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2019

Get outdoors! Young people, families and seniors won’t want to miss reading about: ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿

Family activities all over Queens Live entertainment in the borough What’s new in the parks The Mets season preview A day trip to the Catskills

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SPRING GUIDE 3 2019

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GUIDE

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• Family fun in Queens parks ........................4 • Historical houses and events .....................6 • Library activities for everyone ....................8 • Your NY Mets season preview ................. 10

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C M SG page 3 Y K Page 3 QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, April 4, 2019

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QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, April 4, 2019 Page 4

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Plenty of fun stuff at Queens green spaces by Ryan Brady

S

pring is finally here. And if you’re looking for fun stuff to take the kids to or a great way to spend a day with a significant other, there is plenty to choose from at Queens parks and other green spaces this season. Beaches open up Saturday, May 25, but you don’t have to wait until then to have a blast in the sun. Here’s a look at what’s available. April April will be action-packed for green spaces in the borough. And over in the Queens Botanical Garden at 43-50 Main St. in Flushing, the month’s first weekend will be especially busy. On Saturday, April 6, it’s hosting a free compost giveaway from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; a herbal kitchen workshop from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m, where guests will be able to “capture and preserve” herbs that they can use for cooking; a seasonal garden tour from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.; a discussion by author Victoria Johnson about her new book “American Eden” from 2 to 4 p.m.; and an activity table during the same two-hour slot. Registration is required for the compost giveaway, herbal kitchen workshop and book talk. Links for registering can be found on the web pages for each event, which are at queensbotanical.org/calendar/ list. The giveaway is $30 for non members (the price includes the garden admission cost) and $20 for members; the workshop and the book talk are free after paying admission, which is $2 for kids four through 12, $4 for students with ID and seniors 62 and over and $6 for adults. Sunday, April 7, will also be action-packed at the QBG. Storytime and crafts are scheduled from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; another seasonal garden tour from 1 to 2 p.m.; a printmaking workshop from 2 to 4 p.m.; and an activity table is also scheduled for those two hours. Each of those events is free with garden admission except the printmaking workshop, which is $20 for members and $30 for nonmembers. Registration is required for it. On the same day, NYC Audubon is hosting a bird walk from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the botanical garden. Folks who attend will find out how to spot certain species and how the QBG provides critical resources for the creatures. The bird tour is also happening on April 14 and 27, as well as May 18. Registration is required for each of the events; it can be done online at 2019qbgbirdwalks.eventbrite.com. Over in Floral Park, the Queens County Farm Museum at 73-50 Little Neck Pkwy. has the Apple Blossom Children’s Festival set for 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the Saturdays and Sundays of April 6 and 7 and 13 and 14. Kids are sure to have a blast at the event. There will be a Tilt-A-Whirl, carnival games, a petting zoo and other fun stuff.

“You can take a hayride or check out the seasonal petting zoo that will be open,” Queens County Farm Museum Director of Communications and Sales Sarah Meyer told the Chronicle. Tickets are $15 in advance; they can be ordered at tinyurl.com/yxc67cwc. They cost $20 at the festival. Admission includes carnival rides, though there are other fees for hayrides, the petting zoo and other parts of the event. On April 7 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., NYCH2O and the Parks Department will have a volunteer work day at the Ridgewood Reservoir in Highland Park. Participants are encouraged to wear clothing and shoes or boots that they don’t mind getting some dirt on. They must also bring their own food and water. Chaperones are needed for those who are under 18 years old. The meeting place is the parking lot on Vermont Place. On the same day from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., the Urban Park Rangers will host “Understanding Urban Wildlife” at Captain Tilly Park in Jamaica Hills at Gothic Drive and Chapin Parkway. Guests will get to learn about the opossums, snakes and other animals in Queens. How to make fire — a useful skill for those who love the outdoors — will be taught by Urban Park Rangers at the Alley Pond Park Adventure Center on Saturday, April 13 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Children 8 and older are encouraged to attend. Catch a performance of “The Tempest” by the Public Theater Mobile Unit at Roy Wilkins Park’s recreation center on Monday, April 15, from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. The center is located just off Baisley Boulevard by 119th Road. The PTMU is giving the same performance on Tuesday, April 23 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the ARROW Field House in Astoria on 35th Street by 35th Avenue. The 15th iteration of the always-dazzling annual Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival is set to hit Flushing Meadows Corona Park on Saturday, April 20 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. It’s by the New York State Pavilion and the Astral Fountain. There will be a tea ceremony and, in the Japanese style, a folk dance, a chorus and a live drum performance. Folks who go may run into the new Parks Department Queens borough commissioner, Michael Dockett. “It will be my first time going,” he told the Chronicle. “I’ve been told it’s a spectacular event.” From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 20, there will be an Easter Festival in Middle Village’s Juniper Valley Park, sponsored by City Councilman Robert Holden (D-Middle Village) and the city. Among the fun events planned are field games, face painting, an Easter egg hunt and inflatables, as well as arts and crafts. Kids in Fresh Meadows are sure to enjoy the park rangers’ Earth Day Crafts and Games event in Cunningham Park. It’s planned for April 20 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Redwood Playground, which is by 193rd

An urban park ranger walks with a group in Forest Park. This spring, the rangers will lead plenty of fun events at Queens green spaces, including every weekday during Kids Week, when public NYC PARKS PHOTO school students are off for recess. Street at Aberdeen Road. The 20th is Spring Citywide Stewardship Day. The Parks Department is having a wetland cleanup at Idlewild Park in Springfield Gardens from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; the meeting point is Springfield Lane and 147th Avenue. Space is finite, so those who want to participate should register soon at tinyurl.com/y6g35pxq. Public schools are closed for recess from Monday, April 22 to Friday, April 26. If you’re a stay-at-home parent, you may be wondering how you’ll keep the kids active during the week off. Well, conveniently, the Parks Department made it “Kids Week.” With each led by Urban Park Rangers, the exciting events planned are targeted toward kids 12 and up, though children younger than that will not be turned away. “We got tons of families because people are always trying to look for things to do because there’s no school,” Ranger Woo Sung Park said. Bayside moms and dads may opt to take the kids to Alley Pond Park’s adventure center on Monday, the 22nd, to take a brief hike through the green space from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Trees obscure a view of the New York State Pavilion’s towers at the Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival at Flushing Meadows Corona Park. It is scheduled to take place on SaturFILE PHOTO day, April 20 this year.

On the day after that at the same time, the rangers will be at the Forest Park Visitors Center at Woodhaven Boulevard and Forest Park Drive to lead the kids during an insect exploration event. At the Fort Totten Visitor’s Center, there will be a nature-themed puppet show from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 24. Middle Village parents can take the kids to Juniper Valley Park’s playground on the 25th for some nature games from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Fun is planned for Friday, the 26th, too. The rangers will head a birding trip in Flushing Meadows Corona Park from 1 to 2 p.m. The meeting point is the Willow Lake entry to the park at 73rd Terrace and Park Drive East. As with all rangers-led birdwatching events, guests can borrow a pair of binoculars from a ranger. And folks don’t need to worry about being new to the hobby. “All of our bird walks are geared towards beginners to experts,” Park, the ranger, said. A community volunteer cleanup is scheduled for the Unisphere at Flushing Meadows Corona Park on Saturday, April 27 from 9 a.m. to noon. The public is also invited to a “Hawk Watch” bird-watching tour run by the rangers on Sunday, April 28 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in Flushing Meadows. The Unisphere is the meeting point. There is also a birdwatching stroll at the Ridgewood Reservoir planned for the same day from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. led by the Queens County Bird Club’s Jean Loscalzo. Participants should bring their own binoculars. May Residents can listen to saxophonist Alvin Flythe, an experienced jazz and funk player, at the Roy Wilkins Park Recreation Center by Baisley Boulevard at 119th Road in St. Albans on Wednesday, May 8, from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. May is when the Family Fun Day events series sponsored by City Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows) and the Parks Department kicks off. continued on next page


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continued from previous page The lawmaker says folks are going to have a blast. “You’re in the park with our neighbors, with the Parks Department ... and it’s just a fun day to be in our parks, which we pay for with our tax dollars,” Lancman said. And while he couldn’t guarantee that they will be at each of the events, he did say that “creepy, crawly creatures” like snakes and lizards handled by Parks officials have made appearances at past Family Fun Days. “The kids love them,” he said. At each of the events, there will be inflatables and games along with arts and crafts. The first one will take place on Sunday, the 19th, at Mauro Playground in Flushing Meadows Corona Park by Park Drive East at 73rd Terrace. As with all the days in the series, the event runs from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The second is on Saturday, May 25, at Rufus King Park in Jamaica at 89th Avenue and 150th Street; the third is at the Pomonok Playground in south Flushing, which is bounded by Kissena Boulevard, Melbourne Avenue, 65th Avenue and 155th Street. The Coastal Preservation Network, Riverkeeper and the Parks Department are having a volunteer cleanup at College Point’s Powells Cove Park on Saturday, May 4, from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The meeting point is 130th Street and Seventh Avenue. The Queens County Farm Museum is having its Sheep Shearing Festival on Saturday,

May 11, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Guests will get to see live shearing demonstrations by professionals. Some special stuff is planned at this year’s event, too. There will be a beer garden at the festival; the museum is partnering with the Ridgewood-based Bridge and Tunnel Brewery. “And that will be accompanied by a bluegrass duo, Coyote & Crow, a husband-andwife duo who will be performing out near the beer garden,” Meyer said. In Springfield Gardens’ Brookville Park on the same day from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., a fun event sponsored by Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) is scheduled. There will be inflatables, games and crafts. Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) sponsored a drive-in movie show set for 8:30 p.m. on Friday, May 17 in Bayside at the John Golden Park parking lot by 33rd Avenue and 215th Place. “Mary Poppins Returns” will play. Over in Ridgewood on Saturday, May 18, a Family Fun Day event sponsored by Holden will come to Rosemary’s Playground at Woodbine Street and Woodward Avenue from noon to 3 p.m. Face painting, inflatables, games and crafts are planned. Learn all about the 1964-65 World’s Fair on Sunday, May 19, at a “history bike ride” in Flushing Meadows Corona Park from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. led by the Urban Park Rangers. Cyclists must bring their own bikes. The meeting point is the Unisphere.

June Saturday, June 1 is National Trails Day. And from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., volunteers will enhance the trails surrounding Strack Pond in Forest Park. Registration, which can be done online at nycgovparks.org/reg/forest-highland/6354, is needed by May 31. Courtesy of City Councilwoman Adrienne Adams (D-Jamaica) and the Parks Department, there will be a District 28 Family Day celebration between 1 and 4 p.m. on June 1. It is going to take place in Jamaica in the northernmost piece of Baisley Pond Park, which is at Foch Boulevard between Barron and 157th streets. During the same three hours on the same day, the Waterfront Alliance is hosting a kayaking event at Little Bay Park in Bay Terrace. June 2 will be fun, too. The Coastal Preservation Network’s Family Earth Fair is planned for between noon and 3 p.m. that day at Hermon A. MacNeil Park. The always-popular event will feature live animals, free kayaking in the East River, live music, science demonstrations, Cido the Clown, a build-a-birdhouse workshop and other fun activities. “We’re going to give out environmental education materials and tote bags so that people use less plastic and use their reusable tote bags instead,” CPN President Kathryn Cervino said. “We will emphasize environmental

education ... and give people some fun with the boating at the same time.” Western Queens residents can have a ball at the Astoria Park Carnival. Rides, games, foods and other fun stuff is planned at the event, which will take place in the green space’s parking lot. The festival is scheduled for Wednesday, June 5, and Thursday, June 6, from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, June 7, from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday, June 8, from noon to midnight and Sunday, June 9, from noon to 11 p.m. Six more of Lancman’s Family Fun Days, each event running from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., are also set for June. They are on Saturday, June 8, at Utopia Playground in Fresh Meadows at Utopia Parkway and 73rd Avenue; Sunday, June 9, at the Hoover-Manton Playgrounds in Briarwood at 83rd Avenue and Manton Street; Saturday, June 15, at Turtle Playground in south Flushing at the Horace Harding Expressway and 138th Street; Saturday, June 22, at Captain Tilly Park in Jamaica Hills at 85th Avenue and 165th Street; Sunday, June 23, at Playground 75 in Kew Gardens Hills at 160th Street and 75th Avenue and Sunday, June 30, in Electric Playground at 65th Avenue and 164th Street in Fresh Meadows. There will be an outdoor pickleball tournament from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 8, at the Roy Wilkins Park Recreation Center. All of the matches will be played by doubles, though if those who wish to participate don’t have a partner to team up with, they can register as a single at the tournament and be q paired up with someone else.

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Maspeth residents may want to head to Frank Principe Park at 63rd Street and 54th Avenue on Saturday, May 25, from noon to 3 p.m., when Holden is sponsoring another Family Fun Day event.

Page 5 QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, April 4, 2019

Fun events at Queens parks in the spring


SPRING GUIDE 3 2019

QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, April 4, 2019 Page 6

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Historical houses offer unique events by Mark Lord

W

hen is a house not a home? According to the old song, it’s “when the two of us are far apart and one of us has a broken heart.” It’s also true when a house becomes part of history and, perhaps, is turned into a museum and opened to the public, offering a glimpse into a time long gone by. Such is the case with several houses across the borough, each with an interesting story to tell. Take, for instance, the King Manor Museum in Rufus King Park in Jamaica, one of the few remaining farm houses from its period. King bought this house in 1805, intending to retire from politics after a distinguished career: Founding Father, framer of the Constitution, U.S. senator, antislavery advocate. Challenging times compelled him to remain in politics into his seventies. Despite this, he found time to enjoy family life in Jamaica. After his death in 1827, his eldest son, John, lived in the house. John’s daughter, Cornelia, was the last family member to live there. After her death in 1896, the Village of Jamaica bought the house, which opened as a museum in 1900. On a recent tour, weekend site manager Michael Colon took a small group through the house, from the parlor room to the kitchen to the library, which contains thousands of King’s books, as well as a lifesize sculpture of the man created by students at LaGuardia Community College. Many furnishings from the period are on view, including several that act ually belonged to the King family. Throughout the year, from February to December, the house is open not only for tours but for concerts, lectures and an assortment of family-oriented activities. Hours are weekdays from 12 to 2 p.m. and weekends from 1 to 5 p.m. School tour groups are also offered, weekdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. King Manor, together with the Ethnobotany Project NYC, presents “Seedy” Saturdays, a free seed library, from 1 to 3 p.m. on April 13 and 20 and May 4 and 11. The seed library is open to the public to provide information about growing open-pollinated heirloom activities and seed saving. The manor is a pilot site for the project’s first community garden. King Manor is located on Jamaica Avenue between 150th and 153rd streets. Suggested individual admissions: $5 adults; $3 students and seniors; free for children. Special student programs are $5 per student. More: Visit kingmanor.org or call (718) 206-0545. The Vander Ende-Onderdonk House in Ridgewood, the oldest Dutch Colonial stone house in New York City, and designated a landmark in the mid-1990s, has, similarly, been open to the public since 1982. Maintained by the Greater Ridgewood Historical Society, which was established in 1975

to prevent the intended demolition of the house, the site offers guided and self-guided tours, which encompass, among other points of interest, a permanent exhibit featuring artifacts from archaeological investigations done in 1970. Changing exhibits, relating to history, the arts and culture are also offered at various times. Two events of particular interest are upcoming. On April 6, candlelight tours of the house will take place, between 6 and 9 p.m. Entertainment will be provided by Eden Lane, described by society board member Virginia Comber as “a wonderful little jazz trio that plays terrific music.” Admission to the tour: $5. The New Amsterdam Festival, a celebration of Dutch Colonial roots, is on April 27 from 12 to 6 p.m., featuring a market, music, crafts and games. Admission: $5. The public is welcome to visit the house (located at 1820 Flushing Ave., Ridgewood) on Saturdays and Sundays, from 1 to 5 p.m. and on Wednesdays, from 3 to 6 p.m. Suggested donation: $3. More: Visit onderdonkhouse.org or call (718) 456-1776. Flushing, with a history dating to the 1600s, is, not surprisingly, a good place to find several noteworthy houses that are now open to the public. One of them, the Voelker Orth Museum, opened in 2003 and became a city landmark in 2007; the building in which it is housed was built in 1891, serving as home to one family for nearly its entire history. Its appearance has changed little over time. Many family furnishings are preserved, including a 1930 Sohmer piano, made right here in Queens. The house preserves and interprets the cultural and horticultural heritage of Flushing and its adjacent communities. Through its period rooms and rotating exhibitions, it yields stories and explores connections to our recent past. The museum features a bird sanctuary and Victorian garden, as well as exhibitions. The newest, opening April 6, is “Flowering Trees of Victorian Richmond Hill: Paintings by Irene Buszko,” which will run through June 30. A special attraction will be a talk with the artist, who, it is said, sets up her easel on-site to paint each of the Victorian homes lovingly tended by families today. The talk, which will include a slide show, will take place on April 28 at 2 p.m. The museum, located at 149-19 38 Ave., is open Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. More: visitvomuseum.org or call (718) 359-6227. Nearby is the Lewis Latimer House Museum, a modest Queen Anne-style, wood-frame home constructed between 1887 and 1889, now dedicated to the African-American scientist who was born in 1848 and played a critical role in the development of the light bulb, as well as other African-American scientists.

Michael Colon leads a tour of King Manor in Jamaica, where namesake Rufus King can be found reading in his library. Below, daffodils, grape hyacinths and other early spring flowers in a garPHOTO BY MARK LORD, ABOVE, AND FILE PHOTO den at the Voelker Orth Museum in Flushing. Latimer lived in the house from 1903 until 1928, and it remained in his family until 1963. The house was originally located on Holly Avenue. When it was threatened by demolition, it was moved to its current location in 1988. It is now owned by the city Department of Parks & Recreation. At the museum, running through May 18, is an exhibit called “Energy of Place — Lloyd X Latimer,” which includes artwork inspired by the light sculptures of Tom Lloyd as well as archival documents related to Latimer. A special event is scheduled for May 5 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. marking the 30th anniversary of the home’s move. A recounting of the incredible journey will take place at the Queens Historical Society (143-35 37 Ave., Flushing), which is cohosting the event with the museum. Admission to this event is $5; $3 for students and seniors. The museum (located at 34-41 137 St., Flushing) is open to the public on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays from 12 to 5 p.m. Pay as you wish. More: Visit latimernow.org or call (718) 961-8585. The Queens Historical Society owns and operates Kingsland Homestead, which was built between 1774 and 1785 in the Long Island half-house style, making it one of the earliest surviving examples of residential-type construction in the borough. Captain Joseph King, a sea merchant, and his descendants lived in the house from 1801 through the 1930s. The house was named a city landmark in 1965, the first structure in the borough so honored. It was opened to the public as a museum in 1973. Coming up at the homestead is a special event called “Circuits and Currents: It’s Electric!”, taking place on April 7 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Appro-

priate for youngsters in grades six through eight, the event will allow participants to build their own electrifying circuits. $10 per child. Guided tours are available at the house (located at 143-35 37 Ave., Flushing) on Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Admission: $5; $3 students and seniors. More: Visit queenshistoricalsociety.org or call (718) 939-0647. Corona is home to the Louis Armstrong House Museum, devoted to the life and legacy of one of the most recognizable entertainers in the world. He and his wife lived in the house beginning in 1943 and remained there for the rest of their lives. No one else has lived in the house since, and it looks very much as it did during their years there. Open to the public, the house offers guided tours that include audio clips of Armstrong’s homemade recordings. A visit to his Japaneseinspired garden, adjacent to the house, is also recommended. Hours at the house (located at 34-56 107 St., Corona) are Wednesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 12 to 5 p.m. Admission: $12; $8 for seniors, active-duty military, students and children. More: Visit louisarmstronghouse.org q or call (718) 478-8274.


C M SG page 7 Y K Page 7 QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, April 4, 2019

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Families and fun at the Queens library by Michael Gannon

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he Queens Library is kicking off spring with hundreds of family-friendly activities throughout the borough. More information on these and other events can be found online at queenslibrary.org. The North Hills Library at 57-04 Marathon Pkwy. will have a free screening of “Ralph Breaks the Internet” from 3 to 5 p.m. on April 5 for Family Film Friday. No registration is required. That same day, from 3:13 to 5:30 p.m., the Corona Library, at 38-23 104 St., will show “Mary Poppins Returns” in English with Spanish subtitles. The Glen Oaks Library has a monthlong Saturday Afternoon Movie from noon to 2 p.m. on April 6 and 13 and from noon to 1:45 p.m. on April 20 and 27. The featured films will be “Crazy Rich Asians” (2018, PG-13); “20th Century Women” (2016, R); “Detective Story” (1951); and “Queen to Play” (2009), respectively. The library is at 256-04 Union Tpke. On April 6 the Flushing Library will host Alley Dcoin and the Kubuku Land Band for a variety of African cultural dance, instrumental rhythms, and songs with guest artist Ecoo Nwamba Ogene Cultural Group from 2 to 3 p.m. at 41-17 Main St. The Corona Library beginning April 8 will take votes on which movie will play from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Friday, April 12. The choices are “Up” (2009, PG), “Tangled” (2010, PG), and “Charlotte’s Web” (2006, PG). The Elmhurst Library, at 86-07 Broadway, shows movies

most Mondays, including all in April, from 4 to 6 p.m. The South Hollis Library will host a jewelry making program for children and teenagers from 3 to 4 p.m. on April 9 at 204-01 Hollis Ave. The Middle Village Library, located at 72-31 Metropolitan Ave., will host an hour of classical music from 3 to 4 p.m. on April 9 and most Tuesdays, including all those in April. The Maspeth Library will host a showing of the 2018 animated adventure “Small Foot,” a PG-rated twist on the Bigfoot legend from 3 to 5 p.m. on April 12 at 69-70 Grand Ave. That same day, from 3 to 4:45 p.m. will feature the 2012 take on Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax” (PG) at 72-31 Metropolitan Ave. South Ozone Park will offer instruction in henna decorating for hands and fingernails from 4 to 5 p.m. on April 12. All materials will be provided and registration is not required. The library is at 128-16 Rockaway Blvd. Ozone Park, at 92-24 Rockaway Blvd. exposes children to science, technology, engineering, arts and math at STEAM Friday from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. on March 12 and 26. The Howard Beach Library, at 92-06 156 Ave., will introduce preschoolers to the properties of water in STEAM: Drip, Drip, Drop from 11 a.m. to noon on April 13 and from 1 to 2 p.m. on April 15. The program will work with magnets from 11 a.m. to noon on April 20 and 1 to 2 p.m. on April 22. Come to the Central Library at 89-11 in Jamaica from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on April 15 for a performance by Yvonnick Prene and the members of his Jazz Harmonica Trio. No tickets are necessary. The Middle Village Library on April 15 will host an

The South Hollis Library’s Easter Egg Hunt is just one of the family-friendly activities geared toward family fun during the FILE PHOTO month of April in the Queens Library system. Easter concert from 6 to 7 p.m. featuring traditional music and songs sung in different languages of Eastern Europe by Katerina Visnjic, a classical pianist and folk accordionist. The Astoria Library will host Easter arts and crafts with story time from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. on April 16. The library is at 14-01 Astoria Blvd. in Long Island City. Children are invited to celebrate Earth Day from 4 to 5 p.m. on April 17 at the Poppenhusen Library in College Point. There will be talks, quizzes and prizes for all. Children under continued on next page

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p.m. on April 25. The Langston Hughes Library is seeking the inner performer in everyone with a karaoke night from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on April 25. No registration is required. The Hillcrest Library in Flushing will host a virtual field trip titled “Behind the Scenes of Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse”, a 32-minute movie created by Discovery Education about the making of the Oscar-nominated animated film, from 2:30 to 3 p.m. on April 26. It includes how the directors and animators created a movie that felt like a comic book that came to life. It includes interviews with the actors, directors, animators and producers interwoven with clips from the movie. The library is at 187-05 Union Tpke. Corona will show “A Dog’s Way Home” (2019, PG) about a dog who will try to travel 400 miles to return to his human. It runs from 3:15 to 5:30 on April 26, with audio in English and subtitles in Spanish. The Court Square Library at 25-01 Jackson Ave. will show Walt Disney’s “Mary Poppins” (1964, G) from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on April 26. Langston Hughes will host a comedy night from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on April 27. It is billed as family-friendly. Briarwood comes back with another family movie with “The Grinch” (2018, Q PG) from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on April 29.

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continued from previous page 8 must be accompanied by an adult. The South Hollis Library is sponsoring a children’s Easter Egg Hunt from 2 to 3 p.m. on Thursday, April 18. No registration is required. The Hollis Library, at 202-05 Hillside Ave., will celebrate National Poetry Month and Poem in Your Pocket Day from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. April 18. Participants can write a poem or pick a favorite poem and place it in an attractive little pocket that will be created. Poetry is infinite and supplies are unlimited. The Laurelton Library is holding Happy Earth Day to You Draw Night from 6 to 7 p.m. on April 18. People will be invited to celebrate the planet naturescape works of art. The library is at 134-26 225 St. Children ages 5 to 12 are invited to a lesson on how to protect endangered animals from 3 to 4 p.m. on Earth Day, Monday, April 22 at the Broadway Library at 40-20 Broadway in Long Island City. The Bayside Library will show family movies from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on April 23, 24 and 25. They are, in order, “Maya the Bee Movie” (2014, G), “Charlotte’s Web” (2006, G) and “The Lion King” (1994, G). The library is at 214-20 Northern Blvd. The Briarwood Library, located at 85-12 Main St., kicks off spring with the animated movie “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation” (2018, PG) from 3 to 5

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Return to respectability should be the goal by Lloyd Carroll Brodie and Mickey he Mets are the team to b e at i n t he Nat ion a l League East!” new general manager Brodie Van Wagenen declared last fall. That could have been just Van Wagenen being exuberant or he could have been in Professor Harold Hill mode from the Meredith Wilson-penned classic Broadway theatrical production, “The Music Man,” trying to convince gullible and disheartened Mets fans to acquire season ticket packages in spite of consecutive dismal seasons. Time will determine whether the former agent with the Creative Arts Agency is a prophet or a fraud, but there is little doubt that he has put himself on the line rather early in his tenure. To his credit he did make some off-season moves that should bolster some glaring weaknesses from last season. Unfortunately all of the Mets’ competitors in their division seem to have upgraded as well. While the telegenic Van Wagenen will certainly be scrutinized this year, no one will be under the microscope more than second-year Mets manager Mickey Callaway. Former Mets GM Sandy Alderson, who had to take a leave of absence from the team last summer due to the recurrence of cancer, hired Callaway to be the manager shortly after the 2017 season concluded. Alderson was impressed with how he had handled the Cleveland Indians’ hurlers when he was their pitching coach, as well

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as with his communications skills. Alderson was right in both of those regards. The Mets had terrific starting pitching last year with his prized pupil being Jacob deGrom, who won the 2018 Cy Young Award. On the other hand, Callaway couldn’t do anything to get Matt Harvey to return to his 2013 rookie form. Of course no one can lay blame on Callaway for that, as Harvey was still hampered by shoulder and arm issues after undergoing thoracic surgery the previous year. His bizarre off-field behavior, such as driving up I-5 to Beverly Hills in the middle of the night to attend the opening of a nightclub minutes after the Mets’ plane touched down in San Diego, made him a pariah, and that is what led to his trade to the Ci nci n nati Reds for catcher Devin Mesoraco. Callaway was also very good with the media. He was candid, perhaps to a fault, at his press conferences. He never concluded a briefing without making sure that every reporter was able to ask a question. Callaway may have been a victim of his own early success when the Mets got off to an amazing (OK, I had to use that adjective) 11-1 start in 2018. It looked as if it would become a 12-1 start but the Washington Nationals came back from five runs down late in a game at Citi Field to beat the Mets, who never seemed to recover. Of course, the fact that they were wracked by injuries for the second straight season played a major factor as well.

Yoenis Cespedes is likely to be out until around the All-Star break.

It’s no secret that general managers like to hire their own field skippers as opposed to inheriting them, so it is imperative that the Mets avoid any prolonged slumps in 2019 if Callaway wants to retain his job. Pitchers Having a solid pitching staff is a requisite for any team with post-season aspirations, but the Mets have historically been defined by their pitching because (a) they have had some outstanding hurlers, and (b) their offense has all too often been quite puny. Nowhere was that more evident than with their Cy Young Awardwinning ace, No. 48 himself, Jacob deGrom. The Mets couldn’t hit their way out of a paper bag when deGrom was on the mound last year. It was simultaneously painful and comical to watch. The end result was that deGrom wound up with a very pedestrian 10-9 win-loss record in spite of an unworldly 1.70 earned run average. In a perverse way, the Mets’ inability to score for deGrom created publicity for him and probably some sympathy as well from the baseball writers around the country who voted for him. While it is unlikely that deGrom’s ERA will be less than 1.70 in 2019 the good news is that he should be able to win more than 10 games. At least the “Will the Mets re-sign deGrom?” speculation that fueled local sports talk radio and the back pages of the tabloids finally got resolved two weeks ago as the Mets’ ownership family, the Wilpons, gave him a five-year, $137.5 million contract. After watching players such as Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Blake Snell and Chris Sale sign Fort Knox-like contracts, the Wilpons knew that they were boxed in and had to cut a deal. The Mets are fortunate to have an ace right behind Jacob deGrom in Noah Syndergaard. The man who is often referred to as the Norse god Thor because of his size and blond mane missed nearly two months of the 2018 season because of a right index finger ligament injury. While that doesn’t sound like a life-anddeath ailment, it certainly affects your ability to work if you are a flame-throwing righthander. In spite of the missed time, Syndergaard finished with a very respectable 13-4 record and 3.04 ERA. The Mets traded potential Hall of Fame centerfielder Carlos Beltran to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for pitcher Zack Wheeler in July 2011. Beltran’s contract was expiring and the Mets were, as has been the

The Mets’ bats need to wake up when ace Jacob deGrom is on the mound, PHOTOS COURTESY NY METS something they failed to do last year. case all too often in their history, out of the playoff hunt. Wheeler had been the Giants’ first-round draft pick the year before and was considered to be one of the best pitching prospects in all of baseball at the time. Needless to say, Mets fans were early anticipating Wheeler becoming a big winner for the team in the nottoo-distant future. That was not to be the case as injuries and poor pitching control plagued him. Just when it appeared safe to write him off, Wheeler surprised his doubters by being one of the few Mets to have a very good season in 2018, finishing 12-7 with a 3.31 ERA. The Mets’ fortunes in the standings will depend heavily on Wheeler proving that last year wasn’t a mirage. His personal fortunes ride on that as well, since he’ll be a free agent at the conclusion of this season. Lefty Steven Matz has had the opposite career trajectory from Wheeler in that he got off to a great start when he was called up from the minors in 2015 but has struggled ever since. Injuries have played a part in that, but blame can’t be placed there

alone. During spring training Matz was tattooed by opposing hitters though he did turn in a fine pitching performance against the St. Louis Cardinals in one of his last starts of spring training. Maybe it’s because he is a local product having grown up in central Suffolk County, or it might be that he has been a fourth starter who has been on the lower side of mediocre as opposed to being truly awful, but for whatever reason, Matz has been able to avoid being overly criticized by both the media and the Mets fan base. He needs to turn it up this season. Matz’s fellow left-handed pitcher, Jason Vargas, was signed by Alderson in February 2018 to a two-year, $16 million deal. He was hit by a line drive on his right hand a month later in spring training and missed the first month of the 2018 season. It took a long time for the then 35-year-old veteran pitcher to find his groove. From May through July he was shelled by opposing hitters. After the All-Star break his fortunes reversed sharply as he dominated hitters. The continued on next page


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continued from previous page Mets have to hope that at 36 the wily Vargas still has some of that magic left in him. In case of injuries, which is always a concern for the Mets given how recent seasons have gone, Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman, who could both be starting pitchers with other teams, are ready to answer the call. In the meantime, they will be used as relief pitchers. The bullpen was a major Achilles heel for the Mets in 2018. In his first major trade as Mets GM, Van Wagenen traded for 25-year-old Seattle Mariners closer Edwin Diaz even though former Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano was the marquee name in the trade. Van Wagenen was able to palm off reliever Anthony Swarzak, who was yet another in the long line of expensive free-agent relief pitcher busts signed by Alderson, onto the Mariners. Van Wagenen surprised many by re-signing longtime Mets closer Jeurys Familia to serve as a setup man to Edwin Diaz. Familia had been dealt to the Oakland Athletics a few months earlier in a trade deadline deal. Another key pickup for Van Wagenen this past winter was free agent southpaw reliever Justin Wilson. While it’s true that Wilson has bounced around he has always pitched well wherever he has played, even though he doesn’t possess overpowering stuff.

Infielders The Mets have had only a handful of position player rookies who have generated the kind Outfielders of buzz that first baseman Pete Alonso has. Our If the playwright Samuel Beckett were alive Flushing heroes have not had that many home and a Mets fan he might have written “Waiting run hitters come through their minor league for Yo” instead of “Waiting for Godot” in honor system so it certainly caught everyone’s atten- of highly compensated outfielder Yoenis Cestion that Alonso was belting them out of the pedes, who unfortunately has spent more time park at every level. on the injured list than on the field ever since I joked with Alonso about all of the anticipa- the Mets re-signed him to a four-year, $110 miltory hype when he came to Citi Felid last Sep- lion contract following their World Series tember to accept his Sterling Award for his 2018 appearance in 2015. accomplishments. Clearly he was Cespedes had surgery on both aware of it too as he laughed and The Lowdown of his feet following the 2018 seasaid, “Hey, I can only do what I The Mets have the talent to contend for the son and probably won’t return to can do.” the Mets until around the All-Star National League East title if they can stay relaDominic Smith was supposed tively healthy, but they are in a very tough break at the earliest. to be the Mets’ first baseman for Michael Conforto slumped division. many years to come but he strugThe defending division champs, the Atlanta badly in the first half of 2018, gled last year and was sent down which should not have been that Braves, have perennial MVP contender Freddie to their Las Vegas AAA team. To surprising considering that he was Freeman and a lot of other talented players. The his immense credit, Smith did not still recovering from shoulder sur- Nationals may have lost outfielder Bryce Harpfeel sorry for himself as he lost gery that took place the previous er but they still possess a formidable lineup led weight, learned to field his posioff-season. He looked like his 2017 by outfielder Juan Soto and third baseman Pete Alonso tion better and worked at hitting Anthony Rendon, and a starting pitching staff PHOTO COURTESY NY METS All-Star self, however, in the secpitches on which he was previousond half last year, and the Mets of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick ly striking out. He had a terrific spring training. hope that will continue. Corbin, which certainly rivals the Mets’ big It will be interesting to see how Callaway hanConforto’s fellow corner outfielder, Brandon three. The Philadelphia Phillies are the most dles the first-base situation. Smith can also play Nimmo, has become a fan favorite because of improved team as they signed Harper and tradin the outfield. his hustle and megawatt smile. Nimmo has ed for Realmuto and have a big-time ace in We’ll see how much 36-year-old former New shown a good eye as he draws a lot of walks and Aaron Nola. Only the Miami Marlins appear to York Yankees star Cano has left in the gas tank. has shown better than expected power as he hit be certain also-rans in the NL East. He missed 80 games last season serving a sus- 17 homers last season. The Mets will be thrilled After two straight losing seasons, Mets fans pension for testing positive for performance- if he can do that again and perhaps raise his bat- should consider it to be a successful season if enhancing drugs. The Mets are obviously hop- ting average 10 points to .275. their team can finally finish over. 500 again and q ing that Cano can still hit with power and be Centerfielder Juan Lagares has been battling win around 85 games. able to handle second base with the fielding aplomb that he has shown throughout his career. His hitting heroics in the Mets’ 2-0 Opening Day win over the Nationals in DC last Thursday earned Cano a lot of quick goodwill among the Flushing faithful. Shortstop Amed Rosario has long been described as “untouchable” in the Mets organization, which means that potential trade deals 201 1 9 come to a screeching halt when other teams 197 bring up his name. That was probably the case as well with the aforementioned Realmuto. In his first two seasons with the Mets, Rosario really hasn’t set the baseball world on fire. 8 th Show Your He possesses very good range and an excellent A n n i ve r s a Ticket or arm. He has also become more selective at the plate as he was chasing bad pitches far less in Stub the second half of the 2018 season. The Mets’ third-base situation is a bit murky. for a Incumbent Todd Frazier, who is 33, is in the second year of his two-year contract. He had a Here’s to another typical year for him, which meant that he hit fantastic season!! home runs, handled third base well but also can of struck out a lot, which accounted for his .213 Soda batting average. Van Wagenen signed 35-year-old veteran *With purchase infielder Jed Lowrie to a two-year $20 million deal. Lowrie can match Frazier with power and ® fielding ability, and hits for a higher average. As could seemingly only happen to the Mets, Authentic. Awesome. Atomic. both Frazier and Lowrie missed most of spring training nursing various ailments. OPEN 7 DAYS Fortunately the Mets have Jeff McNeil, 10:30 am to 10:30 pm Order online:CoronaPizzaNY.com whom few had heard of at this time last year. McNeil hit well over .300 at both Binghamton and Las Vegas. He was called up to Flushing in 51-23 108th STREET Golden Grub August, where his bat stayed red hot. He can Award CORONA play any infield position and the outfield as well. Delivery Another young player to watch is JD Davis, like us on Facebook who came to the Mets from the Houston Astros

Cespedes for the dubious honor of most games missed by a Mets player. Lagares plays hard and that may be the cause of his incessant injuries. He tore up his toe trying to catch a fly ball last May. Adding to the shame of it was that he was hitting .339 at the time. Backing up Lagares this season will be former Milwaukee Brewers centerfielder Keon Broxton, who is known for being the quintessential “great glove, no bat” player. If Tim Tebow performs well this season with the Syracuse Mets, the odds are quite good that he will be added to the big league roster in September, when teams can have up to 40 players suit up.

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Catchers For too many years the Mets counted on the catching tandem of Kevin Plawecki and Travis d’Arnaud. It was d’Arnaud, and not Synderagaard, who was considered to be the key player in the 2011 trade that sent Cy Young Awardwinning knuckleball pitcher RA Dickey to the Toronto Blue Jays, while Plawecki was the Mets’ first-round pick in the 2012 amateur draft. Both of those decisions were made by Sandy Alderson. Van Wagenen had nothing to do with those moves and understood that the Mets needed a major upgrade at the catching position. He tried to get the Miami Marlins to part with their AllStar backstop, JT Realmuto, but the Marlins apparently wanted more than the Mets were willing to give up. Van Wagenen’s “Plan B” wasn’t a bad one as he signed free agent catcher Wilson Ramos, who can hit, possesses a great arm and calls a good game for his pitchers. D’Arnaud remains with the team as an understudy and that may work out because he has shown that he can handle the bat, although he is not very good at throwing out base stealers. With d’Arnaud starting the season yet again on the injured list, Mets’ farmhand Tomas Nido is currently backing up Wilson Ramos. Nido is well-respected for his defense and for calling a solid game but his light hitting has always been an issue. The Mets signed one of their former players two weeks ago, Rene Rivera, to a minor league contract as insurance. If Nido’s allaround play is not up to big league standards, expect Rivera to be told by Van Wagenen to get on the first JetBlue flight to JFK from Syracuse, the new home of the Mets’ AAA minor league affiliate. The Mets are already better with the subtraction of Plawecki, who took up a valuable roster spot even though he was subpar in almost every category imaginable. In one of his first actions as Mets general manager, Van Wagenen traded him to the Cleveland Indians for the baseball

in a trade of prospects. Davis can play both first and third base. The Astros are loaded with talent and the Mets may be a beneficiary of that surplus.

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Pastels, neons, frills and uneven hems by Victoria Zunitch

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igger. Bolder. Louder. Stronger. This is the style and substance of the woman of 2019. Women have more available life choices than ever before, and this spring, fashionistas who want to express their “Living Large” identity through clothing and accessories have a capacious array of choices. Let’s start with the color palette. Traditionally feminine soft-spoken pastels, blue, pink and yellow, are showing up everywhere, including on lightweight and loose pea coats. Old Navy is stocking them at about $50. To be squarely on trend, go monochrome and use the same pastel from head to toe. Speaking of color, white is the new black. This lightdef lecting pigmentation also works well as a mono ch rome and can hold its own with the full spectrum of other colors that are on offer this spring. A February article from Glamour magazine pegs yellow as the biggest fashion trend of the spring. The magazine showcases both pale yellows in the pastel family as well as a saturated golden yellow, the shade seen on sunflowers. Color blocking is also big. You might purchase a blocked-out garment with domineering squares or rectangles of solid color. Or build with your own blocks — maybe wear a solid-colored top over solid pants in a contrasting color and layer a solidstructured blazer in a third color. To save money, consider using some jewel-toned solids from prior

seasons to block out your outfit and buy a single new piece in one of this season’s striking new colors. At Marshall’s in Rego Park, we spotted a light-mustard pencil skirt in a heavy, stretchy gabardine, which works well with last fall’s deep, muted burgundy, possibly topped with an army-green jacket. Other colors highlighted by Glamour this season include bright orange, burnt orange, mint green and lime green, along with tie-dye patterns. Mercifully, the tie-dyes coming out now aren’t the same old tightly-structured swirl we’ve seen on Grateful Dead-style shirts every couple of seasons since the 1970s. As with that other big spring pattern trend, plaid, the tie-dye pattens are open and airy, leaving room to rest the eyes. Both the plaids and the tiedyes feel more l i ke v iew i ng oppor t u nities for colors and shapes, and less like mere logos for hippies. El le’s spr i ng take on trendy colors includes both powerful neon hues and softspoken pastels. Especially pink — oh, and fierce red, too. You sock ’em right between the eyes in a neon jumpsuit, or take a targeted approach with neon tights or shoes. If neon orange, lime and yellow are too bold for you, the alternative fashion fact is that you can be au courant by deploying muted hues of the same colors. Mustard, avocado and deep persimmon are floating around the subways, often on middle-weight spring jackets. If these colors don’t flatter your face, you can banish them to the base of your outfit in the form of

pants and skirts. Harper’s Bazaar is highlighting this spring’s fluffy, frilly outfits, including a layered and f luffy Dolce & Gabana dress in a flower garden print and outfits prominently featuring feathers, like Richard Quinn’s floor-length black-feather skirt. For the more restrained or budget-conscious, feather-trimmed hats or scarves that evoke a feathery feeling could add a bit of fun. If you want to communicate a sober-minded mood, the lighter earth tones like tan, khaki and oyster are on the agenda. As with the pastels, a monochrome ensemble will say “21st century” instead of “That ’70s show.” A stunning example is a knee-length jump suit from Gabriela Hearst that’s loosely structured to create the illusion of being a skirt. It’s in sand, and the model wears an extra-long sand trench on top. Speaking of jump suits and extra-long everything, just do it. This is not a reprise of the bathing suit-tight “cat suits” of the early 1990s that made a woman look like a sausage with an apple on top. Today’s loose jump suits have a tailored sophistication and a generous cut that gives the garment some swing and motion as you move. The season’s runway dresses demonstrated dramatic flair with uneven hems, the back of the skirts skimming the floor and the front hem rising to knee length or higher. Whether you want to show off some leg in club wear or make it easy on yourself while strolling city streets in a day dress, the scoop-up in the front of the skirt gets the job done. For a similar look but to a less dramatic degree, Gap stores are selling asymmetrical hem dresses in jersey, knits and weaves. Ladies who consider themselves to be established adults might enjoy layering one of Gap’s relaxed pastel “Girlfriend” linen-blend blazers with bunch-able sleeves on top of a white camisole and jeans, suffragette style. Casting off the tyranny of the low-rise jean, Gap has stocked mid-rise Bermuda shorts. The more recently mature woman might enjoy Gap’s short-set rompers, eyelet blouses and Jamaica-length shorts. With his sleek cropped cargo pants in a modish dark olive, Michael Kors demonstrates that he knows what women want: pockets. The pants are much more sophisticated than the baggy cargos of yore, and could pass for business casual when matched up with the right blouse and shoes or be comfortable companions with a T-shirt and sneakers at an outdoor concert or

Asymmetrical hems are everywhere this spring, as on this flowery yellow piece spotted at Marshall’s in Rego Park. Below, a pastel jacket, left, and PHOTOS BY VICTORIA ZUNITCH flowing, golden blouse at Old Navy in Rego Park. festival. The side-slit pockets could accommodate a credit card or work ID, and the long, vertical cargo holds, one on each leg, can carry a wallet and hotel room card key without bulging out. A welcome transition is underway in stripes. After many years of horizontal stripes, which pack on the pounds, vertical stripes are making inroads on Queens retail racks from Old Navy to Macy’s. The Ralph Lauren cotton shirt in red-and-white pinstripes shown on Macy’s website has a straight fit and magisterial cuffs. Also at Macy’s, the I.N.C. ribbed mockneck sleeveless sweater is trimmed in vertical stripes of varying widths and colors. If you want some subtle relief from the carnival of pattens and colors, beige is your friend. Not just any beige, but many beiges. Sand, khaki, tan, you name it. The color can be clean and formal or a casual,

smooth relief from the riot going on in the rest of your wardrobe this year. Ann Taylor offers a one-button piped linen blend blazer in “sandy neutral” that features thin lapels with a long line and slim sleeves with four buttons for punctuation. Banana Republic features a wide range of neutral tees, buttondowns, slacks, blouses, skirts, coats and you-name-it accessories this season. For those daring moods and flashy moments, consider a poufy gown, a boxy-shouldered jacket with overly padded shoulders or an un-basic black dress tricked out with one or more feathery, glittery gimmicks. Metallics are in, especially for eye makeup. Shades of gold and even pastels are available with a metallic sheen, adding face f lash to a pastel ensemble or extending the drama when you wear your orange feather boa with q your neon-yellow jumpsuit.


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Take a day trip to the Catskills by Michael Gannon

I

f you tell someone you are taking the family on a day trip to the Catskills, count on being asked to be more specific. A lot more. There is more to see and do in one corner of New York than there is in some countries, whether one is a hiker, history buff, artist, musician, antique aficionado or an outdoors type either passive or extreme. Historic sites and activities are myriad. The Catskill Scenic Trail, a rails-to-trails attraction beginning in Stamford, offers 19 miles of hiking and biking along the Delaware River. Sam’s Point Preserve in Cragsmoor offers views from the Shawangunk Mountains and hiking trails to Verkeerderkil Falls, High Point and Indian Rock. North-South Lake Campground is exactly that, two lakes, two beaches and lots of available hiking trails, picnic areas and boat rental and launch facilities. And forget Niagara — Kaaterskill Falls off of Route 23A in Haines Falls, with two tiers and more than 260 feet high, is the tallest waterfall in the state. And there are fewer better places to see and learn about bald eagles than the Delaware Highlands Conservancy in Kauneonga Lake. Pratt Rock in the town of Prattsville is sometimes called the Mount Rush more of New York. Industrialist, banker and Congressman Zadock Pratt commissioned the carvings as both a memorial to his son killed in the Civil War and his own life’s achievements. Given the steep trail, it is not recom mended for ver y you ng children.

Any antique store has the potential to have that one thing that is just right.

Fort Delaware in Narrowsburg is a reconstruction of a redoubt built by settlers in the 1750s, complete with a stockade, log cabin and blacksmith shop. Cultural offerings have to start with Woodstock, the namesake of a small concert actually held in Bethel in 1969, and many of the shops and stores in town have grown into an industry all its own. It also has the Woodstock Playhouse, one of numerous venues in the Catskills offering productions of music, dance, theater and more from the performing and visual arts. And, on Saturdays in April the Catskill Mountain Railroad runs its Bunny Express train rides with the Easter Bunny as a special guest. Throughout the rest of the year it offers charters and seasonal offerings including the Great Train Robbery, Peace Train, Rails of Terror and Polar Express. Livingston Manor offers a crossover from cultural to active recreation with the Catskill Fly Fishing Center Museum. That, of course, leads to fly fishing itself in the approved rivers, creeks and streams. Want to be a little more active on the water? Nu merous compa n ies of fer canoeing, kayaking, whitewater rafting and tubing. Back on dry land, golfers who want to get away have multiple opportunities, as do campers and hikers. T he Bet hel Mot or Speedway features shorttrack auto racing on a quarter-mile track with a family-friendly atmosphere. Several companies offer mountain biking and off-road driving trails. But activities don’t confine themselves to the ground either. When Hunter Mountain doesn’t have enough snow for skiers, it has the longest and highest zipline canopy tour in North America. Mountain Wings at 77 Hang Glider Road in Ellenville offers instruction in and opportunities for, well, you guessed it. There also is the Sundance Rappel Tower teaching mountain-climbing rope descent techniques in Phoenicia. Just about every village and town will have an antique store or two for a bargain hunter, collector or casual shopper. The Hobart Bookstore Village of the Catskills is described by state tourism officials as an eclectic collection of bookshops and boutiques offering rare and used books of all genres. Throughout the year it offers lectures, festivals and book signings, as well as semiannual sales the weekends of Memorial Day and Thanksgiving. Fans of adult beverages can visit a number of wineries, craft breweries and distilleries before or after sitting down for a meal in every setting from rustic restaurants to fine dining. Want to see even more? Look over more than 300 other ideas for the Catskills alone in these categories and q others online at iloveny.com.

The Delaware River offers scenic views and some of the best whitewater rafting, kayaking, PHOTOS COURTESY NYS DEPT. OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT / DARREN MCGEE canoeing and fly fishing around.

In the second row, the rivers, streams and even a museum make the Catskills a fly fisherman’s paradise, left, while the Bethel Woods Arts Center offers live entertainment. Center, Woodstock lives on 50 years later. Above, there are plenty of trails for mountain biking, and even a few opportunities for ziplining.


C M SG page 17 Y K Page 17 QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, April 4, 2019

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Tasty dishes for your spring palate by Liz Rhoades

S

pring is a time of awakening and renewal, and that goes for the taste buds as well. As we put away our heavy winter clothing, think about lighter spring recipes to go along with the change of season. But don’t think that going light means losing flavor. All the recipes below should make your taste buds happy without packing on the pounds. We have included a dessert that while not low-calorie is perfect for spring with its pastel green color. Eating it in moderation is the key. And the kids will love decorating it for Easter with jelly beans. Tomato-feta soup • 1 tablespoon butter • 1 medium onion chopped • 2 garlic cloves, minced • 4 cups vegetable stock • 1 28-ounce can plus half of another whole peeled tomato • 1 teaspoon salt • 1 teaspoon pepper • Ÿ cup heavy cream • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese, plus extra for garnish

• Ÿ cup basil leaves, chopped for garnish, optional In large pot saute onion with butter until soft. Stir in garlic, cook 30 seconds. Add vegetable stock and tomatoes with juice. Season with salt and pepper. Break up tomatoes and bring to a low boil for 20 minutes.Remove from heat and puree until smooth. Return to pot and bring to a simmer. Turn off heat and stir in cream. Mix in feta. Garnish with extra cheese and basil. Marinated tuna salad • 1 jar marinated artichoke hearts • ½ head cauliflower, cut into flowerets • 1 can tuna • 1 tablespoon lemon juice • ½ teaspoon salt • Ÿ teaspoon pepper • Ÿ cup chopped onion • Ÿ cup chopped parsley Drain artichoke hearts, reserving oil. Halve and place in bowl with cauliflower and tuna. Combine lemon juice, salt, pepper and reserved oil and pour over ingredients in bowl. Stir in onions and parsley. Cover and refrigerate for several hours. Can be served on bed of romaine lettuce, tomato wedges and black olives.

YES!

Tomato-feta soup

PHOTO BY LITTLE RED KITCHEN / FLICKR

Guilt-free Chinese egg roll • 1 pound ground pork • 1 ½ bags coleslaw mix

• half onion, chopped • 2 tablespoons sesame oil • Ÿ cup soy sauce continued on next page

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minutes until cabbage softens. Garnish with scallions and additional sesame oil. Watergate cake

Watergate cake

PHOTO BY CHLOE JONES / FLICKR

continued from previous page • 1 garlic clove, minced • 1 teaspoon chopped ginger • 2 tablespoons chicken broth • 2 scallions, chopped

Cook pork in frying pan. Add onions and 1 tablespoon sesame oil. In bowl, mix together garlic and ginger with soy sauce. Add to frying pan. Add coleslaw and mix. Add chicken broth and stir for a few

Mix together cake mix, 1 box of pudding, eggs, oil and club soda. Pour into a greased bundt cake pan. Bake at 350 degree for 35 to 45 minutes. Cool. Remove from pan. Meanwhile, make topping by beating 1 box of pudding with milk. Fold in whipped topping. Frost cooled cake. For Easter, decorate with Easter eggs or other holiday goodies; maraschino cherries are another Q option. Keep refrigerated.

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Page 19 QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, April 4, 2019

(Mostly) light spring recipes to try out

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Live performances and lively exhibits by Mark Lord

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he diversity among the borough’s residents is matched, perhaps, only by the wide variety of options in entertainment that will be available here in the coming months. From star-studded shows and community theater to a behind-the-scenes look at filmmaking and interactive science exhibits, there seems to be something for everyone. Really. For those who prefer to sit back, relax and enjoy, there are dozens of shows gearing up to hit the stages at multiple performing arts venues. The Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College is offering a special encore performance by acclaimed folk singer Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary fame on April 13 at 8 p.m. It is expected that Yarrow, whose name was synonymous with the counterculture movement of the 1960s, will be singing many of the trio’s classic hits, including “If I Had a Hammer,” “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “Puff (the Magic Dragon).” The show will take place in the intimate LeFrak Concert Hall, located on the college campus (65-30 Kissena Blvd., Flushing). Tickets: $35 to $45. April 27 brings to the college’s Colden Auditorium (153-49 Reeves Ave., Flushing) the Korean Traditional Music Festival, headlining renowned singer-songwriter Ali performing traditional classics and a few of her famous hit songs. Her stage name, incidentally, was, indeed, inspired by boxing legend Muhammad Ali. Show time is 8 p.m. Tickets: $60 to $150. Looking ahead, Spherus Cirque, featuring innovative juggler Greg Kennedy, who employs the principles of geometry and physics, along with some family-friendly comedy, in his act, will be the attraction at Colden on May 5 at 3 p.m. Tickets: $20 to $35. For more information on any of the Kupferberg performances, visit kupferbergcenter.org or call (718) 793-8080. In another part of Flushing, Queens Theatre (14 United Nations Ave. South, indoors in Flushing Meadows Corona Park) offers dance programs that should be of interest. Calpulli Mexican Dance Co. premieres its new production, “Puebla: The Story of Cinco de Mayo,” a look, in dance and live music, at the historical significance of May 5. Performances are on April 13 at 8 p.m. and April 14 at 2 p.m. Tickets: $20-$30. More: Visit queenstheatre.org or call (718) 760-0064 (same for the next item). The fourth annual Latin Dance Fiesta is set at the theater for April 27 at 8 p.m. Four troupes, representing Chile, Guatemala, Haiti and Uruguay, showcase traditional dances from their countries. Tickets: $20-30. A total change of pace is promised as Hollywood Confidential arrives courtesy of the Queensborough Performing Arts Center.

Three show business mainstays — Lainie Kazan, Connie Stevens, and Sally Struthers — will be on hand to offer intimate truths about their lives. So scandalous might it become that the show comes with a warning: Adults only! Film clips and an audience Q-and-A session will be part of the event. This show will be presented on April 7 at 3 p.m. at St. John’s University’s Marillac Hall (8000 Utopia Pkwy, Jamaica) while QPAC’s home base undergoes renovations. Tickets: $40-$50. More: Visit qpac.org or call (718) 6316311 (as with the next two items also). The Barricade Boys, a London singing group from the West End, will make their New York debut with a peformance full of Broadway show tunes, arias and some of the top rock, pop and swing hits of all time. The show is Sunday, April 14, at 3 p.m., also at SJU’s Marillac Hall. Tickets: $35-$42. “Sinatra & Elvis: The Voice & The King!” comes to the St. John’s Little Theater (same address as Marillac Hall), featuring tributes to the legends by vocalists from Broadway and the world of cabaret. Scott Coulter hosts. The show is set for May 5 at 3 p.m. The Thalia Spanish Theatre, the only Hispanic theater in the borough, has a wide variety of upcoming events on its calendar. Direct from Santo Domingo comes popular Dominican comedian Raphy Almonte, who will be performing on April 5 and 6 at 8 p.m. and April 7 at 4 p.m. Tickets: $25. “Queens of the Night,” billed as a “World Premiere LGBTQ Musical,” will be the attraction from April 26 to May 19, playing Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m. and Sunday afternoons at 4 p.m. Ticket prices vary. That will be followed by “Tango & Tango,” a new musical production featuring modern and classic dances. The show will star Latin Grammy Award-winner Raul Jaurena, master of the bandoneon, an instrument similar to the accordion, and award-winning singer Marga Mitchell. Performances run from May 31 through June 23, with shows on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m. Ticket prices vary. The theater will also present Sundays in June, a free weekly outdoor event featuring Spanish and Latin-American music and dance, reflecting the diverse cultural roots of the Queens Hispanic community. The concerts, which typically might include arias and duets from zarzuelas, or Spanish operettas, Mexican folkloric dances with a mariachi band and Colombian and Flamenco music, will take place from 1 to 2 p.m. at Lance Corporal Thomas P. Noonan Jr. Playground, on Greenpoint Avenue between 42nd and 43rd streets in Sunnyside. The Thalia theater is located at 41-17 Greenpoint Ave. in Sunnyside. For more information, visit thaliatheatre.org or call (718) 729-3880. The community theater scene also has plenty to offer in its spring season. “Shrek: The Musical,” based on the popular

The Barricade Boys will perform at St. John’s University, while Calpulli Mexican Dance Co. will PHOTOS COURTESY appear at Queens Theatre and folk singer Peter Yarrow at LeFrak Concert Hall. QUEENSBOROUGH PERFORMING ARTS CENTER, ABOVE, QUEENS THEATRE AND KUPFERBERG CENTER FOR THE ARTS

movie about an ogre’s quest, courtesy of The Gingerbread Players of Forest Hills, is underway and continues April 5 at 7:30 p.m. and April 6 and 7 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets: $15; $12 each for groups of six or more. More: Visit gingerbreadplayers.org or call (718) 268-7772. Beginning May 10, Douglaston Community Theatre offers the rarely performed “Catch Me If You Can,” a comic mystery not to be confused with the film of the same name. Performances at Zion Church Parish Hall (243-01 Northern Blvd., Douglaston) are on May 10, 11, 17 and 18 at 8 p.m. and May 11 and 19 at 2 p.m. Tickets: $19, $17 seniors and students. More: visit dctonline.org or call (718) 482-3332. Arriving the same weekend, for two shows only, is a Disney musical revue called “Beyond a Dream Come True,” from Royal Star Theatre of ICC. Performances will take place at Immaculate Conception Parish Hall (86-45 Edgerton Blvd., Jamaica) on May 10 at 8 p.m. and May 11 at 2 p.m. Tickets: $15 More: Visit royalstartheatre.org or call (516) 521-5500. Many museums call Queens home. The New York Hall of Science offers 450 permanent interactive displays that help to demystify the world. The current special exhibit, Bionic Me, on view through May 5, explores medical and industrial breakthroughs that have helped enhance the human experience.

NYSCI is located at 47-01 111 St., Corona. General admission: $16; $13 for students, seniors and youngsters 2 to 17 years old. More: Visit nysci.org or call (718) 699-0005. The Museum of the Moving Image (36-01 35 Ave., Astoria), the country’s only museum dedicated to the art, history and technology of the moving image in all its forms, has several permanent exhibits, including one devoted to the life and career of Jim Henson, exploring his groundbreaking work for film and television and his transformative impact on culture. Featured are some 300 objects, among them 47 puppets, including Kermit and Miss Piggy. Behind the Screen, another ongoing presentation, immerses visitors in the creative and technical processes of producing film and television shows and digital entertainment. No fewer than 1,400 artifacts are on view. In addition, various changing exhibits are on display — and films of all kinds are screened. Admission: $15; $11 for seniors and students; $9 for youth 3 to 17. More: Visit movingimage.us or q call (718) 777-6888.


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Outdoor dining with the ‘Wildman’ by Peter C. Mastrosimone

T

here are picky eaters and then there are pickin’ eaters. Count “Wildman” Steve Brill as both. He’s a vegan who only eats organic, and much of what he consumes is what he’s picked himself. Roots, berries, leafy greens, mushrooms, things most people would just call weeds — Brill knows them all and has made a career of leading foraging tours through parks and other open spaces all over the tristate area, including in Queens. Forest and Alley Pond parks are among his favorite foraging spots here in the borough where he grew up. The first tour he scheduled this year in Queens was in Forest Park on March 30. The next one is set for Mother’s Day, May 12, in Far Rockaway, but there are many before that in nearby places such as Manhattan — he’ll be hitting Central Park this Saturday — Brooklyn and Nassau County. Brill gets started early in the season, long before most of the vegetables and herbs people grow in their gardens are ready for picking. “The plants, they’re all there, tons and tons of them,” Brill said. “I had my first tour on March 3 when most of the ground was covered with snow, and we still found gingko nuts under the snow, sassafras, common spicebush, and field garlic was sticking up over the snow. Now there’s everything; I can’t even cover all the plants.” One example is the common day lily you see in gardens and roadsides, used in Chinese cooking. You can eat the tubers, the shoots, the buds and, once they bloom, the flowers too. Taking one of Brill’s tours is fun, educational and not expensive. The suggested $20 donation for Saturday’s tour in Central Park is typical

(it’s $10 for kids). The Mother’s Day event, being held in conjunction with the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance and Rockaway Initiative for Sustainability and Equity, is free. (Anyone facing financial difficulties can take one of the tours at no charge.) Brill would love to do more tours in Queens — he grew up in Kew Gardens and also lived in Briarwood, Hillcrest and Forest Hills though he’s now in Westchester — but doesn’t get enough turnout when he holds one that’s not near a subway line. “I would love to do more tours in Alley Pond Park,” he said. “I do one a year. Kissena Park, Cunningham Park ... Flushing Meadows Park is especially good very early and very late in the season because the coldtolerant greens get full sunlight and they grow on the lawns close to the ground. And no one sees them but me and people who are on my tours but they are there, and they’re quite interesting and very delicious.” Brill works to make the foraging tours themselves delicious in a sense — full of his, ahem, “garden variety” humor. “I did a tour in Greenlawn Cemetery in Brooklyn. Every time we dug up a root someone would pull it back down. And I couldn’t get paid — the deadheads wouldn’t pay up.” Brill encourages bringing kids on his tours and leads them for schools, camps, Scout groups, birthday parties and more, as well as working with institutions from libraries to teaching farms, museums and garden clubs. “I do some silly comedy routines with the kids,” he said. “You’d have to be there to see them.” His own daughter, Violet, has been going on his tours all her life and has been co-leading them since she was 9. Now 14, she led a tour on her own for the first time last month, at Sheldrake Lake in Westchester.

“Wildman” Steve Brill and his daughter, and tour co-leader, Violet, chomp down on some Japanese knotweed, one of countless natural edibles you can find. His tours, below left, often draw a good crowd. The giant puffball in Brill’s hand is an edible mushroom, but it takes an expert to know which are OK and which are poisonous. PHOTOS COURTESY STEVE BRILL “It went great,” Violet said, with about 20 people coming along, including kids. The group found a few mustards, such as hairy bittercress and garlic mustard. “Also lesser celendine, a great herb, a plant you can use to dilute the bitterness of other greens. It’s not that flavorful, so you can boil it in water and then you can cook it with either spinach or garlic mustard, which is bitter.” She continued, “There’s stuff we can get all year round, like black birch, sassafras and spicebush, which you use the twigs of. Early in the year there is plenty, even in early March. We’re still finding the shoots and the sprouts of field garlic — they’re starting to come up — a lot of the sprouts of plants that we can put in salad. There’s no common plant season; there are different things in

different seasons. There’s nuts in the fall, there’s berries, but right now there are tons of shoots, greens, herbs that you can use for edible and medicinal uses.” Like father, like daughter — both Brills are experts not only on what edible plants and mushrooms are out there, and what to avoid, but also on how to cook them after you take them home and wash them. They also know their history, how they’ve been used over the centuries and the mythology that surrounds them. And the Brills have a message. “We encourage people to take care of the environment, and we think by leading the tours, we’re exposing more people to the natural

world and teaching them more about the plants, the environment,” said Violet, who plans to study some aspect of the natural world, perhaps ornithology, in college. “We’ll encourage them to not litter, do all that good stuff, and we’re just trying to help the environment by doing this because there’s climate change going on, a lot of other big issues these days that are negatively affecting the environment. We’re just trying to spread more knowledge to people.” For much more about the tours and edible plants, along with recipes, books, artwork, an app and more — such as Steve Brill’s interesting history with the Parks Department — visit q wildmanstevebrill.com.


C M SG page 23 Y K Page 23 QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, April 4, 2019

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Queens parks with a new-car smell by Michael Shain

T

he average age of a New York City park is older than Helen Mirren — and, many would say, not nearly as well kept. Little wonder. The city is rough on just about everything — roads, bridges, subways, mayors. All of them tend to look older after just a few years of use. Keeping up with repairs, not to mention the more expensive and arduous task of makeovers, is a big job. Eli Dvorkin, policy director for the Center for an Urban Future, a nonpartisan think tank, told a City Council hearing just last month that its two-year study found “parks in every borough are struggling with aging assets that are at or near the end of their useful lives.” But the pace of renovations of the city’s parks and playgrounds, particularly in Queens, appears to be picking up. In 2018, more than a dozen playgrounds were rebuilt from the ground up in neighborhoods from East Elmhurst to Far Rockaway. In the year ahead, according to the new Queens borough comm i s sio n e r of p a r k s , Michael Dockett, some long-awaited projects will be ready for that most indispensable of civic events, the ribbon cutting. The first phase of renovating the athletic fields in Astoria Park is slated to finish in May. The historic Vanderbilt Motor Parkway, now a bike and hiking path, in eastern Queens is being repaved this year. A new nature center will replace the old trailer in Idlewild Park in Rosedale and an addition to the one at Alley Pond Park in Douglaston will be completed. The Lower East Playground in Highland Park — one of Queens, best-kept secrets, it overlooks the pristine Ridgewood Reservoir — is being rebuilt this year at a cost of about $10 million.

“This is only my fourth week on the job,” said Dockett, who replaced the borough’s longtime parks commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski last month. “But the seed money is there. I have a lot of places to go see.” So it’s time for genuine celebration when a park is overhauled or a playground brought back to shiny and new. Here are some of the playgrounds and park facilities that were made over in the last year — just in time for the nice weather. • Big Bush Park (78th Street and 34th Avenue) — A couple of blocks off Queens Boulevard next to the Big Six Towers in Woodside, this was a top-to-bottom renovation that included new equipment for kids, an adult workout site and new trees that give the park a more open feel. • Travers Park with Staunton Field (78th Street and 34th Avenue) — In the heart of Jackson Heights, this $7-million project will combine two playing areas and several disparate sports sites — basketball, tennis, handball courts — into a seamless, two-block park. The first phase opened in February with the completion of the kids’ playground. • Louis A r mstrong Middle School (Junction Boulevard and 32nd Avenue) — Kids from the school took over from the adults and decided what they wanted in their new playground in East Elmhurst. Are you surprised that includes volleyball and basketball courts, a gazebo and handball courts? • Grassmere Playground (Briar Place and Hanson Court) — A grand rebuild that was opened by the mayor last spring as part of a five-borough, parks relay of newly renovated playgrounds. The $3.3 million project in Far Rockaway included two new play areas (one for toddlers and another for kids from 5 to 12), a track, a junior soccer field, a wooded trail, an outdoor classroom, a basketball court, adult fitness equipment and a children’s water play area.

The new Hunters Point South Park, above, was built on land that used to house factories. Big Bush Park, below left, is tucked in near the BQE in Woodside and Astoria Heights Park was redePHOTOS COURTESY NYC signed to keep kids’ activities like the spray showers separate from adults. • Louis C. Moser Playground (25th Avenue and 76th Street) — On the border of East Elmhurst and Jackson Heights, the playground that used to be known as Bulova Park was renamed for a longtime civic activist from the 1970s and ’80s. A nearly $2 million makeover brought in a spray shower for the kids, game tables for chess enthusiasts and a new drainage system to solve its water problems. • Triborough Playground B basketball courts (Hoyt Avenue and 21st Street) — The first major renovation to these courts in more than 20 years was paid for by cable TV’s Big Ten Networks to mark its tournament coming to Madison Square Garden. • Louis Simeone Park (101st Street and Strong Avenue) — A $2.2 million makeover turned an unused corner of the Corona park into playground, with a spray shower, swings and an adult fitness spot. • JHS 189Q and Flushing International School (144th Street and Barclay Avenue) — A new $1 million playground next to two Flushing schools opened with a run-

ning track, an artificial-turf sports field and even an outdoor classroom. Met Life was a sponsor. • Hunters Point South (Center Boulevard and 54th Street) — At a cost of $100 million, this is one of the biggest and most expensive park projects in Queens in several years. But it is so big and spectacular, you’ll soon forget the price tag. This waterfront park along the East River and Newtown Creek was an abandoned industrial site in Long Island City. While the facilities include several playgrounds, a dog run, a bikeway and a picnic terrace, the star of the park is the view. A 30-foot-tall cantilevered platform was built along the shoreline for viewers to admire the skyline and watch the boat traffic on the river. It opened last Ju ne and is quick ly becoming a crown jewel of the parks system in Queens. • Mer rick Academy Char ter School (136th Avenue and 218th St) — This school in Laurelton had been without a real playground since moving to a new neighborhood in 2003. So the volunteers got together over a weekend last summer and built one themselves. The volunteers came from among the school’s parents and Delta Airlines workers at all three New York airports. The expertise and materials came from KaBOOM, a national nonprofit that specializes in building playgrounds in neighborhoods that need them. •Astoria Heights Playground (45th Street and 30th Road). The playground got its first major renovation in more than 20 years. The space was designed to put adult stuff like tennis and volleyball courts on one side and things like a large, new spray shower area and pint-sized equipment for q kids on the other.


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â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Writing From the Heartâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; with a pro by David Russell

M

axine Fisher is a natural teacher. She remembers being a secondgrade student at PS 72 in Maspeth when the teacher had to leave the room for a few minutes. Fisher got out of her seat and continued the lesson. â&#x20AC;&#x153;To this day I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t tell you how surprising, how shocking that was to me as an adult looking back on it given how shy I was,â&#x20AC;? Fisher said. The students just sat there and accepted the fact that one of their peers had taken over the class. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Anybody who got up front and spoke had an air of authority no matter who they were,â&#x20AC;? Fisher said. She said for her, teaching was a calling, not a job. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was clearly some impulse I was driven by that was automatic,â&#x20AC;? Fisher said. She ended up teaching at three colleges, including Queens College, and now is an instructor at a workshop held at the Maspeth Library, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Writing From the Heart.â&#x20AC;? Classes will next start on April 13. Nobody needs to feel shy or that theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not good enough to come. As Fisher explains, the class has a wide group of people, â&#x20AC;&#x153;some of

whom have been writing for a long time, some of whom have never written anything but a grocery list in many years. They are a diverse group in every way imaginable.â&#x20AC;? Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not like a typical undergraduate class at Queens College where she was addressing the same people, mostly with the same goal in taking her course, every week, though she did teach young adults, students coming back to school and continuing education classes. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My belief is that no matter what the genre, there are guidelines to good writing that are equally amenable to all the genres,â&#x20AC;? Fisher said. One of many writing workshops for anybody in the borough who is interested, she said she finds it, â&#x20AC;&#x153;extremely gratifying. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a win-win situation for both the students and myself. We feed on each otherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s energy.â&#x20AC;? One attendee in the series that just ended was Tom Mortensen, who has been writing from the time he could pick up a pencil. He said Fisher has a strict rule that all feedback is positive. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We tend to comment in a positive fashion and then follow it up with, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d like to see more of,â&#x20AC;&#x2122;â&#x20AC;? Mortensen said. He said itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a nice way to run the workshop because of the different levels the writers are at.

Maxine Fisher, seated, and the students after a class at her writing workshop. PHOTO BY STEVE FISHER â&#x20AC;&#x153;She seems to have a pretty strong core following of people who come in smiling and leave energized,â&#x20AC;? Mortensen said. Mortensen is deep into writing his first novel, which he describes as a â&#x20AC;&#x153;modern-day Gidget tale with a twist,â&#x20AC;? a throwback to the surf movies of the early 1960s with a little more heart and less camp. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I enjoy attending different workshops and hearing from other writers,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I kind of thrive on feedback as well but I enjoy being in

the company of other writers.â&#x20AC;? Another member of the workshop is Jolinda Hockaday, a retired teacher of 38 years, who likes to write memoirs and poetry. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Now Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m on the receiving end,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m doing it.â&#x20AC;? Hockaday said itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s even better than a college writing course and that those in the workshop are â&#x20AC;&#x153;walking on cloud 9â&#x20AC;? the whole time. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s so powerful and wonderful,â&#x20AC;? she said. continued on next page

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continued from previous page Hockaday explained that they write based on prompts given by Fisher. “And we bond,” she said. “You learn about a person when you listen to what they’ve written.” Hockaday added, “When you share your writing it’s a very intimate thing.” Though she lives on Long Island, she makes going to the workshop a must. “I wouldn’t miss it for anything,” Hockaday said. “I look forward to going every single Saturday.” Laura McManus is another writer who has enjoyed the experience. “My writing abilities have grown since I started attending the class and it’s a nice group of people that are in the class,” she said. McManus explained that she has improved by using the different techniques that Fisher suggested during the course, “where you write and you let it marinate for awhile and then you go back and you revise.” She said she likes poetry and rhyming and even wrote a poem about Fisher and attending the class, called “Wonderment.” “We’re very lucky to have Ms. Fisher as our instructor,” McManus said. The next edition of the workshop will be held on Saturdays at noon at the Maspeth Library on April 13 and 27; May 4, 11 and 18; June 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29. Space is limited, with people welcomed on a first-come, firstserved basis. They don’t have to attend every week to be a part of it.

“It’s certainly one of the most comfortable workshops that I’ve ever been a part of,” Mortensen said. Fisher has advice for anybody interested in working on their writing skills. “If you want to write, the thing to do is to buy a little journal, a little book and get yourself a pen, both of which you love the feel of and want to pick up. And every single day write something in it of what you see in the world and what you think about it. Even Q if it’s just a paragraph or two.”

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Queens Chronicle Spring Guide 04-04-2019  

Queens Chronicle Spring Guide 04-04-2019

Queens Chronicle Spring Guide 04-04-2019  

Queens Chronicle Spring Guide 04-04-2019