Tag Archives: Queens Museum

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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Queens Museum announces new president


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Queens Museum

The Queens Museum will continue carving out its plan to become a world-class institution under new leadership come Jan. 1.

The museum’s board of trustees selected experienced art professional Laura Raicovich as its new president and executive director on Thursday, following a national search.

Raicovich has been the director of global initiatives at nonprofit Creative Time, an arts advocacy organization, since 2012 and was chosen to lead the institution in Flushing Meadows Corona Park because of her vision for the future of the museum.

“Laura has spent the past two decades strengthening arts institutions, realizing the visions of artists and engaging diverse constituencies, and we are excited that she will be leading the Queens Museum,” said board chair Peter Meyer. “Our shared philosophy on the future of the museum, belief in the power of the arts to exact positive change, and dedication to making the arts relevant to all audiences made her the right person to move the museum forward.”

Raicovich has a bachelor’s degree in both art and political science from Swarthmore College and a master of arts in liberal studies from The Graduate Center, City University of New York.

She also worked at the Dia Art Foundation, advancing to deputy director during her tenure, and as the senior publicist of the Guggenheim Museum. Raicovich was also a curator of public art for the Parks Department.

Oma-3

Former Queens Museum head director Tom Finkelpearl was courted away by Mayor Bill de Blasio in May to be the city’s commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs, months after he oversaw the completion of a $68 million makeover of the museum, which reopened in October 2014.

Raicovich said her goal is to propel the museum into the future as an international destination.

“Looking forward, pairing engagement and innovation with exceptional artistic production will allow the Queens Museum to occupy a unique place in the pantheon of cultural offerings in New York City, to become an international model, and to serve all of Queens as a world-class art museum,” she said.
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Queens Museum displays items collected from Jamaica Bay clean-up


| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Rohan Narine

Many who practice Hinduism in Queens go to Jamaica Bay to make offerings to their gods, floating fruit and flowers and even statues of the deities into the bay.

But the items offered are sometimes left behind, not only littering the water but also causing distress among those worshipers who practice eco-friendly offering techniques.

“We don’t want our practices to make Jamaica Bay look like the Ganges in 20 years,” said Rohan Narine, a board member at Sadhana, an eco-friendly Hindu group. “We want the community to see that we are also environmentally conscious.”

Sadhana hosts a monthly clean-up effort around Jamaica Bay in which volunteers gather the offerings that have been left behind by other worshipers. To show the public that clean-up efforts are made, some of the items collected are now on display at the Queens Museum, located in Flushing Meadow Corona Park, as part of a new exhibition named “Sacred Waters,” which started on Sept. 4.

The group pitched the idea of this exhibition to the museum in hopes of both giving non-Hindus a better understanding of the religion and making it known that devotees are not people who have no respect for the environment.

“We had about 100 people come out [to our opening ceremony on Sept. 14]. The reception was very promising,” Narine said. “We are a nature-worshiping religion and want people to understand that.”

Diorama at Queens Museum (1)

Educating Hindus of the safest environmental practices that should be taken when worshiping is also a main focus of Sadhana.

“There is a delicate balance between tradition and the environment, and both must be equally respected,” said Aminta Kilawan, a board member at Sadhana.

Along with the exhibition, which displays a “diorama” of the offerings collected, Narine is working with the National Parks Service (NPS) on a pamphlet to be displayed around the bay, the purpose of which is two-fold: to teach people the basics of the Hindu religion and to list NPS rules for clean-up.

“We want to get back to the balance that [our Hindu ancestors] once had,” Narine said.

Narine hopes for the pamphlet to be around the bay by November, and the exhibit will be displayed at the museum until Sept. 24.

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Annual Tour de Queens draws more than 1,200 riders


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy Transportation Alternatives


More than 1,200 bicyclists from around the city participated in the 7th Annual Tour de Queens, a 20-mile ride that travels through several neighborhoods in the borough.

The annual ride on Sunday by Transportation Alternatives began in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, in the plaza between the Unisphere and the Queens Museum, and took cyclists of all ages through East Flushing, Murrary Hill, Auburndale, Bayside, Bay Terrace, Beechhurst and Whitestone.

While the event bears a resemblance in name to the rigid Tour de France biking competition, the Tour de Queens is not a race. Participants rode through streets at a leisurely pace with the NYPD and volunteers from Transportation Alternatives acting as safety marshals.

Proceeds from the event will go toward advocacy efforts to enhance public transportation and make the streets safer for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists.

 

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East Elmhurst boy runs again to raise money for autism programs


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Larry Sillen

One East Elmhurst boy is getting his running shoes ready once again to help make a difference.

Max Moore, 10, will be participating in the June 29 Achilles International Hope and Possibility 5 Mile Race in Central Park for a third time.

“We are super thrilled to see Max enjoy running and to see that he is eager to run each year,” said Max’s mother Jacqueline Moore.

This year will be Max’s second time running to raise money and bring awareness for the Queens Museum’s ArtAccess Autism Initiatives. Last year the youth raised $1,279 in funds online, surpassing his goal of $1,000.

“For us it’s a huge honor, it really moves us. It’s inspirational to us. He’s our hero,” said Michelle Lopez, manager of ArtAccess and Autism Initiatives at the Queens Museum. “It feels really good to know that he is doing this, this is his activity of choice. He chose to run again, to run for us.”

The 10-year-old, who is autistic himself, has been part of the ArtAccess Autism Initiatives together with his family. This past year they have been involved in the museum’s new project called emPOWER Parents, a partnership between the Queens Museum and Museo ICO and its cultural partner, Hablarenarte, in Madrid, Spain.

According to Lopez, the funds raised by Max last year helped contribute to the program.

The partnership uses the arts, art therapy and technology to create and put into effect crucial programming for families of children with autism. It also creates an international network and “digital bridge” where the families can share their experiences.

Max’s mother said the program has allowed him to connect with new friends in Spain who share the same interests.

Max has been preparing for Sunday’s race for the past three months with Achilles Kids, a nonprofit organization that provides training and racing opportunities for children with disabilities. He has been with the group for about four years and in the past few months has been training in Central Park and also participating in several other 5K races.

“I think the Achilles Kids Family is quite an exceptional group of kids, parents, staff and volunteers,” Moore said. “One big family that gets larger and larger every year.”

This year Max will again be running alongside Marissa Fong, a guide provided by Achilles, and his dad, John. Although his mom said John will try to keep up with Max, he might not be able to; last year, Max left him at the three mile mark and went on to finish the race in less than one hour.

“What is wonderful is that running can be something he can enjoy in the future,” Moore said. “That is all we can ask for as parents, that we help him to find his joys and passion in life. We hope Max will continue to run further distances when he gets older and maybe one day accomplish a triathlon.”

To make a donation click here.

 

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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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Brooklyn Streetcar Artists’ Group exhibits in Bayside


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Katelyn Di Salvo

KATELYN DI SALVO

Artists of the Brooklyn Streetcar Artists’ Group (BSAG) got a special treat after exhibiting their work in Queens.

Arthur Melnick, director of the BSAG, brought some of the group’s talent from Brooklyn to Queens on March 13, during an exhibition in the hallways at the Bayside office of The Queens Courier.

Paintings and photographs from 18 artists in the group were displayed for all to admire. The artists on view were from all ages and levels of achievement, and all were equally excited to showcase their work. BSAG began in 2007 and since then has been creating opportunities for artists and art lovers of all ages.

Victoria Schneps, president, CEO and publisher of The Queens Courier, greeted the artists and also brought them a treat. Schneps told the artists she had invited representatives from the Queens Museum to judge the artwork and determine the first, second and third place winners.

Divine Williams won first place for her three pieces, called “Photos of Women” and Herb Alwais won second place for his “Riverside Sunset” piece. Harriet Piltch placed third for her work, called “Third Avenue L.” Catherine Marra received honorable mention for her “Family Portrait.”

Although first place winner Williams was not there to receive the recognition, many of the artists present during the show said they were sure she would have been thrilled.

“It’s an honor to be a part of this exhibition, and to win a prize, now I can put this on my resumé,” said second place winner Alwais.

The success of various exhibitions led the group to be part of the nonprofit Brooklyn Streetcar Company, and has since maintained an official gallery space at Coney Island Hospital and also continues exhibiting when appropriate space is available.

“I used to work at Coney Island and that’s where I met Arthur,” said Patrick Rosato, another artist on view at the exhibition. “We started talking about art and he told me about his group and I’m really glad I got involved.”

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Friday: Mostly cloudy skies. High near 40. Winds NE at 10 to 15 mph.Friday night: Cloudy skies early, then partly cloudy after midnight. Low 29. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Panorama Challenge Trivia Night

Calling all geographical geeks and New York know-it-alls! Come to the recently reopened Queens Museum on Friday, March 7 from 7-10 p.m. (doors open 6 p.m.) to participate in the world’s only geographical trivia-based game night at the world’s largest panorama – The Panorama of the City of New York! The Panorama Challenge involves questions about assorted city landmarks, bridges, neighborhoods, parks and more. Participants will compete in teams of 10 (or so) and will play either as a Panorama Challenger or Panorama Pro team. The suggested admission fee is $15 with all proceeds going to support the City Reliquary Museum in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, dedicated to collecting NYC ephemera. A free shuttle will be traveling between the Museum and underneath the Mets-Willets Point No. 7 stop. For more information and instructions to reserve your team contact: matt@levysuniqueny.com. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

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Report: 28 Percent of Rikers inmate injuries by correction officers were ‘head shots’

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Cardinal Dolan supports universal pre-k

New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan is pledging the support of the city’s Catholic schools to create universal pre-kindergarten. Read more: AP

State Sen. Brad Hoylman introduces bill to require ‘kill switch’ on all smartphones and tablets sold in New York

A Manhattan state senator wants all smartphones and tablets sold in New York to be equipped with a “kill switch” that makes them permanently inoperable if they are lost or stolen. Read more: New York Daily News

Atheists want ‘miracle cross’ removed from 9/11 Museum

American Atheists on Thursday asked an appeals court in New York to remove the “miracle cross” from the 9/11 Museum, where it was placed two years ago. Read more: Fox New York

 

Queens Museum “emPOWER”s families of children with autism locally and in Spain


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of emPOWER Parents photography team

Parents and families of children with autism from Queens are now making a connection to those in Spain, thanks to a $73,000 grant.

The Queens Museum, in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, received a 2013 Museums Connect grant from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs and the American Alliance of Museums. The grant permits the Museum to launch “emPOWER Parents: Fostering Cross Cultural Networks between Families with Autism.”

EmPOWER is a partnership between the Queens Museum and Museo ICO and its cultural partner, Hablarenarte, in Madrid, Spain. The partnership uses the arts, art therapy and technology to create and put into effect crucial programming for families of children with autism. It also creates an international network and “digital bridge” where the families can share their experiences.

The Queens Museum has been creating programming for children and adults with special needs since 1983 through its ArtAccess program. Since then, the museum’s autism initiatives, through contribution from partner organizations and participants, have been adapted for museum settings, public libraries and schools. Now through emPOWER, the initiatives will enter a new phase allowing parents to design resources based on their needs.

The bi-national network of emPOWER is made up of parent advocates and allows parents of children with autism to have the resources to affect institutionalized change in both countries, request improved programming in schools and include their children’s learning styles in community programs. Participating parents gain skills in teaching and behavioral methods and lead programs with other local families. They maintain and broadcast resources in both English and Spanish, sharing their knowledge and creative interventions by parents via a blog site.

The museum will hold closed sessions for emPOWER once a month. For more information visit here.

 

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Queens Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST  

Wednesday: Some clouds this morning will give way to generally sunny skies for the afternoon. High 24. Winds WNW at 10 to 15 mph. Wednesday night: Clear skies. Low near 15. Winds W at 10 to 20 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Peter Schumann: The Shatterer

Opening as part of the first season in the Queens Museum’s newly expanded galleries, Peter Schumann: The Shatterer is the first solo museum exhibition of Bread and Puppet Theater founder and director Peter Schumann. The exhibit marks the 50th anniversary of the Bread and Puppet Theater and features a largely unseen body of work by “one of the most independent, prolific, and complex artists of our time,” according to the museum. Through March 30.

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Super Bowl Boulevard set to open in Midtown

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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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Op-ed: The spirit of giving


| oped@queenscourier.com

COUNCILMEMBER JULISSA FERRERAS

Every year, the holiday day season gives us an extra special opportunity to reflect upon our blessings and take time to give back to those we love.

With Chanukah just ending and Christmas and Kwanzaa fast approaching, it’s clear that the spirit of giving is already in the air – almost everywhere you look you see folks with shopping bags full of holiday presents just waiting to bring joy.

While I have always found truth in the age-old saying “Tis better to give than to receive,” I could not help but relish the happiness that one sizable gift brought to our community last week.

On November 26, just days before Thanksgiving, I had the pleasure of joining Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and representatives from the Queens Museum and the Queens Economic Development Corp. at Corona Plaza to announce an $800,000 leadership gift from J.P. Morgan Chase to the Neighborhood Plaza Partnership.

This gift will not only benefit countless New Yorkers by creating 100 jobs for workers maintaining 20 of the City’s existing plazas, but it will also ensure that the DOT’s community partners in under-resourced neighborhoods, like Corona, will have the support they need to maintain clean, green and vibrant public plazas.

Since 2008, the DOT has installed 22 plazas throughout the City, and it plans to bring another 37 in the near future with the goal of putting all New Yorkers within a 10-minute walk of quality open space.

Corona Plaza is a perfect example of how effective and important these green spaces are to our local neighborhoods. To so many children who grow up in apartments without any front or back yards, neighborhood plazas are the only safe access they have to the outdoors.

Just 18 months ago, the site where Corona Plaza now sits was open to traffic and cluttered with parked trucks, causing a safety hazard for all pedestrians entering and exiting the nearby subway platform. Today, the plaza is a space bursting with activity, serving as the go-to destination where locals can have a cup of coffee, exercise outdoors and enjoy free family-friendly events.

Public plazas go a long way in helping our communities enhance economic activity, air quality, community safety and the overall quality of life.

Although Chase’s gift will undoubtedly go a long way in improving plazas throughout the City, it’s clear that there is still much work that needs to be done. The cost just to maintain Corona Plaza alone ranges between $50,000 and $75,000 every year, not including the hundreds of volunteer hours donated by those who want to add to the beautification efforts.

This holiday season, I urge everyone to spend time at their nearest neighborhood plaza and consider the immense benefits they generate. If you can spend just a fraction of your time investing in your local plaza, you will not only help improve these vital green spaces, but you will also create a better future for generations to come.

In the spirit of giving, please consider volunteering at your local plaza today. The gift of your time will surely be one that keeps on giving!

To learn more about the services offered by the DOT Public Plaza Program, please visit www.nyc.gov/plazas or contact 311 or plazas@dot.nyc.gov.

Councilmember Julissa Ferreras represents the 21st Council District encompassing Elmhurst, East Elmhurst, Corona and Jackson Heights. Through her leadership, Corona Plaza continues to be a premiere outdoor destination for the local community.

 

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Traveling art exhibit An Inclusive World coming to Queens Museum


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Vida Sabbaghi

An Inclusive World, the traveling art exhibit, is making its next stop at the Queens Museum.

“The exhibition has evolved,” said Vida Sabbaghi, curator.

On Saturday, November 9, museum-goers can expect both visual arts components as well as various performance pieces, ranging from music to dance. The exhibit will run through November 30.

“People from all different backgrounds have come together,” Sabbaghi said. “It’s celebrating diversity.”

From its inception, An Inclusive World has brought together both self-taught and formally trained artists to collaborate and exchange ideas, intended to enrich communities without identifying labels.

Sabbaghi initially was compelled to “find ways to group different creative thinkers” and have them “come together and work on mutual goals through originality,” she said.

“There are multiple layers to how this promotes discovery of different art practices and why a person creates art in a certain way,” she said.

Sabbaghi hopes the show draws on “strengths and creative characteristics of artists and allows one to explore a wide range of materials and approaches to the arts,” she said.

Since April, the exhibit, sponsored by Sabbaghi’s program, COPE NYC, has traveled throughout the borough bringing together dozens of artists from diverse backgrounds. In that time, it has grown from just an exhibit to also a variety of art workshops, exhibits, public art and interactive art, which will all be an ongoing and integral part of the exhibition.

“The goal is to innovate and promote social relations,” Sabbaghi said. “We want to encourage these relations among different communities.”

At the Queens Museum, the exhibit will face the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, which Sabbaghi saw as a parallel to her “inclusive world” show.

The exhibit will open Saturday at 3 p.m. and run through until 6 p.m. Additionally, workshops will be held November 14 and 15.

Sabbaghi wishes to thank AHRC NYC, Roger Ricco, Janos Marton, Alice Wexler, Authentic, the Queens Museum and Victoria Schneps.

 

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Star of Queens: Carolina Peñafiel, founder and director of Local Project, co-owner of Fancy Fox


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Jason Artiga

COMMUNITY SERVICE: Ten years ago Carolina Peñafiel founded Local Project, a nonprofit arts organization. It has housed its headquarters and gallery space inside the warehouses of 5Pointz in Long Island City. Local Project gives back to the community by showcasing local artists and holding events with local groups.

“It is a very welcoming space, it’s open and free to the public,” she said. “You walk in, you’re welcome and there is always someone talking to you. It’s an easy access space and we get to live in one of the hottest spots in New York City.”

Peñafiel also co-owns an up-and-coming thrift shop called The Fancy Fox out of the space.

BACKGROUND: Peñafiel also became a self-taught production assistant, helping behind the scenes on some shows. She was also a photographer taking self-portraits as a tool to express  herself. Together with Local Project, she has worked with community groups such as the Queens Museum, Flux Factory, and many others curating art shows.

INSPIRATION: Starting the organization at such a young age and not having much knowledge of the art world, Peñafiel said there was no big inspiration at first, but now the impact the organization has made serves as her motivation.

“My inspiration to continue is the impact we have on the public and the people,” she said. “I get inspired by people, I like to be around them, that’s what keeps me going.”

FAVORITE MEMORY: Peñafiel remembers the group getting its first grant from the Queens Council on the Arts and being able to continue serving the community and local artists.

“When people tell me about their experience with Local Project, that makes me believe in what we’re doing,” she said. “When we see a result of all the work we put into things, there are always good memories to build.”

BIGGEST CHALLENGE:  One of the newest challenges Local Project and Peñafiel have had to deal with is finding a new home for the organization once it was announced the property owners were selling the warehouses to construct two high-rise apartments. Yet, the nonprofit received the help from a local supporter and found a new home.

“The biggest challenge was trying to keep Local Project in Long Island City and then the angels came down to us,” she said.

 

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Potential plans for Corona Plaza released


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Renderings courtesy of The RBA Group

Corona residents and business owners got a first look into the future of Corona Plaza.

Before 2012, Corona Plaza, located on Roosevelt Avenue between National and 104th Street, was a busy area filled with trucks, traffic and no open space. After the Queens Economic Development Corporation (EDC) partnered with the Queens Museum, Councilmember Julissa Ferreras and other local groups, the plaza became an open public space allowing residents and visitors to sit down and relax.

Although the public space was expected to be temporary, in March the Department of Transportation (DOT) met with the community to introduce first plans and designs for keeping and improving Corona Plaza as a public space.

During this meeting the public gave its input as to what they wanted to add to the plaza and picked the best initial design from three options.

“We want the community to feel like this is their spot and they helped build it,” said David Strauss, director of external Affairs and Capital Projects of the Queens Museum, which has been working close with the community to receive continuous, direct input.

The DOT and design firm The RBA Group met with the community for a second time on August 24, during the plaza’s one year celebration, to debut two options of the first renderings of the future Corona Plaza.

“We really wanted that second meeting to be outside and allow the people to come up and give their input,” said Prerana Reddy, director of public events at the Queens Museum. “I feel like we’re hearing the same things over and over, so it feels like we got it. People were excited about it.”

Some of the ideas that were included in the renderings were plaza seating, bicycle racks and corrals, a stage for cultural performances, green area, benches, additional trash cans, signage, improved lighting for security, utilizing the space under the No. 7 train for storage, an information/storage kiosk and a drinking fountain.

“Corona Plaza is a vision that the community and I had shared for several years,” said Ferreras. “Since its creation, it has only continued to attract more and more visitors who are seeking a place to meet friends, enjoy a cup of coffee and take in the rich diversity that is our district. As additional plans for the plaza continue to unfold, it is my hope that Corona continues to thrive and becomes a must-see destination for New Yorkers and tourists alike.”

The DOT and design firm will now present the renderings to the city’s Public Design Commission in the next couple of months. According to Reddy, the earliest the community will see the new plaza would be by 2015.

 

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