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Recently, I received an invite to attend a Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC) mixer and cocktail event at the Z Hotel in Long Island City. Normally, this sort of business card exchange leaves me flat, but I’ve been eager to check out the view from the Z Hotel’s roof top lounge since it opened, so I gathered up my camera and convinced my wife to meet me in Queens Plaza after she got out of work in the city.

The views certainly did not disappoint either of us, and since my ulterior motive in attending the thing was to gather some shots, I left her chatting with a few other attendees and got down to business. Pictured above is mighty Queensboro on the right with a still quite industrial LIC acting as a frame for the East River, Roosevelt Island and Midtown Manhattan.

It’s hard not to take notice of the 1,396 foot 432 Park Avenue rising between 56th and 57th Streets over in the Shining City of Manhattan, by the way.

LOTS more after the jump, including special guest stars…

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It’s time to modernize a Queens spot where youngsters play a sport whose history dates back to before the 14th century. The Shannon Gaels Gaelic Athletic Association’s home field, Frank Golden Park in College Point, recently received $580,000 in public funds for an upgrade. The money — an $80,000 allocation from City Council Member Paul Vallone and a $500,000 allocation from Borough President Melinda Katz — will go to resurfacing the playing and scrimmage fields as well as installing an eight-foot fence around the park and a 30-foot retractable fence behind each goal post. With several hundred members who trace their heritage to all 32 counties on the Emerald Isle, the Shannon Gaels fields boys, girls and co-ed teams in various age groups that compete throughout the world. The association, which also organizes competitions involving other Irish sports such as hurling, was founded in 2002 with no home. Members practiced on sections of Forest, Juniper Valley, and Sunnyside Gardens parks until 2009, when they signed a 15-year lease with the NYC Parks Department for rights to seven acres of Golden Park, just south of 14th Avenue.

Information on the sport and more photos on jump page.

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Next week, people in a large, public lawn in Queens will follow the yellow brick road as Dorothy Gale searches for a wizard who can allegedly return her to Kansas. Then, in late August, the same public green space will become supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, as per a nanny with an umbrella and magical powers.

It’s the 75th and 50th anniversaries of the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs, which took place in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, and it’s the 75th jubilee of The Wizard of Oz’s debut as well as the 50th anniversary of the Mary Poppins launch. The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation is celebrating these many milestones by hosting an outdoor screening of The Wizard of Oz (above) on July 9th and a showing of Mary Poppins (below) on August 20th in what Borough President Melinda Katz likes to call “The World’s Park.”

Details after the jump.

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The anticipation was tremendous. Exactly 50 years ago today, the 1964 World’s Fair kicked off with an inauguration featuring a speech by President Lyndon B. Johnson. To commemorate this historic event today, NYC Parks opened the New York State Pavilion for three hours this afternoon. More than 5,000 spectators waited in line to see this remnant and take photos of the interior portion, where the Tent of Tomorrow once stood.

People started gathering around the NYS Pavilion as soon as the sun came up. The line stretched around the beloved structure.

By 11 am, patient and excited people were standing on the Grand Central Parkway’s overpass.

By 11:30 am, the queue went past the Queens Zoo and into its parking lot.

Those who waited got to see the inside of a structure once hosted Grateful Dead and Rolling Stones concerts.

Diana Ross and Michael Jackson danced around this mezzanine while filming The Wiz.

Borough President Melinda Katz wants to restore the NYS Pavilion, even though it would cost an estimated $75 million. What’s your opinion?

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I met a dog at a parade on Sunday, a dog named Spike. That’s Spike in the shot above. He’s Irish, apparently.

The parade was the St. Pat’s Day For All event, held in Sunnyside. For those of us who live anywhere nearby, it signals that Spring is on the way, and it’s a “do not miss it” kind of thing. The shots in this post are selected from a much larger set of better than a hundred shots, which I’ve made available over at Flickr. If you or your group marched in the St. Pat’s Day for All parade, there might be a shot of you in there.

Click here for a slideshow (opens in a new window) of everything and everyone that caught my eye.

The parade is predicated on inclusivity, and its organizers opine that everyone can be Irish on St. Pat’s.

From their website:

The St. Pat’s for All parade celebrates the diversity of the Irish and Irish American communities of New York. First held in 2000, St.Pat’s for All cherishes and celebrates an inclusive St. Patrick’s season. Ours is the first in the 260 years + of Irish parades in New York City to be open and welcoming to all who wish to share in the spirit of the day. We err on the side of hospitality. Our theme “cherishing all the children of the nation equally” is taken from the 1916 Easter Proclamation of the Irish Republic. It is a vision drawn from our past and a guide for our present & future.

See tons of photos of the event right after the jump…

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Late last week Borough President Melinda Katz visited the New York State Pavilion in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, the iconic Queens structure that’s been the topic of discussion recently. The Parks Department is currently looking into working on the site, whether that means outfitting it for a new use, stabilizing it as a ruin, or demolishing it. Borough President Katz, however, made it clear she’d like to see the structure remain standing. According to Queens Chronicle, “Katz emphatically declared her wish to see the pavilion saved while on a walking tour of the site.”

Katz also promised to dedicate a task force within the next month to brainstorm ideas for the site. The Parks Department guesses that it will cost $72,000,000 to restore, while demolition would cost around $14,000,000. Assembly Member Marge Markey hopes that restoration work could be completed within the decade.

Borough President Katz Supports Preserving the New York State Pavilion [Queens Chronicle]

Photo via Facebook

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Yesterday, Mayor Bill de Blaso swore Queens Borough President Melinda Katz into office — the photo of the event comes from her Twitter account. According to Queens Courier, Mayor de Blasio had some nice words to share about our new borough president: “I have to tell you that Melinda brings so much to this job. She has a real passion for the people she serves. She loves this borough. I can tell you that because I’ve seen her stand up for Queens many times.” Her goals upon entering office include permanent Rockaway ferry service and increased primary and urgent care facilities. Katz succeeds Helen Marshall, who served as borough president since 2001.

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz Sworn in by Mayor de Blasio [Queens Courier]

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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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NY1 chatted with new borough president Melinda Katz, who won by a landslide on Tuesday, about the direction she plans to take in her new gig. Katz grew up in Forest Hills and has served on both the City Council and the state Assembly. She plans to build upon Helen Marshall’s investment in capital funding for parks and schools, as well as bring new economic development and jobs into Queens. She also tells NY1: “There should be high-tech industry in Long Island City. We should be building hotels and retail in Jamaica. We need to build the Rockaways better than they were before.” Not much in terms of specifics, but there you go. Katz did not comment on criticism that Helen Marshall did not do enough to move the borough forward. What changes would you particularly like to see from Marshall’s term to this one?

Katz Lays Out Future Plans For Queens [NY1]
Election Day Recap for Queens [Q’Stoner]

Photo via Facebook

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The votes are in, and Queens has a new borough president to show for it: Melinda Katz. (Pictured above, that’s her voting yesterday.) On the city level Bill de Blasio is our new mayor, Tish James our public advocate, and Scott Stringer our comptroller. Back in Queens, Queens Courier has excellent coverage of the local City Council races.

In District 22 (Astoria, Long Island City, parts of Jackson Heights), Costa Constantinides will fill Peter Vallone Jr.’s City Council seat. According to the Courier, “Constantinides’ win marks the first time since 1992 that a member of the Vallone family does not hold the seat in District 22.” The Vallone family name carries on in District 19 (northeast Queens), however. Paul Vallone beat Republican Dennis Saffran by nearly 200 votes. This is the first time in four decades a Vallone will represent northeast Queens instead of Astoria. District 19 faced a dramatic primary race, where five Democrats were running to replace disgraced Republican City Councilman Dan Halloran.

In District 27 (St. Albans, Hollis, Cambria Heights, Jamaica, Baisley Park, Addisleigh Park, Queens Village, Rosedale and Springfield Gardens), Democrat Daneek Miller won by a landslide. Democrat, and former Assemblymember, Rory Lancman won a City Council seat for District 24 (northeast and central Queens) in another landslide. He replaces Councilmember James Gennaro. It was a close race for City Council District 32, where Councilmember Eric Ulrich and his democrat opponent, Lew Simon, were neck and neck. Last night, both candidates claimed to have won, but it looks like the New York Times called the race for Eric Ulrich. And incumbent Elizabeth Crowley won her seat in District 30 (Maspeth, Middle Village, Glendale, Ridgewood, parts of Woodhaven and Woodside) after a close race. All in all, all the Queens City Council incumbents remain in their seats after the election.

Photo via Facebook