Thursday, November 29, 2018

Picture of the Day

Monday, November 26, 2018

Picture of the Day

Writes the contributor of this Picture of the Day: "Love the tree with tie-dye effect on Austin St."
It really is a perfect diversion from today's miserable weather.

Don't forget to email in your Pictures of the Day to They don't have to just be from Forest Hills!

Far-Reaching Effects of Recent Storm

I snapped this photo a week or so ago. Sad to see that this old tree that stood for so long at the corner of Queens Blvd. and Ascan, in front of the church, was one of the casualties of the recent early-season snow storm. She will be missed!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Picture of the Day

Thanks to Carol for sending this scene of MacDonald Park in Forest Hills during last week's historic snow. Please send your Pictures of the Day to They can be from anywhere in the city. Heck, even anywhere in the world, why not?

Sunday, November 18, 2018

OBA On the Way

The OBA Mediteranean Gyro & Grill construction appears to be well underway.  Hopefully it opens soon with great food for all.

Welcome Pandora

The Pandora jewelry store quietly opened on Austin Street a few weeks ago and appears to be doing well.  The store is certainly well lit to show off the merchandise.  Planes in the area may start making wrong turns!
Pandora at night

Friday, November 16, 2018

Concert at The Church-in-the-Gardens

Internationally acclaimed marimbist and Forest Hills resident Makoto Nakura returns by popular demand to perform an evening of uplifting, sonorous tones all while wowing the audience with his signature lightning-fast dexterity and sensitive interpretations.
Works include Leonard Bernstein’s Suite from West Side Story, David Schober’s The Pillow
Book: Four Seasons of Ancient Japan for vibraphone, flute and spoken word, Philip Lasser’s Bach Echoes for marimba, and a touch of Bach meets the 21st Century as Makoto performs works of Bach he transcribed for marimba. Joined by artists Tara Helen O’Connor (flute), Chie Kitamura (narrator) and Barbara Podgurski (piano). 
You will certainly not want to miss this exciting display of musical pyrotechnics!
Date: Saturday, December 1, 2018
Time: 7 PM
Location: The Church-in-the-Gardens
Address: 50 Ascan Avenue, Forest Hills
Length: 1 hour
Price: $20 Adult ticket / $10 Student ticket


Makoto Nakura is a musician whose artistry and astonishing virtuosity have been mesmerizing audiences over a quarter century. He creates innovative programs of new music as well as traditional classical repertoire, revealing the versatility and expressive range of the marimba while enlightening and entertaining the listener. His recent premieres include Toshio Mashima's marimba concerto at the famed Philharmonie Hall in Berlin as well as Benjamin C. S. Boyle's marimba concerto with the Montreal Chamber Orchestra. 
In 1994, Makoto moved from his native Japan to New York City, becoming the first marimbist to win First Prize in the prestigious Young Concert Artists International Auditions. His critically acclaimed performances around the world have included venues in London, Paris, Berlin, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Seoul, Montreal, Mexico City, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires. In the U.S., he has performed for audiences in 41 of the 50 states with orchestras such as the New York Chamber Symphony, the Chicago Sinfonietta and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. As a recital soloist, his long list of appearances includes Carnegie'sWeill Recital Hall, New York's 92nd Street Y and Washington's Kennedy Center.

In addition, Mr. Nakura has been a guest artist with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and appeared in the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, Spoleto USA Festival, Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival and River to River Festival. 
He has also been developing collaborative works with other art forms. With the American Ballet Theatre, he has performed on numerous occasions in New York City, including appearances at the Metropolitan Opera House and at City Center, where he was soloist in a production of "Marimba". With the spoken word, he premiered "The Ocean Calls" based on poems by Pablo Neruda. With story-telling image projection, he created "The Story of Aoyagi" which is a Japanese ghost story. He produced a concert called "The Encounter of Art and Music" with the Hyogo Prefectural Art Museum in Japan; he played pieces inspired by Paul Klee, Jackson Pollock, and Wilem De Kooning with projections of their paintings. Since he launched "Forest Trilogy" , a project with choir, he has performed it in New York City, the U.K. and Japan. Based on a Japanese venerable essay, he most recently produced "The Pillow Book Project" with a narrator. 
Mr. Nakura has established himself as a dedicated champion of the music of our time.
Many leading composers such as Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, Pierre Jalbert, Kevin Puts, Kenji Bunch, Lane Harder, David Schober, Jason Eckardt and Benjamin C.S. Boyle have written pieces especially for him. This marimbist's mission is to explore and expand the possibilities of the instrument, demonstrate what an exciting and provocative vehicle it offers to composers and provide a thrilling experience for audiences. 
Born in Kobe, Japan, Mr. Nakura began to play the marimba at the age of eight. He earned Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Musashino College in Tokyo. He continued his studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London from which he was named an Asscociate. Indeed, because of his strong commitment to reaching younger audiences, he conducts many master classes and workshops at schools such as the Eastman School of Music, the Royal Academy of Music, and the Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts, among many others. He is an adjunct professor at Kyoto City University of Arts. 
His recent honors include a National Arts Festival New Artist Award from the Japanese
Agency of Cultural Affairs and the BMI/Carlos Surinach Fund Marimba Commission. His
CDs "Ritual Protocol" , "Triple Jump" , "Tsuneya Tanabe Marimba Works" , and "Wood and Forest" are devoted to works written for him. He also recorded his own transcription of works by Bach called "Bach Beat" and most recently "Bach Beat II" , which was released by Naxos in April, 2016 to critical acclaim. These recordings have become the inspiration for artists in different disciplines; notably it was featured in the fashion show of Rei Kawakubo's COMME des GARCONS 2017 spring/summer collection. 
A network television portrait of Mr. Nakura was broadcast across the U.S. on CBS Sunday Morning. His recitals have been widely televised and played on many radio stations. 


Tara Helen O'Connor is a charismatic performer noted for her artistic depth, brilliant technique and colorful tone spanning every musical era. Recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant and a two-time Grammy nominee, she was the first wind player chosen to participate in The Bowers Program (formerly CMS Two) and is now a Season Artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. A Wm. S. Haynes flute artist, Tara is a regular participant in the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Music@Menlo, Chamber Music Festival of the Bluegrass, Spoleto Festival USA, Chamber Music Northwest, Mainly Mozart Festival, Music from Angel Fire, Rockport Music, Bay Chamber Concerts, Manchester Music Festival, the Banff Centre, the Great Mountains Music Festival, Chesapeake Music Festival and the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival.
A much sought-after chamber musician and soloist, she has premiered hundreds of new works and has collaborated with the Orion String Quartet, St. Lawrence Quartet, Emerson String Quartet, Jaime Laredo, Dawn Upshaw, Eliot Fisk, Jeremy Denk, Ida Kavafian, Peter Serkin and David Shifrin. Tara is a member of the woodwind quintet Windscape, the legendary Bach Aria Group and is a founding member of the Naumburg Award-winning New Millennium Ensemble. A passionate advocate of new music, she is a member of the Talea and Cygnus Ensembles. Tara has appeared on A&E's Breakfast with the Arts and PBS' Live from Lincoln Center. She has recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, EMI Classics, Koch International, CMS Studio Recordings with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Bridge Records. She has just released a solo CD of American flute works entitled The Way Things Go on Bridge Records with pianist Margaret Kampmeier.
Tara holds a DMA from Stony Brook University where she studied with the late Samuel
Baron. Her other teachers include Julius Levine, Thomas Nyfenger, Robert Dick and Keith Underwood. Her yearly summer flute master class at the Banff Centre in Canada was legendary.  She is Associate Professor of Flute, Head of the Woodwinds Department and the Coordinator of Classical Music Studies at Purchase College School of the Arts Conservatory of Music. Additionally, Tara is on the faculty of Bard College Conservatory of Music, the Contemporary Performance Program at Manhattan School of Music and is a visiting artist, teacher and coach at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.  She lives with her husband, violinist Daniel Phillips on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.  


A native of New York, pianist Barbara Podgurski holds a DMA in piano performance from The Graduate Center (CUNY) as well as a BM in piano performance and an MM in both piano performance and music theory from the Mannes College of Music. 

Dr. Podgurski has performed as soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean and Europe and has performed at many of the world’s finest venues including a number of performances at Carnegie Hall. 

She has been featured in numerous television and radio broadcasts, including appearances on WQXR’s Young Artists Showcase, WNYC’s “Soundcheck”, NPR, WPLN Nashville’s “Live from Studio C”, WQED and numerous others. Ms. Podgurski was recently featured on a television documentary for NHK in Japan with her touring partner violinist Elizabeth Pitcairn and the famed “Red” Mendelssohn Stradivarius. 

Ms. Podgurski was a special guest in March 2015 performing for the National Association of Broadcasters at the 2015 Golden Mike Awards with Grammy-nominated violinist Jenny Oaks Baker. Past collaborations with renowned artists including violinists Philippe Graffin and the late Lorand Fenyves, flutist Harold Jones, clarinetist Charles Neidich, pianists Diane Walsh and Seymour Lipkin, and cellists Manfred Stilz, Marcy Rosen and the late Paul Tobias. 

Dr. Podgurski has premiered numerous new works including a commission of a concerto by Pulitzer-Prize winning composer George Walker which she premiered with the Queens Symphony Orchestra. She is a dedicated proponent of new music, focusing on premiering works of NYC based composers and programming such works on her concert series based in New York. 

Barbara has been working for a number of years with the Department of Cultural Affairs as a main contact for organizing and contracting musicians for the 9-11 Commemoration Memorial (live televised broadcast from Ground Zero in NYC) and most recently was invited with her colleagues to perform at a private ceremony for Pope Francis and members of the United Nations in an interfaith prayer service during the 2015 Papal visit to NYC. 

Dr. Podgurski is currently the Executive and Artistic Director of Musica Reginae Productions in Queens, NY.  She is also a past Music Director of NIAM (Nantucket Island Arts and Music Summer Festival). She is a member of the Lexington Piano Trio (with violinist Cyrus Beroukhim and cellist Arash Amini) as well as the Barbad Chamber Orchestra and Ensemble based in Astoria, Queens. A former faculty member at The Mannes College of Music and Hunter College, she is currently on the faculty of Mercy College, the RiverArts Music Program in Hudson Valley, and is a consultant for the Board of Education for both New York City and New York State. By invitation in 2014, Dr. Podgurski became a Steinway Teaching Artist. She performed once again this past spring at Carnegie Hall (NY), toured this past summer with performances on Nantucket, at the Luzerne Summer Music Festival and at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, and has just returned from a tour including concerts in St. Croix (USVI) and Palm Beach (FL). She also performed this November with the rock band Evanescence on their Synthesis Tour.

Barbara is currently a contributing writer to Cambridge’s Nineteenth Century Music Review.

ABOUT MUSICA REGINAE PRODUCTIONS Musica Reginae Productions (MRP) was formed in 2000 in order to expand the availability of classical music for the residents of Queens in their home borough, to build community and the audience for classical and other fine music in Queens. MRP is committed to bringing the highest caliber of artists to its concert series, and in addition to its evening concert series MRP hosts a series of interactive, educational programs for children both in the classroom and in everyday recreational settings within the community, in the company of family members and friends. MRP is dedicated to serving the citizens of Queens, the most ethnically diverse county in the United States. Each year MRP continues to build its community audience base through programming a variety of musical genres including traditional classical, modern (classical), Jazz, experimental and World-music genres. Providing the community with a series of hosted, informative concert events with a great variety of musical genres and styles has been the central focal point of MRP, now in its 18th concert season. Please visit for more information.

Pictures of the Day

Don't forget to send in your photos. We run them in our ongoing series "Picture of the Day." Email them to (The one below was taken before yesterday's snow)

Monday, November 5, 2018

Amazon Said To Choose Queens for Second Headquarters

From The NY Times:

Amazon’s HQ2? Make That Q for Queens
New York City last week announced $180 million in new spending on Long Island City to bolster transit, fix the sewer system and attract new, good-paying jobs. Now it appears that spending was, in part, deliberately timed. Amazon is nearing a deal to name Long Island City, a fast-growing neighborhood on the western edge of Queens, as one of two locations that would together house as many as 50,000 employees in its ever-expanding work force, according to two people briefed on the negotiations.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Scenes from Halloween 2018 in Forest Hills

The crowds stretched as far as the eye could see as trick-or-treaters headed towards Burns Street to check out the annual decorations. And this year, as usual, they did not disappoint!