I was invited to attend the annual Ridgewood Democratic Club brunch over on Putnam Avenue last Saturday. The event raises funds for the upkeep and renovation of the building which has housed the organization since 1917. I was there last year as well, and my colleague Kevin Walsh offered this post describing the building at Q’Stoner back in 2013. The structure holds a collection of political memorabilia – campaign posters and so on – which is unparalleled in my experience. This year’s brunch had food and beverages provided by Congressman Joseph Crowley‘s office, although the Congressman was unable to attend as he was on a trip to India with President Obama.

Having arrived a bit early, as is my habit, I was treated to a short tour of the second floor which is undergoing renovation. Coming back down the grand stairs, a buzzy crowd and the smell of fresh coffee greeted me.

More after the jump…


Western Queens art patrons got a new reason to jump for joy — and relax in a seat — last Saturday, when the LIC Arts Bus made its maiden voyage. Scheduled to run every weekend until September 14th, the free service will stop at Socrates Sculpture Park, The Noguchi Museum, SculptureCenter and MoMA PS1. The 25-passenger vehicle, operated on a first-come-first-seated basis, departs from Socrates on a continuous loop from noon to 6 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. (Click here for a schedule with up-to-the-minute updates.) 

Seen in top photo before the launch are (from left) Noguchi Director Jenny Dixon, Socrates Director of Development and Communications Katie Denny, City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer, Socrates Executive Director John Hatfield, MoMA PS1 COO Peter Katz and Noguchi Director of Administration and External Affairs Amy Hau.

Top photo: It’s in Queens; bottom photo: Noguchi Sculpture Center


This past Saturday, the 25th of January, Ridgewood Democratic Club held its Annual Membership Brunch meeting at their HQ. Found at 6070 Putnam Avenue, a block off Fresh Pond Road, the RDC building has been home to the club since 1917. My colleague Kevin Walsh presented a short history of the building in this Brownstoner Queens post from September of 2013.

NYS Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan is one of the two Democratic District Leaders in this part of Queens, along with Tom Bornemann, and she has an encyclopedic knowledge of the history of this building and club. She’s a lifelong Queensican, and lives with her son and husband in Ridgewood.


Catherine Nolan represents the 37th Assembly District in Queens County, which includes the historic New York City neighborhoods of Sunnyside, Ridgewood, Long Island City, Queensbridge, Ravenswood, Astoria, Woodside, Maspeth, Dutch Kills and Blissville. She was first elected to the Assembly in 1984.


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


No local stone will be left unturned next Friday, when Queens College hosts Quintessential Queens: Celebrating America’s Fourth Largest City, an all-day, eight-hour conference. As part of ongoing 75th anniversary celebrations, the Flushing university will bring together a hodgepodge of outstanding speakers, including academics, economists, preservationists and artists. City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer will give a lecture about culture, while QC biology professor John Waldman will talk about the borough’s natural landscape. Wellington Chen from the Chinatown Partnership will discuss demographics in Flushing, while Jonathan Bowles from the Center for an Urban Future will imagine the borough in the year 2030. Paolo Javier, the borough’s poet laureate, will offer verse, the official Queens historian Jack Eichenbaum will discuss the county’s place in U.S. history and QC professor Nicole Cooley will look at how Queens fares in the literary world. Plus, local nonprofits, such as the Alley Pond Environmental Center, the Museum of the Moving ImageFlushing Town Hall and the Louis Armstrong House Museum, will staff informational booths.

Details: Quintessential Queens: Celebrating American’s Fourth Largest City, Queens College, LeFrak Concert Hall, 65-30 Kissena Boulevard, Flushing, October 4th, 9:30 am to 5:30 pm, $20 for all day plus lunch.

Photo by the Queens Tourism Council


The Hunters Point South Park officially opens tomorrow, and the Queensbridge Park is getting another facelift! Today the Queens Courier reports that Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer secured $2.5 million in funding to fully renovate and restore the park house there. According to the Courier, “The Parks Department hopes to construct a new facility that will feature a modern comfort station, storage space for sports teams using the playfields and an office for Parks Department staff.” Earlier this summer the Parks Department broke ground on a $6.65 million restoration project for the Queensbridge Park Seawall. The project, wapping next summer, will feature a waterfront promenade and a small pier at the north end of the park.

LIC ‘s Queensbridge Park Gets $2.5 Million for Renovations [Queens Courier]
Photo by Edward Sudentas


Image Source: SculptureCenter

When it comes to expansions, this group breaks the mold. On April 2, the SculptureCenter announced a renovation of its LIC facility that aims to improve the quality of the exhibition spaces and the visitor flow. The undertaking will create a 2,000-sq-ft. addition to the existing Purves Street facility, and the renovated facility will comply with all current building codes, including the Americans with Disabilities Act.

SculptureCenter will remain open during construction with some modification to its exhibition schedule and public hours. With an expected completion in fall 2014, the rehab includes the following:

  • 6,500 square feet of flexible interior exhibition space that will accommodate work of diverse
    forms and scale;
  • a 2,000 sq.-ft., one-story entrance lobby with bookshop, coatroom, seating area,
    and restrooms;
  • an elevator and stairway to the lower level galleries;
  • a 1,500-sq.-ft. enclosed courtyard for outdoor exhibitions and events;
  • upgrades to electrical and mechanical systems; and
  • office and storage space improvements.

Seen at the groundbreaking ceremony are (from left) Queens Borough President Helen M. Marshall, City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, SC Executive Director and Chief Curator Mary Ceruti, SC Board Chair Sascha S. Bauer and NYC Dept. of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin.


Back in September we told you about the frustration experienced by locals living near 39th Street in LIC/Sunnyside – apparently drivers would regularly drive the wrong way on 39th Street. It would happen on the block just north of the Midtown Tunnel Expressway/51st Avenue and south of 50th Avenue (GMAP) when drivers wanted to get on the LIE and realized it would be a problem with loads of traffic.

The good news is that traffic calming measures are now in place – a quick curb has been installed at the corner of 39th Street and 51st Avenue. 


Image source: Queens Tourism – New York City Councilman announces his support of the One Percent for Culture Campaign

On Tuesday at MOMA PS1, western Queens Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer announced his support for the One Percent For Culture Campaign, a campaign with the mission to demonstrate the value of culture to NYC by aiming to have the city to dedicate 1% of the budget to supporting the nonprofit cultural community. The Campaign spans the five boroughs and recognizes 1,200+ cultural organizations and individual artists throughout NYC who are dedicated to this message. The coalition has 245 members and is non-partisan, too.

Van Bramer’s support, “lends political clout to the rapidly growing coalition of cultural, business, civic leaders and artists throughout all five boroughs who recognize the vital role of the city’s 1,200-plus non-profit cultural organizations.” 


Image Source: No Longer Empty

No Longer Empty is dedicated to widening public engagement in contemporary art, promoting imaginative and socially conscious artists and demonstrating art’s capacity to revitalize communities. The nonprofit’s 14th exhibition, How Much Do I Owe You?, will adorn The Clock Tower, part of the iconic former Bank of Manhattan building in Long Island City. Twenty-six artists from 15 countries will display everything from sound installations to participatory projects to large scale sculptures. The three-month display will kick off with an opening reception this Wednesday, December 12, with special remarks by City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, the area’s representative and the chair of the NYC Cultural Affairs Committee.

How Much Do I Owe You?
The Clock Tower
29-27 41st Avenue, Long Island City
Wednesday, December 12
7pm-9pm | FREE!