Tag Archives: NYC Parks

Free senior fitness classes at Queens parks


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

This fall, the CityParks Seniors Fitness program will offer free yoga instruction and tennis lessons at four Queens parks.

The activities, which are open to New Yorkers 60 and older, begin the week of September 23 and will take place twice a week at each park through November 1.

All equipment and instruction is free. Sessions are one hour long, except tennis lessons in Astoria Park and Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, which are two hours.

Here is where and when the classes will take place:

Astoria Park
Tennis – Mondays/Wednesdays at 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. – Tennis Courts at 21st Street and Hoyt Avenue S

Cunningham Park
Tennis – Tuesdays/Thursdays at 9 a.m – Tennis Courts at Union Turnpike and 193rd Street
Yoga – Tuesdays/Thursdays at 10 a.m – Tennis Courts at Union Turnpike and 193rd Street

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park
Tennis – Mondays/Wednesdays at 9 a.m – 11 a.m – Tennis Courts at Meridian Road

Roy Wilkins Park
Tennis – Tuesdays/Thursdays at 10 a.m – Tennis Courts at Baisley Boulevard and 177th Street
Yoga– Tuesdays/Thursdays at 9 a.m – Tennis Courts at Baisley Boulevard  and 177th Street.

NOTE: Schedule subject to change. For the most up-to-date schedule visit: www.cityparksfoundation.org/sports/seniors-fitness.

Free outdoor summer events and activities in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Hip to Hip Theater Company

Zumba Under the Stars with Lisa G aka RockaZumbaWay
Every Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. – 9 p.m., thru August 28
Beach 108th Street Hockey Rink, Rockaway Beach Boardwalk

Get in shape with this popular form of exercise and dance which combines Latin and African dance steps.

Yoga on the Beach
Every Saturday, 8 a.m. – 9 p.m., thru August 31
Beach 108th Street in Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk

Join Helen Kilgallen and her instructors from Elaine’s Dance School in this beginner Hatha Yoga class. Bring a mat, large towel or blanket.

Free Tai Chi in the Park
Every Sunday, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m thru September 28
Socrates Sculpture Park

Led by certified instructors from the Taoist Tai Chi Society of the USA, these classes offer the opportunity to learn Taoist Tai Chi, improve one’s health, relax, and exercise in an outdoor setting among changing exhibitions of contemporary sculpture.

Fitness Walk
Every Tuesday and Thursday, 9 a.m., thru October 17
Joe Michaels Walk: Western Entrance in Crocheron Park

Adults can join us on a free fitness walking program every Tuesday and Thursday morning. This program is terrific for adults of all ages.

Meli’sa Morgan/Fonda Rae/Alicia Myers/Marley Marl Hosted by Bob Lee
Part of the “This is __Hip-Hop” Series
July 16, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Queensbridge Park

Part of SummerStage, New York’s largest free performing arts festival, which runs in Queens until August 11. For more information, visit www.SummerStage.org.

Caribbean Eagles Steel Drum Band
July 17, 7 p.m.
Elton Street and Jamaica Avenue, Highland Park

Enjoy the sounds of the Caribbean islands in your own backyard.

Force MDs/Horace Brown/Jeff Redd/Marley Marl Hosted by Bob Lee
Part of the “This is __Hip-Hop” Series
July 17, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Queensbridge Park

Part of SummerStage, New York’s largest free performing arts festival, which runs in Queens until August 11. For more information, visit www.SummerStage.org.

Mommy, Music & Me, inc Music Together
July 18, 10:30 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
Buz O’Rourke Playground, Crocheron Park

Enjoy music and movement activities for children age birth – 7 years. Bring a low chair or blanket.

Black Sheep/Das EFX/Marley Marl Hosted by Bob Lee
Part of the “This is __Hip-Hop” Series
July 18, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Queensbridge Park

Part of SummerStage, New York’s largest free performing arts festival, which runs in Queens until August 11. For more information, visit www.SummerStage.org.

Forest Park Summer Concert Series: Tribute to the Beatles and John Lennon
July 18, 7:30 p.m.
George Seuffert Bandshell, Forest Park

Join us for a tribute to the Beatles and John Lennon’s career.

Mitch Kahn Celebrates the American Songbook
July 18, 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Main Park House, Cunningham Park

Enjoy a wonderful evening of music. Bring a blanket or chair and enjoy.

DANCE IQUAIL! Master dance class by Karisma Jay
July 20, 7 p.m.
Queensbridge Park

Part of SummerStage, New York’s largest free performing arts festival, which runs in Queens until August 11. For more information, visit www.SummerStage.org. Open to all levels.

Performances by DANCE IQUAIL!
July 20, 8 p.m.
Queensbridge Park

Part of SummerStage, New York’s largest free performing arts festival, which runs in Queens until August 11. For more information, visit www.SummerStage.org.

Queens Family Day Featuring INVINCIBLE: A Tribute to the King of Pop/PitchBlak Brass Band/Little Club Heads/DJ set by Chris Love “The Mixologist”
July 21. 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Queensbridge Park

Part of SummerStage, New York’s largest free performing arts festival, which runs in Queens until August 11. For more information, visit www.SummerStage.org.

DJ D-Nice 25th Anniversary Screening of “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka”
Part of the “This is __Hip-Hop” Series
July 21, 7 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Queensbridge Park

Part of SummerStage, New York’s largest free performing arts festival, which runs in Queens until August 11. For more information, visit www.SummerStage.org.

The Bari Koral Rock Band
July 23, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Beach 108th Street off Shorefront Parkway

This funky follow-up to the band’s award-winning debut, Rock and Roll Garden, is sure to delight fans of all ages.

Shape Up NYC: Zumba Fitness with Maxie
Every Tuesday, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. starting July 23
Beach 17th Street

Get in shape with this popular form of exercise with Latin-inspired dance steps. Shape Up NYC classes are taught by expert fitness instructors who know how to make fitness fun.

Swing Sabroso
July 24, 7 p.m.
Elton Street and Jamaica Avenue, Highland Park

Dance along to the rhythmic sounds of this dynamic Salsa band.

Shakespeare in the Park Presents “The Tempest”
July 24, 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Unisphere, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

After twelve years on a deserted island, a deposed Duke is now a mighty sorcerer. He raises a storm at sea, bringing within his grasp the enemies who robbed him of his dukedom. Half romance, half political thriller, Shakespeare’s final masterpiece has it all: a shipwreck, conspiracy, magic, monsters and love at first sight. Bring your own blanket or chair.

Forest Park Summer Concert Series – Stayin’ Alive
July 25, 7:30 p.m.
George Seuffert Bandshell, Forest Park

Enjoy an exciting musical tribute to the Bee Gees. Sponsored by Ridgewood Savings Bank.

2013 Waterfront Concert Series: Motor City Revue
July 25, 7:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Astoria Park Lawn

Central Astoria Local Development Coalition Inc. presents its annual Waterfront Concert Series Thursday evenings in July & August. On July 25 there will be an evening of music with Motor City Revue, A Tribute to Motown.

Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labor’s Lost”
July 25, 7:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.
35th Avenue and Cross Island Parkway, Crocheron Park

The HIP to HIP Theatre Company presents this screwball romantic comedy about the King of Navarre and three men taking oaths to devote their lives to scholarship for three years without the company of woman. When the Princess of France arrives with three ladies, can the men keep their oath?

Highland Park – Caring for Young Trees
July 27, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Elton Street and Jamaica Avenue, Highland Park

Volunteer with Natural Areas Volunteers (NAV) at Highland Park to care for newly planted trees. This work will help maintain the livelihood of the restored forest. Volunteers will be trained in tree care, invasive weed identification and removal techniques. Come dressed in sturdy boots or shoes, long pants and clothes that can get dirty. Space is limited. Registration is required for this event.

Powell’s Cove – Caring for Young Trees
July 27, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Powell’s Cove Park at 133 Place

Volunteer with Natural Areas Volunteers (NAV) at Powell’s Cove to care for newly planted trees. This work will help maintain the livelihood of the restored forest. Volunteers will be trained in tree care, invasive weed identification and removal techniques. Come dressed in sturdy boots or shoes, long pants and clothes that can get dirty. Space is limited. Registration is required for this event.

NYC Audubon Shorebird and Butterfly Hike
July 27, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, Jamaica Bay Park

Meet at the Refuge visitor center for a hike to the East Pond to view migrating shorebirds. Along the way we’ll look for butterflies as well. (1.5 miles). Leader: Don Riepe. Call (718) 318-4340 to reserve your spot.

Queens Bike Bonanza
July 27, 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Beach 59th Street and Rockaway Boulevard

This event is free to the public and includes a bike swap, learn to ride lessons for kids, free helmet giveaways and activity tables for kids to make bike-related crafts. Join Bike New York, Recycle A Bicycle, NYC Department of Transportation-Bike Safety, NYPD and NY Coalition for Transportation Safety to promote and educate kids about biking. Pick up a free helmet, upgrade your child’s bike, have your child learn how to ride for the first time or learn important cycling skills and traffic principals.

The Hip to Hip Shakespeare Company: “The Tempest”
July 27, 7 p.m.
Beach 17th Street

These family-friendly productions are for lovers of Shakespeare and for those experiencing Shakespeare for the first time. All performances are free and open to the public. Bring blankets or low chairs. Seating is first come, first served. Free children’s programming 30 minutes before each show.

The Tempest by Shakespeare
July 28, 8 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Main Park House, Cunningham Park

Enjoy a wonderful play by Shakespeare presented by the Hip to Hip Theater Company. At 7:30 p.m. there will be a Children’s Workshop so come early and bring the kids. Bring a blanket or chair and enjoy the evening.

Jack & The Beanstalk presented by “Pattycake Theatre”
July 30, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Beach 96th Street and Boardwalk in Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk

Children will love this production of Jack and the Beanstalk. Jack the giant slayer is looking for adventure, but what he gets is more than he bargained for.

Sonido Libre
July 31, 7 p.m.
Elton Street and Jamaica Avenue, Highland Park

Experience the excitement of Salsa, Merengue, Bachata, Cumbia and Mambo.

The Metropolitan Opera Summer Recital Series
August 1, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Socrates Sculpture Park

Part of SummerStage, New York’s largest free performing arts festival, which runs in Queens until August 11. For more information, visit www.SummerStage.org.

Forest Park Summer Concert Series – Mike Delguidice and Big Shot
August 1, 7:30 p.m.
George Seuffert Bandshell, Forest Park

This premiere Billy Joel show is returning by popular demand! Sponsored by Astoria Federal Savings Bank and The Forest Park Trust, Inc.

2013 Waterfront Concert Series: Charlie Thomas & The Drifters
August 1, 7:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Astoria Park Lawn

Central Astoria Local Development Coalition Inc. presents its annual Waterfront Concert Series featuring an evening of music with “Charlie Thomas & The Drifter.”

Kayak Skills Session
August 2, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Bathhouse Entry Pavilion, Jamaica Bay Park

Receive instruction and practice kayak strokes and skills each week. Children over 11 and adults are welcomed to participate in this program. No reservation required.

Dance at Socrates, a new program with Norte Maar
Every Saturday, 3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. from August 3 to August 31
Socrates Sculpture Park

Throughout August, Socrates Sculpture Park partners with Norte Maar, renowned for their cross-disciplinary collaborative projects, in a new summer series bringing New York based choreographers and their dancers to Socrates. Each week during the month of August, a new choreographer will be in residence at the park making new dances on site in full view of the public who will witness the working process of these dance makers and experience fully produced free public performance Saturdays throughout August at 3 p.m.

Historic New York: Fort Totten
August 4, 1 p.m.
Fort Totten Visitor’s Center, Fort Totten Park

Urban Park Rangers specialize in interpretation of historic turning points, both natural and man-made, in our city’s long history. Park history programs tell the story of your favorite parks from the past to their future.

Queens Symphony Orchestra
August 4, 5 p.m.
George Seuffert Bandshell, Forest Park

Join the Queens Symphony Orchestra as they perform Patriotic Tunes and Popular Classics.

Hip to Hip Theatre’s Shakespeare in Socrates Sculpture Park: The Tempest
August 4, 5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Socrates Sculpture Park

The Hip to Hip Theatre Company will perform this classic, which combines romance and political thriller to tell the story of a duke who was deposed and exiled to a deserted island, where he became a mighty sorcerer.

Puppets in the Park
August 6, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
111th Street Parking Lot, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

Come join NYC Parks and the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre for Little Red’s Hood, a modern adaptation of Red Riding Hood. The show is about tech savvy Red who is too busy on her cell phone to notice her surroundings and that she is being followed by a cupcake loving Wolf. Make sure to bring your own chair or blanket.

Hey Dango
August 7, 7 p.m.
Elton Street and Jamaica Avenue, Highland Park

Children and adults will enjoy this interactive supersonic dance party about three space explorers and one wacky fun-loving alien named Dango.

Shakespeare in the Park Presents “Love’s Labors Lost”
August 7, 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Unisphere, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

The King of Navarre and three noblemen take an oath to devote their lives to scholarship for three years—without the company of women. When the Princess of France and three ladies-in-waiting arrive, passion and puns abound. Will the oath hold? Or will the men succumb to the game of love? In this screwball romantic comedy, Shakespeare takes wordplay and wit to dizzying heights. Bring your own blanket or chair.

Jazz by the Beach
August 8, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Beach 17th Street, O’Donohue Park

Enjoy an evening by the coast with jazz performances and food prepared on site on behalf of the seniors in the district.

Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”
August 8, 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
35th Avenue and Cross Island Parkway, Crocheron Park

The Hip to Hip Theatre Company presents this half romance, and half political thriller. After twelve years on a deserted island, a deposed Duke is now a mighty sorcerer. He raises a storm at sea, bringing within his grasp the enemies who robbed him of his dukedom. Shakespeare’s final masterpiece has it all: a shipwreck, conspiracy, magic, monsters and love at first sight. Please bring a blanket or low chair.

Forest Park Summer Concert Series – Charlie Thomas’ Drifters
August 8, 7:30 p.m.
George Seuffert Bandshell, Forest Park

Spend an evening listening to the Golden Years of The Drifters featuring Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Charlie Thomas. Sponsored by Maspeth Federal Savings & Loan.

Hip to Hip Theatre’s Shakespeare in Socrates Sculpture Park: Love’s Labor’s Lost
August 11, 5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Socrates Sculpture Park

The Hip to Hip Theatre Company will present this romantic comedy about the King of Navarre and three other men who take oaths to devote their lives to scholarship without the company of woman.

Back to the Roots—Kool Herc Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Hip-Hop
Part of the “This is __Hip-Hop” Series
August 11, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
5POINTZ

Part of SummerStage, New York’s largest free performing arts festival, which runs in Queens until August 11. For more information, visit www.SummerStage.org.

Irish Night featuring “Andy Cooney”
August 16, 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Beach 108th Street, Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk

Enjoy live music with Andy Cooney and his world famous Irish band performing favorite Irish tunes and much more.

Scavenger Hunt
August 17, 1 p.m.
Forest Park Visitor Center

We connect children with nature to encourage active exploration of the natural world.  Children who spend time outdoors develop strong imaginations and learn to socialize better with others. Urban Park Rangers are role models who encourage children to let their imaginations run wild in a safe, supportive atmosphere.

 

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What to do this weekend in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File photo

Saturday, June 15

Come get your hands dirty at the MillionTreesNYC Tree Care Workshop and Care Day and learn about the stewardship and care it takes to keep our city green. The workshop focuses on caring for and watering the 80,000 newly planted street trees around NYC and meets at the intersection of Putnam and Forest Avenues at 10 a.m. and runs until noon. Children are welcome but must be accompanied. Visit www.milliontreesnyc.org to register or call 212-360-1342.

The Noguchi Museum is inviting families to come and participate in a series of hands-on workshops. The program is from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and costs $10 per family. Families of up to four with children from 5-11 can pre-register by calling 718-204-7088 ext. 203 or e-mail education@noguchi.org.

The Voelker Orth Museum is hosting its monthly Storybook Discovery Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon. The museum hosts a storybook-themed activity day for children 6 and under to celebrate the love of books. Each session includes an art or nature activity. There is a suggested contribution of $2. For more information, visit the museum’s website at www.vomuseum.org or call 718-359-6227.

From now through the end of August, The Louis Armstrong House Museum will be hosting an exclusive exhibit: Swingin’ with the AllStars: Louis Armstrong and Baseball. Located at 34-56 107th Street in Corona, the museum is offering free entrance to the exhibit with the price of admission, which is $10, or $7 for seniors, students, and children. The exhibit focuses on Armstrong’s fascination with baseball and features several photos and artifacts sequencing the jazz legend’s involvement with the New York’s top players during the height of his fame. The museum is open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and from noon – 5 p.m. on weekends. For more information or to book a group tour visit www.LouisArmstrongHouse.org or call 718-478-8274.

Sunday, June 16

Nothing says summer like experiencing the open water in NYC. Join the Urban Park Rangers for their intermediate canoeing workshop at Bayswater Park. For ages eight and up, participants will meet at Bay 35th Street and Beach Channel Drive. Some experience is preferred, but not required. The Urban Rangers will take you on the waters of lakes, bays, and rivers. For details call 718-846-2731 or visit www.nycgovparks.org.

From 11 a.m. -1 p.m. and from 3-5 p.m., the Big Apple Circus will be dazzling audiences with its array of old-fashioned circus acts. From jugglers, clowns, and bicycle tricks to contortionists, horses, and men flying on the trapeze, the show is sure to please, as it has for years. The circus will take place in the Big Top at Cunningham Park located at 196-22 Union Turnpike. Tickets are starting at $20. More information is available at 888-541-3750 or by visiting the event’s page at www.nycgovparks.org.

Come and enjoy the sounds of your favorite soul and R&B classic at an outdoor performance in Forest Park.  Starting at 5 p.m., the Magic of Motown will be hosted in the George Seuffert Bandshell at Forest Park. Visit www.nycgovparks.org for more details

Alley Pond Park Adventure Course now open


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photos by Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

Queens rope climbers and zip liners can find a free adventure without leaving the borough.

The Alley Pond Park Adventure Course, the only course of its kind in the city, reopened for its seventh season on May 1.

The venue boasts a zip line, a climbing wall, a trust fall station, swings and balance platforms. It also has ropes courses that promote team building and problem solving skills through physically and intellectually demanding situations.

“The Alley Pond Park Adventure Course allows park visitors to zip through the tree tops and balance among the branches, all without leaving New York City,” said Parks Commissioner Veronica White. “It is part of a new generation of park designs, where people of all ages can challenge themselves and get fit.”

The ropes course, which features 45 foot cables in some areas, incurred about $17,000 in damages from Sandy-felled trees, a spokesperson for the city’s Parks Department said.

Repairs were paid for by Project Adventure, the course’s construction company, and the adventure course reopened on schedule, the spokesperson added.

The free course is open every Sunday until November with classes at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., depending on the weather. Registration is only required in July and August.

 

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City green spaces to get more staff


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

Juniper Valley Park is just one green space in the borough that will soon get more supervision. The City’s Parks Department is significantly increasing its staff to include 81 new Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEP) officers who will protect park rules and assets in Queens and the rest of the city. The new hires will also include 207 city park workers, 96 maintenance and trade workers and 30 climbers and pruners to preserve trees, according to a Parks spokesperson.

The plans received a warm welcome in the southwest community, where many say that their parks, especially Juniper Valley, need extra eyes.

“It’s long overdue,” said Frank Kotnik, president of the 104th Precinct’s Glendale Civilian Observation Patrol (G-COP).

Robert Holden, president of the Juniper Park Civic Association, said that Juniper Valley Park had “a tenth of the officers that they’ve needed” in the past.

“Any investment in PEP officers is a good investment,” he said. “There’s vandalism in the park, people who don’t respect park regulations. The cops are spread so thinly at this point that they really can’t handle all of the park’s complaints.”

The Parks spokesperson attributed the shortage of PEP officers to the fiscal crisis, As a result, the workforce has not kept pace with its growing infrastructure, the representative added.

The Parks Department said 12 PEP officers and six Urban Park Rangers currently patrol Queens parks, adding that its 2014 budget allows for the additional staffing that will be spread throughout the city.

The specific number of officers coming to Queens this summer is not yet known.
Holden said that however many officers are coming, the community “needs them working,” especially on off-hours such as nights and weekends.

“In Juniper, there are 10 times as many people there on the weekends. If there are no officers, it’s almost a free-for-all,” he said. “We have picnics going on, and people driving through on [illegal] four wheelers.”

“It has been difficult to get an officer there during the evening or on the weekends when the parks really need to be protected,” he added.

When Holden heard complaints in the past, he used his own police connections to attempt to get an officer to the park.

He hopes Juniper Valley Park will see an increase in patrol staff to help alleviate the problems.

“PEP officers are certainly welcome,” he said. “But we need to know where they are going to be deployed. It’s great news, but I’m not going to jump up and down with joy.”

 

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Jackson Heights to get new park space


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Just in time for spring, Jackson Heights residents have been given new park space to enjoy.

Last March, the city announced its purchase of the athletic field at the Garden School, a private learning facility, which, combined with Travers Park, located across the street from the school, will offer the community a larger recreational space.

“Jackson Heights is one of the most densely-populated and diverse neighborhoods in New York City, and one most in need of parkland for its community,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Veronica M. White.

As of last week, NYC Parks and the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Service had completed the $6 million acquisition of the 24,600-square-foot asphalt play yard owned by the school.

The settlement with the Garden School comes as the city follows its goal of developing original methods to increase residents’ access to neighborhood open spaces. As of 2007, 229 “Schoolyards to Playgrounds” sites have been opened to the public as part of the Bloomberg administration’s PlaNYC initiative. Yet, this is the first time the city has created an agreement with a private school.

“Working with the city was terrific,” said Arthur Gruen, president of the Board of Trustees, and Richard Marotta, headmaster of the Garden School. “We are very pleased to join with our community in establishing this permanent open space for our Garden School family and for all of our neighbors.”

The new parkland will be available for public use outside school hours, including weekend and summer months, with the ball field open for baseball and softball leagues during these times.

“Every New Yorker should have access to adequate parks and recreational opportunities,” said Councilmember Daniel Dromm. “The residents of Jackson Heights deserve this.”

As part of the agreement, the Garden School is receiving a five-year lease agreement for the exclusive use of the property during the school year between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. At all other times, NYC Parks will manage the site as a public park.

NYC Parks plans to install a property line fence separating the site being acquired from the remaining Garden School property. A final design for the property will be developed and once completed, will be accessible to the public from 78th to 79th Streets.

 

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Astoria Park pool to become performance space


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of the NYC Parks & Recreation

With its local arts community booming, the Astoria Park pool will now take a dive into becoming the first outdoor performance space in the neighborhood.

“Artists in Astoria will finally have a fitting performance space,” said Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., a musician himself who is glad the plan is finally moving forward and has provided over $4.5 million in funding for this project.

Plans to convert the neglected and deteriorating diving pool into an amphitheater began around two years ago when Vallone and Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski announced the transformation. “It will be one of the most beautiful in New York overlooking the river and skyline,” said Vallone.

The amphitheater will be located at the Astoria Park diving pool and will evoke ancient Rome and Greece with outdoor performances surrounded by nature and monuments.

“Astoria has been lacking in performance spaces for a long time, but turning this eyesore into a beautiful amphitheater will give our Queens artists a backdrop to match their talents,” said Vallone during a community board meeting last week.

Construction of the outdoor performing arts space is said to begin in about a year-and-a-half and will include pouring concrete into the pool, creating a new main entrance, installing new security fencing and gates, and other improvements. The diving board will remain and be refurbished.

The new space, which is located next to Astoria Park’s Olympic-sized swimming pool, will be open to theater groups, schools and community organizations. Along with this new outdoor space, Vallone is now looking for available indoor space in Astoria where artists’ works can call home in a creative and professional environment.

 

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City holds Snow Day at Juniper Park


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Mike DiBartolomeo

When there is heavy snowfall the New York City Parks Department sometimes throws a special “Snow Day” in parks across the city with organized activities, such as supervised safe sledding, snowman building contests, best snow angel contests, friendly snowball fights, music and complimentary hot chocolate.

After the blizzard that hit on Friday, February 8, known as Nemo, there was a “Snow Day” at a park in each borough, including Juniper Park in Queens, on Saturday afternoon.

Click here to see photos from the Juniper Park Snow Day.

What to do with the kids this weekend


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

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QUEENS

Saturday, October 20

8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., At It’s My Park Day, New Yorkers volunteer and celebrate their neighborhood parks and public spaces throughout the five boroughs by taking part in local volunteer projects and free family-friendly, cultural, fitness and arts events. Just find a local park that is hosting an It’s My Park Day activity and stop by. Times vary depending on location.

10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., Come to the Queens Childcare Network’s Fall Family Festival in Forest Hills for entertainment, games, face painting and to learn more about family daycare programs in Queens.

11 a.m. – 3 p.m., At the free Halloween Harvest Festival at Socrates Sculpture Park, you can make costumes, enjoy live music, enter your dog in an annual canine costume contest, try harvest foods from local restaurants and more.

12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., Learn about the harvest, pick some fall vegetables and make a special autumn craft at the Kings Manor’s Hands-on History: Harvest Time.

2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., Seamonsters, zombie surfers, mummy mermaids, a shipwreck treasure hunt, phosphorescent photo booth, seaweed serenade and more underwater fun at the Queens Museum’s Boo! An Underwater Halloween Spooktacular.

Sunday, October 21

1 p.m., 3 p.m., Bubble artist Casey Carle will perform a presentation of fog-filled bubble sculptures, blobs of helium-filled foam, bubble ping-pong, trapping audience members inside gigantic soap bubbles and filling the stage with thousands of bubbles at the Queens Theatre.

12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., At the 5th annual Rockaway Fall Festival there will be a pumpkin patch, pony, hayrides and more entertainment.

 

AROUND QUEENS

Friday October 19 – Saturday, October 20

6:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m., There will be a Halloween themed family sleepover this weekend at the Long Island Aquarium. At the Creatures of the Night Spooktacular, kids will get a rare glimpse into the nighttime habits of three new animals in the Creatures of the Night exhibit. You can also dress up in Halloween customers, and enjoy craft time and a screening of “Monster House.”

Sunday, October 21

10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m., Come to the 2nd Annual Harry Potter Halloween Workshop with LilChefs.com, where children ages 5 to 14 and adults can visit with some of the animals featured in the Harry Potter series at the Center for Science Teaching & Learning in Rockville Centre. Afterwards, kids can make Halloween themed treats, such as crunchy cockroaches, wizard wands, chocolate covered frogs, acid pops and cauldron cupcakes. There will also be a sorting hat ceremony, costume contests, musical performances and more.

10 a.m. – 4p.m., At the third annual Havemeyer Sugar Sweets Festival, there will be sweets made by local bakeries and home bakers, a baking contest and live music. Every treat sold supports the Brooklyn not-for-profit community museum and civic organization The City Reliquary.

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Clear. High of 66. Winds from the NW at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the WSW in the afternoon. Monday night: Clear. Low of 54. Winds from the SW at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: CityParks Seniors Fitness program

Starting today, the CityParks Seniors Fitness program will offer free yoga, tennis and fitness walking classes in parks across the five boroughs.The classes, which are open to New Yorkers 60 and older, last for seven weeks. All equipment and instruction is free. Sessions are one hour long and take place twice a week. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Empty Key Food store spells disappointment for Flushing residents

The large signs plastered outside the shuttered Key Food on Parsons Blvd. in Flushing shout “Lost Our Lease” but the story is way more complicated. Read more: New York Daily News

Couple seeking custody of kids they ‘kidnapped’

A Queens couple that busted their eight kids out of foster care last year and later spent 90 days in prison for custodial interference is now suing — for custody. Read more: New York Post

Woman, 64, dies aboard Korean Air flight into JFK Airport

A 64-year-old woman died of natural causes aboard a Korean Air flight into Kennedy Airport Sunday, officials said. Read more: New York Daily News

Multi-million dollar kennel planned for Kennedy Airport

John F. Kennedy International Airport is going to the dogs. And cats. And probably birds and horses. Read more: CBS New York

New York City public schools offering ‘morning-after pill’

The New York City Department of Education has begun offering the so-called morning-after pill to students in a pilot program at 13 high schools across the city. Read more: CBS New York

Obama launches new tax offensive against Romney

President Barack Obama’s campaign is launching a new offensive Monday against Republican Mitt Romney, blasting the GOP nominee for criticizing Americans who don’t pay income taxes without having “come clean” about his own.  Read more: AP

Week-old Giant panda cub dies at National Zoo

The giant panda cub born a week ago at the National Zoo in Washington died Sunday morning, saddening zoo officials and visitors who had heralded its unexpected arrival. Read more: ABC New York/AP

‘Homeland’ and ‘Modern Family’ win big at Emmys

The post-Emmy champagne surely tasted sweet for the people at “Modern Family” and “Homeland,” but they needed only to look around the Nokia Theatre to see how quickly popular tastes and Hollywood’s most unpredictable awards show can change perceptions. Read more: AP

 

Free senior fitness classes at NYC parks


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

This fall, the CityParks Seniors Fitness program will offer free yoga, tennis and fitness walking classes in parks across the five boroughs.

The classes, which are open to New Yorkers 60 and older, begin the week of September 24 and last for seven weeks.

All equipment and instruction is free. Sessions are one hour long and take place twice a week.

Here is where and when the classes will take place in Queens:

Astoria Park

Tennis: Mondays/Wednesdays at 10 a.m., tennis courts at 21st Street and Hoyt Avenue

Cunningham Park

Tennis: Tuesdays/Thursdays at 9 a.m., tennis courts at Union Turnpike and 193rd Street

Yoga: Tuesdays/Thursdays at 10 a.m., tennis courts at Union Turnpike and 193rd Street

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

Tennis: Mondays/Wednesdays at 10 a.m., tennis courts at Meridian Road

Yoga: Mondays/Wednesdays at 11 a.m., tennis courts at Meridian Road

Roy Wilkins Park

Tennis: Tuesdays/Thursdays at 10 a.m., tennis courts at Baisley Boulevard and 177th Street

Yoga: Mondays/Wednesdays at 9 a.m., tennis courts at Baisley Boulevard and 177th Street

 

NOTE: Schedule subject to change. For most up to date schedule visit: www.CityParksFoundation.org. For more information about City Parks Foundation’s free Seniors Fitness programs, please call the Sports Department at 718-760–6999.

Summer program offers free meals to 18 and under


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

The annual New York City  summer meals program, which runs from June 28 to August 31, offers free breakfast and lunch to ages 18 and under, and to all handicapped people who participate in special education programs.

To take part in the program, no application is needed and participants do not need to be enrolled in summer school or even be a New York City resident.

Breakfast is served from 8:00 a.m. to 9:15 a.m., and lunch is served from 11:00 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. On weekends, only lunch is served.

Below, is a list of locations where the meals are served in Queens.


Pools

Castlewood Mini Pool
Little Neck Parkway & 72nd Avenue
Monday-Friday

Fisher Pool
99th Street & 32nd Avenue

Liberty Pool
173rd Street & 106th Avenue

Marie Curie Park Mini Pool
211th Street & 46th Avenue
Monday-Friday

Parks and Playgrounds

Det. Keith L. Williams Field House
106 Ave, 173 Street and Liberty Ave
Monday-Friday

Playground for All Children
111-01 Corona Ave
Tuesday-Friday

A flourishing future for Queens parks


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Lewandowski(cropped)w

BY DOROTHY LEWANDOWSKI

Under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Borough President Helen Marshall and all of our Queens elected officials, we are continuing to benefit from the largest period of park renovation and expansion since the 1930s. Over the past decade, almost half a billion dollars has been allocated for more than 600 upcoming and completed projects in Queens parks.

We work hard to listen to and include all the communities of Queens in what we do at NYC Parks, and we’d like to share with you a look back and a look ahead as the new year begins.

This past summer’s opening of Rockaway Beach brought sand, surf, and sun, but also tacos, spring rolls, smoothies, arepas and more, thanks to an international menu from a slate of new vendors.

Those looking for something a little more active than a day at the beach were able to play cricket on the new grass cricket fields at Jamaica’s Baisley Pond Park, practice their backhand at the restored Forest Park and Astoria Park tennis courts or row around Meadow Lake, thanks to the new boat launch and restored boathouse at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

And Queens kids were able to climb, run and slide into new playgrounds at Middle Village’s Juniper Valley Park and Springfield Garden’s Montbellier Park. These 21st-century playgrounds feature challenging equipment and themed designs guaranteed to entertain even the most seasoned playground-goer.

As part of the mayor’s PlaNYC program, we’re making New York a more sustainable and livable city. One of PlaNYC’s goals has been to take advantage of existing, underutilized space and improve it for additional use. Last June, we took a space that was once blighted by giant, unused gas tanks, visible from the highway, and opened Elmhurst Park – six acres of rolling hills, expansive lawns and innovative playground equipment.

Another of the initiatives under the PlaNYC program has been to improve schoolyards and open them after school hours and on weekends for public use. Last year, we opened the city’s 200th such site when we cut the ribbon on Jackson Heights’ P.S. 69. In total, 52 Queens schoolyards have already been opened, and an additional eight are currently being improved.

Queens was particularly hard hit by the 2010 tornado and last year’s many storms, so recent Queens plantings targeted Forest Hills, Rego Park, and other communities that lost trees during these storms. As you may know, the goal of MillionTreesNYC is to plant one million trees on NYC’s streets and in our parks by 2017. Last year we reached the halfway mark, planting our 500,000th tree, including more than 120,000 new trees in Queens.

I would like to thank all of our Queens partners and elected officials who have – through advocacy, special events, and funding – “adopted” Queens’ parks as their own, and made 2011’s improvements possible.

And we’re always on the lookout for new volunteers to help keep Queens’ parks clean, green and beautiful. If you want more information about volunteer opportunities visit nyc.gov/parks.

We’re working for a greener, cleaner 2012, and look forward to seeing you in the beautiful parks of Queens!

Dorothy Lewandowski is the Parks Department’s Queens Borough Commissioner.