Tag Archives: Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

Queens mourns Charleston massacre victims at vigil tonight


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office

Flushing Meadows Corona Park will play host to an interfaith prayer vigil this evening for the nine victims gunned down Wednesday night at a Charleston, S.C., church.

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and other elected officials are expected to participate in the ceremony that will take place at 8 p.m. in front of the Queens Museum, located a short distance from the Unisphere.

According to Katz’s office, the vigil will honor the memory of the Charleston massacre victims while also demonstrating support for efforts to stop gun violence. The museum’s exterior, visible to drivers on the Grand Central Parkway, will be illuminated in orange through June 30 as part of Gun Violence Awareness Month.

The massacre occurred Wednesday night during Bible study at the historic Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C. The alleged gunman — Dylann Roof, 21, who has ties to white supremacist groups — sat in the class for an hour before fatally shooting the church’s pastor— Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who was also a South Carolina state senator — and eight others, all of whom were black.

Roof, who reportedly made racially charged statements and uttered epithets immediately before and during the shooting, was caught the following day in North Carolina.

Among those joining Katz at the vigil include Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown; Assistant Chief David Barrere, commander of NYPD Patrol Borough Queens South; Rabbi Robin Fryer Bodzin of the Israel Center of Conservative Judaism; Dr. Ghassan Elcheikhali of the Razi School in Woodside; and Rev. Dr. Alfonso Wyatt of the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York in St. Albans.

Greater Allen Cathedral held a similar rally on Saturday in St. Albans attended by Mayor Bill de Blasio, who condemned the massacre as “an act of domestic … and racist terrorism.” Joining Pastor Floyd Flake and other community leaders, the mayor said the city would continue working toward eradicating racism and building a society based on social and economic fairness and justice.

“The only way change has been made in this country is by those willing to stare fear in the face,” de Blasio said. “Terror cannot break the back of this community. It cannot break the back of the A.M.E. church. It cannot break the back of peace-loving people. We will continue to build the society we believe in.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Silver anniversary for Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival at Flushing Meadows


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

BY BROOKE RUTMAN

The 25th annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival returns to Meadow Lake at Flushing Meadows Corona Park on Aug. 8 and 9.

The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival (HKDBF-NY) is the biggest multicultural festival in New York and the largest of its kind in the U.S. The HKDBF-NY uses the tradition of dragon boat racing. Teak boats are custom-made by craftsman in Hong Kong, which are piloted by 20 crewman. For 24 years, the HKDBF-NY has attracted a multicultural audience throughout North America of more than 50,000 attendees.

This year’s 25th anniversary festival is expected to draw fierce competition with more than 2,500 participants competing. The festival takes place on the site of the 1964 World’s Fair, with an opening day parade at noon on Aug. 8.

Racing begins at 9 a.m. and events will last until approximately 5 p.m. on both days. Various events for the whole family are held during the U.S. Dragon Boat Open Championships, including a photo contest, the traditional dragon dance, music and other diverse performances, and demonstrations of arts and crafts.

Six new 10-person boats from China and several Special/Invitational Cup races are planned for this year’s races. The races include the 25th Anniversary Invitational, the HSBC 150th Invitational, and the Municipal Invitational race with teams from elected officials.

Many officials were invited to field a team, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Rep. Grace Meng and Assemblyman Ron Kim, as well as NYC government agencies. Teams are expected to race for their companies in the Corporate Invitational.

“The board and I are very proud and excited to have been a part of the growth of the festival from ten boats on the Hudson 25 years ago when the festival began, to commemorate the opening of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in New York, to this year’s festival with over 200 teams participating in celebration of the 25th anniversary. HKDBF-NY has become one of the largest international dragon boat festivals in the world and a much-anticipated event on NYC’s summer calendar,” said Henry Wan, chairman of the HKDBF-NY board.

The tradition of dragon boat racing is an annual Chinese rite commemorating the idealistic poet Quan Yuan, who drowned himself to protest against his emperor’s policies. Locals raced in their boats in an effort to rescue the poet. The locals splashed their paddles and beat their drums to prevent his body from being eaten, which led to the beginning of dragon boat racing.

Parking is very limited, so attendees are urged to use public transportation. Attendees can take the 7 train to the Mets-Willets Point stop, and transfer from there to special MTA shuttle buses that will take them directly to the festival site.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Final steel beam installed for U.S. Open retractable roof atop Arthur Ashe Stadium


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

The final steel beam for the Arthur Ashe Stadium retractable roof at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center was installed on Wednesday in a topping ceremony, culminating more than a decade of studies and planning to cover the U.S. Open’s main court.

The retractable roof is the centerpiece of a more than $500 million project to expand the tennis center, which includes two new stadiums and an expanded south campus. The roof, designed by Rossetti and built by Hunt Construction Group, is the first in the country to be constructed over an existing stadium, officials said.

“If you’re flying into LaGuardia, if you’re riding by on the Grand Central [Parkway], it’s looming, it’s huge, and it is the major piece, but we are doing much, much more,” said Gordon Smith, COO of the United States Tennis Association. “We are completely reimagining the tennis center. We want nothing less than the vision of this facility being the finest tennis venue in the world and the preeminent sports facility in New York City.”

In total, 5,000 tons of steel were used for the roof, which is held up by eight large columns around the 24,000-seat stadium. Because the roof doesn’t sit directly on the stadium, Arthur Ashe will still feel like an outdoor court when it is opened, and at the promenade level fans will still be able to see the Manhattan skyline, according to officials.

During inclement weather, the retractable roof will be able to close in five to seven minutes. The covering for the roof is expected to be installed after this year’s U.S. Open, and the structure will be functional for the 2016 U.S. Open.

In the coming weeks, the giant cranes that were used to build the roof’s frame will be removed and preparation for the 2015 U.S. Open will begin.

Also, four new LED scoreboards will be installed in the stadium and a fabric covering will be placed over part of the stadium to block “strange” shadows from the roof’s steel skeleton.

The USTA completed the first phase of its expansion plan last year, which included new courts 4, 5 and 6, and two-story viewing bleachers that created a three-court stadium viewing experience for fans. The elevated seating area holds more than 1,300 fans, and Court 5 became the U.S. Open’s seventh television court.

The USTA also recently started construction on its new Grandstand Stadium at the south portion of the campus, which will have 8,000 seats, and replace the current 6,000-seat court of the same name that is connected to the Louis Armstrong Stadium. That new Grandstand Stadium will debut in time for the 2016 U.S. Open along with expanded walkways in the south area of the tennis center.

The smaller courts on the south portion of the campus will also be rebuilt next year.

Following the 2016 U.S. Open, the USTA will tear down and starting building a new 14,000-seat Louis Armstrong Stadium. That stadium is currently planned to have a roof as well and is expected to be ready for the 2018 U.S. Open.

RECOMMENDED STORIES 

PHOTOS: World’s Fair Anniversary Festival at Flushing Meadows Corona Park


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos by Zerline Alvarez

After a week of gloomy weather, the sun came out in time for the celebration of the World’s Fairs at Flushing Meadows Corona Park on Sunday.

The free event, like the one that was held last year to mark the opening of the 1939-1940 and 1964-1965 World’s Fairs, once again honored the historic festivals with music, food and activities.

Both the young and old came out for the World’s Fair Anniversary Festival, where kids were able to enjoy half-priced carousel rides, puppet shows, face painting, strolling magicians and more.

Those who still remember the World’s Fair or who wanted to know what it was like to be in Flushing Meadows during the events decades earlier got the chance to take tours of historic sites that are still in the park and displays of memorabilia. Another throwback feature at the festival included a classic car show courtesy of Broadway Stages and the Argento family.

There were also performances throughout the day, highlighted by a SummerStage concert featuring Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, Hollis Brown and Damien Escobar.

And who can forget the food. Belgian waffles were introduced to the U.S. at the 1964 World’s Fair and were served at this year’s festival. Fairgoers were also offered international bites from the LIC Flea Food Market.

Click through the photo gallery below to see the activities from the World’s Fair Anniversary Festival:


RECOMMENDED STORIES

Hillary Clinton visits Queens for campaign fundraiser


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Victoria Schneps-Yunis

Updated 3:22 p.m.

Former Secretary of State and current presidential candidate Hillary Clinton appeared at Terrace on the Park Monday afternoon for a lucrative fundraiser in her honor.

Rep. Joe Crowley, leader of the Queens County Democratic Party, and Rep. Grace Meng held the $2,700-per-plate campaign luncheon in support of Clinton’s 2016 campaign.

It was the second of three fundraisers held for Clinton in the New York City area; earlier in the afternoon, she stopped by a Manhattan function held by former New York State first lady Silda Wall Spitzer. Following her appearance at the venue inside Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Clinton headed off to a private fundraiser at the home of Nassau County Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs.

All told, the “Hillary for America” campaign reportedly raised $275,000 at the Queens fundraiser. According to the New York Daily News, Clinton is rumored to be planning an official campaign launch later this month on Roosevelt Island.

Former President Bill Clinton was not with candidate Clinton at Monday’s event.

Prominent Democrats from across Queens joined Crowley and Meng at the Clinton fundraiser, including Assemblywoman Margaret Markey, City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Queens County Clerk Audrey Pheffer, former Borough President Claire Shulman and former City Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr.

Polls point to Hillary Clinton as the prohibitive front-runner in the 2016 Democratic race. Two rivals, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, have already declared their candidacies for the Democratic nomination.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Queens Museum plays host to July art conference


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via Instagram/@queensmuseum

Educators, curators and artists from across the globe will convene at the Queens Museum for a July weekend conference on art and culture in American life.

The USSEA (United States Society for Education through Art) Regional Conference will take place from July 17-19 at the museum, located in the former New York City Pavilion at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

Themed “An inclusive world: Bridging communities,” the conference will feature more than 65 sessions involving local, national and international museum educators, art teachers, professors and artists focused on examining how the fine arts and culture and taught in classrooms, museums and local art organizations.

Four keynote speakers will be featured at the conference: Sherry Huss, vice president of Maker Media and co-creator of the Maker Faire; Tom di Maria, director of the Creative Growth Art Center; Tim Rollins, founder of the Art and Knowledge workshop in the Bronx; and Sree Sreenivasan, chief digital officer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Registration for the conference includes breakfast and lunch in the museum cafe, an opening reception and a weekend pass to the adjacent New York Hall of Science. Special shuttle buses to and from the Mets-Willets Point station is also part of the package.

Fees range from $45 for college students with current ID to $85 for non-USSEA members. Click here for more information.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Flushing Meadows to hold free World’s Fair Anniversary Festival this June


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

A free festival, once again celebrating the 1939-1940 and 1964-1965 World’s Fairs, will be held at Flushing Meadows Corona Park this June with music, food and family-friendly activities.

The Sunday, June 7, event, co-hosted by Borough President Melinda Katz and Assemblywoman Margaret Markey, will also offer the chance to look back at the historic fairs.

There will be displays of World’s Fair memorabilia and vintage cars, including a classic car show courtesy of Broadway Stages and the Argento family, a guided World’s Fair history walking tour of the park to learn about the remaining structures and sculptures, and the Queens Museum’s World’s Fair exhibit, according to the Parks Department.

Kids can enjoy rides, including half off on the park’s historic carousel, craft projects, strolling magicians, a visit by Mr. Met and mini tennis clinics by the USTA. Puppets in the Park will also offer two performances of The Tales of Brier Rabbit.

Hungry fairgoers can try international foods at the LIC Flea Food Market, and musics lovers can listen to an eclectic mix of international music performed throughout the afternoon and a SummerStage concert featuring Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, Hollis Brown and Damien Escobar.

The 1939-1940 and 1964-1965 World’s Fairs, which each had two seasons, from April to October, ended 75 and 50 years ago this year.

In May 2014, a free World’s Fair Anniversary Festival was also held at Flushing Meadows Park. The event was part of a lineup of events to mark the anniversary of the start of the World’s Fairs, including the opening of the New York State Pavilion to the public for the first time in decades.

The World’s Fair Anniversary Festival will be held on Sunday, June 7, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. near the Unisphere. The SummerStage concert will start at 4 p.m.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Lauryn Hill to perform at Louis Armstrong festival in Flushing Meadows Corona Park


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo via Greg Chow/Flickr Creative Commons

Grammy-winning and top-charting singer Lauryn Hill is scheduled to headline the second annual Louis Armstrong’s Wonderful World festival in Flushing Meadows Corona Park on Saturday, June 20.

The free event, which takes place from noon to 8 p.m., not far from the famed jazz legend’s former Corona home and now museum, will feature musical performances, family-friendly activities and food.

Joining the R&B artist, who now goes by “Ms. Lauryn Hill,” on the festival’s main stage will be Shannon Powell’s Traditional All-Star Band, Antibalas, Ozomatli and Rebirth Brass Band.

There will also be a Backyard Bash with family-friendly activities throughout the park and DJ sets in the Queens Museum that will “recreate the memorable garden parties” that Armstrong hosted at his home. The museum will also offer tours on its Panorama of the City of New York of notable jazz spots and feature audio and video of Armstrong.

Though the event is free, tickets are required for the main stage area and can be registered for here. For a price ranging from $25 to $250, attendees can experience the event “like a VIP,” which includes everything from a T-shirt to access to a premium viewing area and indoor VIP lounge.

In its second year, Louis Armstrong’s Wonderful World celebrates the cultural legacy of the jazz musician. Armstrong, a New Orleans native, moved to Corona in 1943 and purchased the home at 34-56 107 St. shortly after marrying his wife Lucille. He lived there until his death in 1971. His wife continued to reside at the home until her passing in 1983. Twenty years later, the house, now a city and national historic landmark, opened to the public as the Louis Armstrong House Museum.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

NYS Pavilion to get free paint job


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

Updated Wednesday, May 6, 1:30 p.m. 

The city Parks Department and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz announced Wednesday morning the latest efforts to spruce up the New York State Pavilion at Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

Katz and Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver will herald a new partnership with two local labor unions — the New York Structural Steel Painting Contractors Association and the International Union of Painting and Allied Trades Local 806 District 9 — to repaint the upper portions of the Tent of Tomorrow, the elliptical steel building in the shadow of the pavilion’s space needles.

“Flushing Meadows Corona Park’s Tent of Tomorrow is an iconic symbol of Queens, but we haven’t been able to give it the treatment it deserves until now,” Silver said. “Thanks to a partnership with the Structural Steel Painters Union, the building is being restored and beautified so that it may remain a source of pride for the entire borough, and a reminder of the World’s Fairs, for years to come.”

The new paint system of the pavilion, which is expected to be completed by this fall, will serve as a protective coating and extend the life of the structure by at least 15 years.

The $3 million effort will be undertaken free of charge through a painting apprenticeship program operated by the unions, allowing painters to gain work experience.

“Due to the tremendous generosity of Painters DC 9 and the Painting Contractors Association, the pavilion will be refreshed with a new coat of paint,” Katz said. “We’re working hard to save this architectural marvel, and the facelift is a great boon to our efforts. We will restore this national treasure into a visible icon befitting the ‘World’s Borough’ for generations of families and visitors to enjoy.”

In recent years, local volunteers and historians have advocated for refurbishing the pavilion, one of the last remaining fixtures of the 1964-65 World’s Fair. The pavilion’s space needles served as observation decks, while the Tent of Tomorrow — once featuring a stained-glass roof and a terrazzo tile roadmap of New York State — was an entertainment venue.

The Tent of Tomorrow was used sporadically for years after the fair’s conclusion, but fell into disrepair along with the rest of the pavilion over the last few decades.

Full restoration of the pavilion is estimated to cost at least $43 million, according to a Parks Department announcement last November. Katz, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council have already secured a combined $6 million in funds to repair the towers and its electrical infrastructure.

A group of volunteers also formed the New York State Pavilion Paint Project to provide short-term renovations while Katz and other city officials worked on a long-term plan for the pavilion’s rehabilitation.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

George Clinton to perform as part of free summer festival at Queensbridge Park


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of City Parks Foundation

SummerStage, the city’s largest performing arts festival, is marking its 30th anniversary with six-day mini festivals at eight local parks, including one on the Long Island City waterfront.

Queensbridge Park, located along Vernon Boulevard adjacent to the Queensboro Bridge, will host the event from July 14 to 19, featuring the “godfather of funk” George Clinton, local musicians, dance, theater and more.

“As an organization we are dedicated to working in traditionally underserved neighborhoods across the city,” said Heather Lubov, executive director of City Parks Foundation, which produces SummerStage. “By presenting artists and genres that reflect the cultures and communities in these parks, introducing disciplines such as dance or theater alongside musical performances, and providing all of this fantastic art free of charge, we are building new audiences and fostering a broader interest in the arts here in New York City.”

The musical group Chi-Lites will be kicking off the Queensbridge Park festival at 7 p.m. on July 14. The group originated from the ’70s Chicago R&B scene, and in 2000 were inducted into the Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame.

The following night, at 7 p.m., George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, which was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, will perform.

Large Professor

Large Professor

 

Local flavor will come to the park on July 16 with Large Professor (LP) a hip-hop songwriter, producer and DJ who comes from Flushing. Also performing that night is Marley Marl, a producer and DJ hailing from Queensbridge who has made a mark on the hip-hop world.

On July 17 and 18, the festival will shift gears to theater on Friday night and dance the following evening, featuring several collaborative and creative performers.

The final day of the festival will start with family-friendly programming from 4 to 7 p.m., including award-winning and critically-acclaimed jazz trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, B-Love’s Hip Hop Jazzy Groove, and Karisma Jay and AbunDance.

Wycliffe Gordon

Wycliffe Gordon

That night the festival will close with a performance by hip-hop artist Pete Rock and a screening of “Time Is Illmatic.” The feature-length documentary examines the making of rapper Nas’ 1994 debut album “Illmatic” and his development as an artist and his influences — including a visit to his childhood home in Queensbridge.

SummerStage is also expanding its season to commemorate its 30th anniversary, from May 18 through Oct. 4, when it will offer more than 140 free music, dance, comedy, family and theater programs in 16 parks across all five boroughs.

In Queens, there will also be SummerStage events at Flushing Meadows Corona Park and Socrates Sculpture Park.

As part of the World’s Fair Anniversary Festival at Flushing Meadows on June 7, starting at 4 p.m. there will be three musical performances as part of SummerStage by singer Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires, Hollis Brown, a rock ‘n’ roll band formed by two Queens natives, and another Queens native, violinist Damien Escobar.

Later in that month, on June 24, The Metropolitan Opera Summer Recital Series featuring Kiri Deonarine, Ginger Costa-Jackson, John Moore and pianist Dan Saunders will come to Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City.

For more information about SummerStage events, visit www.summerstage.org.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Exhibition shares community ideas for Flushing Meadows Corona Park


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos by William Michael Fredericks/Courtesy of the Design Trust for Public Space

The voices of the people in the communities surrounding Flushing Meadows Corona Park have been heard, and now they will be able to share their ideas through a new exhibition at the Queens Museum.

The exhibition called “You Are Here: Creating a New Approach to Civic Participation in the World’s Park” kicked off on Sunday at the museum and highlights the individuals, process and proposals developing for Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

As the first phase of the community engagement partnership between the Parks Department, Queens Museum and nonprofit Design Trust for Public Space called “The World’s Park: Reconnecting a Regional Park with Its Neighbors,” the exhibition focuses on bringing the community, which has a passion for the future of the park, together through creative processes.

“For people who don’t feel very included in city life, like our newest New Yorkers, this park can be an opportunity for integration and to feel ownership over something,” said Maria Julia Echart, community adviser for the World’s Park project. “It’s not hard to have that feeling of inclusion when the time is taken to provide a meaningful learning experience, like with this project.”

The exhibition, which will run through May 3, features community-driven ideas that aim to enhance the access and circulation around and within the park.

Community advisers, who took the time to volunteer and become advocates, worked with community leaders and residents to deal with challenges surrounding access to the park, cultural resources, and programming for various ages.

“Located within Flushing Meadows Corona Park, we are keenly aware of the powerful symbiotic relationship between the park, community and museum, and while we are proud to partner with the NYC Parks, Design Trust and community advisers to expand the discourse and to pursue community-driven ideas that will bolster the future of Flushing Meadows Corona Park, we are even more excited to see the fruits of this endeavor shared with the community at large,” said Laura Raicovich, executive director of the Queens Museum.

Design concepts on view during the almost monthlong exhibition include items such as information kiosks, art installations for park entrances, wayfinding landmarks, and sensory play areas for children for special needs.

“We’re proud to be able to help Queens residents shape the future of Flushing Meadows Corona Park,” said Susan Chin, executive director for Design Trust for Public Space. “This exhibition is only the beginning of a true collaboration between community members and the city agencies to maximize the community use of this invaluable public resource and renowned destination in NYC.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

NYS Pavilion documentary to premiere this May at Queens Theatre


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Matthew Silva

More than 50 years after the World’s Fair, the New York State Pavilion is ready for another premiere.

“Modern Ruin: A World’s Fair Pavilion,” a documentary about the history of the iconic Flushing Meadows Corona Park structure and the efforts to save the neglected relic, will debut to the public at the Queens Theatre this May.

The films tells the story of the pavilion, designed by architect Philip Johnson, from its glory days at the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair, to its time as a ‘60s concert venue and ‘70s roller rink, to its abandonment and today’s efforts to save and repurpose the structure.

Written, directed and edited by Matthew Silva, with executive producers Jake Gorst and Tracey Rennie Gorst, the documentary tries to make a case for why the pavilion should be kept around and brings to life the story behind the structure.

“It’s been really great to see how much people care about the building and I’m really eager to share this project with people in May,” Silva said.

“I really hope that people watch this movie and learn about what the building is and recognize the cultural and historic significance, and see what me and a lot of other people see,” he added.

Photo courtesy of Christine Rafalke

Roller skaters at the pavilion in the 1970s. (Photo courtesy of Christine Rafalke)

Silva, a video production teacher for Jericho Middle School and High School, had no professional filmmaking experience before he started making the documentary in February 2013. It took him two years and almost $25,000 — raised through GoFundMe and Kickstarter — to complete the project.

When Silva set out to do the film he didn’t feel like many people were talking about the pavilion, but that started to change after he began his production and the structure’s 50th anniversary in the spring of 2014 approached.

In November 2013, the Parks Department released plans to restore the pavilion, with cost estimates starting at $43 million. An option to tear it down would cost about $14 million. Support from the public and Borough President Melinda Katz, however, leaned toward preserving it.

To mark the pavilion’s 50th anniversary in April 2014, the Parks Department opened the pavilion to the public for the first time in decades. It was also named a “National Treasure” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation for the anniversary.

world's fair 3

People line up to visit the pavilion during its anniversary last spring.

That June, Katz secured $5.8 million in funding to begin the restoration process. Part of that effort has included preliminary test runs of LED display lights for the pavilion’s observation decks on Feb. 27 and one scheduled for Tuesday night.

These increased efforts added to the narrative of the documentary, with Silva choosing to end the film with the opening of the pavilion on the anniversary.

“I could have never imagined that [the opening] could have been a part of the film when I set out to do the film,” he said.

Silva was also inspired to do more to help the pavilion’s preservation efforts while filming and co-founded the advocacy group People for the Pavilion in May 2013.

The efforts of individuals and groups like his own, such as the New York State Pavilion Paint Project, a volunteer organization dedicated to maintaining the structure through painting and other upkeep projects, are highlighted in his documentary.

Silva is hoping to incorporate some of those who contributed to its history and took part in the film at a Q&A with nonprofit documentation and conservation organization Docomomo US/New York Tri-State during the premiere — including Albert Fischer, a VIP guide at the ’64 fair; Charles Aybar, who worked as a pavilion skate guard; and Bill Cotter, an author and World’s Fair photo archivist.

world's fair 2

New York State Pavilion Paint Project at work.

The film will premiere at 8 p.m. on Friday, May 22, at the Queens Theatre, which was once part of the one of three structures, designed by Johnson along with the Tent of Tomorrow and observation towers, to comprise the pavilion. For now, the May screening is the only one scheduled, but Silva said more are in the works.

“I hope [the film] helps perpetuate understanding and get more people interested in the building that can bring more positive growth and renewal to the park and to Queens,” he said.

For tickets and more information about the premiere, visit https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pe.c/9994545. To learn more about the film, visit www.aquarelapictures.com.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Four busted for drifting at Flushing Meadows Corona Park


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

CarDashboardH0507_M_150_B_R

They may have been “Fast and Furious,” but four daredevil drivers ripping through a Queens park weren’t fast enough to escape from the police.

Four men were arrested for what officials describe as “movie-style stunt” performances in a parking lot at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, according to the district attorney’s office.

“Cars are not toys. Driving at high speeds and intentionally skidding a roughly 3,000-pound vehicle, especially where spectators are gathered, is dangerous and can result in tragedy,” District Attorney Richard Brown said. “Following a number of noise complaints from neighborhood residents, the police responded and shut down this illegal and potentially deadly activity. The vehicles have been seized and the drivers have been charged.”

The men used modified vehicles for drifting, a style of driving made popular by the “The Fast and the Furious” movies that combines high speeds and dangerous turns.

Spectators would watch these stunts, where the cars would sometimes allegedly strike other vehicles and stationary objects in the park’s parking lot, the district attorney said.

The four were busted after area residents called 311 to complain about the excessive noise. In total, 66 calls were received, and none have been logged in the neighborhood in the more than five weeks since the men were arrested.

Kareem Ali, 26, and Michael Mahabir, 27, both of Richmond Hill, Joel Santiago, 36, of Maspeth, and Darren Tang, 24, of Manhattan, were arraigned on Oct. 26 on charges of reckless endangerment, reckless driving, speed contests and races and failure to comply with directions, prosecutors said. Ali is also charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. The men, who face up to a year in jail if convicted, were released on their own recognizance.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

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.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

First phase renovation of former World’s Fair office building complete


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Renderings courtesy of BKSK Architects 

The revitalization of a World’s Fair relic is nearing completion, and it’s not the New York State Pavilion.

The first phase of renovation and expansion of the Olmsted Center in Flushing Meadows Corona Park has concluded, BKSK Architects announced on Thursday.

Aside from revitalizing the building, which was constructed in 1964 and used as temporary offices for Robert Moses and the World’s Fair Corporation staff during the colossal event, the project includes a new 10,000-square-foot addition.

The addition features distinctive exposed steel to honor the original design of the building. The renovated structure includes Kebony wood for the walkways, complimented by steel railings and stainless steel cabling.

“One of the chief goals of this project has been to create an indoor workplace environment that strengthens the connection between agency staff and the parks they serve throughout the city,” said BKSK partner-in-charge Joan Krevlin. “We sought design opportunities that heighten awareness of the park landscape beyond their windows.”


The Parks Department’s Capital Projects Division currently uses the Olmsted Center, and now has several new offices, a new meeting room and a new public procurement and bidding room with the revitalization.

The first phase of construction also included new siding to improve the center’s resistance to weather, and reconfiguration of the interior to accommodate employees and people with disabilities.

Inspired by the effects of Superstorm Sandy, the second phase of the project will technologically enhance the building and resolve flooding problems with a new water channel system to lead water into bioswales that will contain and absorb it.

The second phase will commence in early 2015.

RECOMMENDED STORIES