With its local arts community booming, the Astoria Park pool will now take a dive into becoming the first outdoor performance space in the neighborhood.
“Artists in Astoria will finally have a fitting performance space,” said Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., a musician himself who is glad the plan is finally moving forward and has provided over $4.5 million in funding for this project.
Plans to convert the neglected and deteriorating diving pool into an amphitheater began around two years ago when Vallone and Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski announced the transformation. “It will be one of the most beautiful in New York overlooking the river and skyline,” said Vallone.
The amphitheater will be located at the Astoria Park diving pool and will evoke ancient Rome and Greece with outdoor performances surrounded by nature and monuments.
“Astoria has been lacking in performance spaces for a long time, but turning this eyesore into a beautiful amphitheater will give our Queens artists a backdrop to match their talents,” said Vallone during a community board meeting last week.
Construction of the outdoor performing arts space is said to begin in about a year-and-a-half and will include pouring concrete into the pool, creating a new main entrance, installing new security fencing and gates, and other improvements. The diving board will remain and be refurbished.
The new space, which is located next to Astoria Park’s Olympic-sized swimming pool, will be open to theater groups, schools and community organizations. Along with this new outdoor space, Vallone is now looking for available indoor space in Astoria where artists’ works can call home in a creative and professional environment.
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