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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.

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Live music is everywhere in Queens this week, and most of it is outdoors. Ditto for movies, and again most are outdoors. There are also surf competitions, festivals, and an International Mud Day celebration. Here’s the rundown.

June 25, Astoria Park Festival, through June 28. This annual summer favorite is jam-packed with rides, games, food, and entertainment. Free. Astoria Park Parking Lot, 19th Street and Hoyt Avenue, Astoria.

June 25, King Kong, 8:45 pm. Outdoor screening of a classic film. Free. Gantry Plaza State Park, Center Boulevard and 47th Avenue, Long Island City.

June 25, Interfaith Ramadan Dinner, 7 pm. The Turkish Cultural Center and Central Queens Y present this second annual meal with light kosher and halal cuisine, Turkish music, a call to prayer, and a short discussion on religion. $10. CQY, 67-09 108th Street, Forest Hills.

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A global family reunion will take place in Flushing Meadows Corona Park this Saturday — and everybody on the planet is invited. In the same place on the following day, a huge World’s Fair anniversary celebration will offer everything from classic cars to live music. Other activities include experimental dance, foreign films, a bike parade, racetrack art, tree-counting, and even scissor crafts. Here’s the rundown.

June 5, Global Mashup: Haiti Meets China, 8 pm. The Agoci band from Haiti serves up Kompa music, while FJ Music Fusion plays traditional Chinese music. Each group performs a set, and then both groups do an impromptu jam together. Dance lesson at 7 pm. Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard.

June 5, The Way Out, 7 pm. Screened as part of the Panorama Europe 2015 film festival,Way Out follows a Romany woman who perseveres in the face of anti-gypsy racism to find steady employment. Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Ave., Kaufman Arts District.

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Come and visit. You’ll like it. Lonely Planet named Queens the best tourism destination for 2015 this morning. The travel media company commended the borough “for topicality and buzz-worthiness,” while praising the food, diversity, hotels, events, and unique neighborhoods.

“Nowhere is the image of New York as the global melting pot truer than Queens,” reads Lonely Planet’s editorial in its Best in the US list for 2015. “Browse New York’s biggest Chinatown in Flushing, shop for brilliantly colored saris in Jackson Heights, and inhale the heady aromas of coffee and hookahs in Astoria.”

The editorial continues: “The incomparable array of world cuisines makes Queens a destination for food lovers from all parts of New York City. For your art fix, ogle the new upgrades to the Queens Museum and the Museum of the Moving Image, look for the new Emerging Artists Festival in Long Island City, and stroll Astoria’s new 24-block Kaufman Arts District. If you prefer sand and surf to paint and canvas, head to Rockaway.”

Western South Dakota came in second on the list. The other members of the top 10 were, in order, New Orleans (LA), the Colorado River, North Conway (NH), Indianapolis (IN), Greenville (SC), Oakland (CA), Duluth (MN), and the Mount Shasta Region (CA).

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Nobody wants to think about it, but Labor Day is around the corner, and that means one thing: It’s time to head to the peninsula to check out the large-scale, multi-site, mostly outdoor art installation Rockaway! before it ends. This free, summer-long display celebrates the reopening of Fort Tilden, a former U.S. Army base in the Gateway National Recreation Area that sustained severe damage during Hurricane Sandy. Visitors can peruse photographs taken by punk rocker Patti Smith, a gallery dedicated to Walt Whitman that includes books of his poetry, and nest sculptures by Adrián Villar Rojas (above). Installed in several locations, these nests invite local birds to inhabit them. Other components include The Forty Piece Motet by Janet Cardiff (first photo below), a spatialized adaptation of a sacred 16th-century motet that’s in the former military chapel, and a mutli-genre collaboration with the Honolulu Biennial at the newly restored Rockaway Beach Surf Club on Beach 87th Street. Rockaway! — a collaboration between the Rockaway Artists Alliance, the Museum of Modern Art, MoMA PS1, the National Park Service, the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, and Smith — also showcases Fort Tilden’s natural and historical beauty.

For more information on venues and times and four more photos, go to the jump page.

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Forget the thermometer, the Queens calendar of events has declared that “Spring has Sprung!” The borough will host countless outdoor activities over the next month, starting with a few running, walking and peeping opportunities this weekend. The fun starts on Friday with the 5 Miles Marking 5 Decades Fun Run, a two-loop road race that starts and ends at the north end of Flushing Meadows Corona Park’s Meadow Lake, at 4:30 pm. Organized by Queens Distance Runners, this event commemorates the 50th anniversary of the 1964 World’s Fair.

On Saturday, early risers can enjoy a bird walk through Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge led by American Littoral Society naturalist Don Riepe.  Meanwhile at 1 pm, attendees can combine a stroll with a nature lesson at Bayside’s Fort Totten, where Urban Park Rangers will discuss scientific concepts and weather phenomena, such as lightning, thunder, clouds, the water cycle, hurricanes and extreme storms.

On Sunday, the official Queens historian, Jack Eichenbaum, will guide a historic stroll through Flushing. He will take his troops to the 1964 Quaker Meeting House, the 1661 Bowne House and the (1774-1785) Kingsland Manor, where the Queens Historical Society is exhibiting Practicing Equality, Quakers in Queens. If that’s not enough, hardcore types can walk the winter-ravaged Jacob Riis Park in the Rockaways and learn beach dynamics with American Littoral Society naturalist Mickey Maxwell Cohen. There will be plenty of flotsam and jetsam and the chance to learn about the area’s surprising wartime history.

Details (one): 5 Miles Marking 5 Decades Fun Run, Flushing Meadows Corona Park’s Meadow Lake, March 28th, 4:30 pm, $25/$15 for members of Queens Distance Runners and the Queens Tourism Council/$8 for junior high and high school students.

Details (two): Early Spring Bird Walk, Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, March 29th, 10 am. Free, but RSVP to NEChapter@littoralsociety.org or 718-474-0896.

Details (three): Exploring Clouds, Fort Totten, Bayside, March 29th, 1 pm, free.

Details (four); Quaker Flushing, meet at northwest corner of Main Street and 37th Avenue, March 30th, noon, $15/$20 with part of the proceeds going to the Queens Historical Society. RSVP required to Jack Eichenbaum at jaconet@aol.com.

Details (five): Spring Tide Walks, meet at parking lot near Jacob Riis Park’s Entry Pavilion, March 30th, 10: 30 am, free but RSVP to bmcohen2@gmail.com or 718-474-0896.

 Top photo: Fort Totten FB; bottom photo: American Littoral Society

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Image Source: Arcadia Publishing: Jamaica Bay

It’s a chance to make history, star in a movie and live on in perpetuity. Dan Hendrick, who is currently working on the documentary Jamaica Bay Lives, and the Queens Memory Project are looking for people to share their stories, photos, mementos and thoughts on the neighborhoods stretching from Howard Beach through the Rockaways to Breezy Point. On April 24, Hendrick and QMP partners Queens College and Queens Library will be interviewing past and current area residents during Jamaica Bay Community History Night at the Broad Channel Branch Library. Hendrick noted that this is the chance to preserve local history before it becomes a fuzzy memory. He added that Hurricane Sandy has added a whole new chapter to this project.

Jamaica Bay Community History Night
Broad Channel Branch Library
16-26 Crossbay Boulevard, Broad Channel
Wednesday, April 24
4pm – 7pm | Free

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Image source: Wikipedia

It’s easy to forget that, well before these street numbers, apartment buildings, and train lines existed – before Queens was Queens – the area had been inhabited by Native Americans for thousands of years. Scholars believe that the Queens area was not densely populated, and that Native Americans lived in small groups mostly along the bays, creeks, and ponds, where they could fish (haddock, oysters), farm (maize, squash), gather (strawberries, chestnuts) and hunt (grouse, quail).

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Sarah Peltier of Woodside Bakehouse named her granola bars “El Conejo” to connote rabbits and rabbit food (“conejo” means “rabbit” in Spanish). The bars are vegan and packed with healthy, mostly organic ingredients like coconut oil, sunflower seeds, and brown rice. Chewy and fresh, they taste way better and are more satisfying than your typical packaged snack food.