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The Rocky Horror Picture Show is celebrating its 40th anniversary in Queens — where else? — this week. Other fun activities include a strawberry festival, a hot dog-eating contest, a theater festival, a mama’s expo, and plenty of live outdoor music. Here’s the rundown.

June 12, The Rocky Horror Picture Show Experience, 7:30 pm. This is a screening and live reenactment by the New York City Shadow Cast of the 1970s cult movie, which is now celebrating its 40th anniversary. Attendees are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite character. $15. Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Ave., Kaufman Arts District.

June 12, Unchained Theatre Festival, until June 28. This third annual extravaganza features 16 pieces, ranging from 10-minute shorts to full-length plays, performed three times in the course of three weeks. Voting by audiences and judges determines the top pieces, which receive an additional performance during the finale on June 28. $15/$18 for final round/closing ceremony. The Chain Theatre, 21-28 45th Rd., LIC.

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The Woodside zip code – 11377 – lost more native sons during the Vietnam War than any other area in the United States. Many other neighborhood residents made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of their country over the past centuries, and 34 individuals who lived or worked in Woodside died during the Twin Tower terror attacks on September 11, 2001.

On Monday, members of the John V. Daniels VFW Post 2813 will honor veterans by placing a wreath at the flagpole at John Vincent Daniels Square near Roosevelt Avenue and 52nd Street at 11 am. Also, after a 10 am mass, the St. Sebastian War Veterans group will host a parade that kicks off from the St. Sebastian School parking lot at Woodside Avenue and 57th Street.

That’s only part of it. Queens has about 55,000 veteran residents, more than any other borough in New York City. It also hosts the country’s biggest Memorial Day parade (in Little Neck/Douglaston). Here’s a list of local parades scheduled for this weekend.

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Hindus cleanse their sins by making an offering into a body of water. India’s Ganges River is the world’s most famous spot for this ritual, which is called “Ganga Pooja,” but the most common Queens venue is a Jamaica Bay beach on the Broad Channel side of the Joseph P. Addabbo Memorial Bridge.

Of course, practitioners of this religion are not the only ones who leave litter in Jamaica Bay, but many of their offerings are not biodegradable. Thus, after the Ganga Poojas first appeared roughly 25  years ago, they immediately attracted negative attention from residents of Howard Beach, Broad Channel, and the Rockaways. Enter Sadhana, an NYC-based coalition of Hindus bent on asserting principles of tolerance and inclusiveness.

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With about 130,000 residents, Queens is home to more war veterans than any other borough in New York City. This weekend various neighborhoods honor their war heroes with Memorial Day parades, including biggest one in the country (Little Neck/Douglaston).

The Maspeth Memorial Day Parade (Sunday, May 25th, at 1 pm) is always an emotional display of patriotism and gratitude. This year, it honors local veterans and women. Retired Capt. Laura Zimmermann is the speaker, and other honorees are Leo J. Wasil, who flew 35 combat missions as a radio operator, mechanic and gunner in World War II; Anthony Simone, who fought in the treacherous Mung Dung Valley during the Korean War; and Jane Crowley, who joined the United States Marine Corp Women’s Service in 1943. The parade begins at 1 pm at Walter A. Garlinge Memorial Park, 72nd Street and Grand Avenue, and proceeds down Grand to the Frank Kowalinski American Legion Post 4 and Knights of Columbus on 69th Lane, where there’s a memorial service at 2 pm.

Information on the other parades follows:

  • Broad Channel, Sunday, May 25th, 1 pm, Cross Bay Boulevard.
  • Forest Hills, Sunday, May 25th, noon, starts at Ascan and Metropolitan avenues, proceeds to Trotting Course Lane, ending at St. John Cemetery. Grand marshals are Monsignor John McGuirl, pastor of Our Lady of Mercy Church; Community Board 6 Chair Joseph Hennessey; and Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs Commissioner Terrance Holliday.
  • College Point, Sunday, May 25th, 2 pm, starts at 28rd Avenue and College Point Boulevard and heads to 5th Avenue and 119th Street. State Senator Tony Avella is the grand marshal. Poppy Queen is Isabella Joan Hollaway.
  • Howard Beach, Monday, May 26th, 9:30 am, begins with Memorial Day Mass at Our Lady of Grace Church at 101st Street and 159th Avenue. The parade kicks off at 11 am in Coleman Square and takes its time-honored route through Old Howard Beach, visiting the Vietnam War memorial at 99th Street and 157th Avenue, the World War II memorial at Assembly of God Church at 158-31 99th Street and then St. Barnabas Church at 159-19 98 Street.
  • Laurelton, Monday, May 26th, 9 am, Francis Lewis and Merrick boulevards to the Veterans Memorial Triangle, 225th Street and North Conduit Avenue.
  • Little Neck-Douglaston, Monday, May 26th, 2 pm, Northern Boulevard between Jayson Avenue and 245th Street, 2 pm. The closing ceremony is held in the parking lot of Saint Anastasia School, Northern Boulevard and Alameda Avenue, where awards are given, honorees are acknowledged, and refreshments are served. World War II heroes are the grand marshals, including Rocco Moretto and John McHugh Sr., who stormed the beaches of Normandy during D-Day; Thomas Dent; John W. Peterkin; and Lucy Salpeper, who joined the Navy Waves and cared for injured soldiers.
  • Ridgewood-Glendale, Monday, May 26th, 11 am, starting at the Ridgewood Memorial Triangle at Myrtle and Cypress avenues and ending at the Glendale War Monument at Myrtle and Cooper avenues. Charles Dunn, a member of Glendale’s VFW Sergeant Edward R. Miller Post 7336, is the grand marshal.
  • The Rockaways, May 26th, noon, steps off at Beach 121st Street.
  • Whitestone, Monday, May 26th, noon, starts at Whitestone Memorial Park, 149th Street and 15th Drive and proceeds on 12th Avenue. Dr. David Copell, a Korean War vet, is the grand marshal.

Photo: The Whitestone Memorial Day Parade

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Image Source: Arcadia Publishing: Jamaica Bay

It’s a chance to make history, star in a movie and live on in perpetuity. Dan Hendrick, who is currently working on the documentary Jamaica Bay Lives, and the Queens Memory Project are looking for people to share their stories, photos, mementos and thoughts on the neighborhoods stretching from Howard Beach through the Rockaways to Breezy Point. On April 24, Hendrick and QMP partners Queens College and Queens Library will be interviewing past and current area residents during Jamaica Bay Community History Night at the Broad Channel Branch Library. Hendrick noted that this is the chance to preserve local history before it becomes a fuzzy memory. He added that Hurricane Sandy has added a whole new chapter to this project.

Jamaica Bay Community History Night
Broad Channel Branch Library
16-26 Crossbay Boulevard, Broad Channel
Wednesday, April 24
4pm – 7pm | Free

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Image Source: Vicesome
Combining storytelling, history and the arts, the Five Boro Story Project seeks to strengthen community connections, preserve local history, and boost pride in NYC neighborhoods. The nonprofit’s newest series, I’m Tawkin Here: Storytelling with a New Yawk Accent, kicks off on April 10 at the New York Irish Center before traveling through the five boroughs on five consecutive Wednesdays until May 8. The show features Broad Channel native Tara Clancy, a fifth-generation New Yorker and the Moth GrandSLAM storytelling champion whose solo show “Channel Rat” was featured in the NY Fringe Festival. LIC’s Kambri Crews, a storyteller, public speaker and author of Burn Down the Ground, is scheduled to perform, as are Rockaway’s Ed Shevlin, an Irish speaker, Fulbright Commission for Summer Language Study winner and part of the heroic sanitation team that that cleaned up the Rockaways after Hurricane Sandy, and Howard Beach representative Angel Yau, a comedienne extraordinaire with Upright Citizen’s Brigade and Mortified! storytelling. Jamaica’s SoSoon of Mi-6, an emcee, songwriter and the self-proclaimed “Spike Lee of hip hop” is in charge of the music.

I’m Tawkin Here: Storytelling with a New Yawk Accent
New York Irish Center
10-40 Jackson Avenue, LIC
Wednesday, April 10
7:30pm – 9pm | Free

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We thought we’d take a look at the top posts of 2012 here on QueensNYC. Not surprising, Hurricane Sandy was huge on the site, plus a little real estate, border lands, and brunch.

Here are the top 10 posts from this year.

10. Photo tour of the Rockaway Peninsula, post-Hurricane Sandy

Curbed, in their Camera Obscura column, had Nathan Kensigner head to the Rockaway Peninsula to take some photos of the area after Hurricane Sandy. His work is always excellent, and this report is no different. It’s a surreal landscape now, and in the words of one Edgemere resident, “It’s like a bad dream that I can’t wake up from.”

Image source: Curbed

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Gifts and giving in December

If you can believe it, we’re just about to fall into December, and are in the home stretch on the way to next year. If you are in the midst of holiday shopping, take a look at our guide to holiday markets in Queens (we’ve updated it since we first published it) as well as our guide to Queens nonprofit giving. Also, there’s Secret Sandy:

Know a family who is still without power or internet, and could use a little extra help this holiday? Download our Dear Secret Sandy letter for them to fill out with their children, and mail the completed form back to us by Saturday, December 8th (or help register them online!).

Rockaway W.I.S.H.

More on the hurricane relief efforts happening at the Belle Harbor Yacht Club (they’re the ones with the solar generator), led by Rockaway W.I.S.H. (Women Inspired to Support and Help).

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/54565581]

Big Easy to the Big Apple

We loved this story about NOLA firefighters coming up to the Rockaways to help with Hurricane Sandy relief, given back to NYC, who sent firefighters down to help after Hurricane Katrina. It’s a wonderfully heartwarming story and might make you a little misty (don’t worry, just people you have something in your eye).

Wiggly tracks on the way to Broad Channel

Check out this recent shot of the state of the subway tracks on the way to Broad Channel. Yikes.

Image source: Gateway National Recreation Area Facebook page

TONY sizes up Queens attractions

Time Out New York has put out their “best of” list when it comes to the city’s best attractions, and they did give some love to Queens. The usual suspects made it onto the list, like MOMA PS1, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, and MOMI, but we think the Noguchi Museum and the US Tennis Center should have been on there, too. Oh well. We’ve listed their choices and given our own descriptions. Check it out!

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FEMA sets up camp in Forest Hills

It’s true – FEMA is now occupying ten floors in the Forest Hills Tower building. They’ve created a temporary office where they will coordinate Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. This is the former home of JetBlue, before they moved to LIC. Back in April, Leslie Brown, president of the Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce said, “Hopefully, [we’ll] get another big client to fill those spaces.” The FEMA folks will probably be there for a year.

Diwali at the Queens Museum of Art

Last Sunday at the Queens Museum of Art they celebrated Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, during their Second Sundays series (Diwali proper was yesterday). Here’s a great photo taken from that event:

Image source: QMA

Terrizzi is gone, Leli’s Bakery is here

We learned from intrepid food adventurer Sue Yacka that a new bakery has opened up in the old Terrizzi Pastry Shop space (so yes, they really have), called Leli’s Bakery. Their offerings – breads, pastries, and sweets – sound very promising, and the presence of good coffee (Irving Farms) is also another good sign. We welcome them to Astoria and we look forward to trying their noms.

Broad Channel in another life, though not long ago

If you’re wondering why people live in Broad Channel – one of the communities that was wrecked by Hurricane Sandy – and why they might risk living in a place where the water could turn on them, this long essay from Narratively may help with understanding. From the article:

From the window, or below on his back porch, [Battalion Cheif Dan] Mundy Jr. also has a sweeping sightline of the Manhattan cityscape, along with sections of Brooklyn that his fire battalion oversees. Sometimes, on his days off, he’ll sit and relax and occasionally something will catch his eye beyond Jamaica Bay—like the telltale flashing of emergency lights rushing toward a car accident or a fire scene. Those days Mundy Jr. will call his crew to make sure they’re alright, inevitably surprising them by the fact that he’s even privy to the situation. But on calmer days he’ll just head out in his boat and drift between the marsh islands and among the tall grass stalks he’s known since childhood.

Also, did you know that in the 60s there was a proposal to extend the JFK runways into Broad Channel? The Port Authority proposed it in 1968.

Seasonal beers have a home in Queens

Local writer Danielle McClue has shared with us a great roundup of spots around Queens that feature seasonal beers particularly appropriate to this chilly Fall season – stouts, pumpkin ales, and Oktoberfest beer. It’s impressive how many different spots around the borough offer tasty brews for this time of year, from Alewife in LIC where they’ll serve your drink at their beautiful bar, to Triboro Beverage, where the shelves are chock full of an interesting array of craft beer.

 

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Image source: Youngking11 on Wikimedia Commons

NY 1 reported on another step toward normalcy in southwestern Queens, which got hit hard during Hurricane Sandy – the return of the A train to Howard Beach, which allows for easier transit access for those on the Rockaway peninsula. Trains started back up at 7:42am on Sunday, ahead of schedule (8am was the scheduled start time).