Tag Archives: Queens Museum

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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East Elmhurst boy runs five-mile race to raise money for autism program


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Larry Sillen

Max Moore has crossed the finish line to make a difference.

The nine-year-old from East Elmhurst put on his running shoes to run in the June 30 Achilles International Hope and Possibility Five Mile Race in Central Park for the second time. This year, the youth raised $1,279 in funds online, surpassing his goal of $1,000. He ran to increase awareness for the Art Access Autism Initiatives at the Queens Museum.

“We are extremely proud of him and thrilled we can help to support such an amazing program,” said father John Moore.

Max, who is autistic himself, has been involved in the Art Access Autism Initiatives for over a year. According to his parents, the program has served as both a great social and artistic experience, allowing Max to get creative along with his family and other participants at the museum.

“The gifted people that work with the kids are always so engaged, talented and truly [invested] in the kids in the program,” said Moore.

This year Max beat his best time and finished the race in one hour and one minute. He ran alongside his dad and Marissa Fong, a guide provided by Achilles Kids, a non-profit organization that provides training and racing opportunities for children with disabilities. Max has participated in Achilles Kids’ running program for over two years.

“They all really take the time to get to know the boys and girls that are involved,” said Moore. “They knew to pair someone quick and fit with Max because they really know Max – what motivates him, what excites him, what engages him, his challenges and his triumphs.”

His dad and mom, Jacqueline, said they do not know for sure whether Max will continue participating in the race, but added they certainly hope he will. They said he takes a great deal of pride and joy in his running experience, and gets excited days ahead of his weekend runs with Achilles.

“The infectious nature of his enthusiasm affects the whole family, and we can’t say enough about how constructive and positive an experience [it] has been for all of us,” said Moore.

 

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Queens Museum of Art to change name, expand


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Renderings courtesy of Grimshaw and the Queens Museum of Art

The Queens Museum of Art (QMA) is getting a major makeover. This fall, the international art space will double in size and shorten its name.

“This is a time of tremendous change for the Queens Museum,” said executive director Tom Finkelpearl.

Come October, the institution will total 105,000-square-feet. It will have new galleries, artist studios, flexible public and special event spaces, classrooms, a new café, back-of-house facilities and improved visitor amenities. Instead of QMA, it will be known simply as the Queens Museum.

Additionally, the west façade facing Grand Central Parkway has been completely redesigned with a new entrance and drop-off plaza, as well as a tremendous glass wall easily visible from the roadway. This entrance also features a multicolored lighting system and will present commissioned art projects.

The $68 million project also includes another new entrance and expanded outdoor space on the side of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, which will include a skylight atrium.

“All of this will allow people to still be in the museum, while outside in the park,” said David Strauss, director of external affairs.

Finkelpearl noted that despite the significant changes coming to the museum, what will remain constant is their dedication to “openness and engagement.”

“We designed a dynamic space that reflects our overall philosophy and allows us to broaden our current slate of public programs, introduce innovative initiatives, and create wonderful opportunities for new participants and longtime visitors to enjoy our unique brand of museum experience,” he said.

At a legislative breakfast on Friday, March 22, members of the museum hosted dozens of elected officials and community leaders from around the borough, hoping to galvanize their participation and support for the new project. The expansion thus far is supported by Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Borough President Helen Marshall’s office, the state, City Council and donations from private individuals and corporations.

“It’s up to the business community to step up and help support these institutions,” said Strauss. “[We want them to] understand that a true public-private partnership makes progress like ours possible and successful.”

Congressmember Joseph Crowley recalled growing up in the borough, always enjoying the surrounding park and all that it has to offer.

“This museum is a jewel of many jewels here,” he said.

City Councilmember Julissa Ferreras, longtime supporter of the museum, acknowledged the institution’s attempts to think outside the box, bringing new and innovative programs with its expansion.

“You can’t have community without culture,” she said, getting teary-eyed. “We’ve been able to strike up new walls, and put in embracing walls [for all of Queens].”

Following the completion of Phase 1, work for Phase 2 will begin, projected to be done within 12 to 18 months.

“The Metropolitan Museum of Art better watch out,” said Marshall.

 

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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.