Tag Archives: Queens

Ridgewood bar to hold viewing party for ‘Weird Loners’ premiere


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Michael Becker / FOX/Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting

The neighborhood that inspired the backdrop of a new Fox comedy will be holding a viewing party at a local bar for its premiere that is likely to be filled with more jeers than cheers.

Weird Loners” is about four relationship-challenged 30-somethings who unexpectedly end up in each other’s lives and start bonding while living next door to each other.

Creator and executive producer Michael J. Weithorn, who also co-created “The King of Queens,” decided to use Ridgewood as the setting for the show.

He had the set designer research the old buildings of the neighborhood for the Los Angeles-shot show, and used a Polish delicatessen he visited in the area as a child for the inspiration for the background of two of the characters.

But these attempts to replicate Ridgewood don’t seem to be sitting well with some of its own who are planning on attending a party to watch its depiction on the small screen.

A “Let’s Watch ‘Weird Loners’ Together…Party” is set for Wednesday at 9 p.m. at Queens Tavern, at 68-69 Fresh Pond Rd., hosted by Sarah Feldman from Ridgewood Social, who will be grabbing the mic during commercial breaks. According to the event description:

Grab a beer and uncomfortably watch the first episode at Queens Tavern on their full screen! Be in awe of how large their indoor apartment is! Then ask yourself… “if that is considered weird by mainstream standards… what am I?” Make bets with your fellow friends on how long until this show gets cancelled!

P.S. The word “Quooklyn” is banned from the party.

If the show does get the ax early on, locals won’t need to worry about any direct references to Ridgewood.

According to Weithorn the show’s current scripts don’t directly mention the neighborhood so far, but there are future plans to feature it more prominently in the comedy.

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Identify this place in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

WHERE

Do you know where in Queens this photo was taken? Guess by commenting below! The answer will be revealed next week.

Last week’s answer to “Identify this Place”: Jamaica near the LIRR station 

WHERE-624x402

 

 

 

 

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Queens native starts campaign to fund Dennis Hopper’s final film


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of "The Last Film Festival"

One filmmaker is turning to Kickstarter and the Queens community she grew up in to help put the finishing touches on what will be known as the late Dennis Hopper’s last movie, filmed completely in the “World’s Borough.”

Linda Yellen is one of the creative minds behind the comedy “The Last Film Festival,” which began filming in 2009 with a cast including Hopper, known for the classic film “Easy Rider,” Golden Globe-winner Jacqueline Bisset, JoBeth Williams, Chris Kattan, Donnell Rawlings, Katrina Bowden, Joseph Cross and Leelee Sobieski.

The film, written by Yellen and Michael Leeds, follows a Hollywood producer, played by Hopper, whose recent film was rejected by every film festival except a small town festival named the O’Hi Film Festival.

Although the movie surrounds a small town, it was actually filmed in Queens, some parts in Astoria and others in Forest Hills, the neighborhood Yellen grew up in.

“I loved growing up in Queens. It was so accessible to Manhattan but it also had the feeling of small town and community. It was always so friendly,” Yellen said. “It was a wonderful thing to sort of return home.”

The majority of the film was shot in Forest Hills, with scenes taking place at Forest Hills High School, where Yellen attended school. During the 2009 spring break, the actors were housed in the high school classrooms, which replaced the use of dressing rooms and trailers.

“There was always a great appreciation for the arts and culture in Forest Hills,” Yellen said. “I learned about the art of filming and directing in Forest Hills.”

The cast of "The Last Film Festival."

The cast of “The Last Film Festival.”

Although Yellen no longer lives in the borough, she said she is constantly traveling back to visit her mother, who still lives in the same building Yellen grew up in and who had a small part in the film as a “biker chick.”

During the filming, Yellen recalls walking the streets of Forest Hills during lunch with Hopper, who would take pictures of everywhere he went in the borough.

“A lot of those early experiences helped shape my identity and it gave a special pleasure to Dennis Hopper. He got to learn a lot about me as we took a lot of those walks,” Yellen said. “He loved [Queens].”

Tragedy then struck when, just a few scenes short of finishing the film, Hopper became ill and later died of cancer at the age of 74 in May of 2010.

“He was a picture of health and vitality and he just gives a multilevel comedic act [in the film],” Yellen said. “He had no idea he was sick; we had no idea he was sick.”

Hopper’s passing left a hole in the hearts of the cast and crew, and the film was set aside for a while until Yellen decided to pick it back up this year, which will mark the fifth anniversary of Hopper’s death.

However, in order to finish the film, Yellen made the decision to turn to Kickstarter, with a goal of $90,000, because she felt it was a way to get to the fans directly. The crowdfunding site also followed Hopper’s idea of “always looking for ways to go around the system.” As of March 25, $64,174 had been pledged.

The funds raised by the campaign will go toward all post-production aspects that are required to finish the film, including using movie clips to replace Hopper in scenes.

“This is a way of [the fans] saying we want this and we want to say we support this film and this comedy,” Yellen said. “This picture was made as a labor of love. Just the pleasure of doing good work and wanting it out there and wanting people to laugh a lot.”

The Kickstarter’s deadline is on April 9. To donate click here.

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Open call for new Queens poet laureate


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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BY LLEWYN SHIN

Borough President Melinda Katz has launched an open call for applications for the next Queens poet laureate, a prestigious three-year position charged with promoting a love of poetry and literacy throughout the borough.

“Because Queens is such a diverse borough, the Queens poet laureate must be a compelling wordsmith who is capable of synthesizing the borough’s many cultures and languages into poetry,” Katz said.

The Queens Borough President’s office and Queens College have been partners in the Queens poet laureate project since the search for the first Queens poet laureate began in 1996. This year, the Queens Borough Public Library joined the partnership for the first time and will provide meeting space for the next Queens poet laureate to present poetry and conduct outreach to the Queens community.

“As a primary source for culture and literature in our borough, Queens Library is delighted to partner with Borough President Melinda Katz’s office to find the next poet laureate. We look forward to hosting the new poet laureate at the library,” Queens Library Interim President/CEO Bridget Quinn-Carey said.

Queens College President Felix V. Matos Rodriguez added, “We are delighted that Borough President Katz is continuing this position and committed to promoting poetry – literature that can touch people of all backgrounds in a profound and universal way.”

The process of selecting the Queens poet laureate is overseen by the Queens Poet Laureate Administrative Committee.

Applications are available at www.queensbp.org/poet and must be submitted by April 24. Applicants must have a published portfolio and are expected to submit representative samples of their poetry, including poems related to Queens. This writing sample should not exceed 10 pages per applicant.

A panel of expert judges will review the applications and recommend three finalists to the borough president, who will make the final decision on who will be appointed.

The past Queens poet laureates are as follows: Stephen Stepanchev (who served from 1997 – 2001), Hal Sirowitz (2001 – 2004), Ishle Yi Park (2004 – 2007), Julio Marzan (2007 – 2010) and Paolo Javier (2010 – 2014).

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Street Talk: How do you plan on spending your income tax refund this year?


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

street talk

BY ROSS BELSKY

Brandon Jolly

“Buy an Xbox One.”
Brandon Jolly

Diane Valles

“I will put it in the bank, but I know someway or another I will need it for an emergency.”
Diane Valles

Denise Surgent

“I am dependent on my mom.”
Denise Surgent

Maria Nass

“Save it, of course.”
Maria Nass

Peter Dodd

“I will spend it exclusively on my own pleasures.”
Peter Dodd

Anthony Modica

“I don’t get one.”
Anthony Modica

Tyrone Wilkerson

“Go to a fancy steakhouse.”
Tyrone Wilkerson

Mimi Melendez

“Invest it in my kids.”
Mimi Melendez

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New Fox comedy set in Queens premiering March 31


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Michael Becker / FOX/Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting

The co-creator of “The King of Queens” is bringing the borough back to the small screen with a new Fox comedy premiering this month.

Weird Loners” focuses on four relationship-challenged 30-somethings who unexpectedly end up in each other’s lives and start bonding while living next door to each other in a neighborhood that’s supposed to be Ridgewood.

Unlike some sitcoms featuring single urbanites, the comedy speaks to the stigma of being older and still being alone, according to creator and executive producer Michael J. Weithorn.

“There is the feeling that their lives are getting away from them,” Weithorn said. “But they bond together because they find each other.”

The show stars Becki Newton (“Ugly Betty”) as Caryn Goldfarb — described as a cute but high-strung dental hygienist who is love-crazed and an ultra-romantic. Her overeagerness and infatuation in her dating life has left her chronically single.

Zachary Knighton (“Happy Endings”) plays Stosh Lewandoski who is handsome, charming, smart and great at seducing women, but can’t maintain an intimate relationship. After losing his corporate condo, he is forced to move in with his cousin in Queens.

Michael Becker / FOX. Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting

Michael Becker/FOX/Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting

Nate Torrence (“Hello Ladies”) plays his cousin Eric — a toll collector who is described as a sweet, odd man-child. He lives in his family home with his parents until they pass away and Stosh moves in with him.

Newcomer Meera Rohit Kumbhani plays Zara Sandhu — a mysterious and ethereal woman who likes to live in the moment. A lifelong heartbreaker, men and women regularly fall in love with her. After leaving yet another lover, she moves in with Caryn, who lives next door to Eric and Stosh.

These four characters may be considered “Weird Loners,” but the title is somewhat ironic according to Weithorn because everyone is a weird loner in a way.

“They’re just like all of us…they just have not been able to figure out how to do this one thing,” he said.

Weithorn, a Fresh Meadows native, started creating relatable characters based in Queens with his hit sitcom “The King of Queens,” which ran on CBS from 1998 to 2007.

“I feel like I can write [characters] better if I can feel what it’s like when they walk out their front door,” he said.

Ray Mickshaw / FOX. Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting.

Ray Mickshaw/FOX/Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting

Weithorn’s shows haven’t been the only series set in the borough. “All in the Family” (1971-1979) was supposed to take place in Astoria, though the actual home is located in Glendale; and “Dear John” (1988–1992) was about a high school teacher who is forced to move to an apartment in Rego Park after divorcing his wife. Ugly Betty (2006–2010) focused on the title character’s job at the Manhattan offices of a top fashion magazine, but the dramedy also prominently featured the protagonist’s family home in Jackson Heights.

“The King of Queens” is the only one of the group to put the name of borough in the title, which was hard to sell at first, according to Weithorn. The title was given the go-ahead after the “Queens” was made into a street sign so people would know that Queens was a destination.

“I think we bombarded the American public with the image of Queens,” he said of the show, which is now in syndication.

After setting “The King of Queens” in Rego Park, Weithorn decided to use Ridgewood as the backdrop for “Weird Loners.”

Michael Becker / FOX. Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting.

Michael Becker/FOX/Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting

Weithorn had the set designer research the old buildings of the neighborhood for the Los Angeles-shot show, and used a Polish delicatessen he visited in the area as a child for the inspiration for the background of Stosh and Eric.

The two characters are children of Polish immigrants, a fact that is displayed proudly in Stosh’s name and the Polish banter the two sometimes have.

Weithorn doesn’t believe the show’s current scripts contain any direct references to the neighborhood so far, but there are future plans to feature it more prominently in the comedy.

But there are scenes that demonstrate it’s a Queens show — Eric’s hardcore devotion to the Mets and a bonding moment between the group in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

“Hopefully we will get the chance to tell the world about Queens,” Weithorn said.

“Weird Loners” premieres on Fox Tuesday, March 31, at 9:30 p.m.

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Identify this place in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

WHERE IS THIS PLACE

Do you know where in Queens this photo was taken? Guess by commenting below! The answer will be revealed next week.

Last week’s answer to “Identify this Place”: Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church in Maspeth
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Man found dead on Queens E train


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Adam E. Moreira

Police are investigating the death of a 55-year-old man who was found unresponsive early Sunday morning on an E train at the Jamaica Center subway station.

Responding to a 911 call of an unresponsive person inside a subway car, police found the man just after 7 a.m., authorities said. He had no obvious signs of trauma on his body, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Jamaica Center station is the last stop on the E line and it’s not clear how long the man was dead on the train before he was discovered.

The man’s identity hasn’t been released by police.

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Identify this place in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

church 3

Do you know where in Queens this photo was taken? Guess by commenting below! The answer will be revealed next week.

Last week’s answer to “Identify this Place”: Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue subway station
Jackson Heights - Roosevelt Ave

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March snowstorm could bring 7 inches to Queens


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter/NYC Sanitation

Updated 4:36 p.m.

Before Queens residents spring forward this weekend, they’ll need to dig out of up to 7 inches of snow.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a winter storm warning for New York City from 7:00 p.m. Wednesday to 7:00 p.m. Thursday. The storm is expected to bring 4 to 7 inches of  the white stuff.

Rain and sleet during the day Wednesday will change to snow overnight, according to NWS. The snow will keep falling on Thursday as temperatures drop to the low 20s by the afternoon. By about 7 p.m. the flakes will taper off.

Though the sun will return on Friday, temperatures will stay chilly with a high around 24 degrees.

But, as we turn our clocks ahead on Sunday and gain that extra hour of sunlight in the evenings, temperatures are also signaling that nicer weather is coming.

The next week should have highs in the 40s.

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Optimism high for Queens small businesses but hiring still slow: report


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre/ Charts courtesy of TD Bank

Small businesses in Queens are positive that 2015 will be a strong year, according to the second annual TD Bank Small Business Pulse Check.

About two-thirds of Queens businesses are optimistic or excited about the year, and 27 percent believe 2015 will be the best year ever for their company, the report found.

The firm surveyed nearly 500 business owners in the city with $5 million in revenue or less. About 100 of those companies are from Queens.

Despite the positive outlooks, more than half of Queens businesses surveyed don’t expect to hire new employees this year and just 29 percent hope to hire more workers, according to the questionnaire.

“Businesses in Queens and across the city are optimistic because not only did 75 percent of businesses in Queens (and 77 percent citywide) meet or exceed their revenue goals in 2014, but 63 percent of businesses in Queens anticipate being able to increase their revenues during 2015,” said Chris Giamo, TD Bank Regional President, Metro New York. “This trend toward growth naturally leads to a better outlook on business, but we are seeing that many business owners are still approaching expansion in a careful and well-planned way, meaning they aren’t ready to take major risks.”

But many businesses in the borough are thinking technology-forward. The survey found that nearly half of the companies, 46 percent, are already using smart pay technology services, such as Apple Pay, Square or other forms of mobile payment, which are gaining popularity.


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Identify this place in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

identify

Do you know where in Queens this photo was taken? Guess by commenting below! The answer will be revealed next week.

Last week’s answer to “Identify this Place”: Flushing Marina
WHERE-624x384

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Community leaders urge BP to focus on creating new schools throughout Queens


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Angy Altamirano

It turns out that it’s not just western Queens that has a problem with overcrowded schools.

Community leaders from across the borough urged Borough President Melinda Katz to push for school expansions during a budget meeting on Monday. Katz is in the process of developing the Queens budget for 2016, and she invited the public to comment on what mattered to them and their priorities for 2016.

“We’re experiencing a huge influx of children and we just don’t have the space,” said Karyn Petersen, Community Board 10 district manager. “We could use more schools or expand the schools we have. Both would be preferable.”

Petersen’s wishes were echoed by many others. Across the borough, people are reporting an increase in population and a swelling number of school children. In Woodside and Sunnyside, parents petitioned the city to create a new middle school. In the Jackson Heights area, Giovanna Reid bemoaned the fact that a new high school hadn’t been created in decades.

One hundred and fifty people, many representing hospitals, libraries, colleges and other institutions, signed up to speak at the hearing.

“We need a new high school,” Reid said.  “It’s about time for one.”

Along with a demand for more school seats, community leaders sought out funding to expand libraries, which, like the schools, are overcrowded. Along with a problem of limited space, many libraries are located on streets that are dangerous for pedestrians to cross.

“Kids have to cross the boulevard of death just to get to the library,” said Frank Gulluscio, the district manager for Community Board 6. “I mean I’m not trying to be dramatic but it’s a very dangerous place for kids to be even though many have to be there.”

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Video: Lunar New Year performances at Flushing Town Hall


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

With the start of Lunar New Year, Flushing’s large Asian communities are getting ready to celebrate the year of the goat (or sheep, or ram, depending on the translation). At Flushing Town Hall, artists from all over the world will be holding workshops and performances for the public. Two performances are featured in this video as a sample of what to expect.

The first is the EastRiver Ensemble, a group of dancers and musicians who will be performing at the cultural center on Feb. 28, and the second performance is Dancing Wind, an abstract dance that is meant to imitate earth, wind, fire and water.

On Saturday, a large parade will be held in downtown Flushing. In the past, hundreds of people have come out to celebrate in the parade, and organizers are expecting a similar showing of people with an increased boost from both groups celebrating together.

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Identify this place in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

WHERE

Do you know where in Queens this photo was taken? Guess by commenting below! The answer will be revealed next week.

Last week’s answer to “Identify this Place”: Woodside Houses 

DSC_0482-624x416

 

 

 

 

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