Tag Archives: Forest Hills

Queens Museum, Parks Dept. ask communities to redesign Flushing Meadows


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Cristabelle Tumola

What will Flushing Meadows Corona Park look like in the future? The Queens Museum and the Parks Department are asking members of communities around the park to come up with ideas and solutions to make the green space more accessible to local communities.

“This is a bit of an experiment,” said Jose Serrano, the museum’s community organizer. “Instead of having people give us their ideas in some kind of meeting, we asked, why don’t we equip them with the tools to improve the park creatively and practically.”

Serrano and the Parks Department are asking the public to submit ideas on how to improve the parks connection and the way it’s used with the surrounding neighborhoods.

The deadline is Oct. 25 and 20 people will be chosen to create an exhibition project that will be shown next year at the museum. Over the course of a year, the 20 selected people will learn more about the park and its pros and cons through a series of hands-on learning events.

Serrano said that they will be only accepting people from communities like Flushing, Corona and Forest Hills because they are directly connected to the park.

“They’re meant to be community designs,” he said. “And we want to give people the confidence to talk to decision makers.”

At the museum’s exhibition, the community members will present their ideas to these “decision makers” and, Serrano hopes, affect change in how the park can be changed.

The park was created for the 1939-40 Worlds Fair and as a fair ground, Serrano said, it is designed to control who enters the area. But now, as a public park, a design for controlling fare-goers no longer makes sense.

“The park will be changed to make it more open to people,” Serrano said. “Can we put the community’s signature on the solutions?”

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Six hurt after truck crashes into Forest Hills bagel store


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos via Twitter/@NYPD112Pct

Updated 3:16 p.m.

Six people were injured Wednesday morning after a truck crashed into a Forest Hills bagel shop, according to authorities.

At about 10 a.m. a yellow box truck went into Bagels For You, located at 113-29 Queens Blvd., after it struck a parked car, police said.

Five victims, who suffered minor injuries, were taken to Jamaica Hospital and New York Hospital of Queens, the FDNY said. A sixth person, who was also hurt, refused medical attention at the scene.

truck 2

The driver was not injured in the crash, according to CBS New York, but those hurt did reportedly include a baby and several adults who were in the store and on the sidewalk.

IMG_2660

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

Damage to the bagel shop included the store’s front structure, along with a destroyed awning, a smashed refrigerator, and ripped pipes, lights and an air conditioner.

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

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Burglar hit two Forest Hills businesses in 30 minutes: cops


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A man burglarized two businesses on the same Forest Hills block last month, stealing more than $7,000 in cash, police said.

The suspect first broke into VIP Barber Shop at 64-33 108th St. around 3 a.m. on Sept. 5 by going through a skylight, according to authorities. Once inside, he took a Samsung TV and $100 in cash.

Just 30 minutes later and a few doors down, he entered a food store, Berezka, at 64-51 108th St., through a basement door and stole $7,000 in cash, cops said.

Police have released a photo of the suspect and said he was seen exiting and entering a small sedan.

Anyone with information 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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Four Queens restaurants awarded Michelin stars


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos by Bradley Hawks

BY ASHA MAHADEVAN

The Michelin Guide announced which New York restaurants made it to its 2015 list as it hit bookstores on Wednesday. Of the 874 local restaurants featured in the guide, four of them are based in Queens and were awarded one star each.

The lucky eateries are Casa Enrique and M. Wells Steakhouse in Long Island City, Danny Brown Wine Bar and Kitchen in Forest Hills and Zabb Elee in Jackson Heights. Getting one Michelin star indicates “a very good restaurant in its category, offering cuisine prepared to a consistently high standard,” according to the official Michelin website.

Casa Enrique's chorizo tacos

Casa Enrique’s chorizo tacos

Danny Brown is a mix of a French and Italian wine bars with a Spanish Tapas bar and a restaurant. Zabb Elee has a Thai menu, while Casa Enrique offers Mexican food. At M. Wells Steakhouse, the name says it all.

The 2015 list marks the first Michelin distinction for Casa Enrique, M. Wells Steakhouse and Zabb Elee. Danny Brown first received a Michelin star in 2011, according to the restaurant’s website. Zabb Elee was rated as being comfortable, while the other three received the higher rating of two spoons, indicating “quite comfortable,” with the steakhouse getting an additional thumbs up with a “more pleasant” rating.

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NYPD captain busted for drunk driving in Forest Hills


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

police car

An off-duty NYPD captain was charged with drunk driving after he rear-ended a vehicle in Forest Hills, according to court records.

The cop, identified by police as 38-year-old Captain Roberto Cruz, was at the intersection of Jewel Avenue and Grand Central Parkway at about 11:40 p.m. on Wednesday when he rear-ended his Ford sedan into a Jeep truck, the criminal complaint said. After smelling alcohol on his breath and noticing he was unsteady on his feet, police took Cruz to the 112th Precinct, where he refused a breathalyzer test, court documents said.

Cruz was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court Thursday afternoon and released on his own recognizance.

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Top 10 places to watch football in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

BY ECLEEN CARABALLO, ASHA MAHADEVAN AND CRISTABELLE TUMOLA

If you grow tired of watching the football games from your couch this season, there are plenty of bars in Queens that offer bigger TVs, fellow fans and an array of drink and beer specials to accompany the touchdowns.

Austin’s Steak and Ale House
82-70 Austin St., Kew Gardens
718-849-3939
austinsteakandalehouse.com

Photo courtesy of Austin's Ale House

Photo courtesy of Austin’s Ale House

Austin’s Ale House will be screening all of the games this football season on their 50-odd TV screens. In one of the rooms, they have TVs at the table. There is a 30-cent wing special all day on Sundays. Customers can also enjoy a Sunday brunch for $16.95 while watching the games, as well as 20 beers on draft and 50 beers in bottles.

Bar43
43-06 43rd St., Sunnyside
718-361-3090
bar43.com

For one, it has a sports bar with 10 TVs. Bar43 shows the games on all the days, and is offering specials on a mango fuel cocktail ($5) and high-water melon beer ($4).

Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden
29-19 24th Ave., Astoria
718-274-4925
bohemianhall.com

Bohemian Hall 3

Photo courtesy of Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden

There is happy hour between 5 and 7 p.m. every day, during which there are $4 mugs of craft beer. You can watch football games on the TV sets installed all over the garden. Sounds perfect? Ah, there is a catch. Bohemian Hall won’t have every game on, just the ones that are on local channels or ESPN.

Break Bar and Billiards
32-04b Broadway, Astoria
718-777-5400
break-ny.com

Photo courtesy of Break Bar and Billiards

Photo courtesy of Break Bar and Billiards

Break Bar and Billiards is showing all the games on 16 big-screen TVs and one 105-inch projector. Specials during the games are wings for $4.50 and beer towers (100 oz.) for $20. Happy hour is seven days a week, even when there is no game on.

Buffalo Wild Wings
107-16 71st Ave., Forest Hills
718-544-9453
buffalowildwings.com

Manager George Criskos of the Buffalo Wild Wings in Forest Hills claims that it has the best chicken wings. But he says that’s only the beginning. With 95 televisions and two 14-foot projectors, you can watch the game from every angle and drink one of its 30 draft beers or 26 bottled beers while you’re at it.

Hooters of Fresh Meadows
61-09 190th St., Fresh Meadows
718-454-2800
facebook.com/hootersoffreshmeadows

THE COURIER/File photo

THE COURIER/File photo

As football season kicks off, the manager prepares by filling Hooters with jerseys that the restaurant will be giving away. The team at Hooters believes its locale is the best place to go during football season because it roots for every team, and gives back to those who come visit with prizes from jerseys to tickets to games.

Katch Astoria
31-19 Newtown Ave., Astoria
718-777-2230
katchastoria.com

Photo courtesy of Katch Brewery & Grill

Photo courtesy of Katch Brewery & Grill

Tino Tsutras, general manager, describes Katch Astoria, as a “sports capable bar,” with its 63 TVs, 50 craft beers on tap and entirely handmade menu created from nothing frozen. During Sunday and Monday football there are 60-cent wing and $5 Brooklyn Brewery beer specials. Thursday is ladies’ night, with 50 percent off on sangria, house liquor, wine and Prosecco. Katch has every sporting event offered by satellite TV.

Miller’s Ale House at Rego Park
61-35 Junction Blvd., Rego Park
718-760-1090
millersalehouse.com

Photo courtesy of millersalehouse.com

Photo courtesy of millersalehouse.com

Miller’s Ale House has 70 TVs showing the games through 20 separate satellites. No blackouts, it says. You can watch every single game on Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays. It has bucket specials (5 for $10), bottle specials (a pint of Bud Light for $2.75 and pitchers of Corona Light for $7) and food specials.

O’Neill’s Maspeth
64-21 53rd Dr., Maspeth
718-672-9696
oneillsmaspeth.com

THE COURIER/File photo

THE COURIER/File photo

With more than 50 TVs and surround sound, O’Neill’s wants to make you feel like you are at the game. Every day during football season, it’s offering $3 pints and $12 pitchers of Coors Light, Miller Lite and Pabst Blue Ribbon, $4 pints and $14 pitchers of Corona Light, and $3 sangria. On Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays there are Coors Light beer tubes with 10 wings of your choice for $25 as well as 5 for $15 Coors Light buckets and 5 for $20 Corona buckets. Thursday is ladies’ night with buy-one-get-one-free well drinks. On select weeks, Miller Lite, Coors Light and Corona reps come in and hold giveaways and raffles during the games. Grill rooms have personal TVs at each booth, and there are projectors in each of the catering rooms for private parties.

The Garden at Studio Square NYC
35-33 36th St., Astoria
718-383-1001
www.studiosquarebeergarden.com

File photo

File photo

The Garden is known for its 9-by-16-foot high definition video wall and its space, which fits more than 2,000 people in the garden. Chief Marketing Officer Pete Mason also proudly mentioned that it won “the ESPN ultimate sports bar challenge in NY for 2014,” and that “if you can’t be there at the stadium, this is the next best thing.”

What are your favorite places to watch football in Queens? Let us know by commenting below.

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First Queens Art Intervention Day to offer interactive projects throughout borough


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos by RPGA Studios

Communities throughout Queens are set for an artistic intervention, looking to inspire, educate and empower residents and feed the pulse of the borough.

The nonprofit studio Rego Park Green Alliance, which uses creative methods to address community issues, will host the first Queens Art Intervention Day on Sept. 27 throughout the borough from Long Island City to the Rockaways.

“We see something that we are not happy with and we try to think about how we can fix it in a creative way,” said Yvonne Shortt, who started the studio and is currently the executive director.

The day-long event, which has a rain date for Oct. 4, will feature a total of 30 projects including murals, art installations, performance pieces, hands-on programs, and many more creative activities taking place outdoors in Astoria, LIC, Kew Gardens, Elmhurst, Rego Park, Forest Hills, Jackson Heights, Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Laurelton, Corona, Whitestone and the Rockaways.

QAIposter6

“We want our borough to be seen as a place that people want to come and do interesting things,” Shortt said. “We hope this will help Queens continue to grow and continue to thrive and not just have one spot thought of as artistic and creative.”

According to Shortt, along with being visually appealing, the pieces will also serve to bring about change and to get community members thinking about certain issues.

For example, posters for one project called “Stat Girl” depict a super hero displaying statistics on traffic accidents that have occurred on Queens Boulevard in the past two years. The posters will be put up all day down the thoroughfare.

stat girl photo by RPGA Studios

“We would love for people to stop and engage,” Shortt said. “It’s really about the communities themselves to find some inspiration and advocate for better communities.”

Shortt said that although there were over 160 submissions this year, funding, provided solely by Shortt, only allowed for 25 projects to be part of the event. In the future, she hopes to expand the event to more days and many more communities in the borough.

“There’s an active pulse throughout the borough of Queens and I’m very excited to help it move forward. I feel that if you have ideas and are willing to push it forward, that Queens is a very inviting borough.” Shortt said. “We’re showing the vitality of Queens.”

For more information and the full list of projects for Queens Art Intervention Day, click here.

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Report: Queens rental prices drop in August


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Charts courtesy of MNS Real Estate 

The fluctuating Queens rental market saw a decrease in prices in August, after increases in July, according to the “Queens Rental Market Report” by MNS Real Estate.

Average rents throughout the borough dropped 3.74 percent from $2,113 in July to $2,034 in August, the report stated.

The report focused on several neighborhoods, including Long Island City, Astoria, Ridgewood, Flushing, Rego Park, Forest Hills and Jackson Heights.

The biggest changes occurred in studio apartments in Ridgewood, where prices dropped 43.5 percent — about $848 — to $1,100, the least expensive rental price for any type of apartment in the borough. The average price of a studio in the borough is $1,550, according to the report.

Studios page

Also, two-bedroom units in Jackson Heights dipped 26.12 percent to $1,841 from $2,494 in July, a decrease of $653.

“Smaller neighborhoods in Queens are seeing slower progression, however more new developments are scheduled to open their doors in the coming months offering high-end amenities and exceptional convenience,” the report said. “As is evident from the overall decrease in prices this month Queens is expected to have up and down monthly fluctuations, but long-term projections have prices increasing steadily.”

Flushing had the largest decrease in overall average rents with 7.47 percent. Two-bedroom units in Flushing experienced a fall of 17.8 percent from $2,599 in July to $2,136 in August.

The biggest increase was in Ridgewood, where prices for one-bedroom apartments rose 15.3 percent or $260 to $1,960.

Prices in Astoria and Long Island City remained fairly stable, although dropped slightly, according to the report.

Click here to view the full report.

 

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Stavisky, Markey, Sanders win primary


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File photos

Three incumbent Queens elected officials have easily taken the win in the Democratic primary.

State Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky, who was first elected to the state Senate in 1999 and is the only female member of the state Senate from Queens, won the race with 4,981 votes, holding onto 57.3 percent of the votes, according to unofficial results.

The Forest Hills resident ran against S.J. Jung, a Flushing resident, activist and president of the MinKwon Center for Community Action.

Assemblywoman Margaret Markey also won the primary with 1,880 votes and 75.2 percent of the votes, according to unofficial results. She has represented the 30th Assembly District, comprised of Maspeth, Woodside and parts of Long Island City, Middle Village, Astoria and Sunnyside, since 1998.

In the race for the 10th District, state Sen. James Sanders Jr., who was elected in 2012, took the win with 5,898 votes and 74.5 percent of the votes, according to unofficial results.

Photo via Twitter/@tobystavisky

Photo via Twitter/@tobystavisky

In other statewide elections, incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo easily defeated his two competitors at 61.7 percent with 93.2 percent of the precincts reporting, according to unofficial results. His running mate, lieutenant governor candidate Kathy Hochul, also took the win with 59.7 percent of the votes. 

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See it: Forest Hills Tudor home sells for $1.47M


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Terrace Sotheby's International Realty

A four-bedroom 1920s Tudor house in Forest Hills was recently picked up for $1.47 million.

The house features three floors with two-and-a-half bathrooms and it was renovated inside and out before the sale on Aug. 18, according to Terrace Sotheby’s International Realty which listed the residence.

The 2,163-square-foot house, located at 97-11 70th Ave., has a two-car garage and an open living room with fireplace. The home is also located just a couple of blocks away from the Forest Hills LIRR station and the E, F, M, R train subway station on 71st Avenue.

The house’s kitchen has custom cherry cabinets with granite countertops, and the basement has a large finished family room with a half-bath, laundry room and  storage room.

 

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Forest Hills restaurant expands menu to include Venezuelan food


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

With a family history that spans three continents, Ysabel Chang and her family are expanding the menu of their restaurant in Forest Hills to reflect their roots.

“We don’t look Venezuelan but we are. I consider myself to be Oriental and also Spanish,” Chang said. “So it’s all about the arepas for us.”

TuArepa Pizza Cafe opened last year near Queens Boulevard with a menu limited to pizza. But as the business grew and the family saved money, they recently expanded their menu to include arepas, a South American dish of cooked dough filled with anything from chicken to cheese. The restaurant’s new menu also includes Venezuelan lasagna, pernil and pabellon criollo, a shredded beef dish. Chang, her sister Elena and Elena’s husband, Francisco Duran, own and run the business.

“When people call us on the phone, they hear my accent or speak to me in Spanish and then they come into the store, confused by my appearance,” said Chang, who is in her 40s.

Chang said her family is originally from China but her father fled to Venezuela when he was 12, around 1956 according to Chang, because of communism and the political unrest it created.

After marrying Chang’s mother in Hong Kong, her parents settled in Venezuela, where Ysabel and Elena were born. The sisters lived in Puerto La Cruz until they graduated high school.

“And then we started to notice things were changing in Venezuela,” Chang said. “My family knew by experience something was happening. We knew how this story would end.”

Chang moved to America in 1988 and the rest of her family soon followed after Chavez attempted an unsuccessful coup d’état in 1992.

“We just knew that we couldn’t go back to Venezuela,” she said. “There was a lot of kidnapping and crime in general was rising. What’s the point of working so hard if you can’t even enjoy the money?”

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Report: Queens rental prices increase


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Charts courtesy of MNS Real Estate

Rental prices are continuing to rise in the borough, according to the Queens Rental Market Report by MNS Real Estate.

Rents in Queens jumped about 1.76 percent from approximately $2,077 in June to $2,113 in July, according to the report, which targeted several Queens neighborhoods, including Long Island City, Astoria, Ridgewood, Flushing, Forest Hills, Jackson Heights and Rego Park.

The largest percentage increase in rent prices was seen in studios in Jackson Heights, which saw a 21 percent jump over a month. Studios in the neighborhood shot up from $1,238 in June to about $1,500 in July.

Two-bedrooms in Flushing also experienced a huge surge as prices soared more than 15 percent—an increase of $345 from $2,254 in June to $2,599 in July.

web Market report Jax Hts

The most expensive neighborhood was Long Island City. Although prices fell 0.65 percent for the month because of “a maturing luxury rental market,” according to the report, the average rent prices ranged from $2,410 for a studio to $3,908 for a two-bedroom apartment.

“The rental market throughout Queens is still following the patterns of recent months as the borough continues to see major growth, particularly in Long Island City and Astoria,” the report points out. “With new developments and conversions hitting the market recently, renters have flocked to these areas seeking more options and value for their money.”

Market report page 2 beds web

Studios in Forest Hills had the largest percentage decrease. Prices for a studio in the neighborhood dropped 27 percent ($501) from $1,851 in June to $1,350 in July.

To see the full report, click here.

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West Nile spraying to target areas of Queens this week


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYC Department of Health

On Wednesday, Aug. 27, there will be West Nile spraying in parts of Queens to help reduce the mosquito population and the risk of the disease.

The spraying will take place between the hours of 8:15 p.m. and 6 a.m. the next morning. In case of bad weather, the application will be delayed until Thursday, Aug. 28 during the same hours.

The following neighborhoods are being treated due to rising West Nile virus activity with high mosquito populations, according to the city’s Health Department:

Parts of Auburndale, Murray Hill and Flushing (Bordered by 25th Avenue to the north; Murray Street to the west; 45th Avenue to the south; and 192nd Street, Francis Lewis Boulevard and Utopia Parkway to the east).

Parts of Elmhurst, Forest Hills, Forest Hills Garden, Forest Park, Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Rego Park and Woodhaven (Bordered by 63rd Avenue, 80th Street and Long Island Expressway to the north; eastern boundary of Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Metropolitan Avenue, 73rd Place, Myrtle Avenue and eastern boundaries of Mt. Lebanon and Mt. Hope to west; Park Lane South to the south; and Metropolitan Avenue and Alderton Street to the east).

For the application, the Health Department will spray pesticide from trucks and use a very low concentration of Anvil®, 10 + 10, a synthetic pesticide. When properly used, this product poses no significant risks to human health.

The Health Department recommends that people take the following precautions to minimize direct exposure:

  • Whenever possible, stay indoors during spraying. People with asthma or other respiratory conditions  are encouraged to stay inside during spraying since direct exposure could worsen these conditions.
  • Air conditioners may remain on, however, if you wish to reduce the possibility of indoor exposure to pesticides, set the air conditioner vent to the closed position, or choose the re-circulate function.
  •  Remove children’s toys, outdoor equipment, and clothes from outdoor areas during spraying. If  outdoor equipment and toys are exposed to pesticides, wash them with soap and water before using  again.
  • Wash skin and clothing exposed to pesticides with soap and water. Always wash your produce thoroughly with water before cooking or eating.

 

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Health Department to treat parts of Queens against West Nile


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Images Courtesy of NYC Department of Health

On Tuesday, Aug. 19, the Health Department will treat parts of Queens to help reduce the mosquito population and the risk of West Nile virus.

The treatment, which will spray pesticide from trucks, will take place between the hours of 8:15 p.m. and 6 a.m. the following morning. In case of bad weather, the application will be delayed until Wednesday, Aug. 20. during the same hours.

For this spraying, the Health Department will use a very low concentration of Anvil® 10+10, a synthetic pesticide. When properly used, this product poses no significant risks to human health.

The Health Department recommends that people take the following precautions to minimize direct exposure:

• Whenever possible, stay indoors during spraying. People with asthma or other respiratory conditions are encouraged to stay inside during spraying since direct exposure could worsen these conditions.

• Air conditioners may remain on, however, if you wish to reduce the possibility of indoor exposure to pesticides, set the air conditioner vent to the closed position, or choose the re-circulate function.

• Remove children’s toys, outdoor equipment, and clothes from outdoor areas during spraying. If outdoor equipment and toys are exposed to pesticides, wash them with soap and water before using again.

• Wash skin and clothing exposed to pesticides with soap and water. Always wash your produce thoroughly with water before cooking or eating.

LOCATIONS:

Parts of Corona, Forest Hills, Forest Hill Gardens, Flushing, Kew Gardens Hills, Queensboro Hill and Rego Park (Bordered  by Long Island Expressway, College Point Boulevard and Booth Memorial Avenue to the north; 99th Street, 67th Avenue and Austin Street to the west; Jackie Robinson Parkway and Grand Central Parkway to the south; and Main Street to the east)

Parts of Bellrose, Douglaston, Floral Park, Hollis Hills, Glen Oaks and Little Neck (Bordered by Long Island Expressway, Douglaston Parkway and Van Zandt Avenue to the north; Cloverdale Boulevard,73rd Avenue and Springfield Boulevard to the west; Hillside Avenue to the south; Little Neck Parkway, Leith Road, Hewlett Street and Langdale Street to the east.)

 

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Forest Hills opera singer competing for America’s vote on ‘AGT’ this week


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo by: Eric Liebowitz/NBC


A Texas-born, afro-sporting woman who enjoys football and mixed martial arts is not who most people imagine when they think of an opera singer.

That viewpoint is exactly what Forest Hills resident Olanna Goudeau is trying to prove wrong.

Goudeau, 32, and musical partner Ashley Renée Watkins, 29, will be singing for America’s vote Tuesday night in the hopes of spreading opera to a larger audience and winning $1 million.

“People feel [opera] is not accessible and not familiar to them,” Goudeau said. “We kind of want to be ambassadors for the art form.”

The singing duo, Acte II, is one of 48 acts that made it to the season nine “America’s Got Talent” quarterfinals, where they get to appear live at Radio City Music Hall and compete for viewers’ votes.

The ladies received yeses from all four judges, Howard Stern, Heidi Klum, Mel B and Howie Mandel, in the NBC show’s season nine premiere on May 27. They were so impressed that Acte II was selected to go straight through to the live performances, bypassing a second audition in front of the judges.

Mel B surprised Goudeau with the exciting news at her Queens home.

“I was completely shocked,” Goudeau said. “I didn’t say hello or invite her in.”

Before making it to the reality show stage, Goudeau’s love for singing started in church and with gospel music. As she grew older, she was introduced to classical music. But her focus on singing and opera as a career came in college.

After switching from a computer science major to music, she thought her program would focus on jazz music, since she was attending Dillard University in New Orleans. But to her surprise, she learned the classics and her passion for opera was born.

It was also at Dillard that she met Watkins, but they didn’t become friends until Goudeau was working on her master’s degree at the University of Oklahoma and Watkins was one of several Dillard students the school hosted following Hurricane Katrina.

They grew closer when they both were a part of Opera New Jersey one summer. The idea for Acte II started as way for them to find more singing opportunities in Europe and to do a concert tour.

“We enjoyed singing together,” Goudeau said. “So we were like, why don’t we make this official?”

The name and the group came to represent more.

“We wanted to make our own opportunities,” Goudeau said. “It’s like a second phase in life.”

The same weekend they were set to have their first concert, at the First AME Church: Bethel in Harlem, where Goudeau is currently an artist-in-residence, “America’s Got Talent” was holding auditions.

“We were so nervous that [the judges] wouldn’t accept opera,” she said. The pair both had their “afros out” and dressed like “everyday people.”

The judges not only accepted the art form, but were surprised by their voices.

“That was a moment and that was your moment,” Mel B said, adding that the performance made the hair on her arms stand up.

On Tuesday they will need to garner the same reaction from viewers. And Goudeau, who moved to Queens six years ago to pursue her New York City opera dreams, is asking the borough to vote for one of their own.

“[My family has] embraced Queens so much. I just feel so comfortable here. It’s such a community,” she said. “I hope Queens people vote.”

To watch Acte II perform live on “America’s Got Talent,” tune in on Tuesday, Aug. 5, at 9 p.m. To find out how to vote, visit www.nbc.com/americas-got-talent/vote/methods.

UPDATE: Acte II was eliminated in the Wednesday, Aug. 6 episode of “America’s Got Talent.”  To watch Acte II’ s Tuesday night performance, watch the video below. For more information on the singers, visit acteii.com.

 

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