BY JACKIE STRAWBRIDGE
A handful of organizations offer activities on the Western Queens waterfront, so that individuals and families, boaters and landlubbers alike can make the most of the waning summer.
Certain weeknights on Astoria Park’s great lawn, the Central Astoria Local Development Coalition brings movies and live music to the edge of the East River.
The movies kicked off this past Monday with “The Goonies,” and will continue each week with screenings of “Despicable Me 2,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “Dirty Dancing” and “Finding Nemo,” in that order. Tonight, catch one of the last waterfront live concerts, as Motor City Revue performs a tribute to Motown. A Johnny Cash tribute band performs next week, and rock band The Regulars closes out the series on Aug. 14.
Movies begin at 8:30 p.m., concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. For more information, call (718) 728-7820.
For those who want to hit the waters, educational service organization HarborLAB provides a number of activities throughout the coming months.
Gantry community paddles bring kayakers out onto the East River, to take in the Manhattan and Long Island City skylines. No prior experience is necessary, although experienced kayakers can also volunteer with HarborLAB to ensure the safety of the paddlers and the dock.
Erik Baard, executive director of HarborLAB, said that the organization plays a number of roles in the area, from regrowing and studying the habitat, to leading canoe and kayak tours, to partnering with schools for educational displays.
According to Baard, Gantry Plaza State Park offers a particularly exciting opportunity for children’s programming, because of its particularly clean water relative to neighboring Hallets Cove and Newtown Creek.
“We were really thrilled that Gantry is looking so good,” Baard said. “Gantry State Plaza Park is a unique resource. It’s the best place to bring children in Western Queens.”
More broadly, Baard said, “as far as being there, you can see the egrets that inspired the whole conservationist movement 100 years ago – the Audubon society – and you can see night herons. We’ve even seen muskrats.”
“These are not the things people expect to see when they see the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building [across the river],” Baard added.
For a full list of HarborLAB programming, visit harborlab.org/calendar.
To close out summer weekends, take advantage of Sunday afternoon and evening kayaking at Socrates Sculpture Park beach at Halletts Cove.
Tide and weather permitting, Astoria Boaters and the LIC Community Boathouse offer free kayaking and canoeing at this spot from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and 6 p.m. to sunset, certain days throughout the summer. For a list of scheduled boating events, visit www.socratessculpturepark.org/programs/all.
Participants sign up on a first come, first served basis. No prior boating experience is necessary. People of all ages are welcome to join, and can even bring pets – life preservers will be provided for all two- and four-legged seafarers.
Reach Jackie Strawbridge at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JNStrawbridge.
Photo by Jackie Strawbridge