Great Lawn after her performance.

Click here for a brief video of some of the 2016 International Culture Festival in Astoria Park.



 

Pedestrian Malls In Queens - Newtown Plaza Astoria | newtown avenue plaza pedestrian malls in astoria pedestrian malls in queens newtown avenue pedestrian mall
Pedestrian Malls In Queens - Newtown Plaza Astoria

Pedestrian Malls In Queens

Meeting On Astoria Pedestrian Mall Tuesday

September 10, 2012 / Astoria / Queens Community Issues / Queens Buzz. On Tuesday evening September 11, there’s a Community Board 1 meeting at the Astoria World Manor on 25-22 Astoria Blvd. One of the topics on the agenda is which DOT [Department of Transportation] proposal to approve, regarding changing the traffic configuration in and around the intersection of Newtown Avenue and 30th Avenue in Astoria.

According to the Queens DOT, this intersection is the site of numerous accidents, and is more dangerous than approximately 90% of all intersections in Queens. It’s not difficult to understand why, as it is the nexus point for five roads: east & west on 30th Avenue, north & south on 33rd Street and northwest on Newtown Avenue [see map on next page]. The photo to your left was taken on August 25th when Newtown Avenue was temporarily converted into a pedestrian plaza.

Click here to read our report on the Newtown Plaza, in which we include related reports on other pedestrian malls in Queens, NYC and NYS.






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Traffic Fatality at 21st Street - Hit & Run at 30th Road | traffic fatalities queens astoria hit and run at 21st st & 30th road lic ta queens traffic safety efforts
Traffic Fatality at 21st Street - Hit & Run at 30th Road

Person of Interest

'Irrelevant' Person Dead, 'Relevant' Person Still at Large

April 11, 2016 / Long Island City Neighborhood LIC / Astoria Neighborhood / Queens Community Issues / News Analysis & Opinion / Queens Buzz.

On Wednesday, April 6th shortly before 11 pm an unidentified motorist traveling south on 21st Street hit a pedestrian near 30th Road.

According to PIX11 News,

“The driver traveled a half a block with the victim on the hood of the car, slammed on the brakes, leaving the victim to fall on the roadway before fleeing the scene, according to a police source.”

PIX11 News also noted that the car may have been a Toyota [guess for yourself by watching the video], of a dark or red color, and that there was glass on the road, indicating that the car may have been damaged in the fatal hit & run. As of Monday noon, police had still not released the name of the dead man, pending family notification. The man was crossing 21st Street outside of the painted crosswalk lines.

This was a real homicide, but not pre-meditated murder, like the crimes that Harold Finch, John Reese and Detective Lionel Fusco attempt to solve before they happen in the CBS television series Person of Interest. But like the crimes pursued by the citizen heroes of the CBS television miniseries, there’s some reasonable probability that this hit and run homicide along 21st Street could have been prevented. In fact we documented the members of TA Queens trying to stop this fatality before it happened, wherein they assumed roles with moral parallels to the leading characters in the show Person of Interest.

Let’s examine the evidence. Click here to read the rest of our report about the hit and run fatality on 21st Street in Astoria / LIC at 30th Road including a graphic NYPD video of the collision.



 
Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden - Astoria History Bohemian Hall NYC | astoria bohemian hall nyc bohemian hall & beer garden nyc astoria queens nyc
Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden - Astoria History Bohemian Hall NYC

Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden

Holiday Tree Lighting & Celebration in Astoria

Updated w/ Videos & Photos December 15, 2015 / Astoria Neighborhood / Astoria History / Queens Buzz.

On Friday night the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden in Astoria celebrated the advent of Christmas with its traditional Christmas Party. The holiday event was favored with unusually warm weather, somewhere in the high 50’s.

As I approached the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden I could easily see it from a distance, as it was festively adorned with hundreds of lights. There was a holiday market along the beer garden wall, which among other things, had Christmas trees of all sizes for sale.

Outside the gate there was a very large snowman and inside the beer garden a big jolly Santa riding high in his big wooden sleigh, behind a tall wooden reindeer. Santa was taking the kids for an imaginary ride into the wild blue yonder … "Ho, Ho, Ho ... Merry Christmas" bellowed the Big Man. The attending parents were provided with plenty of opportunities to take photos of Santa with their children and / or themselves.

A bit further into the beer garden there was a beautifully decorated Christmas tree, which had just been lit for the first time by Bohemian Hall and local government officials who had come to join the celebration. I arrived about a half hour beer gardens queens astoria nycafter the official starting time, so while there was still a good sized crowd present, many of the local officials had departed. I spotted NYC City Councilmember Costa Constantinides relaxing with his family, and I later heard that NYS Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas had also been there.

The Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden had done nothing less than a marvelous job of providing the perfect holiday playground for young and old alike. Of course, this isn’t usually possible in Astoria in early December, because the temperatures are generally about 20 to 30 degrees cooler. But it was warm this year, so the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden took advantage of the weather, and the visiting crowd was quick to adapt to enjoying the warmer clime of the great outdoors.

Click here to read the rest of our report, including a video, of the holiday celebration and tree lighting at the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden - one of the leading beer gardens in Queens.



 



astoria maps Astoria neighborhood maps


Astoria Maps - Things To Do In Astoria Queens | Astoria map near along Steinway Street map of the parks, historic sites, cultural & entertainment organizations, restaurants, select shops and MTA links in the Astoria neighborhood / sections of Queens.
Astoria Maps - Things To Do In Astoria Queens

Astoria Maps - Overview

Click to view three maps of Astoria: 1) Map of Shopping Districts In Astoria with links to shop home pages on this site, 2) Map of Astoria Restaurants that have been reviewed on this site, and 3) Map of cultural attractions in Astoria most for which there are reports about them to be found on this site.

Click here to view Astoria Maps - Maps of Shops, Restaurants and Cultural Attractions in Astoria Queens.  It's also a map of some things to do in Astoria Queens.



 



astoria restaurants restaurants in Astoria


Italian Restaurants In Astoria - Cafe Bar Locale | Café Bar Locale Mediterranean style restaurant located Astoria neighborhood  Queens NY Cafe Bar Locale Italian restaurant offering street side tables outdoor space restaurants casual dining things to do Italian food Cafe Bar Locale Astoria section Queens NY
Italian Restaurants In Astoria - Cafe Bar Locale

Restaurants In Astoria

Cafe Bar Locale Italian Restaurant In Queens

Astoria Neighborhood / Astoria Restaurants / Queens Restaurants / Queens Buzz.  This is a review of Café Bar Locale, a Mediterranean style Italian restaurant located in the Astoria neighborhood of Queens NY. Cafe Bar Locale is a casual dining restaurant and offers street side tables during the warmer weather. 

Cafe Bar Locale is located near the Museum Of The Moving Image, the Frank Sinatra School Of The Arts and Kaufman Astoria Studios.  The restaurant is accessible by foot from Sunnyside and Astoria, and by public transit along the N line as it is just a block south of Broadway St and between Steinway and 31st Street.

We visited the restaurant one comfortable evening and here is what we found.  Click here to read a full review of Cafe Bar Locale - Italian Restaurant in Astoria.



 
Restaurants In Astoria - Taverna Kyclades | Taverna Kyclades restaurant Ditmas Astoria neighborhood Queens NY Greek Albanian sea food restaurant dining things to do Astoria Queens NY
Restaurants In Astoria - Taverna Kyclades

Restaurants In Astoria

Kyclades Albanian Seafood Restaurant

Astoria Neighborhood / Astoria Restaurants / Queens Restaurants / Queens Buzz. Taverna Kyclades is located on Ditmars in northern Astoris. The Albanian style seafood restaurant provides its clientele with a full Adriatic menu and is well known for its delights from the sea. One could get the feeling of being along the Adriatic on a rainy windswept evening as we dined on octopus, red snapper and lamb chops, as well as a full complement of side dishes.

Kyclades is located along Ditmars Blvd and can be reached via the N Subway line.  Click here to view the full review of the Taverna Kyclades - Albanian Greek restaurants in Astoria.


 



astoria shops and shopping shopping in Astoria


Furniture Shops - Shopping For Furniture - Astoria Queens | furniture stores astoria queens ny dining room tables dining room furniture sets sofas dressers living room furniture sets lamps chairs beds bedroom furniture sets mattresses foot stools bar stools neighborhood furniture stores shops astoria ny queens Urban Lifestyle Steinway Mattress Classic Design furniture shops stores Astoria NY Queens
Furniture Shops - Shopping For Furniture - Astoria Queens

Furniture Stores In Queens

Furniture In Astoria

This is a story about shopping for furniture and other things in the Astoria neighborhood of Queens NY. The story includes interviews with the proprietors and managers of many stores including three furniture stores in Astoria Queens.

Click here to read more about furniture and furniture stores in Astoria, LIC & Queens.



 
Esquire Mens Clothes - Astoria - Mens Style / Fashion | mens clothing in Astoria Queens, NY, mens suits, mens designer jeans, mens polo and linen shirts, mens shoes, canali suits, palzileri suits, eton mens shirts, cole haan mens shoes, white shirts, mens trousers, mens pants, 7 for all mankind designer jeans
Esquire Mens Clothes - Astoria - Mens Style / Fashion

Men's Clothing Stores In Astoria Queens

Astoria is home to one of Queen's finest men's clothing stores. I stopped in to get the word on what's going on mens' clothing styles. For the rest of the story click Men's Clothing Styles.

Clothing styles are always changing, although historically far less often for men than for women. Nonetheless, the range of colors a man can comfortably wear has changed significantly over the years. We're also seeing an increase in the use of men's hats. Part of this is a fashion statement while some of it has practical value, shading a man's head from the hot sun [we're seeing women wearing these hats too].

Click here to read our report about men's clothing in Astoria Queens.



 



astoria real estate real estate in Astoria


Astoria Cove Real Estate Development

East River Waterfront Transformation Moves North

astoria cove developmentAugust 18, 2014 / Queens & Astoria Real Estate / Astoria Neighborhood / Queens Buzz. Unbeknownst to at least a few of the folks who live in the far northwest corner of Astoria and Queens, big plans for changes have been taking shape over the past couple of years.

The Hallets Point development passed Community Board One in May of 2013 and the Astoria Cove development is making its way through the governmental gauntlet of real estate development approvals.

The plan calls for a large new complex along the East River which will occupy the location where the building in the photo now stands, along with several other blocks of territory which will become its footprint. The building shown above is about a block east of Build It Green.

Community Board One and the Queens Borough President had issues with the development, primarily calling for a buildout of public infrastructure to support the development as well as for the inclusion of a higher number of affordable housing units. The development will be built completely on privately purchased land, which is in contrast to the Hallets Point development which was done using NYCHA [NYC Housing Authority] property.

We'll have more about this at a later date. By Michael Wood.


Astoria Real Estate - Astoria | astoria real estate realtors condos apartments in astoria queens real estate realtors condos apartments
Astoria Real Estate - Astoria

Astoria Real Estate - Astoria

Real Estate, Realtors, Condos, Apartments, Prices & Market

Astoria Real Estate / Queens Real Estate / Queens Buzz. This is the Astoria Real Estate section of the site.

Click here to view reports about business and real estate in Astoria Queens.



 
Astoria Real Estate - Astoria NY | Astoria real estate apts for rent condos coops homes for sale in astoria queens ny
Astoria Real Estate - Astoria NY

Astoria Real Estate

Astoria / Queens / Updated August 30, 2012 / First published Dec 2009. This is a report on Astoria real estate. The report includes a discussion of supply and demand in the Astoria real estate market, as well as for apartment rentals. Financing and demographic shifts are also included in this report and we have included links to related Queens real estate reports, home pages and real estate classifieds. 

Click here to view our report on the market for Astoria Real Estate.



 

Steinway mansion in astoria neighborhood


Offer Made For Steinway & Sons Piano | steinway musical instruments company for sale buyout of steinway musical instruments company in queens astoria steinway musical instruments steinway piano company sale
Offer Made For Steinway & Sons Piano

Offer Made For Steinway & Sons Piano

Kohlberg & Co Bids For Steinway Musical Instruments

July 23, 2013 / Astoria Neighborhood / Queens Business / News & Opinion / Queens Buzz. Kohlberg & Company offerred $438 million for the Steinway Musical Instruments Company, owner of Steinway & Sons Piano in Astoria. The 160 year old company, Steinway & Sons Piano, was founded in Manhattan in 1853.

Kohlberg & Co Offer

The Steinway & Piano Company has changed hands a couple of times over the past 160 years, once being acquired by CBS Television, and later being acquired by Selmer Musical Instruments.

Click here to read more about the Kohlberg & Company Offer to buy Steinway Musical Instruments in Queens.



 
Steinway Hall New York City | Steinway Hall NYC steinway mansion steinway pianos nyc ny new york
Steinway Hall New York City

Queens History Is New York's History

19th Century Queens Pioneers With Big Ideas

Steinway & Sons Legacy Permeates NYC & Queens

Manhattan NYC & Astoria / December 7, 2010 / Queens Buzz. In our effort to inform Queens Buzz readers about the full historical significance of the Steinway Mansion, we traveled into one of Queens' outerboros: Manhattan.

We visited Steinway Hall, which is located on 57th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues, and which is owned by Steinway & Sons pianos - some 85 years later. Once again, I stepped through a time warp, similar to the one into which I stepped when I visited to the Steinway piano factory and more recently the Steinway Mansion, both of which are located in Astoria in Queens.

Steinway Hall was built by Steinway & Sons piano company in 1925, following the erection of Carnegie Hall, which had just supplanted the old Steinway Hall located on 14th Street, as NYC's cultural centerpiece. Click here to read more about Steinway Hall in NYC including numerous photos, or click this link to visit the Steinway Mansion section of Queens Buzz.



 

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