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Yesterday the outgoing Borough President Helen Marshall celebrated the opening of a $23,000,000 event atrium at Borough Hall. The New York Daily News reports that the Forum, as it’s called, is 11,000 square feet and will be used for civic meetings and public events. According to the News, “The three-story space, featuring a large stage with floating canopy, can host 450 people for meetings, concerts and other events. New bathrooms are also in the works.” Construction should totally wrap early next year. Marshall received some flack for these plans over the rising price tag of the project, which started at $17,000,000. And since the city built the Forum over an open courtyard, the removal of cherry blossom trees for construction caused a little controversy.

Regardless, Marshall celebrated the space yesterday, stating, “For decades, public hearings and other public events were held in cramped and unimproved quarters upstairs. Now, for the first time, the people of Queens will have a fitting public space in our county seat of government.”

Outgoing Queens Borough President Helen Marshall Unveils $23M Borough Hall Event Space [NY Daily News]

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They’re not actors. They’re politicians playing actors. This Saturday, elected officials from around the borough will star in Legislative Acts, a show which will let them display their musical, acting, singing, dancing and comedic talents for two good causes. Basically a series of parodies of classical movies, well-known TV series, Broadway shows and songs, the performance will benefit two Queens College initiatives: Big Buddy, which pairs homeless children with college-student mentors; and Women and Work, a job-training and life-skills program. So far, more than 30 legislators have agreed to participate. They include everybody from City Council Member Mark Weprin (above) to Congress Member Grace Meng to Borough President-elect Melinda Katz. Plus, Queens College drama and music students are involved in the production, which is directed by actor, playwright and teaching artist Kevin R. Free.

Details: Legislative Acts, Queens College, LeFrak Concert Hall, 65-30 Kissena Boulevard, Flushing, November 23rd, 7 pm, $100.

Photo by Mark Weprin

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CODA wins MoMA PS1’s Young Architects Program competition

We recently learned that CODA – who is also known as Caroline O’Donnell, Assistant Professor of Architecture at Cornell in Ithaca, NY – is the winner of MoMA PS1’s Young Architects Program competition. She has created a project called Party Wall and incorporates environmental issues such as sustainability and recycling. It will be installed in MoMA PS1′s outdoor courtyard and will be an “urban landscape” during Warm Up, the annual outdoor summer music series. Pedro Gadanho, Curator in MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design, says it was selected because of its “clever identification and use of locally available resources—the waste products of skateboard-making—to make an impactful and poetic architectural statement within MoMA PS1′s courtyard.”

Pint Night at 5 Napkin Burger

The 5 Napkin Burger folks let us know about their Pint Night series. On Thursdays, starting tonight until March 7, between 7 and 11pm, enjoy a pint of beer for $5. Different breweries and one of their brews will be featured each week, including Singlecut tonight! Amber Ale, yum.

The Hunters Point CSA – lots of interest and potentially coming to LIC

The Hunters Point CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is in the works and may very well arrive in the Hunters Point section of LIC by next spring or summer. About 30 people are interested in organic/non-GMO produce, and they are currently working with Just Food to connect with a farmer. Exciting stuff!

Astor Room on Gilt City

The Astor Room in Astoria is a catch on Gilt City right now – the offer is dinner and wine for two for $63. There will be a special Gilt City menu, from which diners will enjoy two starters, two entrees, and one dessert to share, all with a house-selected bottle of wine (red or white). And even if you don’t participate in this offer, the Astor Room is a great place drop in for a delicious cocktail before or after a trip to the Museum of the Moving Image.

Queens Borough President Helen Marshall gave her last State of the Borough speech

On Tuesday night, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall stood up in front of hundreds of people at Queens College and gave her final State of the Borough speech. She will not run for a fourth term, as she is subject to term limits this year. She talked about her accomplishments (revitalization of many parks, libraries and neighborhoods in Queens, as well as development and rezoning in areas like Jamaica and LIC) and projects she wants to implement toward the end of her service (create a tech zone on the Queens side of the East River, spend $2 million on mobile science labs for the 30 Queens schools that do not have them).

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Image source: DNAinfo

NY1 reported on Queens Borough President Helen Marshall’s final State of the Borough speech, which happened this past Tuesday at Queens College. Her term – the last of three she has served – is set to end this year and she will not run again (term limits). In her speech, she did not take much time to say goodbye but rather to talk about what she has accomplished over the years as Borough President, and what projects she plans to launch during her last months in office.

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Image Source: Waterfront Restaurants Blogspot

It’s a tale of two neighborhoods united by holiday cheer. The Sunnyside Drum Corps headlines this year’s annual Holiday Tree Lighting at Sabba Park in Woodside. The Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce is the main organizer of this genuine celebration of community with students, residents, shopkeepers, elected officials and nonprofit employees who sing carols and have fun regardless of the weather. Borough President Helen M. Marshall will light the tree and Father Brian Dowd from Queen of Angels RC Church will lead a Christmas prayer. Candy canes for the children.

Holiday Tree Lighting in Sunnyside/Woodside
Sabba Park, 50th Street and Queens Boulevard
6pm – 8pm | FREE

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Bier and Cheese is opening in Astoria and we’ve got the details

For years we’ve heard Astorians wishing and asking for a cheese shop in the neighborhood, and now their wish has come true! “Bier and Cheese” is the name of the shop and as you can tell from the name both beer and cheese will be for sale there. Here are the details:

Beer. They hope to serve over 160 kinds of bottled beers (hopefully by Oktoberfest) and 10 beers on tap (so there will be a bar). Since they are opening up in early fall, expect to see seasonal beers (keyword: pumpkin). They also plan to sell beer from Astoria’s own Singlecut Brewsmiths, Brooklyn Brewery, and a variety of other craft beer from around the country as well as imports. Growlers will be available, too. Gao also wants to charge “Queens prices” – that means, on the average, $5/pint, $2.50/bottle, $10.99/six-pack.

Cheese. They expect to sell 40 different kinds of cheeses made from cow, goat, and sheep milks. Both domestic – a good portion should be locally made, too, as well as some from VT – and imported cheeses from countries like France, Spain, and Switzerland will be available. They hope to carry both pasteurized and raw cheeses.

Saturday, September 29 is their soft opening. See you then!

QB President Helen Marshall shares her experience as the daughter of immigrants 

The Queens Tribune has a nice article on the September 17th naturalization ceremony at King Manor Museum. September 17 is both Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. This year on this day happened to be the 225th anniversary of the signing of the US Constitution, too. During the ceremony, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall talked about her experience as the daughter of two immigrants. “I lost both of them early in life, but I made it because I was in America and America took care of me.”

We’ve got the deets on Queens – statistics FTW

Are you a statistics lover? Curious about the numbers behind life in Queens? Joanna Eng has written this great article on Queens demographics. There’s a map and everything! It’s really fascinating. Here are a few statistics for you:

Queens households are 68% families, 29% families with children, 26% people living alone, and 7% non-family groups (i.e., roommate situations). The average household size is 2.8 people and the average family size is 3.4. Rentals make up 57% of housing units, while 43% of units are owner-occupied.

People like to fantasize about what kind of restaurant they’d open

We asked this question – “If you could open any kind of restaurant, what would it be?” – this morning as part of our Question of the Day series. Our twitter followers answered, and did not disappoint. Here are some of their answers:

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/sacsplace/status/248826214335270912″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/udosero/status/248806458634928129″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/tastoriaqueens/status/248784151925383168″]

Ridgewood, Maspeth, Middle Village, Glendale

There’s a cool Facebook group that features photos from the above neighborhoods. Here’s one of our favorites:

Inside the old Oasis theater in Ridgewood. Gorgeous.