Nestled in the heart of Middle Village, Juniper Valley Park — which sits between Juniper Boulevards North and South, Lutheran Avenue and 71st Street on the west and Dry Harbor Road on the east — is almost intentionally situated far from the crowds and noise that the subway bring. It’s one of the youngest of Queens’ larger parks, having been created in the 1930s.
Middle Village lies between Maspeth and Forest Hills and was named in the 1830s after its position along Metropolitan Avenue, which was laid out as a toll road between Williamsburg and Jamaica in the 1810s. A roadhouse as well as several small dwellings and farms arrived in the area, which had come to be considered midway between Williamsburg and Jamaica, hence its name. Large cemeteries such as Lutheran/All-Faiths, Mt. Olivet and St. John’s arrived after 1850 or so, and attracted Sunday visitors; restaurants and saloons sprung up in the area to serve the crowds. In time, more streets were laid out and were lined by dwellings.
Five-time Grammy winner James Taylor comes to Queens to give a concert this week. He might want to arrive early and leave late so he can enjoy a huge foodie event, a ghost tour, outdoor movies, festivals and concerts, and even a chance to watch top-notch cricket. Here’s the rundown.
July 30, Doo Wop Concert, 7:30 pm. Golden Oldies from the 1950s and 1960s. Free. Astoria Park Great Lawn, Shore Boulevard between Hell Gate Bridge and Astoria Pool.
July 30, Haunting Histories and Legends of Astoria, 7:30 pm. This two-hour stroll visits some lesser-known historical sites and reveals tales of the neighborhood’s grim and ghostly past. Astoria is filled with tragic Hollywood film stars, voodoo, potters’ fields, grisly murders, poltergeists, hidden treasure, and deadly waters. $20/$25 at the door, location upon registration.
July 30, I Will Not Be Silent: A Comfort Woman’s Road to Activism, 6:30 pm. Yong Soo Lee, who was forced into prostitution by the Japanese during World War II, speaks. Special presentations by Holocaust survivors. Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center, Queensborough Community College, 222-05 56th Avenue, Bayside.
Outside. Outside. Outside. There are very few indoor events in Queens this week. Whether theater, film, music, magic, a brew fest or an American Indian pow wow, it’s happening under the sky and stars. The exceptions include tango dance lessons, a story-telling contest, and a scanning party. The details follow.
July 23, The Merry Wives of Windsor, 7:30 pm. The Hip to Hip Theatre Company presents a Shakespeare classic with seduction, temptation, mayhem, and hilarity. Children’s program at 7 pm. Free. Crocheron Park, 35th Avenue and Cross Island Parkway, across from Golden Pond, Bayside.
July 23, Johnny Cash Tribute, 7:30 pm. Michael Patrick’s Ring of Fire Band takes the audience on a journey through the struggles, challenges, and adventures that Johnny Cash sang about. Free. Astoria Park Great Lawn, Shore Boulevard between Hell Gate Bridge and the public pool, Astoria.
July 23, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, sunset. Outdoor screening of an all time Hollywood classic. Free. Hunters Point South Park, Center Boulevard and 51st Avenue, Long Island City.
July 23, The Moveable Feast, 7 pm. Outdoor film screening of a Chinese movie with English subtitles. Free. Queens Museum, NYC Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
July 23, Tango Dance Classes, 7:30 pm. Learn how to dance like an Argentine. $25. Thalía Spanish Theatre, 41-17 Greenpoint Avenue, Sunnyside.
July 24, 37th Annual Thunderbird American Indian Mid-Summer Pow Wow, through July 26. New York City’s oldest and largest pow wow features three days of intertribal Native American dance competitions. More than 40 nations are represented, and a large selection of unique Native American art, crafts, jewelry, and food are available. $10/$15 for weekend pass and $5/$7 for children. Queens County Farm Museum, 73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Floral Park.
July 24, Queens Symphony Orchestra Salon Concerts, 5 pm. A popular series returns with an evening of summer strings and post-performance talks about the pieces played and the lives of the composers. Free. Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing.
July 24, Rural Route Film Festival, through July 26. This 11th annual series screens 19 films about rural life from 16 countries (and all seven continents), with filmmakers in person and live musical performances. $12/$9 seniors and students. Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Avenue, Kaufman Arts District.
July 25, Botanical Brew Fest, noon to 3 pm or 4 pm to 7 pm. Enjoy a selection of craft beers from local and international breweries, plus food and live music. Tickets required, ages 21+ only, early bird tickets for $35 through July 24, $50 at the gate. Queens Botanical Garden, 43-50 Main Street, Flushing.
July 25, 78th Street Play Street, dusk. The Queens World Film Festival collaborates with the Jackson Heights Green Alliance to present indie films under the stars. This week is all about documentaries. Free. Travers Park (aka 78th Street Plaza), 78th Street and 34th Avenue, Jackson Heights.
July 25, Summer Scan Party, 1 pm. Bring old photos of the neighborhood or family gems to scan. Free. Greater Astoria Historical Society, 35-20 Broadway, Long Island City.
July 25, The Wings of Eagles, 2 pm; Mogambo, 4:30 pm. Shown as part of The Essential John Ford, a tribute to the consummate American filmmaker, Wings of Eagles is a about a Navy flier who fought back from paralysis to become a World War II Navy commander and screenwriter. Mogambo is a remake of Clark Gable’s 1932 Red Dust. Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Avenue, Kaufman Arts District.
July 26, Music from France, 1 pm (dance lesson) and 2 pm (concert). French chanteuse Violette and her accomplished musical ensemble, La Vie En Rose, enchant with French chanson, Golden Age swing, timeless American standards, and jazz/pop compositions. Free. Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing.
July 26, Modern Ruin, 2:30 pm. Screening of a documentary about Philip Johnson’s New York State Pavilion from the glory days of the 1964 World’s Fair through its demise over the following 50 years. The film details its use as a 1960s concert venue and 1970s roller rink, plus the years of neglect and the recent advocacy efforts to save and repurpose the structure. $10 with limited seating. Queens Historical Society, Weeping Beach Park, 143-35 37th Avenue, Flushing.
July 26, Upstream, 2:30 pm; Fort Apache, 4 pm. Shown as part of The Essential John Ford, a tribute to the consummate American filmmaker, Upstream, presented with live musical accompaniment by Donald Sosin (keyboard) and Joanna Seaton (vocals), is about an egotistical actor and a vaudeville couple who partner in a knife-throwing act. Fort Apachedepicts the travails of Thursday, a rigid West Point officer who tries to take command of a desert outpost town and tragically mishandles several clashes with the Native American population. Shirley Temple plays Thursday’s daughter. Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Avenue, Kaufman Arts District.
July 26, Katz Concert Series, 5 pm. The Beatles tribute band Yesterday and Today performs. Free. Tudor Park, 133rd Avenue between 81st and 82nd streets, Ozone Park.
July 27, The Moth StorySLAM, 7 pm. This open-mic storytelling competition is for anyone with a five-minute yarn on the night’s theme, “Business: Selling Out or Buying in.” Participants throw their names into The Moth “hat.” A half hour later, names are drawn to determine the order slammers take the stage. Judges, selected from the audience, pick a winner from 10 featured stories. $10. Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing.
July 27, Singin’ in the Rain, 11 am. Outdoor movie screening of a 1952 Hollywood classic. Free. Al Oerter Recreation Center, 131-40 Fowler Avenue, Corona.
July 27, The Princess Bride, 8:30 pm. Outdoor screening of a comedy that became a cult classic. Free. Astoria Park Great Lawn, Shore Boulevard between Hell Gate Bridge and the public pool, Astoria.
July 28, 1980s Tribute Night, 7 pm. The White Wedding Band plays popular hits from the 1980s. Free. Juniper Valley Park, 80th Street and Juniper Boulevard North, Middle Village.
July 28, 17th Annual Great Lawn Summer Concert, 7 pm. The Queens Symphony Orchestra plays Broadway classics. Free. St. John’s University Great Lawn, 80-00 Utopia Parkway, Jamaica.
July 29, The 38th Asian American International Film Festival, through July 31, always at 5 pm. This first-ever festival presents the best and most recent Asian American and Asian independent cinema from more than 30 countries. Also enjoy panels and workshops, industry mixers, staged readings, exclusive interviews, live performances, receptions, and more. Free. Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing.
July 29, Kings of the Wind & Electric Queens, dusk. Outdoor screening of a documentary as Bollywood film, reporting on Sonepur Fair, a festival held at the confluence of the Ganges and Gandak rivers on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Kartika. Free. Socrates Sculpture Park, 32-01 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City.
July 29, Wayne “Superius” Garland, 11 am. Children love this magical presentation starring the original hip hop magician, ventriloquist, and comedian. Free. Beach 97th Street and Shore Front Parkway, Rockaway.
July 29, Italian Nights 2015, 7:30 pm. The romantic music of Bruno Macari under the stars. Free. Athens Square Park, 30th Street and 30th Avenue, Astoria.
Photo by Queens Museum
It’s another huge week for outdoor music with classical, funk, gospel, hip hop, jazz, a tribute to the Beatles, and two Italian nights. Other options include a new night market, sculpture, story-telling, an e-waste recycling event, an art conference, pie-crumbling, and poetry.
July 16, Queens Night Market, 6 pm to 11 pm. A social event and night market with food, crafts, live performances, and a deejay. Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd.
July 16, SummerStage: Lyricist Lounge, 7 pm. Large Professor, a hip hop producer from Flushing, and Marley Marl, a hip hop producer from Queensbridge, perform. Free. Queensbridge Park, vicinity of 41st Road, 40th Avenue, Vernon Boulevard, and the East River, LIC.
July 16, Alí Bello & The Sweet Wire Band, 6:30 pm. Through the Third Thursdays in Bliss Plaza program, Alí Bello & The Sweet Wire Band present Latin jazz fusion invigorated by Afro-Caribbean musical styles. Free. Bliss Plaza, Queens Boulevard and 46th Street under the elevated 7 train station, Sunnyside.
George Clinton and Funkadelic highlight a series of free outdoor concerts this week. In addition to the live music, fun-seekers can choose a Colombia flower extravaganza (above), a noncompetitive bike race, a book festival, plenty of movies, and a night market. Here’s the rundown.
July 9, The Cab Calloway Orchestra, 7:30 pm. The Central Astoria LDC’s 2015 Waterfront Concert Series begins with a night of music from the Harlem Renaissance (1930s-1940s). Free. Astoria Park’s Great Lawn, Shore Boulevard between the Hell Gate Bridge and the pool.
July 9, Preview Screening of Boulevard with director Dito Montiel in person, 7 pm. The movie Boulevard premiered to warm praise at the Tribeca Film Festival, but its release was delayed after main actor Robin Williams’s death last summer. Now it premieres on July 10, but it screens at the Museum of the Moving Image the night before with Astoria-born director Montiel in attendance. $15. MMI, 36-01 35th Avenue, Kaufman Arts District.
July 9, Flushing Historical Diversity Tour, 6:30 pm. Official Queens historian Jack Eichenbaum walks and talks about the area’s past and present. $12/$6 for children. Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard.
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
It’s time to tree-cycle and e-cycle. To promote eco-friendly practices — and help New Yorkers avoid a new state law imposing $100 fines on residents who leave electronics on the curb for pickup — the Queens Botanical Garden will host the 12th annual E-Waste Recycling Event on Sunday. Done in partnership with the Lower East Side Ecology Center and sponsored by TekServe, this six-hour event allows participants to drop off unwanted or non-functional computers, printers, cell phones, video games, tablets, and other gadgets in the parking entrance. (Click here for a full list of acceptable items.) Garden employees will make sure that they are disposed of in the proper ecological way. On the same day and in the same spirit, the garden will host arts-and-crafts activities using recycled and repurposed items.
Meanwhile in response to recent holidays, the NYC Parks Department will host MulchFest 2015 all weekend at various spots throughout the five boroughs, including 13 Queens green spaces. Residents can bring trees to these spots to be recycled into mulch that will nourish plantings across the city. In some places, NYC Parks employees will chip the wood and give bags of mulch back to the tree donors. Details for all three events are on the jump page.
It’s officially summer now, a time when an afternoon in the park is just the thing to cool off body and soul. Because of history and geography, Queens can rightly boast of having some of the most unique parkland in the city, with parks ranging from the concrete and steel of Gantry Plaza State Park to the wide open sand dunes of Fort Tilden. While most of our city’s parks can boast of meadows and trees, Queen’s Juniper Valley Park, in Middle Village, is probably the only one that can boast of having a peat bog.
The park started out as a swamp. Tens of thousands of years ago, the glacier that created Long Island left behind a lot of water that collected in a swamp here. Much of that swamp eventually became a peat bog, as tons of vegetable material rotted and decomposed in the water and was turned into peat. Scientists in 1934 figured that the peat bog measured 10 acres in area, 16 feet in depth, and 390,000 cubic yards in volume.
The bog was called Juniper Swamp, due to the thick forest in and around the swamp filled with juniper and white cedar trees. During the Revolutionary War, the British occupying army camped out in the Middle Village area. Over the course of the war they decimated the forests in the area, cutting down trees for shelters, firewood and shipbuilding. They discovered the peat bog, and began cutting peat for fuel as well, a task also taken up by local residents, as the British had left little wood for anyone else.
Summer is about to be in full swing… and it’s time for youngsters to work on their swings — and jumps, sprints and putts. On July 1st, the City Parks Foundation kicks off its free 2014 Summer Sports Program in 12 green spaces in Queens. CityParks Tennis provides free tennis lessons to children, ages six to 16, and concludes with tournaments at the Central Park Tennis Center and Flushing Meadows Tennis Center in mid-August. CityParks Golf provides free lessons and equipment to boys and girls, ages six to 16. CityParks Track & Field gives kids, ages five to 16, the chance to learn the basics of the sport, from hurdles and relay races, to long jump, shot put and javelin throw. Participants then have the opportunity to compete in an organized meet at Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island. The Queens schedule follows.
- Astoria Park, Astoria South and 18th Street, Tuesday and Thursday, 9 am to noon;
- Alley Pond Tennis Center, Union Turnpike, Grand Central Parkway and Winchester Boulevard, Tuesday and Thursday, 9 am to noon;
- Baisley Park, 155th Street and 118th Avenue, Tuesday and Thursday, 1 pm to 4 pm;
- Brookville Park, Brookville Boulevard and Southern Parkway, Monday and Wednesday, 1 pm to 4 pm;
- Cunningham Park, Union Turnpike and 193rd Street, Monday and Wednesday, 9 am to noon, and Tuesday and Thursday, 9 am to noon (Intermediate);
- Forest Park, Myrtle Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard, Monday and Wednesday, 1 pm to 4 pm;
- Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Monday and Wednesday, 9 am to noon;
- Flushing Memorial Field, 149th Street and 25th Avenue, Tuesday and Thursday, 1 pm to 4 pm;
- Juniper Valley Park, 62nd Avenue and 80th Street, Monday and Wednesday, 9 am to noon, and Tuesday and Thursday, 9 am to noon (Intermediate); and
- Kissena Park, Rose and Oak avenues, Tuesday and Thursday, 1 pm to 4 pm.
- Mario Fajardo Park Field 10, Kissena Boulevard and Booth Memorial Avenue, Monday and Wednesday, 9:30 am to 10:30 am (6-8 years), and 10:30 am to noon (9-16 years);
- Alley Pond Park Field 1, Winchester Boulevard and Union Turnpike, Monday and Wednesday, 9:30 am to 10:30 am (6-8 years), and 10:30 am to noon (9-16 years);
- Baisley Pond Park, Foch Boulevard and 155th Street, Tuesday and Thursday, 9:30 am to 10:30 am (6-8 years), and 10:30 am -to noon (9-16 years); and
- Flushing Meadows Corona Park Field 11, 56th and Corona avenues, Tuesday and Thursday, 9:30 am to 10:30 am (6-8 years), and 10:30 am to noon.
- Astoria Park, Astoria South and 18th Street, Monday and Wednesday, 9:30 am to 10:30 am (5-7 years), and 10:30 am to noon (8-16 years);
- Juniper Valley Park, Juniper Boulevard and 71st Street, Tuesday and Thursday, 9:30 am to 10:30 am (5-7 years), and 10:30 am to noon (8-16 years);
- Forest Park, Myrtle Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard, Monday and Wednesday, 9:30 am – 10:30 am (5-7 years), and 10:30 am to noon (8-16 years); and
- Detective Keith L. Williams Park, 173rd Street and 105th Avenue, Tuesday and Thursday, 9:30 am – 10:30 am (5-7 years) and 10:30 am to noon (8-16 years).