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His birth name is Nasir Bin Olu-Dara Jones, and he grew up a huge Mets fan in the rough-and-tumble Queensbridge Houses. Now, after selling more than 25 million albums and being nominated for 10 Grammy awards, the rapper Nas is coming home to give a concert at Citi Field after his beloved childhood baseball team plays the Philadelphia Phillies this Friday. Nas, whose 1994 breakout album Illmatic earned him acclaim as one of the borough’s finest lyricists, still visits the Long Island City housing project of his youth to keep in touch with his former life, but this will be his first performance at the Flushing stadium. As such, he’s ready to bring the house down with the multi-syllabic internal rhyme patterns and inner city narratives that made him famous.
Details: Mets Summer Postgame Concert Series with Nas, July 19, 7:10 pm (game time), Citi Field, 123-01 Roosevelt Ave., Flushing. Concert is free with purchase of game ticket.

Photo: Blogging Mets

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As it has for the past five years, Queens will be left in the dark during NYC’s 2013 Fourth of July celebration. The Macy’s fireworks will again shoot over the Hudson River, making the best viewing spots in Manhattan and even New Jersey. So the best chance to see an illuminated Queens sky is at Citi Field tonight (July 3rd) after the Mets game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, which starts at 7:10 pm. However, the borough offers so many other fun activities over Independence Weekend that nobody will miss the pyrotechnics. On July 4th, the Louis Armstrong House Museum launches its summer concert series with Bria Skonberg, a fast-rising trumpet star, and her jazz band at 2 pm. An hour later, the Z Hotel’s rooftop party gets started with a live deejay on this 300-capacity roof, which offers breath-taking views of Midtown Manhattan, the East River, the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge and Queens. On July 6th, Ridgewood Social will organize a huge, family-friendly potluck picnic at Grover Cleveland Park from noon to 3:30 pm. Participants bring food, drinks, creative supplies and silverware, and they enjoy painting, drawing, knitting, crochet and the opportunity for youngsters to slay a dragon. Also on July 6th, MoMA PS1 will hold its second nine-hour Warm Up Series jam with the doors opening at noon. On July 7th, The Inner Roots Band will bring its unique style of reggae to the Queens Central Library at 3 pm. Formerly known as “Ryddim Kings,” this group takes audiences on a journey through Jamaican music with ska, dance hall and vintage classics by Bob Marley.

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The Mets are 9-8 heading into the first game of a three-game set against the Dodgers tonight.

Despite being over .500, it’s obvious that Terry Collins’ squad is hit or miss at this point in the season.

With an ace-in-the-making in Matt Harvey and a solid lefty in John Niese, the Mets have two starting pitchers capable of winning 12-plus games. However, the rest of the rotation has proven it is a major liability.

Matt Harvey is 4-0 with a 0.93 ERA.    Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

While Harvey has displayed why he is touted to be an elite pitcher for years to come in the majors, especially during his win against the Nationals last Friday that saw him outduel Stephen Strasburg, the Mets’ other two starters, Dillon Gee and Jeremy Hefner, have left a great deal to be desired.

Gee and Hefner are a combined 1-5 thus far while Harvey and Niese are an impressive 6-1.

It’s unlikely that two productive starting pitchers will be able to carry the Mets through a 162-game season, especially with a lineup that is sporadic in its offensive production.

John Buck may be leading the National League with 22 RBI, but he can’t be expected to carry the offensive load for the Mets, as he’s a lifetime .238 hitter.

John Buck is off to a hot start.               Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The only consistent offensive production the Mets can count on, as of right now, are the bats of David Wright and Daniel Murphy. They are batting .311 and .348, respectively.

With the Braves and Nationals proving early on that they are legitimate pennant contenders coming out of the NL East, the Mets’ rotation will have to prove that it has the depth to make a sincere push towards sustained success over the summer months.

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Last night there was twice the fun at Flushing Town Hall. Upstairs in the theater area, our friends at the Queens Economic Development Corporation hosted a networking event, while art-lovers flocked to the first floor gallery to attend the opening of Erasing Borders, an exhibition of contemporary Indian painting, sculpture, video art, installation art and photography.

As part of the networking event, which Delta, the Mets, the USTA and Magna Restaurant co-hosted, QEDC announced the nine finalists (some in above photo) of the Seventh Annual Queens StartUP! Business Plan Competition, a five-month challenge-and-instruction course sponsored by Citi.

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Image source: David Berkowitz on Flickr

Baseball’s Opening Day is nearing closer and closer, to the delight of fans. While Yankee fans earnestly hope for their injury-ridden team to get healthy before that first pitch is thrown, Mets fans are preparing themselves for another rebuilding season. And while pinstripe fans will be expecting playoffs, the Citi Field faithful will be hoping for a season that ends with a record over .500. And then there’s the fact that both teams will have to share New York City as an opening day stage on April 1 – at the same exact time, no less.

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Tonight is the community meeting regarding the Astoria Park diving pool

Remember – tonight the community gets to meet with the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation regarding the transition of the Astoria Park diving pool to a theater. They’ll be sharing the schematic design for the proposed performance space. The meeting takes place at Astoria World Manor, 25-22 Astoria Blvd (GMAP), from 6:30-8:30pm. All are welcome.

Sunnyside CSA opens sign ups for the 2013 season tomorrow night

The Sunnyside CSA has posted a sign up announcement on their website:

It’s time to prepare for Sunnyside CSA 2013 Sign Ups! Returning and new members, please join us on February 21st from 6-8pm at Sunnyside Community Services and sign up for the 2013 Summer/Autumn Season!

Please read about our 2013 Share Options. For the Summer/Autumn Season, we are offering vegetable, fruit, herb and dairy shares. Once you decide what you want, you can download the contract and bring it, along with your check made out to Sunnyside CSA, to the sign up. (You can also fill out a contract there, but things will move much quicker if you have it all ready.)

The produce at Sunnyside CSA comes from Golden Earthworm Farm (vegetables); Briermere Farm (fruit); Milk Not Jails (dairy – pasteurized); and meat, cheese, honey, bread and more from Lewis Waite. CSAs are a fantastic way to eat healthy food and support local economies.

Long Island City vs. LIC

The NY Post published a piece on how some folks would like to see the community of Long Island City renamed as simply “LIC.” Apparently it’s confusing to some – they think it’s out in Nassau or Suffolk, instead of one stop from the city. We’ve heard it’s bad for real estate, hotels, and morale, and goes against the image that Long Island City is urban and hip. What do you think? Leave us a comment via twitter at @queensycity.

Joey Ramone – New York City

This video is excellent – great music, excellent editing, and Queens is in it!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WhlcwcznSo]

Mets baseball and weekly sports news and views

We’d like to welcome new contributor Mitchell Petit-Frere. He’s going to be bringing us news and views on sports and Queens on a weekly basis. Check out his first post about the Mets! Baseball is almost here, thank goodness.

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[Each Wednesday, we’ll be bringing you sports news and views by new contributor Mitchell Petit-Frere – welcome, Mitchell! -Ed]

Image source: Zack Wheeler Facebook page

The first official pitch of the Mets’ 2013 season won’t be thrown until April 1, but preparations for the 162-game season began February 11 when pitchers and catchers reported to Port St. Lucie, Florida for spring training.

After four consecutive seasons of fourth place finishes in the NL East, the Mets are hoping to erase memories of nearly half a decade of irrelevance into a season that transforms Citi Field from a ballpark of lost hope into a theater of youthful exuberance.

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Image Source: Citi Field

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the New York Mets and City Harvest will hold a food drive today, from 9 am to 5 pm,  to benefit fellow New Yorkers in need. Fans can drop off donations at Citi Field’s Hodges VIP entrance (GMAP). Those who donate 10 or more nonperishable items will receive a voucher redeemable for one pair of tickets to a Mets game in April 2013.

Park in Lot G on 126th Street between the Right Field Gate and Roosevelt Avenue.

Mets and City Hold Sandy Food Drive
Wednesday, November 14
Citi Field, 123-01 Roosevelt Ave.
9 am-5 pm | Free

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After an epic 3-game sweep of the Tampa Rays, the Mets start a 3-game series against the Cincinnati Reds today at Citi Field.

Crazy few weeks for the Mets, eh? Pitcher Johan Santana throws the first no-hitter in his team’s history, then the team only scores 7 runs in all 3 games against the Yankees last week. But the team’s piece de resistance was the amazing 3-game sweep of the Rays over the past few days. Yesterday’s game 3 star was Kirk Nieuwenhuis with 2 homers and sparked a 4-run rally.

Take dad to Citi Field on Sunday for game 3. Here’s our events listing.

Image source: QueensNYC Flickr pool – user Victoria Belanger