Vinyl Revolution Record Show returns to Astoria

By Stephanie Meditz

[email protected]

Vinyl Revolution Record Show invites over 50 record vendors to set up shop in one venue. Photo via their website.

On Saturday, Nov. 12 and Sunday, Nov. 13 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Vinyl Revolution Record Show will return to the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden in Astoria for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Father-daughter duo Mike and Amanda Schutzman started hosting record shows 10 years ago at the Brooklyn Bowl. 

Mike Schutzman initially ran the show with the manager of his record store in Valley Stream. 

Amanda Schutzman has always been involved in the show, but she now works in records full-time and co-organizes it with her father. 

“Now I work for a large vinyl distributor that deals with record stores all over America for new releases and reissues and stuff like that. So I deal with 200 record stores every day,” she said. “So I was just like, hey, I’ll take over. I know enough of the business at this point.” 

Since it began, Vinyl Revolution Record Show has hosted several shows a year in Queens, Brooklyn and Long Island. 

“I think it just got bigger than we expected it to get, and we just kept doing them,” Schutzman said. 

The show invites roughly 50 record dealers, personal collectors and record store owners from all over the country to set up shop in the same venue. 

Vendors sell a range of merchandise, including vinyl records, CDs, 45 RPM records and record supplies like sleeves, boxes and collector bags. 

Steve Lobmeier of Steve’s Record Cleaning cleans records that attendees buy or bring to the show for $1.50 per LP. 

At a whopping 80 tables, the most recent show was the largest one yet, and the Astoria show will be the first two-day show. 

“It’s basically just a giant flea, but it’s all records,” Schutzman said. 

Mike Schutzman, an avid record collector, often sets up shop at record shows around the country, including Vinyl Revolution. 

He passed his love for vinyl and music onto his daughter, who is also a collector. 

“I was raised in a record store, so I’ve always been into music. I didn’t start collecting myself until about 10 years ago, maybe even more than that,” Amanda Schutzman said. “And I’m addicted like the rest of them.” 

She is grateful to work with her father and share this hobby with him. 

“We have all the same hang-ups and we’re constantly back and forth on the phone making sure everything’s planned properly, but we have a great time working together,” she said. “We’ve never really butt heads or anything like that. He seems to really know what he’s doing, so I fall in line and listen.” 

The Astoria show will also feature special guests DJ Shangri-La, DJ Nina Day and DJ Spag of punk band Two Man Advantage. 

DJ Shangri-La and DJ Nina Day will play music at both Astoria shows.

Tickets are available on their website for $5. With the price of admission comes a ticket for the raffles called every half hour. 

Early admission is also available from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. for $10. 

“It’s just nice to have the Queens, Brooklyn, New York City crowd come back to the shows because we haven’t done them in a while,” Schutzman said. “The atmosphere is the most exciting at Astoria.”

Classic cars take center stage at Forest Hills Stadium

Rich harmonies with the Quatrain Barbershop Quartet

Lineup of the classics.

By Michael Perlman

[email protected]

This past Sunday afternoon under a lustrous sun, analogous to a spotlight, the setting resembled a “Back To The Future” episode at the West Side Tennis Club.

From recent to longtime Club members, they stepped onto the iconic Forest Hills Stadium stage and everyone felt like a performer. They were ready for the first classic car show in its history.

One by one, each sporty car pulled up and parked on stage, with their headlights facing the members, and the nearly century-old horseshoe-shaped venue became the backdrop.

The friendly staff greeted guests and presented a buffet consisting of scrumptious salads, hors d’oeuvres, pastries and scotch among other favorite drinks.

Then the notable New York-based Quatrain Barbershop Quartet arrived in their fashionable red and white striped attire and straw hats, and began belting out barbershop harmonies with much distinction, proving that the genre is very much alive.

High notes with the Quatrain Barbershop Quartet.

They walked around the stage, took requests and casually chatted with guests.

The quartet consists of lead Steve Marrin of Baldwin, tenor Bob Kelly of Freeport, baritone Jeff Glemboski of Merrick and bass Al Fennell of Yorktown Heights.

A barbershop quartet features a cappella singing, with three voices harmonizing to a fourth vocal’s melody, but then an invisible fifth voice becomes apparent.

Close harmonies and homorhythmic singing are commonalities.

This style’s roots can be traced to African-American traditions of the late 19th century in the South.

The melodies and sound are angelic and sentimental. It further came into its own in 1938.

“It’s an art form that was created in the U.S. With barbershop today, it’s performed worldwide, with groups in New Zealand, Germany and South Africa,” Kelly said.

“I passed the West Side Tennis Club thousands of times on the LIRR, and it’s an honor to stand on the stage of The Beatles,” Marrin said. “Al and Bob signed together in a quartet known as the ‘Sunburst Express’ in 1974. I met them a few years later. We were called ‘Spotlight’ in the 1980s and 1990s. Three of us have been singing together for about 50 years.”

The youngest member is Glemboski, a kindergarten through sixth grade music teacher in Merrick, and Fennell held the same occupation.

Their favorite numbers include “Don’t Blame Me” (1933), “I’m Sitting on Top of the World” (1925) by Al Jolson, “Smile” (1936) by Charlie Chaplin and “The Chordbuster’s March.”

“It was written to introduce to the audience individual members and the parts that they sing,” Kelly said in response to the latter song.

Barbershop music is enjoyable for all age groups.

The youngest classic car fan.

Marrin said, “Sometimes when we sing to children, it’s the first time they heard it. Some who are musically inclined want to hear more. Our No. 1 audience is 50-plus.”

“The Barbershop Harmony Society is getting younger people involved such as in high school and grammar school. We like to get our message out, where this is what we like to do and it’s fun,” Kelly added.

The quartet performed at historical destinations including Carnegie Hall, the Ed Sullivan Theater and Planting Fields Arboretum. They frequently entertain at family parties and can be booked by contacting [email protected].

WSTC Entertainment Committee Co-Chair James Navarrete is a nine-year Club member who has an open ear to member feedback, so he listened to fellow member Richard’s suggestion and said, “What a great idea!”

He explained, “The Stadium was there when these cars were first born. I wanted the cars to be center stage with the backdrop of the legendary stadium, which will key off for the 100th anniversary next year. The fall lends itself to darker drinks, such as scotch, so I felt like having a tasting of the new scotches on the WSTC menu.”

“I like to show off my Club to the members, have them really appreciate it and move the events in various locations throughout each season, as well as cater to all demographics,” Navarrete continued.

He cited an adult-only pool party, a family movie night with a piñata and a magic act, the Queen’s Tea event in the Clubhouse dining room, evening country line dancing with a mechanical bull on the Stadium stage and karaoke in the Rose Garden.

Jeff Becktold, a 13-year WSTC member, is also a WSTC Entertainment Committee member, who hosted the event.

Mr & Mrs Reyes with host Jeff Becktold on right.

He takes pride in keeping WSTC history alive by strategizing at monthly meetings, while also aiming to be inclusive of the larger community.

“With the history of the Stadium, the idea of bringing in classic cars that were traveling to the shows in those times made much sense. The Quatrain Barbershop Quartet adds a nostalgic ambiance,” he said.

Becktold pinpointed much dialogue for using the Stadium for uses beyond concerts.

“We will be celebrating our 100th anniversary in 2023, and it’s always on our mind to bring more attention to our neighborhood. Afterall, this was the first home of the U.S. Open. Watching the U.S. Open this year, our Stadium was mentioned several times, and people talk about how they want to come back to play here. Having players practice here before the U.S. Open would bring more attention to the Stadium. I also think a lot of people are unfamiliar with the neighborhood, so when they attend concerts, they walk around and see ‘a diamond in the rough,’” he said.

WSTC members shared their car stories.

Richard presented a 1978 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, a 1985 Porsche 944 and a 1987 Mercedes-Benz 560SL.

Up close with a 1978 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am.

He pinpointed that this Trans Am was met with extreme success, likely attributed to the popular film, “Smokey and the Bandit.”

“It had a huge 6.6 Liter engine with a 4-speed manual and a Hurst shifter, a true contribution to the ‘muscle car’ era.”

A few years ago, he added the distinctive big bird on the front hood.

As for the Porsche 944, originating in Germany, it was manufactured from 1982 to 1991 and was considered the most successful sports car in the company’s history.

Referencing Richard’s 1987 Mercedes-Benz, he said, “It has classic lines, but is sporty with a soft convertible top, but also a hard top for cold winters. Although only a two-seater, the big V-8 cylinder engine under the hood made it one of the fastest luxury sports cars of the time.”

Richard was always curious to know how things operated, and in his youth, took care of his family car.

He reminisced, “During my first effort to time the engine, I messed up the engine so badly, that I had to tell my dad that the car had to be towed to our family mechanic. Horrified and expecting my dad to be furious, all he did was insist that I accompany our mechanic to the repair shop and find out what I had done wrong. I never looked back, and have done most of the maintenance of my cars for the rest of my life, to the extent that I have a ‘pit’ at my country home, so that I can safely work under my cars.”

He felt the Quatrain Barbershop Quartet was excellent and called the car show a fun experience. “Having a little experience in a men and boys’ choir in my youth, I exclaimed and complimented them when they changed keys or did classic resolutions,” Richard added. “I hope we can have them again soon.”

The notable Quatrain Barbershop Quartet.

“It’s a really nice way to meet people at this different kind of event,” said Ted, a 47-year WSTC member, who presented a 1961 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider Normale, a 1991 Alfa Romeo Spider and a 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe Launch Edition.

“My passion for cars is from my dad, who’s really into cars. A couple of the cars that I own are similar to the ones that he had when I was a little boy. He had a soft spot for Alfa Romeos. It has quite a following in the U.S. despite the fact that they didn’t sell cars for 20 years from 1995 to 2015,” he said. “The 1961 classic was styled by Pininfarina, designer of many classic Ferraris, and produced from 1955 to 1962 as the Giulietta Spider with the original 1290cc version of the legendary Alfa Romeo twin cam 4-cylinder engine, and from 1952 to 1966 as the Giulia Spider with a larger 1570cc engine version.”

Up close with a 1961 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider Normale.

The 1991 classic was also styled by Pininfarina and designed for 27 years in four series, where each is distinguished by unique rear styling. Interestingly, the “round tail” Series 1 version starred in the film, “The Graduate.”

“This Series 4 example is powered by a 1962cc version of the legendary Alfa Romeo twin cam 4-cylinder engine. The front-end styling incorporates the barest hint of the classic Alfa center grill and side brows,” Ted said.

In reference to the accompanying harmonies, he continued, “The Quatrain Barbershop Quartet is very talented and having live music is always great.”

A supercharged 2000 Jaguar XKR was presented by John.

“In 2000, I was sick and got cured, so my wife told me to go out and buy a classic car. I was going to buy a Porsche, but my friends told me, ‘Everybody has a Porsche,’ so they said, ‘Get a Jaguar,’ so that’s it. It’s a cool looking car.”

Another presenter, James, showed a 2014 Ford Mustang Race Red and called it “a car curated for the streets of NYC,” with a standard V6 engine.

“Like every little kid, you’re given a toy car to play with and roll around the floor, and growing up, I’ve always been a fan of a Ford Mustang. My dad always rents them when we go on vacation. I always wanted one, and I was lucky enough to come across this beauty.”

He added his own touches.

“The beautiful curves and aggressive tone are paired with a one-of-a-kind custom racing stripe design, which bears homage to the world’s greatest football club, Manchester United. Whether you are a child or an adult, this car puts a smile on your face,” he said.

An ivory 1977 Fiat 124 Spider with a camel interior was another showstopper.

Serenading guests around a 1977 Fiat 124 Spider.

Sometimes cars evoke tradition and one’s spirit, as in the case of Robert who acquired it that year.

After he passed away, it was gifted to his daughter Kate, and today she and her husband Oded recall how he valued “good design and Italian cars.”

Contemporary classical music comes to Ridgewood with ‘Laminaria’

By Stephanie Meditz

[email protected]

Laminaria combines evocative contemporary classical music with costumes and other visual elements.

With Halloween around the corner, Ridgewood’s live music scene shifts towards dark themes reminiscent of the horror genre.

This Saturday, Oct. 15 at 8 p.m., Concetta Abbate and her 10-piece chamber orchestra will perform her folk-horror epic, “Laminaria,” at Footlight Underground at the Windjammer.

Through music and vocals, Laminaria tells the story of an underwater sea witch who emerges to the surface and ascends to the sky in death, only to be pulled back into the ocean.

The musical arrangement depicts the plot with its contrast between low, ominous notes and whimsical, borderline comedic elements.

“I always have a hard time explaining my genre,” Abbate said. “I think our ensemble is just covering all ends of the spectrum, music-wise. There are moments that sound a little more like a traditional cinematic orchestral score, and then there are parts of it that sound like you’re at a free improvisation show, and then there are parts of it like you’re listening to a rock band.”

Abbate, a classical violinist and vocalist, will be accompanied by an orchestra consisting of woodwind, string, brass and percussion sections.

The ten piece chamber orchestra consists of woodwind, string, brass and percussion sections.

Laminaria’s vocals and simplistic lyrics were inspired by medieval Gregorian chants and closely resemble incantations.

The orchestra also includes an array of homemade instruments played by Skip La Plante that create haunting sound effects without the use of technology.

“It’s really dipping into a lot of musical worlds and soundscapes,” Abbate said. “I think that’s what makes it so exciting because it’s really unexpected.”

Laminaria will be accompanied by modern dancers from Wendy Osserman Dance Company in Manhattan later this month. Photo by Alice Teeple.

The word laminaria means “kelp” in Latin, which is used to induce labor.

Kelp is also notorious for the destruction of boats and is known in New Zealand’s folklore as “the devil’s apron,” which is the title of Laminaria’s first movement.

“For me, this sea witch is trying to emerge and is kind of stuck in this crux between living and not living,” Abbate said. “I think there are also more tangible messages in the piece about access to healthcare and our mental health systems being so broken. So I think that this metaphor of this substance that is used to induce a change in life, whether it be birth or death, really encapsulated a lot of the message of the piece.”

Abbate was inspired to compose Laminaria during the COVID-19 pandemic when she watched many horror movies in quarantine.

“I started to question why I was so interested in horror movies and I realized that it’s a cathartic way to process traumatic events,” she said. “ And a lot of the time, the monster in the movie represents the trauma in itself, and it’s the physical embodiment of whatever real, terrifying thing is happening in your life.”

Abbate drew upon her own experiences of witnessing loved ones struggle with mental health issues and the healthcare system’s inability to help them.

“It literally looked like demon possession to me because when you’re a child, you don’t know the medical terminology for things,” she said. “And so I wanted to, in this piece, explore that childlike understanding.”

“I think the piece can be taken on many levels,” she continued. “You can come in and watch it and it could just be this silly, fun horror thing. Or if you wanted to seek out the deeper, cathartic meaning in it, if that feels relevant to the audience, I think that that part of it is also there.”

A native New Yorker, Abbate holds a master’s degree in music education from Columbia University.

She grew up on Long Island and has lived in multiple boroughs, but she now resides in Glendale.

“[The Windjammer] is just such a great local spot to get people in the neighborhood to know about the work,” she said. “I think it’ll be really fun at Windjammer.”

Tickets are available on a sliding scale starting at $10 at https://withfriends.co/event/15003568/laminaria or $12 at the door on the night of the performance.

After Laminaria’s Oct. 15 performance at the Windjammer, Abbate will perform the piece on Oct. 21 and 22 at Theater For The New City in Manhattan, accompanied by a modern dance routine choreographed by Wendy Osserman.

“When we did the first show, people were crying at the end of it. It’s a very moving experience to come and see this piece.”

NYC hasn’t forgotten about freestyle

Exploring the story of freestyle music from yesterday into today

By Jessica Meditz

[email protected]

Most popular in the late ’80s into the ’90s, freestyle is a niche genre of music that’s unique to just a few major cities — namely, New York.

There are already a million things that make New York the best, most unique city in the world.

Another thing to tack onto that list is the fact that most of us have either grown up with or been exposed to freestyle music at some point in our lives — while folks from other places may not be able to say the same.

Freestyle, also known as “Latin freestyle,” “Latin hip-hop,” and even “heartthrob” or “club music” in cities like Miami, is a genre of electronic dance music that was born out of major cities like NYC, Miami and Philadelphia.

There’s some debate as to when freestyle music actually began, and people will give different answers.

Some believe freestyle music emerged around 1983, when Shannon’s “Let the Music Play” became a hit. Others feel the true birth of freestyle was in ‘86, when Sa-Fire dropped “Don’t Break My Heart.”

Either way, what is known as post-disco served as the precursor to freestyle, and the genre was widely appreciated by predominantly Italian-American and Latino audiences until the late ‘90s, when Rockell’s “In A Dream” blasted from car speakers and in nightclubs.

Although the genre never really died, that was the golden era of freestyle.

But many artists still make an effort to keep freestyle alive and thriving, including Joe Zangie, an Italian-American freestyle artist born in Camden, N.J.

Zangie’s been a part of the freestyle music scene since 1994 when his first single, “In My Dreams,” was released under Tazmania Records. He was 18 at the time.

Zangie grew from a kid who was peer pressured into doing music, to a guy passionate about all things freestyle — doing performances, creating songs and making friends along the way.

“Freestyle just puts me in a good mood…it’s the type of music you listen to when you want to put your windows down, your music up and drive. It’s such a vibe. I love the beats and the production of freestyle. It could be anything lyrically, but the tracks and the production of the beats is what I love about freestyle the most,” he said.

“I think many people feel nostalgic in a way when they listen to freestyle,” he continued.

“A lot of times, people will relate to freestyle songs, right to their own personal life. All the lyrics in freestyle are like love songs; it’s either somebody getting dumped, or somebody falling in love. There’s no in between, it’s got to be about love.”

Freestyle artist, Joe Zangie.

Staying true to this sentiment, Zangie released his newest single, “Love You Like Wow,” under Fever Records in May of this year.

“Love You Like Wow” is a fun, upbeat track that puts a more modern twist on the traditional freestyle sound, but still features some of the same nostalgic, distinctive beats — especially toward the end.

Shortly after its release, Zangie shot the music video for his single on the Wildwood boardwalk with Robert Barrera of REBolution Media.

“That was crazy because I had to stay up all night. We wanted to get those shots with no one around on an empty boardwalk,” he explained. “We were out filming at like five o’clock in the morning.”

“Love You Like Wow” was well-received by both his peers and fans, reaching No. 1 on all the freestyle charts.

Zangie is proud to be a part of the reason why people still know about freestyle, passing it onto future generations.

“I don’t think that I would have wanted to do a new record this year if I didn’t feel like there was a reason to put it out. I do see these sold out crowds, these big venues that we do these shows in, and you do see the younger kids coming with their parents, and they might even be the grandkids. There’s definitely a new resurgence in it,” he said.

“For the people who don’t know freestyle, I think that if they’re exposed to it, they’ll hear it and say, ‘I like this.’ There’s nothing in freestyle that’s going to make you not want to listen to it,” he continued. “It’s feel-good music. And who doesn’t want to feel good?” 

Zangie recently participated in the Freestyle Beach House concert at the Coney Island Amphitheater on Sept. 3 — performing alongside big names in freestyle including TKA, Judy Torres, Brenda K Starr and Cynthia.

Also at the show were his close friends and fellow freestyle artists: Noel, best known for his 1987 hit, “Silent Morning,” and Rockell, who he’s collaborated with and even refers to as being “like family.”

“When I met her, we just became best friends. I’m still really tight with her; I know her family, she knows my family and I’m actually her son’s godfather,” he said. “It’s just been great.”

After recording nine singles with Tazmania/Metropolitan Records and touring with Denine and Collage as a vocalist for Collage, Zangie went on to tour and record a version of the smash hit, “Can’t We Try,” with Rockell.

They continue to perform together.

Zangie has two upcoming performances in Staten Island: Freestyle for a Cause on Oct. 1 at Nuvo, and Ultimate Freestyle on Nov. 19 at the St. George Theater.

Although freestyle is a niche concept to most or something from the past, many people have been exposed to it in the present day — possibly unknowingly.

In 2021, a TikTok user by the name of @groovy_mal shared a video of her hair routine, where she styles her hair in a ‘70s, Farrah Fawcett-esque feathered look. The background song in the video is Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam’s 1985 bop, “I Wonder If I Take You Home.”

The video has 6.2 million likes and over 30 million views, and in the nature of TikTok, other users attempted the same hairdo on camera with the same song playing in the background.

Although the creator missed the mark by using an ‘80s freestyle track to accompany her ‘70s-inspired hairstyle, she did expose a brand new audience to the song produced right here in East Flatbush, Brooklyn.

Locally, freestyle music continues to play on local radio stations, such as 103.5 KTU, where Judy Torres stars as an on-air personality.

Michael Perlman, a resident of Forest Hills and a columnist for this newspaper, grew up during the golden era of freestyle. He said that without KTU, freestyle would probably be forgotten.

“I am a huge freestyle music fan. I was raised to freestyle hits in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, and I remember its revival in the late ‘90s and early 2000s,” he said.

“Thanks to KTU 103.5, my mom and I won tickets to a freestyle concert at Brookhaven Amphitheater in 1999. My mom asked me at the end, ‘How did you like seeing all of the singers who you grew up with?,’ he continued. “It’s very sentimental and true to our NYC roots.”

Angelica Pizzonia, a baker from Williamsburg, also feels nostalgic when listening to freestyle, and relates it to her Italian upbringing.

“Freestyle tells a story, which may not be your own story, but you can relate to the words the artist is saying. My sister introduced it to me. It reminds us of summertime in Brooklyn…hanging out on the stoop, having block parties, going to the Italian feasts…Just pure old school living,” she said.

“We weren’t teenagers during the prime era of freestyle but my uncle and his friends kept it going and passed it down to us. We share such a strong love for it and we still listen to it with our friends and family,” she continued. “My mom always says it reminds her of a dance version of her oldies doo-wop music. She loves all the stories the artists tell about young love. Freestyle music will never die.”



Live music returns to Forest Hills Stadium

Live music returned to Forest Hills Stadium for the first time since 2019, giving thousands of concert-goers in Queens a reason to celebrate and a brief return to normal.
The historic outdoor venue officially reopened on Friday, July 23, as Brandi Carlile took the stage before 8,000 fans, kicking off the stadium’s summer concert series on a high note.
The 14,000-seat capacity venue, located at the West Side Tennis Club, will soon be hosting additional live performances, after a season of concerts were lost due to the pandemic.
As part of New York City’s “Homecoming Week,” the stadium will also host a free concert on Friday, August 20, as announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio last month.
Mario DiPreta, CEO of the West Side Tennis Club (WSTC), says the reopening of the unique venue comes at a time when fans need it most. After hosting a successful first live show back, DiPreta recalled what it was like to welcome live music fans back for the first time in over a year.
“It was amazing to make sure that we could actually do a concert again and get back to some sort of normalcy,” said DiPreta. “The energy was amazing, the crowd was singing to the music. It’s one of the most amazing venues and unique too, there’s not one like it in the world.”
Built in 1923, the outdoor concert venue sits on 13 acres owned by the private tennis club, which played host to the US Open until 1977. It’s where Arthur Ashe became the first African-American to win a Grand Slam tournament in 1968, and it’s where Billie Jean King played while she campaigned for equal prize money and opportunities for women in tennis.
The stadium also hosted legendary musical acts in the 1960’s and 1970’s, including Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, and Simon and Garfunkel. In 1968, The Beatles were flown into the stadium by helicopter before performing in front of a sold-out crowd.
“It’s where legends walked the grounds, from tennis to music,” DiPretta added.
But following the US Open’s departure to Flushing Meadows in 1978, the structure began to decay and deteriorate, eventually leading to a denial of landmark status by the Landmarks Preservation Commission in 2011.
WSTC even weigned the option of having the stadium replaced with luxury condominiums, before voting the idea down. The stadium was in need of rehabilitation if it was ever going to host live concerts again.
That’s when promoter Mike Lubo made a cold call to the WSTC pro shop, seeking an alternative site for a band to play a gig. Lubo, who grew up on Long Island, was aware of the legendary performances and artists who took the stage at Forest Hills Stadium decades ago.
“In one of the great turn of events, the stadium was not landmarked, which enabled us to come in and do the stuff we did,” said Lubo, now the lead promoter for the venue. “The day after the first phone call, I came out here with a structural engineer.”
Lubo recalls the engineer describing the site as “feeling like a warzone”, and Lubo likened the place to, “a dumping ground for three decades.”
But a commitment was made by Lubo and his team to keep the “bones” of the stadium — built upon first-generation U.S. Steel and poured concrete — and to focus on leading the venue into the 21st century.
After holding their inaugural concert in 2013 with Mumford & Sons, gradual improvements were made to the site’s amenities and safety, including new seats, new aisles and a new world-class stage.
“Our happiest moment was when we finally put real bathrooms out here,” said Lubo.
Now there is a commitment to upgrade the stadium following each concert season. From just one single show in 2013, to well over a dozen just a few years later, the revival of a historic venue is well under way.
But that was all put on pause last March. Live entertainment came to a halt, along with the venue’s expected 2020 concert season. It would be another 16 months before fans flocked to Forest Hills Stadium once again.
“We were probably the first major industry to fully shut down,” said Lubo. “It’s been a long run of scheduling and rescheduling. Our first priority is that the bands, the crew and the fans are safe.”
When COVID-related restrictions were lifted for New Yorkers in June, it allowed for the venue to host live shows once again. Under current guidelines, shows do not require proof of vaccination. Tickets for shows are available at foresthillsstadium.com.
Lubo said it was an emotional return for some when the stadium hosted fans again for the first time in over a year.
“Music and communal gathering is such a big part of what it means to be human,” said Lubo. “I think people really have been missing that in their life.”

UPCOMING CONCERTS
Fri. Aug 20, “Homecoming Week” free concert series
Sat. Aug. 21, Wilco & Sleater Kinney, Nnamdi
Sat. Aug. 28, Dropkick Murphys, Rancid
Thu. Sep. 9, King Crimson, The Zappa Band
Fri. Sep. 10, My Morning Jacket, Brittany Howard
Sat. Sep. 11, My Morning Jacket, Brittany Howard
Sat. Oct. 2, The Neighbourhood

Live music returns to Forest Hills Stadium

Live music returned to Forest Hills Stadium for the first time since 2019, giving thousands of concert-goers in Queens a reason to celebrate and a brief return to normal.
The historic outdoor venue officially reopened on Friday, July 23, as Brandi Carlile took the stage before 8,000 fans, kicking off the stadium’s summer concert series on a high note.
The 14,000-seat capacity venue, located at the West Side Tennis Club, will soon be hosting additional live performances, after a season of concerts were lost due to the pandemic.
As part of New York City’s “Homecoming Week,” the stadium will also host a free concert on Friday, August 20, as announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio last month.
Mario DiPreta, CEO of the West Side Tennis Club (WSTC), says the reopening of the unique venue comes at a time when fans need it most. After hosting a successful first live show back, DiPreta recalled what it was like to welcome live music fans back for the first time in over a year.
“It was amazing to make sure that we could actually do a concert again and get back to some sort of normalcy,” said DiPreta. “The energy was amazing, the crowd was singing to the music. It’s one of the most amazing venues and unique too, there’s not one like it in the world.”
Built in 1923, the outdoor concert venue sits on 13 acres owned by the private tennis club, which played host to the US Open until 1977. It’s where Arthur Ashe became the first African-American to win a Grand Slam tournament in 1968, and it’s where Billie Jean King played while she campaigned for equal prize money and opportunities for women in tennis.
The stadium also hosted legendary musical acts in the 1960’s and 1970’s, including Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, and Simon and Garfunkel. In 1968, The Beatles were flown into the stadium by helicopter before performing in front of a sold-out crowd.
“It’s where legends walked the grounds, from tennis to music,” DiPretta added.
But following the US Open’s departure to Flushing Meadows in 1978, the structure began to decay and deteriorate, eventually leading to a denial of landmark status by the Landmarks Preservation Commission in 2011.
WSTC even weigned the option of having the stadium replaced with luxury condominiums, before voting the idea down. The stadium was in need of rehabilitation if it was ever going to host live concerts again.
That’s when promoter Mike Lubo made a cold call to the WSTC pro shop, seeking an alternative site for a band to play a gig. Lubo, who grew up on Long Island, was aware of the legendary performances and artists who took the stage at Forest Hills Stadium decades ago.
“In one of the great turn of events, the stadium was not landmarked, which enabled us to come in and do the stuff we did,” said Lubo, now the lead promoter for the venue. “The day after the first phone call, I came out here with a structural engineer.”
Lubo recalls the engineer describing the site as “feeling like a warzone”, and Lubo likened the place to, “a dumping ground for three decades.”
But a commitment was made by Lubo and his team to keep the “bones” of the stadium — built upon first-generation U.S. Steel and poured concrete — and to focus on leading the venue into the 21st century.
After holding their inaugural concert in 2013 with Mumford & Sons, gradual improvements were made to the site’s amenities and safety, including new seats, new aisles and a new world-class stage.
“Our happiest moment was when we finally put real bathrooms out here,” said Lubo.
Now there is a commitment to upgrade the stadium following each concert season. From just one single show in 2013, to well over a dozen just a few years later, the revival of a historic venue is well under way.
But that was all put on pause last March. Live entertainment came to a halt, along with the venue’s expected 2020 concert season. It would be another 16 months before fans flocked to Forest Hills Stadium once again.
“We were probably the first major industry to fully shut down,” said Lubo. “It’s been a long run of scheduling and rescheduling. Our first priority is that the bands, the crew and the fans are safe.”
When COVID-related restrictions were lifted for New Yorkers in June, it allowed for the venue to host live shows once again. Under current guidelines, shows do not require proof of vaccination. Tickets for shows are available at foresthillsstadium.com.
Lubo said it was an emotional return for some when the stadium hosted fans again for the first time in over a year.
“Music and communal gathering is such a big part of what it means to be human,” said Lubo. “I think people really have been missing that in their life.”

UPCOMING CONCERTS
Fri. Aug 20, “Homecoming Week” free concert series
Sat. Aug. 21, Wilco & Sleater Kinney, Nnamdi
Sat. Aug. 28, Dropkick Murphys, Rancid
Thu. Sep. 9, King Crimson, The Zappa Band
Fri. Sep. 10, My Morning Jacket, Brittany Howard
Sat. Sep. 11, My Morning Jacket, Brittany Howard
Sat. Oct. 2, The Neighbourhood

Arts & culture alive and well in Woodhaven

If you’re a fan of arts, culture and music, there’s a lot to look forward to in Woodhaven during the month of June.
On Monday, June 21, starting at 3 p.m., the Woodhaven Business Improvement District (WBID) is partnering with Make Music New York to bring the streets of Woodhaven live with the sound of music.
Held annually on the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, Make Music New York sponsors pop-up concerts all over New York City. This year, you will be able to see live music at Forest Parkway and Jamaica Avenue.
“We are very excited to participate in Make Music New York 2021,” says Raquel Olivares, executive director of the WBID. “After a very challenging year, we feel this event will help us bring some normalcy and much-needed entertainment to Jamaica Avenue.”
There will be a few different musical acts, and the local artists the Woodhaven Cultural & Historical Society has been spotlighting here in the pages of the Leader-Observer and through online events will be there.
We’re hoping some more local talent from Woodhaven will introduce themselves to us and join our growing roster of artists.
Deborah Camp, who is well known around Woodhaven for her window paintings on businesses, will be there, as will Jennifer Lambert Technoquilter showing off some of her collages and designs.
And you can ask Louise Naples all about the interesting process of making and designing quilts.
Other participating artists include Woodhaven poet Christine Barbour, musician Matt “The Reverend Matty F” Faccenda, and Woodhaven artist Mahfuza Shammy Rahman (MSR).
Some big news is that MSR will be holding an art show in Woodhaven at Geordie’s Joint on the corner of 80th Street and Jamaica Avenue (79-19 Jamaica Avenue). The launch of this exhibit will be on Saturday, June 26, at 3 p.m.
There will be a brief ceremony at 4 p.m., and if you attend you will be able to enjoy an “MSR,” a new drink created in honor of the artist and the exhibit. I don’t recall what was in it, but I plan to have three of four of them!
And if you miss the opening, MSR’s work will be on display at Geordie’s Joint through July 3.
When we profiled MSR in this paper in March, we noted her interest in holding a show at Geordie’s.
“I love Geordie’s and think it would be a great venue for a show,” MSR said.
Together, we met with Geordie and Trish, owners of Geordie’s Joint, and planned out the show. Geordie and Trish could not have been more excited or accommodating to us, and it’s going to be really interesting to see Geordie’s interior transformed into an art gallery.
And we hope other business owners around Woodhaven will stop by and see if what we accomplish there can be duplicated in other establishments. We are building a roster of artists and we would love to show off their work.
The Woodhaven Cultural & Historical Society has been well known for its promotion of our community’s past. The emphasis on arts and culture is also part of our mission and an embrace of the future.
As life begins a return to normalcy, it will be nice to look for opportunities like this to gather and enjoy each other’s company again.

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