astoria

battle on… secret walls…

We have contests for anything and everything so drawing shouldn’t be any different, right?  Last night a battle of epic proportions went down in Astoria/Long Island City, Queens.  Hosted by the Paper Factory Hotel (a nice boutique oasis in the middle of a very industrial neighborhood) Secret Walls gathered fifteen New York City artists in a showdown for the ages (and this was just a qualifying round).

What is Secret Walls?  It is an organization that promotes drawing “battles” all over the world.  Simple rules – always and only black on white (it really shows off the competitors true skills) and a 90 minute time limit.  A panel of judges and the audience pick the winners.

DSC_1447

The anticipation builds before the beginning of the war.

And…  WE ARE OFF!

DSC_1564

DSC_1492   DSC_1589 DSC_1600   DSC_1614 DSC_1664

DSC_1698

Amazing works of art begin to appear as the challengers battle in the cold autumn air.  Some of the best street artists in NYC and a couple of newcomers gave it everything including (and in no particular order):  Lamour Supreme, Chris RWK, Miss Zukie, Martha Alicia, Abe Lincoln, Jr., Sasha Fay, Wizard Skull, Scott Liam Walker, Cosbe, Mastro, AdrianKart.

DSC_1785

DSC_1703

DSC_1712  DSC_1731

DSC_1723

DSC_1768

DSC_1805

DSC_1816   DSC_1981

DSC_1916   DSC_1901 DSC_1883

All and all a fantastic evening and real gathering of talent, right here in Queens 🙂

DSC_1821

DSC_1827   DSC_1947 DSC_1974   DSC_1881 DSC_1870

so, next time then…

Advertisements

summer’s last gasp…

That fake period of time known as “summer”  (memorial day to labor day) has once again come to an end.  Why do I say fake, well the weather in NYC today says it all.  Real Summer has much more in store and wearing white wouldn’t be the worst sin the next few weeks.

Fake summer and all out of the way.  How to celebrate the end?  a NYC tradition, a street fair!

Yesterday (labor day) 30th Avenue in Astoria set the stage for that last gasp, last bit of fun.  One more memory to tuck into a corner before school, work, grey, rain, wind and eventually ice, snow and sludge creep in.  I conveniently left out that wonderful crisp autumn stuff because it seems to only stick around for a day or two… never quite enough.

What to expect from a NYC street fair?  Well, there are a few certains and many surprises.

DSC_3870

Who’s your daddy being one of the surprises…(for some I am sure this is a literal truth)

DSC_3889

There will be dogs… that is one of the certains, there are always dogs,  in this case both real and fluffy.

DSC_3945

There will be junk  * some one else’s treasures*

DSC_3895

DSC_3892

And crafts..if lucky sometimes the crafts actually elevate to the level of art.

DSC_3948

DSC_3929

Food,  food from everywhere for every taste.

DSC_3919

The big winner in this line up,  the spinning meat.  I wasn’t the only one that stood mesmerized by the rotating tower of grilling meat.

DSC_3907

And of course there are people, so many wonderful people out and about.

DSC_3941

DSC_3916

DSC_3954

So, next time then…

 

 

colombia vs. brazil

July 4th wasn’t just a day to celebrate the good old USA.  It was also the day that Brazil met Colombia on the field in a game of futbol.  (That is football to some of us Anglos out there, soccer if you are pure ‘merican).  I had heard that the celebrations had spilled out into the streets when Brazil had won earlier in the week, so we headed to what we thought would be the epicenter.  Broadway and Steinway in Astoria, Queens.

image

image

image

There were definitely crowds but the Police were also in full force.  Guess they didn’t want a repeat of dancing in the streets, note I said DANCING).  I get that crowds can become rowdy and sometimes violent but I have yet to see anything that comes close to that kind of behavior in any of the neighborhood celebrations.  All I saw was a show of force that far exceeded the need. The NYPD are good at that.

image

image

The police were diverting anyone showing any kind of Brazilian support at Broadway and not allowing them to continue down Steinway past the crowds of Colombian supporters.

image

image

image

image

image

image

But it seems the police didn’t know where the real action was.  Right there across from our apartment on our own corner,  both groups of supporters were gathered.  Yes, they jeered at each other but it seemed to be all in good fun.  Many were carrying both flags and ALL were dancing to the Samba beat.

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Our neighborhood also has a large Pakistani population,  everyone came out to see what all the fuss was about.

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

The drumming and dancing continued on well after dark.  From my bedroom window I could hear shouts of “COLOMBIA” and “BRAZIL”… to the semis we go!

So,  next time then…

 

the amusements…

Time to introduce the blog to another one of my series,  The Astoria Amusements.  

Queens is the largest borough in NYC and has the second highest population.  Many communities in Queens have their own distinct flavor, history and culture.  Astoria is no exception.  Always known for a large Greek population in recent years the area has grown to include groups from all over the world.  Steinway Street truly is Main Street U.S.A.  or at least the one envisioned in the Great American Experiment, a mixture of peoples from every corner of the globe.  

Along Steinway and a few other area streets are a remnant from the past still hanging on.  What American kid doesn’t remember the kiddie rides that used to line the area around the front of grocery stores and other retail establishments?  While they can still be found, their numbers have dwindled drastically over the years.  

A picture of Astoria through these “amusements” shows us the past, the present and a real window into the future.  

Image

Image

To catch up on past additions to this series : 

mickey and the man

Image

Image

Image

I would encourage anyone coming to NYC to take the time to get out of Manhattan.  Take the R train to Broadway/Steinway or take the N/Q train to 30th or Astoria Blvd.  Astoria deserves to be explored.  Come with an empty stomach as the diversity of exciting food choices can’t be beat anywhere else in the city.  It will also show you how “real” nyers live.  A neighborhood with a heart and an identity of its own. 

So, next time then…

a little scott joplin…

A small neighborhood gathering with really good music, free food and beer thrown in and a chance encounter with a Rock Star.  That is how I spent a day this holiday weekend. 

The Event: the annual Scott Joplin Concert and BBQ at St. Michaels Cemetery in East Elmhurst, Queens.

 The Band: The Paragon Ragtime Orchestra.

The Rock Star:  that part comes later and down below.

Image

Image

Local Queens Council Member, Costa Constantinides chatting up the press before the start of the show.

Image

The line for the BBQ (hamburgers and hotdogs).

Image

Image

Image

Image

Yup,  that’s him…..

Image

Image

Image

Rock Stars eat hotdogs, at least Ric Ocasek does.  

Image

And yes,  that is his wife, Paulina Porizkova.  

The orchestra was brilliant and the skies held off just long enough,

The view from Astoria Blvd on the way home.

Image

Just in the knick of time.

So, next time then…

 

it’s all greek to me…

Time in Astoria for the 40th Anniversary of the Greek Festival put on by the Hellenic Orthodox Community.  Astoria, Queens is known for many things always something new to discover around ever corner.  Within a few blocks you can travel the world in culture and cuisine.  A continual mainstay has been its strong Greek Community, one of the largest in the United States.  

Friday night was a soggy, drenched mess. The downpours put a damper on the festivities.  But last night the weather was perfect, slight breeze, crisp spring air. 

Image

St. Demetrios Cathedral boasts that they have the largest Greek Orthodox School in the United States.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

So many great things going on,  stay tuned for a visit with a sweet sphinx and maybe a trip back in time or two…

 

hood hoppin’

Just a few shots from around the neighborhood.  Cab driver took a different route the other day on the way from the airport, passed a few things I hadn’t seen before, so of course I had to investigate.

Image

Image

Image

Image

One of the busiest corners in Astoria, even in the cold and rain people stand in line for their Souvlaki.  The Son prefers a different cart up near Steinway Street. So many choices 🙂

Image

This is the wall that intrigued me from the cab window.  It started to sprinkle and the sky grew scary so we had to hurry on.  Definitely want to go back and investigate more.

Image

Image

Busy weekend ahead.  Hope everyone has something fun and interesting planned.

i love ny… another day or two

Still loving NY even though I sure do wish this cold weather would find another home and give us at least a day or two of true spring before the summer soup season begins.  

Another group of “i love ny” captures, no matter where you go in the city the sentiment is never far from the surface. Even though our words may at times seem to say different, we really do love ny.  

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

For more “i love ny” don’t forget to check out my flickr set https://www.flickr.com/photos/bytegirl/sets/72157626596284257/

And of course,  hope you stay tuned for what’s to come!

the dizzying day that was yesterday

Image

You can already feel the change coming,  skies are greying, the dull is coming back.  Another freeze another storm,  rinse and repeat.

This winter has been a tough one for most NYers.  We mumble, grumble, kvetch and moan as we slosh, schlepp, climb, trudge, slip and slide our way through daily life with the singular hope that spring is coming.  I suppose in a way it has been extremely uniting.  It brings us all together in common misery.  It has even lowered crime rates!  

Image

 

Image

Yesterday was such a tease, t-shirt weather.  Time for shorts,  shades and the first kiss of open air to hit skin in months, sensations all amped up.  The colors brighter and more saturated, the smells always sweeter carried on a soft warm breeze.   The sounds richer, full of life and promise. 

Image

Image

 

But in the end it was just a temporary temptation,  a tease, a piece of confusion with a dose of frustration and a possible inkling of hope.

Image

 

So I will leave you with a happy face smile in the knowledge Spring is finally coming, I mean it has to at some point, right?  I also leave you with the hope that we can outlast this final burst of winter madness.