by

View of Citifield from the Passerelle Boardwalk over Corona Yard

With the recent completion of the United States Open tennis tournament at Arthur Ashe Stadium and the now-expected ascension of the New York Mets into the National League baseball playoffs for the first time since 2006, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park finds itself at the center of New York City’s professional sports life as summer 2015 draws to a close. Let’s take a look at some of these venues as well as the park itself.

by

What is Antonio to do? He’s a well-respected community leader, but through a complex effort to help a friend in love he owes a pound of his own flesh to a man who despises him.

And what about that pathetic Sir John Falstaff? He devised a get-rich-quick scheme that backfired big time. Now he’s being humiliated bigger time.

These two scenarios come to eight Queens parks in July and August (the Bronx, Jersey City, and Southampton, too). The Hip to Hip Theatre Company is back for its ninth year, providing free, family-friendly performances of Shakespeare plays. This summer, Woodside-based co-founders Jason and Joy Marr have chosen The Merchant of Venice, a dark drama about a 16th century merchant, Antonio, who defaults on a loan from a moneylender, and The Merry Wives of Windsor, a comedy about a flat broke, alcoholic aristocrat, Sir John Falstaff, who tries to bed the wives of two rich men. However, the women are not amused and respond with a series of practical jokes.

The fun begins on Wednesday with Merchant at the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. On Thursday, Merry Wives plays at Crocheron Park in Bayside. Then, the professional actors do 17 more productions in such neighborhoods as Forest Park, Fresh Meadows, Long Island City, and Sunnyside.

Click here for the complete schedule.

Photo by Hip to Hip Theatre Company

by

You won’t believe your ears or your pocketbooks. Queens is about to experience a streak of fantastic, free, outdoor concerts over the next five days. Listeners will be able to bring their folding chairs, blankets, and dancing shoes to Flushing, Long Island City, Queensbridge, and Sunnyside and enjoy everything from hip hop to polka to R&B. George Clinton, Parliament Funkadelic, and the Chi-Lites are the biggest acts, but some performers, such as minimalist musician Florent Ghys (above), are masters of lesser-known genres.

Here is the schedule:

  • The Glukh Polka Band plays polkas, waltzes, and polonaises at Flushing Town Hall on July 12 at 2 pm.
  • Florent Ghys mixes minimalist music with classical forms, musique concrète, and even clapping and hair dryers as part of the Bang on a Can series at Noguchi Museum on July 12 at 3 pm.
  • The Chi-Lites, a group from the 1970s Chicago scene that was inducted into the Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame in 2000, kicks off the borough’s SummerStage series at Queensbridge Park on July 14 at 7 pm.
  • Gerard Carelli & His Orchestra do a wide variety of swing music in Juniper Valley Park on July 14 at 7 pm.
  • George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, bring their unique funk to Queensbridge Park as part of SummerStage on July 15 at 7 pm.
  • Yesterday and Today, a Beatles tribute band, jams near the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows Corona Park on July 15 at 7 pm.
  • Large Professor, a hip hop star from Flushing, and Marley Marl, a hip hop star from Queensbridge, take the stage at Queensbridge Park as part of SummerStage on July 16 at 7 pm.
  • Alí Bello & The Sweet Wire Band perform Latin jazz fusion in Sunnyside’s Bliss Plaza on July 16 at 6:30 pm.
  • Soul Inscribed plays a mix of hip hop, dub, funk, and soul, while Jennifer Cendaña Armas tells diaspora stories as part of SummerStage in Queensbridge Park on July 17 at 7 pm.

Photo by Florent Ghys

by

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.

by

It was so nice they did it twice. Flushing Meadows Corona Park hosted the 1939-1940 World’s Fair and the one that ran in 1964 and 1965. Both events — which took place over two, consecutive, six-month periods — had major impact on Queens and the rest of the world. Plus, both are currently celebrating major anniversaries (50th and 75th). This Sunday, a group of Urban Park Rangers will lead a tour through the park that will highlight the remnants and their roles in these historic fairs. More details after jump.

by

It was a very good day for Satchmo. On June 30, 1964, the World’s Fair organizers declared the date “Louis Armstrong Day,” and the legendary Corona resident and his All Stars performed at the Singer Bowl in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. In honor of this history — and to have another very good day — the inaugural Louis Armstrong International Music Festival will happen on June 29th in almost the same exact place, featuring live music, dancing, and a food truck rally. Multi Grammy Award-winning Cuban-American salsa singer Albita (above) headlines the show. Other scheduled performers are the Jon Faddis Quartet, led by trumpeter Jon Faddis (below); Junoon with Salman Ahmad; and David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Eternity Band.

Details: The Louis Armstrong International Music Festival, produced by Kupferberg Center for the Arts/Queens College, Parade Ground near the Unisphere at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, June 29th, 1 pm to 7 pm, rain or shine, free.

Top photo: Albita; bottom photo: wiki

by
3

Last week, we asked you to comment on what the icon of Queens is, and almost unanimously the Q’Stoner audience said “Unisphere.” Accordingly, just yesterday, I went out to Flushing Meadows Corona Park to get some shots of this icon of Queens for you. Unfortunately, the fountains aren’t on yet, but it was sunset. I’m going to keep my mouth shut for a change, and let the photos speak for themselves.

From Wikipedia:

The Unisphere is a 12-story high, spherical stainless steel representation of the Earth. Located in Flushing Meadows – Corona Park in the borough of Queens, New York City, the Unisphere is one of the borough’s most iconic and enduring symbols.

Commissioned to celebrate the beginning of the space age, the Unisphere was conceived and constructed as the theme symbol of the 1964–1965 New York World’s Fair. The theme of the World’s Fair was “Peace Through Understanding” and the Unisphere represented the theme of global interdependence. It was dedicated to “Man’s Achievements on a Shrinking Globe in an Expanding Universe.”

Check out tons of Unisphere shots after the jump!

by
3

It’s time to party like it’s 1939… or 1964. Queens is the only county in the U.S. to host two World’s Fairs, and both historic events are celebrating major anniversaries this year (the fiftieth and seventy-fifth, respectively). On April 30, 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt inaugurated the first one in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, which had just been created from a large tidal marsh and garbage dump. The air conditioner made its debut, as did color photographs, fluorescent lamps, nylon and pencil sharpeners. Early television sets and a futurist GM car were the rage as was a diner, which was relocated and is still open for business as the White Manna in Jersey City, NJ. Meanwhile Goldie Hawn, a teenager who had just moved from Maryland to NYC to pursue a career in showbiz, was discovered as a chorus line dancer at the Texas pavilion during the 1964 World’s Fair. The Ford Mustang, Unisphere and Belgian waffle (above) all owe part of their fame to this fair, which actually ran for two, six-month seasons in 1964 and 1965 and attracted more than 51 million people. Corona resident Louis Armstrong (arriving at the scene below) played his trumpet, and various countries and regions promoted their good sides. Wisconsin had a pavilion exhibiting the planet’s largest chunk of cheese, while Miami displayed a parrot jungle, and Hawaii operated the Five Volcanoes restaurant.

On March 22nd, this year’s first World’s Fair-related commemorative event will take place when the Greater Astoria Historical Society screens The World of Tomorrow, a film on the 1939 Fair. Then, over the next six months, the  New York Hall of Science, Noguchi Museum, Parks Department, Queens Botanical Garden, Queens Center, Queens Historical Society, Queens Museum, Queens Theatre, The Port Authority of NY & NJ and other local entities, such as the Louis Armstrong House Museum and the Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel, will hold exhibits, plays, concerts and even a beer festival to commemorate.

Details: Click here for a full list of events, times and locations.

by
2

A shipwreck, a conspiracy, magic, monsters and love at first sight. The Hip to Hip Theatre Company kicks off its summer season with The Tempest, Shakespeare’s romantic thriller about a deposed duke. After 12 years on a deserted island, the duke uses magic to raise a storm at sea while seeking revenge on the foes who purloined his dukedom. Hip to Hip will present The Tempest and Love’s Labor Lost at 10 Queens venues — Crocheron Park in Bayside, Cunningham Park in Fresh Meadows, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park’s Unisphere, Gantry Plaza State Park in LIC, Lost Battalion Recreation Center in Rego Park, O’Donohue Park in Far Rockaway, Socrates Sculpture Park in Astoria, Sunnyside Gardens Park, St. Albans Park and Voelker Orth Museum in Flushing — over the next two months. Founded in 2007 by Queens-based actors Jason and Joy Marr, Hip to Hip strives to provide fantastic theater at accessible locations. Its name comes from a phrase in Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors. Details: Free Shakespeare in the Park, first show on July 24, O’Donohue Park, vicinity of Seagirt Boulevard at Beach 17th Street, Far Rockaway, 7 pm.