Long Island City

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There’s a Broadway in every borough. The most famous runs the length of Manhattan and continues into the Bronx and Yonkers beyond that; another forms the border of Bedford Stuyvesant and Bushwick in Brooklyn; another serves as a spine of West New Brighton in Staten Island and runs past the Staten Island Zoo; and then in Queens, whose Broadway runs from Ravenswood to Elmhurst and serves as one of Long Island City’s key shopping arteries, joining Steinway Street and 30th Avenue.

Queens’ Broadway, which attained its present length only in the early 20th century, is an amalgam of a number of roads: Broadway in Ravenswood ran southeast to the now-demapped Ridge Road near Newtown Road; and the eastern part between Woodside Avenue and Queens Boulevard is the easternmost section of the colonial-era Hellgate Ferry Road, which connected Elmhurst and the East River; twisting Woodside Avenue follows most of its route today. The routes were joined in the years before the new IND subway was routed along a lengthy section from Steinway Street to Queens Boulevard in the 1930s.

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There’s strength in numbers, but there’s fun in words. A lot of fun.

This weekend, authors, booksellers, essayists, poets, and other verse enthusiasts will head to LIC Bar for the Queens NYC Lit Fest, a two-day celebration of the borough and its booming writing scene. Organized by Michael Geffner from The Inspired Word, this first annual extravaganza will feature scheduled readings by residents from around the borough, including Maria Lisella, the newly appointed Queens poet laureate, and Audrey Dimola, hostess of the reading-and-live-writing series Nature of the Muse. Plus, both days will begin with open mic time at 11 am. (First come, first served. Five-minute slots.) More information and another photo on jump page.

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It’s a chance to make history or at least take part in it.

The Greater Astoria Historical Society is going to host two unique parties this summer. From 1 pm to 4 pm on July 25 and again on August 8, all are invited to the Long Island City headquarters to scan old photos.

Do you have any pictures of the old neighborhood or beloved family members? This is the way they can achieve immortality. Agency members will scan the photos, return them to attendees, and then include the images in their archives.

It’s free, but the impact might be priceless.

Details: Summer Scan Party, Greater Astoria Historical Society, 35-20 Broadway, Long Island City, July 25, 1 pm, free.

Photo by Greater Astoria Historical Society

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What is Antonio to do? He’s a well-respected community leader, but through a complex effort to help a friend in love he owes a pound of his own flesh to a man who despises him.

And what about that pathetic Sir John Falstaff? He devised a get-rich-quick scheme that backfired big time. Now he’s being humiliated bigger time.

These two scenarios come to eight Queens parks in July and August (the Bronx, Jersey City, and Southampton, too). The Hip to Hip Theatre Company is back for its ninth year, providing free, family-friendly performances of Shakespeare plays. This summer, Woodside-based co-founders Jason and Joy Marr have chosen The Merchant of Venice, a dark drama about a 16th century merchant, Antonio, who defaults on a loan from a moneylender, and The Merry Wives of Windsor, a comedy about a flat broke, alcoholic aristocrat, Sir John Falstaff, who tries to bed the wives of two rich men. However, the women are not amused and respond with a series of practical jokes.

The fun begins on Wednesday with Merchant at the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. On Thursday, Merry Wives plays at Crocheron Park in Bayside. Then, the professional actors do 17 more productions in such neighborhoods as Forest Park, Fresh Meadows, Long Island City, and Sunnyside.

Click here for the complete schedule.

Photo by Hip to Hip Theatre Company

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No spoonful of sugar is needed to make this medicine go down.

In the 2012 comedy Grabbers, the only way to survive attack by bloodsucking aliens is to get drunk — and stay that way. The setting is a remote island off the Irish coast where fishing is the only way of life. Ciarán O’Shea is a charming but heavy drinking police office who can’t stand his new partner, Lisa Nolan, a hard-working, straight-laced workaholic from the mainland who volunteered for this assignment in order to impress her superiors.

Fighting crime consists of dealing with an occasional drunk and killing time until an entire fishing boat crew disappears. Then dead, ravaged whales start washing up on shore and a lobsterman catches a bizarre-looking sea creature, which turns out to be a “grabber,” an extraterrestrial that survives on blood and water. After a local drunk survives a grabber attack, the two police officers realize that these predators are repulsed by blood with high alcohol content. Hilarity ensues.

The New York Irish Center will screen Grabbers and The Emigrant Chaplain, a 20-minute documentary by Radharc Films on Father Colm Campbell, a Belfast native who worked as a chaplain with the Diocese of Brooklyn and later led the Irish Apostolate USA. In 2003, Father Campbell founded the New York Irish Center and spearheaded the effort to buy the Long Island City property where the agency is currently based. He died last month.

Details: Grabbers and The Emigrant Chaplain, New York Irish Center, 10-40 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City, July 18, 7:30 pm, $11 suggested donation/$8 for students, seniors, unemployed.

Photo by New York Irish Center

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Queens is quickly becoming a foodie haven with countless courses and unlimited drinks. The newest phenomenon mixes locally made artisan meals with handcrafted beer. On Friday, the Rockaway Brewing Company will host a pop-up showcase at its Long Island City pub. Organized in partnership with the Entrepreneur Space, a nearby food-and-business incubator, it’s really kind of simple. Rockaway Brewing supplies the suds, while E-Space clients provide the victuals. Sessions usually run from 5 pm to 10 pm on Fridays and 3 pm to 10 pm on Saturdays.
The organizers hope to continue the market until winter. Details will be forthcoming, but the immediate schedule follows:
  • July 17, Traze, homemade, grandma-style falafel pizza.
  • July 24, Crudité, veggie-forward meals with fruit, wholesome grains and lean non-animal proteins.
  • July 31, Eateasy, tailor-made, high quality, healthy meals.
  • August 1, Eateasy.
  • August 8, Crudité.
  • August 14, Bittergreen, locally sourced, fresh meals based on the hearty cuisines of New England and the Canadian Maritimes.
  • August 15, Bittergreen.
Photo by Crudité

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You won’t believe your ears or your pocketbooks. Queens is about to experience a streak of fantastic, free, outdoor concerts over the next five days. Listeners will be able to bring their folding chairs, blankets, and dancing shoes to Flushing, Long Island City, Queensbridge, and Sunnyside and enjoy everything from hip hop to polka to R&B. George Clinton, Parliament Funkadelic, and the Chi-Lites are the biggest acts, but some performers, such as minimalist musician Florent Ghys (above), are masters of lesser-known genres.

Here is the schedule:

  • The Glukh Polka Band plays polkas, waltzes, and polonaises at Flushing Town Hall on July 12 at 2 pm.
  • Florent Ghys mixes minimalist music with classical forms, musique concrète, and even clapping and hair dryers as part of the Bang on a Can series at Noguchi Museum on July 12 at 3 pm.
  • The Chi-Lites, a group from the 1970s Chicago scene that was inducted into the Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame in 2000, kicks off the borough’s SummerStage series at Queensbridge Park on July 14 at 7 pm.
  • Gerard Carelli & His Orchestra do a wide variety of swing music in Juniper Valley Park on July 14 at 7 pm.
  • George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, bring their unique funk to Queensbridge Park as part of SummerStage on July 15 at 7 pm.
  • Yesterday and Today, a Beatles tribute band, jams near the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows Corona Park on July 15 at 7 pm.
  • Large Professor, a hip hop star from Flushing, and Marley Marl, a hip hop star from Queensbridge, take the stage at Queensbridge Park as part of SummerStage on July 16 at 7 pm.
  • Alí Bello & The Sweet Wire Band perform Latin jazz fusion in Sunnyside’s Bliss Plaza on July 16 at 6:30 pm.
  • Soul Inscribed plays a mix of hip hop, dub, funk, and soul, while Jennifer Cendaña Armas tells diaspora stories as part of SummerStage in Queensbridge Park on July 17 at 7 pm.

Photo by Florent Ghys

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Filipino stingray sandwiches, Hong Kong mango pomelo soup, and Venezuelan patacón are some of the ethnic food options that are available in Queens, the world’s most diverse borough. However, adventurous eaters will now be able to try all of these treats — as well as Colombian arepas, Korean redneck tacos, and Taiwanese popcorn chicken — in the same spot.

On Saturday, Smorgasburg Queens will hold a grand opening at its 7,500-square-foot lot, which is attached to a 10,000-square-foot indoor space, at 43-29 Crescent Street in Long Island City. About two dozen vendors will sell their appetizers, entrées, beverages, desserts, and specialty products from 11 am to 6 pm on a weekly basis.

Though a sister market to the original Smorgasburg in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg, this bazaar will have a distinctively Queens flavor. Joe DiStefano, who gives local food tours and blogs about restaurants, is the curator, and he’s recruited a diverse group of purveyors from such neighborhoods as Astoria, Elmhurst, Flushing, Jackson Heights, Long Island City, and Woodside.

It won’t all be ethnic, though. Tina Stipanovic from Rèst-âü-Ránt (RaR) plans to serve Bloody Mary doughnuts and s’mores with stout, a mix of chocolate insides with a salty crumb finish and stout reduction. Queens Kickshaw will go with a new version of its famous grilled cheese sandwiches. And the Michelin-rated Forest Hills eatery Danny Brown Wine Bar & Kitchen will spin off as Brine by Danny Brown and peddle lobster roll, duck confit, and a brioche hot dog roll.

Photo by Smorgasburg

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On your mark. Get set. Go…but not too fast. On July 12, the eighth annual Tour de Queens will take participants on a roughly 20-mile loop that starts and ends in Astoria Park. Basically a rolling parade, the tour rides en masse at a family-friendly pace –about 10 mph — with NYPD escorts, volunteer safety marshals, and occasional stops at intersections to gather riders. This year’s route goes through Long Island City, Sunnyside, Rego Park, Forest Hills, and Corona with an optional rest stop with light snacks and water at Juniper Valley Park in Middle Village.

Proceeds go to Transportation Alternatives, a nonprofit that promotes bicycling, walking, and the use of public transit in New York City.

Details: Tour de Queens, meet in the Astoria Park parking lot off 19th Street and Hoyt Avenue North, Astoria, July 12, 8 am check in, $22.50.

Photo by Tour de Queens