Two of the three Queens-bound lanes on the Throgs Neck Bridge will be closed during overnight hours this weekend, while one lane will be closed during the day.
From Friday, Aug. 22 at 10 p.m. through Monday, Aug. 25, at 5 a.m., one lane to Queens will be closed due to construction. One additional lane will stay closed between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. on all three days.
According to the MTA, these closures can cause delays in traffic movement, so motorists should use the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge or Robert F. Kennedy Bridge as an alternative.
This is the fourth of the seven non-consecutive weekends that the MTA needs to replace 90,000 square feet of binder and asphalt overlay to deliver on its promise of a smoother riding experience, according to the agency. All work is heavily dependent on good weather.
For up-to-date information on MTA service status visit www.mta.info.
Queens County took on a whole new meaning when a Ridgewood bar hosted a burlesque show.
The first-ever Ridgewood Variety Show, held on Aug. 14, bedazzled patrons at the Queens Tavern on Fresh Pond Road.
“There were so many talented acts,” said Sarah Feldman, one of the organizers of the event and operator of the website Ridgewood Social. “The bar owner and the locals had a fabulous time.”
The two–hour show, held in front of more than 30 cheering guests, included drag, dance, singing, comedy and burlesque acts.
Headliners included New Orleans chanteuse Bronze Bettina, “Maven of the Underworld” Lady Zombie, premiere female drag queen Miss Crimson Kitty and Jantina, the “Burlesque Booty Queen.”
“This was a variety show and the difference between a variety show and a burlesque is you have an opportunity to entertain people with more unique performers,” Feldman said.
The event was put together by both Ridgewood Social and KissedPR, a public relations firm for small businesses. One person even commented on how the performances reminded them of what used to happen in Greenwich Village and said it was a “very New York City” kind of night.
The show worked out so well that Feldman was asked to put together another one and is hoping that she can have it as a monthly event at the tavern.
Already, she and the owner of the Queens Tavern have scheduled for the next show to be on Sept. 18 and hope for an even bigger crowd.
Even though Dora the Explorer is getting older and making a move to a big city, the Queens native and voice behind the popular cartoon is not going anywhere.
Fátima Ptacek has been the voice of Nickelodeon’s 7-year-old “Dora the Explorer” since 2010 and will now also be the one behind 10-year-old Dora in “Dora and Friends: Into the City!”
L-R: Alana, Emma, Dora, Kate, Naiya, Pablo in Dora and Friends: Into the City! (Photo courtesy of Nickelodeon)
“She’s stunning, I’m so excited,” said Ptacek about the older Dora who will premiere on Monday, Aug. 18 on Nickelodeon. “Now that she’s in the city, she can identify with city kids.”
The 13-year-old actress says growing up and still living in Queens helps her understand her new role more because she can identify with being a city kid.
“I’m very proud to be living in Queens, it’s one of the coolest places I know,” Ptacek said. “I know it like the back of my hands. I make sure to brag about it to anyone.”
She said she loves living in the borough because of its diversity and food options.
“I’m a total foodie,” Ptacek said. “What’s great is right where I live. We basically have every nationality’s cuisine.”
In “Dora and Friends: Into the City!”, Dora moves to a city named “Playa Verde” and finds a new group of friends who embark on explorations with her including riding the subway, and going to school and parties. There is also a lot more music in this series, with a “pop-feel to it,” according to Ptacek.
Along with the new show, the Emmy-award winning series “Dora the Explorer” will also still air.
“I’ve really loved growing up with Dora and I am so lucky to be the first voice of this [new] show,” said Ptacek, who hopes both shows continue on for a long time. “I want my kids to be able to watch the show just how I did.”
Along with being the voice behind Dora, Ptacek has also performed on stage and starred in films, such as “The Rebound” with Catherine Zeta-Jones, and television shows such as “Saturday Night Light” and “Sesame Street,” where she was able to work alongside Michelle Obama.
Lui, a New York City resident but a Hong Kong native, is thrilled to be celebrating the Hong Kong tradition. His local band Rectifist, formed in June 2012, will take the stage Aug. 10 at 12:45 p.m.
“For me, I feel great because I was born in Hong Kong. I came from there,” Lui said. “Now, there is a chance for me to perform at a festival about Hong Kong.”
Lui, who used to work for the Cantonese radio station AM 1480, said he has been to the Dragon Boat Festival almost every year. This will be the first time he’s playing the music.
Usually a hard rock and metal band, Rectifist will be paying tribute to the disbanded Hong Kong rock band Beyond by playing cover songs in its upcoming performance.
“Beyond is one of the very important bands from Hong Kong,” Lui said. He said their songs talked about the world, race and other societal issues.
Rectifist currently has five band members: Steve Cheng and Sylivan Tam on the guitars, Chun Yeung Au with the bass, Jeff on the drums and Lui, also known as Spark, as the vocalist. All were involved in a prior band named X-Scale before forming Rectifist. The band is influenced by the underground rock and grunge music scene.
Rectifist, which Lui said usually plays in local city venues with two to three hundred people-audiences, will play in front of a much larger crowd in this year’s Dragon Boat Festival in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
The city’s Department of Transportation announced Friday the second phase of Arterial Slow Zones, which reduce speed limits to 25 mph, in 14 new locations throughout the city. New signs will be put up indicating the change.
Among the 14 locations are two Queens corridors. The first will run 5.8 miles on Roosevelt Avenue from Queens Boulevard to 154th Street and the approximate start month is set for September.
In December, the DOT is expected to begin implementing a 5.6-mile slow zone on Metropolitan Avenue from Onderdonk Avenue to 132nd Street.
“Slow Zones are a critical and widely endorsed element of Vision Zero,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said. “We are glad to work closely with local communities in bringing these life saving measures to corridors across the city. These 14 additional zones meet another goal we set in February.”
Starting Monday, July 21, there will be service disruptions on the E, F, M and R lines between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. in Queens and Manhattan for four consecutive weeknights, as part of the MTA’s Fastrack maintenance program:
E service will be suspended between Roosevelt Avenue and World Trade Center.
F service will be suspended between Roosevelt Avenue and 21 Street-Queensbridge.
M service will end early between 71 Avenue and Essex Street each night.
R service will end early between 71 Avenue and Whitehall Street each night.
Take the 7 between Manhattan and 74 St-Roosevelt Avenue or Queensboro Plaza.
Take the N between Manhattan and Queensboro Plaza.
In Manhattan, transfer at 5 Avenue/42 Street-Bryant Park 7/D/F, Times Square-42 Street/Port Authority 7/A, and 34 Street-Herald Square D/F/N.
Take the R between Queens Plaza and 71 Avenue. When R service ends, E trains run local between Queens Plaza and 71 Avenue until 10 p.m. After 10 PM, take the E Local between Roosevelt Avenue and 71 Avenue.
In Manhattan along 8th Avenue, take the A Local or C instead of the E.
Along 53 Street, use the D or nearby 6 and N stations instead.
Free shuttle buses run local between Queensboro Plaza and 74 Street-Roosevelt Avenue making station stops at Queens Plaza, 36 Street, Steinway Street, 46 Street, Northern Boulevard, and 65 Street.
In Queens, transfer between shuttle buses and trains at 74 Street-Roosevelt Avenue 7/E/F or Queensboro Plaza 7/N.
The founders of a new walking food tour, which is making its start in Long Island City, are looking to prove that Queens is the “king of the boroughs.”
Queens natives Richard Mumith and Sergey Kadinsky started the company Locals Finds Queens Food Tours to share their love for the diverse borough and bring tourists across the East River.
“We essentially started up for the tourists but now a lot of natives are becoming part of it too,” Mumith said. “We now want Queens locals to really see what is in their backyard.”
The three-hour tours, which began July 13 and take place every Sunday, look to combine the history, culture and food of the borough in what Mumith calls a “non-touristy ‘off the beaten’ experience.”
Every Sunday eight participants, who are told the meeting point after purchasing tickets, get together and sample food from six local Long Island City establishments, while also being given a tour by Kadinsky, who is a licensed tour guide, on the history and present details on the western Queens neighborhood.
The stops of the tour include Manducatis Rustica, Woodbines Craft Kitchen, Sweetleaf, Alobar, Rockaway Brewing Company and Sage General Store.
Mumith said the tours are starting in Long Island City because it is close to Manhattan and also has an “amazing industrial manufacturing history and artistic presence.”
“We’re really here to create a relationship with the communities,” Mumith said.
However, Mumith hopes to expand the tours into full weekends in Long Island City and later move them further into other Queens neighborhood such as Astoria and Flushing.
“We’re here to stay. We’re here to do all the great borough of Queens and each neighborhood presents something unique,” he said.
The Briarwood resident is even challenging the other four boroughs to try and beat the diversity and distinct cuisines offered in Queens.
“What people don’t know, when it comes to the culinary scene, Queens is the king of the boroughs,” Mumith said.
Tickets for the tours are $56 for adults and $42 for children 12 and under. The price of tickets include the tour, which begins every Sunday at 11 a.m., food tastings and an exclusive brochure featuring a map of the neighborhood, list of attractions, other restaurant recommendations and list of things to do.
The free event will feature stories from three speakers who will share their journeys coming to Queens, music inspired by the borough and an open-mic session for audience members to also talk about their Queens-themed experiences.
Bridget Bartolini, founder of Five Boro Story Project and a native Queens resident, said she hopes the series, which is expected to take place every three months at Terraza 7, will bring people together and create connections within the community.
“I really hope that people at the event will get to know each other,” Bartolini said. “I want to create an opportunity for people to get to know their neighbors. Come as strangers and leave as neighbors.”
When it came to picking a venue for the series, Bartolini said Terraza 7, located between the neighborhoods of Elmhurst and Jackson Heights, was a “special spot” because it serves as more than just a bar; it is also a cultural venue.
Bartolini said she encourages people to contact the group if they are interested on being featured as a speaker.
The July 20 launch event, which begins at 6 p.m., will include speakers Susan Peret, Angy Rivera and Affandy Yacoob, and finish off with music by Nicholas Howard, singer-songwriter and music producer, and Danon Singh, East Elmhurst lawyer and MC.
The Queens Documented series was also produced by community-based organization SEVA and commissioned by nonprofit The Laundromat Project’s “Create Change” program.
Foodies, get ready: a two-day international Queens food tour is coming to the borough thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign.
Astoria resident Adam Edwards turned to the online crowdfunding site last month in hopes of raising enough money to turn his project called “The Silk Road & Spice Route of Queens” into a reality, The Queens Courier first reported.
“I always wanted to do something with food that really connects with people, and Queens is a unique food destination in itself,” Edwards previously told The Courier.
Edwards’ campaign came to an end on July 15 and raised a total of $2,175, surpassing his goal of $2,000.
The idea came to Edwards, originally from Pittsburgh, upon exploring Astoria and seeing the different restaurants featuring international cuisines, such as Mombar located at 25-22 Steinway St.
During the food tour, which will take place on August 10 and 17, Edwards said he hopes to highlight the borough’s diversity and modern versions of food that could be found along the ancient Silk Road and spice routes that connected Europe, Asia and Africa.
Participants will be able to ride a trolley from midtown Manhattan, at 8th Avenue between 54th and 55th streets, into Queens.
“Learn about the history of Queens and the lands where people immigrated from to call New York City home as we try authentic food from the old world right in our backyard,” said Edwards on the food tour’s official website.
The first Sunday, August 10, starting at noon, the tour will focus on the Spice Route of Queens dining at restaurants specializing in Italian, Egyptian, South Indian, Malaysian and Cantonese cuisines.
The following week, participants will explore the Silk Road tasting food from Greece, the Middle East, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Central/Western China.
Tickets are currently on sale for $150 as an early-bird special, up to 10 days before the events, and the full price of the tickets is $200 per day.
All proceeds from the food tour will go toward supporting the nonprofit Upwardly Global, for which Edwards has organized fundraisers over the past few years.
Angy Rivera, a formerly undocumented immigrant, knew which words she wanted to let out when she was invited to take the stage at Flushing Town Hall last month.
In her original poem, “Community Not Condominiums,” the 23-year-old Flushing resident describes in detail the communities of Jackson Heights, Flushing and Corona through following a food vendor named “Doña María.”
Doña María is up before the sun rises Moon shining on her face she gets ready for the morning commute It’s her job to feed others Moon shining on her face ella empieza a cocinar arepas, tamales, café y chocolate Arepas made with corn and cheese They start to melt as soon as they touch your mouth.
“At first I thought, ‘Oh wait, what if someone doesn’t understand that,” Rivera said about writing the poem in both Spanish and English. “But that’s how it is here in Queens.”
The college junior, who is studying culture and deviance with a minor in human services at John Jay College, said she felt pride when writing the poem for being part of “such a beautiful community” and remembering all the great details of each neighborhood. Yet, she said she also felt sadness when thinking about the idea of growing up and facing changes.
How will Doña María sell her tamales, arepas, café y chocolate When the streets becomes businesses she cannot pronounce Will her café con leche compete with Starbucks? These signs of a cleaner and safer Queens erase the resiliency already here We weren’t dirty to begin with Will her house stand untouched during gentrification?
“That’s what I wanted to make sure came across, as much as it’s a celebration of Queens, on the flipside it’s about things we can lose,” she said.
This wasn’t the first time Rivera’s words reached a much larger audience. In 2009 she joined the nonprofit New York State Youth Leadership Council, the first volunteer undocumented youth and membership led organization started in 2007, as an intern.
The Colombian-native, who was undocumented for 19 years and has recently obtained a visa, went on to create a national undocumented youth advice column in 2010 called “Ask Angy.”
“It was the first time I met with other immigrant young people that wanted to change things that they saw unjust,” said Rivera, who immigrated with her family to the United States just one week shy of her fourth birthday. “Through them I grew as a person.”
Now as a core member of the organization, she helps out in the media/outreach and arts/self-expression programs. Through her weekly column, she said she gets people writing to her from all around the nation about different subjects undocumented youths face, such as driving without a license and deferred action.
Although she said it is tricky at times because she doesn’t always have answers, especially when it comes to legal topics, she said the column has helped her learn different laws depending on states.
“Being involved helped me become more open about a lot of things and helped me learn a lot of new stuff,” she said. “It’s been very healing to meet other people in the same situation as you. It’s always been nice to have a group to understand.”
Continuing her involvement in activism, Rivera has also become part of Queens Neighborhoods United, a coalition created to build power and develop leadership in Corona, Elmhurst and Jackson Heights. The group recently has gone around cleaning the streets down Roosevelt Avenue.
Rivera now plans to recite “Community Not Condominiums” at a new quarterly series called “Queens Documented,” which launches on July 20 at Terraza 7 located at 40-19 Gleane St. in Elmhurst and features stories and music from people who migrated to Queens.
Adam Edwards is turning to Kickstarter to make his idea of bringing a two-day international food tour to Queens a reality.
Edwards’ project, called “The Silk Road & Spice Route of Queens,” hopes to highlight the borough’s diversity and modern versions of the foods that could be found along the ancient Silk Road and spice routes that connected Europe, Asia and Africa.
“I always wanted to do something with food that really connects with people, and Queens is a unique food destination in itself,” said Edwards, who calls himself a “history buff.”
The idea came to him upon exploring Astoria and seeing the different restaurants featuring international cuisines, such as Mombar located at 25-22 Steinway St.
“Walking through the beautiful entrance and tasting the amazing food by Chef Moustafa El Sayed really transported me back to ancient times and I want to share that feeling with others,” he said.
The Astoria resident, originally from Pittsburgh, said the biggest challenge is getting people to support his campaign without knowing an exact date of the tour.
The money donated to the Kickstarter will go toward a shuttle bus, which will serve as transportation between restaurants, and for prizes and reservations at the restaurants.
If he reaches the Kickstarter campaign’s goal of $2,000 by July 15, Edwards said, the two-day tour, slated to happen the second weekend of August, will cover five restaurants per day. The estimated price per day is $200.
The Saturday of the tour would be dedicated to the spice route, concentrating on Malaysian, Southern Indian and Egyptian cuisines. On Sunday, participants will go down the Silk Road, tasting food from Uzbekistan, western China and more.
“Queens is the most diverse place on earth,” Edwards said. “Certainly in the United States it’s the most diverse. I hope people can travel a little bit in their own backyard.”
Additional funds will also go toward supporting the nonprofit Upwardly Global, for which Edwards has organized fundraisers over the past few years.
Instead of sitting in air conditioning, try cooling off in one of the borough’s free outdoor pools starting Friday, June 27. All locations are open from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (with a break for cleaning between 3 and 4 p.m). The season ends September 1.
Astoria Park 19th Street and 23rd Drive Olympic-sized Pool
Fisher Pool 99th Street and 32nd Avenue Outdoor Intermediate Pool, Outdoor Wading Pool
Fort Totten 338 Story Avenue Outdoor Intermediate Pool, Outdoor Wading Pool, Outdoor Diving Pool
Liberty Park Pool 173rd Street and 106th Avenue Outdoor Intermediate Pool, Outdoor Wading Pool
Marie Curie Park 211th Street and 46th Avenue Outdoor Mini Pool
P.S. 10 45th Street and 30th Road Outdoor Mini Pool
P.S. 186 Playground Little Neck Parkway & 72nd Avenue Outdoor Mini Pool
Windmuller Park 54th Street and 39th Road Outdoor Mini Pool