Tag Archives: MoMA PS1

11-story condominium building planned for LIC


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of Fogarty Finger Architects

New condos are coming to the Hunter’s Point section of Long Island City.

Local companies Charney Construction & Development and Ascent Development are working on an 11-story mixed-use residential and commercial building, which will have 56 apartments, according to New York YIMBY.

The building will be located on 11-51 47th Avenue, blocks from 5Pointzwhich is being torn down for massive apartment towers— and near MoMA PS1.

Designed by Fogarty Finger Architects, the proposed 125-foot structure will be comprised of 52,728 square feet of residential space and an additional 1,280 square feet of commercial space, according to filings with the Department of Buildings.

The building will also have 23 enclosed parking spots.

 

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Free weekend art bus comes to LIC


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy Socrates Sculpture Park

The wheels on a brand-new free shuttle bus service are taking visitors ‘round and ‘round Long Island City’s art scene on the weekends.

Socrates Sculpture Park, The Noguchi Museum, SculptureCenter and MoMA PS1 have partnered up to bring local residents and tourists the LIC Art Bus, which will debut on Saturday. This free weekend bus service will be dedicated to promoting the neighborhood’s arts and culture scene taking visitors between the four institutions.

“Long Island City is already home to a rich cultural corridor, and the LIC Art Bus – free to all – will make it easier for visitors to experience the art offerings the neighborhood is known for,” said John Hatfield, executive director of Socrates Sculpture Park.

The bus will run on Saturday and Sunday, on a first-come, first-served basis, for 19 consecutive weekends until Sept. 14. The first shuttle departs from Socrates Sculpture Park at noon and takes riders door-to-door to The Noguchi Museum, SculptureCenter and MoMA PS1, and then makes its return to Socrates.

Departure times are scheduled for noon, 12:45, 1:30, 2:30, 3:15, 4 and 5 p.m.

“The arts are booming here in western Queens,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said. “With the addition of the LIC Art Bus, countless New Yorkers will have an easier time getting to some of our borough’s premiere cultural organizations and institutions – all for free.”

The LIC Art Bus’s full schedule will be available at each stop and updated at socratessculpturepark.org/bus.

 

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Woman to give free manicures at Socrates Sculpture Park


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Mikel Durlam

Breanne Trammell is taking her revamped 1968 compact trailer back out on the road to help polish the lives of local western Queens moms in need of a well-deserved pampering.

Last year, Trammell, a Wassaic, N.Y. resident, professional manicurist and core member of the nonprofit The Wassaic Project, embarked on a cross-country road trip she called Nails Across America.

During the trip she visited 20 different states as part of her experimental art project known as “Nails in the Key of Life,” where she uses manicures as the way to exchange ideas, start conversations and collect people’s stories. During her road trip, she would give women, men and children free manicures inside a 1968 Shasta compact trailer she transformed into a mobile nail salon.


                                   Photo by Mikel Durlam

Each person who sported one of Trammell’s manicures would receive a signed and numbered letter-pressed certificate to celebrate his or her involvement in the project.

“The idea is to reach out to as many kinds of people, from all walks of life, and use it as a way to honor them and their experiences, and share their experiences and stories,” Trammell said. “Manicures are usually expensive. It’s been my intention from the very beginning, this is totally accessible for anyone.”

Now, months after returning from her trip, Trammell will take the trailer back out and make a trip to Long Island City’s Socrates Sculpture Park for its spring/summer season opening on Mother’s Day on May 11.

During the event, which will feature the opening of three brand new exhibitions, Trammell will be giving free manicures by the park’s new 50-foot-long, 18-foot-high “Queen Mother of Reality” sculpture by Polish artist Pawel Althamer.

Although the manicures will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, most of the appointments will be filled by mothers from the nearby NYCHA housing development Astoria Houses.


                        Photo by Chuka Chukuma

“We are making sure the people that deserve it are getting it,” said Elissa Goldstone, exhibition program manager at Socrates Sculpture Park. “We are giving women a moment to be praised and to be focused on.”

While the mothers get pampered by Trammell, their children will also be able to take part in workshops conducted by the grass-roots nonprofit Minor Miracles Foundation.

Goldstone said Trammell’s trailer and free manicures pair nicely with the sculpture that was dedicated to Queen Mother Dr. Delois Blakely, who has served as Community Mayor of Harlem since being sworn in by former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in 1995.

Visitors will be allowed to enter the sculpture and get a view of the Manhattan skyline, and, later, get a tour of Trammell’s trailer.

“Breanne’s trailer has similar reclaimed, handmade, but also sacred and secured interior in this larger setting,” Goldstone said. “It’s that privateness that brings out these intimate moments.”

During that weekend, Socrates Sculpture Park will also debut the LIC Art Bus which will offer free weekend door-to-door service from noon to 6 p.m. between Socrates, SculptureCenter, The Noguchi Museum and MoMA PS1.

 

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Weekend bus trial to expand service along Vernon Boulevard


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

The western Queens waterfront will soon get a taste of extended bus service.

The Q103 bus line, which connects Astoria and Long Island City via Vernon Boulevard, will begin offering service to riders on weekends starting in June, according to the MTA.

The weekend schedule will serve as a trial program for the transit agency to receive comments from the community at an MTA public hearing to be scheduled at a later date. After the public hearing, a decision will be made to keep the service or not, the MTA said. It was not determined how long the trial program would run.

“At long last, weekend service on the Q103 bus line is in sight,” said State Sen. Michael Gianaris, who has been calling for the extra service on the bus line since 2011. “The need for more public transportation in our area will only continue to grow, especially on weekends, as more people flock to our waterfront to visit our restaurants, parks and cultural institutions.”

The weekend service will run from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and, in addition, the Q103 will also extend its weekday service hours until 9 p.m., instead of 7:30 p.m. The travel path and bus stops will not be affected, according to the MTA.

“The expansion of service will not only benefit the increasing amount of riders but it will also give our growing cultural institutions that ability to generate more traffic to their venues,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.

Local leaders and business owners see the need to expand the Q103’s service as crucial to the growing neighborhoods, with the increase of new residential towers coming into the areas bringing more people.

According to officials, the Q103 ridership has been increasing in the past years, rising from 558 riders per day in 2011 to about 790 in 2014.

“The Q103 service is a vital link for the cultural organizations of western Queens,” said Jenny Dixon, director of The Noguchi Museum. “It enables visitors to go from The Noguchi Museum and Socrates Sculpture Park in the north to SculptureCenter, MoMA PS1, Dorsky Gallery and the Chocolate Factory to the south.”

 

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Spring is springing: 6 things to do this Sunday in Long Island City


| michael@warrenlewis.com

LIC things to do

Warren Lewis Sotheby’s International Realty is pleased to offer the following tips for explorers considering living in Long Island City.

Come to our Rental Open House at The Fusion
42-51 Hunter St.
2:45 to 3:45 pm

Loft-like living with deluxe finishing touches is yours at the Fusion. This 1,240-square-foot 2BR/2Bath is within eye-shot and minutes of mid-town Manhattan –N,Q,R,E,M,F,G and 7 trains get you everywhere!

And then you can…

Have brunch at LIC Market
21-52 44th Dr.
(Just west of 23rd Street)
Brunch: 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Hit the LIC Flea

5-25 46th Ave.
(Outdoor lot by the waterfront at the corner of Fifth Street and 46th Avenue)
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
(Photo by  Dominick Totino Photography) 

Visit MoMA PS1

 22-25 Jackson Ave.
(At the intersection of 46th Ave.)
King Britt presents MOONDANCE, A Night in the AfroFuture
12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Walk along the East River at Gantry Plaza State Park

4-09 47th Rd.
8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Take in the Whitewash 5Pointz exhibit at the Jeffrey Leder Gallery


21-37 45th Rd.
12 to 6 p.m.

Want to know more about living in LIC?  Ask a local.  Email Michael@warrenlewis.com

The Sotheby’s International Realty network currently has more than 14,000 sales associates located in approximately 650 offices in 45 countries and territories worldwide. 

 

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Queens Museum President Tom Finkelpearl named cultural affairs commissioner


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter/@BilldeBlasio

Follow me @liamlaguerre 

 

Mayor Bill de Blasio formally announced Queens Museum head Tom Finkelpearl as the next commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) Monday.

Finkelpearl, who has been the president of the Queens Museum for 12 years, recently oversaw its $68 million transformation and revitalization. He also simplified its name from the Queens Museum of Art.

“New York City is one of the most eclectic and culturally rich cities in the world, and that’s something that should be shared by all New Yorkers and tourists alike,” Finkelpearl said. “Our work is part of what distinguishes New York City as a cultural epicenter, and I look forward to working to fortify the already diverse offerings of the city’s arts and cultural life.”

Finkelpearl has more than 30 years of experience in museum management and arts education. Before heading the Queens Museum, Finkelpearl was deputy director of the contemporary art center PS1 and assisted with its merger with the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in 2000, as it became MoMA PS1. Finkelpearl graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University and received his Master of Fine Arts from Hunter College.

Finkelpearl will be tasked with expanding access to culture and the arts in the city in his new position.

“With Tom at the helm of DCLA, I’m confident that New York City will not only continue to thrive as a global cultural hub, but also make the arts more accessible to New Yorkers in every neighborhood,” de Blasio said.

 

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MoMA PS1 selects architect winner for 2014 Warm Up summer music series


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Renderings courtesy of The Living

Summer might still be far away, but things are starting to heat up as a winner has been chosen to create the scenery for this year’s Warm Up series at MoMA PS1.

The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 in Long Island City selected David Benjamin from design firm The Living as the winner of the 15th annual Young Architects Program (YAP).

The winning project, called “Hy-Fi,” expected to open at MoMA PS1 in late June, was chosen from five finalists and will serve as a “temporary urban landscape” for the 2014 Warm Up summer music series, located in MoMA PS1’s outdoor courtyard.

“After dedicating the whole building and satellite programs of MoMA PS1 to ecological awareness and climate change last year with ‘EXPO 1: New York,’ we continue in 2014 with ‘Hy-Fi,’ a nearly zero carbon footprint construction by The Living,” said Klaus Biesenbach, MoMA PS1 director and MoMA chief curator at large.

Every year the winners develop creative designs for a temporary, outdoor installation at MoMA PS1 that would provide shade, seating and water to those who attend Warm Up. The architects also have to address environmental issues, such as sustainability and recycling.

The Living will create “Hy-Fi” using a new technique of bio-design that will assemble a structure made out of 100 percent organic material.

The structure is a circular tower made of organic and reflective bricks, produced from the combination of corn stalks and living root structures, invented by Ecovative, a company The Living is working with in the project.

“Hy-Fi” will also highlight local materials, and offer a direct relationship to New York State agriculture and innovation culture, city artists, nonprofits and community gardens in Queens.

“At MoMA PS1, The Living’s project will be showcased as a sensuous, primeval background for the Warm-Up sessions; the ideas and research behind it, however, will live on to fulfill ever new uses and purposes,” said Pedro Gadanho, curator in MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design.

 

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What to do in Queens when it’s cold outside


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo credit (From top left, clockwise): Photo courtesy of MoMA PS1/Elk Studios, 2012; Photo courtesy of the World Ice Arena; Photo by Dominick Totino; Photo courtesy of the New York Hall of Science

When the temperatures dip, our desire to stay at home can rise. But even during wintry weather there are plenty of indoor places to explore around the borough.

MAKE YOUR WAY TO A MUSEUM

Queens is full of museums for art lovers as well as science, history and jazz enthusiasts.

King Manor Museum
King Park, on Jamaica Avenue
between 150th and 153rd streets, Jamaica
718-206-0545
www.kingmanor.org
Hours: Guided tours of King Manor Museum are offered February – December (closed during January); Thursdays & Fridays, 12 – 2 pm, every 1/2 hour (last tour 1:30); Saturdays & Sundays, 1 – 5 pm, every 1/2 hour (last tour 4:30).
Suggested Admission: Adults $5; Seniors and Students $3; Children 16 and under Free; King Manor Members Free; Free tours are offered on “Hands-on History” weekends each month.
(File photo) 

Louis Armstrong House Museum
34-56 107th Street, Corona
718-478-8274
www.louisarmstronghouse.org
Hours: Tuesday – Friday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Saturday – Sunday: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Admission: Adults: $10; Seniors (65 and older), students, and children: $7; Group rate: $6; Children under 4: Free; Members: Free.
(Photo courtesy of the Louis Armstrong House Museum)

MoMA PS1
22-25 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City
718-784-2084
www.momaps1.org
Hours: 12–6 p.m., Thursday through Monday, closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Admission: Adults $10; Students + Seniors $5; Children under 16 Free; Suggested donation admission applies Monday all day, and Saturday and Sunday Noon—1:00 p.m.
(Photo courtesy of MoMA PS1/Elk Studios, 2012) 

Museum of the Moving Image
36-01 35 Avenue, Astoria
718-777-6888
www.movingimage.us
Hours: Wednesdays–Thursdays: 10:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m.; Fridays: 10:30 a.m.–8:00 p.m. (free admission: 4:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.); Saturdays and Sundays: 11:30 a.m.–7:00 p.m.
Admission: $12 adults (18+); $9 senior citizens (65+); $9 students with valid ID; $6 children (3-12); Free for Museum members and children under 3.
(Photo Courtesy of the Museum of the Moving Image) 

New York Hall of Science
47-01 111th Street, Flushing Meadows=Corona Park
718-699-0005
www.nysci.org
Hours: September 1 – March 31: Monday Closed (Except Open Monday February 17, 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.); Tuesday – Friday 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
General Admission: Adults (ages 18 & older): $11; Children (ages 2 – 17): $8 Children under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult; Students (with college ID): $8; Senior Citizens (age 62 & older): $8; Members: Free.
(Photo courtesy of the New York Hall of Science) 

Queens Museum
New York City Building, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park
718-592-9700
www.queensmuseum.org
Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 12-6 p.m.
Suggested Admission: $8 for adults and children over 12; $4 for students and seniors; Children under 12 attend for free.
(THE COURIER/File photo) 

The Noguchi Museum
9-01 33rd Road, Long Island City
718-204-7088
www.noguchi.org
Hours: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday: 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.; Monday & Tuesday: Closed.
Admission: General admission: $10; Senior Citizens: $5 ; Students with a valid ID: $5; NYC public high school students with a valid ID: Free; Children under 12: Free; Members: Free; On the first Friday of every month year-round, Museum admission is pay-what-you-wish.
(Photo courtesy of the Noguchi Museum) 

CHECK OUT A CONCERT OR SHOW 

From a classical concert to a dramatic play, the local arts are alive at the borough’s concert halls and theatres. Here are some places to catch a local performance.

Flushing Town Hall
137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing
718-463-7700
www.flushingtownhall.org
(File photo)

Kupferberg Center for the Arts
65-30 Kissena Boulevard, Flushing
Box Office: 718-793-8080
www.kupferbergcenter.org

Queensborough Performing Arts Center
Box Office: Library, 1st Floor
222-05 56th Avenue, Bayside
718-631-6311
M-F, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
www.qcc.cuny.edu/qpac
(Photo courtesy of Queensborough Performing Arts Center)

 

Queens Theatre
14 United Nations Avenue South, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park
Box Office: 718-760-0064
www.queenstheatre.org
(Photo by Dominick Totino)

The Secret Theatre
44-02 23rd Street, Long Island City
718-392-0722
www.secrettheatre.com
(File photo) 

 

 

HIT AN ICE SKATING RINK 

Though you will still need a scarf and gloves, the temperatures will be warmer and there definitely will not be any snow at the borough’s indoor skating rinks.

City Ice Pavilion
47-32 32nd Place, Long Island City
718-706-6667
www.cityicepavilion.com
Visit www.calendar.cityicepavilion.com for the public ice skating schedule.
Pricing: $5 Monday through Friday; $8 Saturday & Sunday; $8 Holidays including all school vacation weeks; $5 Skate rental per person. (Must wear socks); $2 Helmets rental per person; Coin operated lockers available for $.75.

World Ice Arena at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park
Avery Avenue and 131st Street, Flushing
718-760-9001
www.worldice.com
Hours: Monday through Friday the rink is open from 9 a.m. until 5:15 p.m. On weekends it is open: 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. Friday nights; noon until 4:45 p.m. and 8 p.m. until 9:50 p.m. Saturdays and noon until 4:45 on Sundays.
Admission: $5 for all ages on weekdays and $8 on weekends and holidays. To rent skates be sure to bring socks and an additional $5.
(Photo courtesy of the World Ice Arena)

 

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MoMA PS1 may expand with $3M in city funding


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

MoMA /Photo: Elk Studios, 2012

MoMA PS1 might soon be able to expand into a property right next door after receiving $3 million in city budget funds.

As part of the city’s 2014 budget, Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, chair of the Cultural Affairs and Libraries Committee, helped allocate the capital funds allowing the museum at 22-25 Jackson Avenue to purchase the neighboring building in the future.

“MoMA PS1 is a real anchor in Long Island City,” said Van Bramer. “It draws hundreds of thousands of people every year to the neighborhood. Anytime a cultural organization sees an opportunity to expand, I think they should grab it and we want to be helpful in the process.”

According to Van Bramer, the expansion will give the museum more flexibility and allow resources and offices to shift to the new building. Acquiring the building would allow PS1 to expand its programming and gallery space.

However, according to MoMA PS 1, there is still no information on whether, when and where the expansion will occur.

“MoMA PS1 hasn’t announced anything at this point, as the City Council has just allocated funding and we are still exploring the possibility of acquiring the property,” said a MoMA PS1 spokesperson.

Along with PS1, Van Bramer has also increased funding for art and cultural organizations in the city including some right in his backyard.

The Chocolate Factory Theater, located at 5-49 49th Ave in Long Island City, will receive $1.7 million to purchase and expand its property. The Noguchi Museum will get $600,000 to protect its sculpture collections from future flood damage. The SculptureCenter will receive an additional $300,000 for its expansion. Funding has also been provided for groups such as Flux Factory and Socrates Sculpture Park.

“They’re economic engines because when people come to see those exhibits, many of them spend money in the neighborhood,” said Van Bramer. “By keeping those organizations strong and well-funded, we are improving the economy of our local neighborhoods.”

 

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LIC resident comes up with plan to relocate 5Pointz


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of Kris Schrey

As the demolition date of the graffiti mecca known as 5Pointz gets closer, one Long Island City resident has come up with a proposal to save the art that covers the building.

Kris Schrey, co-organizer of the Long Island City Parents Group, proposed moving the art from 5Pointz onto the concrete walls surrounding MoMA PS1 across the street. Schrey developed this idea after stepping out of a public hearing at PS1 in May during which the Wolkoff family, owners of 5Pointz, discussed their special permit application.

The Wolkoff family, which has owned 5Pointz for decades, plans to demolish the graffiti-covered warehouses on Jackson Avenue and Davis Street and begin construction on apartment towers by the end of the year. Although Community Board 2 voted against the special permit in June, the Wolkoffs can still demolish and build at the space in keeping with their rights as owners.

Schrey’s idea first appeared in a weekly newsletter for his parents’ group.

“Could there be a better synergy than between MoMA’s high concept art and mind-numbing street art of the aerosol kind?” Schrey wrote in the column. “This ‘concrete’ solution would provide a new, better, lasting home for your graffiti: more space, more visibility, more foot traffic and maybe the museum could even carve out some office space for Jonathan Cohen’s graffiti group.”

According to Schrey, the new apartment towers would bring residents that could help boost the businesses in the area and help the community.

But for 5Pointz spokesperson Marie Cecile Flageul, the idea came with good intentions but unreasonable solutions.

“Three walls at PS1 wouldn’t cut it. I think it’s a laughable idea, in the sense that it is funny and great that there is a parent association in Long Island City and as a resident he is trying to come up with ideas” she said. “But don’t you think before making a statement about this, you should have spoken to both parties involved?”

According to Flageul, if there were any need or willingness from the museum, MoMA PS1 would have already reached out to the artists. She believes the warehouse should be maintained to make the area cleaner and safer for both artists and visitors.

Schrey hopes to speak with members of 5Pointz and the community in the weeks to come and later present his idea to MoMA PS1 MoMA PS1 did not respond as of press time.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Partly cloudy. High of 59. Breezy. Winds from the West at 10 to 20 mph. Monday night: Partly cloudy in the evening, then clear. Low of 43. Winds from the NW at 5 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: EXPO 1: New York

EXPO 1: New York, an exploration of ecological challenges in the context of the economic and socio-political instability of the early 21st century opens at MoMA PS1, The Museum of Modern Art, and Rockaway Beach. Acting in the guise of a  festival-as-institution, EXPO 1: New York imagines a contemporary art museum dedicated to  ecological concerns, presenting a simultaneity of modules, interventions, solo projects, and  group exhibitions including a school, a colony, a cinema, a geodesic dome, Rain Room, and more. On view until September 2. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

VIDEO: 7 train assault

The NYPD is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying a suspect and victim in an assault aboard the 7 train within the confines of the 108th Precinct. Read more: The Queens Courier 

Rev. Floyd Flake, of Queens church, to endorse Bill Thompson for mayor

Queens powerbroker Rev. Floyd Flake will endorse Bill Thompson for mayor on Sunday — four years after turning his back on him in favor of Mayor Bloomberg. Read more: New York Daily News 

New Amtrak trains to hit East Coast tracks

When Amtrak unveils the first of 70 new locomotives Monday at a plant in California, it will mark what the national passenger railroad service hopes will be a new era of better reliability, streamlined maintenance and better energy efficiency. Read more: CBS New York/AP

Ex-White House aides, security executives named to N.Y. State cyber-security board

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has named former White House aides and security executives for an advisory board focused on protecting state infrastructure and information systems. Read more: CBS New York/AP

Nineteen shot in New Orleans Mother’s Day parade

Nineteen people including two children were shot in New Orleans on Sunday when gunfire erupted at a Mother’s Day parade, and city police said they were searching for three suspects. Read more: Reuters

Monday last day for morning-after pill appeal

The government is running out of time to try to halt implementation of a federal judge’s ruling that would lift age restrictions for women and girls wanting to buy the morning-after pill. Read more: AP

 

 

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

 TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Overcast with snow, then ice pellets and snow in the afternoon. High of 37 with a windchill as low as 25F. Winds from the SW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation 80% . Monday night: Overcast with rain, then a chance of rain after midnight. Low of 37. Winds from the SW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Repetition in Design

Repetition in Design, on display at the Queens Botanical Garden, is a series of oil paintings on canvas by QBG’s Supervising Museum Instructor Gennadyi Gurman. Some of these pieces are influenced by the way the 8-bit video games from the 1980s looked, also from cartoons; but all show a bright color contrast. Until April 15 and free with admission. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Four-alarm fire guts commercial building in Queens

Business owners in Queens are assessing the damage after a fast-moving four-alarm fire ripped through a commercial building late Sunday. Read more: ABC New York

NYC school bus companies, union to meet Monday

New York City school bus companies and union leaders are to meet Monday in an effort to resolve the strike. Read more: Fox New York

City plans to put new schools in two struggling Queens high schools

Two struggling Queens high schools could soon become a lot more crowded. Read more: New York Daily News

MoMA PS1 wants to build performance dome in the Rockaways

Plans are in the works to bring a unique performance dome to the Rockaways. Read more: NY1

Schumer: Federal Sandy aid bill funds Army Corps’ projects on city coastlines

The U.S. Senate is set to vote on a Hurricane Sandy aid bill on Monday evening, and Sen. Charles Schumer said Sunday the bill would provide more than $1 billion to protect the coastlines of the city and Long Island. Read more: NY1

Police chiefs from Newtown, Aurora to meet with Obama

President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will meet today with law enforcement groups and police chiefs from several communities impacted by mass shootings to discuss the administration’s intensifying push to reduce gun violence. Read more: CBS News

Bipartisan Senate group proposes immigration plan

A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators has agreed on a framework for immigration reform that would provide a “path to citizenship” for those in the United States illegally but only after measures are put in place to secure borders and track undocumented immigrants. Read more: Reuters

Citywide initiative to help cultural nonprofits, art funding


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/PHOTO BY ALEXA ALTMAN

The infamous moniker of “one percent” gained an innovative, positive meaning among the arts community.

At MoMA PS1 on Tuesday, January 8, Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer announced his support for the One Percent for Culture campaign, a citywide initiative aimed at increasing funding towards art institutions and impressing upon the city the value of cultural nonprofits. The coalition, containing 245 members thus far, seeks to ensure that nonprofit cultural establishments, responsible for assisting the city to generate billions in annual revenue, are granted one percent of the city’s annual budget.

Currently, arts and culture organizations receive a quarter of one percent of the city’s yearly budget.

“We know that that number and the billions in revenue that get spun off because of that could not happen without culture and the arts,” said Van Bramer. “The economy of the city of New York could not stand without culture and the arts. It simply could not.”

Arts and culture bring in $7.6 billion for the city of New York every year and provide jobs for roughly 100,000 New Yorkers. According to Van Bramer, the tourism boom, recently announced by Mayor Bloomberg, is in thanks to art institutions that entice visitors from all over the world, adding that culture and the arts is one of the few areas of the city budget that generates revenue.

Cultural leaders from across the city joined Van Bramer to announce the initiative and speak on its behalf, including Klaus Biesenbach, director of MoMA PS1 and Eric Pryor, executive director of the Center for Arts Education. Charles Rice-Gonzalez, executive director of Bronx Academy for Arts & Dance (BAAD!) said increased funding for arts organizations creates a symbiotic relationship between culture and community, which serve to nourish and inspire each other.

“One Percent for Culture is about giving this vital segment, the arts of our city, a chance to come up to speed with the rest of the industry,” said Rice-Gonzalez. “We have managed to make a great impact with modest amounts. Imagine what could be done if one percent of the city’s budget is given to culture?”

Sheila Lewandowski, executive director of Long Island City playhouse The Chocolate Factory, said that with extra funding, she could afford to increase wages for the 100 artists on her payroll, purchase better equipment and decrease ticket prices.

“If we don’t value [art], we might lose it,” said Lewandowski. “One Percent for Culture is very valuable to my organization, a small very experimental organization, because it says we’re valuable. It’s the city saying ‘we see what you give back to the economy, to the quality of life, to everything.”

While Van Bramer called the announcement “a very exciting time,” the councilmember added that it was imperative to secure “the expense funding to follow the capital funding.”

“We have to be aggressive as a community. We have to know our value to the city of New York and make sure others know it too. Not everyone knows that we are keeping the city running. No one should ever doubt the power of art and the power of artists.”

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M. Wells reopens in MoMA PS1


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

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Art aficionados can grab a tasty bite while scoping out the latest exhibits at MoMA PS1 from a former neighborhood favorite.

M. Wells, previously a beloved Hunters Point diner, reopened at noon on Thursday, September 27 to a swarm of fans. As MoMA PS1’s central eatery, M. Wells remains removed from the archetypical museum fare of prepackaged sandwiches and bottled water. Head chefs Hugue Dufour and Sarah Obraitis whip up made-to-order specials in cafeteria style that change on a day-to-day basis.

Playing off of the art hub’s past as a public school, the ever-changing menu is scrawled on chalkboards and guests sit at classic school-house style tables, all facing frontwards. The chefs — or culinary instructors — are fully visible to the patrons who watch them while they work.

Tom Brett, a Jackson Heights resident and past patron of the original M. Wells, was pleased after his first experience at the new location.

“[The food] was wonderful,” said Brett. We ate at the other location in Hunters Point a couple of times and it was wonderful — very good food. We loved it. It’s an interesting space. It seems more spacious which is nice. It’s more laid back as well.”

This past spring, MoMA PS1 and M. Wells submitted a joint application to allow for both facilities to co-exist and were approved by the local Community Board for a liquor license. Peter Katz, chief operating officer of MoMA PS1, and Sarah Obraitis, owner of M. Wells, said they welcomed the partnership and agreed it would be mutually beneficial for the museum, the restaurant and Long Island City.

Community Board 2 member Pat O’Brien said the pairing of MoMA PS1 and M. Wells is definitely positive for Long Island City, remarking that both are very welcome elements in the neighborhood.

“M. Wells has really put themselves on the map with the cuisine and their reputation,” said O’Brien. “I think it’s going to be a great addition to the community.”

M. Wells will be open during normal museum hours.

Additional reporting by Michael Pantelidis and Sweetina Kakar

Lady Pink: Graffiti’s feisty first lady


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

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Graffiti was a man’s world— until she painted it pink.

Lady Pink, graffiti’s first and fieriest female figurehead, still reigns supreme as an icon in the American art arena. While her medium switched from subway cars and cinderblock walls to canvas over the years, the Astoria-based creative is still spreading her message — art is everywhere.

Lady Pink, born Sandra Fabara, emerged on the scene in 1979, when girl power prevailed and the public worshipped fierce, feminine idols like Charlie’s Angels and Marsha Brady. Riding on pure personality and perseverance, at 16, she busted into the proverbial boys club, proclaiming that girls could do anything boys could do, only better. The older male artists adopted her as their little sister and influenced by her fixation on historical-romance novels, they bestowed upon her the intentionally girly and definitely regal moniker, “Lady Pink.”

In the early 1980s, she scaled fences and scrawled her designs on subway cars.

“It was all about the adventure and the fame,” she said. “It was less about the art then, it was just teenagers having fun.”

She was expelled from the High School of Art & Design in Manhattan after some kids from the Bronx shot up the school during her first graffiti exhibit. While no one was killed, a stray bullet struck a kid in the back and injured him. After a heated argument with the principal and the dropping of a single f-bomb, Lady Pink’s show was shut down and she was told to leave school.

She said she didn’t like school anyway, but went on to graduate from public school.

In 1982, Lady Pink starred in the film “Wild Style,” a graffiti hip-hop amalgamation that elevated her to cult figure status. Regardless of the seemingly inseparable connection between the musical genre and the art style, Lady Pink says it’s a lifestyle she never subscribed to.

“The grassroots beginning are connected,” she said. “Other than that, there is little we have in common. They lump us up as background art so it can be a nice complete culture that can be packaged and sold. The truth of the matter is most graffiti writers are only exposed to the music of the area they come from.”

While working, Lady Pink listens to The Beatles and Metallica.

Graffiti remains, according to Lady Pink, very much its own entity, retaining what she feels is an incredibly sexist attitude.

“My background grants me respect but I see other young ladies struggling to be heard and seen,” said Lady Pink. “We have to bust our butts twice as hard to be seen and noticed.”

When she and her husband, another prominent graffiti artist whose tags terrorized multiple mayors throughout the 1970s and 1980s, work together on projects for their professional muralist company, she has him deal with the overtly-macho and occasionally misogynistic contractors and construction workers. She believes it’s about playing the game and not fighting nature.

A lifetime of running the streets, she says, prepared her.

“Graffiti to us when we’re young is like what people go to college for,” she said. “It’s boot camp for artists — how to work fast — how to work with sharks at your throat. It’s how to survive in the real world.”

Even though a portion of the population still regards graffiti as a nuisance and an eyesore, Lady Pink believes the art form gained legitimacy through sheer exposure. The artist has shown work in countless galleries and museums including the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles and the MoMA PS1. Nevertheless, there are always people waiting below her scaffold, ranting about the bright colors of the mural she’s painting.

“I get robbed, I get insulted, I get harassed by the police,” she said. “I welcomed the invention of the Walkman. I put on my music and shut them out.”

Lady Pink mentioned the newly announced demise of 5Pointz – graffiti’s holy land, recently fated to be closed and turned into high-rise apartment buildings. She hopes the displaced artists will find artistic refuge somewhere else, but recognized the city’s shortcomings in artistic preservation.

“That’s progress in New York City,” she said. “All murals are fleeting. You paint it and kiss it goodbye.”

The loss, she says, will be devastating in the annals of art history.

In contributing to the continuity of art, Lady Pink teams with kids from the Frank Sinatra School for the Arts. They design and paint public murals around Astoria and Long Island City, covering walls under the Hell Gate Bridge with sweeping images from Greek myths.

“I put the kids in big situations because that’s what happened to me,” she said. “Kids perform better when they’re given responsibilities and tasks beyond their comprehensions — their confidence grows.”

She insists her apprentices bring their own music to listen to while they paint.

“Music makes better art,” said Lady Pink. “I don’t know how art can happen in the quiet.”

Together, they put on their headphones and drown out the noise of the world.