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Jamaica Bay: A NYC Getaway


Jamaica Bay: Thousands fly over it every day and thousands more drive past it, but it’s rare a New Yorker actually explores the salt marshes and wildlife of Jamaica Bay. But we’re a unique brand of New Yorker!

Mark and his buddy David Grupper took the LUNYmobile, strapped that big canoe on it, and headed out to Jamaica Bay which is part of the Gateway National Recreation Area.


Those giant airlines screaming overhead every few minutes are a hint of what Jamaica Bay’s fate could have been if the 1878 plan to convert this bucolic patch of nature into NY’s major Seaport had been fully realized.

Much of the marsh areas had been filled in for docks, piers and for the Floyd Bennett Field: one of New York’s earliest airports and later Idlewild (now JFK Airport). However, the plans were never fully completed. In 1938, Mayor Fiorello La Guardia and Parks Commissioner Robert Moses led the effort to maintain the area as a nature preserve.


Now, whether you’re biking through trails, canoeing through a stream or observing the wildlife, you’ll be sure to have a blast. We recommend paying a visit to historic Fort Tilden, or spending a day at Jacob Riis Park. Jamaica bay is one of three gateways that span 27,000 acres of beaches, historic forts, airports, and houses, and wildlife spread across four counties in two states and three boroughs of New York City. With millions visiting each year, isn’t it time you came through?

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Panorama Challenge 8: Q&A Recap

Thanks to all for participating in the 8th Annual Panorama Challenge.  Keep an eye out for next year’s date, we’d love to have you all back.

This year included the very first Universal Stumper: Ota Benga.  The next toughest question was about Staten Island once having an NFL team.

Your Quizmaster,

Jonathan Turer



1 This museum is famous for its bones — give its official name please.

American Museum of Natural History (must have ‘American’)

Pros: In 1906 it was also home to a live Congolese man who would later be displayed at the Bronx Zoo. What was the man’s name?

Ota Benga

2 This East Village church is where Peter Stuyvesant’s bones rest.

St Marks of the Bowery

Pros: Which Irish department store magnate’s bones were stolen from this churchyard, later ransomed and returned?

A.T. Stewart

3 When this pond was deepened in 1933 workers unearthed an Ice Age relic. It was big but it wasn’t ‘mammoth’. It was a …? (What creature did they find?)


Pros: This Queens pond used to be part of the Brooklyn water system. What is its name?

Baisley Pond

Misplaced Manhattans

4 Manhattan Avenue runs through this neighborhood, now “home” to Hannah Horvath on HBO.


Pros: The Census says 15% of this neighborhood’s residents claim what nationality?


 5 Manhattan Beach, here, had a march written for it by which brassy composer?

John Philip Sousa

Pros: LIRR President Austin Corbin opened two hotels here within three years. The Manhattan Beach Hotel in 1877 and then which hotel next? (name the other hotel)

The Oriental Hotel

 6 Manhattan College is found in this neighborhood, also home to Horace Mann


Pros: Their sports teams are named the Jaspers, a tribute to their coach who may have invented what baseball tradition? (what baseball tradition was invented by Coach Jasper?)

7th Inning Stretch


7  From 1929-31 Staten Island had a professional sports team that played against the Dodgers and Giants. Which league did the team belong to?


Pros: The team was named for its neighborhood, here. Its biggest fan *might have been* the actress who often uttered the line Awwwwchie?


 8 This park is named for a Puerto Rican ‘Pirate’ who died in a plane. His name?

Roberto Clemente

Pros: On one side is the river, the other side a road, with what Interstate route number?


9 This neighborhood is home to the Bergin Hunt & Fish Club. What’s the name of this ‘atmospheric’ area?

Ozone Park

Pros: Bergin was not actually for hunting or fishing. Instead, it’s best known as home base at the beginning of which gangster’s career? (Which gangster got his start at the club?)

John Gotti

Fun & Games

10 In 1938 Alfred Mosher Butts lived in this neighborhood. Today it’s known for pupusas, momos and papadums. What is its name?

Jackson Heights

Pros: In 1938 Butts invented Lexico, which is now known as what?


11 25 years ago, Spike Lee told a story about the hottest day of the year in this neighborhood. Name the neighborhood

Bedford Stuyvesant (or Bed-Stuy)

Pros: 113 years ago in a candy store in the same neighborhood Rose and Morris Michtom created what fuzzy fun kids’ companion?

Teddy Bear

12 In 1881, here, Puck Magazine’s typography department presented “Studies in Passions and Emotions,” quite probably debuting what common fun phenomenon? Semicolon Right Parenthesis


Pros: Puck Magazine was originally published in which language?


Moses Supposes Erroneously

13 Robert Moses thought he could build a wide highway here. Neighbors stopped him and he had to stack it, creating what pedestrian overlook?

 Promenade (or Esplanade)

Pros: Unfortunately the house at 110 Columbia Heights could not be saved. It was once home to what famous family?

Roebling (Washington and Emily, not John)

14 In 1939 Moses believed he’d build a bridge, here, but was defeated, in part, by a powerful political woman. She might have been the First Lady to stop him. Who was she?

Eleanor Roosevelt

Pros: In defeat, Moses banished which Manhattan attraction to Brooklyn?

(New York) Aquarium

15 In 1962 Moses thought he could build the LOMEX (here) but was prevented, in part, by which famous female?

Jane Jacobs

Pros: LOMEX would have connected which three river crossings?

Williamsburg Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, Holland Tunnel


NBA All-Stars

16 Twelve time All Star Dolph Schayes played for this high school, which was named for a NY Governor, best known for a canal. (Name the high school)

DeWitt Clinton

Pros: When Schayes retired he was the NBA’s career points leader, a title now held by which Manhattan-born big man?

Kareem Abdul Jabbar (Lew Alcindor)

17 Five time All Star Chris Mullin led this University, here, to the NCAA Final Four in 1985.

St Johns (University)

Pros: Mullin, known for his flat top haircut, grew up in this appropriately named neighborhood, previously known as New Amersfoort


18 1980 All Star World B Free went to the high school here, named for the local native tribe which gives the neighborhood its name.


Pros: World B Free shared the halls with fellow student Howard Schultz, one time Seattle SuperSonics owner and current CEO of which world-be-known company.


What’s the connection?

19 It runs from the harbor to nowhere near the ocean, which nautical street is this?

Atlantic Avenue

20 You’ll find a structure 2 1/2 miles long made of plastic, concrete and wood, here. What structure is it?


21 This bridge (Hell Gate Bridge) was built to connect the New Haven Railroad to another major system, with a station in Manhattan. Name the other railroad.

Pennsylvania RR

PROS: For three points, think about your answers and explain what they have in common

Monopoly (Properties)

What’s the Connection II, The Sequel

22 Herald Square used to be home to another massive department store complex whose name completes this skeptical phrase: Would Macy*s tell…..?


23 Many buildings, here, are owned by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc, better known by what name? (Give the name of the group)

Jehovah’s Witnesses

 24 Formerly females-only, this college campus, here, has a theater named for the late Danny Kaye.

Hunter College

PROS: For three points, try to imagine yourself standing in front of these locations. As you look up at the buildings, try to envision what connects them.

Skybridges (or elevated walkways)

Unpopular Art

25 Laguardia banished it from City Hall, Anthony Weiner wanted it out of Queens. So Civic Virtue ended up here. Name this Verdant Grove where it ended up.

Green-Wood (Cemetery)

Pros: Don’t feel bad for the sculptor, his Nathan Hale statue is still at City Hall. Name the artist.

(Frederick) MacMonnies

26 Which Philip Johnson-designed building, here, was briefly home to an Andy Warhol work in 1964?

New York State Pavilion

Pros: Before it was quickly painted over, Warhol’s work depicted 13 what?

Most Wanted Men (or mugshots/criminals)

27 In 1981 a Richard Serra artwork was placed here, in front of a Foley Square building named for a Senator from New York. The senator might have preferred something more ‘convention’al. What was his name?

Jacob Javits

Pros: What was Serra’s steel sculpture called?

Tilted Arc

Peculiar parks

Please interpret the following phrases as names of NYC Parks:

28 Ordinary Overlook Park.

Plane View Park

Pros: This park owes its existence to which Federal Agency’s regulations?

FAA (Federal Aviation Administration)

29 En Francais: Compulsive cursing condition. Park.

LaTourette Park

Pros: The park is part of Staten Island’s flagship park called what:

The Greenbelt

30 Inlet of the Cheater.

Swindler Cove

Pros: The park owes its life to Bette Midler’s organization, NYRP which stands for what?

New York Restoration Project



AUDIO CLUES: Name the five ARTISTS you just heard. Get all five right for one point. (These songs were either released or hit #1 on the charts betweeen 1/1/65 and 3/6/65. )

Rolling Stones (Heart of Stone)

John Coltrane (A Love Supreme)

Petula Clark (Downtown)

The Temptations (My Girl)

Johnny Cash (Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright)


Choose which World’s Fair each attraction belongs to: 1939, 1964, BOTH or NEITHER Get all seven right for one point.

Festival of Gas: 1964

Lifesavers Parachute Jump: 1939

Perisphere: 1939

Unisphere: 1964

GM’s Futurama: Both

Port Authority Heliport: 1964

Elvis Presley in: It Happened at the World’s Fair: Neither


THE WORLD OF 1965: Get all five right for one point

What began happening all across NYC at 5:27pm November 9, 1965? BLACKOUT

Helen Gurley Brown took over at what magazine in 1965? COSMOPOLITAN

In ’65 Bhaktivedanta Swami began chanting what ubiquitous and familiar mantra in the E.Village? HARE KRISHNA

What began operations on the roof of the Pan Am Building in 1965? HELIPORT

The Vivian Beaumont Theater opened at what location in 1965? LINCOLN CENTER

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Final Scores: 8th Annual Panorama Challenge

Congratulations to all! As usual, there were lots of great team names, close scores and smart guesses.  We hope to see you all back next year: same time, same place!

Your Quizmaster,

Jonathan Turer

(best possible score = 30+3 halftime points)

The Hunter Gatherers 29
New York is the World 28
The Elevated Nerds 28
WNYC Radio Spreaders 27
The Flatlanders 27
Give ‘Em Hellgate 27
The Eyes of Dr. Jonathan Zismor 27
The Spuyten Duyvils 27
Metropolitan Trivia Authority 26
Drew’s Clues 26
The Van Wycks 25
The Flushing Queens 24
Magic Garden 24
South By South Slope 24
The Whitestone Expressway 23
Four Seasons 19
The Mixed Hags 19
Below The Belt 18
Hillary Clinton’s Server Did Not Finish

(best possible score = 60+3 halftime points)

The Committee on Manifest Errors 61
Triboros 60
Five-Boro Thoroughs 57
All City Hour/Civic Virtue 53
Clutch Hand and the Wolf 52
The Ad-Hocs 52
The Generalists 50
Notorious PDT 49

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Beautify Earth

When Hurricane Sandy blew through New York City, it devastated many areas of New York City, but the Rockaways got hit worst of all. The neighborhood that thrived with its beautiful beaches and waterfront property saw most of its land submerged in water, its shoreline washed away, and its boardwalk destroyed. A year and a half later, residents of the Rockaways are still feeling the effects of Sandy’s wrath and is much in need of a morale boost. This is where Chris Stain, Nicolina Johnson, VANS custom culture high school finalists, and the Levy’s Unique New York come in.

On Wednesday, June 11th, guides from Levy’s Unique New York brought the VANS finalists out to the Rockaways to collaborate on a mural with New York based artists Chris Stain and Nicolina Johnson. They have a project known as “Hearts of the World.” They teamed up with Beautify Earth, seeking to bring street art to distressed neighborhood looking for hope, and brought a “Hearts of the World” mural to the Rockaways.

VANS Beautify Earth

To create this wall mural, each VANS finalist was given a large panel with an outline of an anatomical heart and were told to fill it in with things they love, fear, hope for, are passionate about, etc…The VANS finalists decorated their hearts with everything ranging from planets, to inspirational quotes, to drawings of flowers. After putting their own stamps on the anatomical hearts, the panels were wheat pasted to the wall to life spirits for years to come. Hearts of the World and Beautify Earth have created murals in neighborhood and communities all around the world.

VANS beautify earth

Street art has the ability to push neighborhoods in a positive direction. It has given boosts to the Bowery, DUMBO, and perhaps most famously, Bushwick with the Bushwick Collective. The hope is that the same will happen in the Rockaways, people will travel to see the murals, give the local economy a boost, and remember the beautiful beaches they enjoyed in the years before Sandy swept through. According to Beautify Earth, businesses report up to 20% increased revenue due to increased public visibility after the murals are completed. To keep track of murals that are part of the project, follow hashtag #beautifyearth on social media sites such as twitter and facebook.

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Amore Opera

For 61 years, the Amato Opera company reigned over the East Village as the world’s “Smallest Grand Opera Company.” After 61 years of delighting audiences with opulent operas ranging from Puccini’s “La Boheme” to Bizet’s “Carmen,” and after being inducted into City Lore’s People’s Hall of Fame for his contribution to artistic life in New York City, Tony Amato bequeathed his company, sets, costume, and staging rights, and all to a small group of his company members wishing to carry Amato’s torch via a new company named “Amore Opera.”

Amore Opera continues to stage grand opera productions in the East Village much the same way that Tony Amato did. Their performances take place at the Connelly Theatre and use a full orchestra, which is rare for companies operating on a small budget in a small space. What the Connelly lacks in seating capacity it makes of for intimacy though, allowing for more truthful performances than are usually equated with Opera. Amore has also recently started branching out by bringing “new” works to New York City via clever double bills. For example, heir recent production of Magic Flute played in rep with “Das Labyrinth,” a sequel to Magic Flute composed by Peter von Winter and a libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder, who also wrote the libretto to Magic Flute. Das Labyrinth premiered in Vienna on June 12, 1798, but as of 2013, had never been performed in the United States. Amore Opera decided to change this and brought this hidden gem of an opera to New York audiences. The production itself received mixed reviews, but one has to applaud to company for attempting a new production that has no U.S. performance precedence. This double bill idea seems to work well for the them. Other double bills they have brought to the U.S. include La Nozze di Figaro paired with the U.S. premiere of I Due Figaro and Pagliacci paired with the Circus Princess.

Amore Opera performers have also performed at the Met Opera, New York City Opera, Syracuse Opera, O.A.S. Hall of the Americas, and won several prestigious competitions. The conductors have conducted at the Met Opera and New York Philharmonic. When you go, don’t be deceived by the small space, you will hear big voices and see immense talent.

If you hurry, you can catch their current production of Madama Butterfly running through May 25th, 2014.

Amore Opera Madama

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