Thursday, March 27, 2014

Kaufman, MOMI to be part of Queens art district

A new arts district in Queens will promote Astoria to visitors and potential new venues, local elected officials will announce Friday at the Kaufman Astoria Studios.
The 94-year-old film studio, which once set the stage for classic Marx Brothers movies and the Cosby Show, will partner with the Queens Council on the Arts and the Museum of the Moving Image to promote art in the 24 block zone.
This is wonderful news. To anyone who has been aware of the changes taking place in the Astoria/Long Island City area over the past decade or so, this is something that the neighborhood has been building up to, although I doubt anyone could've predicted that this might happen. Still, between the Kaufman and MOMI, the Queens Council on the Arts' recent move to Astoria, and Sinatra High School, not to mention the revived literary scene thanks to the presence of two new bookstores in the area (just outside of this district, though), plus an actual movie theater, there's a definite arts-related vibe that has intensified in recent years. This proclamation simply confirms to the rest of New York what Queens natives have recognized all along.

Of course, the joking(?) quote near the end of the article about the fear that Astoria will get too expensive as a consequence reflects a growing city-wide trend. Articles like this one, or better yet, this one, by musician David Byrne, are indicative of how New York (read: Manhattan) is perceived as stifling creativity due to its increasing expense. As a result, the arts scene is no longer centered around one borough, but is now spreading outward, and Queens, among other places, is a beneficiary. Hopefully, the benefits that come from this arts district will apply to all of Queens, and not just the elite.

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