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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

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A recent visit to the New York State Pavilion in Flushing Meadows found the “modern ruin” in the midst of a makeover.

The Local Union 806 Structural Steel and Bridge Painters  are restoring the Pavilion in an attempt
to return it to its former glory. The repainting is slowly but surely making a difference.

The walls inside the “Tent of Tomorrow” have been restored to splendor.

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It was one of the most memorable venues of the 1964 World’s Fair. Designed by legendary architect Philip Johnson, the New York State Pavilion featured the elliptical Tent of Tomorrow, whose 16 100-foot-high reinforced concrete piers suspended a 50,000-square-foot roof of multi-colored panels. The main floor featured a ground map of New York State with 567 terrazzo mosaic panels.

Meanwhile, the Theaterama, located adjacent to the pavilion, displayed art by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, and the three nearby observation towers boasted elevators leading to high-altitude platforms.

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Though last night’s snow might confuse the issue, it’s time for Queens gardeners to start preparing their summer vegetables. This is the key to earlier harvests, greater variety, healthier crops, stronger soil, easier transplanting, and especially more satisfaction and enjoyment.

This Sunday, Queens Botanical Garden Director of Education Emeritus Fred Gerber will host a workshop dedicated to growing indoor vegetables during the warm weather months. There should be something of interest for everybody from the novice to the experienced gardener with the greenest of thumbs. Details on the jump page.

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The University of Central Florida’s Institute for Simulation and Training, alongside the non profit company CyArk, launched a Kickstarter to operate a 3D laser scan of the New York State Pavilion and create a digital record to aid preservation. Here are a few details on the unique project…

Digitally preserving the New York State Pavilion with 3D laser scanning can create an accurate record to serve as a base data set to aid conservation and future restoration. It will take our joint UCF and CyArk team five (5) days to 3D map the steel and concrete ruins of the Pavilion’s Observation Towers and Tent of Tomorrow.

The field work to record the Pavilion in 3D is scheduled for early June. The team will record the remains of the New York State Pavilion’s Observation Towers and Tent of Tomorrow. If time allows, the team will also capture the Pavilion’s Theaterama to complete the context of the 3D data set (the Theaterama remains in use as the Queens Theater and has thus been maintained).

The meticulously detailed, and millimetrically accurate 3D data can be translated into three-dimensional architectural drawings and models for conservators to plan restoration efforts.

Additionally, the processed 3D data will be made freely available to the public for personal, educational, and scientific research uses.

The team hopes to raise at least $15,000 for the project, and they have already secured permission from the Parks Department to take it on. Given the recent enthusiasm behind preservation of the New York State Pavilion, they may just pull it off.

3D Preservation of a National Treasure [Kickstarter]
All New York State Pavilion coverage [Q’Stoner]

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Designed by Philip Johnson, the NY State Pavilion was among the most striking buildings in a Fair full of them. It consists of the “Tent of Tomorrow” consisting of sixteen 100-foot columns that supported a 50,000-square-foot roof of multicolored panels (which was removed in the 1970s) as well as three towers, measuring 60, 150 and 226 feet tall. Fairgoers could ascend top the top of the towers via “Sky Streak” capsule elevators, and dine at a restaurant on the shortest. Inside the pavilion, there was a scale model of the new St. Lawrence River hydroelectric plant, NY State industry information, artwork from the 19th-century Hudson River School, and portraits of NY State colonists. There were reproductions of historic steam trains and vintage automobiles, as well as rides for the kiddies.

Tuesday, April 22nd, was the 50th anniversary of the opening of the 1964-1965 World’s Fair. In 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson, Parks Commissioner Robert Moses and other dignitaries cut the ribbon on what had been a dark, rainy day, amid fears of protests by civil rights groups. The crowds were underwhelming on Opening Day, but the Fair ultimately proved a hit. Relatively few countries participated, however, not because of ideological problems with the USA, but because Seattle had hosted a recent Fair in 1962 and most countries had concentrated their resources there.

To celebrate the anniversary, NYC Parks opened the New York State Pavilion to the public for the first time in many years. Since the Fair closed the Pavilion had been put to a number of uses. In the late 1960s and early 1970s it served as a concert space, with the likes of the Grateful Dead and Led Zeppelin performing on the pavilion’s stage. In the 1980s, the pavilion was converted to a roller skating rink, a decision that ultimately did no favors to one of the pavilion’s chief attractions, a giant road map of New York State.

However, after that time the pavilion was simply allowed to stand and crumble. The colored panels of the Tent of Tomorrow long ago became unstable and were removed in the 1970s. The road map crumbled and moss grew between the cracks. The Sky Streak elevator cars that had been “frozen” in place on the towers also became destabilized and were in danger of falling off, so they were removed. The rusting, crumbling elevator cars sit in a roped-off area near the adjoining Queens Theater in the Park. Estimates hold that it will take $14 million to tear down the old pavilion, but between $50 and $100 million to restore it. Nevertheless, there is a groundswell of activity toward restoration. Borough President Melinda Katz is on record as favoring such a revival. Nonprofit People for the Pavilion urges the preservation and restoration of the structure, and co-founder Mathew Silva is presently working on a film documentary entitled Modern Ruin: A World’s Fair Pavilion. 

Pleasant, mild weather combined with plenty of publicity to push the expected crowd total to between five and ten thousand visitors! Crowds snaked through long stretches of park paths, even crossing the bridges over Grand Central Parkway. The wait time was about three hours, as only small crowds were allowed under the Tent of Tomorrow at any given time. Hard hats were given out as a precaution against any falling debris. Nevertheless, the mood was pleasant and relaxed. A food truck serving the original Belgian waffle recipe that was sold at the 1964-1965 Fair was on hand, and lines were considerably longer than the Mister Softee ice cream truck that set up next to it.

Crowds milled around the entrance, waiting to get in when their numbers (distributed on line) were called out. There was some detailing from the old pavilion put in place for this one event — note the set of blue glass globes over the entrance, that matched the original ones set up in 1964.

Photographs taken during the Fair’s original run showed the pavilion’s hive of activities as well as the original color-paneled Tent of Tomorrow.

The NY State Pavilion contained striking visuals both above and below. Texaco funded a giant map of New York State on the pavilion floor with 567 mosaic terrazo panels weighing about 400 lbs. each. Rand McNally supplied the topographic information, and Texaco furnished the location of each of its gas stations in the state. When the pavilion’s “roof ” was removed due to its deterioration borne of general negligence, the Texaco map was open to the elements. A few years ago, selected panels were removed and partially restored for an exhibit for the Queens Museum (which is also located in Flushing Meadows). Selected panels depicting parts of the Texaco map’s Long Island section were set up inside the pavilion.

Hopefully, the publicity bestowed on the NY State Pavilion for its 50th Anniversary will provide the momentum, and more importantly, the funding, that will restore it as a prime exhibit space, as well as restore the towers, the Sky Streak elevator, the restaurant and the multicolored Tent of Tomorrow. Can a new floor map be produced? We can dream.

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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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The Wall Street Journal put up this great video about the New York State Pavilion Paint Project, a volunteer group who started painting the exterior of the historic 1964 World’s Fair structure back in 2009. The group hopes to raise awareness for the building, as well as inspire fundraising efforts. The group is recognized by the city but does not receive money from them. Recent talks of restoring the pavilion grounds, though, estimate costs as high as $72,000,000.

This group, along with the advocacy group People for the Pavilion, made it possible to open the New York State Pavilion to the public for one day. That will happen on Tuesday, April 22nd between 11 am and 2 pm.

Queens Painters Hope to Bring Awareness to World’s Fair Structures [WSJ]
All New York State Pavilion coverage [Q’Stoner]

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The word “LEGO” is a combination of the Danish words “leg godt,” which mean “play well” in English. The original toys were made of wood, but in 1958, the LEGO Group introduced the interlocking brick, which currently comes in various colors, shapes and sizes and has a cult-like following around the world, mesmerizing adults as well as children. On Saturday, these plastic playthings will begin a long run in Queens, when the Museum of the  Moving Image offers 60-minute LEGO animation workshops for children twice a day through April 22nd. Led by a master builder, participants will work in teams to plan and create a stop-motion animated film. The same Astoria venue will screen The LEGO Movie in Dolby Digital 3-D from April 14th through April 18th. This stop-motion animated feature tells the story of Emmet, a perfectly average LEGO mini-figure who is mistakenly identified as the “most special, most interesting, most extraordinary person” and the key to saving the world. Meanwhile, the Queens Theatre on April 13th will open Iconic Symbols of the 1964 World’s Fair Reimagined — in LEGOs, a display of World’s Fair structures inspired by expert builder Cody Wells. They will be on exhibit through November 2nd. The Flushing Meadows Corona Park theater will go for more on May 18th with Build It!: A LEGO Workshop, three sessions after which each participant will leave with a mini-model of the New York State Pavilion.

Details for Museum of the Moving Image (36-01 35th Avenue, Astoria): Master Builder Lego Animation Workshops, April 12th – 22nd, 1:30 pm and 3 pm, daily, $5 materials fee; The LEGO Movie, April 14th-18th, 1 pm daily.

Details for Queens Theatre (14 United Nations Avenue South, Flushing Meadows Corona Park): Iconic Symbols of the 1964 World’s Fair Reimagined — in LEGOs, April 13th – November 2nd, free; Build It!: A LEGO Workshop, May 18th, 11 am, 2 pm and 4 pm, free.

Top photo: Flickr (notenoughbricks); bottom photo: MMI

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It’s a photo op, historic tour and urban spelunking activity. It’s also a celebration of the exact 50th anniversary of the opening of the 1964 World’s Fair. On April 22nd, the New York State Pavilion (above and below) will open to the public for three hours. Individuals will be able to put on hard hats (which will be provided and required), enter this remnant of the 1964 World’s Fair, and take photos of the interior portion, where the Tent of Tomorrow once stood. The New York State Pavilion Paint Project Crew will be on site to answer questions and talk about the structure’s past, present and future. Later, the Queens Theatre will present When the World Came to Queens, an exhibit featuring rare photos with behind-the-scenes anecdotes written by Bill Cotter, who has the world’s largest private collection of World’s Fair images. Cotter, a frequent attendee during the 1964-65 run, has also written several books, which he will be selling and autographing.

Details: Open Gate Event, meet at north entrance to NYS Pavilion, near Queens Theatre in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, April 22nd, 11 am to 2 pm, free.

Bonus details: When the World Came to Queens, Queens Theatre, 14, United Nations Avenue South, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, April 22nd, 3 pm and 7 pm, free with $10 suggested donation. 

Photos: People for the Pavilion FB