Tag Archives: Astoria

Social darts league comes to Astoria


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Astoria Plays Darts

An Astoria social and sports organization has pinpointed a new way to bring people together when it’s too cold to play softball by swapping bats for darts.

Astoria Plays Darts kicked off its first season this October with eight teams, representing seven neighborhood bars.

The league was formed by the organizers of Astoria Plays Ball, a co-ed sports group that acts like a social club for locals to meet each other. The softball league began in spring 2013 and has had a spring, summer and fall 2014 season since that time.

Following softball games, teams head to a local bar for drink specials and hot dogs. The winners get free beers.

In addition to growing the softball league’s numbers, its organizers have been seeking new ways to bring Astorians together.

Darts was a hobby that Warren Sheinwald, one of the founders of Astoria Plays Ball, said he has enjoyed playing in the past.

Its role as a classic bar game made it the ideal second sport for the organization.

News of the dart league quickly spread by word of mouth and through Astoria Plays’ social media channels. About 70 people participated in the first season, including many members from its softball teams.

On Monday and Tuesday nights, games are played at one of seven Astoria bars—Blackbird’s, Doyle’s Corner, Olde Prague Tavern, Raven’s Head Public House, Sissy McGinty’s, O’Hanlon’s Bar and Rocky McBride’s. Each team is named after a bar, with Olde Prague representing two teams. The bars provide food and discounted drinks during the evening.

Two types of games are played between teams and individuals. In cricket the goal is to “close” all your numbers and end up with more or equal points to your opponent. You must hit three of that number to close it. The “01″ dart game begins with a score of 301, 501 or 701 and the object is to get to zero by throwing rounds of three darts and subtracting the sum of those darts from the current score.

Though points are scored and teams try to win, there has never been any fighting and everyone has remained civil, according to Sheinwald.

“We have reshaped the image of darts players from those of the traditional competitive leagues to a fun, learning, mildly competitive experience,” he said.

The fall season’s championship will be held on Monday between Old Prague 1 and Sissy McGinty’s. Plaques are awarded to individual players based on all star points and team plaques are given to bars that succeed in the playoffs.

A winter season is already planned, starting Jan. 5. A Thanksgiving winter signup event where the league collected cans for City Harvest at Sissy McGinty’s garnered 60 participants. Spots are still open on several teams, which will expand to include at least 10 bars. Each player that signs up pays a $15 fee for the season.

“It’s a great way to get out there and meet new Astorians, especially for people who have just moved to the area,” Sheinwald said.

As with its softball league, darts players are finding other ways to get together. Recently members started playing football in Astoria Park.

Astoria Plays wants to expand their offerings to kickball and a trivia night, which it hopes to launch by this February.

“One of our goals is to keep promoting the area and keep exploring it together,” Sheinwald said. “We are always looking to do more things, it’s just a matter of time.”

 

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Hundreds show support for Astoria boy with rare disorder


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Dana Naughton

Hundreds of people flocked to an Astoria bar this past weekend to show 6-year-old Gabriel Santini Naughton and his family that they’re not alone in his battle with a blood disorder.

On Sunday, friends of the Santini Naughton family held a fundraiser at The Quays, located at 45-02 30th Ave., to raise money for Gabriel, who was diagnosed in September with hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH), a rare, life-threatening autoimmune blood disorder.

Although Dana Naughton, Gabriel’s mom, prefers not to say how much was raised, she said over 400 people came by to the corner pub throughout the course of the day.

“It was so successful. It’s definitely going to make Christmas comfortable,” Naughton said. “The emotional support of having the community come together was amazing. It looked like a St. Patrick’s Day celebration.”

Before Gabriel’s diagnosis, his mother had given birth to his second sister and was on maternity leave from her job as an attorney for the city’s Administration for Children’s Services. In order to continue to care for Gabriel, Naughton is still on leave. Her husband,  Jaime Santini, who is a professional chef, has also had to hold back from working full time.

Even through these difficult times, the family has felt continuous support from the surrounding Astoria neighbors.

During Sunday’s fundraiser, neighbors donated items ranging from theater tickets to a beer cooler that were used as prizes in a raffle. Entertainment for the day was also all donated, including face painting by The Cheeky Chipmunk and a show by magician Dave Cremin.

There were also musical performances by Sean Wiggins, Roylurr, Sam Rasiotis, John Keegan, Jimmy Artache, Lauren Hunt and Lisa Marie Hunt.

(left to right) Rafael Salinas, Jaime Santini, Dana Naughton, James Kane, and Dee Flattery, co-owner of The Quays.

(left to right) Rafael Salinas, Jaime Santini, Dana Naughton, James Kane and Dee Flattery, co-owner of The Quays.

Other local businesses that donated their time, products and food included Avenue Chemists, Pronto Pizza, Off the Vine, Ovelia, Dilingers, Brooklyn Bagel, Phoenix Beer, Manhattan Beer, Mama Carmelo’s, William Hallett, Lauren Biniaris Yoga, Lost Sock, and Sorriso’s.

“The community has been awesome from the get-go. But to see all these people in one space was incredibly overwhelming but in a good way,” Naughton said. “Gabriel loved it.”

According to the 6-year-old, his favorite part of the fundraiser was the music and singing, and he felt “really happy” to have the party done for him.

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“It really is an example that human kindness is really alive,” Naughton said.

A few days before the fundraiser, Naughton and her husband, found out that Gabriel’s disorder was environmental and not genetic. That means that it could be treated with medication and he will not necessarily need to go through a bone marrow transplant. Gabriel has also stopped chemotherapy.

“We are incredibly relieved and optimistic to try another treatment,” Naughton said. “It’s a day by day-by-day thing.”

Naughton continues to keep an online blog at posthope.org/gabriels-fight with updates on Gabriel. Donations can also be made on the website.

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LIC Flea vendor to open natural tea shop in Astoria


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Tea and Milk

After looking around for the perfect spot to open their first shop, the owners of LIC Flea & Food vendor Tea and Milk have chosen Astoria, where they plan on opening their doors in January.

The decision to open shop in the western Queens neighborhood came after experiencing positive customer input during the LIC Flea & Food and Astoria Flea & Food at Kaufman Astoria Studios, according to Mathew Wong, one of the co-owners of Tea and Milk.

“This is it, we’re ready and we’re going to do it,” said Wong, who co-owns Tea and Milk with Wilson Ng and Kendy Ng. “Customers have been asking if we are going to open a storefront. We hear that and feel very proud and people have actually been pushing for it.”

On Dec. 2, Wong, along with his partners, signed the lease for a 400-square-foot shop on 34th Avenue, within the Kaufman Arts District.

The exact address is still being kept secret until construction is complete; however the group plans to hold a soft opening by the end of January.

“It feels amazing,” Wong said. “It’s good to be able to add to what Astoria already has. The variety is great and we want to contribute to it.”

At the shop, Tea and Milk plans to serve its customers artisan teas with a menu consisting of a wide range of unconventional teas that include aromatic flowers, fruits and bubbles. Wong emphasized that their teas are made with natural ingredients such a real fruits, chia seeds and real taro.

The shop, which will have seating for about 10 people, will also include coffee and pastries, and may have food from other chefs and vendors.

“The design won’t look like a typical tea shop,” Wong said. “We want people to stay.”

Between the soft opening and the grand opening, the group plans to test hours of operation, looking to open at 7 a.m. and close around 8 or 9 p.m.

According to Wong, in the next five years they would like to expand to have two or three more shops.

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81-year-old Astoria woman scammed out of $3K: cops


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

An Astoria senior citizen was the victim of a money scam last Monday after a pair of thieves tricked her into giving them $3,000 in cash, police said.

The 81-year-old victim was in front of her 21st Street apartment about 8:45 a.m. on Dec. 1 when she was approached by a man and woman, both 35, cops said. The suspects then told her they had found a large amount of money and that she would be able to have $70,000 of it, as along as she proved to the bank that she had $3,000 in cash.

The victim brought the female suspect to her apartment building and gave her the $3,000, with the suspect promising they would return with her $70,000, police said. But they never came back.

The female suspect is described as 5 foot 5 inches tall and 160 pounds, and the male suspect is 5 feet tall and 200 pounds.

Police have released a surveillance video of the female suspect.

Anyone with information in regards to this grand larceny is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

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Astoria church hosts monthly community potluck


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Asha Mahadevan

One Astoria church is hoping to bring a community together over good food and a warm environment.

For over a year, members of the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, located at 31-18 37th St., have been hosting a Community Supper Potluck on the second Friday of every month.

During these dinners, which go on for about two hours, church parishioners and residents from the neighborhood are welcome to bring a dish to share and just hang out, according Elizabeth Lacks, one of the organizers.

According to Lacks, you do not need to bring food in order to participate. The dinners are open to those who just want to get together with neighbors and also those who might need a hot, nutritious meal.

“The potluck aspect of the supper has been a lot of fun, especially in such an ethnically diverse neighborhood as Astoria,” Lacks said. “And it’s a great way to get to know some of your neighbors; we encourage people to sit with others even if they come alone, and I have met some fascinating people.”

The community potlucks began after members of the congregation, including Lacks, came together to discuss ways to reach out to more residents in the community.

“Of course in any community there are people in need of food and friendship, and ours is no different,” Lacks said. “These dinners were the result, and they’ve grown considerably since we started.”

The goal of the dinners, which now see about 40 participants, is to provide a place where parishioners and neighbors can “find good food and fellowship,” Lacks said. Organizers hope those who attend will feel like they belong to a community.

Although the church asks for volunteers to help serve, set up and clean up, and appreciates any support it gets, the group does not distinguish between volunteers and others at the dinners. When it comes to dinner time, everyone eats together.

“As many people live New York, it’s very easy to be lonely in this city, and we hope that these dinners are a place where neighbors can meet and engage with each other in a warm and welcoming environment,” Lacks said.

If you would like to volunteer for a dinner, email Lacks at elizabeth.lacks@gmail.com. The next Community Supper Potluck is scheduled for Dec. 12 at 6 p.m.

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High school students record holiday songs at Kaufman Astoria Studios


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos by Angy Altamirano

The holidays arrived early in Astoria this year for a group of high schools students with dreams of becoming professional musicians.

Members of the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts a cappella concert choir were invited on Monday to record two holiday songs at one of Kaufman Astoria Studios’ recording studios and one of the largest in the city, KAS Music & Sound.

The invitation came through Kaufman Astoria Studios and the nonprofit Exploring the Arts, which was founded by Tony Bennett, who also founded the high school.

The group of about 55 students, ranging from sophomores to seniors, recorded “Silver Bells” and an arrangement of “Deck the Halls.”

Joe Castellon, executive director of KAS Music & Sound, oversaw the recording and gave his tips to the young aspiring singers. Once he has finished editing the two songs, Castellon will give the music back to the school, which will then decide what will be done with it.

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“We’ve done it twice before and it gets better every time,” said Castellon. “It’s great because you are seeing them just right at the beginning and their first exposure to it.”

He said that the students’ excitement is palpable: “With the students it’s great because you get to feel that.”

The high school’s concert choir teacher and one of the founding members of the school, Heidi Best, led the group during the recording and hopes this experience gave the students a taste  of what it really means to record their music at a professional studio.

“[Recording] is a very different animal,” Best said. “’[The students] are thrilled because they know this is a big deal, and it’s really good for them because they get to hear themselves and the things they don’t really think about and it gives them a keener sense of performing.”

For some of the students who participated last year it was a chance to return to the studio, but for others it was the first time they had walked into a studio and shared the same equipment that has been used by musicians such as Alicia Keys, Billy Joel, Elvis Costello, Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett.

“It was exciting because it’s something most of us haven’t done,” said 17-year-old Feyjon Cobos, a senior at the high school who first stepped into the studio two years ago with another choir at the school.

“It’s nostalgic but very thrilling,” said Bruce Jimenez, 16, a junior who has also recorded before. “It was very fun. I wish I could do it again.”

This was 17-year-old Paola Solis’ first time recording in a studio, and she said it was exciting to get the opportunity.

“I’ve recorded, but like on an iPod,” Solis said smiling. “It’s really amazing to be here in an actual studio.”

The group of students will be performing the songs at the MetLife Building in Manhattan next Monday and at the school’s winter concert on Dec. 18 and 19 at 7 p.m.

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Construction of 12-story Astoria residential building set to begin


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Scott Bintner/PropertyShark

Development of a new 12-story residential building in Astoria is moving on to the construction phase.

HD Management LLC filed an application recently with the Buildings Department to begin excavation and structural work on the new 52-unit residential tower to be built on a site stretching from 27-13 through 27-17 21st St.

Purcell Architects will design the building, which will have 38,547 square feet of space for residential use. There will also be 31 enclosed parking spaces.

Currently a three-story building that was originally constructed in 1922 sits on part of the site. Demolition of a one-story auto shop, which sits on another section of the site, began earlier this year.

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Community comes together for Astoria boy with rare blood disorder


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Dana Naughton

What Dana Naughton and Jaime Santini first thought was just a virus in their son became every parent’s worst nightmare — a rare, life-threatening blood disorder. But, with the support of their local Astoria community, the parents have been able to find hope amid their grief.

Six-year-old Gabriel Santini Naughton was diagnosed with hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH), a rare, life-threatening autoimmune blood disorder, in September after going through days of high fevers that started on his first day of school.

Early this year, Gabriel had also been sick but because he got better, his parents thought it was just a virus going around.

After being tested, doctors found that Gabriel had HLH and started him on chemotherapy. His body has been receptive to the treatment; however, doctors are waiting on results to see if the disorder is genetic or environmental.

If the disorder is environmental, then it could continue to be treated with chemotherapy or medication, but if it is genetic, Gabriel would need to receive a bone marrow transplant. Starting this week, doctors will begin to start looking for a match for Gabriel.

“He’s responding well. He’s just been amazing,” Naughton said about Gabriel’s energy through the treatment. “He’s been a trooper. He’s not crying about it, he has just been amazing.”

Before Gabriel’s diagnosis, his mother had given birth to his second sister and was on maternity leave from her job as an attorney for the city’s Administration for Children’s Services. In order to continue to care for Gabriel, Naughton is still on leave. Her husband, who is a professional chef, has also had to hold back from working full time.

“We had this system and it was supposed to work and this happened and it was impossible for us to have jobs, commitment when we have to take care of everyone,” Naughton said.

However, even though these past months have been tough on the family, they have felt an overwhelming support from the community that they have called home since 2001.

Gabriel with his parents and sisters.

Gabriel with his parents and sisters.

“There are times that I’ve wanted to break down and I am walking to the supermarket and I get a smile from a neighbor. It’s made me stronger to be able to take care of my son,” Naughton said. “It’s kept the ability to have some normal with the grief that comes with this.”

According to Naughton, neighbors have gone so far as to bring them food, help babysit and in one case help organize an upcoming fundraiser to help them with medical bills and other expenses.

One of the owners of The Quays, located at 45-02 30th Ave., Dee Flattery, and friends of the family, will be hosting a “Gabriel’s Fight” fundraiser on Sunday, Dec. 7, at noon with live music, a magician and face painting for children.

Naughton says she passes the corner pub on the way to the Astoria Heights Playground, and the owners have watched her children grow up through the years.

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“It’s just about love and compassion and seeing a family struggling and helping out, even with the little things. That’s made the biggest difference. Sometimes that’s all you need to take another breath and keep walking,” Naughton said. “We have never felt once that we were in this alone.”

Naughton has been keeping an online blog at posthope.org/gabriels-fight with updates on Gabriel’s treatment and also sharing photos of the family, including Gabriel’s sisters Juliette and Cecilia.

The family hopes that after dealing with the treatment and getting through this together, they can give back to the community that has helped them through the difficult time and also help other families going through the same situation.

“There are children that get through this. All I can do is be optimistic that we will be one of those families, and then we will spend time volunteering and help other families get through this,” Naughton said. “When we are out of this mess we want to give back and help families with the little things.”

To make a donation, visit posthope.org/gabriels-fight.

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Astoria’s The Green Gallows talk rad tunes with a side of whiskey


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos by Jovani Demetrie McCleary (J. Demetrie Photography)

BY ECLEEN CARABALLO

As they sat in a Hooters an hour away from Chicago, the members of The Green Gallows opened up about the realities of touring, and their slow rise to success.

Hailing from Indiana, Michigan and Washington, Sean Ryan Donnelly, Adam Steiner and Cara Cooley, respectively, now all consider the backlands of Queens their home.

The three New York transplants joined forces in Astoria and formed the folk-rock band about two years ago, playing their first show six months later, and hitting on the road at the beginning of November for their first official tour, with singer/songwriter Meghann Wright.

Prior to joining forces, the “three musketeers” started off as two lovebirds, Cooley and Steiner, who come from a musical performing background and are currently engaged to be married.

Still, Donnelly rejects all chances of being considered a third-wheel; he claims that Cara is more of the third wheel, since he and Adam have known each other for many years. But overall, after almost a month of spending nearly every waking moment together, the band has taken things to “a whole new level,” becoming more like family, with whiskey being the fourth member.

The journey, which Cooley considers “great chaos,” has been an exhausting, yet rewarding one thus far, with only two days off since the beginning of their tour on Nov. 1.

In addition, the band has performed at the Bright Winter Festival in Cleveland, Ohio, and went on a short tour last February after the release of their EP, “Wanted.” Since then, they have performed both locally and on the road, including stops in Orlando, Chicago and Pennsylvania, and have acquired a love for playing road shows because, Donnelly said, it’s “always a treat to play for someone who’s never heard you, as opposed to at home where friends and fans know what they’re getting into.”

Essentially, what guests are getting into at a typical Green Gallows show consists of everything from foot-stomping tunes to passion-filled ballads, and whiskey-drenched performances that the three describe as “very high energy.” In other words, nothing “typical.” Instead, the band takes listeners into a world they have created where “you can expect to be taken out of your life, and whatever is going on in it, to be taken away for an hour – and just have a good time,” says Cooley.

The band will be home for Thanksgiving, and is looks forward to performing locally in Spike Hill, as well as Sweet Afton in Astoria, and more. So far, the band has released one song for download, “Brave Young Soul,” and they have taken it with them on the road, introducing listeners to their sound and style, in efforts to prepare them for their first full-length album, which they plan to record in January.

For more information on their upcoming shows, visit thegreengallows.com.

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Queens HS student wins US Congressional Award Gold Medal


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Garden School

One Queens high school student has stood out from the rest for her dedication to serving the community.

Astoria resident Julia McKenna, a senior at the Garden School in Jackson Heights, was one of 13 New York State students to win the 2014 US Congressional Award Gold Medal.

The Congressional Award, this year handed out by U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley, is given to students who meet goals in community service, personal development, physical fitness, plus exploration and expedition.

Those who are awarded the gold medal are required to have a minimum of 400 hours documented for volunteer service. McKenna managed to log more than 550 hours volunteering at organizations such as the New York Blood Center, Special Olympics, Dellamonica Senior Center, Common Ground Outreach and more.

Along with community service, McKenna is also co-captain of the varsity volleyball and basketball teams and won Academic Honors last year.

According to a statement released by the Garden School, McKenna’s dedication to serving the community “is a great example of Garden’s mission of ‘social involvement’ in action and we could not be more proud of her.”

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Astoria 8-year-old wins young inventor award for monster toy line


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Black family

For one Astoria 8-year-old, monsters aren’t scary. Instead, they have helped her to accomplish more than most kids her age.

Lyla Black is the founder of Lyla Tov Monsters – plushy, handmade toys that are the “guardians of a good night’s sleep” – and on Nov. 21 she was awarded the Young Inventor of the Year at the 7th Annual Toy & Game Inventor Awards in Chicago, Illinois.

“We were hopeful but had no idea the outcome,” said Erin Black, Lyla’s mother. “We were surprised when they called her name.”

The Lyla Tov Monsters (a play on Hebrew words that mean “good night”) are inspired by Lyla’s original doll, which she made at age 3 as a gift for her father, Eric. The toys are made by Lyla and her parents and siblings.

The husband and wife team has been making the toys out of their Astoria home since 2009, bringing together 30 years of experience in children’s media. Erin is an Emmy Award-winning costume designer for her work on “Sesame Street” and Eric has worked for the Jim Henson Company and Scholastic Media.

“It was a very fun and kind of an overwhelming experience for us,” said Erin. “[The award] was really rewarding because it’s been a lot of work, but it’s also been a lot of fun and it’s been a great family adventure. We’ve both enjoyed giving vision to our daughter’s idea.”

The family grew the business through word of mouth, first starting to sell at local craft fairs and then opening their online store at www.lylatov.com.

Since starting, the business has sold thousands of dolls, and the monsters are now carried in such local shops as Tiny You in Sunnyside and Long Island City and Raising Astoria in Astoria. The toys are also at The Jewish Museum gift shop in Manhattan.

For the Annual Toy & Game Inventor Awards, Lyla was accompanied by her mother and grandmother. When her name was called as the winner of the Young Inventor of the Year the usual “shy” 8-year-old marched up on stage and looked to the audience of more than 300 adults and delivered her acceptance speech, said Erin.

According to Lyla’s parents, the award gave the affirmation that others regard Lyla’s creative vision as highly as they do.

“I was surprised,” said Lyla about hearing her name be called for the award. “I was a little scared. I was excited too.”

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City Council passes Astoria Cove development project


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of STUDIO V Architecture

The City Council voted overwhelmingly to approve the Astoria Cove mega development on Tuesday, clearing the way for the major land use project.

The project now goes to Mayor Bill de Blasio for his likely approval. He has already praised the project after concessions were made by the developer to boost the amount of affordable housing included. He has five days to either sign or veto the measure.

Earlier in the month, Astoria Cove developers delayed the City Council Land Use Committee vote to strike a last-minute deal with elected officials concerned about having enough affordable housing in order to win committee support for the project.

Now more than 460 units of the 1,723 total apartments throughout the 2.2-million-square-foot project on the Astoria waterfront will be affordable housing.

Developers also agreed to hire union labor for construction and building maintenance jobs associated with the project, and commit to building a ferry dock.

“This agreement shows what we can achieve when the private and public sectors work together,” Astoria Councilman Costa Constantinides said. “This agreement provides real benefits to the neighborhood and will help further link our booming communities along the East River.”

Astoria Cove will consist of five buildings, three on the waterfront ranging from 26 to 32 stories and two on the upland portion of the site, including a six-story residential building.

The project, which is anticipated to take more than 10 years to complete in four different phases, will also include about 84,000 square feet of publicly accessible open space, a school and some retail.

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Star of Queens: Thao-Nguyen Le, co-director, Vietnam Heritage Center


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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BACKGROUND: Thao-Nguyen Le was born in Vietnam. Her family immigrated to Seattle in the ’90s. She went back to Vietnam to work for a startup after a career at KPMG and then came back to the U.S. She has been living in Queens for the past two years. She finds Astoria to be very quaint with its tree-lined streets.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Le develops and implements programs for Vietnam Heritage Center, recruits and manages volunteers, organizes special community events to celebrate Vietnamese culture, and cultivates and maintains relationships with donors and community members.

GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT: “I hosted two festivals — the first of their kind in the city — celebrating the Vietnamese Lunar New Year and the Moon Festival, in February and September respectively,” Le said.

“Together, they brought 1,000 people to celebrate. There is a lot of work involved, with recruiting and training around 50 volunteers, and creating a program that will draw people in.”

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “Seeing the organization grow and reach its full potential,” Le said. “Trying to balance different facets such as fostering and building relationships with advisors and board to get donations, train volunteers and retain them, how to reach out, get people interested in Vietnamese culture to come together for events.”

INSPIRATION: “The community I serve inspires me,” Le said. “The students learning Vietnamese, the young people who come to volunteer after spending long hours at work, and all the people who come to support us for our events.”

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Seven-story residential building The Marx coming to Astoria


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Fogarty Finger

An early rendering of a new seven-story residential building called The Marx, which is planned for Astoria, was revealed Thursday.

The new structure at 34-32 35th St. will replace two small houses and a parking lot, according to 6sqft.

The building will have 33 units throughout nearly 30,000 square feet, according to filings with the Buildings Department.

Fogarty Finger is designing the project, which will also have 18 parking spaces. In addition, the Manhattan-based architecture firm is working on an 11-story condominium building in Long Island City for Charney Construction & Development.

Also in Astoria, developer New York Lions Group is working on an eight-story, 77-unit condominium called The Baron, at 14-07 Broadway.

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Elmhurst woman writes Queens walking tour book


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Image courtesy of Adrienne Onofri

One Elmhurst woman is hoping her new book will help readers step out their doors and take a stroll while exploring all that Queens has to offer.

Adrienne Onofri is the author behind “Walking Queens,” a new book that features 30 detailed walking tours through the borough exploring architecture, distinct cultures in different neighborhoods, historical landmarks, celebrity homes and natural scenery.

“There are one or two books about neighborhoods in Queens but really no guide book completely dedicated to Queens,” Onofri said. 

The opportunity to write this book came after Onofri, a licensed New York City sightseeing guide, wrote “Walking Brooklyn: 30 Tours Exploring Historical Legacies.” 

Her publisher became interested in doing a version for Queens, and Onofri said she jumped at the idea because a lot of people had asked her to write a walking tour book for the borough she has called home for decades.

“I liked the idea because I can say I live in Queens,” Onofri said. 

To compile the book, which took about a year to finish, Onofri traveled the borough on nothing but her two legs and public transportation. She sketched out routes based on what she already had in mind or knew she wanted to include. Other locations, she said, she roamed and discovered in order to create the detailed walks. 

“There are a lot of people that drive around and don’t get around in public transportation much,” Onofri said. “[The book] is just encouraging them to go a few neighborhoods over, which they would normally drive pass on the highway.”

The neighborhoods featured in the book go from Long Island City and Astoria all the way to Howard Beach and the Rockaways. Along with these, Onofri also spent time in the borough’s parks such as Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Alley Pond Park and Rockaway Park. 

The book, with photographs taken by the author, includes maps of the area that will be walked, nearby trains or buses, points of interest in the neighborhood, historical facts and detailed directions of how to get around. 

Part of the Hunters Point Historic District on 45th Ave. in Long Island City (Photo by  Adrienne Onofri)

Part of the Hunters Point Historic District on 45th Ave. in Long Island City (Photo by Adrienne Onofri)

“There are things you walk past and don’t notice,” Onofri said. “This book has the discoveries of things that you might not take the time to notice regularly.”

While working on the book, Onofri said she realized there were instances where she noticed things she hadn’t before. Also, one of the issues was trying to fit as much as she could in the 254-page book, with some things just not being able to be included. 

“There was a lot of stuff to learn, whether it was just some place I had been only a couple of times or a place I really didn’t know much about before,” she said. 

Onofri said she is still conducting tours in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. 

To contact Onofri to schedule a tour, email walkingqueens@gmail.com.

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